"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Environment (14)


Spock Can't Be Wrong: The Coming Ice Age

I remember the winter of 77. It was difficult to feed the cattle that year. One time I was unable to get the tractor going so I had to walk to the storage area to open a gate to feed the cattle. It was not far, but I had to lay in the snow to recover before I made my way home. 

Since the sun is currently producing heat at a very low rate, I predict an Ice Age! 

It is only logical:


Depressing, Isn’t It?

Looking at the world it is easy to get depressed. Everything is tinged with corruption. Food, money, bodies, minds, news, and the whole population are all over-processed. 

Look at the Cyprus bank crisis: money is over-processed. Look in the mirror: are you over-processed? Are you watching the Kardashians? Benny Hinn? Fox News?  Is your mind over-processed? 

The system, The Man, "the powers that be," or Babylon as the Bible calls it, thinks itself immortal and immune. Revelation 18:7 tells us what she thinks:

In her heart she boasts,
    ‘I sit enthroned as queen.
I am not a widow;
    I will never mourn.’

But we as Christians know the ultimate outcome as the next verse in Revelation tells us:

Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
     death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire,
    for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

If we are in Babylon we will suffer along with it. Verse 4 tells us:

“‘Come out of her, my people,’
    so that you will not share in her sins,
    so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
for her sins are piled up to heaven,
    and God has remembered her crimes.

My main purpose of this blog is to understand that we cannot avoid being in Babylon, but we can avoid being of Babylon. Babylon is extremely intrusive. To paraphrase the radio cartoon character Chickenman "It's everywhere. It's everywhere." One of my proudest blogging moments was a comment by fellow blogger Eric Anderson at Universe of Lies. Commenting on a post about the Agricultural Industrial Complex he said, "Only Dennis would see Babylon in a chicken sandwich—and he is right." 

Yes, even food is over-processed, and it is depressing that there is not a whole lot that can be done about it. Yes, there are a few things you can do. Cook your own food. Know your food. Grow your food. Eat with thinking. It is depressing because most people will not bother. I have lost over 30 pounds mostly by just writing down what I eat in an e-journal called MyFitnessPal and thinking about my food choices. Do the best you can. 

Do you think I am exaggerating the problem? If so watch this documentary, Food Inc. If anything, I have not talked about it enough. But be warned, unless you are doing a lot more about the food you eat than most Americans, you will be depressed too.




Are Animals a Part of Sustainability? 

In contrast to the sustainability lecture I posted last week, this speaker takes a different approach.  Joel Salatin is the owner of Polyface farm. Rather than shun animals as Bittman implied last week, all the while saying he was not saying that, Salatin incorporates them into his farm. Unfortunately this lecture does not allow us to see the slides.

I wonder how many of those that advocate sustainability actually know anything about farming? Salatin does. What he says, based on my ten years of ranching, make sense.

On a personal level, since I live on a rock, I need a greenhouse.

Salatin is an enjoyable speaker and well worth your time.


My Dream Car

I really want to buy a Peugeot Diesel Hybrid. It gets very good mileage as a diesel. In addition it has an electric power system. It gets 60 miles per gallon when it is running on diesel. Unfortunately it is too expensive for Peugeot to meet American regulatory requirements. In fact one of these requirements is impossible to meet. The US government defines pollution as the amount of pollutants released per gallon of gas burned, not per mile traveled. So the fact that the Peugeot gets 60 miles per gallon excluding any electric part of the mileage is not factored in. 

Eric Peters has suggested this approach:

A better (because more cost-effective) solution would be to mass-market relatively simple, much-lighter-than-current-average vehicles equipped with updated versions of something like Honda’s old CVCC engine of the mid-1970s fed by a throttle body injector (TBI) teamed up with a modern six speed overdrive transmission or CVT. Such a vehicle, weighing about 1,800 lbs., let’s say, would not need more than about 100 hp (probably less)  to be powerful enough for most A to B driving, would be capable of 60-plus MPG, and – critically – would burn probably 40 percent less fuel than the typical current 270 hp V-6 (and 3,400-plus pound) sedan or crossover – which mostly never sees the high side of 80 MPH anyhow and thus is as pointless as giving a eunuch Viagra.

If such vehicles became mass-market vehicles, the result would be a massive reduction in emissions output (and fuel wastage) without the need to pursue ever-more-elaborate, ever-more-expensive technological solutions in the quest for diminishing returns, tailpipe emissions-wise. Such a machine would not need gas direct injection, or variable cam/valve timing, or multiple sequential turbochargers – just a sampling of the technology the car industry is currently deploying in order to “save fuel” and “lower exhaust emissions” in cars that are morbidly obese and thus require bigger, more consumptive engines that burn more fuel – and produce more total emissions. 

One reason we do not have better mileage cars is that the government will not let us have them. 

Another reason we cannot buy good mileage and emission cars, in this case per passenger, is that the old reliable station wagon is subject to a 25% tariff, but the minivan is not. The result is few traditional station wagons. I would have been a buyer for a station wagon over the last few years as I often have a lot of people in my car, having 6 children and 6 grandchildren. There are a few rare station wagons still made. They are placed on truck chassis and so are technically trucks in order to get by the tariff. 

We have a general lack of common sense in our government. This is similar to religious legalists who forget the purpose of the religious rites they idolize. As Eric Hoffer, longshoreman and philosopher once said: The definition of fanatic is a person who has lost sight of their goal but redoubled their efforts. 


Skeptical Environmentalist

Most libertarians would disagree with me, but I generally agree with Bjørn Lomborg. The way government goes about things is all wrong. I think that spending a lot more money for energy research is an appropriate thing to do, once we get our financial house of cards in order.

I approve of research done by the private sector as the most efficient way to achieve progress. When the government interferes through subsidies, the inevitable result is to misallocate funds.

Onr reason we are in the mess we are in environmentally is the subsidies we give to the ownership of cars. Do away with all subsidies is a first step to environmental sanity.

This presentation of Lomborg's was done at Google Talks.