June 1, 2016
Quote of the Day
This blog's problem? Not enough Lileks lately. Mandatory composting comes to Minneapolis:
Except . . . I don't know what they do with lawn waste. We have new bins now for composting, which suggests the old lawn waste is probably fed to a compactor, turned into incredibly dense cubes, shipped to China and thrown down a bottomless well. I don't know. As for the composting bin, so far we've composted exactly Zero Molecules, because I don't have a bin under the sink to dump my Organics. There isn't any room for the bin. In a recent work meeting when the subject came up, a co-worker said she had a pail on the counter where the organics went, and I was incredulous: you have a bucket of rotten vegetables on your counter?
Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll @ Insty
October 9, 2015
The birth of other-loathing
Perhaps it's a re-birth, I'm not sure. Has there been another period in history when an anti-humanity movement was so large and so popular? The Dark Ages perhaps.
Yesterday I was asked by a colleague, "Why don't we use more nuclear power?"
"Honestly" said I, "I think it is because there is such a powerful movement to limit the available resources in order to limit the growth and prosperity of the human race."
That movement is called "global environmentalism" and, according to its Amazon summary, the book that launched the movement is called 'Limits to Growth' - Donella H. Meadows, October 1, 1972.
The headline-making report on the imminent global disaster facing humanity - and what we can do about it before time runs out. The book that launched the environmental movement globally.
First on the list of prescriptions, as explained in an editorial review of "The 30-Year Update" version, is fewer people, doing less.
The authors demonstrate that the most critical areas needing immediate attention are: population; wasteful, inefficient growth; and pollution. They show how attention to all three simultaneously can result in returning the human footprint on the environment to manageable, sustainable size, while sharply reducing the disparity between human well-being and fostering a generous quality-of-life worldwide. Absent this, the prospects are grim indeed.
How grim? RCP's William Tucker explains in 'Dealing With Abundance.'
In fact we're doing quite well as far as resources are concerned. Nobody talks about "running out of anything" anymore. The one place where doomsayers would argue that we have overshot is in the creation of carbon dioxide byproducts in the atmosphere that are going to lead to global warming.
So the choice is apparent: Is the path to "a generous quality of life worldwide" in the direction of science, technology, and safe, non-polluting and nearly limitless nuclear power, or through "disfiguring the entire face of the earth with low-density energy collectors such as windmills and solar panels?"
The answer depends on your bias. Do you want to limit the population, or make it prosperous? Do you love and respect yourself, and therefore others, or do you loathe successful people because, deep inside, your self-image is that of a dirty little beast?
April 22, 2015
EV Superfund Alert
It is common knowledge that hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs. Which of course means it is not true.
While conventional lead acid batteries used for starting internal combustion engines (ICE) are readily recyclable, state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries are not.
Given the extremely high metal value of used cobalt-based lithium batteries it seems strange that only one company in the world, Unicore of Belgium, has bothered to develop a recycling process. When you take the time to read and digest Umicore's process description, however, the reason becomes obvious. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is an incredibly complex and expensive undertaking that includes:
Disposable diapers are less a scourge upon the earth.
April 8, 2015
Burn the Heretic!
Penn Jillette, line one! Mickey Kaus dares apostasy! He and I differ substantively on immigration, but we're both good recyclers -- unafraid to waste water, energy, or time cleaning our trash. But in the California drought?
Here's another potential water-saving idea: A moratorium on mandatory recycling. I would guess at least 10% of my water use comes from washing/rinsing all the recyclables I am required to separate out from the regular trash. We single yuppies use a lot of plastic take-out containers. Rinsing them makes recycling them easier and, more important, avoids having the recycling bins become a magnet for rats. All that rinsing is a huge hassle. I assume it is normally worth it because it cuts down on land fill use and conserves raw materials like aluminum.
Or never -- it's Bullshit!
April 6, 2015
I don't often laugh at threats to a person's livelihood. But the industry of plastic recycling is built on a foundation of lies, and its load-bearing walls are various subsidies. If low oil-prices threaten this already tendentious enterprise, I'm sorry. You folks are just going to have to get real jobs.
BINBROOK, England--A former World War II bomber hangar houses a monument to the recent plunge in oil prices: hundreds of bags of shredded plastic.
Dropping cable for streaming services has been a great excuse to watch all the Penn & Teller BS shows again. Recycling (Season 2, Episode 05) is one of my all time favorites. It is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.