Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Promoting local farms, and making our youth healthier. At the same time.

Spread of disease and global warming

From today's Washington Post:

Climate change is creating droughts and floods where they were not common before, and that is also altering patterns and flows of disease. In warming temperatures, mosquitoes are migrating to new areas, carrying diseases once confined to the tropics.
Chikungunya, a tropical disease from Africa and Asia that causes severe joint pain, showed up in Italy in 2006 and has infected several hundred people there. A tourist who visited Kerala,
India, is suspected to have carried the virus home. Then the Asian tiger mosquito, which is working its way north as temperatures rise, carried it from one infected person to the next.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

North Carolina to schools: Only hit students with parental permission!

Today, the North Carolina legislature is considering a bill that will bar schools from paddling kids without written permission from parents. I'm not joking. It's good to see we've finally progressed to the 1920s here in the Tar Heel state. (There's rumors that we might even start letting women vote in elections, too.)

Don't drive to Atlanta on an 85-degree day with your car's air conditioner broken

I started to try it, but didn't get very far. So I pulled into a Mercedes service garage in Fletcher, North Carolina and they charged up my AC.

Then I drove down to Roswell, Georgia for a meeting of the Green Readers Book Club, which meets at Harry's Farmer's Market. The group is organized by the store and the non-profit Keep Roswell Beautiful, a non-profit that works with the local government to improve the local environment (and is a model organization for other communities to follow).

Given that I spend so much of my time as a shut-in, I talked for about 90 minutes before I realized that no one was left in the room but me. I'm not sure exactly when I scared them off--probably sometime around the 20th minute, when I started to give them my strategies for flossing teeth properly.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

traveling this week

I'll be in Gambier, Ohio giving talks at my alma mater, Kenyon College, on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. I'll be back to my old blogging self on Wednesday, most likely.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Create global cooling? Baaad idea

So, one of the big environmental guys in the Obama administration said that global warming may get to such a catastrophic level that we'll need to find ways to cool off the earth by spewing pollutants into the upper atmosphere. Artificially creating global cooling is such an awful idea on so many levels. For some context, I refer you here to Operation Cat Drop.

Car sales up in China! Woohoo!

More cars were sold in China last quarter than during any three month period ever. Ever! Oil prices spiked on foreign markets today, in response to the happy news.

Meanwhile, back on the Greasy Rider mother ship, the waste oil I use for my car is still free. Free, I tell you!

Yes, a four-day work week will save dead dinosaurs.

We crunch the numbers in my Outside online column this week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This is the best they could do? Really?

So this is the new revolutionary plug-in vehicle that GM announced it's going to be making with Segway. You remember, Segway invented that two-wheeled scooter thing that mall cops ride. It was the old "new" revolutionary plug-in vehicle, until it turned out that no one really saw a use for it, besides chasing away 14-year-old girls caught smoking in front of the Piercing Pagoda, apparently.

Gee, I really want to run out and buy one. What about you? But won't be out until 2012. And we don't know the price yet. At least it looks like it'll hold up well when a city bus rams into it.

Stop the presses! Oil companies are NOT at the cutting edge of renewable energy research

Next week's installment: the oil companies actually SUPPORT new offshore drilling, and the driving of big, gas-sucking cars and RVs.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Boo! Oil prices have dropped $2 a barrel today.

That's largely why I'm in a bad mood.

Yes! The grease car can run on animal fat!

The grease I collect settles to three layers: the first two-thirds is pure canola; about a quarter below that is animal fat, and at the very bottom is a small layer of water (from the moisture and frost on the chicken tenders and fries when they're cooked). It's a pretty simple process to pour the pure canola into a bucket, and then stop when you hit the animal fat. I've never used the animal fat before, though theoretically it's supposed to work in the car. Well, I was desperate for grease this week, and decided to filter some animal fat dregs and stick it into the grease tank. I was planning on driving it, but the wife got in the car before me to take the kids to a play session (which involved driving on the highway). Furtunately, the engine didn't blow up on them when they were driving 60 m.p.h. In fact, everything worked fine.

Economic downturn keeping sharks hungry

Fewer people at the beach means fewer shark attacks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Uh oh.

The Chinese are investing bigtime in hybrid and plug-in electric technology research for cars. They want to become the global leader in the market. I raise my concerns about this in Greasy Rider. At least we've now come to the realization that we have to do the same.