Thursday, April 30, 2009

Write Your Own Punchline


Room 101

A BEDRIDDEN war veteran was found on Anzac Day with bloody ears, hands, face and neck after being "severely chewed" by swarming mice at a southwest Queensland nursing home.
Complete article here.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner


Monday, April 27, 2009

Ethanol Petition

If you'd like the option to buy E15 rather than just E10, please sign the petition at

I believe we should be allowed to choose more clean, American-made renewable fuel for our cars. The federal government arbitrarily limits the use of ethanol in a gallon of gasoline to just 10 percent, a regulation that is standing in the way of new green jobs, jeopardizing progress toward advanced biofuels, and putting energy security at risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering whether to allow the use of up to 15 percent ethanol, which would enable consumers to choose between fuels that contain no ethanol and any blend up to 15%.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Abandoned Road

When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn — when, instead of the continuous progress which we have come to expect, we find ourselves threatened by evils associated by us with past ages of barbarism — we naturally blame anything but ourselves. Have we not all striven according to our best lights, and have not many of our finest minds incessantly worked to make this a better world? Have not all our efforts and hopes been directed toward greater freedom, justice, and prosperity?

If the outcome is so different from our aims — if, instead of freedom and prosperity, bondage and misery stare us in the face — is it not clear that sinister forces must have foiled our intentions, that we are the victims of some evil power which must be conquered before we can resume the road to better things?

However much we may differ when we name the culprit — whether it is the wicked capitalist or the vicious spirit of a particular nation, the stupidity of our elders, or a social system not yet, although we have struggled against it for a half a century, fully overthrown — we all are, or at least were until recently, certain of one thing: that the leading ideas which during the last generation have become common to most people of good will and have determined the major changes in our social life cannot have been wrong.

We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.

Excerpt from The Road to Serfdom - Friedrich von Hayek, 1944


Monday, April 13, 2009


As we all tighten our belts - some more than others, of course - in today's uncertain economy, it is always good to gain a bit of perspective. Check out and see how you fare against the world. You might not be in as bad shape as you thought.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cheaper Shale Oil

According to this article, new ceramic technology may provide a breakthrough with in situ shale oil development.

The process involves no mining, uses less water than other approaches, and doesn't leave behind man-made mountains of kerogen-sapped shale. And according to a Rand Corporation study, it can also be done at a third of the cost of mining and surface processing. One technical hitch, however, lies with the heater cable employed. The most common cables used today are insulated with a layer of magnesium oxide, which can deform, degrade, and ultimately short out over time under intense heat, constant exposure to moisture, and the occasional shifting of rock at great depths. Replacement and maintenance can be costly.

Handling such extremes requires "a combination of properties not currently available on the market," says Joe Culver, an official with the Department of Energy (DOE), which considers oil shale vital to America's energy security. In Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah alone, deposits equate to more than 800 billion barrels of recoverable crude.

Composite Technology Development of Lafayette, CO, set out to tackle the cable insulation challenge using a woven ceramic-fiber tape that gets wrapped around copper wiring. The ceramic insulation is a composite material that consists of ceramic fibers and an inorganic ceramic matrix that binds the fibers together. "It's our secret sauce," says executive vice president Mike Tupper, explaining that the fibers can also come braided or in the form of cloth, depending on the application.
Of course, this would not be a good development with respect to carbon emissions. However, from a EROEI, as well as certain environmental concerns (water, subsidence, mining residues), it seems to be quite promising. And domestic energy production is quite good for many geopolitical concerns, the US current account deficit, and the economy as a whole.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

King of the Bulls

It seems that uber-ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff had something of a bull fetish. Authorities have been seizing his ill-gotten assets from around the globe, and most of the boats are named "Bull", or a derivative thereof.

"I've never seen so much bull in my life," Deputy U.S. Marshal Barry Golden said shortly after entering the house. "Pictures of bulls, bull statues, even bulls on clothing. There's a lot of bull in the house."

The bull theme even extended to the boats seized earlier Wednesday. A 55-foot yacht moored at a Fort Lauderdale marina is named Bull. A 24-foot speedboat taken from a warehouse in Palm City is named Little Bull.

Yeah, that's me taking the bull by the horns, it's how I like to run my business. It's a metaphor.
But that actually happened though.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

News Flash!

Hey folks, a new study shows cutting down on sugary drinks is a way to lose weight!

Consumption of liquid calories from beverages has increased in parallel with the obesity epidemic. Earlier studies by Bloomberg School researchers project that 75 percent of U.S. adults could be overweight or obese by 2015 and have linked the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to the obesity epidemic, which affects two-thirds of adults and increases the risk for adverse health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Researchers recommend limited liquid calorie intake among adults and to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption as a means to accomplish weight loss or avoid excess weight gain.
I've also heard that expending more calories than you consume will do the same thing.

Other sugar posts:
Evaporated Cane Juice: Part II
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Caramel Apples
Sugar and the Environment