We're hearing a lot about the failures of government and I am on that bandwagon - chronic runaway spending, the foolishness with Gibson guitars, delays for an energy project that helps poor people and lowers emissions, and I was one of only about four people critical of government bailouts but now a group of people on Wall Street have gotten downright conservative in their approach to what government should and should not be doing. But because I like to stick a knife in all sacred cows, I have also been hard on environmentalists.
Canola, a specific edible type of rapeseed developed in the 1970s, contains about 40 percent oil and became popular as a substitute for traditional cooking oils. The name is derived as “Can” (for Canada) and “ola” (for oil low acid) and Canola oil is the lowest in saturated fats of all commonly used oils. While much is imported, North Dakota leads the U.S. in canola, approximately 92 percent of domestic production.
While concern about water is always real, scare tactics like virtual water
do more harm than good for rational policy making. Objective analyses show we don't have a food issue looming that science and technology can't address.
Every night I have certain rituals that must be executed, or else. Not sure what else really, but I fear that it involves my hospitalization. Let us say that in order to avoid nervous breakdowns, I visit a handful of science sites, particularly looking for the latest satellite images, winding down in controlled forms and then I hit the hay.
Science Before Bed
One long-standing myth is that any law claiming to be good for the environment is actually good for the environment. Anyone living along levees in the South who watched environmental lawsuits block improvements in the 1990s and then heard the Army Corps of Engineers criticized after Hurricane Katrina for not previously making improvements had to wonder why the media didn't cover one obvious source of blame for the entire region not being more resistant to floods.
No, instead we got treated to Sean Penn carrying a shotgun, apparently to mow down the zombies the media claimed were floating in New Orleans and everyone blamed Pres. George Bush because the tropical storm turned into a hurricane.
Unfortunate subsets of some militant environmental groups believe that anyone who uses the land, including quite responsibly, is an enemy.
Geobacter can clean up uranium but a new study documenting how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste and other toxic metals could mean a big benefit for contaminated sites in the future.
Identifying the Geobacters' conductive pili (nanowires - hair-like appendages found on the outside of Geobacters) as doing the bulk of the work is a new revelation. The nanowires also shield Geobacter and allow the bacteria to thrive in a toxic environment.
The Lacey Act is one of few government regulations I have praised
for its effectiveness. Few government regulations are actually designed to help anyone, they are either designed to hobble someone in order to artificially level the playing field or they are designed to boost a special interest. This act levels the playing field, but for the benefit of companies that are ethical.
One of the stranger claims of anti-science hippies is that there is not only a difference between 'organic' food (and apparently 'inorganic' food, whatever that could be) in structure - and if you believe that, go read Huffington Post, I won't take it personally - but also in nutrition.
We got a tenth of an inch of rain yesterday -- such a microscopic amount. The pond levels are down five feet from normal. It's much less than the water level drop in areas like Lake Travis in Austin, but that's still drastic.
I've been monitoring the ponds at Trinity River Audubon Center, and as I walked the margins of Great Blue Heron Pond, it occurred to me that although I was watching the nearby grasslands that I hadn't walked into our tiny remnant patch of woodlands (Longacre Woods) to see what impact the drought was having. Because I hadn't gone to investigate before, this was more a preliminary survey hike than an observation of changes.