As to that age old question of “Who is John Galt?”; he is every productive member of every society.
Busting another myth. Maybe some of those talking heads read this blog. Ever since I showed how ethanol does NOT cause food prices to rise, or at least not significantly, the talking heads are saying that even though the rise in food costs due to ethanol is small, it diverts food for fuel. Even Glenn Beck, who has a remarkable research staff, made this statement. Well, it may be true, but if so, you are doing something wrong! So for all those journalists, talking heads, and Wall Street gurus, who suffer from SDD, I will now bust another myth.
Some ethanol facts:
Ethanol only has 70% the energy by volume or weight compared to gasoline. It can vary so if you want to use 66% and adjust numbers accordingly, go ahead.
This means at $4 / gallon, coming soon to a station near you, you want to buy ethanol at $2.80 / gal. to get the same miles per dollar. But you can’t burn 100% ethanol anyway – perhaps a diesel could.
You can’t put it in a pipeline because condensation will cause the ethanol to break down as it is much more biodegradable (soluble in water) than oil (no mixing – oil floats on water).
Ethanol is now sold as a blend of ethanol and gasoline. E10 = 10% ethanol and E85 = 85% ethanol. Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFV) monitor the oxygen content of the fuel and adjusts the fuel-air mixture of the engine.
For the most part, these facts are not relevant for busting the myth. but it does prove I’m not in the tank for ethanol.
And here is the proof. On 31 March 2011, the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) price for corn was 693.25 cents per bushel. Now this price includes delivery cost since the contract is to deliver on 5/17/2011. It is also true that any cereal company worth its weight, uses the CBOT, or similar futures market, to hedge their cost of corn. But lets use this value as it was set by the free market and is almost certainly higher than what the cereal company will pay.
Space Shuttle Discovery, the shuttle with the most flights, made its final return to earth (Video w/commercial).
Discovery had more flights than any other shuttle – 39. Impressive until you learn it was designed for 100 flights. So why retire after only 40% of its design life? Two main reasons.
Tonight PBS NOVA will broadcast “Japan’s Killer Quake“. Check your local listings. If you can, you should record this one hour film.
Because so many have a means of capturing video these days, you will see the earth move under your feet; water rising to the surface through cracks in the earth. And we’re not talking about sidewalk size cracks. It is scary just watching the video. Most people would be freaked out thinking they were about to die – we are talking real cracks in the earth. This is the most amazing video of an earthquake I’ve ever seen.
Since this is NOVA, watch for evil supporter David H. Koch! We could do a drinking game but since children may be present, it is sufficient to cry out “Busted!’ when his name appears as providing funds for NOVA. Point this out every chance you get to anyone who defines the Koch brothers as evil. On the other hand, hey David, where’s our money? Just kidding…
People have been calling the current budget bickering the budget wars. Ha! You ain’t seen anything yet. This is currently more like a skirmish.
Now keep in mind all numbers are billions with a B and we are talking the federal budget for FY 2011 which started 1 Oct 2010. The Democrat Congress DID NOT pass a budget for FY 2011. This is the first time in over 70 years! The Republicans, having taken control of the House, proposed to do a one time CR (Continuing Resolution) with a $61 billion reduction. This was based on applying the $100 billion cut they had run on to get elected over the remaining FY 2011 budget.
I’m sorry, billion with a B, is too small a number for the deficit. Now here is the kicker. The deficit for FY 2011, the year without a budget, is estimated to be 1.5 trillion by CBO, that is trillion with a T! How is that for pathetic. But wait, it gets better. When the administration delivered its FY 2012 budget, it revised its estimate of the FY 2011 deficit to $1.6 trillion.
Ann Coulter wrote a column – A Glowing Report on Radiation. The radon gas issue is a prime example of science becoming political science. The media hyped a big scare concerning radon gas in homes. Turns out homes made with bricks have much higher levels of radon gas because the materials used to make the bricks contain small quantities of radioactive materials. The claim was radon gas caused lung cancer. Sounds about right doesn’t it? But when real scientific tests were conducted, it turned out that people who lived in high radon houses had much lower rates of lung cancer. Go figure.
You should read Physics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller. There is no math to speak of. After all, most future Presidents will likely be lawyers. About the only profession, and I use the term loosely, with less understanding of science and math are journalists. Check your library as it is a fun read. You say you want an example? There is more energy per unit weight in a chocolate chip cookie than an equal weight of TNT. The difference is the speed at which the TNT burns. TNT has oxygen mixed in while a cookie needs oxygen from the air to burn. Check out the Table of Contents. Even if you have a good physics background, you should find this book interesting. Glenn Beck mentioned this book so it should soon shoot up on the Amazon book chart.
You hear the name as “Coke” and they are painted as evil incarnate. Supposedly the money behind the Tea Party folks. Then one day I saw the name spelled out – Koch. Wait, I’ve seen that someplace else – for years. Aha!
Has any PBS or NPR people smeared their name? For years this supporter has shown up on PBS NOVA and Nature programs. Who knew they were evil? Even though the announcer pronounces the contributor’s name as “Coke”, it never dawned on me this was one of the evil “Coke” brothers. An evil person surely wouldn’t support PBS!
Isn’t it fun to bust myths!
The protestors of the Middle East, and anywhere else, would be wise to heed the words of Mr. Mencken. For a recent example, they need only look to the outcome of the Iranian students who brought down the Shah. That didn’t work out too well. If you were to talk to the elders of Iran, in secret of course, they might well tell you life was better under the Shah. There sure isn’t much freedom in Iran these days.
Quite a number of years ago, the Seattle Symphony was doing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of Milton Katims. Now at this point, you must understand two things:
1. There’s a quite long segment in this symphony where the basses don’t have a thing to do. Not a single note for page after page.
2. There used to be a tavern called Dez’s 400, right across the street from the Seattle Opera House, rather favored by local musicians.
It had been decided that during this performance, once the bass players had played their parts in the opening of the symphony, they were to quietly lay down their instruments and leave the stage, rather than sit on their stools looking and feeling dumb for twenty minutes. Well, once they got backstage, someone suggested that they trot across the street and quaff a few brews.