Readers talk back about ethanol, cell phones, home renovations, and more

  Re: Kernel Ganders Dear Editor: Thanks for covering the ethanol issue and our paper in Science. David Pimentel erroneously claims we didn’t include energy for farm machinery in our analysis, and unfortunately his claim, though false, has been repeated several times in the media. Your article also attributes to our study the claim that “replacing fossil fuels with corn-based ethanol is energy-efficient.” Actually, we go to pains to point out that conflating petroleum, coal, and natural gases to talk about “fossil fuels” is not helpful, and merely creates confusion. Our claims were about replacing gasoline with ethanol. Grist is …

Win Some, Luge Some

WWF gives Turin Olympics mixed grade for eco-impacts For the next few weeks the world will be glued to its TVs for a spectacle of heartbreak and triumph called … American Idol. But some folks might also watch the Olympic Winter Games. Are they green? WWF has given the Turin Games a mixed score, noting seven eco-positive outcomes including cleanly fueled public transport and recycling in the Olympic villages. But it slammed two ski jumps that cut into sensitive alpine slopes and dinged heavy artificial snow-making for damaging the ground and wasting water. WWF also blasted the 16-foot high Olympic …

And You Were Worried!

Expert panel backs Energy Department nuke-waste transport plan An expert panel organized by the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that it’s likely safe to ship tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel to Nevada for disposal. After all, what could go wrong? [Spends a moment in terrified contemplation.] The panel reviewed the Department of Energy’s plans for trucking and train-transporting about 70,000 tons of nuclear waste from some 70 sites in over 30 states to Nevada’s Yucca Mountain disposal facility — a process DOE estimates could take 24 years. It found that risks of radiation and other …

U.S. about to become net food importer

Food imports may force new food policies

A little over a year ago The Wall Street Journal (31 Jan 2005) reported that the U.S. would become a net food importer on a more or less permanent basis by the end of 2005. To me, this is an immense challenge to our food security, but also marks a great opportunity for the U.S. to rebuild its food markets. I'm interested in how others see it.


Check out Pooln, a nifty web-2.0-y tool that uses a "community/social-network approach to carpooling." You plug in your home zip code and your work zip code and it tries to find you someone to carpool with -- it even has RSS feeds for zip codes, in case a new carpooler shows up. The future is now! There's a decent interview with the proprietor of Pooln on eHub.

Deutsch determined to further embarrass self

Oh Jeebus. I haven't written much about the sad, hilarious, but mostly sad saga of George Deutsch, the late lamented NASA press aide who spent his days telling some of the world's premiere scientists to be sure to follow mentions of the Big Bang with the word "theory" and to stop being so icky-scary about the whole global warming thing, and then got called on it, and then resigned in shame, and then sunk further into shame when a blogger uncovered the fact that he didn't graduate from Texas A&M, contra his resume, and may not have graduated from college at all. Lots of other bloggers and newspapers have covered it in detail. But this ... dude. George. A piece of friendly advice: STFU.

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