Happy Birthday To Oil, Happy Birthday To Oil, Happy Birthday To OOOOOOil

Happy birthday to you…You belooooong in a zoo. Actually you made Zoos absolutely necessary as ARKS for the species that our use of oil has driven either to extinction or near extinction.


Wired Science News for Your Neurons

Happy 150th, Oil! So Long, and Thanks for Modern Civilization


  • 2:39 pm  |
  • Categories: Energy


One hundred and fifty years ago on Aug. 27, Colonel Edwin L. Drake sunk the very first commercial well that produced flowing petroleum.

The discovery that large amounts of oil could be found underground marked the beginning of a time during which this convenient fossil fuel became America’s dominant energy source.

But what began 150 years ago won’t last another 150 years — or even another 50. The era of cheap oil is ending, and with another energy transition upon us, we’ve got to scavenge all the lessons we can from its remarkable history.

“I would see this as less of an anniversary to note for celebration and more of an anniversary to note how far we’ve come and the serious moment that we’re at right now,” said Brian Black, an energy historian at Pennsylvania State University and and author of the book Petrolia. “Energy transitions happen and I argue that we’re in one right now and that we need to aggressively look to the future to what’s going to happen after petroleum.”

When Drake and others sunk their wells, there were no cars, no plastics, no chemical industry. Water power was the dominant industrial energy source. Steam engines burning coal were on the rise, but the nation’s energy system — unlike Great Britain’s — still used fossil fuels sparingly. The original role for oil was as an illuminant, not a motor fuel, which would come decades later.

Before the 1860s, petroleum was a well-known curiosity. People collected it with blankets or skimmed it off naturally occurring oil seeps. Occasionally they drank some of it as a medicine or rubbed it on aching joints.

Some people had the bright idea of distilling it to make fuel for lamps, but it was easier to get lamp fuel from pig fat or whale oil or converted coal. Without a steady supply, there was no point in developing a whole system and infrastructure dedicated to petroleum.

Nonetheless, some Yankee capitalists from Connecticut were convinced that oil could be found in the ground and exploited. They recruited “Colonel” Edwin Drake, who was not a Colonel at all, mostly because he was charming and unemployed. He, in turn, found someone skilled in the art of drilling, or what passed for it in those days.

Drake and his sidekick “Uncle Billy” Smith started looking underground for oil in the spring of ‘59. They used a heavy metal tip attached to a rope, sending it plummeting down the borehole like a ram to break up the rock. It was slow going.

On Aug. 27, 1859, at 69 feet of depth, Drake and Smith hit oil. It was a big deal, but the Civil War stalled the immediate development of the rock oil industry.

“When the discovery happened, the few people who were there and not involved in the war, went around and bought all the property they could and had outside investors come in,” Black said. “But the real heyday of the development happened from 1864-1870. It’s that 11-year period when the little river valley was the world’s leading supplier of oil.”


The “little river valley” in western Pennsylvania earned the nickname Petrolia. Centered in the Oil Creek valley about one hundred miles north of Pittsburgh, the wells of Pithole, Titusville and Oil City pumped 56 million barrels of oil out of the ground from 1859 to 1873.

Though there is some question about whether it was the first well in the world or even in the US:


And let's get the record straight. The Drake well was not
the first oil well in the U.S. Historical geologic research data
my father paid for circa 1979 pegged a well outside Oneida Tenn.
as the first producing oil well in the U.S. It preceeded the
Drake Well by a couple of decades or more (I believe the well
was struck around 1819 but I am going from memory as I read the survey
a long time ago). Unfortunately it was deep in mountainous terrain
making it nearly impossible to commercialize. Plus there wasn't
much of a use for oil yet. The well was accidental - they were actually
after water. The survey mentioned the Drake well as being considered
the first viable commerical well. But the Drake well definitely was
not the first oil well in the U.S. Dad commissioned the survey because
of a good oil producing lease on the mountain that over looks
Huntsville Tenn. In fact, the land was leased from Bobby York - one of
the grandsons of Alvin York. Yes, that Alvin York, a.k.a. "Seargent York"
 of WWI fame.


Even then there were people who thought that the mass consumption of oil would cause big problems:


Arrhenius, Svante August (1859-1927)

Swedish chemist

Svante August Arrhenius was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his research on the theory of electrolytic dissociation, a theory that had won the lowest possible passing grade for his Ph.D. two decades earlier. Arrhenius’s work with chemistry was often closely tied to the science of physics, so much so that the Nobel committee was not sure in which of the two fields to make the 1903 award. In fact, Arrhenius is regarded as one of the founders of physical chemistry—the field of science in which physical laws are used to explain chemical phenomena. In the last decades of his life Arrhenius became interested in theories of the origin of life on Earth, arguing that life had arrived on our planet by means of spores blown through space from other inhabited worlds. He was also one of the first scientists to study the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in a phenomenon now known as the greenhouse effect.

Arrhenius was born on February 19, 1859, in Vik (also known as Wik or Wijk), in the district of Kalmar, Sweden. His mother was the former Carolina Thunberg, and his father was Svante Gustaf Arrhenius, a land surveyor and overseer at the castle of Vik on Lake Mälaren, near Uppsala. Young Svante gave evidence of his intellectual brilliance at an early age. He taught himself to read by the age of three and learned to do arithmetic by watching his father keep books for the estate of which he was in charge. Arrhenius began school at the age of eight, when he entered the fifth-grade class at the Cathedral School in Uppsala. After graduating in 1876, Arrhenius enrolled at the University of Uppsala.


Why Buying Locally Could Save The Planet – Stupid uses of transportation

Why buying your food locally is so important in so many ways. One of corporate capitalism’s goals is for people to lose their common sense. Some forms of food have been moved all over the planet for 20,000 years. Certain forms of food lend themselves to this process nicely. The commodity grains for example have been move by draft animals, boats and now trucks since their mass cultivation began. Even this can be moderated a bit. But to be shipping all manner of food all manner of places in all types of weather is just dumb.

I boil this down to a single sentence. Do I need to eat apples in Illinois in the winter? If I do should it come from Ecuador? (this is true) I have an apple tree in the back yard. Shouldn’t I just freeze some? But then irrational uses of our transportation system is a hallmark of the modern world. But there is more to consider. Local foods encourage carbon sequestration in the plants themselves, their reintroduction into the soil by composting, and the enhancement of your personal health. These are a few things to consider when you buy only food grown within a hundred miles of your house.

Then there is the ethics of factory farming of any living thing. Anyway planting a garden and harvesting local free stuff only makes sense.



The Food Chain

Environmental Cost of Shipping Groceries Around the World

Massimo Sciacca for The New York Times

Kiwis grown in Italy are examined — and damaged fruit is discarded— before being shipped.

Published: April 26, 2008

Correction Appended

Cod caught off Norway is shipped to China to be turned into filets, then shipped back to Norway for sale. Argentine lemons fill supermarket shelves on the Citrus Coast of Spain, as local lemons rot on the ground. Half of Europe’s peas are grown and packaged in Kenya.

In the United States, FreshDirect proclaims kiwi season has expanded to “All year!” now that Italy has become the world’s leading supplier of New Zealand’s national fruit, taking over in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.

Food has moved around the world since Europeans brought tea from China, but never at the speed or in the amounts it has over the last few years. Consumers in not only the richest nations but, increasingly, the developing world expect food whenever they crave it, with no concession to season or geography.

Increasingly efficient global transport networks make it practical to bring food before it spoils from distant places where labor costs are lower. And the penetration of mega-markets in nations from China to Mexico with supply and distribution chains that gird the globe — like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco — has accelerated the trend.

But the movable feast comes at a cost: pollution — especially carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas — from transporting the food.

Under longstanding trade agreements, fuel for international freight carried by sea and air is not taxed. Now, many economists, environmental advocates and politicians say it is time to make shippers and shoppers pay for the pollution, through taxes or other measures.



Want to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint? Think Food.

Transportation choices such as car vs. subway have a big effect on carbon footprint, but experts say food choices have nearly as much impact.

Transportation choices such as car vs. subway have a big effect on carbon footprint, but experts say food choices have nearly as much impact. (By Ramin Talaie — Bloomberg News)

By Katherine Salant

Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page F04

In moving for a year to New York City from Ann Arbor, Mich., a small Midwestern college town, the biggest change for me has not been the shift from a house to a high-rise and a living space that is only one-third as big.

It is the absence of a car.

The difference was apparent the first day. As in previous moves, settling in included many trips to the hardware store for this and that. But this time it was not a simple matter of getting directions and driving there. It was confronting a subway system with 26 different lines. And, after reaching Home Depot and making my purchases, I had to figure out how to get them home. (I learned that most stores in Manhattan offer delivery services for a fee.)

Even the most mundane details of daily life, including meal planning, have changed. In Michigan I had the luxury of “last-minute cuisine,” routinely making a dinner plan at 6 p.m., heading for the grocery store that is a three-minute drive from my house, grabbing a few things and returning home, all inside of 20 minutes. Here the grocery store is a 15-minute walk from our apartment building. The return trip is longer because I am lugging my purchases in a wire shopping cart. With each grocery outing taking at least 40 minutes, I plan ahead and shop for groceries only once or twice a week.

Traveling by subway has not proven to be a timesaver, but the time is allocated differently. On a 60-minute car trip you can while away the time by listening to the radio or music. On a subway you can read. The rush hour is still stressful, but the defensive maneuvers are different. Sandwiched into a subway car, you have to be watchful of backpack-wearing riders who never seem to realize how often their backpacks whack other passengers.


If you want to calculate how much you save by buying locally:


Home The food we consume contributes to climate change. The production, packaging and transportation of food all consumes energy and results in carbon emissions which threaten to raise average global surface temperatures.

However, not all foods are equal…

The Food Carbon Footprint Calculator (FCFC) provides the opportunity to calculate the resultant carbon dioxide from the food you eat, called your “Food Carbon Footprint”.

This website also offers personalised and practical ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your diet, reducing your impact on climate change.


Why Are We Doing All This Home Improvement Anyway – Well to save money of course but..

To save our grandchildren as well..


Antarctica Is Warming:

Climate Picture Clears Up

By Andrea Thompson, Senior Writer

posted: 21 January 2009 01:04 pm ET


Warming temperatures in Antarctica
This illustration depicts the warming that scientists have determined has occurred in West Antarctica during the last 50 years, with the dark red showing the area that has warmed the most. Credit: NASA

The frozen desert interior of Antarctica was thought to be the lone holdout resisting the man-made warming affecting the rest of the globe, with some areas even showing signs of cooling.

Some global warming contrarians liked to point to inner Antarctica as a counter-example. But climate researchers have now turned this notion on its head, with the first study to show that the entire continent is warming, and has been for the past 50 years.

“Antarctica is warming, and it’s warming at the same rate as the rest of the planet,” said study co-author Michael Mann of Penn State University.

This finding, detailed in the Jan. 21 issue of the journal Nature, has implications for estimating ice melt and sea level rise from the continent, which is almost entirely covered by ice that averages about a mile (1.6 kilometers) thick. The revelation also undermines the common use of Antarctica as an argument against global warming by contrarians, Mann said.


For more see the rest of this article and:




Never mind this:


Summer peak,

winter low temperatures now arrive 2 days earlier

| 21 January 2009

Not only has the average global temperature increased in the past 50 years, but the hottest day of the year has shifted nearly two days earlier, according to a new study by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University.

Map of average distribution of global temperatures for JulyFebuary
Map of average distribution of global temperatures for FebruaryThe average distribution of global temperatures for July and February. Because the sun is further north in July, the warm bulge of high temperatures is shifted into the northern hemisphere in that month. In the Northern Hemisphere, warm temperatures extend farther north on land than over ocean in the summer and cold temperatures extend farther south on land than on the ocean in the winter. (Image by Alexander R. Stine/UC Berkeley; data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia )

Just as human-generated greenhouse gases appear to the be the cause of global warming, human activity may also be the cause of the shift in the cycle of seasons, according to Alexander R. Stine, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science and first author of the report.”We see 100 years where there is a very natural pattern of variability, and then we see a large departure from that pattern at the same time as global mean temperatures start increasing, which makes us suspect that there’s a human role here,” he said.

Although the cause of this seasonal shift – which has occurred over land, but not the ocean – is unclear, the researchers say the shift appears to be related, in part, to a particular pattern of winds that also has been changing over the same time period. This pattern of atmospheric circulation, known as the Northern Annular Mode, is the most important wind pattern for controlling why one winter in the Northern Hemisphere is different from another. The researchers found that the mode also is important in controlling the arrival of the seasons each year.

Whatever the cause, Stine said, current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models do not predict this phase shift in the annual temperature cycle.

Details are published in the Jan. 22 issue of the journal Nature.


John McCain’s Global Warming Policy – Well, he calls it Climate Change

But you know what he means, right? nudge nudge wink wink Know What He means?


Climate Change

John McCain will establish a market-based system to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mobilize innovative technologies, and strengthen the economy. He will work with our international partners to secure our energy future, to create opportunities for American industry, and to leave a better future for our children.John McCain’s Principles for Climate Policy

  Climate Policy Should Be Built On Scientifically-Sound, Mandatory Emission Reduction Targets And Timetables.
  Climate Policy Should Utilize A Market-Based Cap And Trade System.
  Climate Policy Must Include Mechanisms To Minimize Costs And Work Effectively With Other Markets.
  Climate Policy Must Spur The Development And Deployment Of Advanced Technology.
  Climate Policy Must Facilitate International Efforts To Solve The Problem.

John McCain’s Cap and Trade Policy
John McCain Proposes A Cap-And-Trade System That Would Set Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions While Encouraging The Development Of Low-Cost Compliance Options. A climate cap-and-trade mechanism would set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and allow entities to buy and sell rights to emit, similar to the successful acid rain trading program of the early 1990s. The key feature of this mechanism is that it allows the market to decide and encourage the lowest-cost compliance options.

How Does A Cap-And-Trade System Work?A cap-and-trade system harnesses human ingenuity in the pursuit of alternatives to carbon-based fuels. Market participants are allotted total permits equal to the cap on greenhouse gas emissions. If they can invent, improve, or acquire a way to reduce their emissions, they can sell their extra permits for cash. The profit motive will coordinate the efforts of venture capitalists, corporate planners, entrepreneurs, and environmentalists on the common motive of reducing emissions.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets And Timetables

2012: Return Emissions To 2005 Levels (18 Percent Above 1990 Levels)2020: Return Emissions To 1990 Levels (15 Percent Below 2005 Levels)

2030: 22 Percent Below 1990 Levels (34 Percent Below 2005 Levels)

2050: 60 Percent Below 1990 Levels (66 Percent Below 2005 Levels)

The Cap And Trade System Would Allow For The Gradual Reduction Of Emissions.

The cap and trade system would encompass electric power, transportation fuels, commercial business, and industrial business – sectors responsible for just below 90 percent of all emissions. Small businesses would be exempt. Initially, participants would be allowed to either make their own GHG reductions or purchase “offsets” – financial instruments representing a reduction, avoidance, or sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions practiced by other activities, such as agriculture – to cover 100 percent of their required reductions. Offsets would only be available through a program dedicated to ensure that all offset GHG emission reductions are real, measured and verifiable. The fraction of GHG emission reductions permitted via offsets would decline over time.Innovating, Developing and Deploying Technologies

To Support The Cap And Trade System, John McCain Will Promote The Innovation, Development And Deployment Of Advanced Technologies. John McCain will reform federal government research funding and infrastructure to support the cap and trade emissions reduction goals and emphasize the commercialization of low-carbon technologies. Under John McCain’s plan:

Emissions Permits Will Eventually Be Auctioned To Support The Development Of Advanced Technologies. A portion of the process of these auctions will be used to support a diversified portfolio of research and commercialization challenges, ranging from carbon capture and sequestration, to nuclear power, to battery development. Funds will also be used to provide financial backing for a Green Innovation Financing and Transfer (GIFT) to facilitate commercialization.John McCain Will Streamline The Process For Deploying New Technologies And Requiring More Accountability From Government Programs To Meet Commercialization Goals And Deadlines.

John McCain Will Ensure Rapid Technology Introduction, Quickly Shifting Research From The Laboratory To The Marketplace.

John McCain Will Employ The Inherent Incentives Provided By A Cap-And-Trade System Along With Government-Led Competitions As Incentives For New Technology Deployment.

John McCain Will Foster Rapid and Clean Economic Growth

John McCain Believes An Effective And Sustainable Climate Policy Must Also Support Rapid Economic Growth. John McCain will use a portion of auction proceeds to reduce impacts on low-income American families. The McCain plan will accomplish this in part by incorporating measures to mitigate any economic cost of meeting emission targets, including:

Trading Emission Permits To Find The Lowest-Cost Source Of Emission Reductions.Permitting “Banking” And “Borrowing” Of Permits So That Emission Reductions May Be Accelerated Or Deferred To More Economically Efficient Periods.

Permitting Unlimited Initial Offsets From Both Domestic And International Sources.

Effectively Integrating U.S. Trading With Other International Markets, Thereby Providing Access To Low-Cost Permit Sources.

Establishing A Strategic Carbon Reserve As A National Source Of Permits During Periods Of Economic Duress.

Early Allocation Of Some Emission Permits On Sound Principles. This will provide significant amount of allowances for auctioning to provide funding for transition assistance for consumers and industry. It will also directly allocate sufficient permits to enable the activities of a Climate Change Credit Corporation, the public-private agency that will oversee the cap and trade program, provide credit to entities for reductions made before 2012, and ease transition for industry with competitiveness concerns and fewer efficiency technology options.

A commission will also be convened to provide recommendations on the percentage of allowances to be provided for free and the percentage of allowances to be auctioned, and develop a schedule for transition from allocated to maximum auctioned allowances. Cap-and-trade system will also work to maximize the amount of allowances that are auctioned off by 2050. John McCain Will Provide Leadership for Effective International Efforts John McCain Believes That There Must Be A Global Solution To Global Climate Change. John McCain will engage the international community in a coordinated effort by:

Actively Engaging To Lead United Nations Negotiations.Permitting America To Lead In Innovation, Capture The Market On Low-Carbon Energy Production, And Export To Developing Countries – Including Government Incentives And Partnerships For Sales Of Clean Tech To Developing Countries.

Provide Incentives For Rapid Participation By India And China, While Negotiating An Agreement With Each. John McCain Will Develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan John McCain Believes A Comprehensive Approach To Addressing Climate Change Includes Adaptation As Well As Mitigation. He believes:

An Adaptation Plan Should Be Based Upon National And Regional Scientific Assessments Of The Impacts Of Climate Change.An Adaptation Plan Should Focus On Implementation At The Local Level Which Is Where Impacts Will Manifest Themselves.

A Comprehensive Plan Will Address The Full Range Of Issues: Infrastructure, Ecosystems, Resource Planning, And Emergency Preparation.


There are a ton of problems with this plan but the first of the problems is IT”S TOO LONG. In fact, I doubt that anyone will ever read these words, and not just because this is an obscure blog at an obscure site. Nobody will ever get this far! The other problem is it takes too long. I mean no significant reductions before 2050. Who is going to be left alive at that point? But the real killer is the Cap and Trade system. This is just an industry fudge to get around the Clean Air Act. We need to shut down every coal fired powerplant in this country. Contrary to T. Boone Pickens, we need to convert all of those plants to natural gas, until we can get rid of them. We need to start at least three major “Hot Rocks” projects here in the US now. More about Cap and Trade when we look at Obama’s environmental proposals.


San Antonio Makes Money Off Human Waste – That’s right TX city makes cash off doodoo


 San Antonio Generating Gas from Sewage

Written by Ariel Schwartz

Published on September 11th, 2008

san antonio

San Antonio, Texas is making use of its 140,000 tons of sewage generated each year to capture methane gas. The city’s utility board of trustees approved a contract this week to sell 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas derived from the sewage each day to Ameresco, a Massachusetts energy services company.

Though methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it has a variety of uses. The substance can be used for fuel in gas turbines or steam boilers, and it is also used as vehicle fuel in the form of compressed natural gas. Additionally, NASA is researching methane as a potential rocket fuel.

According to Steve Claus, the chief operating officer of the water system, San Antonio’s sewage generates 1.5 million cubic feet of gas each day—enough to fill seven commercial blimps or 1,250 tanker trucks. The facilities needed for the project will be ready in about two years.

San Antonio will get $250,000 a year for the methane—a sum that I hope will go towards more renewable energy efforts in the area.



San Antonio residents produce about 140,000 tons a year of a substance gently referred to as “biosolids,” which can be reprocessed into natural gas, said Steve Clouse, chief operating officer of the city’s water system.

“You may call it something else,” Clouse said, but for area utilities, the main byproduct of human waste – methane gas – will soon be converted into natural gas to burn in their power plants.

 The private vendor will come onto the facility, construct some gas cleaning systems, remove the moisture, remove the carbon dioxide content, and then sell that gas on the open market,” Clouse said.

The gas will be sold to power generators, he said.

Some communities are using methane gas harvested from solid waste to power smaller facilities like sewage treatment plants, but San Antonio is the first to see large-scale conversion of methane gas from sewage into fuel for power generation, he said.

Following the agreement, more than 90 percent of materials flushed down the toilets and sinks of San Antonio will be recycled, he said. Liquid is now used for irrigation, many of the solids are made into compost, and now the methane gas will be recycled for power generation.

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth, Editing by Chris Baltimore and Lisa Shumaker)



The utility already sells for reuse a portion of the water that’s cleaned up at its wastewater treatment plants. It also has contracts to turn up to 80 percent of biosolids into compost that’s sold for use in yards and gardens.

“As far as we know, SAWS is the only city in the United States that has completed the renewable recyclable trifecta,” Clouse”.

Clouse said it will take 18 to 24 months for construction of facilities needed for the contract.


Not so delicate post



For this the third entry in the annals of excellent excrement (after cow and E. coli poop), we will have to travel deep down into the heart of Texas…and then even farther down into the sewers of San Antonio. So don your rubber body suit, gas mask, and sense of humor, for sewage is no longer just stuff to be dumped and forgotten.

No, San Antonio is out to prove that sewage, and specifically the methane that it gives off oh so (i.e., too) naturally without any bother or cost to us, can be used as a source of alternative fuel…I mean it is natural gas, after all.



Will Field Corn Kill Us? No but it’s killing the cows..

Many people were horrified by the scandal surrounding cattle that were so weak that they were either being prodded with a forklift or actually carried to the kill room with the fork lift. Most people, not being involved in agriculture, wondered how anyone could be so callous. BUT the most disgusting thing you run into when you look into the issue of Factory Farming Cattle (and there are a lot of nasty things here) is that the corn that is feed to the cattle after they are weaned is killing them. So to slaughterhouse staff and meat packers its a matter timing whether they get them in the kill room before they die.


 Meatpacker in Cow-Abuse Scandal May Shut as Congress Turns Up Heat

Write to David Kesmodel at david.kesmodel @ wsj.com
and Jane Zhang at Jane.Zhang @ wsj.com
February 25, 2008; 
CHINO, Calif. — Last year, a man carrying a hidden video camera took a $12-an-hour job at a little-known beef slaughterhouse here. Now the meatpacker is about to collapse, and has become a flashpoint in a national debate over meat safety and the quality of food Americans serve their schoolchildren.

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., one of the biggest suppliers of beef to the national school-lunch program before videos showing animal cruelty at the plant helped trigger the biggest meat recall in U.S. history, probably will shut down permanently, according to the company’s general manager, Anthony Magidow.


As John Robbins points out modern cattle raising is all about carving up cattle quick:

What About Grass-fed Beef?

 Feeding grain to cattle has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cows, sheep, and other grazing animals are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which those of us who possess only one stomach cannot digest, into food that we can digest. They can do this because they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon (in the case of cows) fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

Traditionally, all beef was grass-fed beef, but in the United States today what is commercially available is almost all feedlot beef. The reason? It’s faster, and so more profitable. Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.

Switching a cow from grass to grain is so disturbing to the animal’s digestive system that it can kill the animal if not done gradually and if the animal is not continually fed antibiotics. These animals are designed to forage, but we make them eat grain, primarily corn, in order to make them as fat as possible as fast as possible.
 All this is not only unnatural and dangerous for the cows. It also has profound consequences for us. Feedlot beef as we know it today would be impossible if it weren’t for the routine and continual feeding of antibiotics to these animals. This leads directly and inexorably to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These are the new “superbugs” that are increasingly rendering our “miracle drugs” ineffective.


Letting Corporations into anything in agriculture besides processing is turning out to be a disaster in many respects from beginning to end. To this end we could talk about any plant or animal that we eat, but if we keep our focus on corn it becomes clear that all the corporate ag production affairs require one thing energy and lots of it.

While the movie, King Corn, has a lot going for it, like cute college kids out for a lark and the absurdity of growing an acre of anything in the current farm system, it is actually a pretty good look at why growing as much corn as we do is stupid and corporate farming only compounds that.



While the planting, growing and harvesting of field corn takes an incredible amount of energy, the real energy comes after it has been harvested. You can’t eat the stuff so it all has to be PROCESSED to be used or eaten by animals most of which don’t like the stuff but eat it if they are forced to. As the film makers themselves say:


Almost everything Americans eat contains corn: high fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods are the staples of the modern diet.  Ready for an adventure and alarmed by signs of their generation’s bulging waistlines, college friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis know where to go to investigate.  Eighty years ago, Ian and Curt’s great-grandfathers lived just a few miles apart, in the same rural county in northern Iowa.  Now their great-grandsons are returning with a mission:  they will plant an acre of corn, follow their harvest into the world, and attempt to understand what they—and all of us—are really made of.


But where will all that corn go? Ian and Curt leave Iowa to find out, first considering their crop’s future as feed.  In Colorado, rancher Sue Jarrett says her cattle should be eating grass.  But with a surplus of corn, it costs less to raise cattle in confinement than to let them roam free: “The mass production of corn drives the mass production of protein in confinement.”  Animal nutritionists confirm that corn makes cows sick and beef fatty, but it also lets consumers eat a $1 hamburger.  Feedlot owner Bob Bledsoe defends America’s cheap food, but as Ian and Curt see in Colorado, the world behind it can be stomach turning.  At one feedlot, 100,000 cows stand shoulder-to-shoulder, doing their part to transform Iowa corn into millions of pounds of fat-streaked beef.


Following the trail of high fructose corn syrup, Ian and Curt hop attempt to make a home-cooked batch of the sweetener in their kitchen.  But their investigation of America’s most ubiquitous ingredient turns serious when they follow soda to its consumption in Brooklyn.  Here, Type II diabetes is ravaging the community, and America’s addiction to corny sweets is to blame.


The breadth of the problem is now clear: the American food system is built on the abundance of corn, an abundance perpetuated by a subsidy system that pays farmers to maximize production.  In a nursing home in the Indiana suburbs, Ian and Curt come face-to-face with Earl Butz, the Nixon-era Agriculture Secretary who invented subsidies.  The elderly Butz champions the modern food system as an “Age of plenty” Ian and Curt’s great-grandfathers only dreamed of.


 November pulls Ian and Curt back to Iowa.  Their 10,000-pound harvest seems as grotesque as it is abundant.  They haul their corn to the elevator and look on as it makes its way into a food system they have grown disgusted by.  At a somber farm auction, Ian and Curt decide to tell their landlord they want to buy the acre.  The next spring their cornfield has been pulled from production and planted in a prairie, a wild square surrounded by a sea of head-high corn.


OKOKOKOKOK So maybe corn IS killing us but will we miss it when its gone because of energy prices. Probably not one bit though the first winter maybe tough if gasoline goes to $100 a gallon. The first to go though will be the exporting of grain. Do you believe we actually pile billions of tons of corn on diesal power ships so that other people can refine (errr spend their energy on) it? They can’t eat it either.

For more:

Iowa Corn
Get info on biotechnology, corn products and Iowa corn growers.

Corn Palace Convention and Visitors Bureau
As seen in KING CORN, Mitchell, South Dakota’s Corn Palace is a monument to the country’s leading crop.

American Corn Growers Association
“America’s leading progressive commodity association, representing the interests of corn producers in 35 states.”

A Zillion Uses for Corn!
An extensive list of products that contain corn.

Putting DNA to Work: Improving Crops: From Teosinte to Corn
See photos of corn’s ancestor and read about how its genetic makeup has evolved.

EWG: Farm Subsidy Database
View graphs and databases on corn subsidies in the United States.

Mountains of Corn and a Sea of Farm Subsidies
Reprinted from a 2005 New York Times article, this piece examines how the country’s corn overproduction is affecting its farmers.

No-Till Farmer
Top tips on growing monoculture corn.

Corn Refiners Association
Learn about corn refining and resulting products.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS, how it’s made and how it affects your health, plus other links.


Beware Of Energy Scams – this one over the internet, the sender: Gas Secret

As I have reported with the State Journal Register and the National Geographic Magazine about advertising “Energy Conservation” space heaters and Gasoline Fraud…Now they have taken to the “broadband”. These people are scum so I will not post their internet address. Its enough to say that there are no secret ways to improve your internal combustion engine’s “performance”. Those engines have only been around for over 100 years. If you get this email, please reply – Kiss My Grits!

 “Did You Know Your Car Engine Wastes 20%
Of The
Gas You Buy? – Ethos Is Easy
To Use, And Starts Saving You Up To 70¢
Per Gallon on Gas – Guaranteed.”

Now You Can Keep Your Engine Healthy, Create 30%
Less Pollution And Save Up To 70¢ Per Gallon Off Your Gas Bill.
With a 100% Natural Bio-Degradable Product, Made by a California
Based Emissions Company, with a 10 Year Old Track Record



Let me tell you the story:

How The Smog In California Forced
Oil Companies To Do Something They
Didn’t Want To…

 I’m not sure if you ever had the chance to visit California in the mid 70s. It was a nightmareenvironmentally speaking.

The smog was so thick you could hardly see 15 miles out.

There was so much smog and pollution in the air, that if you were to stand on your balcony facing the mountains in Southern California, the only way you would know that the mountains were there would be if you had a map showing you so.

Children in poorer families in the suburbs were getting asthma and lung problems at record numbers, the problem was really getting out of hand.

If someone didn’t do something about the air, L.A was heading to a future where wearing gas masks could be common.


Kiss My Grits! 


Weird Bird Friday – Man I feel like I just came out of warp drive or something

After spending nearly 15 days discussing the environment and religion I feel like I need a work out or something…Its like being in the clouds and then landing. Your ears pop all the way down. Terra firma feels so good. Time to get back to the manly world of drilling for oil, digging for coal, and sailing the oceans loaded with Liquid Natural Gas. Oh sorry I mean hoisting Solar Water Preheat panels, riveting Wind Turbine towers and pioneering the Noncarbon Based Economy. HAHA

Thank God it is Weird Bird Friday TGI(WB)F!

So much local stuff has gone by while I was watching my navel. Wind Farms in Christian County…Some guys are building an alternative fuel car in Auburn (of All places) to compete in the XPrize Races…But here is a story I have wanted to cover for awhile. People have complained about the pigeon poop downtown for years. So 2 years ago the Mayor and the City Council of Springfield hired a guy from Decatur with a 164,000$$$ nobid contract. This guy is known locally as the “Bird Whisperer” because of his magical and secret methods….that he refuses to disclose because they are proprietary.


In reality he is a sad old man who uses pellet guns and poison to get the birds at night when they sleep and terrorizes them during the day with fire crackers…which cause the birds to move to another part of the downtown.


or maybe he uses more fire power than that:

Bird whisperer’ could lose contract
Accused of firing rifle in downtown parking garage

Published Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The “bird whisperer’s” $164,000 no-bid contract with the city of Springfield is in jeopardy after Police Chief Ralph Caldwell said Tuesday that James Soules had probably broken the law by firing a .22-caliber rifle in a parking garage.
WEB EXTRA: Archive video of the ‘bird whisperer’ Caldwell told aldermen that an investigation had found probable cause to believe that Soules or one of his employees had fired inside the parking garage for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

“You just can’t shoot a firearm in downtown Springfield,” Caldwell said.

In a telephone interview, Soules, of Decatur, said later Tuesday that he does not even own a .22-caliber rifle. He said he had shot a sick pigeon inside the garage with an air rifle.

“I probably had 20 people say, ‘Why don’t you get those birds because they crap all over our cars?’” he said.

Soules said he does have a .22-caliber pistol but did not use it in the garage. Such a weapon would be useful only at close range, he said.

The Illinois State Police, the lead agency because the alleged offense occurred on state property, has turned its report over to Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt, who is reviewing it, Caldwell said. Soules could be charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon.

Told of the findings at a meeting Tuesday, aldermen on the Springfield City Council’s finance committee unanimously forwarded an ordinance by Ward 8 Ald. Kris Theilen revoking Soules’ contract to the full city council for a vote April 15.


Instead of doing the obvious. That is banning the feeding of wild life and enforcing it:



Not to be confused with the real Bird Whisperer, Ken Globus:


Internationally known as The Bird Whisperer, Ken Globus has been taming “difficult” birds for more than twenty five years.  From handling literally thousands of birds, many of them terrified, extremely aggressive and considered “un-handleable,” Ken developed the kinds of hands-on bird taming techniques that have enabled him to do what few others can do: calm down even the wildest birds.          If a bird bites, flees, threatens or quakes with fear.  If it’s insecure in new surroundings or with new people.  If it prefers one gender over the other.  If it’s timid and unhappy. If it’s cage territorial, dominant or just plain aggressive.   If other approaches have failed to get you results, Ken can help.


Believe it or not the bird belongs to Steven Spielberg and Cate Capshaw…wow I knew I’d get a bird picture in there. AWW cute budgie.


Juche – a simple name for a nasty idea. Kim Il Sungism

Jodie Foster, Pregnant Man, Iran, Prince Philip, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, American Idol, Obama, China, Beyonce, Rolling Stones. (sorry for the deception but please read below)

Normally I wouldn’t bother to cover this but since it’s on the list I felt I needed to “dis” it as much as I could. I even took the time to get Buzzes top searches for the week to punch it up a bit. I even checked every category Energy Tough Love has to publicize this human indignity. The list of “Religions” that I used to start this meditation on the relationship between Religion and the Environment placed Juche well down on the list but with 18 million adherents that still alot of folks. I had never heard of it before and I even asked a couple of people if they had heard of it. Imagine my suprise when I typed it into a search engine and up popped this Prick who claimed he was god:



During his lifetime he forced millions of people in North Korea to worship him. Can you imagine anything more degrading or disgusting then a man who points a loaded gun at your head and demands that you treat him like a god. You must pray to him. Oh most Divine Leader. Makes me want to puke. But then he is followed by this buffoon:



Now they are “worshiping” something no better than a trained monkey. If they had an ENVIRONMENTAL group in North Korea, I wish them the best of luck but I ain’t gonna publish it. I ain’t even gona type it into a search engine. If anybody ever deserved to get a nuke shoved up his poop shoot. This would be it.