Michael's blog

The price of biofuels

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I've long been a fan of Technology Review, MIT's magazine, but it is really hitting another stride recently. I just caught up on a couple of past issues I picked up at the Clean Tech conference and found a gem of a story you should read if you want to be able to converse about biofuels with authority.

This is the link. Among its points:

Another word about the Commonwealth Club

I have just been loving the format and guests on the Commonwealth Club podcasts, and strongly recommend them to you. They apparently are a West Coast fixture from decades back, but I only became aware of them when I came across their recordings in the iTunes Music Store. The format, typically, is a too-long, too-fawning intro, followed by perhaps a 20-minute speech, followed by questions from the audience.

A blast of fresh idea

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At a semi-indy movie theater chain I frequent, they use old-mode hand dryers in the bathrooms (well, in the men's room, at least), the ones that are ineffective but noisy. Signs on them attempt to blunt what must be a common plaint: "We don't like them either, but they're the best devices for the environment." Or something like that. I haven't done any of the math, but I'm willing to accept that the chain owners have — more willing, anyway, than if it was Sony or AMC or one of the other moo-vie conglomerates.

Juneau’s jolt

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Also from the print press today is William Yardley's "Juneau Journal" in the Times, which details the crisis actions the Alaskan capital has taken to lower its electrical consumption.

The crisis was brought on not by global climate change but by a different natural devastator: An avalanche felled some utility towers that carried hydroelectric power to the city. That power cost 11 cents per kilowatt hour, while the diesel-fired power that replaced it costs 53 cents.

Prius limos?

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Car services are a bit beyond my means, or perhaps I should say, I have no specific idea what car services cost because I’ve always assumed they are beyond my means. Which, I’m sure, they are. But enough about me.

Planettran has put the eco-twist on car service by putting into service a fleet of Priuses to ferry the swells around town.

Missouri town rides the wind

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With its four wind turbines, Rock Port, Mo., is the first town in America to get all its electricity from wind, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune, via EcoGeek.com. The turbines can generate a max of 5 megawatts daily, which the post says would be more than twice what the town of 1,300 needs. It's worth noting, however, if you go there: There's lots of skepticism in the comments.

Do-gooder list

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I'm still typing from flat on my back, which continues to lead to fewer posts and shorter posts. But I came across a list of 50 ways to help the planet, and thought it could help just about anyone do one more thing. That's my request/suggestion: No matter how many of these you do, how 'bout taking on one more?


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