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Showing posts from September, 2012

Who Knew?

September 10, 2012 - Sometimes I flatter myself into believing I have a scientific turn of mind.  The basis for such nonsense is that I love to experiment when I'm gardening and cooking.  What I like to think of as major leaps in thinking affect only me and my long-suffering husband, however.  In order to make the kind of progress that affects millions of people, it's necessary to think, not just outside the box, but outside the realm of what we believe to be possible.  I guess if I had a science background, I would know more about what is or isn't possible. 

Fortunately, the scientists at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee know how to mix apples and oranges and come up with something wonderful (or at least that's what it seems like to me).  They've extracted a protein from spinach, placed it in an aqueous solution, and poured it onto the surface of a specially-treated silicon wafer.  Voila! In so doing, the resulting photovoltaic cells produce 2.5 times more ener…

Penny Wise, Future Foolish

September 3, 2012 - The accelerated melting of Arctic ice during the summer has been a huge story for the last week or two.  While I don't intend to write about it, it surely deserves a nod of recognition.  You can find excellent lists of stories concerning this aspect of climate change at

Detroit's about-face regarding improved fuel efficiency may be the one and only benefit of the various bailouts that took place in '08.  Obama bought their good will by keeping them around, at the same time telling them he was going to let them return the favor.  I guess the car makers figured they could still be saved by the Republicans if the target dates were far enough away.  Nonetheless, an industry-wide average of 54.5 mpg for passenger cars will, as of the past week, go into effect in 2025.  Buses and trucks must likewise improve their EPA rating, only for them the deadline is already looming: 2014 - 2018.

We're still nowhere close to acknowledging that, one way or…