The Law Of Unintended Consequences Hits Biofuels

This should be a shock to nobody but the Greens.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-27/as-corn-devours-u-s-prairies-greens-reconsider-biofuel-mandate

Ever since the beginning of the ethanol mandate it was obvious to anybody with eyes to see that the whole thing was a boondoggle and a huge waste for everybody except ADM.  What the Greens failed to understand is that if you prop up corn prices by buying, distilling and burning massive amounts of corn whisky in cars, two things are going to happen.  One the price is going to go up, making things like cow feed and other uses of corn more expensive  and 2. farmer are going to, without restraints, plant ever larger amounts of corn, which will 1. push out other crops like wheat and 2. require more land use to plant even more corn.  Which is why you can now go from Eastern Colorado to Western NY and essentially see nothing but corn.  Millions of acres of corn, across the country, grown to burn.  Somehow this was supposed to be environmentally friendly?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_ethanol

There’s something insane about using food crops for fuel.  Especially since growing the food crops and getting the product takes more fuel than you get back as heating value energy in vehicles.

Should We Use Food Crops For Food, Not Fuel?

The fact is that grain alcohol has a low heating value and lower flame temperatures than most of the other carbon fuels.  It’s not really a good fuel.  In fact, the only reason it’s used at all is it’s green stamp of renewability.  Is a fuel renewable though if, as more than likely, the system to grow, harvest, process and transport the fuel would collapse if energy could not be drawn from other sources.  Of course the other energy uses are typically invisible to the average Green who only sees the E10 sign at the gas pump and feels better about it.  I tend to look at that E10 symbol differently.  I see 100 car train loaded with corn in covered hoppers the same size as houses, pulled by locomotives, trains that go to huge grain elevators to be transferred to barges that stop at refining plants that distill the corn. Then I see yet more trains of huge tank cars, rolling across the country to oil refineries with the ethanol ration because you can’t ship ethanol in a pipeline.  All that to get my 10 gallons of gas diluted and make my car have higher gas usage due to the decrease in gas mileage.  When you see that E10 symbol, think of trains like these.

And of course some of the other unintended consequences, like a lot more burning cars on the road thanks to ethanol’s other bad habits

Overshoot Day?

I think that there is a certain amount of hubris I deciding that there is  limited amount of resources that we can use very year. We are yet again approaching “overshoot day.”  Last year was August 13th.  Since I guess we used too many this year it is apparently August 8 or next Monday.

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Living At Sea

This showed up in  my twitter timeline recently.

http://gizmodo.com/the-techno-islands-that-may-replace-the-maldives-1704872022

Now I don’t actually believe that the Maldives are being submerged by rising sea levels caused by global warming. Still the idea of repurposing old drilling platforms as seasteads is interesting.  They might interesting places to live.  Though living would be, by necessity, be confined in some ways. Larhe apartments and spaces are going to be rare, for instance.

http://www.seasteading.org/community/contests/design-contest-winners/

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/silicon-valley-letting-go-techie-island-fantasies/

https://reason.com/blog/2013/12/27/seasteading-new-nations-becomes-a-practi

Still there aren’t really any showstoppers. Huge ocean structure are already being fabricated for oil drilling and production.  People live on them for long periods of time.  It’s likely that offshore structures for various activities are going to get larger in the near future.

https://theartsmechanical.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/building-the-largest-structures/

http://www.shell.com/about-us/major-projects/prelude-flng.html

Not just oil and gas, but mining as well

https://theartsmechanical.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/about-that-ocean-mining/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_sea_mining

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3240156.htm

New technologies are making possible to grow vegetables very efficiently.

http://weburbanist.com/2016/02/02/veggie-factory-worlds-first-vertical-farm-fully-run-by-robots/

People are also developing new ways to farm the ocean.

Home

Who knows where it’s going to lead.  Even without the supposed AGW catastrophe seasteading might become no different than any other minerals town. It might even move like the town in Gargantia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargantia_on_the_Verdurous_Planet

http://www.fandompost.com/2014/07/04/gargantia-on-the-verdurous-planet-ova-gets-first-promo-images/

http://suisei-no-gargantia.wikia.com/wiki/Hideauze

With advancing genetic and regeneration technologies they might even reinvent themselves to better suit the ocean environment, though I doubt that they would turn themselves into giant space squids.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3396624/Webbed-feet-cat-s-eyes-gills-Features-just-humans-evolve-deal-water-world-global-warming-second-ice-age.html

 

 

 

Living at sea has some exciting potentials and the possibility of a new kind of living. Only though if we create the fertile ground that lets pioneering like this happen. Otherwise we risk the kind of world like the one  that Poul Anderson came up with in Orion Shall Rise.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Shall_Rise