The back of loaf

  1. Silver Spoon Considered Harmful.
  2. Massive Fandom Wank containing the phrase “fandom unity luncheon” somewhere in it. Jesus H. Christ.
  3. Abstain from sex; win fries.
  4. List of unusual deaths (Wikipedia).
  5. I refuse to believe that smllr is a real service. Only John Waters can do Smell-O-Vision anyway.
  6. Doom awaits kitchen gadget lovers: Sur La Table is having a big sale.
  7. How does this violinist make weird subharmonic noises?

The effect of Katrina on energy and the world economy

From that hysterical voice of apocalyptic leftist scaremongering, the Wall Street Journal:

Some highlights:

“The storm cut off about two million barrels a day of crude-oil refining capacity, resulting in the loss of one million barrels a day of gasoline production — or 10% of U.S. demand. Four refineries that together represent about 5% of U.S. oil-refining capacity will be out of commission for at least a month, while another 5% of refinery capacity knocked out by Katrina appears likely to restart in coming days and weeks.”

“The federal government’s decision to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is helping some crude-choked refineries resume normal operations. But ultimately restoring sufficient gasoline production appears to rely most heavily on repairing the refineries, not adding more crude oil to the market.”

“The huge blow to the Gulf of Mexico has led to long lines at filling stations in much of the U.S., and outright shortages in some places. Panic buying of gasoline was reported as far away as the Czech Republic. ”

“…the world has now started running on its reserve fuel tanks — oil and refined products stockpiled over the past two decades for use only in true emergencies. Western oil companies are already pumping at full capacity. Russia, the world’s No. 2 producer, is producing all it can. Even Saudi Arabia, the top exporter, and its fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can do little to alleviate the emerging crisis. OPEC has spare capacity of some 1.5 million barrels a day — which is just about equivalent to the production lost last week in the Gulf of Mexico because of Hurricane Katrina.”

full story here

Biofuel not worth it?

via ScienceDaily, from a new Cornell study. Everyone knows that the ethanol subsidy is just a farm subsidy, but it’s sort of depressing to see data that makes biodiesel generally look like a net loss. If it takes more fossil fuel to produce the biodiesel than we get out of it, we’re taking a step back.

Ethanol And Biodiesel From Crops Not Worth The Energy

ITHACA, N.Y. — Turning plants such as corn, soybeans and sunflowers into fuel uses much more energy than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates, according to a new Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley study.

“There is just no energy benefit to using plant biomass for liquid fuel,” says David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell. “These strategies are not sustainable.”

Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Berkeley, conducted a detailed analysis of the energy input-yield ratios of producing ethanol from corn, switch grass and wood biomass as well as for producing biodiesel from soybean and sunflower plants. Their report is published in Natural Resources Research (Vol. 14:1, 65-76).

In terms of energy output compared with energy input for ethanol production, the study found that:

  • corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced;
  • switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced; and
  • wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

In terms of energy output compared with the energy input for biodiesel production, the study found that:

  • soybean plants requires 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced, and
  • sunflower plants requires 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

more details