Friday, April 25, 2008

Feels like it's 1978 all over again

A quick roundup of some of this morning's more interesting headlines:

Greenpeace founder now backs nuclear power
Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore says there is no proof global warming is caused by humans, but it is likely enough that the world should turn to nuclear power - a concept tied closely to the underground nuclear testing his former environmental group formed to oppose.

The chemistry of the atmosphere is changing, and there is a high-enough risk that "true believers" like Al Gore are right that world economies need to wean themselves off fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gases, he said.

"It's like buying fire insurance," Moore said. "We all own fire insurance even though there is a low risk we are going to get into an accident."

The only viable solution is to build hundreds of nuclear power plants over the next century, Moore told the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. There isn't enough potential for wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal or other renewable energy sources, he said... the rest of the story...

Food Crisis Starts Eclipsing Climate Change Worries
The campaign against climate change could be set back by the global food crisis, as foreign populations turn against measures to use foodstuffs as substitutes for fossil fuels.

With prices for rice, wheat, and corn soaring, food-related unrest has broken out in places such as Haiti, Indonesia, and Afghanistan. Several countries have blocked the export of grain. There is even talk that governments could fall if they cannot bring food costs down.

One factor being blamed for the price hikes is the use of government subsidies to promote the use of corn for ethanol production. An estimated 30% of America’s corn crop now goes to fuel, not food... the rest of the story...

Wisconsin dairy farmers find more free time when they free the cows
MILWAUKEE — Bob and Karen Breneman found it difficult to accomplish all that had to be done around their southern Wisconsin dairy farm, but they didn't want to hire more help.

So they joined the growing number of farmers in America's Dairyland who broke with tradition by turning to grazing — saving them money and freeing up time. [...]

Most milking operations in the state during the latter half of the 20th century used the so-called confinement approach: Animals that were milked twice a day mostly were kept inside, feed was brought to them, and manure was carted away.

"Farmers had been taught that was the way to go for a long time," Breneman said.

But after careful consideration, the couple switched to an updated version of the grazing approach that had previously predominated, and they haven't looked back.

That's allowed them to reduce the labor involved in growing crops to feed their animals, and they can let the manure remain in the field... [Well, duh. ~brb] the rest of the story...

Load Up The Pantry
I don't want to alarm anybody, but maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food.

No, this is not a drill.

You've seen the TV footage of food riots in parts of the developing world. Yes, they're a long way away from the U.S. But most foodstuffs operate in a global market. When the cost of wheat soars in Asia, it will do the same here.

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster... the rest of the story...

Let's see: gasoline prices are soaring, the debate over building new nuclear power plants is back in headlines, there's looming starvation in the Third World, yuppies are going back to the land and rediscovering that cow poop is good for grass, and the Wall Street Journal is advising people to hoard food. Yup, it definitely feels like it's 1978 all over again. All we need now is for Jimmy Carter to come back from the dead and start traveling around the Middle East, making a godawful mess of our diplomatic situ—

Eh, what's that you say? Jimmy Carter isn't dead? And he is loose in the Middle East again?

Oh, dear...