Friday, November 30, 2007

E85, forest fires, sharp objects, and yetis...

I was meandering through the internet, and came across the US DOE fuel economy website. There you can get a list of fuel economy by class, or you can select the "Cars that don't need gasoline" link and get a list of economies for flex-fuel vehicles. For instance, select the Ethanol-Gasoline vehicles type and you'll find something interesting - the E85 vehicles get significantly worse economy than their gasoline counterparts. Their air pollution scores seem about the same in all cases (although the gasoline vehicles have a slightly higher "carbon footprint"). In fact, the only really cool thing about the E85 vehicles I've found comes from this article about a 1998 Ford Taurus flex-fuel vehicle - the E85 powered version was quicker (acceleration) than the gasoline powered version, which is the only stat that really concerns me. Of course, in a car like a Taurus, who cares, anyway? :) Back to the emissions thing... yes, lower CO2 from the E85 version, about 11% less, but about 31% more CO, and 33% more NOx. And the study reported at this site says that annual deaths will increase from the use of E85 instead of gasoline (cool, eh?).

Oh, and remember those forest fires in California? They're horrible "greenhouse gas" producers. They produced more CO2 in a week than Vermont does in a year. And guess what? We've probably had forest fires for about as long as we've had forests. Oh, and that CO2? It really takes a back-seat to good ol' H2O as far as its contribution to greenhouse gas effects. (Oh, and without the greenhouse gases the earth would be uninhabitable.)

And what about the ice-age scare in the 70s? Take a look at this picture from National Geographic. Or consider the image over to your right, showing dust, CO2, and temperature over the last 400 thousand years (now, where they got the thermometer readings over all that time I'm not quite sure...). Seems like it's quite cyclical to me. And consider the point made on this page: extrapolating data from short trends is not a good idea, and we really don't have any "long trends" as far as global climate change is concerned. We're constantly improving our measurement devices; how can we use modern methods to compare with old methods?

Anyway, enough of that for now. How about something a little more... um, pointed. Dean, if you're reading, you should skip the rest of this paragraph. Ok, if you're still with me, check out this article on MSNBC... weird... kid sticks an antler in his brain, and really doesn't do any damage! Seems like that would have been a great [brain dead] post, but (fortunately for him) it didn't turn out that way. I don't think I'd like to stick an antler in my brain, even if it would get better. Of course, I don't think I'd like to stick an antler into any part of my body...

So, what do you think the abominable snowman thinks of all this "global warming" thing? At least he's hiding out at Mount Everest around Nepal, and shouldn't have to worry much about the temperature change from all our horrible Hummers causing him any discomfort. Then again, methane and CO2, which are greenhouse gases, are produced by people (such as through breathing and flatulence). So maybe all those reporters could be causing increases in the greenhouse gases up on Everest and, being that much higher in the atmosphere, must have a quicker effect on the global warming thing. Hey, here's a thought: since some people think that people are the leading cause of global warming, maybe those people should get rid of themselves in order to save the earth for those of us who don't care (or at least who don't think that we're really making that much of a difference in the climate). Just make sure you're ready before you take that step... :) -- note: that last bit is satirical humor, similar in nature to Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" - you can view the text in HTML at the previous link or download it in eBook form from Project Gutenberg - please do NOT take me seriously about that item! :)

No comments: