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28 April 2013

The Gas We Eat

Nearly half of the world’s population owes its existence to food grown with industrial nitrogen fertilizer produced from natural gas. (1) In 2004, journalist Richard Manning published an intriguing, if somewhat controversial, article in Harpers magazine called The Oil We Eat: Tracing the food chain back to Iraq. Manning notes that growing our food under the usual practices requires about 10 calories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie of …


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28 January 2013

Oil Well Natural Gas Flares Seen from Space

From the blog Random Policy: Waste Not, Want Not, Michael Cain presents an interesting NASA night time satalite image of North America. The continent is dark except for lights emitted from cities and other sources, notabley, waste gas flares from the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil fields. Near the North Dakota-Montana border is a cluster of gas flares roughly the size of Pittsburgh. The Eagle Ford flares trace a …


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19 July 2011

Throwing in with the Pickens Plan

The family’s out with the van shopping or something, so, I’ve got the place to myself. I downloaded an archived broadcast (April 2011) of C-Span’s coverage of a National Press Club lunch meeting. Obviously, I lead an exciting life. The guest speakers were Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens, talking about energy. Pickens makes a good sales pitch and I’m about ready to “throw in” with his energy security plan …


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1 August 2010

Eaarth: Bill McKibben's New Book

I’ve been enjoying Bill McKibben’s new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. At one point he writes this about soil and farming: “We need to stop thinking of farming in abstract terms, as a “low rung on the ladder of economic development,” and remember again what it involves: using water and sunshine to grow plants rooted in soil that can provide the nutrients people need….When you …


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