Environment

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Environment

A while ago, I raised the problem–an inconvenient truth, if you will–that moving to a renewable energy future is going to be difficult: My impression reading a lot of commentary about renewable energy is that there’s this fantasy that we just have to build a bunch of windmills, install some solar panels, buy a Prius,…

By way of Digby, we come across this proposal of how to reach 95% percent renewable energy by 2050. Before I get to some of the issue I have with the study (which is actually pretty good), I want to lay out my general views on energy use. First, I’m not a ‘fan’ of nuclear…

Rightwing wackaloon and Minnesota Congresswoman and possible presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has been traveling hither and yon in New Hampshire, which, according to Bachmann, is where the ‘shot heard round the world’ was fired. For those who don’t routinely wallow in the depths of the Republican id, one of Bachmann’s signature issues is saving the…

In light of the nuclear power plant partial meltdowns in Japan, there are calls for not expanding the U.S. nuclear power plant capacity, and even shutting down existing plants. What bothers me about this is that there is no discussion of how we make up the energy production shortfall–I’ll get to energy conservation in a…

Or something. By way of Howie Klein, we discover that Blue America PAC, which supports candidates, who among other things, are not global warming denialists, is faced with a nuisance lawsuit. This attack is led by ‘Let Freedom Ring, Inc.’, a conservative faith-tank. And who funds Let Freedom Ring? Well (italics mine): ‘Let Freedom Ring,…

A problem in genome-wide association studies (“GWAS”) is the”missing heritability” issue–identified genetic variation can only account for a small fraction of the estimated genetic contribution to variation in that trait. Razib has a good roundup of several explanations (and I added some speculation about nearly-neutral mutations). GWAS also have problems accurately characterizing the trait. For…

The Environmental Cost of Housing Crisis

While most of the commentary, including mine, about the collapse of Big Shitpile (aka the housing crisis) has focused on the financial and economic effects, building more housing than we needed–and couldn’t afford–also had environmental effects. Take, for instance, Prince William County, VA: Stewart and other Prince William officials hope a new developer will soon…

The Health Cost of Traffic Congestion

By way of The Angry Bear, we come across this interesting abstract about the benefits of reducing congestion at toll plazas by using E-ZPass: We find that reductions in traffic congestion generated by E-ZPass reduced the incidence of prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2km of a toll plaza by 6.7-9.1% and 8.5-11.3%…

Maybe if the Obama administration and the Blue Dog (corporate) Democrats fought for an economic policy that made the middle-class’ lives better, we wouldn’t be faced with the looming political failure to deal with environmental problems. From Politico: Most House Republicans envision killing Nancy Pelosi’s special global warming committee if they claw their way back…

One of the biggest environmental challenges we face is trying to make the outer suburbs and exurbs more energy efficient. The basic problem is that suburbia requires a car. That is a huge energy consumer and CO2 producer. Lance Mannion describes the problem very clearly: To the degree that going green sounds like a plan…