Have an account?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Clean Coal?

A few days before Christmas, a Tennessee coal plants retention pond broke flooding a billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory River. The expected clean-up could take years, not to mention the amount of fish and wildlife killed. Add to that the arsenic and other chemicals dumped into the river. The Kingston Steam Plant is one of the many coal power plants, that contributes to the United States coming in second only to China in coal production. The U.S. produces half of its energy from coal, contributing to 40% of the worlds energy that comes from coal. Coal accounts for about 36 percent of the United States carbon dioxide emissions of around 6 billion tons every year, according to the Department of Energy. As well as the environmental impact that goes along with digging it from ground. This all leads to the question, is there really such a thing as clean coal?

Clean coal is a term widely used to describe new technology that is supposed to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning power plants. Supposed clean coal has not been proven to work on large scale power plants. Nor has it been proven that the environmental impacts of coal production and use are all that much different in clean coal. The overall coal byproducts don't vary that much between clean coal and standard coal use. The only real benefit is the immediate amount of carbon dioxide and other chemicals being release into the air. Instead of pumping it into the air, ideas float around such as pumping it into the ground. That way instead of dealing with it now, we can let it store up for later generations deal with. Or chemically treating the coal to wash out impurities and minerals. Yes, chemicals are always a good way of dealing with things.

In the case of the Kingston Plant, we have seen that coal has another wasteful byproduct, coal ash. Coal ash landfills and storage ponds like the one in Tennessee, cover 124 square miles across the United States, according to a 1999 D.O.E. report. Some coal ash can be re-used, such as mixing with concrete. But the majority, over 60 percent, is currently dumped into landfills or sits in ash ponds.

So, is clean coal really that clean? No, not really. it's cleaner and has less of an immediate impact on the environment compared to current coal use, but cleaner hardly equals clean. The United States government is spending billions on clean coal funding, with President Elect Obama, stating that he will increase the funding. Yes, coal is an abundant and cheep resource in the United States, but at what point are we going to realize coal use should be left in the past, and renewable are the future? Instead of continued and increased funding for coal, why not spend that money on alternatives? Current projections state we have over 200 years of easy coal available, according to an article on energycurrent.com, and the assumption is by then it won't be an issue. Well what about now? Again, 36 percent of current carbon dioxide from the U.S. is from coal, so in 200 years when coal isn't an option, will it even matter by then? With some reports stating a quarter of all mammals on the planet right now are endangered, how many will be left after 200 years of coal use, clean or otherwise?


References:
Coal Wikipedia
EIA
Kentucky Ash Education
DOE EIA

Energy Current

Monday, December 29, 2008

It Was The Saturday Before Christmas

Since it was asked of me to do a Christmas post, and I know how much you all love them, I held on to this one in the proverbial oven.

It was the Saturday before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, because all were at the mall

The parking lot was full, and jammed with SUV's, as soccer moms scurried and hurried, for the latest plasma TV's

People screamed and hollered with delight, as that last parking spot opened on the right

But alas it was to no avail, as they were to slow and all they got, was a BMW that beat them to the spot

With a cry and a scream, they flipped that jackass the bird, who only turned and smiled, and left with an unheard word

Inside the mall it was a great massive flurry, as the people where all in a great big hurry

They didn't care who got in the way, all that matter was to be ahead of the fray

Little boy Yates needed the latest video game, to kill all his friends with vibrate control, 3D interactive, Bluetooth headset, multi-player online, full of gore and gun's and fun and maim

Around the corner and through the isle, they ducked weaved and scurried with a fake smile

Waiting in line, desperation grew along with the time, they knew were they parked, it could end in a fine

The crowds grew larger and the walls grew thin, the angst and apprehension could no longer be held in

What was the wait, they could see the checker was there, but noticed that she didn't seem to have a care

The line slowed and held stagnant, if it only weren't for the hidden magnet

Run through the door, the thought crossed the mind, would anyone notice, whisking across the floor

But no, in the line we stood and waited like one should, for Santa wouldn't be to happy if he knew how we plundered the goods

Waited and waited, just like a monkey should, for Christmas would soon be there but gone not for good

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Education of Shelby Knox

In my constant attempt to kill time while I should be working, I watched the Documentary "The Education of Shelby Knox." And I have decided to play movie critic for the day.

The movie takes a look at a young girls attempt, to promote sex education in a conservative Texas school system. Lubbock Texas is a prime example of why abstinence only education is not an effective way to teach children about sex. Lubbock has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, and transmission of STD rates. According to the movie, the pregnancy and STD rates can be attributed to the Lubbock school policy that teaches no sex until you get married. Teachers are only allowed to say, abstinence is the only option to prevent pregnancy.

Shelby Knox has loving conservative parents who take her to church every Sunday, and do the best they can to raise their outspoken and opinioned daughter. Shelby has taken a vow of celibacy through her church, but even though she has chosen not to have sex, she understands that other kids her age don't make that same choice, and they haven't been properly educated on how to handle sex when they do. What Shelby and other students attempt to do, is motivate the school board to allow proper sex education. To teach children that abstinence should be the first choice, but if it's not, that a condom does help to prevent pregnancy and STD's. But the board and community seem set on ignoring the issue.

The movie does an excellent job of documenting not only the conflict in ideals between the students and the school system, but also the conflict within Shelby herself. She is a "good Christian", believing in God and the teachings of Jesus. Shelby is also a modern intelligent teenager, realizing that the Bible was written for a time and people who no longer exists and translates to modern society. Can she be a good Christian, yet still believe that it's okay to have sex before marriage? Can she support gay rights even though according to her pastor, the bible is very clear that homosexuality is a ticket to hell. The relationship between Shelby and her pastor is a constant battle between ideals and right and wrong. They both recognize each others desire to do what's right, but Shelby can't reconcile her newfound beliefs with the outdated teachings of her church. One interesting and prime example, is a scene where the pastor is teaching children about the transmission of STD's, and he states the 2nd most common method of transmission is through direction skin to skin contact. He demonstrated this by shaking hands with a student, pointing out that neither knows where the others hands have been.

The pastor, parents, and education system do what many conservatives do when they can't accept change, they use scare tactics. They tell children that if they have sex, they will get pregnant, or they will get an STD. Even if they use a condom they will most likely get pregnant or get an STD. They don't talk about the statics and the odds of preventions, they talk about the statistics and the odds that it will happen. What we have seen in Lubbock and other abstinence only school districts is the odds go up for teen pregnancy. Children just assume if it's going to happen, no point in trying to prevent it. Or if they do actually have the forethought to take a condom with them, they don't know how to properly put the thing on, or the believe that it ruins the mood.

The movie ends with Shelby getting involved in the gay rights movement in her town, and we see the two sides protesting one another. We also see a stark contrast in the mindset of these two groups, the gay rights movement just looking for equality, and the conservative nutcases, with their signs condemning the students with comments like, "AIDS Cures Gays." and other hateful commentary.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Microsoft Redmond vs Fargo

I pulled this off the Seattle PI this morning. It's someone at the Microsoft's Fargo campus responding to the Redmond campus practically shutting down since it started snowing last week.

Due to normal cold weather and heavy snowfall the Microsoft Facilities in Fargo, including satellite areas (ABC, DEF, and GHI) will have NO SERVICES INTERUPTED due to Snow/Ice conditions in the local area.

Effective For: Thursday, December 18, 2008 through the end of April

Please exercise normal caution driving and walking on campus as you are more likely to be attacked by a bunny than slip and fall on the ice.

Shuttle: Campus shuttles will not be operating because there is no such thing as a campus shuttle in Fargo.

Facilities Maintenance Response: A full maintenance staff is at work on campus today.

Security: Corporate Security advises its services will remain available to the campus. If you need assistance, stop by the office and wake them up.

Parking: Park as usual, the snow plow drivers will just plow around you. You're all capable of driving on snow/ice so plowing will be limited.
Connectivity: You shouldn't have any connectivity issues because you're expected to be at work.


We only had 10" of snow and 40mph wind.

Area Roads: In light of the continuing snowfall and icy road conditions, most local roads are snow-covered and slippery and will remain that way until March. For information on current road conditions, please look out the window.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Microsoft Real Estate & Facilities

An aside:
Current conditions in Fargo (-4 degrees, partly cloudy)
Current conditions in Redmond (34 degrees, cloudy)


Since I work at the Redmond campus, I will admit that I haven't gone in since last Wednesday. Sure I could drive into work, I did grow up in Spokane were snow is measured in feet not inches. I also have a vehicle with good tires on it, and most importantly, I'm not a totally retarded driver like most Seattleites. But, if everyone else who works for Microsoft wants to use the snow as an excuse, I might as well too. After all, we have hills in Seattle. Apparently we are the only city in the world with hills that gets snow. At least according to the excuses provided by most Seattleites.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Netflix Watch Now Maybe

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a large number of my movies in the Netflix watch now queue were marked to be removed at the first of January. At first I thought it was Sony removing it's movies because the Xbox now allows for Netflix users to watch now. But it turns out, it's all the movie companies. When will they learn, the internet is the way of the future.

- Click here for full story -

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

15 In a 35

Yes you rotten cunt, there is snow on the side of the road. But there is no snow on the actual road! Not only is there no snow on the road, there is no ice on the road. You want to know how I know all this, it's because I'm riding your slow moving ass on the exact same road you are on. The speed limit is 35 on this road, not 15! I don't care that you are a totally paranoid bitch who can't handle driving in bad weather. What I do care about, is that you are slowing me down! Obviously you were born and raised in Seattle because you drive just like the rest of the Seattle retards when it snows. So instead of forcing me to pass you while flipping you off, next time you are scared to drive because there is snow on the grass… Stay the fuck home!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Bush Get's New Shoes

I would imagine everyone has heard about it, and if you haven't seen it, here is the video of Bush having a shoe thrown at him. I'm not going to use this as an opportunity to dog on him, I’m actually pretty impressed. The guy has some quick reflexes. He dodged both shoes, long before the Secret Service got a hold of the thrower. If I were Bush, I’d be worried about their reaction speed if the guy actually had a weapon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Annual Christmas Blog

"Hey, we were all looking at your blog and no Christmas blogs yet. This time last year you had already done a few about this joyful holiday you love so much."

It's true, I haven't done a post yet this year about my favorite holiday. There are a few reasons that could having something to do with it:
  1. I haven't had the time to write a post about the holiday
  2. I haven't had the motivation to write a post about the holiday
  3. Or maybe, I've said all I wanted to say about this waste of a day in previous posts. As you mentioned reading them, then you know how I feel about the damn holiday.

But, since you asked, here it is, my Christmas blog post... Shut your fruit cake filled snatch, and go hang some lights after a few eggnogs, on a really high tree, you reindeer shit soaked holiday sap.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day Without A Gay

For those who don't know, and I would imagine most don't, today is "Day without a gay." It's the day where the gays are supposed to prove how valuable they are as employees, by calling in sick. So far, I haven't noticed any proof of value. On my drive in this morning, it took about as long as always, and in walking around the office all the gays seem to be here. Although, I haven't seen the weird guy (with the framed TV Guide of Friends in his office) walking around, who stares at me just a little to long. Beyond that guy, I would imagine most of the gays know well enough that skipping out on work and pissing the boss off, probably isn't the best way to prove a point. When I asked a gay friend of mine about it last night, he didn't even know it was "day without a gay" day.

I think this is one of the problems with the gay community, and why they haven't been getting the same recognition as the rest of us. They lack organization. Think about the civil rights movement, and all the marches and protesting. Sure the gays have an annual pride parade and they flamboyantly walk the streets, but beyond that, there isn't much of a national movement. Out of the few gay friends I have, I would put them pretty low on the reliability scale. Except for one, who does a decent job of house sitting for me when I'm out of town, and taking care of the dog. The dog is a girl, so I'm not worried about anything emotionally traumatizing happening to her.

Another thing missing from the gay rights movement is a strong leader. Think Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, who were always out protesting, leading marches, and constantly speaking out against the establishment. We've all heard of Susan B. Anthony and her fight for equality, and most recently witnessed Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin running for president and vice president. But what gay man/woman has stepped up on the national stage? Sure we have Dan Savage writing books, and ranting in his newspaper column. But, it's not like he's out leading marches and being arrested for illegally fagging out. And the last time Barney Frank the openly gay congressman showed up in the news was for proposing a bill that would legalize marijuana.

So to all the gays out there, get with it. If you want equal rights then find a leader and fight for them. Most of us Americans have short attention spans, and once the parade is over, we forget. Also as prop 8 in California has shown, we are easily influenced and persuaded. With a lot of cash the Mormon and Catholic churches were able to sway our opinion. Stop complaining about this and use it to your advantage. Run some ads, get together and march, and don't let up. Just as we were easily influenced to vote one way, we can be just as easily influenced to vote the other.

And if you decide to do the "day without a gay" thing again next year, promote it a little. Because anything that will improve my drive into work, even if it's only for one day, is a good thing.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Today

I haven't felt like writing the past few days, but since I haven't posted, and to uphold my responsibility as a cranky blogger, here is my post for today…

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear Sole Patch

To the sole patch wearing fuckwad I pass in the hallway all the time. Look you looser fag, the sole patch was only in style for about a week, and that week was ten years ago. You aren't hip and cool with your little patch of gray hair under your lower lip. You look like a mid 40's looser, who spends way to much time at the dance club picking up on women younger than the daughter you no longer see, because she decided to live with your ex-wife when you got divorced. If you really want to think you are hip, shave the patch and go buy a Corvette like the other mid-life-crisis fuckwads your age . General Motors could use the money. And you could use a car that you might accidently race into a tree one night, ridding the hallway I walk in of your lameness.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bailout for Two

There has been a lot of talk over the past month about the big three auto companies, asking congress for a bailout similar to what the banks have received. The whole subject of bailouts pisses me off, as it does most people. If any of the rest of us were to run our businesses into the ground, we wouldn't get a thing. But, since these companies have such a large effect on the economy, they get government money. And I'm sure the big three will get something this week as they meet with congress again.

It's nice to hear that they have wised up a bit, and decided not to fly in their corporate jets to Washington this time around. And I'm impressed with the CEO of Ford who is willing to forgo his salary next year. Even though I'm sure other compensation will be available.

So on the subject of the bailout, I've decided they should provide loans to Ford and Chrysler, and let GM go bankrupt. Why am I picking on GM? First of all, they have crappy cars. At least Ford makes a decent truck, the Mustang, and a few other good cars. They also own Volvo a great car on its own. Ford has also said they might not need the bailout and might be able to survive without it. Chrysler makes a few decent vehicles as well, namely the Jeep brand. Another reason I don't mind GM going out is, they had the EV1 in California in the 90's. An all electric car that people loved, but GM decided to recall it. Choosing gas over electric. And finally, I once heard an interview with the CEO of GM, and the guy is an idiot. It was a semi-quiz show and he didn't get any answers write, and didn't even seem to care or try to get them right.

So congress, listen to the monkey and save two and let one die as a lesson to the other two.