Friday (the 13th) Shorts: June 2008

When the Cat’s Away
Ann works late some nights, so Tsuga and I have to entertain ourselves. It has been months since I thought about watching a movie from Netflix on the computer–the selection for “watch now” is not particularly appealing, even though there are multiple thousands of choices. But I picked one this week and enjoyed it, so will pass it along: Postman (1997) starring Kevin Cosner (with cameo appearnce by Tom Petty)–a post-apocalyptic story that pits community, sharing and others against self, tyranny and power. Brace yourself: three hours long!

Garden Grows
First harvest from the Gulag Garden: Salad Bowl Lettuce and Swiss Chard. Broccoli is coming along leaf-wise, and noticed the first tiny cabbage looper caterpillars hiding on the back sides of the gray-green leaves and will have to hunt up the Thuricide–a bacterial concoction that only impacts the insects. They say…

Replacement Brain
Well, sort of–I can’t remember if I’ve blogged this before. I’m settling into Evernote for web clips with tagging (still by invitation only, I have 20 if you want one, leave me an email address.) The Mac version (freestanding version download vs the online version with which it syncs) is much more elegant than the PC version though it still doesn’t work fully with Firefox 3 (full release of FFx coming on June 17 btw.) I still miss OneNote, but I’m moving on.

Crusin’ Christiansburg
I’ll be doing a little reading at the Montgomery Museum in Christiansburg tomorrow at 1:00 with the general theme of natural history, landscape and place. Since details only came together in the past couple of days, this one will be more casual that some, and I’ll read a few selections from the uncertain “book two” still in limbo as I wonder if the world needs yet another book.

Show on the Road
Speaking of presentations, I received but have not worked yet with iWorks, soley for Keynote that sounds as if it might let me choreograph images, narration and music for a new “visual essay”. Then, given the cost of travel, maybe I’ll look for a way to get that to audiences (and maybe make a little income) from it as a digital presentation or multimedia “book”. We’ll see.

Saved by Pond Scum
I’ve been a proponent of algae as a source of fuel for some time–but for the oils they contain. A new process would create Algenol, ethanol as a product of algal metabolism. The price point for a gallon of gasoline has finally made this a viable alternative, and much more efficient that using edible crops like corn for ethanol:

… Algenol’s process is very different in that the algae are not cultivated. Instead, algae produce ethanol in gas form that is siphoned off from the bioreactor tubes and condensed to a liquid, Woods explained.He claimed that the system can produce 6,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year, far more than corn’s rate of 370 gallons per acre per year or sugar cane’s at 890 gallons per acre per year.

The Mexican site is located a few miles away from a power generation station. By pumping carbon dioxide from the station into the algae bioreactors, the saltwater algae farm can boost production to 10,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year, he said.

Zemanta Pixie

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I read an article recently that the Chinese had come up with a way to use rice stalks, left after harvesting the rice, for gas production too.

  2. Yes, and other “wastes” that are high in cellulose are becoming more feasible as sources for fuel. One method I read about recently uses bacteria to do what previously required energy-expensive heating under pressure to use wood wastes. Using the abilities of nature will become more and more important–working WITH the solutions that nature has already found. All the more reason to preserve those living engineering examples before their habitats and then the species goes extinct.

  3. Just an fyi — The Governor’s Commission on Climate Change will be meeting at Tech on Tuesday. Here’s a link to the website and agenda and other info:
    There have been day-long meetings in a number of state locations and more to come. Some presentations are more interesting than others, but at least lots of folks are taking things seriously. I’m monitoring the meetings for a couple of our clients and it’s been a great assignment. Take care.

  4. Hi,

    I see you get Netflix and you live in an out of the way place so you might be able to answer my question.

    At long last I am moving to Willis I’ll be there next week and I “need” internet access. Cant get DSL where I will be so I’m looking into satellite. any suggestions?

    Hope you have some great photos from South Dakota, last ones were great.