Monday, June 11, 2007

Cut-N-Paste Monday

Cut-N-Paste Monday

My muse failed me yesterday as I did human being stuff: a 30+ mile bike ride and serious housecleaning were both long overdue.

  • Peeking in on Nebraska. Is an old familiar face snooping around?

  • Spent Saturday at the Progressive Iowa Network conference. My take on that should appear later in the day. Tide yourself over with coverage from Common Iowan and Bleeding Heartland.

  • The UI presidential search reaches endgame, and I'm not even going to try to compete with Nick Johnson's coverage.

  • I'll be back on the campaign trail next weekend. John Edwards is coming to town Saturday (details TBA), and Sunday I'll be checking out Mitt for the first time.

  • Also from the right: Cyclone Conservatives has been doing a series of interviews with the fourth, fifth, and sixth tier candidates candidates. Interesting from a pure democracy, Politics1 perspective.

  • A big candidate field means lots of hotel rooms, says the DI.

  • And do you ever wonder. as you're rinsing cans and soaking labels off glass (assuming you do so), if environmentally it's worth the effort? The Economist looks at the details and says yes. However, the big problem is plastic, which never really goes away, says this article (some of the pics are a bit disturbing):
    Glass, at least, is easily recyclable. You can take one tequila bottle, melt it down, and make another tequila bottle. With plastic, recycling is more complicated. Unfortunately, that promising-looking triangle of arrows that appears on products doesn’t always signify endless reuse; it merely identifies which type of plastic the item is made from. And of the seven different plastics in common use, only two of them—PET (labeled with #1 inside the triangle and used in soda bottles) and HDPE (labeled with #2 inside the triangle and used in milk jugs)—have much of an aftermarket. So no matter how virtuously you toss your chip bags and shampoo bottles into your blue bin, few of them will escape the landfill —- only 3 to 5 percent of plastics are recycled in any way.

    “There’s no legal way to recycle a milk container into another milk container without adding a new virgin layer of plastic,” Moore says, pointing out that, because plastic melts at low temperatures, it retains pollutants and the tainted residue of its former contents. Turn up the heat to sear these off, and some plastics release deadly vapors. So the reclaimed stuff is mostly used to make entirely different products, things that don’t go anywhere near our mouths, such as fleece jackets and carpeting. Therefore, unlike recycling glass, metal, or paper, recycling plastic doesn’t always result in less use of virgin material. It also doesn’t help that fresh-made plastic is far cheaper.

    Truth is, no one knows how long it will take for plastic to biodegrade, or return to its carbon and hydrogen elements. We only invented the stuff 144 years ago, and science’s best guess is that its natural disappearance will take several more centuries. Meanwhile, every year, we churn out about 60 billion tons of it, much of which becomes disposable products meant only for a single use.

    “Except for the small amount that’s been incinerated—and it’s a very small amount—every bit of plastic ever made still exists,” Moore says, describing how the material’s molecular structure resists biodegradation. Instead, plastic crumbles into ever-tinier fragments as it’s exposed to sunlight and the elements. And none of these untold gazillions of fragments is disappearing anytime soon: Even when plastic is broken down to a single molecule, it remains too tough for biodegradation.

    Another article in the same vein here.

  • While wind turbines and other large-scale projects are Good Things, this cost benefit analysis says we'd get more bang for the buck just switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

  • Finally, the old familiar face from Nebraska would be former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Kerrey, says Jerome Armstrong at MyDD. Will-he-or-won't-he Chuck Hagel is facing a primary from the right, and this could be an opportunity. Two Democratic senators from Big Red?
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