07 November, 2007

Another Biodiesel Problem, Solved!

With this breakthrough, biodiesel has become fun again! Now that Rice University boffins have found a way to digest the major slimy slippery waste byproduct into another fuel, (ethanol,) there is no reason to avoid biodiesel any longer.

I don't know about you, but I played with biodiesel despite having no motor to test it in, and what really stumped me was the litre of slippery glycerin that is left behind for every 11 litres of oil you crack into diesel.

Because larger players have been getting into making biodiesel, the demand for glycerin has decreased sharply, one might say... Being able to sell or give it away to an ethanol refinery would solve the major problem, once a month/year/whatever you can have your waste glycerin removed and turned into something useful!

According to the article, each litre of glycerin digests into almost a whole litre of ethanol, meaning there will be little waste to worry about, and I'm betting that the waste there is, will be something that is easily biodegradable, being just the waste from bacteria digestion.

I'm thinking here - car engines run on petroleum, and are not really suited to running on ethanol. Old diesel engines were not really made for biodiesel, either. But once the advantages of biodiesel became apparent, diesel engine manufacturers got wise and now there is hardly a diesel engined domestic car that doesn't claim to run on it.

Similarly, petrol distributors have been adding ethanol and methanol to petroleum, and slowly car manufacturers have changed engines so they will run on these augmented fuels.

Now here's another thought - diesel engines were also NOT designed to run on neat vegetable oil, yet some are capable. If a diesel engine could run on a blend of vegetable oil and biodiesel, then you could say that 15 litres of vegetable oil will make 13 - 14 litres of useable biodiesel blend, and 1 -2 litres of glycerin, which, according to the story I linked to, will become 1 -2 litres of ethanol.

Negligible waste - now that is something to aim for!

The beautiful thing is, that we know that car engines, both petrol and diesel, are capable of running on these alternative and much cheaper and cleaner fuels, so put pressure on car manufacturers. The best way we can do that is by avoiding products with pansified petrol-only-sipping engines or fussy-fossil-diesel-thanks motors...

So pressure away - it will finally be YOU and YOUR CHOICES that determine the future of the world.

05 November, 2007

No, THIS is the Most Bastard Marketing Evah...

Aside from this article I posted a few minutes ago on telemarketing with a new twist, I'd say what I found yesterday has to take the cake:

Went to my chemist the other day to pick up a script, and noticed another piece of genius marketing. Do you suffer from cracked heels? If you do, then you know that it's partly hereditary, parly down to footwear, partly to weather. And you probably know the name NS-8 Heel Balm.

So there's a cardboard display on the counter full of NS-8 bottles, and beside them, a stack of pink thongs. (Known as flip-flops to our Podean siblings. Yeah, rubber beachwear for your feet.)

And this is brilliant marketing because? Well, because the one type of footwear guaranteed to bring on dry cracked heels is - thongs. As you sweat, the sweat collects between your foot and the rubber and doesn't dry, and breeds the fungus that is one of the other causes of cracked dry heels.

Just when you thought you'd seen everything...

03 November, 2007

Food "Unbelievably Coupled" With Body Chemistry. Well Duh!

Look - this one should already be obvious by now, but it bears repeating, often - You Are What You Eat. I know this story is only tangentially related by one reference to the topic, but it shows how what should be the most important thing you take home from an article is often just one line, one concept.

"The food you eat is so unbelievably coupled with your body's chemistry," said Richard Mathies, who described his new technology in an article published Thursday in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

If Richard was the only person saying that, you could be excused for not picking up on it. But the fact is that almost every article you ever read on health and nutrition mentions this central tenet. You Are What You Eat.

The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook is based on this tenet. You Are What You Eat. Yet we still go out and allow someone to sell us foods laced with additives that are known toxins and poisons...

We let them lie to us about it, because it's either cheaper for us, or easier for us. We Are What We Eat. We eat foods that are described with lies, that are lies. Lying to ourselves that it's not really that bad for us, becomes easier every time...

If I look even in my refrigerator I can find a lie right away. The carton of milk reads "Low in Fat, High in Taste." That's bullshit of the first water, right there. First of all, the flavour we perceive, is fat. You want to make something tasty to homo sapiens, add fat. It's how our tastebuds and brains are wired. So if the milk is low on fat then it isn't high in taste, at all. And if you find it tasty, it's fatty, you can depend on it.

The other exhortation on the carton, is "Perfect Balance. Dairy Goodness." Need I go back to the last paragraph? If the fat has been removed then the milk is no longer in "perfect balance," nor is it "dairy goodness" any more. We Are What We Eat.

Yet we buy it because of those slogans and all the "research" that has been done proving that watering down milk by up to half strength, skimming off the cream, and adding stabilisers and preservatives, all makes the milk "better."

Despite vastly improved medical resources, we have more illnesses, cancers, inflammatory diseases, and immune system illnesses per capita now than we ever had. We Are What We Eat.

Our greatgrandparents boiled the milk, and succumbed to flu and illnesses related to lack of hygene, but had almost none of the modern illnesses. They Were What They Ate, Too.

I can't stress this enough. Our bodies have for millenia evolved to be able to use the foods at our disposal, and that NEVER included additives and preservatives and semi-toxic colourings, nor chemical splitting of foods, nor "enhancement" of foods by adding totally unrelated vitamins and minerals and "secret ingredients" to them.

Get smart, get Body Friendly, and avoid additives like the Plague. If you can, try growing some of your own vegetables and herbs. Over at the Zen Cookbook site, I'll soon be posting a series of projects for growing fresh vegetables yourself, and other projects. But do your body a favour and start giving it a chance...

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