Donal's picture

    Diesels: So Bad?

    My mama didn't hate them, but I never knew much about diesels. During the late 70s fuel scare, one of my many bosses bought an Olds diesel, probably with the 350cc engine, to try to get better economy without buying a small car. He complained about it constantly, and the 350 is now considered one of the worst engines of all time. I drove my aunt's big Mercedes turbo-diesel a few times, but never, ever considered buying a diesel myself. But diesel keeps cropping up in articles, and clean diesels regularly figure in green car competitions. If you've got a pile of cash, you can buy the world green car of 2012, the Mercedes Benz S 250 CDI Blue Efficiency (below) for under $70,000, except that it doesn't seem to be sold in the US.

    Ramona's picture

    About those Ultrasounds: What if Doctors just say no?

     I've been wondering--haven't you?--why primary care physicians, and especially OB/GYNs, aren't speaking out about the current creepy Rightward trend toward using ultrasounds as punishment against women who dare to sign up for an abortion.  Turns out some of them are.

    They're angry, they're anguished, they're dumbstruck.  (Join the club.)  And they're speaking out anonymously--sadly--because we live in a country where medical doctors can no longer talk freely about abortion, a legal medical procedure, without fear of retribution.

    Donal's picture

    The World's Dirtiest Oil

    TransCanada is moving ahead with the Southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil, and synthetic oil from tar sands, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the refineries and ports near the Gulf of Mexico. A White House press release stated:

    The President welcomes today's news that TransCanada plans to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico. As the President made clear in January, we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.
    Donal's picture

    Fracking, Drilling OK in Theory

    In UT: No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing, Rigzone lets fracking off the hook:

    No direct connection has been found between hydraulic fracturing and reports of groundwater contamination, according to a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas of Austin.

    The study found that many of the problems linked to hydraulic fracturing are related to common oil and gas drilling operations such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.

    Researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground split or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than hydraulic fracturing per se, said Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project.

    "These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing," Groat said in a statement.
    Ramona's picture

    Women of GOP Land: What do you see in those men?


    Hello, women of the Republican Party:  Democratic female of the liberal persuasion here.  I know it looks like we couldn't be any farther apart when it comes to ideology, but I know us.  I know when it comes to the big issues--our futures and the well-being of the ones we love--we're sisters under the skin.

    Donal's picture

    What would you do for HFCS?

    While watching various matches of the Australian Open, we were bombarded by those videos from the Corn Refiner's Association claiming that your body can't tell the difference between cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - so they must be the same. But consider that your body can't tell the difference between air and carbon monoxide, either, and low concentrations of CO will kill you.

    Donal's picture

    The Skinny on Fat

    Now is the time for resolutions, exercise and diets - or so we are told in just about every media outlet. But why is this so?

    Walking through Barnes and Noble a year or two ago, I noticed Fat History, written by my college professor Peter N Stearns. I'd enjoyed his classes, so I bought the book. I've started and stopped reading it on light rail several times since then, and am still only about halfway through it. I'd probably do about as well dieting.

    In his history courses, Stearns generally taught us how things really were then, as opposed to how we believed they were, and how we got to how things are now. One course was called Sex and Death, another Work and Leisure. "Then" was usually the years immediately before the Industrial Revolution, and Stearns would lecture about how and why our attitudes had changed since preindustrial times. 

    Ramona's picture

    Why Junk Insurance deserves an Occupy Movement

    Things are heating up in Chicago and I don't know a soul who is surprised by that.  It's Chicago and it's Emanuel Land.  Last week the Occupy Wall Street Windy City branch decided to occupy Grant Park past the posted 11 PM closing time.  The police, never ones to miss even vague radical clues, guessed correctly that these folks had other things on their minds and weren't going to be ready to leave just because a simple sign said they should.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Why Americans Live Shorter Lives

    A new study reveals that US life expectancy is falling even further behind other industrialized countries. As of 2007, the life expectancy of Americans is 75.6 for men and 80.8 for women, which puts us in 37th place internationally. On average, Americans live three years less than citizens in the top ten longest-lived countries, and those countries pull further ahead of us every year.

    Donal's picture

    The Djokovic Diet

    In Djokovic Rules and Djokovic Still Rules, I've already described how well I think Djokovic is playing this year. Many media pages, like the Wall Street Journal article below, are now devoted to the gluten-free diet he adopted last year - before the streak.

    Ramona's picture

    Women and Children and the Choices we Make

    "I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," [North Dakota governor] Daugaard said in a written statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    GOP: New Anti-Abortion & Anti-Women Laws Will Create Jobs

    WASHINGTON – Having taken criticism for not attempting any job-related legislation after campaigning on the issue, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced today that Republicans around the nation have been creating jobs with anti-abortion legislation.

    Donal's picture

    I'm OK, You're Fat

    A while back, my wife told me that one of her relatives was trying a new diet. The woman is plump but not obese, eats processed food, and only gets exercise at work, so I thought it might be a good idea. But then I heard that she had spent a thousand dollars up front for the diet. And just recently I learned the name for the diet: HCG Skinny. So I looked it up:

    Donal's picture

    Klingons Attack

    One of my pet peeves is people that don't shower before swimming in a public pool. Even in upper class neighborhood clubs and Ys, I always see Type A guys that rush in, yank on their jammers and rush out of the locker room to get a lane in the pool. No one is as clean as they'd like to imagine.



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