October 16, 2009

Animal agriculture as climate killer

Note that organic animal farming is not much better than chemical-based and factory farming of animals. An organic meat diet adds 92% of the greenhouse gas equivalence of a "conventional" meat diet, compared with 13% by a vegan diet and 6% by an organic vegan diet.

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism

Solomon and Sheba, by Konrad Witz, 1435

For mine qvinne I thee giftake and bind my hosenband I thee halter.
Finnegans Wake, page 62)

October 11, 2009

Folly dressed up as science

The Burlington Free Press describes the final presentations of "The Energy Project Vermont," a celebration of wind power by the ECHO museum and Burlington City Arts:
Bringing in the science behind wind power, Thomas Tailer, co-director of UVM's Engineering Institute, ... has worked in alternative energy and education since 1979. Tailer's passion for seeing engineering and environment at work together was clear throughout his presentation. ... Tailer said just as the iconic Quixote jousted windmills to fight the Industrial Revolution, people today are in denial of our changing climate and are fighting alternative energy sources. ... "The image of an angel is an icon, and to me the windmill is that kind of icon, an icon of a sustainable future for this planet."
First, Miquel Cervantes published the first volume of his history of Don Quixote 1605 (the same year William Shakespeare produced King Lear), long before the industrial revolution. Tailer may be thinking of William Blake's "dark Satanic Mills" (preface to Milton, 1804).

Second, if Don Quixote were nonetheless a proto-Luddite, then he has (like the English Luddites of Blake's time) been vindicated by the environmental and social devastation wrought by centralized industry, and his battle was not madness but prescience. To equate that with denial of the devastation thus foreseen therefore doesn't fly. It is Tailer who denies the devastation wrought by industrial windmills, and Don Quixote who is right to tilt against them.

Third, Tailer evokes angels only to denigrate them as mere icons. But so it must be with windmills. Their agency doesn't really exist. They serve only as symbols.

So let's get real. If large-scale wind actually worked, it wouldn't need all these twisted rationalizations to justify it. Tailer not only mocks Don Quixote and angels, he also makes a mockery of science.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism

October 7, 2009

The supplicant lady


Solomon and Sheba by Dandini, and Don Quixote and Micomicona (Dorothea)

A woman's feet


Sulaiman (Solomon) spying on Bilqis (Queen of Sheba), and the curate and Cardenio spying on Dorothea (in the history of Don Quixote)

October 6, 2009

Wind turbines keeping the oil giants in business

From Exxon Mobil's industrial products web site:

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism

Grand Meadow Wind Farm, Dexter, Minnesota

Some specs of a typical wind "farm":

The wind farm spans a stretch of farm fields six miles long and four miles wide, and is spread out over roughly 10,000 acres southeast of Interstate 90 three miles north and three miles south of Hwy 16, in Grand Meadow, Clayton, and Dexter Townships in Mower County.

Grand Meadow is a 67-unit wind farm consisting of GE 1.5 SLE turbines.

Power Production Capability: 1.5 MW each for a total of 100.5 MW.

Wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft through a gearbox that connects to a generator, which produces electricity. The 3 blades rotate (pitch) from 0 to 90 degrees allowing the power output to be controlled if desired. The amount of electricity generated is determined by the wind speed:

  • Minimum (0.1 MW): 7.8 mph (3.5 m/s)
  • Design (1.5 MW): 31.3 mph (14 m/s)
  • Maximum (1.5 MW): 55.9 mph (25 m/s)
The project was developed by enXco and constructed by Mortenson Construction in 2008. In December 2008 the wind farm became fully operational and was turned over to Xcel Energy.

The height to the tip of the highest blade is 389 ft (slightly longer than a football field).

Each blade is a composite fiberglass material weighing 13,900 lbs and is 122 ft long. [The blade assembly sweeps a vertical area of 1.15 acres.]

Each turbine base consists of a 52 ft × 52 ft octagon that is 7 ft deep. This requires 278 cubic yards (28 trucks) of concrete and 57,000 lbs of reinforcing steel. Each base weighs over 1.1 million pounds.

The base of each turbine uses approximately 1 acre of farmland.

There are approximately 37 miles of 3-wire underground power collection cables connecting the 67 turbines.

Source: Xcel Energy

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms