Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Test post

testing scheduled posting. It's a feature of draft.blogger.com?

Some ethanol stuff I didn't know

I should have been able to guess this, but never thought about it. Ethanol production doesn't "use up" corn, it just diverts the starch portion. The protein portion goes back to market as feed. (Or could be burned to make the plant self-sustaining.)

I wonder what would happen to our energy needs if we were able to divert a lot of our bio-waste to ethanol production? Or biobutanol?
Both the dry-milling and wet-milling methods of producing ethanol generate a variety of economically valuable co-products, the most prominent of which is perhaps distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which can be used as a feed ingredient for livestock. Each 56-pound bushel of corn used in dry mill ethanol production generates about 17.4 pounds of DDGS.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/April06/Features/Ethanol.htm
I won't pretend to know what the value of a pound of this high protein feed is worth versus a pound of corn as feed for livestock. I would guess that it's more valuable for at least some livestock products, since there is a market for leaner pork and grass-fed beef. (Corn fed beef is fattier and tastier to some, grass-fed beef is leaner and tastier to others. I would guess that the DDGS fed beef would be leaner and lack the "gamey" grass-fed flavor. But I have no idea.)

Wandering around Walgreens


Monday, April 28, 2008

Do not pirate software!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quick Shot!

Everyone's pissing and moaning about the prices of food going up and blaming ethanol.

Questions:

1) Are they still paying farmers not to plant crops?
2) How does ethanol affect the price of rice?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Accomplishments

  • Got the taxes done.
  • Spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to make MS Access bend to my will. Thanks to some free code from the internet, I believe I have the answer I was looking for.
  • Well, not entirely. I am unceasingly enraged that the hierarchical database is not as popular as it should be.

  • Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Oh for the love of Christ

    So gas is expensive. Increased global demand, lower buying power of the dollar, all that jazz.

    So the cab drivers in Chicago are mad. I feel some of their pain- they are price regulated and the city tells them what they can charge. And every time they want to make a price change, they have to put on a media blitz and get the city council to raise it. That doesn't seem like any fun.

    OK, so the market isn't exactly free in that regard.

    But as usual, I am offended by the rhetoric and reality of the situation.
  • Have you looked at Chicago's fleet of taxicabs lately? Beat up, ill tuned, low mileage to begin with Crown Victorias. Being driven aggressively. And when they aren't carrying passengers, they are idling at a stand or out cruising for fares. That's a LOT of fuel wasted, much of it needlessly.
  • How about buying some decent, fuel efficient cars?
  • The surcharge they passed is a convoluted mess of pie in the sky fuel prices. When gas is higher than $2.70 for a week, the first surcharge of $0.50 kicks in. When its over $3.20, the second surcharge of $1 takes effect. Gas averages $3.52 right now. So they have set up a brand new system that's at its limit of effectiveness the day it went into effect.
  • The surcharge is per ride. So the short distance rider is overcharged, and the airport rider is undercharged.
  • I'm too lazy to do the math, but it seems like they are making every single rider pay for the higher cost of an entire gallon of gas, and making the riders subsidize their inefficient fuel usage.
  • I could go on.

    And after all this, after the cab drivers get what they are asking for, one of these guys has the temerity to imply that it's still not enough and it's still going to cost them money:
    "People are going to give less tip," said Fadil Prses, waiting outside his Yellow Cab for a fare in Streeterville.

  • Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    I don't get it

    Had the McDonalds Southern Style McChicken sandwich today. It was good, but I just don't really get the concept. Steamed bun, a chicken patty that tastes a lot like a KFC chicken breast, and pickles. That's it.

    http://app.mcdonalds.com/bagamcmeal?process=item&itemID=5969

    Oh, and a squirt of butter. Even more incomprehensible.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Quick Shots!

    * Hey, the Chicago White Sox *already* have a longer winning streak
    this season than they did all of last year.
    * I was never a big ballgame on the radio listener guy. I think I
    started getting a little into it the year the Cubs made it to the
    playoffs. (Not last year.) But I've become a fan. Pat and Ron are
    insane (Santo said something today about how too many bananas will plug
    you up, and the other day Pat mentioned the fifth anniversary of Ron
    Santo standing up for the National Anthem and setting his toupee on
    fire. You don't get that just anywhere. Thanks Ronnie!) And new this
    year, Steve Stone on with Ed Farmer. Yeah, it's a bit of a pitching
    clinic, but that's a lot of years of baseball playing and broadcasting
    experience. And Stoney used his famous "and for all you youngsters out
    there, there's a lesson of how not to throw a guy out."
    * I think I have taco poisoning.

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Breaking the Democratic quagmire - CNN.com

    I hate when CNN does this. Their link on the main page pointing to this
    story was "Can anyone broker a deal between Democrats?" But the
    headline on the article page is what appears in the subject line.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/02/dems.deal/index.html

    Anyway. Can anyone do it? Sure. Should they? No.

    Give the people their say, count those votes and see who wins. No
    above-board brokering, and for sure no behind the scenes brokering.
    People expect their votes to count, and will feel disenfranchised if the
    vote goes one way and the convention another. The reality that the
    votes in a primary don't really count doesn't matter to your average voter.

    What's the best way to make the Democratic party seem even more
    ridiculous to the middle of the road voter? Make it seem like the party
    is in even more disarray than it already seems- let someone who is not
    the favorite among primary voters get the nomination. Neither Clinton
    nor Obama can overcome that, I don't think.

    This is my plea to the two parties- come up with a different primary
    system altogether. I'd like to see some kind of non-instant runoff
    voting. I don't like the idea that early primaries have so much power,
    and I don't like the idea that the later primaries and convention are
    either irrelevant or over-relevant. Split the country into four
    cohorts, and have four primaries over 8 weeks. Then have the
    conventions, where the remaining candidates plead their case. Maybe
    they form a coalition and emerge with a ticket. If not, have a
    nationwide post-convention vote two weeks later where the two highest
    vote-getters on both sides compete head to head for the nomination.