Saturday, June 21, 2008

Neat Discoveries?

It was kind of neat to read about some high school kid in Canada that discovered a way to dissolve those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags. The only thing is, the problem most people have with those plastic bags is not that they can't be recycled, it's that they don't end up being collected after being used in the first place and that so many of them end up as litter.

Besides, even if all those plastic bags did end up in the landfills, I'm sure their volume would be relatively insignificant compared to all the other stuff we throw away.
I thought this was a really neat thing to hear about: Bacteria making our oil for us.

But, even as I began reading about it, I was wondering how many bacteria you'd need and what sort of space it would take up. My worries were well founded. To quote the writer:

However, to substitute America’s weekly oil consumption of 143 million barrels, you would need a facility that covered about 205 square miles, an area roughly the size of Chicago.

That is quite a large area, but what if a number of smaller bug factories were spread all across the country like all our other factories are? I wonder what area all of our current oil refineries cover?

I also can't help but wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to figure out just exactly how the bacteria's digestive systems create the oil and try and duplicate that process rather than have the bacteria themselves do it?

Hat tip to for the heads up on that news item.


At 11:38 AM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

Fred, there is a whole world of alternative energy, fuels, materials that has never been fully developed.

Did you know rayon, the substitute for nylon, itself a substitute for silk, was made from wood chips? Think of the amazing qualities of spider and silk moth worm silk, the amazing qualities of those chrysalises of butterflies and moths that harden up to wood strength then soften to jelly when the pupae is ready to burst out.

Way before I got religion I was a visionary and one of my earliest visions of the future somewhere in the late '60's was of a future "novalithic age", a new stone age, where the most abundant material on earth, silicates, are developed in all sort of new ways to replace plastics, metals, bricks, everything that needs to be super strong but "plastic", i.e, able to be formed into any shape.

The Novalithic Age is coming. Stephen, your local prophet at large says so, so you can take it to the River, no..take it to the bank. Yeah, that's it.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

Great concept Stephen. I wonder how many Chicago sized "oil farms" it would take to produce the energy needed to break down the silicone dioxide to usher in the "novalithic" age? Come to think of it, converting Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC into oil farms is a neat idea. At least something useful would be produced by them.

At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred said:

Besides, even if all those plastic bags did end up in the landfills, I'm sure their volume would be relatively insignificant compared to all the other stuff we throw away.

Took our trash to Eureka today. Almost every truck had lots of metal (recycle at another place) and bags that they were dumping full of things that could have been recycled.

How is picking up Eureka's trash going to solve the problem? I just don't get it as some of the people were not from Eureka at all - like us - but we do recycle and don't put things in our trash that shouldn't be there. Lots of issues with the trash pickups in Eureka - maybe the City needs to make more money?? Doesn't make sense at this point to me about recycling when they let trucks pull in and dispose of metal that could have been sold and lots of other things that should have even been disposed of on the "other side" of the Eureka trash collection. Cardboard and lots of plain paper from one truck.


At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recycling is one of the sacraments of the enviro religion.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

Hey, Pogo, aren't you dead and gone? People like you said we couldn't fly, couldn't go to the moon, couldn't do this, couldn't do that. Wake up and realize you're attempts to thwart human invention are passe at best and illogical at worst. Look at the historical record before you spout nonsense.

At 5:19 AM, Blogger Pogo said...

Stephen, calm down. Pogo didn't say "it couldn't be done". He merely pointed out that to rearrange atoms and molecules requires energy and technology. You wish to discard the energy and technology available now before new sources and tools are available i.e. putting the cart before the horse.

Also, Pogo is not "dead". He's a possum and just appears that way to the casual observer.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

I wish to discard naysayers like you who do their best to discourage people like me to seek inventive solutions, like for instance a solar powered monorail system that rides above the ground eliminating the need of all that oil poured onto the ground as roadways that constantly need repair because they really can't take the weight of heavy trucks.

I'm trying to save your life, Pogo. How many of your kin have been left to rot on the sides of the highway because they were too slow to get across?

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know a guy in Chicago who deserves to be up to his armpits in a pool of oil. Do you think we could heat it up first?


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