Biofuels are Here To Stay: What To Do About Food Supply?

Editor’s Note: I’m in Houston, TX, this week, celebrating the International Year of the Planet by posting on topics covered at the first ever joint meeting between the American societies of Soil Science, Geology, Crop Science and Agronomy. With a significant focus on biofuels, this conference should be rife with interesting materials. [social_buttons] In a wide-ranging session on Tuesday dealing with global biofuel, food security and poverty issues, there was plenty for the presenters to disagree about — but the one thing they could all concur on was that the biofuel genie is out of the bottle and he’s here to stay. Several times during the session the presenters highlighted the fact that biofuels have finally brought an inherent value to agriculture that was previously missing. This...

CleanTech Biofuels to Turn Dirty Diapers Into Ethanol

CleanTech Biofuels is serious about turning garbage into fuel and sincerely hopes you’ll ignore the fact that your car’s fuel tank could be carrying what’s left of little Timmy’s soiled nappies. The company has announced that it’s investigating suitable sites for commercial garbage-to-ethanol facilities — leading baby-owners everywhere to rejoice that they may never again have to feel guilty about throwing out enough diapers each day to put the elephant in this commercial to shame (and can I just be the first to say “WTF?” to that commercial).

How Diesel Exhaust Affects Your Brain

As if it wasn’t bad enough that particulate matter from diesel exhaust causes a range of respiratory problems including 15,000 premature deaths each year, new research shows that even short-term exposure to nanoparticles found in diesel fumes can affect brain function. Nanoparticles can travel to the brain via the olfactory nerve, where they could cause an oxidative stress response in the region of the brain critical to information processing. Researchers placed subjects in a room with either clean air or diesel fumes (similar to a busy street), and used a electro- encephalograph (EEG) to measure brain response. Subjects breathing the sooty air showed a stress response in the brain’s cortex within 30 minutes, which continued even after they left the room.