Sunday, December 20, 2009

Environmental Update

I have heard it said that our most precious and dwindling resource is fresh water.  But let’s not put the environmentalists to work on that one, PLEASE.  They ALWAYS get it wrong.  Here is my sad-but-true story about the fight to save fresh water.


About 2 years ago we renovated our kitchen.   Part of the job was a new dishwasher.  We had a 20 year old model that did a great job of cleaning, but it was ugly and noisy, so we bought a new Bosch, a brand that we had used before and our past experience with that brand was very positive.   But the new one—it just did not do a good job:  water spots on the glasses, dirt left on the plates and utensils. After about a year of cajoling the vendor, we finally had an “expert” come in to check it out.   The diagnosis?  Hard water.  But, we asked, why did the ugly, noisy, obsolete 20 year old dishwasher do a good job.

He answered that older dishwashers used 13-15 gallons of water, but the newer ones, in the interest of SAVING WATER, only use about 4 gallons.  Well, it seems if you use more water, the hardness (calcium and magnesium salts) gets washed away, but if you use less, the hardness does not get washed away.  Furthermore, the hardness build up in the circulation of the newer models, eventually restricting the flow of water so that the problem gets progressively worse.   If the water is  soft, as in our previous home, NO PROBLEM.  But, if the water is hard, as it is in most of the U.S., you have to get a water softener!

So, we installed a water softener, to the tune of $1850.00, and that’s cheap.  Here is the catch:   every third night or so, sometimes more, the water softener has to regenerate, a process that CONSUMES MORE THAN 25 GALLONS OF WATER.

For the sake of this discussion, I will overlook the cost of municipal water, which I have to pay for.  Lets just focus on the enviromental aspect:

Let’s say we run our dishwasher once a day.  That means we save 10 gallons of water per day compared with the old fashioned model.  If we regenerate the softener every 3 days (that’s the bare minimum) thats 25 gallons every three days (also the bare minimum).

So, every 9 days we save 90 gallons with the dishwasher and spend 75 gallons (minimum) with the water softener.   That is a best case scenario.   The reality is, the softener has to be regenerated more often that every 3 days and uses more than 25 gallons per cycle.

Hardly seems like much of a boon to the water supply.  It was a boon to my plumber, and to Blake Water Systems, who made the softener.

Do the geniuses, i.e., Congress,  who make environmental regulations ever bother to think these things through? 


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Copenhagen: Failure is Not an Option!

The above illustration and caption were reported today in Sphere by John D. Sutter. Apparently, there is a planet circling a star about 40 light years from here, and this planet may have WATER on it! Sounds like fertile soil for life: DNA, viruses, bacteria, paramecia, hydras, worms, brachiopods, crustaceans, reptiles, birds, dinosaurs, mammals, civilization! But judging from the caption, the natives (can't use the word aliens, politically incorrect) failed to address global warming.

Anybody wanna bet the atmosphere is chock full of CO2?

Does Al Gore know about this?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Words

In President Obama's stirring pep talk on Afghanistan last night two words were notably absent:

Victory and Defeat. But then, we already know Obama is uneasy with the idea of victory. According to Fox News from July 23, 2009:

I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it
invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to
MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.

Of course, he is very comfortable with the idea of victory over certain groups, e.g., political opponents, Republicans, White House staff, corporate CEOs and other capitalists.

More troubling to me was his thinly veiled contempt for the Constitution, that he cryptically referred to in the next-to-last paragraph of his speech:

I believe with every fiber of my being that we--as Americans--can come
still together behind a common purpose. For our values are not simply words written into parchment--they are a creed thatcalls us together, and that hascarried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, one people.

Those "words written into parchment," aka the Constitution of the United States of America, are the source and foundation of that creed. His now publicly-stated disdain for this great document is very troubling.

Also, I guess when Obama says "the darkest storms," he is probably referring to the Bush presidency, and not the Civil War, WWI, WWII, or the Carter era.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Swiss Move the Muslim Cheese, and the Muslims are Not Pleased

The Muslims are up in arms over the Swiss vote to prohibit construction of minarets in Switzerland. AOL News reported the following:

"The Swiss have failed to give a clear signal for diversity, freedom of religion and human rights," said Omar Al-Rawi, integration representative of the Islamic Denomination in Austria, which said its reaction was "grief and deep disappointment."

What, exactly, does Mr. Al-Rawi expect? The Swiss, after all, are infidels, are they not? I wonder what his reaction was when the Taliban destroyed Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan. Was that a signal for diversity? Is Iranian persecution of Jews and Christians a signal for diversity? Etc., etc.