Friday, June 27, 2014

Today in Phony Food: Turkey Hill's "Light" Ice Cream

On the left is Turkey Hill Moose Tracks Light Recipe, billed as "the creamy, rich taste you'd expect from Turkey Hill Ice Cream, but it is lower in fat and sugar." The label claims it has 50% less fat and 22% fewer calories than regular ice cream.

On the right is Turkey Hill Moose Tracks Stuff'd, billed as "frozen dairy dessert that is jam-packed with nuts, candies, and flavor" and "stuffed to the lid with all of your favorite ingredients."

"Light" and "Stuff'd" have exactly same amounts of calories, total fat and sugar:

Ice cream is my favorite thing to eat in the whole world. But it's bad for you and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Your Cable Boxes Secretly Cost You an Extra $100 a Year. Each.

Cable boxes are the biggest energy users in many homes, each one sucking nearly $100 a year out of your wallet. "The seemingly innocuous appliances — all 224 million of them across the nation — together consume as much electricity as produced by four giant nuclear reactors, running around the clock," reports Ralph Vartabedian reports for the Los Angeles Times.

I thought I'd see how much heat is needlessly thrown off by my Comcast box made by Motorola, so I put a thermometer on it and went out to run some errands. When I came home, it registered 86 on top of the box (compared to 75 in the room), but apparently at some point it had hit an astounding 94 degrees.

As I've covered before, this a failure of the free market, which gives cable companies no incentive to provide you anything more energy efficient than the crappy boxes they currently give you. It's not them who has to pay the electricity bill for these energy hogs.

That's why cutting the cord and getting rid of cable not only will save you big money on your cable bill, it'll save you small but noticeable money on your electricity bill. While cable boxes use 35 watts of power even in standby mode, streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku only use a maximum of 3 watts even when in use.

Congress could pass legislation mandating efficient boxes, which would save us money twice - once on our electricity bill, and again in infrastructure (those power plants) that we wouldn't need to build to power the boxes. But then the cable companies would give money to Americans for Prosperity to gin up outrage promote freedom and run attack ads. Best not to do anything - and by best I mean "best for Republican politicians' continued employment."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Circle of Lies: Koch Money, Front Groups & Conservative Media

The Heartland Institute lost its credibility with journalists after comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber. But in conservative media, credibility doesn't matter as long as you have huge piles of cash from polluters like Koch Industries to buy expensive advertising sections:
As you may know, The Heartland Institute is hosting a Washington Times Special section to showcase organizations and scientists from around the world who question whether “man-made global warming” will be harmful to plants, animals, or human welfare. This section will be featured prominently at the 9th International Conference on Climate Change next week.

With this, you are invited to be a part of this special print and digital section with an op-ed in print and digital formats.

You can support the section and have the chance to write an edit and compliment the issue with a full page, full color display ad for your organization for just $10,000. The section will appear online at and will be advertised with over a million impressions online and with over 500,000 emails.

SPACE IS LIMITED and we are closing space on the issue very soon - Deadline is END OF DAY FRIDAY for a reservation and next Monday to coordinate details/edit/Ad.

Anyway, please call or email as soon as possible if you would like to participate.

Thanks and look forward to our discussion.

Joe Corbe
The Washington Times
For the low low price of $10,000, grifters like you can have access to the Heartland Institute's marks! But ACT NOW, because SPACE IS LIMITED to any polluter front groups willing to pony up $10,000!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wind Energy Opponents Don't Want to Talk About Global Warming

Clean energy opponents fit Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. In my new op-ed for the New Bedford Standard-Times, I talk about how wind energy opponents don't want to talk about the value of fighting the climate crisis.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's OK To Hit Pedestrians As Long As You're Not Paying Attention

Exactly how much leeway should drivers get when they hit a person trying to cross the street?
[New Bedford Police Det. Capt. Steven] Vicente said the victim was heading west from Tedeschi's and across Brock Avenue as she walked to her home nearby. A northbound car stopped to let her cross the street and was about to make a left turn.

A Nissan Sentra, also traveling north on Brock Avenue, passed on the inside of the first car and struck the victim as she crossed the street, according to Vicente. He said no charges have been brought and the accident remains under investigation.

"There is a good possibility the second vehicle didn't see her crossing in front of the first vehicle," Vicente said.
I would certainly hope the driver did not see her and still hit her anyway, but that seems to be an extremely low bar for negligently operating your one-ton gas-powered steel box.

Brock Avenue is one lane in each direction, so the driver had to swerve to try to pass the turning vehicle, and was STILL going fast enough to critically injure the 36-year-old woman. I'm not a police officer, and I'm not saying they should lock up the driver and throw away the key, but ... NO charges? Nothing at all?

South Portland Tells Off Big Oil Over Tar Sands

American Petroleum Institute letter tells South Portland, Maine not to ban tar sands as part of an effort to keep Exxon Mobil and Enbridge from reversing the Portland-Montreal pipeline.

South Portland responds by marking up letter telling Big Oil to fuck off.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor and The Only Real Tea Party Litmus Test

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor openly brags about gridlocking Washington. He's such a staunch enemy of conservation, he was named the #2 enemy of the Earth in Congress. He's refused to compromise his pro-tax cuts for rich people, anti-economic growth fiscal strategy even when Wall Street told him it was bone-headed. He stood by Tea Party principles even when it meant screwing superstorm Sandy victims in his own district.

And Cantor doesn't just stand with the Tea Party on policy positions - he does it with a pride that says we're better than those people.

But Cantor lost his Republican primary because ... apparently he'd "gone Washington," or something. Too willing to compromise! ... on what, exactly, no one can say.

Sure, he blocked immigration reform, but he didn't get it, man! It's not just about a federal policy that keeps immigrants as a permanent underclass - it's about wanting to get rid of all the brown people.

The truth is that Cantor failed the only real Tea Party litmus test, which is "Do you just want to watch the world burn?"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Osprey Immune to "Wind Turbine Syndrome"

Three osprey were out fishing in the wetlands near the Fairhaven wind turbines the other day. (As is the usual rule of bird watching, I came across them when I only had my camera phone on me.)

Unlike the many other unusual animal behaviors wind opponents have blamed on turbines, the osprey (and the fish they were eating) didn't seem to mind the turbines one bit.

Raptors can have run-ins with wind turbines, but in this case we know the osprey are steering clear because there's a small but extremely dedicated band of wind turbine opponents looking for dead birds who'd go running to the nearest reporter if they found a dead or injured osprey.

And it's not physical encounters that form the basis of "wind turbine syndrome" - it's some unseen transmission of malice, often blamed "infrasound," that can cause just about any ailment.

Osprey have hearing that's 8 to 10 times more acute than humans, but it didn't bother them - and when science looks into it, they find infrasound doesn't actually bother people, either.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Remember How Acid Rain Rules Destroyed the Economy?

When you're hearing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce complain about limits on industrial carbon pollution using discredited numbers, remember that more than two decades ago, polluters and their allies predicted limits on acid rain pollution would destroy the economy. How'd that work out?

Those limits on the sulfur pollution from coal-fired power plants that causes acid rain were part of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, the same legislation under which the Environmental Protection Agency is now limiting industrial carbon pollution. According to EDF, acid rain-causing emissions have gone down faster than predicted and at a fraction of the projected cost.

How much cheaper will cutting carbon pollution be than the Chamber of Commerce projects?