I was wandering through a prairie recently with a professor of botany. Since we
had just found the oddity of two types of plants that are usually widely
separated - one a wetland plant, the other a dry prairie plant - within a few
feet of each other, I started thinking about something I had recently read about
the agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies. I asked him about the
controversy in some circles about proposals to plow massive agriculture areas
under and let them go back to grassland. He quickly corrected me on the exact
nature of the natural plant growth in these areas (not all grassland) but then
said he believed it would be better to revert much land to nature than continue
to produce surplus crops and misuse the land in many areas.
He then mentioned the dust bowl and the precipitation. I was paraphrasing his
comments on the amount of rain/wetness of the area. While direct weather
measures are not complete going back much more than a century, careful soil and
plant remains studies can reveal the weather characteristics over longer periods
of time. Hence the fact that the area of the dust bowl has been drier over a
long period than in recent times. Trying to farm such lands over a long period
of time can be more trouble than it's worth, especially if other areas can
produce more grain/oil seeds/whatever. France produces more wheat than Canada,
for example. Hard to sell these concepts to most farmers.
If you look at it globally, there is a new weather record set every day
Where might this "praire" be located? W/O some idea it is very hard to
know what you and the prof might have been seeing...
Exotics are certainly nothing particularly unusual almost anywhere any
more given the extent of transportation and other widespread movement.
I would suspect the wetland plant won't be there long unless there is a
source of water other than native (or it is marginally a "wetland"
Well, that again depends on where you're talking about. Certainly
there was very little that wasn't grassland in the vast majority of
what was the heart of the dust bowl. What few trees there are here
today (even the cottonwood) along the river bottoms or other low-lying
spots are not native in the sense they weren't there when Lewis &
Clarke came through, for example.
Other areas (mostly farther east like in the Flint Hills or other
tall-grass prairies had a much wider variety of vegetation than the
And, "better" in what way, and for whom?
Again, w/o knowing what/where you're talking about and what period of
time is meant by "longer periods of time" and "recent" this means
little, if anything, to me.
As for whether farming it is "more trouble than it's worth" or not, if
that were the case it's quite unlikely we would continue indefinitely.
It certainly isn't easy work compared to sitting at a desk, but then
again while you can eat a pencil eraser, it's not very satisfying.
So, since France with heavy (even with respect to US) government
subsidies can grow more total wheat than Canada, we're supposed to not
grow any here?
I see no concept worth trying to "sell" here...otoh, I see a great deal
of effort and dedication in improving farming practices and maintaining
quality of the land and water and other resources by those with whom I
mingle every day. It is exemplified by the aforementioned facts of the
difference in the effects of extreme dry weather as compared to the
similar times in the past.
Whooooooah there! We need more light than heat here, and should really
open minds/close mouths a bit.
Think about the above mathematical nonsense. "square of the distance"?
Fact is, long-distance electrical power transmission can be very close
to 100% efficient.
On 20 Jul 2006 08:39:45 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I already acknowleged my brain fart on the "square of the distance"
but now you are going the other way. When did we start using
supercondducting HV lines. Last time I looked they were still an
aluminum/steel alloy which has plenty of "R". So much, in fact, that
they have to use sag calculations for the amount of current they pump
through them so they don't drag on the ground from thermal expansion.
The average HV power line could easily fry an egg.
BTW the square deal does come in when they add extra current to a
power line because we don't have enough capacity. I just mis-spoke
about which issue we have to deal with. Distance and the amount of
current the lines have to carry are both becoming critical. In the
eastern half of the US it is virtually impossible to build new power
lines, particularly in the north east where a significant number of
the users live. Even here in the swamplands of SW Florida FPL is
having a very hard time getting a power line easement. No matter where
they want to put it, somebody is carrying a sign.
I listed current alternatives that don't consist of _burning_ oil for
central station electricity production which was the claim that I read
(and now re-reading realize isn't precisely what you meant, I see you
were actually meaning at least some oil is required for electricity
generation--that I'll agree with.
I never claimed any of the alternatives are free (or even cheap) --
although both coal and nuclear are certainly cost-competitive to oil or
gas generation at current prices and will only get more so. As noted
in another reply, there's active consideration of new nuclear
generation and I expect a new plant to be online in a relatively short
Hm...how to put this? You're wrong. Battery life expectancy is estimated
at 8-10 years/150K miles *minimum*. They put a 2001 Prius to work as a taxi
in Vancouver, BC. Put over 200,000 miles on it. Wanna guess what went out?
The struts and the AC temp sensor.
See a short write-up (including the service records for the car) here:
Nice thing about the Prius, for one, is that its battery packs are modular -
meaning if a single cell within the pack goes bad, you can replace it, as
opposed to the entire pack. There are also lithium-ion batteries now in
development, which will extend battery life even further.
I guess the key word there is time. Time is as damaging as miles. May
users will simply not put 150K on in 8-10 years. My personal vehicle has
65K and is 10 years old. I drive it almost daily and is a perfect
candidate for being replaced by a hybrid. If every one has a job a job
driving a taxi and a shop that takes care of it on a daily basis I am sure
that battery life will be extended. For the rest of the real world the life
is not likely to go that far.
Typically the vehicles in general that run up the most amount of miles are
driven above average on a daily basis. It is easy and more likely to put
200K miles on a new vehicle than it is to put 200K on a 5 year old vehicle
with low mileage to start with.
World of difference between a taxi putting 200k miles in what, a couple
of years, vs. real-world driving of 12 - 15 k miles per year. Also a world
of different environment between Vancouver, BC and those of us in the south
and southwest. Here, 60 month car batteries last 24 months, 48 month car
batteries last 24 months, i.e. the hot, dry climate kills batteries. The
batteries are a different technology you say? That may be, but heat still
kills batteries with that technology as well, maybe not quite as fast. I'm
going to wait to see what peoples' experience is before I become a beta
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
I know the definition of battery. More than 1. A battery of guns, a car
battery is typically composed of 6, 2.2 volt cells.
But with the common terminology the electric and hybrid cars are like to
have more than 1 battery.
Don't think "arrogance" had anything whatsoever to do w/ the decision
to close Olds--it just no longer made any sense whatsoever to keep all
five lines as they overlapped so much and the middle ones (Olds,
Pontiac, Buick) almost completely, particular since the time of the
"entry-level" concept of Chevrolet is no longer.
It was the same decision as Chrysler made years ago to eliminate DeSoto
and subsequently, Plymouth. It appeared Ford was going to do the same
w/ Mercury for a while, but seem to have decided to reassert it
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