23 September 2005

Three Good Ideas

In a recurring theme here at BumperStickerPolitix I point to three good ideas that I think should be given serious consideration. Here are the latest.

Katrina/Rita Debris- Recycle the billions of tons of debris produced by Hurricanes Katrina/Rita using the process proposed by Prime Environmental International. They propose grinding just about anything you can scoop up with a front-end loader, (logs, shingles, toilets, sheet metal, almost anything) then the waste is cryogenically treated to remove any biologic remnants, and futher treated by milling the chips into a powder; the resulting powder is then mixed with fibers and resin and molded into building materials, panels, 2x4 studs, window frames, doors etc. PEI claims they can process 1,000 tons of debris per day. This would save literally billions of tons of materials from going to landfills. PEI also claims that they will hire locals in the Gulf area, locals that are probably in need of work. This looks like a win-win. PEI is in talks with FEMA, and KBR now about starting their program.

Bio-Diesel- As you may have read in earlier posts I am following the oil supply/refinery capacity crunch story pretty closely. Read about it here and here. We must begin now to reform our serious dependance on volatile sources of forign crude. It is a national security imperative. This is another good read on bio-diesel. It does not address the problems of scale that need to be addressed, but it is a good read nonetheless. As I have opined before, I believe that the smarterst way to begin transitioning away from the volatile sources of foreign crude.

The mere act of developing alternatives in a serious way would force prices of crude down. Converting more of Americas automotive and light truck fleet to diesel (as was done with the conversion to front wheel drive in the late seventies and early eighties) would reduce our consumption significantly, compared to the virtually all gasoline powered fleet we have today. Compression ignition engines are inherently more fuel efficient and can more readily burn alternative fuel such as bio-diesel. Unlike the proposed hydrogen alternatives, the infrastructure for diesel/bio-diesel is already largely in place, thus easing the cost of transition by several orders of magnitude. The latest generation of diesel engines available are clean and enormously powerful. And lastly; if America is anything, we are an agrinomic powerhouse, capable of feeding the world and then some.

Mexican Retirement- Excellent idea for retirees in the US by Walter Russell Mead in a LA Times commentary. Go to Mexico, live like a King. With a boom of retirees about to begin. This article suggests American retirees go to Mexico where their dollars can go much further and at the same time ease pressure on the real estate markets in traditional retirement areas such as the southwest.