Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/26 - The Dirty Way to Feed 9 Billion People, Our Fragile World

Thursday, December 26, 2013, 11:05 AM

Economy

Getting Out of Discount Game, Small Colleges Lower the Price (jdargis)

“Schools wanted a high tuition on the assumption that families would say that if they’re charging that high tuition, they must be right up there with the Ivies,” said David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. “So schools would set a high tuition, then discount it. But when the schools in your peer group all have discounts, it becomes an untenable competition for students, with everyone having to increase their discounts.”

The Dirty Way to Feed 9 Billion People (jdargis)

First some facts about phosphorus (P). P is a chemical element and exists almost entirely in the form of phosphate (PO4 3-). Since P is a chemical element, we can't make any more, unless you have a supernova explosion under your control. Likewise, we can't destroy it. For millennia, geology has allowed phosphate to slowly accumulate in ancient seabed formations in just a few lucky locations around the world. P is essential to all life (it's literally in our DNA), including plants—such as agricultural crops. So, without phosphate, the breadbasket of America would be empty.

TV Message by Snowden Says Privacy Still Matters (jdargis)

Mr. Snowden, 30, remains in Moscow, where the Russian government granted him temporary asylum rather than extraditing him to the United States following his leak of information about the National Security Agency’s extensive electronic surveillance programs. The Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against him in June, alleging that he had violated the United States’ Espionage Act and stolen government property.

Start-Up Uses Plant Seeds for a Biofuel (jdargis)

The company has deals to plant 250,000 acres of jatropha in Brazil, India and other countries expected to eventually produce about 70 million gallons of fuel a year. That has attracted the interest of energy giants, airlines and other multinational companies seeking alternatives to fossil fuels. They see jatropha as a hedge against spikes in petroleum prices and as a way to comply with government mandates that require the use of low-carbon fuels.

Rethinking How to Split the Costs of Carbon (jdargis)

The “good” news is that under the standard accounting of carbon emissions bandied about at climate talks, it’s not, mostly, Americans’ fault. About three-quarters of the carbon dioxide is considered the responsibility of other people — in places like China and Taiwan, South Korea and Inner Mongolia — where the phone and its parts were made.

Ice Storms Leave Hundreds of Thousands in the Dark (jdargis)

An ice storm that moved across much of the northern tier of the nation and southern Canada last Saturday and Sunday left as much as two inches of ice in some areas, causing traffic accidents and freezing power lines. Because temperatures in many areas have not risen above freezing, electrical lines remained encased in ice, which has caused more blackouts, energy companies said.

Gallery: Our Beautiful, Fragile World (jdargis)

Peter Essick, a photographer for National Geographic, has a new book out called Our Beautiful, Fragile World. It focuses on places in this world where humanity's footprint is transforming the landscape, sometimes with horrific effect, sometimes with an inadvertent beauty.

Stunning photography of man's mightiest shame (jdargis)

This book is really a cry for attention. It brings into stark relief the hidden consequences of modern life. Our appetite for energy, for plastics, for food, and for metals is, without doubt, causing huge damage to the Earth. Some of it is local: hard rock mining leaving water not just undrinkable but too acidic to touch and land nearby unusable. Other problems are global: carbon emissions and climate change. Even amidst the evidence of this devastation, Essick remains sympathetic to the people caught in the story; that hard rock mining is done by people who are to be treated with dignity. This aspect of Essick's approach gives his book a humanity that a simple environmental-warrior story would lack.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/24/13

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

3 Comments

Mots's picture
Mots
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 18 2012
Posts: 187
The Dirty Way to Feed 9 Billion People

This science article from American professors in an ivory tower without any apparent experience in the real world laments that the only way to get phosphorus after peak phosphorus is to rely on poop and eat less meat etc. This does not solve the problem of phosphorus washing and diluting into the ocean (the real issue).  The majority of the planet (China, Japan, India etc) already is doing what they are proposing as a new solution (recycling human and animal poop, eating less meat).  This also completely overlooks the fact that seaweed has high levels of phosphorus and that many places (Japan, China, Indonesia etc) have been using seaweed for fertilizer  to increase topsoils and phosphorus for centuries (in addition to conserving by recycling human and animal waste).  I increase topsoil and phosphorus in my garden via a wheelbarrow to move seaweed from the beach and know this as a fact.  The completely overlooked, effective, centuries old, non-US technology practice of using seaweed works well and, in my opinion is  an important solution to this problem but ignored in this conclusory, pompous ivory towered "The solution IS!" article.  The general use of plants that selectively absorb minerals (both in ocean and on land) is an area that will provide many of the jobs and industries that are wistfullly referred to. See for example.  http://www.captura.uchile.cl/bitstream/handle/2250/14351/CAIOZZI_1968.pdf?sequence=1

 

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
Peter Essick's photography

Jeanine, thanks for the articles with Peter Essick's photography of our beautiful, fragile world.  The one with the logs blew me away; I couldn't figure out what that was a picture of until I went through the slide show and could read the caption, and more clearly see what those "textures and patterns" actually represented!  Like Chris's "before and after" photos of the huge above-ground copper ore nugget vs the deep excavation now needed to mine copper now, pictures like this communicate so much more than words can.

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4066

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