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Friday, August 10, 2007

Empty-handed again

Portland completely missed the boat on biotechnology (although we built an aerial tram on the pretense that we were pursuing it). Now it looks as though we are a little late to the party for biodiesel. And guess who was quicker on the uptake -- The 'Couv!

I think we're almost finished with our Y2K preparedness plan, however.

Comments (35)

Leonard said the Port of Vancouver’s success in luring Rappaport Energy Consulting across the Columbia River won’t put a kink in a strategy being led by his office and the Port of Portland to make the area the biofuel capital of the nation.

What else would he say...

he's gonna plop that refinery down in Linnton if it kills them... er, him.

Fireman Randy's made such a big deal out of this that now he's going to look really bad if Portland doesn't get its own canola refinery. And you can bet the energy companies are noticing that. You couldn't put the city in a worse bargaining position for when the time comes to talk city subsidies. Oh, and will there ever be city subsidies. I'm sure the boxing fans at the University Club are already figuring out who gets what.

biofuel is a huge mistake. of course, nobody wants to hear that.

trying to make Portland the "biofuel capitol of the nation" is at best poorly thought out and at worst, profoundly stupid. we're trying to feed cars, not people, and biodiesel or ethanol will NOT make a noticeable environmental difference--and we can't make enough of it to even power a fraction of the vehicles.

the more i write about it, the sillier it gets.

Thank you, ecohuman, for being willing to follow the facts rather than the fads.

Here's a post about an Oregon State study that makes the points in spades (includes link to the study):

what's truly frightening is that city and state government bases long-term policy on fads.

not "the best available information", even, or even a superficial base of local research.

you know, it took me one hour to research and write my post on biodiesel on ecohuman.com. why can't government spend at least one day on thoughtful research before formulating goals like "Portland should be the biodiesel capitol of the nation"?

The 'Couv!

Damn straight! Things are really cooking up here. We just got a bunch of cash to untangle the rail mess at the Port. We're voting on a ballot measure to expand the place. And did you see that giant windmill blade parked down on 1st Ave by the World Trade Center? Imported through the Port of Vancouver. Turns out The Couv is a perfect location to service points east. We've been sending windmill parts to Eastern Oregon for a couple of years now.

Pretty soon you'll all be working for us.

Muah ha ha haaaaa....

Yeah, but you have to live there...

Muah ha ha haaaaa....


Yeah, but you have to live there...

Unfortunately science has yet to come up with a proper comeback for that. Rest assured we have our top minds working on one day and night. We'll let you know when we come up with something.

In the meantime, we'll keep shopping tax free at your Costco. That'll show you.

You bastards!

tax free at your Costco

IKEA too.

IKEA too.

Unless IKEA is selling ranch dressing by the gallon and four new tires for a '91 Suburban, we're not interested. Thanks though.

we'll keep shopping tax free at your Costco. That'll show you.

yeah, well...I shop tax free at your Walmart!

so there!

Yep, nothing better than buying your pop tax and deposit free at the WalMart.

Randy was at doula training the day Rappaport visited.

Odds are, he didn't bow low enough when he walked into City Hall. All he had to do was tell Randy or Saltzman (sorry, Saltzman actually has some real technical training) what a genius he was and commnet on the magazine article he read on biofuels that makes him an expert.

Don't spose the biz name "Rappaport" sounded quirky enough, ya think?

So, are you biodiesel experts going to start using current data and studies to back your naysaying anytime soon ?

Algae...that is the future of the biodiesel industry. The yields are quite literally hundreds of times that of rapeseed or palm oil, per acre. Use that handy Google invention for more information on this.

Give it some time, wait for some larger studies to be done, and for the industry to take off, and then get back with us. The technology and the science behind it are in their infancy, and it's not fair to condemn it right out of hand yet.

Now, Ethanol, that is a whole other red herring in this argument...and it's a genuinely stupid use of resources...I agree wholeheartedly with you good people there.

Well, back to burning gallons upon gallons of gasoline to drive Portlanders who refuse to own automobiles around tonight...

are you biodiesel experts going to start using current data and studies

my post over on ecohuman contained several. and did you see the study one reader posted above?

Algae...that is the future of the biodiesel industry.

no, it isn't:

1: it works in a test tube, but not on a massive commercial scale.

2: the process doesn't eliminate CO2, it just adds a step between creating and (eventually) releasing it.

3: biofuels may contribute to a bigger than ever "dead zone" in teh Gulf of Mexico.

4: the claims of "10,000 gallons per acre" are basically made up, without much basis in science.

there are many more.

here's an excellent discussion by an engineer. take the time to read it, and then i'd request some counter proof about algae:

Hmm, interesting blog you linked to. The actual article the blog links to in "American Scientist" is much more skeptical than that blog, which is downright dismissive.

The article even finishes with the quote

Even Kent SeaTech's Van Olst has serious reservations. "I'd put myself in with the skeptics," he says. "It may work, but it's going to take a while and a lot of research before we get anywhere."

Skepticism is good; I like dissenting opinions. Like Van Olst says, give the research some time. It's at least a baby step.

Like Van Olst says, give the research some time. It's at least a baby step.

a baby step towards what? the real problem is insatiable consumption, not "how can we finesse technology so that there are few serious consequences to our actions?"

in other words, you can't change the world by making slightly different purchasing decisions.

Well, even Y2Kunstler's vehemently anti-automobile polemic is laced though over and over again with pleas for a return to heavy water and rail-based shipping, and all of the grit that that entails. It sure would save on the use of diesel fuels for interstate trucking.

Would you also agree with him about that point, and see the return of the heavy traffic and conditions in the Port of Portland that resulted in an enormous Superfund site ?

Personally, I am of the opinion that terrible overpopulation in the Third World, overpopulation only made possible ironically enough by the our tremendous leaps in science and medicine over the past century, is the number one environmental problem facing us today.

But that is an extremely uncomfortable topic for most people, we don't like to contemplate the reality of what that fully entails.

My personal belief is that the large scale implementation of Fisher-Tropsch synthetic diesel is the real future of fuel, but I do like the research being done with algae. Options, you know ?

And, since the sulfur was removed from the fuel, Bio makes a nice additive for lubricity. Those Stanadyne/Roosamater DB2 series rotary injection pumps quickly choke and seize up on the new ULSD. You can use plain canola oil or even old motor oil in a pinch, one of the reasons I like the old Detroit Diesel military/industrial 6.2L/6.5L series so much...very simple, forgiving motors, for what they are. We can't all afford a Cummins...

i'd say the First World is overpopulated, too.

and again, i think the focus on "well, it's a start" and "hey, it can't hurt" is what got us racing towards disaster in the first place. sin in haste, repent at leisure, promise to do better next time, surely technology will save us.

oh well. we can blog while rome burns.

a biofuel tale:

Doctor: you're fat and you're gonna die.

Patient: what if I eat fat free food?

Doctor: doesn't matter. you eat too much. you're gonna die.

Patient: what if I eat a salad every day?

Doctor: enjoy it. you still eat too much. you're gonna die.

Patient (six months later): this is crazy! i ate lots of vegetables and nonfat yogurt and become vegetarian and i'm still fat!

Doctor: You. are. still. eating. way. too. much. it doesn't matter if you switch out potato chips for broccoli--unless you eat one-fourth of what you're eating and exercise, you're gonna die.

Patient: i just don't get it. can't i just take a diet pill, or use this cool new electrostimulation technology?

Doctor: make funeral arrangements.

or use this cool new electrostimulation technology?

Funny you should mention those, I borrowed one from a friend the other night, to use on my aching back muscles. Very interesting.

But, I like technology, I'm rather fascinated by it. I'm certainly no Luddite.

Your entire argument's tone was summed up rather well over 150 years ago by Frederic Bastiat.

There are differing views on human beings, whether they are individuals who should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to better their lives, or whether they are a lump of clay to be molded as the devout Socialist planning class elite sees fit, and where the line between the two extremes should be drawn.

Me, I'm for compulsory breeding permits at this point, even though the full on implementation of Socialist doctrines such as that one sicken my soul to the core.

a lump of clay to be molded as the devout Socialist planning class elite sees fit

i think you mean something else, cabbie. Socialism isn't about that at all, really, and government employed planners in Portland are *definitely* not Socialists.

Socialism isn't about that at all

However, training people to accept socialism, or to make it the "norm" is exactly like that.

training people to accept socialism, or to make it the "norm" is exactly like that.

no, it isn't.

let me put it simply--there are no Socialist societies in existence today. Sweden isn't actually "Socialist". the fundamental tenet of Socialism is--the means of production are owned by the people. in other words, the government. Lenin aimed for this.

Portland is nowhere near Socialism. Portland government and the vilified planners are nowhere near training people to "accept socialism"--quite the opposite.

"SoWhat", for example, which we love to make fun of, couldn't be less of a Socialistic project.

trying to create a public good (like a park or bike path) isn't Socialism. raising taxes to pay for roads isn't Socialism. building a Tram isn't Socialism.

Lenin aimed for this.

Oh, my god. There are still people like you around, after all these years, after the archives were opened and all the evidence of mass slaughter of civilians on a scale never seen before or since was there for all of the world to see.

One reason I legally own antique Soviet rifles...to make mass murderers like the ones you idolize roll over in their graves.

There is a great 671 page book by a one-time super-star of the Comintern, "Out of the Night." Jan Valtin, aka Richard Krebs, knew the system Lenin helped to set up from the inside out, from the early 1920s on, and he eventually came to the conclusion that the mass psychosis of Communism was a juggernaut of murder and lies that surpassed even the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei for sheer evil. This coming from a man who was brutally tortured by the Geheime Staatspolizei for years.

When he eventually knew too much, and was slated for liquidation like so many other devout Communists, he somehow managed to escape, and wrote his book.

One among many documenting horrific crimes against humanity.

May the scales fall from your eyes.


sorry man, but i truly have no idea what you're about. if you don't know what "Socialism" is, or the mundane fact that a basic tenet of it is the people owning the means of production, then i don't know what to tell you. you might check out such "fringe" authorities as Robert Heilbroner to explain things. here, let me offer up a link:


i'm also confused what Lenin has to do with Portland, but something tells me you're ready to explain.

and--you *do* know the relationship between Communism and Socialism, don't you?

oh, and---where in my last post did you get the idea that I "idolize" Lenin? good grief.

may the scales fall from *your* eyes, my fellow blog reader.

and--you *do* know the relationship between Communism and Socialism, don't you?

The excellent book I cited goes into great depth about how Communism worked hand in hand with National Socialism to destroy the German Socialist labor movement, in the early 30's.

Most people are unaware that the Bolshevik Revolution was not grassroots, nor working-class, nor even supported by anywhere near a majority of the Russian people. That's how successful they were in totally re-writing history. Legalized plunder was the name of the Socialist game then, as now. In Portland. Just as Bastiat predicted.

Glad to hear that you aren't a devout Commie...you seem smarter than that.

The other classic I cited earlier, "The Law," goes into great depth about the lying, thieving Socialist planning class; it's as relevant to Portland today as it was to the Socialist terror in France, 159 years ago, if you can get past the antiquated religious tone.

Socialists look upon people as raw material to be formed into social combinations. This is so true that, if by chance, the socialists have any doubts about the success of these combinations, they will demand that a small portion of mankind be set aside to experiment upon. The popular idea of trying all systems is well known. And one socialist leader has been known seriously to demand that the Constituent Assembly give him a small district with all its inhabitants, to try his experiments upon.

In the same manner, an inventor makes a model before he constructs the full-sized machine; the chemist wastes some chemicals — the farmer wastes some seeds and land — to try out an idea.

But what a difference there is between the gardener and his trees, between the inventor and his machine, between the chemist and his elements, between the farmer and his seeds! And in all sincerity, the socialist thinks that there is the same difference between him and mankind!

It is no wonder that the writers of the nineteenth century look upon society as an artificial creation of the legislator's genius. This idea — the fruit of classical education — has taken possession of all the intellectuals and famous writers of our country. To these intellectuals and writers, the relationship between persons and the legislator appears to be the same as the relationship between the clay and the potter.


you're pretty fast and loose with calling people names, cabbie. i like your commentary, but i'd ask you to pause before launching the nuclear warheads next time.

meanwhile, weren't we talking about Portland and biodiesel, not socialism?

Sorry, I just don't like to see people referencing a monster like Lenin in what looked to be a positive light.

As a recovering Marxist, I'm pretty sensitive about that stuff.

Very impressive, Cabbie. But you're wasting your erudite explanation in this town.

Capitalism is baaaaaaad; collectivism is goooooood. Cars baaaaaad; Trolleys goooood. Jails are baaaaaad; public art is goooooood.

Bunch of sheeples is all they are.

Eh, my hope is that some reader, somewhere, might be motivated to pick up some of the books I reference on here. The real thick-headed socialists, well, I just mess with them for sport, they don't have much use for evidence that totally upsets the apple-cart of their religion.

As far as the emerging new biodiesel industry goes, it is indeed funny that Vancouver got the refinery. If I was going to open a large business like that, Multnomah county would be one of the last places on Earth I would choose. No wonder they chose Vancouver. One of the commenters on that article's website more or less made the point that the City of Portland has done everything in it's power to drive away the very economies of scale that are the reason the town exists in the first place.

Well, we can always sell bicycles and lattes to each other; that is what makes a city, right ? That and exorbitant taxes and fees and permits and countless layers of government. In fact, the more government, the better.

Not heavy industry, especially the really gritty, pollution spewing water/rail based traffic that Peak Oil superstars like Y2Kunstler make loud pleas for a return to as a replacement for interstate trucking.

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