Monday, January 29, 2007

Coal-Fired Cars, revisited.

Well, I've come across some research that backs up my claims that, in order to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, we should switch to coal-fired cars.

If you read my previous post, We Work The Black Seam, you'll know what I mean by that statement. I mean that we should move from gasoline to electric cars, because, even with electricity generated by coal-fired plants, electric cars generate less CO2 than gas-powered cars.

These links were found in the Wikipedia entry for Hybrid Car.

Some notes:

The ILEA ('Electric vs. Gasolene') article claims that hybrids are significantly better than pure electric vehicles that are run on a coal grid. Electric cars in a hydro grid, on the other hand, have almost no post-production CO2 footprint.

The "Debunking the Myth" article says:
Many EV critics point out that charging thousands of EVs from aging coal plants will increase greenhouse gases such as CO2 significantly. Although half the country uses coalfired plants, EVs recharging from these facilities are predicted to produce less CO2 than ICE vehicles. According to the World Resources Institute [a 1994 publication], EVs recharging from coal-fired plants will reduce CO2 emissions in this country from 17 to 22 percent....

...Countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. use a mix of coal and oil-fired facilities that produce an elevated level of SO2 and particulates. However, levels of HC, CO and NOx would decrease significantly.

Here are the articles:

Plug-In Hybrids Are Cleaner (Even on a Coal Grid)
Debunking the Myth of EVs and Smokestacks (PDF doc)
Automobiles: Electric vs. Gasoline (2001)

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Toilet Seats vs. Telephone Handsets

My wife works at a local hospital and she told me that they recently had an inservice about VRE spreading throughout their hospital.

She was told that, because these bugs can "live on toilet seats for weeks" they needed to be even more careful about sitting down. They were told that they should begin using paper to protect themselves.

Now my wife, like so many people*, has a superstition about sitting on public toilets; she believes they are unsafe. The last thing she needs is to have this myth validated by an "expert"!

Professor Charles Gerba has found that toilet seats are one of the cleanest places in the workplace. Beware, instead, of the bathroom sink, which is warm, moist, and frequently used after, um, "fecal contamination". Also, beware shared telephones.

I received an e-mail from a well-intentioned energy-saving program the other day that suggests we should all be doing our laundry in cold water to save energy. However, Gerba points out that laundry, especially underwear, should be washed at 60C to kill bacteria.

And I was right about another thing. The bus really is a "plague ship"...
Not surprisingly, the most contaminated environments were children's playgrounds and daycare centers. Following close behind were public buses, shopping carts, chair armrests, vending machine knobs, escalator handrails and public phones.

- Clorox website

* I think women are more likely than men to believe they need to create an "ass gasket" before sitting on the toilet, simply because they sit for all duties. Ironically, they've found the handles of toilets, especially urinals, to be the filth-covered problem areas!

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