American Elephants


Why is organic food fashionable ? by The Elephant's Child
September 5, 2008, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Economy, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

Your grocery store probably has a big section of “organic” foods, just as mine does.  You probably believe that when you buy “organic” foods you are buying foods that are healthier, fresher, and better for your family. Sorry.  Not so.

“Organic” is a marketing ploy.  The use of the term “Organic” is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, and refers to the process by which foods are grown.  It is not healthier, or Greener, or more nutritious, and it is incapable of feeding the world.  Organic farms yield less food per acre, only half as much as conventional farms, because the world has a shortage of manure.  Organic foods usually cost about a third more than foods grown in the conventional way.

This whole thing came about because naive urban people were frightened by “chemicals”, a word that signifies something out of a lab and dangerous, possibly poisonous — surely not good for our children. Unfortunately they neglected to consider that everything is made up of chemicals.  The nitrogen in a fertilizer is no different than the nitrogen in manure; nitrogen is nitrogen.

Environmental organizations believe that food should only be grown by the organic process. They are thereby dooming much of the world to famine.  The developed nations of the West  are either losing population as Italy and Russia are, or are close to zero growth. Population in the developing world is still growing, although at a slower pace than before.  World population is expected to approximately double by 2050, and then begin to decline.

In order to feed that increased population, we are going to need all the land now devoted to farming, and to avoid clearing forest land for farming.  The “Green Revolution” fathered by Norman Borlaug has increased our ability to produce more food on the same amount of land: innovations like no-till farming and biotechnology will increase it more.  The more extreme environmentalists are hoping for famine or disease to carry away more of the population of the earth. Sounds implausible, but they have told us so.  And they want all food to be organic, I suppose because of their irrational hatred for petroleum in any form.

So, save your money.  You are not buying anything with the extra dollars you spend for organic produce or cosmetics or dairy products except possibly a smug feeling of green superiority. If you want to save the world, do it in the right way.



The Wayward Wind is a Restless Wind, and a Reckless Idea. by The Elephant's Child

I have been dubious for some time about the potential for wind energy and solar power. Both receive large government subsidies, and in other countries (Denmark, Japan) when the subsidies end, everything shuts down.  I’m a great believer in free markets.  When something shows great potential, the money flows in because of the possibility of large profits.  This is called Capitalism, the name that Karl Marx gave to the workings of the free market.

Wind energy is pushed enthusiastically by the Democrats, who want oil to be gone, ended, over,  and lately it has been pushed by T. Boone Pickens, Texas oil man.  I’ve considered some of the aspects of alternative sources of energy here, here and here.

Here is a short video that clarifies the case for — or against — wind power:

From what I have read elsewhere, wind generates electricity even less than the 30% of the time given here. 15% to 12% is more common.  With all the enthusiasm for wind, because it is clean, it is hard to get an accurate read.



McCain/Palin Get More Viewers than Obama by Emerald City Elephant

John McCain and Sarah Palin at Republican National Convention

The press was simply giddy when Barack Obama’s convention speech attracted more viewers than any convention speech ever has. He had more viewers, they told us, than the Oscars, the finale of American Idol or the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Good for him.

The question is, will they be as excited that both Sarah Palin and John McCain’s speeches each attracted even more viewers than Obama?

I won’t hold my breath.

More than 41 million viewers tuned in to Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech, making it not only the most viewed acceptance speech in history, bigger than the Oscars, bigger than the Olympics and bigger than American Idol, but bigger than the Obamessiah — and nearly twice as many viewers as Joe Biden.

Indeed, new polling shows that Sarah Palin is more popular than Obama or McCain.

But Palin wan’t the only one to attract more viewers than Obama, so did John McCain:

Across all broadcast networks Thursday, Sen. McCain’s speech ended the night with a 4.8 rating/7 share, compared to Sen. Obama’s 4.3/7 average, according to overnight numbers from metered households in 55 U.S. markets measured by Nielsen.




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