Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Palm Oil - The Death of a Rain Forest

I'm no tree hugger. Tree huggers are loonies who live in trees to keep the trees from being cut down. I am a realist. The real truth is that corporate greed around the world is wiping out rain forests. The real thing is, the low lands of Indonesia are being stripped of invaluable rain forests faster than most of us understand. Why? So we can plant for palm oil harvesting.

In my last blog, I extolled the virtues of Jatropha Curcas as a bio fuel. It doesn't require fertile land for growth- Grow it in the desert, on rocky hills or even salty plains with adequate drainage. Temperature requirements for Jatropha Curcas are similar for corn. Grow it like you know it.

View the rest of this blog entry at the following link (along with other articles about the environment):


Monday, April 28, 2008

Jatropha Curcas as a Bio Fuel?

A couple of years ago, I was on a plane reading an article about bio fuels. The article was trumpeting the benefits of a raggedy plant called Jatropha Curcas (pronounced JAT-ruff-uh cur-cuss). According to the article, the plant grew like a weed, but is more like a tree. It sounded like the perfect plant for bio diesel.

I assumed that I would be hearing about it in the news soon, but I never did. So, whatever became of Jatropha Curcas as a bio fuel? Why don’t we hear more about it?

By now, most of us realize the dangers of using corn as a bio fuel. It drives up food costs, it encourages the razing of forests, it injects nitrogen and pesticides in soils (nitrogen causes green house gases from soil microbiological processes), and it takes food needed for starving people and puts it in cars. I realize that oversimplifies the issue a bit, but the broad strokes are there for discussion.

For the rest of this blog post, please follow the link below


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rogerian Argument Video

Tonight is my last class for this Rhetorical Theory course with Anne Aronson at Metropolitan State. This has been one of the best classes I've ever taken. A constant theme for the class has been persuasion in writing. Interestingly, a sub-theme has been morality. Basically, most teachers of rhetoric (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, etc), explain that it is more difficult to persuade your audience if your character is in question.

The video linked to the left is my last assignment for the class. The assignment was to apply a principle we studied to something I had already created. I chose to create a documentary-style video using Rogerian argument to examine the debate over creationism.

The video was created by transforming a debate I was having with someone who believed that Adam and Eve were literally the first people on earth because they believe the book of Genesis to be revealed wisdom from God.

Rogerian argument is used to defuse tension in debates that get very emotional - like politics and religion. The idea is start by telling the person what you like about his or her views. Then you find a common ground and move out from there. This video is a documentary-style video of my secular debate with Christian fundamentalism using the Rogerian Argument approach.

This assignment was challenging- both in trying to maintain Rogerian philosophy and in putting together such a large project in a couple of weeks. Due to time constraints, it's not perfect, but I think you'll find it interesting.

Check it out when you have time. It's a little long, but the video player I made for it has a fast-forward if you have to come back later.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Diet Update

I've been on a low-carb diet since January 2008. I weigh myself every Sunday morning. My goal was to lose 30 lbs by the time my Rhetorical Theory class was concluded. Well, that became a goal once I saw that I might be able to do it.

As of this morning, I've lost 31 lbs. This week's weigh in was important because I changed my diet. I've added fruits and grains back to my diet. Now I'm eating oatmeal for breakfast instead of an omelet. I'm snacking on fruit now instead of beef jerky.

This was my goal all along. First, drop some major pounds and then switch to a more low-fat diet. I'm still avoiding breads, sugar and potatoes. I can lose 1.5 lbs a week on low-carb.

I've been lifting weights at the gym for years, so I have a good base of muscle. You just can't see it due to the fat. It's getting better, I guess. The older I get the less forgiving my body is.

Here's a photo of me and Becky before our date last Friday.We went to Chili's (the baby back rib place). I highly recommend the Firecracker Tilapia. I love anything with cilantro. They doubled my vegetables and dropped the rice for me. I don't know how they cook their broccoli, but it tasted like it was drizzled with butter (so, so good). The Tilapia is glazed with a sweet red sauce.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kenny in 1978

I was hunting for a book, and I ran across my high school yearbook from 1978. I was a freshman. I started reading some of the things that people had written in my yearbook, and then I remembered something that happened that day during yearbook signing. My girlfriend wrote something bizarre. You just have to read it. Here are some of the things people wrote in my yearbook.

"Kenny, you are a sweet, nice, good looking, funny, cool, weird... whatever. Stay the way you are! Watch yourself this summer. Love, Margie Overland."

"Kenny, You are a very sweet guy and I hope to see you in the future. Love ya, DeAnna Sisk"

Kenny, You are a good friend. I hope we stay good friends. Love ya! Sandra Ward."

"To a real sweet guy that will always be my friend. Stay cute. Love, Kelly Stelthing"

"Kenny, Your a real sweet and good-looking guy. Keep in touch Okay! Michelle Gardner"

"Kenny, to a very sweet and cool guy. Love always, Karen Reams."

But the following was the best one, because it was from my girlfriend. If you read it carefully, you'll see that it was my first "dear John" letter. See if you catch it.

"Kenny, To a guy I loved. Hope to see you in the future and summer too. Hope we can be together each day. Loved you. Love, Kathy Bidwell. Always."

We were standing in the high school parking lot on the last day of class. People were signing yearbooks. I had passed mine around to a few people. So had she. Then, we signed each other's yearbook. I don't remember what I wrote in her's, but it was probably mushy.

We exchanged yearbooks, and I opened mine to read what she had written. "Loved you?" I asked. "What do you mean, 'loved you'?"

Apparently, it meant "It's not you, it's me" and "Let's see other people." We broke up right there. Who breaks up with their boyfriend by signing his yearbook "Loved you?"

So, I opened my yearbook and read what some of the other girls had written. Apparently, "I'm a very sweet and cool guy."

The summer of 78 was a lot of fun.