• Color me impressed with All Girl Army. Jenny emailed me the announcement that the site is live, so I clicked over there. The contributors to the site are writing letters to themselves in the future, which is a great idea. In fact, I had a high school English teacher who assigned a letter to ourselves ten years in the future. She told us to turn them in in sealed, stamped envelopes with the address that would be most likely to serve as a permanent address. She promised to mail them to us. She didn't. You don't know how many times I've wanted to put her name here as a Google bomb. I've even halfway hoped that she had a good reason for not sending the letters, like a fire burned her house to the ground. The only thing I remember writing in the letter was "Re-read The Awakening." So I probably ought to get around to that soon. Anyway, check out All Girl Army.
  • I read this article on ethanol with interest, especially this part:

    Last year corn production topped 11 billion bushels — second only to 2004's record harvest. But many analysts doubt whether the scientists and farmers can keep up with the ethanol merchants.

    "By the middle of 2007, there will be a food fight between the livestock industry and this biofuels or ethanol industry," Mr. Basse, the economic forecaster, said. "As the corn price reaches up above $3 a bushel, the livestock industry will be forced to raise prices or reduce their herds. At that point the U.S. consumer will start to see rising food prices or food inflation."

    If that occurs, the battleground is likely to shift to some 35 million acres of land set aside under a 1985 program for conservation and to help prevent overproduction. Farmers are paid an annual subsidy averaging $48 an acre not to raise crops on the land. But the profit lure of ethanol could be great enough to push the acreage, much of it considered marginal, back into production.

    Huh. I know there are probably lots of technical and economic reasons this won't work (ethanol can be make more cheaply with sugar than with corn), but what about all that corn used to make the high-fructose corn syrup that's in everything, which may be contributing to the obesity epidemic? How about taking that corn syrup out of the ranch dressing and using that corn for ethanol? This way, maybe the livestock can still eat cheap corn, and the conservation reserve can continue to lay fallow. I wish the article had addressed that argument.

  • Check out Bill Benzon's essay about YouTube. Good stuff.
  • Songs about sad songs are annoying, and I want to put a stop to them. I mean, there's "So Sick" by LL Cool J feat. Ne-Yo, Elton John's "Sad Songs (Say So Much)," "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" by Billy Ocean, and "Another Sad Love Song" by Toni Braxton. When will it end?


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You should write a song

about songs about sad songs.


corn syrup

I haven't read that article yet - I'm working through a few days of rss. But when I read your quote, I thought the same thing, and it seems odd that they didn't mention corn syrup in an article about corn economics. I thought putting corn syrup in absolutely everything was the industry's answer to having more corn than they know what to do with. If they now have another need for corn, why not shift the usage from corn syrup to ethanol?


I think the notion of farmers keeping up with the ethanol merchants is a little misguided insofar as the real problem is the impossibility of this country's unsustainable fuel habit, but I'm sure we all agree about that. I read somewhere that there's simply not enough airable land to grow enough corn to make enough ethanol sustain current energy usage, and the NYT today reports that it's not even clear whether the energy it takes to produce all this corn (fertilizers, fuel transport etc.) results in any kind of sizable net energy benefit if that makes sense. But I still think you're right: making all this corn syrup is a waste either way, and it's better used (for now) topping off gas. Our bodies simply don't need that much fuel.

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