Don’t Count Biofuels Out Just Yet!

Folks have railed against me for liking the idea of using Ethanol as a fuel. And, I admit that using corn as a source for Ethanol is problematic! However, when President George W. Bush was laughed at for saying that research was pointing to switchgrass as an Ethanol source, folks may have been a bit premature!

It turns out that plain ol’ boring switchgrass is a very good source for biofuel! A recent study says that we can get well over 500% more power out of using switchgrass than goes into cultivating it! That’s no small return!

Biofuels from Switchgrass Offer 540 Percent Return on Energy Inputs

“(NaturalNews) Biofuel produced from a fast-growing variety of grass can produce 540 percent more energy than is used during its manufacture, according to a study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers grew switchgrass on 10 different farms, ranging between three and nine hectares in size, for five years. They calculated the energy used to produce the fertilizers, herbicides, diesel and seeds used in the switchgrass production. Because no large-scale biorefineries currently exist, the researchers used estimates to calculate how much biofuel could be produced from the switchgrass farms’ output. In contrast to an earlier study, which found a net energy gain of 343 percent, the researchers found a 540 percent energy gain from switchgrass. The researchers did not include in their calculations how much energy used to ship the switchgrass to a refinery. In order to keep these costs low and the energy output high, they recommended that biorefineries be constructed near the fields on which switchgrass is grown.”

So, leave the corn for food and livestock feed, and use switchgrass! (What else are you gonna do with it?)

“The VERY, VERY Late Edition” of Dr. Bill Podcast #139!

Dr. Bill Podcast – 139 – (06/11/08)
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A VERY late podcast due to NEW laptop difficulties! Tech News! The Geek Software of the Week: MP3Gain! What’s happening with VBS at FVC… and other tech goodness, including Geek Culture about Net Neutrality!

(Aside: I don’t know why the quality of the audio recording is off… I will look into it. Sigh. Did I mention it has been a loooong week!?)

Podcast Delay!

Yep… I am struggling with my new laptop (see a previous post) to try and do the podcast using it. Turns out it has a Realtek HD sound card that is proving problematic. I am working on it… if nothing else, I will get a podcast out soon with my old setup. But I gotta try a few things first. By the way, I have already dumped Vista… yeeesh, what a junker Vista is! Sigh. I have installed XP Pro and I have found the drivers for the notebook. But, it has been slow.

Security Problem in Adobe Flash Player – Upgrade NOW!

Adobe has reported that their flash player’, prior to version have a potential vulnerability that is exploitable “in the wild!” Please click on the link below and update your copy of the Adobe Flash player!

Description of the Problem

Link to the Latest Flash Player

“The exploit appears to be taking advantage of a known vulnerability, reported by Mark Dowd of the ISS X-Force and wushi of team509, that was resolved in Flash Player (CVE-2007-0071). This exploit does NOT appear to include a new, unpatched vulnerability as has been reported elsewhere – customers with Flash Player should not be vulnerable to this exploit. We’re still looking in to the exploit files, and will update everyone with further information as we get it, but for now, we strongly encourage everyone to download and install the latest Flash Player update,”

Geek Software of the Week: MP3Gain!

Tired of MP3 files that are too loud, or have segments that are too loud? MP3Gain “normalizes” the audio in an MP3 file and “corrects” the problem! It is free, and it may just be the “trick” that you have been looking for to fix those files that that were annoyingly loud, but that you don’t want to lose!

MP3 Gain Site

“MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.
Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.”

I Got My New Laptop!

Acer Aspire 7520 notebookIt came in yesterday afternoon from Tigerdirect via UPS! DEWD! My new Acer Aspire 7520 notebook computer! Tigerdirect had it on sale, and I bumped up it’s memory to 4 gig! 4 GIG! Dual core… rock on! It does have Vista on it… but, to be fair, I am going to give it a chance… I’ll let you know how that goes… but one thing surprised me… the quality of the built-in webcam! It is a 2 megapixel webcam… and it has a GREAT picture! I may even do a DrBill.TV show with it! Cool!

This link may not last long… but here it is:

Acer Aspire 7520-5757 Laptop Computer – AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor TK-55 1.8GHz, 802.11b/g Wireless, 1GB DDR2, 160GB HDD, DL DVDRW, 17″ WXGA+, Webcam, Windows Vista Home Premium

For you geeks, here’s the lowdown from that page:

Acer Aspire 7520-5757 Laptop Computer

Powered by capable yet affordable AMD Athlon 64 X2 Mobile Technology, the Aspire 7520-5757 laptop computer is ideally suited for any home computing or entertainment environment. Impressive NVIDIA graphics, a 17″ Acer CrystalBrite widescreen, and ultra-realistic Dolby® Digital Live sound provide alluring audio/video playback, gaming and more. Plus, the 7.4-pound Acer Aspire 7520-5757 Laptop Computer presents Acer Video Conference, an exciting communication solution for worldwide, face-to-face video chatting, as well as 802.11b/g wireless technologies. This 7.41-pound laptop computer delivers desktop power and versatility, in a portable chassis with plenty of entertainment and business options. The Acer Aspire 7520-5757 Laptop Computer boasts an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor TK-55, 1GB of DDR2 667 memory (which I bumped to 4!,) a 160GB HDD, and an integrated Super-Multi drive with double layer support.”

GEEK OUT! GEEK OUT! (Pardon my excitement!)

By the way, I like the modular approach to the system… it made it easy to replace the two 512 meg DIMMs with two 2 gig DIMMs!

Acer Aspire 7520 notebook, bottom view

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