pickle juice man
Does salesman's gasless engine run on snake oil?
New Jersey businessman Dennis Lee says he can make your car run on pickle juice, Listerine, Coke — pretty much any liquid. He has a machine, he says, that can supply electricity to your home for free using magnets. His nontoxic Insect-a-shield bug repellent is drinkable, he claims.
Attorneys general in at least nine states say Lee's claims are fraudulent. In nearly 20 years of pitching free electricity and other products, he has gained a reputation among regulators as one of the country's most persistent traveling salesmen.
"I'm just here to show it to you," he told (an) audience of about 50 before firing up a lawn mower that produced no exhaust and running a car engine on a concoction of liquids that included steak sauce and an audience-member's latte.
I have little interest in heaping scorn on Dennis Lee. His own words, coupled with a natty hucksters pose are enough. His scam is likely to get a shot in the arm as energy prices inexorably rise.
More insidious are those purveyors of cornpone whiskey and rotting vegetable oil who have recieved a kick in the pants following the State of the Union address. Now, I argued that the U.S. government raising awareness for alternative energy is a valuable step, a leveragable issue for the Peak Energy aware.
James Kunstler had a different take on the State of the Union:
Mr. Bush recommended ethanol. As one wag put it after the speech: "America's heroin is oil, and ethanol will be our methadone." The expectation will still be that everybody must drive incessantly.
It is hard to believe that Mr. Bush does not know the truth of the situation, or that some of the clever people around him who run his brain do not know it, namely that ethanol and all other bio-fuels are net energy losers, that they require more energy to grow and process them than they produce in the end, and that the energy "inputs" required to do this are none other than oil and natural gas, the same fuels we already run engines on.
Green Bio-Fuels are not green, and they are barely fuel. They are functional methods for degrading cropland with mostly negative net energy. In doing so, they leach the soil of nutrients; the only methods for producing bio-fuel, (real or imaginary) that eke out little poops of postive energy involve burning the leavings of the crop, thus dessicating the land in a season or two.
Sadly, most people appear incapable of playing the mental whack-a-mole in their brains when it comes to bio-fuels. There is no small folly in burning through four or five planet worth of viable cropland to get enough extra oil to run the United States for a year. What shall humans eat if we do that -- pavement? And who ever said that burning food should be considered environmentally sound?
And so it goes.
Presidential push spurs ethanol market
In his State of the Union address, Bush called for ethanol to become "practical and competitive within six years," giving a boost to the fuel's proponents.
"It helps to give ethanol and other renewables a boost," Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, told United Press International. "It is always significant to have the president specifically discuss expanding ethanol."
Brian Jennings might be surprised to learn that his ethanol scooby snack shill job puts him lower on the karmic energy totem pole than Dennis Lee, pickle juice man.