There’s oil in that thar garbage

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something called thermal depolymerization. Its not the sort of technology that gets people excited, but its something that really could change the world.

For the last several decades there has been a great deal of pressue to recycle things like paper, glass, and metals. The problem is, recycling glass and paper doesn’t make much economic sense. In Sweeden, they are now switching to incineration of paper. Paper is cheap.

Likewise, the components of glass (sand), are pretty easy to come by. Only metal recycling really seems to work well (aluminum, tin, iron, steel, etc). Other wastes (diapers, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc), usually get incinerated or put in a landfill. Both options have their downside.

What thermal depolymerization does is breakdown organic materials into oils, water, gas and carbon black. Organic materials includes paper, cardboard, waste oil, any and all food refuse, human waste, agricultural waste, bones, feathers, chicken guts, plastic, tires, wood, cloth…..damn near everything.

The amount of oil/gas/water you get depends on what you put in. Plastic is mostly oil. Food waste is mostly water.

The implication of this technology (assuming it works as promised, and the test facility look promising) is that we can pretty much kiss landfills goodbye, we can increase the domestic production of oil, we can safely get rid of hazardous organic waste (including medical waste), and increase efficiency of oil refining.


Pfft. I could have told you that.

Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says…..

“Two-thirds (of all scientists) will have made their most significant contributions before their mid-30s.”

But, regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV.

The energy of youth and the dampening effect of marriage, he adds, are also remarkably similar among geniuses in music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity.



I cannot believe that Elyse got the ax on America’s Next Top Model. She was by far and away the best looking, smartest, most model-ish one of the bunch. What a total screw job. Instead of being a model, she’s going to Med School. I think that only makes her hotter. You’d think it would be a good thing for the modeling industry to get some smart models, but Nooooooooo.


Oh, am I red

Today, I used a tanning bed for the first time ever. I got a month of unlimited tanning at my health club when I joined, so today I figured I’d give it a try. I was in it for 15 minutes, which I thought wasn’t that long.

I was wrong.

It turns out 15 minutes is a pretty long time. Long enough to turn your whole body totally red….which mine is right now….and it hurts like hell.

So today’s lesson is, if your going to tan, keep it under 10 min.


Gary’s book club

I just finished reading Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. Its been out for a few years, but its one of those books that is referenced enough that it is probably worth while reading. The book explains why history was shaped like it did around the world. Why did Europe colonize the Americas and not vice versa? Why didn’t native Australians have advanced farming and herding? Why didn’t the natives of North America, who had some of the richest farmland in the world, develop more agriculture?

His answer is that the crops that could be cultivated and the animals that could be domesticated weren’t evenly spread out around the globe. Most of the crops and animals that could be used were found in Eurasia, and that the East/West layout of most of Eurasia lent it self to the disperals of these crops/animals better than the north/south layout of the Americas or Africa did. As such, they were able to advance faster having better crops to start with. Also, because they had domesticated animals sooner and had them longer, diseases which spread from animals had longer to develop resistances in Eurasia, and made conquest of those places without as many domesticated animals possible. (ie: When smallpox was introudced to the Americas it killed a large percentage of the population, but there was no corresponding disease in the Americas that killed off Europeans.)

His thesis makes a lot of sense in the big scheme of things when comparing different continents, or even different ethnic groups over time, but seems to break down the closer we get to the present, when crops and animals were distributed all over the globe. It explains history over thousands of years or even over centuries, but it doesn’t really explain the rise of Hitler or Lenin. His answer might be that in the big scheme of things, Hitler and Lenin don’t really matter. The further away we get from the 20th Century, the less the individual players that shaped the Century matter.

Of course, if all of human history had been documended like the past 200 years, we might not have to revert to broad sweeping theories.

I’m now reading 1421: The Year China Discovered America.