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One of the live oaks that bless my home

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dot-con ventures

Our society, like a novel lunatic, needs bad ideas, so that our collective craziness can have shape and direction.  Biofuels are one of such brazenly bad ideas that have crystallized a bunch of lunatic government policies and attracted other, completely unrelated lunatics. All these lunatics became friends of biofuels.

"Ideas on Earth," observed Kilgore Trout, "were badges of friendship or enmity.  Their content did not matter.  Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness.  Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity." 

And so it goes.

Unfortunately, there were more bad news for the imaginary "advanced biofuels."  These no doubt miraculous, but yet undiscovered substances seem to fall into the domain of dot-con ventures sponsored by the fabulously well-to-do ventriloquists. 

[Ventriloquy, is an act of stagecraft in which a person (a ventriloquist) manipulates his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from elsewhere, usually a puppeteered "dummy."  This puppeteered dummy seems to be the U.S., also pronounced as "us."]   

But I already spoke on this subject here (OECD) and there (Sustainability Journal),  and do not want to bore you again.  However, if you cared to check Figure 14 in my 2007 OECD paper, you'd discover that Range Fuels promised the highest efficiency of their imaginary refinery among the six takers of 382 millions ($382,000,000.00) of our tax dollars.  Our money was shipped to Range Fuels by a group of friends of their fabulous friend, the ventriloquist.  Friends help friends to express friendliness. So it goes.

BIOMASS: Closure of ethanol factory dashes economic aspirations in Ga. (02/15/2011)

Ambitions to convert tree waste into fuel have fallen flat with the closure of the Range Fuels cellulosic ethanol factory in Georgia.

More than $162 million in local, state and federal grants had already been spent on what critics have called unproven science.

"We gave those subsidies in hopes of getting something in return -- jobs," said Wallace Little, a laid-off special education teacher who applied for a job at the factory. "And we hope they come back, as far-fetched as that sounds. We need jobs. We need them bad."

In 2007, Vinod Khosla, the dot-com billionaire who backed Range, announced a plan to "declare a war on oil" using cellulosic ethanol as a weapon. An economic impact study conducted by University of Georgia estimated a statewide boost of $150 million if the Range facility were built.

Bud Klepper, a plant manager for Range, said the shutdown would not be permanent. Critics doubt the country's six cellulosic ethanol producers made even 6.5 million gallons of product in 2010 -- a slashed version of a previous goal of 100 million gallons that year.

"Their technology did not work," said Sam Shelton, research director for Georgia Institute of Technology's Strategic Energy Institute and a longtime Range critic. "It was a high-risk technological development program. Chemical processing plants just don't scale up that fast. They were promising too much too quick" 

(Dan Chapman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 15). -- PK

P.S. July 8, 2011.  One of the chief characteristics of lunatics is that they never learn.  So here we go again with another round of DOE and USDA funding for the Ventriloquist and his friends.  This time around, it is a waste of $405,000,000.00 of our good tax money that we could spend on so many more useful things, like beer. I simply do not have the strength to point out to you all the idiocies fed to this gullible ignoramus Matthew Wald.  Just read again my OECD paper.  Literally everything I said there applies again, with vengeance.  The Kundera principle also applies:  The same old lies can be safely reused in a new context, because there is no return to the past, and no one remembers what already happened.  Mr. Wald applies this principle in his writings, by repeating essentially the same lies he was fed 7,6,5,4,3,2 and 1 year ago.  He needs to start using his own internal CPU and memory banks.

As to Mr. Khosla, why is he still called a "venture capitalist"?  A "venture food-stamper" or a "big government crony," living off the handouts of taxpayers' money, would be more appropriate.