and The Environmental Benefits of Cycling and Walking
Friday, July 31, 2009
and The Environmental Benefits of Cycling and Walking
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I am struck today by the passing of Tim Pincikowski - the suddenness of his death is terrible. He was such a good and decent man. It is a great tragedy.
It must have been a terrible accident, and I don't know how it could have happened. It seems this is a dangerous stretch of road.
His death is so needless. So terrible for his wife, son and especially small daughter.
It seems the van was following Tim, who was on his bike, and a car came from the opposing direction. The van drifted too close to the shoulder, and the accident occurred.
Here are the accounts from Ann Arbor.com
News Report on Ann Arbor.com
A bicyclist died after being struck by a vehicle at about 5 p.m. Tuesday on Maple Road, Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety officials said.
Police said the bicyclist was Timothy Pincikowski, a 45-year-old from Saline. The crash occurred on Maple Road between Travis Pointe Road and Ellsworth Road.
Police did not release further details Wednesday morning on what caused the crash. No information on the driver of the vehicle was available.
|Photo by Melanie Maxwell|
Timothy Pincikowski liked the outdoors and had been biking heavily this summer to stay in shape, his wife said.
Every other weekday, he biked about 25 miles. On a weekend day, it wasn't unusual for him to bike more than 50 miles, said Lisa, his wife of 13 years.
But Timothy Pincikowski's bike ride Tuesday turned tragic when he was killed in a crash with a minivan on Maple Road in Pittsfield Township. Police are still working to determine what caused the crash.
"He's a wonderful man, wonderful husband, wonderful father. Loved by everybody," Lisa said.
Pincikowski, 45, of Saline, was riding his bicycle north on Maple Road south of Ellsworth Road when the rear end of it was struck by the front passenger side of a 2002 Dodge Caravan, which was traveling in the same direction, police said.
No citations have been issued at this point, said Gordy Schick, the township's deputy director of police services.
Pincikowski was rushed to University of Michigan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.
The driver of the van - a 20-year-old Clinton man - was not injured in the 5:07 p.m. incident, Schick said. There's no indication speed, wet roads or alcohol were factors, Schick said.
It's unclear whether Pincikowski was wearing a helmet or if the van's driver was wearing a seat belt, Schick said.
Tim Pincikowski worked as a project manager/chemist at BASF in Wyandotte, his wife said. The couple, who live in the Wildwood subdivision, moved to Saline from Racine, Wisc., about two years ago because of a job transfer.
Tim Pincikowski enjoyed spending time with his 18-year-old son, Michael, and 4-year-old daughter, Lauren.
He often took Lauren swimming, brought her to the park or out to watch 3-D movies.
Lisa Pincikowski said she'll miss their nights together.
"Tom and I loved our nights out, going out to dinner and a movie," she said.
Prime rib was one of his favorites, she said. Neighbors have been stopping by the home all day, bringing food.
"We've been very fortunate here," she said.
It's the sixth fatal accident in the township this year, police said.
The accident is the first fatal bicycle crash in Pittsfield since 2003, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Ed Vielmetti of AnnArbor.com contributed to this story.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2527 or email@example.com.
Maresh Meredith & Aklam Funeral Home
803 Main Street
Racine, WI 53403
Visitation from 3-5pm
Service at 5:00pm
Dinner at Infusino's afterwards
Tim will be cremated in Michigan, but there is no plan for a service in Michigan.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Synthetic Genomics, an R&D think-tank, is opening a $600 million R&D Center with Exxon. This is shocking because Exxon has been hard-core in ignoring alternative energy. Synthetic Genomics has already lined up financing with BP. What has attracted biofuel opponent Exxon to an odd-ball technology like algae biofuel?
I, myself, have criticized algae energy as a fantasy. (This post has economics per acre of different biofuel crops.)
Synthetic Genomics' name comes from founder Craig Venter's science fiction idea of stitching together genes & other cellular structures to make "artificial organisms" as little biochemical factories, according to geneticist Paul Arnold. They have the patent on synthetic organism.
This reminds me of science fiction movies, like Blade Runner. Scary or not this technology could be pretty cool.
This is the same Craig Venter whose "shotgun" sequencing technology grabbed patents at the end of the human genome project.
Hard-boiled Exxon would never buy into Sci-Fi fantasy. The real JV is much more modest. It has a pretty straight forward six step plan. Synthetic Genomics will be developing an algae strain optimized for lipid (oil) production. They will separate the algae, and then make biodiesel from it.
It seems that power hitters like Exxon, BP and Bill Gate through Sapphire Energy, and sinking money into this. There must be a clever technology that is making this economical. I could not find any Synthetic Genomics patents that would describe it. Maybe they are under another assignee.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Kumato tomatoes have shown up in America. They are a black tomato; the box says brown tomato. Presumably the dark color is due to more flavorful and nutritious tannins and terpenes. Obviously they are not "black," seed developers and seed catalog writers exaggerate.
In the US and Canada, Kumato tomatoes are distributed by Mastronardi Produce, which has the Sunset line of tomatoes. Mastronadri is growing these in huge greenhouses in Ontario. It is unclear if distribution is regional or national. A California company, Dulcinea, is also selling a black tomato that it calls "Rosso Bruno," and this may be the same tomato.
There is a story that the genetic ancestor of these tomatoes came from the Galapagos Islands, and indeed there are/were wild, dark orange tomatoes there. There have also been so-called black tomatoes in Ukraine for generations.
Syngentia is only releasing the seed to commerical growers as happened with the "Santa" "Grape Tomato" previously.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
As you may recall from my iPod & running shoe posts, I run for exercise -- mostly at a gym on a treadmill, but outside on clear, cool Michigan mornings, when I can't bear to be inside.
Exercising in a gym is different from jogging on the road because there are people around and I have taken to wearing synthetic shirts that handle sweat better than cotton. That way I feel less sweaty and more human. Reebok calls this "Moisture Management."
The exercise shirts cost twice as much as a good cotton shirts, and I wondered what they were made from. The web sites say 100% polyester. It would be interesting to know what makes these shirts different from each other, because I know all polyesters are not created equal.
The sites talk about what the fibers do rather than what they are. They say they are hydrophobic and pull water away, but they also say they use capillary action to wick water away. Some breathe. Some absorb.
In my view, absorbant fibers is not what you want. I get far too wet for a shirt to hold water like a sponge. Also a shirt that is too hydrophobic will keep the water in the inside of the shirt, like an inside-out raincoat.
I have shirts from several manufacturers:
My Favorite is the "Play Dry" from Reebok. This one breathes and dries fast. It also does not change color when wet. The price on the Reebok site is pretty good too. The price for this shirt on Amazon varies depending on the color you pick -- which I think is odd.
I have several Under Armour shirts. The style is called Draft 2.0. I like it, and it works well. Despite the above talk about the knit pattern and how it improved ventilation; this is a simple, uniform knit. Any channels must be very small. This is a good shirt and I would get more of these even though they are expensive. These are not durable enough for regular street wear because the fabric is weaker than cotton. Under Armour also has the best website -- Nike's is just as cool but it takes forever to load.
The Champion Double-Dry is an inexpensive shirt that is not as light-weight as the Under Armour shirt, so water does not evaporate as well. It is well-made and the fabric lets the water out better than the Nike, but not as well as the Reebok.
A service-able shirt is the Dry-Fit by Nike. It is a little too much of a liquid water barrier, and the water tends to stay under the shirt instead of wicking though. It reminds me a wearing a plastic shirt. Some of that may be the heaviness of the fabric. As mentioned above, the UnderArmour is not a tough shirt, and it is prone to holes & runs. The Nike is still better than the Russell below.
Last of the high-tech shirts is the Russell. Their tradename is "Dri-Power," but I don't know if this particular shirt is a "Dri-Power." but I do know this is the poorest of the bunch. It doesn't really wick water. More like a plastic bag. Notice how it has some fancy knit patterns. I think these are for style since it does not seem to help.
Finally is this "Prana" --oh wait -- "prAna" shirt. My DW got me one for Father's Day. This is a poly-cotton shirt, and its a fine shirt, but it is not a hi-tech exercise shirt. My DW pointed out how the advertising made this sound like an EXTREME SPORTS shirt -- well its not. It is a decent shirt for street wear. "prAna" has a line of woman's exercise clothes, and I think this influenced her purchase decision. I think this shirt is called a "Shale Tee."
Update on running shirts (May 2010)
There are two important factors in running shirts, and I did not realize this when I wrote this. The shirt needs to be fairly tight. It needs to touch your skin, and if it is too loose, then obviously it can't wick any sweat away. It does NOT need to be a compression shirt. I can't stand those.
Secondly, thinner fabrics are always better for wicking sweat than thicker ones. This means that a good shirt is going to be thinner and less substantial. As mentioned above the Under Armour shirt was quite thin, and not tough enough for street wear, but it is thin, and they are good shirts.
Update on running shirts August 2010
In response to a complementary shirt I received from Wicker's Shirts, I want to pass on my feedback.
Highpoints: this is a nicely made shirt from a good quality polyester -- at first I thought it was cotton. It is fairly heavy, and should be strong enough for hiking -- unlike the UnderArmour, for example. Comfortable fabric.
Lowpoints: it is fairly heavy, so the water does not wick out as well as a lighter shirt.
Side note: They sent me the wrong size, and being too big, it did not wick sweat off as well as a snugger fit would have. If the shirt does not touch your skin, it can't wick the water way.
Bottom line: I'd like this shirt a lot better in a Medium instead of a Large. I'll probably wear it casually, but not for running.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It all started in July 2005 when Hella Jurgens and 15 coauthors wrote that a fructose based diet made mice 90% fatter than the same calories in regular mouse chow. Furthermore sucrose based soda and diet soda were not a problem.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
For months, the White House and Obama's economic team have laid the economic crisis at the feet of President George W. Bush. But there comes a point in a presidency when inheritance becomes ownership. Obama made that pivot Tuesday in Michigan, the state suffering the worst unemployment in the nation.
"I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy,'" the president said in a pointed deviation from his prepared text. "That's fine. Give it to me!"
Like Bush's brash challenge, Obama's could haunt him, too. It's a calculated risk that confronts his critics head-on and casts him as an activist, on-the-job president.
"My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and harp and gripe," he said Tuesday, his sleeves rolled up, barely disguising his targets as congressional Republicans.
Jim Kuhnhenn covers economics and politics for The Associated Press.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Despite the low oil prices, work continues on converting waste biomass and cheap cellulosic sources like Switchgrass into fuel sources, so called bio-oil. It is fairly easy to turn waste biomass into gas by baking at 1000C. This product called synthesis gas is rich in hydrogen. It takes work to turn this back into a liquid fuel, which might be more convenient.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
The other day, my stomach was acting up. At the time, I thought it was beans. Later, I suspected food from an over-priced restaurant.
Everyone know beans are hard to digest, and that anaerobic bacteria in the intestines degrade these into methane and carbohydrates that the bacteria ingest. Methane (CH4) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) as well are released to the atmosphere with a characteristic odor.
Beans have multiple gas-causing ingredients, but one that gets lots of attention is undigestible sugars. There are several of these such as alpha-galactosides, raffinose, stachyose and verbascose in the case of beans.
Products like Beano, designed to reduce gas production, break down the sugar before it can reach eager intestinal bacteria. Beano is alpha galactosidase, and no less than Benjamin Franklin in 1790 suggested taking medicine to ease digestion.
It has been found that the levels of flatulence-causing stachyose and raffinose were reduced by 92 and 80 per cent, respectively, by germinating the soybeans under in the presence of the food grade R. oligosporus fungus, according to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Traditional soy foods like miso, tempeh and natto cause little gas because of the extended fermentation.
Others say that soaking the beans will help. There are two effects, one is that soaking (and discarding the liquid) will extract the soluable, but non-digestible sugars. In addition, bacteria and fungus may take root in the water, and begin to digest the sugars -- much like the fermentation techniques above. The enzymes may even remain in the pot to aid digestion.
The bean hull is an important problem source as well that is not degraded by the alpha-galactosidase.
Beans with relatively less fiberous skin will produce less gas. Beans lilke garbanzo beans or bean paste will induce gas less because they have thinner skins.