[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Wed Jun 25 16:32:10 PDT 2008

I just wanted to mention that there is a plan afoot to make alchohol (fuel)
from cellulose (e.g. grass, I think the plan is corn stalks) along the lines
of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose#Cellulose_source_and_energy_crops
I read somewhere a claim to be immently commercially viable (with corn
stalks) but I don't recall that specific link.
Of course, even corn stalks have food value, when they are ploughed back
into the land after harvesting, preparing the land for next season. So it's
not as simple as growing food and fuel  together with linear efficiency. But
it's a positive approach, as presumably merely ploughing under cornstalks is
not the most efficient form of fertilization. Also, grass grows in places,
such as hillsides, that are awkward for food. Sheep are not the most
efficient form of  food per acre (but they take advantage of underutilized
hillsides). It's not an easy computation.

On 6/25/08, Vincent Diepeveen <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> It is not about what we do in the EU and/or what happens in USA.
> That is the typical short sighted view of politicians who decided on the
> subsidy.
> What matters is that the 'biofuel' of course does get imported from
> South America and Africa and that it causes in THOSE countries a huge
> inflation of food.
> Some 3d world country managers are begging to adress this issue: "My
> nations people die,
> as your bio fuel raises our food prices, the poor are so poor here, they
> use that stuff as food
> and cannot afford it now".
> USA nor Europe can *never* produce that stuff as cheap as 3d world
> countries can.
> Agriculture in USA and Europe only exists because of protectionism (without
> me taking a viewpoint
> on protectionistic measures).
> For biofuels there is always manners to import all those different types of
> food, creating at its
> LOCAL market a huge food shortage and inflation of food prices for the
> poor, a lot of whom die
> as a result.
> Not a single EU rule will be able to avoid that it gets imported and later
> on somehow subsidy on
> bio-fuel causes it to get burned for energy, whereas it is of course a
> pathetic expensive form of
> energy. There is always a manner to get the stuff into the country. For
> example you want to produce
> product X of it. By accident after import production line of X gets left
> with 95% waste product,
> which then you burn for bio-fuel.
> So food of the poor ends up as biofuel, good for only a very tiny % of all
> energy produced and "by accident"
> always a smaller % than the % of energy that gets heavily subsidized for
> being bio-fuel!
> Yet if you deduce macro-economically, it is LOGICAL that the stuff that
> gets used to produce the cheapest
> food for the poor, also has a price low enough to get cheaply imported from
> those 3d world countries to
> our nation, to get burned as bio-fuel.
> The poorest of the poorest can afford that stuff only because it is the
> cheapest thing on planet earth,
> and we are taking it away from them just for some stupid subsidized
> bio-energy!
> Vincent
> On Jun 25, 2008, at 4:50 PM, Geoff Galitz wrote:
>> I've never really bought the argument that biofuels are causing a food
>> shortage considering that there is still so much unused farmland in the US
>> and farming practices here in the EU.  I must admit this out of my field
>> so
>> I have no real evidence to support my suspicion, but there have been a
>> trickle of articles from publications like Der Spiegel and the NY Times
>> which indicate there is some suspicion these shortages have just as much
>> to
>> do with commodity speculation and manipulation.
>> http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/12/business/speculate.php
>> http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,559550,00.html (in
>> English)
>> Geoff Galitz
>> Blankenheim NRW, Deutschland
>> http://www.galitz.org
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
>> Behalf Of Vincent Diepeveen
>> Sent: Mittwoch, 25. Juni 2008 16:07
>> To: Jon Aquilina
>> Cc: Beowulf Mailing List; Mark Hahn
>> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"
>> Even worse,
>> Why is there subsidy on bio fuels that get produced out of food eaten
>> by poor people?
>> This causes as we speak people dying as they can no longer for a cent
>> or so buy food made out
>> of it; the prices have doubled if not more for such types of cheap
>> food because of subsidy in the
>> 1st world countries for this.
>> I assume EU will take measures to turn back those subsidies on bio fuels
>> that get produced out of food that feeds billions, who now hardly can
>> afford to buy food anymore as
>> it gets burned for energy in first world countries, whereas
>> commercially spoken it cannot get burned,
>> it is just because of subsidy it can exist.
>> Even better i would be in favour of a ban on bio fuels that are
>> outright food products in 3d world countries.
>> When i just walked previous week into a shop and my sister was
>> interested in a new washing machine,
>> i pointed her to the fact that the thing she was interested in, was
>> eating 3.8 kW, versus the 100 euro more expensive
>> thing next to it was eating 1.14 kW. It is something that only very
>> few will notice.
>> It is easy to cheaply produce equipment that eats more power than
>> equipment of competitors, that is the fundamental problem.
>> Vincent - speaking for himself
>> On Jun 25, 2008, at 8:43 AM, Jon Aquilina wrote:
>>  how much does a sugar glass window cost now that sugar and other
>>> things are being used for bio fuels?
>>> On Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 12:20 AM, Mark Hahn <hahn at mcmaster.ca> wrote:
>>> More specifically for HPC, linux seems designed for the desktop, and
>>> for small memory machines.
>>> the only justice I can see in that is that there hasn't been all
>>> that much effort to get bigpages widely/easily used.  in
>>> particular, I don't
>>> see that scheduler or general memory-management issues in linux are
>>> particularly biased for desktop or against HPC.
>>> That's funny, because I've heard people get scared that it was the
>>> complete
>>> opposite. That Linux was driven by Big Iron, and that no one cared
>>> about
>>> the "little desktop guy" (Con Kolivas is an interesting history
>>> example).
>>> Con didn't play the game right - you have to have the right
>>> combination of social engineering (especially timing and proactive
>>> response) and good tech
>>> kungfoo.  kernel people are biased towards a certain aesthetic that
>>> doesn't
>>> punish big-picture redesigns from scratch, but _does_ punish
>>> solutions in search of a problem.
>>> so the question is, if you had a magic wand, what would you change
>>> in the kernel (or perhaps libc or other support libs, etc)?  most
>>> of the things I can think of are not clear-cut.  I'd like to be
>>> able to give better info from perf counters to our users (but I
>>> don't think Linux is really in the way).  I suspect we lose some
>>> performance due to jitter
>>> injected by the OS (and/or our own monitoring) and would like to
>>> improve,
>>> but again, it's hard to blame Linux.  I'd love to have better
>>> options for cluster-aware filesystems.  kernel-assisted network
>>> shared memory?
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> --
>>> Jonathan Aquilina
>>> _______________________________________________
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