Saturday, August 2, 2008

Earth Day Every Day!

This idea came to me while I was peddling in the Track Town Power Station at the US Track & Field Olympic trials. In the Power Station, exercise bikes generated power which was stored in a large bank of batteries. Supposedly the setup was powering lights and TV’s in both the Power Station pavilion and on the main stage. It's a really neat example of what's possible, but will such a system become a practical household reality? Perhaps... But my question is: would, or could, the average American actually use such a system?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Donald Beaver

Here in Eugene, along the Willamette River, there is something of a nutria infestation. If you are not familiar with this species of pest then here's a description: nutria (Myocastor coypus) are large web-footed, beaver-like rodents from South America. Personally, I see nutria as the ultimate symbol of unity between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Perhaps both schools should adopt the nutria as their mascot and make peace.

My lab mate tells me that he has seen these rat-tailed animals cooked at local barbeques. However, due to the foul reek of the nutria kabobs he was not inclined to conduct a taste test.
Interestingly, nutria have about the same protein and cholesterol content as chicken, but are amazingly lower in fat (about 9 times less fat per serving, if I am correctly interpreting the results of this study). Of course, this is only important to you if you happen to be obsessed with your diet and actually eat nutria.

In most states the nutria are considered pests for environmental reasons. However, I consider these animals to be pests because they put me at risk of suffering a concussion. “How?” you might ask. Well, these rodents are often lounging in the middle of the bike path I use every day to commute to school. On multiple occasions I have nearly run one over while riding my bicycle. Actually hitting one would undoubtedly be uncomfortable for the nutria, but it would most certainly be catastrophic to me since I would likely be thrown head first from the saddle of my bike. I would, however, eventually return to earth. It is at this point I would likely receive the aforementioned concussion. I don't find this desirable. Hence I consider the nutria pests.

Consequently, I must inform you that I will not be joining the Nutria Conservation Society, if such a thing exists. But I can tell you that at the next Civil War Games I will be shouting, "Go Nutria!"