Anyone who’s seen a Julia Child cooking show loves the woman. She was so interesting and weird, over-the-top and funny, and brought so much French cooking to America. Her work inspired a generation of chefs, including bringing cadre of talented French chefs to our shores.
Today, you can find fine French food everywhere and cooking shows run like marathons. So, take some time out of your daily food watching to celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday. The internet is doing what it does best, organizing awesome events around obscure topics:
On Friday, a historic, record-setting heat wave covered a sprawling region from the Midwest to the Southeast. All-time high temperatures records of 109 were established in Nashville and Columbia, South, Carolina and tied in Raleigh and Charlotte which hit 105 and 104. Here in Washington, D.C., the mercury climbed to an astonishing 104 degrees (breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 2011 by two degrees), our hottest June day in 142 years of records.
…the coverage and availability of this heat energy was vast, sustaining the storms on their 600 mile northwest to southeast traverse. The storms continually ingested the hot, humid air and expelled it in violent downdrafts – crashing into the ground at high speeds and spreading out, sometimes accelerating further.
Peak wind gusts in the D.C. region include the following:
71 mph near Dulles Airport
70 mph in Damascus, Md.
79 mph in Reston, Va.
65 mph in Rockville, Md.
70 mph at Reagan National Airport
76 mph in Seat Pleasant, Md. (Prince George’s co.)
77 mph in Swan Point, Md. (Charles co.)
70 mph in Ashburn, Va.
69 mph in Leesburg, Va.
In addition, an 80 mph gust was clocked in Fredericksburg. To the north and west, 91 mph and 72 mph gusts were measured in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio
100% of Minnesota’s electricity generation needs can be met by wind and solar sources combined with improvements to the state’s electric grid system and energy efficiency policies, according to a report released today.
Researched and written by Dr. Arjun Makhijani and Christina Mills of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) and Dr. M.V. Ramana of Princeton University.
Minnesota’s electricity sector currently accounts for over one third of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. State policy is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.
“A significant change in electricity generation sources is clearly needed to achieve that goal,” Dr. Makhijani explained. “Fortunately, wind and solar can provide 100% of Minnesota’s electricity. These currently available technologies also offer significant job creation and economic development opportunities.”
The notion that solar and wind energy cannot be the mainstay of an electricity generation system because they are intermittent is incorrect…it is technically and economically feasible to meet the entire 2007 electricity demand of Xcel Energy [in Minnesota] using only renewable energy generation combined with storage technology and energy efficiency improvements.
The renewable energy mix would include approximately 13,000 megawatts of wind power and 4,600 megawatts of distributed solar PV…would pump more than $90 billion into the state’s economy and create 50,000 jobs.
With the combination of new renewable energy and significant energy efficiency, electricity rates rise slightly but Minnesota ratepayers are held relatively harmless.
The conventional notion of a “peak load” needs to be replaced in designing an electricity system with a high proportion of solar and wind energy…The crunch time may be during periods when the wind and solar supply are low relative to demand.
With all this talk about eating local and counting miles I thought it would be good to explain what it really means. The foundation for local eating starts with a foodshed.
Foodshed: a region or area from which a population draws its food.
The typical limit on these regions is 100 miles. Draw a 100-mile circle around where you live and that is your foodshed.
In economic terms this is ideal distance a farmer, or her goods, can travel to reach a market. That way it arrives on your plate as fresh, ripe, and nutritious as it can be.
Go outside of this limit and there is an increasing reliance on fossil fuels and a decreasing quality of the food.
For those concerned about pollution, global warming, or oil-addiction these “food miles” are a cause for concern. Farmers face similar concerns, albeit from the other side, with a rising cost of gas and oil-based fertilizers that narrow their profits.
These rings of farmland surrounding our communities represent the ideal of sustainable living. Where the countryside is not poverty-stricken, but instead a vibrant economic sector known as much for its wineries and ‘farm-days’ as it is for fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Even more these areas are often recession proof as evidenced by their continual rapid growth during the past half-decade.
It is for all these reasons that the locavore movement is popular and gaining momentum, there is something in it for everyone. Even the beefiest of meat eaters.
For further reference I’ve pulled together several maps of America’s foodsheds. Take a look.