First, some introductory remarks not necessarily related to the topic, but something I think needs to be said on my “return” . . . and then I’ll get to the topic.
I’ve cut my hiatus short by about a week, primarily because there’s been some Front Page blog scheduling adjustments that aren’t yet final, and I wanted to get my 2cents in there.
Also, the hiatus wasn’t quite as peaceful as I had planned because of this Jack Hectormann passing thing. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying Jack “ruined” my time off . . . it just happened that way. I mean, I’m sure Jack would have preferred otherwise. More on that when I next publish a blog titled “Memories of Jack”, tentatively scheduled for May 20th.
But what I really want to point out here is my “new posting philosophy”, which will be made even more clear in the “Memories of Jack” blog.
I used to occasionally get into what Jack called “Rattle-Battle” exchanges with certain posters, who either intentionally posted provocative rants or just flat out insane absurdities. Actually, most times it was both.
If you are one of those posters on my list . . . TALK TO THE HAND!
Discussion? Yes. Debate? Yes. Disagreement? That’s fine.
But I will no longer respond to certain posters and their nonsense. It’s a waste of my time when I know all they are going to do is “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. And guess what? It’s a waste of their time too if their intent is to get a response from me. (Although I’m sure a response from anybody is what they’re looking for . . . they probably couldn’t care less if I chime in, and that’s fine.)
Does that mean I will brook no disagreement? Of course not. As I just said, “Discussion? Yes. Debate? Yes. Disagreement? That’s fine”. But none of that is OK if you are an “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. kind of person. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.
As I said, TALK TO THE HAND.
OK . . . now to the topic.
And, BTW, the previous posters are NOT what I would classify as “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. kind of people.
I just want to echo and expand on what they said.
I have two issues that I share with JBG: toilets and light bulbs. And I have some work experience comments regarding that video that RET put up on recycling . . . very good video, BTW . . . I just want to take it a little farther.
LOW VOLUME FLUSH
This just makes me furious. I want a flush that would make a WHOLE HEAD OF CABBAGE DISAPPEAR! (And, NO, I wouldn’t try to flush a head of cabbage, but you get the point.)
I don’t want the toilet to burp up toilet paper and other “stuff” (yuccchhhh). And that IS what happens with the low volume water crap (pun intended).
In fact, just tonight my wife called out from the guest bathroom, “The toilet’s broke”, because she saw toilet paper in the bowl.
Other times she’s called out, “Somebody forgot to flush last time.”
That happens almost every day, in both the Master Bath and the Guest Bath.
NO, the toilets are not broke, and nobody “forgot” to flush. In fact, both have gotten new flushing mechanisms and shutoff valves in the past few years. It happened BEFORE then, and AFTER then.
I have to flush the stupid things at least THREE times, sometimes more, to get things to go all the way down and STAY down.
Now how is that conserving water? These libs and Enviro-Nazis never think things through . . . if it “sounds” environmentally friendly, that’s enough for them. No need to go any further . . . like THINK about what actually happens.
If we still had the old high volume flush, we WOULD be conserving water compared to the way it is now.
Our kitchen has recessed flood lights. The incandescent flood lights lasted for ten+ years. When they started to fail a few years ago, I couldn’t get any more incandescent bulbs, so I had to switch to those CFL bulbs (“Compact Fluorescent Lights”).
The CFL’s have failed after only a short time (no where near what they advertise), sometimes after only a few weeks. At first, I thought that maybe I just got a bad bunch, so I kept trying. Same frequency of failure every time.
Now these things have an electrical ballast at the base. That’s a current limiting device for fluorescent lighting . . . that’s about all I know. I’m not real checked out on light bulb technology.
So here’s my theory . . . and I could be way off, but I DO KNOW that for whatever reason, these things burn out regularly and the incandescent DIDN’T.
The recess cavity retains heat. The ballast is at the base of these CFL bulbs, thus it resides within the recess cavity.
I’m thinking this heat degrades the ballast and thus causes the bulb to malfunction eventually . . . in this case, “eventually” is a matter of weeks.
But whatever the reason, as I said, I DO KNOW THESE THINGS BURN OUT REGULARLY.
I’ve asked individuals that are much more familiar with CFL technology than I am, but so far all I’ve gotten is shrugs.
THE RECYCLING SCAM
When I watched that video that RET posted, my first thought was, “Yikes, these morons are voting.”
I worked in the “Waste Industry” (a euphemism for “Garbage biz”) for over a decade. We were a Fortune 200 company and owned and operated over 500 Refuse Hauling companies (Garbage trucks) in the US, Britain, Holland, France, Spain, and several other countries, and over 100 Landfills (“Dumps”). I was a big shot and visited and inspected facilities in the “Western Region” (headquartered in San Jose, Ca, and encompassing Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii. (Of course, our facilities in Hawaii . . . on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island . . . needed my inspection frequently ~grin~).
I think Alaska was in the Midwest Region, headquartered in Minneapolis. Why that was, and how the boundaries were drawn I never quite figured out.
Our gross annual revenues were 5 BILLION plus. Yes, there’s a lot of money in . . . GARBAGE.
We also owned and operated over 50 “MRF’s” (“Material Recovery Facilities”, pronounced “Murphs”, AKA “Recycleries”).
I can tell you from personal experience . . . MRF’s are LOSERS. GAAP (“Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures”) allows them to be shown as “Good Will” on the P&L though. IOW, they are necessary for business.
In most of our municipal contracts, the municipality REQUIRED that in order to bid on a contract, you had to own and operate a MRF within the jurisdiction. Sometimes, we actually had to build a MRF in order to keep a contract.
We DID NOT build, own, or operate MRF’s on our own . . . only when it was required by a municipal contract.
Although Penn and Teller discussed it, I will emphasize they are LOSERS.
That video shows a sorting line and sorters (minimum wage kings). It shows them wearing protective gloves, goggles, and hardhats. That part is true. But what it doesn’t point out, and what IS reality, is that those gloves do very little to prevent needle sticks . . . which are frequent and costly. HIV and Hepatitis monitoring, AT COMPANY EXPENSE, Disability claims AT COMPANY EXPENSE, Workman’s Comp, AT COMPANY EXPENSE, etc.
In fact, there is a subculture of minimum wage kings that has grown around it. Those jobs are highly valued by that subculture because a fraudulent claim (and we had them EVERY day) can net you a tidy sum and a long vacation.
We never had a problem filling a laborer’s job on a sort line. There were 100’s of applications always on file. It was a premium job for people in that subculture.
There were plenty of other reasons MRF’s were LOSERS. The power bill alone for those conveyors AND the bailing machines was huge.
And the bill for the bailing machine included a need for a high dollar mechanic. If your bailing machine failed . . . which they DID frequently because they get heavy and brutal use . . . your whole operation shuts down unless it can be repaired quickly.
And some of those things are computer controlled, with a status board just like you’d see in a nuclear plant. (And some are pretty primitive, with sorters going through rubbish on a transfer station floor).
The contract for waste disposal for the Mall of America is a good example. The city of Minneapolis built a MRF at the Mall of America. They built it with sophisticated computer controls for conveyors, bailers at the end of the line, etc. There were alarms, red lights, green lights, bells and whistles, lines on the panel, etc.
I looked at it, and the first thing that came to my mind was that it would take a NASA engineer to figure the thing out, and that only after months of study. I’m pretty geeky myself, and I stared at the thing for a long time and had absolutely NO clue about what anything meant.
So the Mall of America put out a contract for bid for refuse hauling and disposal, and one of the requirements was that the successful bidder had to provide for the operation of the MRF, which meant of course that the market development guys had to put the cost of a team of NASA type engineers into the pro forma.
If an alarm went off and the right lever/button wasn’t touched, the computer controlled MRF, ALL of it, would shut down. I think we got the contract, but the whole thing was a LOSER because of that MRF.
And in that video there were pinheads talking about how landfills are lined with a thin piece of plastic (called “synthetic liners” in the industry), thus they are vulnerable to dramatic pinhole leaks (of garbage juice, called “leachate” in the industry) and cause groundwater contamination. What these morons didn’t mention is that modern landfills are also lined with about two feet of clay, and both the clay and synthetic liners have to pass rigid ASTM permeability tests BEFORE even an ounce of garbage is laid on them.
They characterize these synthetic liners as though they were like your flimsy Glad kitchen trash bag. I’ve seen these things and walked on them (actually, you’re not supposed to walk on them, but I did anyway). THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AS YOUR KITCHEN TRASH BAG.
Coupla’ more things on this.
First of all, YES, prior to RCRA (pronounced “Rick-ra”, the “Resource Conservation and Recovery Act”, promulgated in 1976) and prior to CERCLA (pronounced as it looks, the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, commonly known as the “Superfund law”) there were some landfills and dumps that DID contaminate the groundwater.
A modern landfill MUST be built with a leachate collection system . . . that’s perforated pipe laid on top of the clay that’s laid on top of the synthetic liner. Consequently, liquid would have to escape the leachate collection system, penetrate the clay, penetrate the synthetic liner, penetrate MORE clay, just to get to the groundwater.
Collected leachate is then delivered to tanks where it is treated and neutralized.
Moreover, the synthetic liner is equipped with sensors that will alert the operator AND the regulatory agencies if even one drop of moisture lands on it.
And finally, there are probes all around the landfill that monitor for releases in real time. If some kind of contaminant plume is detected (like chloroethylene or any long chain hydrocarbon or aromatic ring compound), an alarm goes off LONG before the plume gets to the groundwater.
There are also gas collection systems as the video showed at the Puente Hills Landfill in L.A. . . . the worlds largest landfill. I’ve been there many times.
Those guys that work for the LA county Sanitation District (the owner/operator of Puente Hills) are one of the few groups of government employees that actually know what the heck they are doing. They are pros, and a lot of the industry standards come from Puente Hills.
Anyway, a modern landfill is an engineering marvel, and, NO, there is NOT a shortage of landfill space.
Penn and Teller did a good video.