First, before we start the rather macabre discussion of burial, I want to wish you all a happy new year. Also, my blog this year will alternate between Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays will remain the traditional Thermo Thursday and Fridays will be Finance Fridays in which I will dissect energy or thermo related stocks to help you discern if their business is based on hope or hype.
CNN carried an article on a trend toward using biodegradable coffins for burial. In it is a picture of a grieving relative of someone about to be buried in a coffin made from recycled newspaper. I hope they only used the obituary section and not the sports section!
John in the carpool has asked me to opine on whether burial is more green than cremation. Well with the fattening up of the American population, the average adult now has enough fat content to self sustain their own cremation without the need of any fossil fuel.
Some nut in the UK has posted the average body composition (pdf).
I will assume 20% fat content for the average American adult and an average mass of 175 pounds so that we have 35 pounds of fat to contribute to our cremation. This is about 700,000 BTUs of available energy which is more than ample to "fire" the process. Burial in a cemetery that has its landscape maintained for the next 100 years will require mowing of the lawn around each gravesite. If the mowing is performed 25 times a year and the lawn around each gravesite is 100 square feet then the amount of lawn mowed over a 100 year period is 25 times 100 times 100 or 250,000 square feet or some six acre equivalent of mowing. To mow six acres of lawn requires at least 2 gallons of gasoline so I vote that even with the biodegradable recycled coffin, cremation is much more green than burial. Judaism has been green about burial for the past three thousand years as the rabbis require a very plain pine casket without any metal or adornment. In biblical times the body was buried in a pure white cotton shroud, not a wood coffin so this was even more green.
Enough about death and taxes!!
New York City rang in the new year with a brand new LED based ball. The new ball is twice as bright and uses half the electricity of the previous ball. NYC had been dropping the ball in time square for the past 100 years. The politicians in DC have always dropped the ball.
Lastly talking about lighting up the world! A new 150 inch plasma display was unveiled at the consumer electronics show this week in Las Vegas. This display has a surface area in excess of 9,600 square inches and will need about 3.5 kilowatts of power. I found an interesting web site that compares the power requirements for various TV technologies. I hope that the governator has a 35 amp electrical service in his den. Yes, Arne has ordered one of these so he can watch reruns of Twins. He wants to see his buddy Danny DeVito in normal size and to see himself as the jolly green giant.
The word of the day is remonstrate or to plead or protest. Perhaps in this case one could start the word with a ‘d’ and still be correct.
remonstrate \rih-MAHN-strayt; REH-mun-strayt\
1. To present and urge reasons in opposition to an act, measure, or any course of proceedings — usually used with ‘with’.
1. To say or plead in protest, opposition, or reproof. If a hailstorm starts, surely instead of remonstrating with it, you try to take shelter.
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