Wasting Energy

August 2, 2010

A recent article at the New Scientist gives some startling estimates of the amount of food that is wasted in the US.  Current estimates are that about 16 percent of energy consumption in the US is tied to food production, distribution, storage, and preparation.  Yet, according to a paper [abstract, PDF link to full paper available] by Amanda Cuéllar and Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology by the American Chemical Society, about 25% of food produced is wasted (and this is surely an underestimate, since it does not count food wasted “on the farm”, or waste in fishing).   From this, the authors calculate that about 2.15 × 1015 kiloJoules of energy is effectively wasted on the production of food that is thrown away.

That’s more than could be gained from many popular strategies to improve energy efficiency. It is also more than projections for how much energy the US could produce by making ethanol biofuel from grains.

The biggest areas of waste are in dairy foods and vegetables.

This really is an astonishingly large number.  The only bright spot is this: just think how fat some of our fellow citizens would be if it were all eaten — not a pretty picture.

Microsoft Issues Patch for .LNK Flaw

August 2, 2010

As I noted last Friday, Microsoft had announced that it would release an out-of-schedule patch today for the security vulnerability associated with Windows “shortcuts” (these files have a .LNK extension).  The patch has now been released; details are in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-046, which also has download links for the stand-alone patch installation files.  The update should also be available via the Microsoft Update service.

This vulnerability affects all supported versions of Windows, and is rated Critical for all of them; it is being actively exploited at present.   I recommend you install this update as soon as you can.

Update, Monday, 2 August, 21:00 EDT

Brian Krebs at Krebs on Security has posted an article about this update, which contains some more implementation information; he describes some minor problems with installation of the patch on a 64-bit version of Windows 7.

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