Showing posts from May 22, 2022

Wine Aged with Cottonwood

  Vince and Audrey Cilurzo developed one of the first wineries in the Temecula Valley of Southern California.   They recognized that (contrary to the scientific consensus) there were enough cool fogs to grow red wine grapes.   Then they fermented and aged those grapes into great red wines. But, that is not the key theme of this post.   The key is their wonderful heresy.   The American oak barrels used for aging wine are expensive, and French oak bottles are even more expensive.   As a startup winery, the Cilurzos experimented with a radical change.   They aged their wines in steel tanks … with thin strips of oak lathe floating in the tanks.   They achieved the delicate oaky sub-taste, to which many have grown accustomed over the centuries, at a much lower cost.   That model could apply to farmers, ranchers, or a local coop entering the wine-making business on a small scale.   Just as micro-breweries returned beer consumption to a more widely distributed local (revenue-producing!)

Why Nuclear Failed the First Time and a Crucial Small Fix

  Two energy commentators in Oilprice, Leonard Hyman and William Tilles, noted that the COP26 climate conference of 2021 was one of many news events suggesting that there will be a resurgence of nuclear fission reactors. However, they started their comments from the other end, “Why Did Nuclear Power Fail the First Time Around?” They listed three major reasons.   First, the giant quasi-governmental projects (which are essentially scaled up submarine reactors) are expensive in management, construction, and grid stability when a giant unit is down for any reason.   Second, people were concerned about the worst-case possible disasters from those giant reactors, even if the bottom-line risk is small.   Third, people are skeptical about storing nuclear waste for thousands of years.   Hyman and Tillis mentioned small manufactured units as a way to reduce costs by half and reducing the size of any potential disasters.   Meanwhile, they caution that the public will still be concerned