Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 12th, 2023


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Here you have two takes on holes from last week’s ice storm. The fruit cluster above was on a yaupon tree, Ilex vomitoria. The second picture raises the question of whether a concavity that doesn’t go all the way through a tree branch counts as hole. That’s a matter philosophers must surely have been debating for thousands of years. What say you, semantically minded readers: is the hole in the branch below truly a hole? The dull yellow and pale green, by the way, came from lichens.





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As a consequence of the winter storm that led to the pretty ice pictures you’ve been seeing here for the past week, we unprettily had no electricity for three days. Although we heat our home with natural gas, the mechanism that regulates the burning of the gas is electric, so our house went cold. Our kitchen stove is all-electric, so we couldn’t cook or even heat up cold food. Our neighbors with natural gas stoves made out a lot better; the heat from cooking also warmed their homes somewhat.

You may have heard that as a panicky consequence of climate catastrophism some political regimes are moving to ban gas stoves. California, of course, is a prime mover.

You can read a February 8th article by Chuck Devore about the unfortunate costs and consequences of banning natural-gas appliances. Here’s an excerpt:

In much of America, natural gas is so inexpensive that gas ranges cost less than half as much to operate as an electric range. In California, ground zero for the ban on gas stoves, the cost to operate a gas range over the past year equals $1.93 per month (assuming the use of 2.34 therms per month at an average gas cost of 82.3 cents per therm). In California, with electricity prices for residential users soaring in the 11 months ending in November 2022 to 26.36 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (the highest in the continental U.S. and higher than in every state except Hawaii), the average electric range user would pay $11.14 a month. 

But not to fear, Consumer Reports claims the newer electric magnetic induction stoves are 5-10 percent more efficient than a traditional electric stove. Great, give it 10 percent — now you’re paying $10.03 to cook your food in California versus $1.93 for gas — $97.20 more per year to cook with electricity — assuming California isn’t cutting your power due to worries about fire or shortages due to its reliance on unreliable renewable energy. 

That article linked to one by Michael McKenna in the January 21st Washington Times, “The cautionary tale of gas stoves and letting government make your decisions.” Here’s an excerpt from it:

Unfortunately, the effort to ban all natural gas appliances — stoves, water heaters, furnaces — is very much a real thing. It is a deliberate campaign driven by special interest groups opposed to affordable, reliable fuels, and it routinely uses shady research to allege health effects from the use of natural gas appliances.

In reality, of course, there is broad consensus that natural gas appliances are safe.

For instance, in the largest and most complete analysis examining any potential link between gas appliances and childhood asthma to date, scientists found “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”

Similarly, a study tracked the severity and symptoms of asthma among adults from 2018 through the COVID-19 pandemic and found that despite the increased time spent indoors at home, asthmatics experienced a 40% decrease in their symptoms. Those findings suggest that the home environment was safe and healthy, and it is likely that factors outside the home have an outsized impact on asthma symptoms.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2023 at 4:35 AM

Posted in nature photography

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