Camlawrie’s Weblog

The New Diesel Fuel… From Fungi?
None of the following are my words.  It is an article I found quite accidentally about a cool new source that has the potential to be used as a source for diesel fuel.
By Justin Couture, Sympatico / MSN Autos

Money might not grow on trees, but diesel could according to Gary Strobel, a professor at Montana State University.

Strobel discovered that fungi growing in the Patagonian forests of South America are capable of producing gaseous diesel. The fungus, G. roseum grows on the Ulmo tree, and produces toxic fumes used to kill off competing species of fungus. Upon closer study, Strobel discovered that these fumes are “virtually identical” in structure to diesel. In fact, it’s a sufficiently close match that he claims the fumes would be adequate to power a diesel engine.

What makes the fungus a potential source for diesel is that the fungus is able to turn cellulose – the fibres in plant material – directly into diesel. This skips the fermentation process that normally occurs during the production of biodiesel, saving time and money. While G. roseum is found on the Ulmo tree in the wild, it could create fuel on any form of cellulose, be it trees, wood, sawdust or leftover husks after harvests.

Given its potential as a truly renewable source of energy, this fungus is certain to be a hot topic in the coming months and years.

Coutoure, J.  The New Diesel Fuel… From Fungi?  Sympatico/MSN autos.  Nov. 10, 2008.  Accessed Nov. 12, 2008.


November 12, 2008, 4:44 pm
Filed under: All, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , ,

bonelessAnother farside comic…  Just for the fun of it

Down, Set, Hike! – Fixing Your Divots Might Be Too Much To Ask

According to its website, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI) was established in 1987 to conduct research and extension and provide information on turfgrass production and management to members of the Ontario turfgrass industry.  The GTI is located approximately at the intersection of College Ave. And Victoria Rd. right here in Guelph, Ontario.  I don’t really know what its actual address is, and it doesn’t really matter for the context of this article, all that matters is that you can tell when you’re passing by it because of the beautiful, sprawling greenery leading up to its front door.  It’s some of the most beautiful grass I have ever seen.  This summer there was even two gorgeous soccer fields that were there to test the latest in high traffic turf quality.  Even in August, the soccer pitches were still immaculate.  One of my friends from home mistook it for a high-end golf course because of how nice the grass looked.  Let’s rewind the tape for a second and go back almost exactly one calendar year.

“When a university is born out of the Ontario Agricultural College and is home to the world class Guelph Turfgrass Institute, to have anything less than a beautifully groomed and manicured football field is almost inexcusable.”

Guelp returning the ball during the 100th Yates Cup - but what about that grass?

Guelp returning the ball during the 100th Yates Cup - but what about that grass?

The above is the lead from the article “Kicking Grass”, written just before last year’s 100th Yates Cup football championship.  The article goes on to explain how a carefully orchestrated team of grounds workers and athletics staff worked feverishly to prepare the football field so that it looked it’s best for the first playoff game hosted by the University of Guelph in 21 years.  I work for athletics and even had a small hand in preparing the stadium for that game.

I do have one small concern though.  And I want you to know, the context is not lack of pride, rather it is excessiveness of pride, if excessiveness is a proper English word.  To be blunt, the turf wasn’t beautifully groomed and manicured, and that, is inexcusable, because it could have been better.  The field could have been just as immaculate as those soccer fields.  Failed potential always irritates me.  From what I understand, in the midst of the live telecast during last year’s Yates Cup, one topic of the colour commentary was the dismal state of the turf.  And it was pretty dismal again this year, with the exception of the Home opener, since the field hadn’t been played on since that game.

Guelph kicking off to Western during the 100th Yates Cup

Guelph kicking off to Western during the 100th Yates Cup

The solution the athletics crew came up with to solve this problem was simple –  Let the GTI take care of the football field.  I don’t mean to suggest that the grounds crew is incapable of caring for the field, or that they don’t have pride in their field, because believe me they do.  It is the most precious couple of acres to them on the entire campus, but they just don’t have the capacity to give it the attention it deserves.  Think of how good our field might look under the care of the GTI.  Think of how good all the athletic fields might look under the care of the GTI.  I’ll say it again; the fields could have been just as immaculate as those soccer fields.  And, it could be like a co-op kind of thing.  The GTI could set aside placements for its students to learn firsthand what it takes to keep turf looking the best it possibly can, while earning credits!  If I were a GTI student, I think it’d be pretty cool to have the oppourtunity to brag about how good my field looked on TV.  Such a program would undoubtedly have positive benefits for the GTI.  For starters, when the colour commentators say “Wow, this field sure looks great, I wonder who maintains it?” on national TV, the answer would be “The Guelph Turfgrass Institute”.   Publicity, publicity, publicity.  Hopefully the next time the Gryphons host the Yates Cup, the commentators can say “Wow, Check out that grass… It looks great!”.

November 5, 2008, 5:24 pm
Filed under: All, Just For Fun | Tags: , , ,

larsoncowsgrassI decided to search for a funny farm-related comic because documentaries about Monsanto are such a downer.  I found a whole lot more good “The Far Side” comics but I have to decide which ones are my favourite.  apparently Gary Larson liked cows!

This Comic was originally run on March 23rd 1989.  that’s all the bibliographic info I could find on it.

Streeters and Organic Foods

While diving into the depths of research for one of my blog posts, I cam across this streeters video.  since we’re doing a streeters video for class and the topic is very relevant, I figure I’d share!!