Author Archives: Mysterion

About Mysterion

I might be Craig, and then again, I might not be. My identity must remain a secret. You cannot know.

Heated debate over whether E15 gas ruins engines


The American Petroleum Institute issued a press release warning motorists about a study of the E15 blend of ethanol and gasoline. Turns out, E15 causes expensive damage to engines:

The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.

In 2010 and 2011, EPA gave the green light to use E15 – the 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend – in model-year-2001-and-later cars and some other vehicles. EPA’s action was irresponsible. EPA knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results. Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can’t be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the RFS before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.

The Coordinating Research Council’s initial tests — first released in May of 2012 — are once again coming to light after further testing proved that delicate components in newer cars were most at risk.

AAA, the recognizable and leading auto club in the U.S., also called for an outright suspension of E15 earlier this month, citing a lack of research:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.

Research to date raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights.

The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.

In June, the EPA approved the use of E15, and a handful of gas stations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas have begun to sell this fuel. There is a strong likelihood that retailers will market E15 in additional states soon unless regulators take immediate action to protect consumers.

Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. The ethanol industry has lobbied hard to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline as a way to increase sales and help meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.

AAA’s concern with E15 is not about ethanol. In fact, AAA believes that ethanol-blended fuels have the potential to save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels. The problem is that available research, including the EPA’s exhaust emissions tests, is not sufficient evidence that E15 is safe to use in most vehicles.

Ethanol producers, backed by politicians reaping ethanol lobbying money, fired back by claiming the study by the CRC was rigged. Senior Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Ron Lamberty, called out AAA as “hypocrites” and alarmists for “turning a blind eye and most likely allowing people to shorten the lives of their vehicles by using unapproved and untested oil-company produced sub-octane gasoline for decades, while loudly attacking thoroughly tested and approved E15 when only a few stations are offering it for sale, is quite unbecoming for an organization that claims it puts the best interests of the American motorist first.”

Last November in California, E15 was outright banned as an option for motorists because, “it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.”

The results will no doubt speak for themselves when E15 becomes more widespread at gas stations in other states this year. I for one, will avoid it.

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Math PhD: ‘Probability of an Obama reelection is at 99.8%’

An under-rated, dispassionate mathematical analysis of the race back on August 14th:

Running the current statewide polling data through our simulation model, there are currently sixteen states – including Pennsylvania – in which Obama has a greater than 95% probability of winning. These sixteen contribute a total of 205 electoral votes to his total. Governor Romney also has sixteen states in his certain win column, but because of population differences they contribute only 141 electoral votes to his total.

A second level includes those states that while not certain wins for each of the candidates a win is considered likely. This level adds three more states to the Obama tally with an additional 58 electoral votes. Romney gains a single state and only three additional electors.

Including this level the President currently has 263 electoral votes requiring only seven additional electors. Governor Romney has 144 electoral votes and still needs 126 more.

To reach 270 it might be possible for Romney to win all four of the states that are leaning in his favor – Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, and South Dakota. This adds thirty-two electors to his total. If he also takes all three of the true tossup states – Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee – he gains an additional thirty electors. But that only brings him to 203 – still 67 short. To make up these additional votes he will need to take all of the states that are polling close, but still leaning Obama.

At this point the probability of an Obama reelection is at 99.8% – as close to a certainty as one might expect. But it might be possible for Romney to change the result by swaying a few of the battlegrounds. But it will take more than a single win. For example Ohio is currently a likely Obama win. But if between now and November Romney can change that outcome and take Ohio his odds barely improve with Obama’s chance of winning dropping to just under 99%.

Instead, Romney will have to sweep all of the battlegrounds.

Electoral Vote — who uses a different modeling process to come to a similar conclusion — has a daily snapshot that shows the math hasn’t changed any better for Romney from nearly a month ago when the tally stood at Obama 317, Romney 212, and 9 contested. Today shows Obama has steadily strengthened across polling in those battleground states, now electorally dwarfing Romney 347 to 191.

Of course, these polls and predictions are all for laughs and giggles when we ask mathematicians to begrudgingly factor in the very real variable of the much abused October Surprise, not to mention two candidates who have failed to charismatically inspire anywhere near the same levels of enthusiasm as the race of just four years ago, instead using division and fear as their primary campaign weapons.

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Rand Paul to speak, endorse Romney at GOP convention

Hammer of Truth has learned that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has made the cut to speak at the week-long event held in Tampa Florida beginning, according to an announcement by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. The announcement comes just a few days after news that Congressman Ron Paul — Rand’s father and erstwhile presidential candidate — would be barred from speaking. A side rally dubbed “Paulfest” is officially being organized by Paul supporters outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum as a protest by the Paul campaign at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome.

Rand Paul is already the libertarian favorite for 2016 should Romney fail to oust Barack Obama. We’ve been informed by sources inside the Paul campaign and D.C. Republicans that Rand Paul will be endorsing Mitt Romney (again) and that there’s virtually no chance that he’ll be picked for the VP slot.

Regardless of party politics playing an apparent role, Rand is one of two speakers newly selected — Rick Santorum was announced at the same time — that shows the 2012 GOP Convention is not a completely closed tent affair to the vociferous votes of libertarian or christian evangelicals.

After showing their primary clout in sinking Romney’s favorability ratings enough for several losses, it was wise not to exclude them.

Update: Added clarification on details of Ron Paul’s rally.

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Doug Stanhope on Nationalism

There’s not nearly enough funny happening at Hammer of Truth these days, so here Doug Stanhope’s great stage presence. His aggressive style of libertarian comedy should be experience by more people, so here’s my contribution to his growing fanbase. He’s not as pretty as Ryan Reynold’s, but he’s far funnier and hasn’t been in any retarded movies about being buried, if that’s an endorsement of any consequence.

Nationalism will never be erased until borders are, but then racism, and ugh… humans just love to divide ourselves into classes and groups endlessly, but I’m throwing down with team Stanhope and Friends and that’s probably good enough for now.

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World votes to send bin Laden to hell

Man, the sheer inconsequential nature of the average Fox News poll (which is most generously reported by this fellow) is enough to drive me to wonder how many nitwits out there just need to get a better hobby than politics:

A Fox News poll conducted May 15-17 about the killing of Bin Laden asked the usual stuff about whether voters thought it was the best outcome and whether President Obama was taking the right amount or too much credit.

Then it slipped in this question:

Do you believe Osama Bin Laden was greeted by 72 virgins in Heaven or did he meet a more negative end?

(We suppose the “negative end” was having to make do with the raisins after a career of death and destruction).

Eighty percent said he had met a negative end and only 3 percent believed he was greeted by the virgins. Seventeen percent admitted they didn’t know.

Democrats, Republicans and independents, for once, were all in agreement: no virgins.

Who the fuck cares? Is the question of Osama’s post-corporeal status really what’s driving the news polls these days? I for one will gladly put myself in the seventeen percent who say “I DON’T KNOW”, with an added “MAYBE HE’S LAUGHING BACK AT CIA HQ.” But seriously, I don’t know, and I 100% do not care.

Most people care more about the alleged porn stash that they found during the raid in Abbottabingbangboom than whether it has any real consequence. I tend to agree, because while that may seem inconsequential to most, it really means that somewhere in the WH record system there is a secret memo with some very salacious porn titles (after all, it’s some State Department bureaucrat’s job to source these things properly, which is probably not a half bad job). That was probably a fun oval office briefing for the guys.

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