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Posts Tagged ‘Captain Planet’

Vortex Tools covers the growing subculture of diesel trucks modified to produce excess amounts of exhaust soot.

When it comes to jerk drivers, there are many variations of “that person”:

  • The aggressive motorcyclist leaning in and out of lanes, wearing a tank top, shorts, and of course, no helmet. One slip and he’ll be scraping road rash out of his eyes.
  • The multi-tasking, rush-hour commuter putting on makeup, smoking, and chatting on the phone, yet who still magically has a hand free to flip you off when she veers into your lane.
  • The giant truck driver on your grill no matter how fast you’re going.
  • The androgynous elderly person driving 20 under in the fast lane.

All those people could just be having a bad day (even if they feel far too common), but the coal rolling subculture is an intentional move to be “that person” every day. I first encountered a rolling coal truck about a year back. I thought it was a lame novelty, but apparently it’s a growing trend.

The Huffington Post notes that coal rollers are spending a lot of time and thousands of dollars to modify their trucks with several components to increase the fuel going into their engines. By doing so, these engines don’t combust properly, and you get large amounts of soot.

Several of these coal rollers take great joy in blowing this black smoke at Priuses and pedestrians:

I’ve made no secret of my dislike of Captain Planet. Part of the reason is that I believe very few people are anti-environment and that the show seemed to unfairly skew people into roles of the heroic and the villainous. In the past I’ve noted:

One of the many problems was that none of the villains on the show made any sense. Besides getting saddled with awful names like Sly Sludge, Looten Plunder and Tank Flusher III (real creative, guys), these eco-villains didn’t just show indifference to the environment, they specifically enjoyed dumping toxic waste in the ocean and misusing nuclear missiles. You know, the kind of hobbies any kid might get himself into if not redeemed by choppy 90s animation.

Most political groups cheat a bit when labeling themselves pro-anything. I mean, who’s anti-life, anti-choice, or anti-environment? Well apparently, the rolling coal crowd is at least largely anti-environmentalist:

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” an unnamed Wisconsin seller of smoke stack kits told Slate’s David Weigel, explaining some of the rationale behind the movement. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Yeah! You tell ‘em! Take that, completely reasonable health standards!

Wait, what?

Bear in mind, this crowd isn’t just anti-environmentalist, they seem to take great pleasure in blowing soot all over people—themselves included. They seem to be quite terrible on a number of fronts.

At this point, my stance is fairly straightforward: You can modify your truck like that, but only if you use that smoke stack as your daily enema.

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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Vortex Tools qualified as a semifinalist in the Cleantech Open—a global competition to accelerate green technologies—for their application in turning harmful CO2 waste from oil and gas wells into recovered high-value energy. This series of blogs was designed to chronicle our experience going through the 2012 Cleantech Open as a reference point for future applicants. Every post — as well as the top five best and worst things the Cleantech Open has to offer — is listed below.

After five months and now 10 posts on the Cleantech Open (or clean tech open if the search engines are slacking), it’s time I get back to things that are ongoing, like my disdain for Captain Planet. Before I go, however, here’s a post of the top five best and worst parts of the Cleantech Open, as well as every post of what to expect from each section of this green business accelerator:

Top Five Best Things in the Cleantech Open

  1. You get your money’s worth: Despite the initial cost, with the extensive networking, volunteer services, and yes, free swag, you’ll get more value than what you put in. Based on time input, though, that’s a whole other angle. For more on this, see posts I and III below.
  2. Rapid education for new small business people: If you’ve just started a company or you just have an idea, the Cleantech Open is for you. Established companies should stay away. For more on this, see post III, IV and VII below.
  3. Excellent business clinics: Currently these are only in the Rocky Mountain region, but with the caliber of support and the expertise of the specialists, they should be expanded to every region. For more on this, see post IV below.
  4. Cleantech Open volunteers genuinely want to help every team succeed in business: With the networking alone, you’ll start to connect to some of the right people (though networking is always a numbers game and you never know its true value until later). More than that, however, Cleantech Open volunteers want to see innovation succeed. For more on this, see post II below.
  5. Win or lose, your company messaging will improve: Whether it’s your elevator pitch, legal needs, target market or customer connections, the Cleantech Open will point you in the right direction. For more on this, see posts III, IV and V below.

Top Five Worst Things in the Cleantech Open

  1. Very disorganized; needs more staff support: This was the true constant in the Cleantech Open. If they want to grow, they need to invest in the proper infrastructure, but those costs could well change its value. For more on this, see posts I, II, IV and VI below.
  2. Not all regions and personnel are created equal: Whether it’s the amount of finalists, the engagement of personnel, or what state you’re in (in proximity to where the regional events are held), your experience can vary. Call up past semifinalists in your state and check. For more on this, see post III below.
  3. The worksheets are frustrating and have little value (especially to an established company): Whether it’s meaningless deadlines, shifting requirements, or the sheer amount of busy work (especially with the webinars) for a product that doesn’t have that much value in the Cleantech Open or the business world, the worksheets — at least with their current form and emphasis — are a waste of time and effort. Additionally, much of the education materials throughout default to the lowest common denominator, meaning the more basic info you know, the less you learn. For more on this, see posts IV and V below.
  4. Some judges will continually miss the value of your product: People mess up and have biases, and since the judges in the Cleantech Open are no different, it doesn’t matter what you say, some will miss or misconstrue what you present (even if those worksheets were supposed to help ease that problem). This can happen as early as the application phase or as late as final judging, but it will happen. For more on this, see posts I, VI and VII below.
  5. Final judging bias overrules overall competition effort: Although the Cleantech Open says overall competition participation is important, it feels more like you can shrug off the first 80% of the competition and hope to hit the judges niche at the end. Rather than sending on the best teams, it feels like they send on the teams that safely fit the Cleantech Open mold. For more on this, see posts VI and VII below.

Process Posts: What to Expect from the…

I. Application

II. National Conference

III. Regional Academy

IV. Webinars (part one) and business clinics

V. Webinars (part two), worksheets and mock judging

VI. Final judging and the awards ceremony

VII. Final thoughts on the Cleantech Open

Misc. Posts on the Cleantech Open

VIII. Five insights to the current state of green energy in the U.S.

IX. Vortex Tools clip from the Cleantech Open

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If you have any questions or comments, please email me at blog (at) spiroflo (dot) com

Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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The Alternative Energy Shift forums have a growing list of 366 ways to live green. As of this date, they’re only ~15% of the way there, and most of the duh options are out the way already (#2: Recycle; #9: Insulate; #19: Reusable bags).

Here are a few of the more novel suggestions (even if the first one is more of a fact):

#20: If the label on your food has more than 3 ingredients, the rest is chemicals and fillers.

#29: Save a small bundle of old newspapers for window cleaning. Streak free, and better than wasting paper towels.

#31: Tablespoon or two of used coffee on house plants periodically; gives them a small boost, helps loosen compacted soil when it’s mixed in.

Come by and add your own suggestions. Maybe I’ll convince someone to dress up like Captain Planet.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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Although I usually update on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with it being Halloween, I figured I better tie in the holiday to green issues. Given my dislike of Captain Planet and nonsensical nature of eco-villains, this video covers it.

Be forewarned: Coarse language ahead, so NSFW:

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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Is there a villain against environmentalism? If not, what specifically are environmentalists fighting against? SpiroFlo examines where the eco-fight is going and if it’s having an effect on the public at large.

Whether it’s hunters with more guns than teeth, or anyone who drives an SUV, I’ve heard several groups slighted as eco-villains—a term I learned from Ted Turner’s masterpiece of children’s animation, “Captain Planet.” Labeled as “edutainment” (note that I place edutainment in quotes because it was neither educational nor entertaining), “Captain Planet” was designed to teach environmentalist values to kids with a superhero shtick.

http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/tv-shows/Captain-Planet-and-the-Planeteers/Verminous-Skumm/

Be sure to thank your parents for naming you Verminous Skumm

One of the many problems was that none of the villains on the show made any sense. Besides getting saddled with awful names like Sly Sludge, Looten Plunder and Tank Flusher III (real creative, guys), these eco-villains didn’t just show indifference to the environment, they specifically enjoyed dumping toxic waste in the ocean and misusing nuclear missiles. You know, the kind of hobbies any kid might get himself into if not redeemed by choppy 90s animation. Even better, many of these eco-villains were voiced by Hollywood actors and actresses—including Ed Asner, Martin Sheen and Meg Ryan—a group who, by and large, are far deeper into fringe environmental issues that the average American soul, making the overt bias of the cartoon all the more cringe-worthy.

It’s easy to laugh off this awkward attempt to market environmentalism to kids, but these cartoon opinions often come out when speaking about green issues. It’s rare I get through a heated conversation on environmentalism that doesn’t include comments about corporate greed, crooked politicians and consumer ignorance. It’s hard for me to grasp, but there are those who believe you cannot trust anyone who wears a suit to work. While I might not like a lot of what the government does, this does not mean I believe that every thought from politicians is evil, yet green issues seem to boil up to a level of vitriol that burns well beyond understanding those who disagree. In the end, we get villains, and we do not reason with villains. Villains gets yelled at; villains get fought. However, even if you consider every issue important, you cannot protest every issue every time. I would argue protesting lost its power long ago, but now what? If you keep your opponents as villains, you cannot go back and have a civil discussion, so we’re stuck in gridlock because both sides feel like any compromise is too much compromise.          

Let’s pick on me on one environmental issue and see how I do:

I do not own an electric car, and frankly, I do not see doing so any time soon. Maybe it’s that there isn’t yet a battery strong enough and cheap enough — one that will actually let me take a road trip without getting stranded in a middle-of-nowhere horror movie cliché — maybe it’s that the price tag for electric cars is still two-to-three times higher than that of a comparable economy fossil fuel ride, or maybe it’s the reality check that I can’t squeeze my value system into my financial budget, but when it comes down to it, I can’t afford to pay so much for a transportation option that doesn’t meet my everyday needs.

The Nissan Leaf: More expensive than hugging the whole tree

Does this disqualify me from being an environmentalist? Some would argue my everyday needs need to change; others might shield me with the notion of being a common sense environmentalist, but there isn’t an agreed upon green checklist to meet a level of bare minimum environmentalism, so it’s up to personal opinions (and inevitably, whatever mob mentality has taken hold recently, good or bad).

Like most issues, environmentalism isn’t so black and white. There are a lot of issues, a lot of nuances, a lot of opinions and, yes, some exceptions. Quite frankly, I think it’s time for a lot more conversations with a lot more listening.

Finally, for those of you who haven’t seen “Captain Planet,” feel free to hurt yourself with the following clip:

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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