Greenhouse Gases & the Weird Statistic o' the Day

I was working on a new EPA greenhouse gas (GHG) report yesterday and I was kind of bothered. Here comes a stream of nonsports stuff so bear with me. Working in industry as an environmental engineer, you're confronted with three different and sometimes opposing priorities: government compliance, ensuring your company maintains profitability, and protecting the general public. This particular greenhouse gas report struck me as odd because it's being generated to give the public and the government another window into the emissions of large industrial facilities and power plants.

There are two problems I'm currently foreseeing. First off, the reporting counts emissions from pollution control devices alongside other emission sources. Pollution control devices like our thermal oxidizers basically just burn up the poisonous stuff that is a byproduct of our process. They burn natural gas and this accounts for about 5-8% of our GHG emissions.

Second, we were in curtailment throughout January and February. Curtailment is when natural gas is rationed to industry to ensure that hospitals, residential areas, and schools have natural gas during the coldest stretches of the year. So to make up for our natural gas rationing, we burn low sulfur distillate (diesel). Diesel is more expensive and it produces more GHG's per BTU than natural gas. For example, this year diesel accounts for 13% of our total BTU's generated in our heaters/boilers but the burning of the diesel accounts for roughly 18% of our GHG emissions. Predicament.

The problem is that these reports are primarily for government data geeks but also for public consumption (when they are finally released in 2011). So besides the fact that we're kicking ass and making money (aka generating GHG's), we're also getting jobbed for protecting the public. The public will see our emissions and say, "Oh those silly South Carolinians generate a lot of greenhouse gases! Let's tar and feather them!" Then, people that are distantly removed from the depths of pollution calculations (aka European bottled water manufacturers) will apply arbitrary criteria to our product based on pollution produced per pound of product and not accept our chip/yarn/fiber across their borders. It's a complicated, bothersome thing to worry about I guess, but that's why they call me Whiskers.

Anyways, I was thinking about a really weird sport stat that all Tech fans are familiar with. What BCS team has the longest active streak where their primary passer did not pass for over 50% completions?

Answer: Georgia Tech by a land slide. We haven't seen our primary quarter finish the season with a 50% completion percentage since Reggie's freshman year. A 6 season streak that stretches over three quarterback's careers. No one is even in the same ball park as us when it comes to lack of accuracy. Vanderbilt was the only other BCS school that went from the 2008 to 2009 seasons with
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