I am disappointed by Reader's Digest.
Growing up, I had an affinity for it as something to aspire to be smart enough to read all the way through - not just the jokes and after-story snippets.
Tim brought home a copy of the April digest
from work a week or so ago with the front cover talking about living green. I read through it the other night and have been disappointed ever since.
At the bottom of the page, they had a list of 5 Things Not to Sweat
Maybe it's my current immersion in academia that makes me require references and citations for anything stated as fact, but #1 (Turning off your car's air conditioner) and #5 (Going organic) of that list pissed me off. There are comments that just are hearsay with nothing to back them up. Vague comments just come off as incorrect and misleading.
Reader's Digest says:
Yes, the AC does affect fuel efficiency. But Consumer Reports figures it amounts to only one mile per gallon, and edmunds.com says you could end up burning more if you open the windows and increase air resistance.
Bankrate.com (in this article
after speaking with, AND CITING, people from Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, Consumer Reports' auto-test department, and GasBuddy.com) says:
So to achieve maximum fuel efficiency, motorists should avoid using the air conditioner at speeds below 40 mph and travel with their windows down.
Drive at speeds over 55 mph with windows down and you'll decrease fuel economy by up to 20 percent or greater.
It's all in your speed.
You don't get that impression from the snippet Reader's Digest published, do you?
Reader's Digest says:
Since organic farms often yield less per acre than factory farms, organic food requires more land, leaving less room for forests that absorb carbon dioxide and wilderness areas that promote biodiversity.
The LA Times reported
(full article also reprinted here
The study, published in today's issue of Science, reported that organic farming methods used 50% less energy, 97% less pesticide and as much as 51% less fertilizer than conventional methods.
After two decades of cultivation, the soil in the study's test plots was still rich in nutrients, resistant to erosion and readily water absorbent. Overall, organic crop yields averaged about 20% less than conventionally farmed crops, although the differences covered a wide range. Potato yields, for example, were 58% to 66% of those produced by conventional means. The production of wheat reached 90% of a conventional harvest.
To measure the benefits and drawbacks of each system, the researchers set up 96 small plots on a site near Basel, Switzerland where they grew wheat and potatoes on a seven-year crop rotation cycle.
After three cycles, Fliessbach said that the advantages conferred by the organic system could be divided into "below ground benefits" and "above ground benefits."
Below-ground benefits included a rich diversity of microorganisms, which in turn led to better soil structure, more efficient plant growth and superior water absorbency. Higher counts of beneficial insects such as earthworms contributed to soil fertility and reduced fertilizer requirements by half.
Above ground, organic farming proved resistant to the classical scourges of farming crops : drought and erosion. It also eliminated the problems of pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer pollution.
In April 2001, Washington State's Reganold published a six-year study in the magazine Nature, concluding that organic apple farming was not only better for the soil and the environment than its conventional counterpart but had comparable yields, higher profits and greater energy efficiency.
Again, with the over generalization, Reader's Digest fails to confer the truth and instead just perpetuates hearsay.