A singularity is a mathematical term for a situation where all known laws break down, and nothing makes sense. Physicists often use this term to describe the first fractions of the first second of the universe’s Big Bang origin, when even time didn’t really exist.
It occurred to me recently that here in Iowa, we have our own singularity. It’s called Ethanol. A state of senselessness, where all laws break down and math and science and even logic cease to exist.
I’ve written about (some would say railed about) ethanol many times. Why? Because corn ethanol for fuel is stupid. The industry exists by virtue of one reason and one reason only: government policy. The environmental benefits of using corn to produce a liquid biofuel HAVE ALWAYS been more desperation-half-court-heave than slam dunk, it’s lower potential energy when compared to gasoline makes the 10% blend number an obvious head fake, and its dominance of American politics has kept higher energy players sitting at the end of the bench. So why does ethanol get its ticket punched to the Big Dance year after year after year? Politics. Liberal politicians from Joe Biden to Amy Klobuchar to Dick Durban to Sherrod Brown to Cindy Axne to the Iowa City dogcatcher provide all the cover Republicans in general and Iowa Democratic state legislators in particular need to continue force feeding us this rancid cod liver oil until kingdom come.