Ethanol, CH3CH2OH, has served mankind for millennia as the overwhelmingly most popular drug in existance. Now Americans are hyping an idea promoted by special interest corn farmers for decades that the solution to the "energy crisis" is to ferment corn en masse into ethanol to fuel their polluting and pitifully inefficient automobiles. This idea is often justified on the basis that such measures will act as economic sanction against foreign entities the US opposes while closing the carbon cycle. For anyone who finds the ethanol fuel idea compelling, at least read this and this. You may start to suspect along with me that this is media hype which is distracting the populous from addressing the real climactic and economic issues facing them.
Tonight I listened to an NPR Science Friday interview with Michael Pollan, who was promoting "The Omnivore's Dilemma." He primarily discussed the nutritional emptiness and gross energy inefficiencies in the modern Western diet, the overdependence on the corn monoculture, and also addressed the ethanol question.
On a related note, this is a Science Friday interview with George Olah regarding the potential use for methanol, CH2OH, to be used as an effective basis for a renewable-hydrogen-methanol economy. I just know I wouldn't drink the stuff.