I was just listening to an NPR piece about how the increased demand for ethanol, due to federal mandates, has pushed the price of corn up.
Suddenly it occurred to me how great this is for the current obesity problem. One of the key factors in the obesity epidemic is that U.S. farmers grow significantly more calories than we can eat. Much of this is in the form of corn products. The proliferation of high-calorie, low-priced food can be directly related to the vast availability and low price of corn by-products -- corn syrup most especially.
I haven't read it yet, but Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals extensively discusses our dependence on corn. Apparently, much of what we eat can be traced back to a corn field in Iowa. And much of the foods involved are not particularly healthy -- junk food, fast food, red meat, etc.
So maybe we'll get some positive health effects out of this ethanol craze.