Basically, I have a kindle fire that uses a form of the android OS and was wondering if there was a way I could run similar apps on my Ubuntu system. Specifically I'd like the news reader program "Pulse". Anybody know if such an emulator or workaround exists?
At this time no, you can use the ADT emulator. Also there are VM x86 images you can use. However that is not what you are looking for.
In theory though because things are written in java and run off the dalvik jvm . It is quite possible someone can port dalvik to GNU like system with a X11 back end. This is all theory though, but I'm surprised someone has not done it yet.