28 February 2010

Cap and Trade Basics

27 February 2010

No Comment Needed

25 February 2010

Truth Being Told

24 February 2010

5 New Ideas

Here are 5 alternative energy sources that you may hearing more of soon:
• Helioculture: The idea is to create hydrocarbons with a little help from the sun. Brackish water is combined with photosynthetic organisms, nutrients and carbon dioxide and left in the sun. This process results in hydrocarbons that are ready for use a fuel -- not refining necessary.
• Sewage: Our waste can...reduce waste. Using microbial fuel cells, sewage can be used in bio-electrochemical systems to create power. In fact, Norway has plans to begin using human waste to power the buses in Oslo.
• Evaporation: Apparently, scientists are working on ways to harness the difference in electrical properties that exist between air and water. In order to make this work, a special kind of "leaf" is micro-fabricated. Air bubbles are pumped in, and as the water evaporates, the power is captured. Although it does seem like a lot of work for what might not be too much power...
• Human movement: Could the expanding planetary population actually power itself through movement? There are thoughts that piezoelectricity could be generated with the use of special tiles placed in strategic places where people walk. These tiles would be made out of materials that generate energy in response to mechanical stress applied on them. As people walked to the bus, or jogged in the park, their pressure on these tiles could produce power.
• Moon: For some time, scientists have considered ways to produce Helium-3, which is a non-radioactive possibility for mostly clean energy. However, creating He-3 on earth is a real pain. However, our near neighbor, the moon, has this light isotope in abundance. Could we see mines on the moon, working to tap into this source of possible energy? Maybe. One Russian company, RKK Energiya, thinks that moon mining for Helium-3 could be a possibility by 2020.

23 February 2010

22 February 2010

New DIY Renewable Energy Club in Roanoke

The Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicle Association (REEVA) is a Do-It-Yourself club to help members do solar/wind installations and build electric vehicles at project homes thus cutting the cost by removing labor.

How REEVA Began

When REEVA President, Mark Hanson, went on the Solar Home tours and spoke with renewable energy folk's the main conversation topic was, "Gee the energy (solar/wind) is free but the equipment is expensive."

A typical solar grid tie installation is $10 per watt or $50k for a standard 5kw system (without incentives). The total parts run about $5 - $6 per watt.

I was told that someone should start a club where group member's help each other to build solar/wind systems and electric cars (that charge on such systems). Thus REEVA was born where volunteers do the labor and others can see finished projects. (There are also excellent local installers, some are REEVA members who do turnkey projects for folk's who don't want to go the DIY route.)

We also promote renewable energy through legislation and local events.


To Visit the Web Site Click Here

21 February 2010

No Comment Needed

20 February 2010

Proposed 28th Amendment

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings
of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that Congress
members could retire with the same pay after only one term,
that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they
specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they
have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of
prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens
must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt
themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being
considered...in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't
seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the
law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican,
Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the
citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to
the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make
no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives
that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United
States".

19 February 2010

Energy-from-waste powers US army

Pyrolysis system (Qinetiq)

A system that generates energy from rubbish is being sent by defence firm Qinetiq to the US army.
The PyTEC system heats mixed waste, releasing a gas that can be burned to produce five times more energy than is required to drive the system.
Qinetiq say that the system, already in use on British navy ship HMS Ocean, has been "containerised" for US army use.
The approach could see use in urban areas, reducing municipal waste volume by 95% while producing energy.
The process hinges on pyrolysis, in which waste subjected to high temperatures releases combustible gases.
In essence it is the same process that happens above a match; heating of the wood releases gases that burn in the presence of oxygen, producing the visible flame.
In pyrolysis, the heating occurs in the absence of oxygen, and the released gases are gathered and stored for later use.

We're reducing their logistical footprint, reducing the number of body bags, and reducing their fossil fuel usage
Pat McGlead
Qinetiq
This is in contrast to simple incineration or gasification - another energy-from-waste approach that heats particular kinds of waste in the presence of oxygen to create combustible gases.
Typically, such systems require that the waste be of a singular type, and diced up before entering the gasification chamber.
Waste not
In the PyTEC system, a large screw-shaped column takes in up to 100kg per hour of untreated mixed waste - including glass and tin, particularly troublesome waste sources for thermal waste approaches.
The waste is heated, releasing gases that are removed and used to power a steam turbine.
What exits the system is a glassy substance just 5% the volume of the waste that entered, along with 400kW of power.
A similar system was installed on the UK navy ship HMS Ocean late last year.
"We've taken the plant that we developed for HMS Ocean and containerised it for the US army as a means to make it more mobile, more easily deployable and reducing their fossil fuel requirements," said Pat McGlead, waste management business development manager for Qinetiq.

The system fits into two shipping containers for easy deployment
The systems will be deployed to one of 55 "forward operating bases" in Iraq and Afghanistan - temporary outposts of 600 front-line soldiers that, until now, had no formal arrangements for waste disposal.
"That means they're going to have to have trucks on the roads (to carry the waste), and that means people are going to be exposed to land mines and so on - and it increases the use of fossil fuels," Mr McGlead told BBC News.
"By providing them with a self-contained waste management capability, we're reducing their logistical footprint, reducing the number of body bags, and reducing their fossil fuel usage."
In addition, the size and complexity reduction of the system for US army use means the approach could see application outside the military.
"We're finding more and more people in the commercial sector want to take ownership of their waste, and they want to reduce their carbon footprint, so they see energy from waste as a good way to go," Mr McGlead said.
"There are people that are interested in it for blocks of flats - it has a number of different applications."

18 February 2010

Underwater Kite Harnesses Ocean Energy


A completely new concept of underwater wave energy using a simple 7 ton kite turbine design has been developed by Minesto; which is a spinoff from the Swedish military and aircraft design firm Saab. The Deep Green underwater turbine captures the power of the ocean just like a kite in wind.


The system could generate 18 terawatthours of energy annually, enough to provide nearly 4 million British households with reliably green electricity every year. UK households now use about a third of what average US households use in energy.

Originally Saab was working on a kite design for a wind turbine, but found that the concept would actually work better in water, which is 832 times more dense than air.

The kite twirls in a repeating figure eight pattern (video) that increases the ocean velocity ten-fold. The first stage increases the relative flow speed entering a turbine. When the tide hits the wing it turns down, which creates a lift force. The kite is mounted to the ocean bed with a tether and is controlled by a rudder to gently nudge it in the desired trajectory.

According to Minesto’s website, each megawatt-worth of kite(s) would weigh 14 tons, so it would seem that each 7 ton kite is a 500 KW unit. According to CEO Anders Jansson’s estimate, these could probably produce power for somewhere between $0.09 cents and $0.20 cents per kwh.

Certainly because these are such extremely simple-tech structures they would be cost effective - costing less in materials per power produced, and costing less in transporting them to the site, in installing them and even in ongoing maintenance costs.

Almost half the potential in Europe is in British waters, with the ocean moving an average of 1 to 2 metres per second between 60 and 120 metres below the surface.

The Carbon Trust based in the UK gave early development support. Minesto’s Deep Green is now funded in part by the UK and Swedish governments, and has nearly $3 million in additional capital from parent company Saab Group, Midroc New Technology, Verdane Capital and Encubator.

With these kinds of serious investors, and such a simple and cost effective design, this could be what gets wave power to the world.

17 February 2010

Metal-Air Battery Could Store 11 Times More Energy than Lithium-Ion

Metal air battery



A spinoff company from Arizona State University plans to build a new battery with an energy density 11 times greater than that of lithium-ion batteries for just one-third the cost. With a $5.13 million research grant from the US Department of Energy awarded last week, Fluidic Energy hopes to turn its ultra-dense energy storage technology into a reality.

For more Click here.

16 February 2010

15 February 2010

Coal and you

For all those who read this and are living downwind of a coal plant please heed this warning. I have noticed that the Roanoke Valley is cursed with an extraordinarily high incidence of myotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 5,600 people in the U.S.are diagnosed with ALS each year. This works out to about 1 per 50,000. Ask yourself how many people you know in the Roanoke area that have this condition. I can count 10. There should be about 3 per year, now if I can count ten in my small circle, then there are going to be many, many more in our area.

I am convinced that we are paying the price of cheap energy. Every day we breathe the unregulated Mercury and other emmisions from coal plants. If you know anyone with ALS please let me know as I want to start an unofficial count.

Here is some more info about coal for those who are interested:

Will You Be a Victim of Killer Coal?

14 February 2010

What If?

Joel Pett

13 February 2010

Addicted To Oil And Violence By Kurt Vonnegut

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.

-------------------------

When you get to my age, if you get to my age, which is 81, and if you have reproduced, you will find yourself asking your own children, who are themselves middle-aged, what life is all about. I have seven kids, four of them adopted.

Many of you reading this are probably the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.

I put my big question about life to my biological son Mark. Mark is a pediatrician, and author of a memoir, The Eden Express. It is about his crackup, straightjacket and padded cell stuff, from which he recovered sufficiently to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Vonnegut said this to his doddering old dad: “Father, we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” So I pass that on to you. Write it down, and put it in your computer, so you can forget it.

I have to say that’s a pretty good sound bite, almost as good as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, 500 years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

The Chinese also gave us, via Marco Polo, pasta and the formula for gunpowder. The Chinese were so dumb they only used gunpowder for fireworks. And everybody was so dumb back then that nobody in either hemisphere even knew that there was another one.

But back to people, like Confucius and Jesus and my son the doctor, Mark, who’ve said how we could behave more humanely, and maybe make the world a less painful place. One of my favorites is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana. Get a load of this:

Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was only 4, ran 5 times as the Socialist Party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I’m of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools or health insurance for all?

How about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. …

And so on.

Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff.

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

-------------------------

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

But, when you stop to think about it, only a nut case would want to be a human being, if he or she had a choice. Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are!

I was born a human being in 1922 A.D. What does “A.D.” signify? That commemorates an inmate of this lunatic asylum we call Earth who was nailed to a wooden cross by a bunch of other inmates. With him still conscious, they hammered spikes through his wrists and insteps, and into the wood. Then they set the cross upright, so he dangled up there where even the shortest person in the crowd could see him writhing this way and that.

Can you imagine people doing such a thing to a person?

No problem. That’s entertainment. Ask the devout Roman Catholic Mel Gibson, who, as an act of piety, has just made a fortune with a movie about how Jesus was tortured. Never mind what Jesus said.

During the reign of King Henry the Eighth, founder of the Church of England, he had a counterfeiter boiled alive in public. Show biz again.

Mel Gibson’s next movie should be The Counterfeiter. Box office records will again be broken.

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

-------------------------

And what did the great British historian Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794 A.D., have to say about the human record so far? He said, “History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.”

The same can be said about this morning’s edition of the New York Times.

The French-Algerian writer Albert Camus, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, wrote, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”

So there’s another barrel of laughs from literature. Camus died in an automobile accident. His dates? 1913-1960 A.D.

Listen. All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being: Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Crime and Punishment, the Bible and The Charge of the Light Brigade.

But I have to say this in defense of humankind: No matter in what era in history, including the Garden of Eden, everybody just got there. And, except for the Garden of Eden, there were already all these crazy games going on, which could make you act crazy, even if you weren’t crazy to begin with. Some of the games that were already going on when you got here were love and hate, liberalism and conservatism, automobiles and credit cards, golf and girls’ basketball.

Even crazier than golf, though, is modern American politics, where, thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.

Actually, this same sort of thing happened to the people of England generations ago, and Sir William Gilbert, of the radical team of Gilbert and Sullivan, wrote these words for a song about it back then:

I often think it’s comical
How nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative.
Which one are you in this country? It’s practically a law of life that you have to be one or the other? If you aren’t one or the other, you might as well be a doughnut.

If some of you still haven’t decided, I’ll make it easy for you.

If you want to take my guns away from me, and you’re all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other, and want to give them kitchen appliances at their showers, and you’re for the poor, you’re a liberal.

If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you’re a conservative.

What could be simpler?

-------------------------

My government’s got a war on drugs. But get this: The two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal.

One, of course, is ethyl alcohol. And President George W. Bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed or tiddley-poo or four sheets to the wind a good deal of the time from when he was 16 until he was 41. When he was 41, he says, Jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint.

Other drunks have seen pink elephants.

And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs? They invented algebra. Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals.

We’re spreading democracy, are we? Same way European explorers brought Christianity to the Indians, what we now call “Native Americans.”

How ungrateful they were! How ungrateful are the people of Baghdad today.

So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich. That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget. Hail to the Chief.

That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.

Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.

About my own history of foreign substance abuse. I’ve been a coward about heroin and cocaine and LSD and so on, afraid they might put me over the edge. I did smoke a joint of marijuana one time with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, just to be sociable. It didn’t seem to do anything to me, one way or the other, so I never did it again. And by the grace of God, or whatever, I am not an alcoholic, largely a matter of genes. I take a couple of drinks now and then, and will do it again tonight. But two is my limit. No problem.

I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.

But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver’s license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.

And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.

When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those. Cold turkey.

Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?

Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

Addicted To Oil And Violence By Kurt Vonnegut

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.

-------------------------

When you get to my age, if you get to my age, which is 81, and if you have reproduced, you will find yourself asking your own children, who are themselves middle-aged, what life is all about. I have seven kids, four of them adopted.

Many of you reading this are probably the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.

I put my big question about life to my biological son Mark. Mark is a pediatrician, and author of a memoir, The Eden Express. It is about his crackup, straightjacket and padded cell stuff, from which he recovered sufficiently to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Vonnegut said this to his doddering old dad: “Father, we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” So I pass that on to you. Write it down, and put it in your computer, so you can forget it.

I have to say that’s a pretty good sound bite, almost as good as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, 500 years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

The Chinese also gave us, via Marco Polo, pasta and the formula for gunpowder. The Chinese were so dumb they only used gunpowder for fireworks. And everybody was so dumb back then that nobody in either hemisphere even knew that there was another one.

But back to people, like Confucius and Jesus and my son the doctor, Mark, who’ve said how we could behave more humanely, and maybe make the world a less painful place. One of my favorites is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana. Get a load of this:

Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was only 4, ran 5 times as the Socialist Party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I’m of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Doesn’t anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools or health insurance for all?

How about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. …

And so on.

Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney stuff.

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

-------------------------

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

But, when you stop to think about it, only a nut case would want to be a human being, if he or she had a choice. Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are!

I was born a human being in 1922 A.D. What does “A.D.” signify? That commemorates an inmate of this lunatic asylum we call Earth who was nailed to a wooden cross by a bunch of other inmates. With him still conscious, they hammered spikes through his wrists and insteps, and into the wood. Then they set the cross upright, so he dangled up there where even the shortest person in the crowd could see him writhing this way and that.

Can you imagine people doing such a thing to a person?

No problem. That’s entertainment. Ask the devout Roman Catholic Mel Gibson, who, as an act of piety, has just made a fortune with a movie about how Jesus was tortured. Never mind what Jesus said.

During the reign of King Henry the Eighth, founder of the Church of England, he had a counterfeiter boiled alive in public. Show biz again.

Mel Gibson’s next movie should be The Counterfeiter. Box office records will again be broken.

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

-------------------------

And what did the great British historian Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794 A.D., have to say about the human record so far? He said, “History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.”

The same can be said about this morning’s edition of the New York Times.

The French-Algerian writer Albert Camus, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, wrote, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”

So there’s another barrel of laughs from literature. Camus died in an automobile accident. His dates? 1913-1960 A.D.

Listen. All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being: Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Crime and Punishment, the Bible and The Charge of the Light Brigade.

But I have to say this in defense of humankind: No matter in what era in history, including the Garden of Eden, everybody just got there. And, except for the Garden of Eden, there were already all these crazy games going on, which could make you act crazy, even if you weren’t crazy to begin with. Some of the games that were already going on when you got here were love and hate, liberalism and conservatism, automobiles and credit cards, golf and girls’ basketball.

Even crazier than golf, though, is modern American politics, where, thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.

Actually, this same sort of thing happened to the people of England generations ago, and Sir William Gilbert, of the radical team of Gilbert and Sullivan, wrote these words for a song about it back then:

I often think it’s comical
How nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative.
Which one are you in this country? It’s practically a law of life that you have to be one or the other? If you aren’t one or the other, you might as well be a doughnut.

If some of you still haven’t decided, I’ll make it easy for you.

If you want to take my guns away from me, and you’re all for murdering fetuses, and love it when homosexuals marry each other, and want to give them kitchen appliances at their showers, and you’re for the poor, you’re a liberal.

If you are against those perversions and for the rich, you’re a conservative.

What could be simpler?

-------------------------

My government’s got a war on drugs. But get this: The two most widely abused and addictive and destructive of all substances are both perfectly legal.

One, of course, is ethyl alcohol. And President George W. Bush, no less, and by his own admission, was smashed or tiddley-poo or four sheets to the wind a good deal of the time from when he was 16 until he was 41. When he was 41, he says, Jesus appeared to him and made him knock off the sauce, stop gargling nose paint.

Other drunks have seen pink elephants.

And do you know why I think he is so pissed off at Arabs? They invented algebra. Arabs also invented the numbers we use, including a symbol for nothing, which nobody else had ever had before. You think Arabs are dumb? Try doing long division with Roman numerals.

We’re spreading democracy, are we? Same way European explorers brought Christianity to the Indians, what we now call “Native Americans.”

How ungrateful they were! How ungrateful are the people of Baghdad today.

So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich. That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget. Hail to the Chief.

That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.

Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.

About my own history of foreign substance abuse. I’ve been a coward about heroin and cocaine and LSD and so on, afraid they might put me over the edge. I did smoke a joint of marijuana one time with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, just to be sociable. It didn’t seem to do anything to me, one way or the other, so I never did it again. And by the grace of God, or whatever, I am not an alcoholic, largely a matter of genes. I take a couple of drinks now and then, and will do it again tonight. But two is my limit. No problem.

I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.

But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver’s license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.

And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.

When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those. Cold turkey.

Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?

Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

Dramatic Glacial Footage

12 February 2010

Giant Monster Iceberg Headed Towards Australia

iceberg

A 12-mile-long massive iceberg (twice the size of Hong Kong island) is headed towards Australia in what scientists are calling a “once-in-a-century event.”

The 54 square-mile ice slab known as B17B, is currently about 1,000 miles south of the continent. Initially three times as big, it broke off of the Antarctic about 10 years ago and has been slowly floating around. It’s current path north is unusual — and incredibly rare. “I’m guessing you would probably have to go back to the times of the clipper ships,” one glaciologist told USA Today.

B17B is expected to break up into smaller, but still hazardous chunks as it enters warmer waters and moves closer to Australia. It joins two other large icebergs currently floating down under — as well as several hundred currently infesting the waters around New Zealand.

Researchers warn that as global warming effects the colder regions of our planet, icebergs of this size are likely to occur more often.

11 February 2010

A dream come true!

In 1984 I wrote an article about alternative construction where I said "septic systems and sewage treatment plants are wasteful and barbaric technology that will be abandoned in the future". I was thinking the next ten years, but maybe I was off by a couple of decades. Here is a fun building that gives me hope!



The sewer systems we use today are entirely ineffectual and unnecessary. The primary flaw in our design is that we use fresh water to dispose of feces. This is perhaps the most ineffectual thing to do with human manure — it pollutes fresh water, and it requires municipalities to maintain extremely costly sewage treatment infrastructures. Even after treatment, sewage can still wreck havoc on rivers and groundwater.

The most effective and straightforward thing to do with sewage is to compost it (or use it to produce fuel). It’s a valuable resource.

The C. K. Choi Building is a 30,000-square-foot building that is part of the University of British Columbia. The building has no connection to the sewage system. Instead it has composting toilets and waterless urinals installed.
The toilets on each of the three floors connect via stainless steel chutes to five Clivus Multrum composting systems in the building’s basement. The toilets emit no odors, because all the waste is collected in the basement and fans ensure that no odor escapes the composting containers.



The system is maintained and emptied by the Clivus Multrum company through a service contract. Every day the university maintenance staff wipes down the toilets and adds a can of wood chips or bark mulch to each toilet. Every six months, the compost (which no longer resembles feces) is removed from the system and used as a fertilizer.

Because of this system, the C. K. Choi building uses just 500 liters of water per day (132 gallons), a similarly-sized conventional building uses an average of 7,000 liters of water a day (1850 gallons) or fourteen times as much water.
But about the water from sinks and other systems? This graywater is filtered and pumped into a 300-foot-long outdoor planter bed with lilies. The final discharge is used to irrigate plants. A test by the city of Vancouver of the fecal coliform counts of the discharged water showed that it contained less than 10 CFU per 100 milliliters (by comparison swimming is permitted in water with up to 200 CFU per 100 milliliters).

The building also captures rainwater: the rain is in a 7,000-gallon tank below a staircase. It is used to irrigate the landscape, which is bordered by thirsty ginkgo trees.

What this example clearly shows is that modern buildings can do quite well without a connection to a municipal sewage system. The maintaining the building’s composting system is probably less overall than a building with flushing toilets.

More information on this topic (including many other case studies) can be found in the excellent Composting Toilet System Book by David Del Porto and Carol Steinfeld.

10 February 2010

Taiwan’s Solar Stadium is 100% Powered by the Sun

sustainable design, green design, toyo ito, solar powered stadium, alternative energy, solar panels, energy efficient, green building, sustainable architecture

Taiwan recently finished construction on an incredible solar-powered stadium that will generate 100% of its electricity from photovoltaic technology! Designed by Toyo Ito, the dragon-shaped 50,000 seat arena is clad in 8,844 solar panels that illuminate the track and field with 3,300 lux. The project will officially open later this year to welcome the 2009 World Games.

Not only does the solar system provide electricity during the games, but the surplus energy will also be sold during the non-game period. On days where the stadium is not being used, the Taiwanese government plans to feed the extra energy into the local grid, where it will meet almost 80% of the neighboring area’s energy requirements. Overall, the stadium will generate 1.14 million KWh per year, preventing the release of 660 tons of carbon dioxide into atmosphere annually.

09 February 2010

Combined Heat and Power for the Home Now a Reality

marathon-ecopower.jpg


The generation of most electricity produces enormous amounts of heat which is typically wasted – literally up the chimney. Cogeneration – or “Combined Heat and Power” – systems make use of this otherwise wasted heat to warm buildings. Much of Manhattan is heated this way courtesy of several con-edison plants in the vicinity. It’s a brilliant solution to improve energy efficiency in an urban area, but doesn’t work so well in less urban areas. There, people typically rely on their own natural gas furnaces to heat their homes.
But what if you could reverse the cogeneration idea? Imagine taking an already efficient gas furnace and generating a home’s electricity directly from it, while it heats?
That’s the reality that Marathon Engine has in store for the North American market today. While not quite a start-up (they’ve been selling units in Europe for 5 years), the company’s “EcoPower MicroCHP” units look set to sell well, despite, or perhaps because of the economy downturn.

The EcoPower unit is not only capable of generating all of a sizable home’s heating and electric needs – it can also sell excess generation back to a utility (assuming Net Metering is in legal and in place). The larger the home, the better the paypack which makes the system particularly suited for multi-family buildings and small businesses with strong heating needs. It’s also best used in cold climates where heat is required for most months of the year – you won’t find much use for it in Phoenix.
As for greenhouse gases, the company claims (see PDF here) to offer a 65% reduction in CO2 emissions vs a coal powered equivalent. In reality it’s very difficult to measure the reduction because there are so many factors that might go in to what the device replaces and what kind of heating and electric demand is called for.

cogeneration-diagram.jpg


The only drawback is that the EcoPower isn’t cheap – coming in at a whopping $35,000. But for a large home, the device could apparently pay for itself in a half-dozen years or so. Despite the cost, if it works, and as long as energy prices stay high, economies of scale will likely bring the EcoPower within reach of more consumers.

08 February 2010

CEED Update

07 February 2010

What If?

5,000 of the Kennedy posters were distributed in Dallas prior to the assassination. The tea bag, right wing nut jobs are pushing for a dictatorial fascist regime where only one point of view is tolerated and the concept of rational discourse among equals is lost. I think the left needs to grow a pair and stand up to these pigs. If we let the people that are inspired by the likes of Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limburger get away with their rants we will end up with blood in the streets or a passified population too scared to speak out for what is right. Beware, you have been warned.

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Dems - don't be such wusses!

06 February 2010

I'm Voting Repube.

05 February 2010

04 February 2010

03 February 2010

Entrepenuer Maximo

02 February 2010

01 February 2010