30 April 2010

What I've Learned from the Tea Party

I am not a big fan of the Tea Party movement. I am not shy about that. After keeping an eye on the events, going to the 9/12 march in DC myself, I see it as nothing more than the grassroots and sometimes AstroTurf segment of the radical wing of the Republican Party. What started off as a halfhearted rebellion against government corruption has slowly merged with the GOP to become part of the party’s enraged fight to gain back control of the government.

This is not to say I haven’t learned anything from watching the Tea Party. In reality their antics and efforts to “win back their country” has made me that much more liberal. They haven’t inspired me to fight for a conservative resurgence. They haven’t convinced me to rail against the Obama administration. All it did was make me realize this country has a lot of people in it that have absolutely lost their minds.

So here are three things the Tea Party has taught me.

Ignorance is sometimes worn with pride.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Or, in the Tea Party’s case–more like the people feeding news to the Tea Party–make up a bunch of crazy lies and spread them like wild fire. You can’t blame the people feeding off of these lies. Their news source of choice is Fox News, and everyone but Fox News fans know it’s a load of crap. How do you go about indoctrinating your viewership to ensure their allegiance is to your station and your station only?

Talk about how evil the liberal media is over and over again ignoring the fact you yourself are part of the mainstream media.
Treat every segment like it’s a political stump speech.
Leave out any facts that disprove your point.
Only invite guests with opposing views that aren’t as smart as your hosts.
Or put them on O’Reilly so they can be shouted down.
Find an alcoholic with crazy conspiracy ideas that can feed off the racial tensions affecting the nation after electing its first black president.
When covering a rally that isn’t as big as you’d like, doctor the footage.
In the same vain, when attacking a person or an organization and you need more damning evidence, doctor the footage.
Misreport polls.
Cry, a lot.
I think I made my point. The problem is that these people are so dedicated to Fox News–a news organization that regularly twists facts to cater to their agenda–that they are unwilling to watch or listen to any other source. A source that may point out the listed facts above. Chances are they aren’t reading Liberty Den either.

With a sense of pride the Tea Party crowd boasts the propaganda and hate speech given to them by Fox News and its personalities. They then take to the streets with these lies, carry signs that make them look insane to informed Americans and proceed to think they are reaching out to more people. Maybe they are recruiting more ignorant individuals and stoking the fires but they are not reaching out to anyone but themselves. Fine, they are free to do that, I just wouldn’t want to be them.

Fear is a very powerful tool.

Hope may have won in the election of Barack Obama but fear is winning with the Tea Party. Fear of loosing their guns, fear of losing their freedoms, fear of billionaires that take advantage of them and give them poor wages losing their money and every other crazy conspiracy theory. The beauty of fear is that the message does not have to be factual. It only needs to make sense to the person it is targeting.

While it can be argued that not all Tea Party activists are racist it cannot be denied that race is playing a large factor in their anger. I would argue that President Obama is not much more liberal in the majority of his policy decisions than George W. Bush was. The big difference is the message Obama carries. Bush preached like a conservative but governed like a neoconservative. While the Republican Party rails against socialism they held ever so tightly to tax cuts for the rich–socialism for the rich.

What else would drive people to go insane over a president that is making policies that benefit them? Does a person normally look at something that benefits them and decide to vow opposition to it? What would make a middle class American stand so firmly against a president that gave them tax cuts, pushed for more affordable health care and is continuing the wars their president loved so much? Could it be his skin color? His political affiliation? Fox News? All of the above?

With the power of Fox News and the power of fear it is very easy to spread lies such as death panels, Obama taking away our guns, insinuating the census will be used to round up white people and a whatever WorldNetDaily is ranting about this week.

Progress is really hard for some people.

Maybe it’s not fair that some white people are being forced to live under a black president. Maybe the idea that we as a country are trying to evolve into a nation that does not put corporations first is not fair to people living under corporate owned America. It’s not fair that women are allowed to vote and are fighting for equal wages in the work place. That blacks were allowed to use the same water fountains and are being treated the same as whites in most regards. It’s definitely not fair that Mexicans are trying to take advantage of a country Americans always owned outright. It’s also very hard to force people to treat homosexuals as equals too. Wanting to get married and what not. Finally, it’s definitely not fair that a democratically elected government is doing what they were elected to do. That’s just a low blow.

But really, progress is hard for the hard headed. Why should we stop health insurance companies from screwing us over? Why should we let gays destroy our perfect marriage institution that has a divorce rate of about %50? It’s easy to hold onto what you already have. If you are comfortable with what you have why should things change to benefit someone else? This is my America! Not their America! Right?

I will wait with much excitement for the elections later this year and in 2012. Why? Because I want to see how much of an affect these tactics have on America. Has hope been killed off by fear? What will win? Love? Or hate? Will we decide to take a few steps back because a news organization and the political organizations they serve created bad enough fantasies to force us to fear progress? Or will we take larger steps in the right direction and re-elect President Obama? Will Americans finally come first? Or will we yet again take a back seat to the plutocrats that have such a strong grip over our nation?
I am not a big fan of the Tea Party movement. I am not shy about that. After keeping an eye on the events, going to the 9/12 march in DC myself, I see it as nothing more than the grassroots and sometimes AstroTurf segment of the radical wing of the Republican Party. What started off as a halfhearted rebellion against government corruption has slowly merged with the GOP to become part of the party’s enraged fight to gain back control of the government.

This is not to say I haven’t learned anything from watching the Tea Party. In reality their antics and efforts to “win back their country” has made me that much more liberal. They haven’t inspired me to fight for a conservative resurgence. They haven’t convinced me to rail against the Obama administration. All it did was make me realize this country has a lot of people in it that have absolutely lost their minds.

So here are three things the Tea Party has taught me.



Ignorance is sometimes worn with pride.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Or, in the Tea Party’s case–more like the people feeding news to the Tea Party–make up a bunch of crazy lies and spread them like wild fire. You can’t blame the people feeding off of these lies. Their news source of choice is Fox News, and everyone but Fox News fans know it’s a load of crap. How do you go about indoctrinating your viewership to ensure their allegiance is to your station and your station only?

Talk about how evil the liberal media is over and over again ignoring the fact you yourself are part of the mainstream media.
Treat every segment like it’s a political stump speech.
Leave out any facts that disprove your point.
Only invite guests with opposing views that aren’t as smart as your hosts.
Or put them on O’Reilly so they can be shouted down.
Find an alcoholic with crazy conspiracy ideas that can feed off the racial tensions affecting the nation after electing its first black president.
When covering a rally that isn’t as big as you’d like, doctor the footage.
In the same vain, when attacking a person or an organization and you need more damning evidence, doctor the footage.
Misreport polls.
Cry, a lot.
I think I made my point. The problem is that these people are so dedicated to Fox News–a news organization that regularly twists facts to cater to their agenda–that they are unwilling to watch or listen to any other source. A source that may point out the listed facts above. Chances are they aren’t reading Liberty Den either.

With a sense of pride the Tea Party crowd boasts the propaganda and hate speech given to them by Fox News and its personalities. They then take to the streets with these lies, carry signs that make them look insane to informed Americans and proceed to think they are reaching out to more people. Maybe they are recruiting more ignorant individuals and stoking the fires but they are not reaching out to anyone but themselves. Fine, they are free to do that, I just wouldn’t want to be them.

Fear is a very powerful tool.

Hope may have won in the election of Barack Obama but fear is winning with the Tea Party. Fear of loosing their guns, fear of losing their freedoms, fear of billionaires that take advantage of them and give them poor wages losing their money and every other crazy conspiracy theory. The beauty of fear is that the message does not have to be factual. It only needs to make sense to the person it is targeting.

While it can be argued that not all Tea Party activists are racist it cannot be denied that race is playing a large factor in their anger. I would argue that President Obama is not much more liberal in the majority of his policy decisions than George W. Bush was. The big difference is the message Obama carries. Bush preached like a conservative but governed like a neoconservative. While the Republican Party rails against socialism they held ever so tightly to tax cuts for the rich–socialism for the rich.

What else would drive people to go insane over a president that is making policies that benefit them? Does a person normally look at something that benefits them and decide to vow opposition to it? What would make a middle class American stand so firmly against a president that gave them tax cuts, pushed for more affordable health care and is continuing the wars their president loved so much? Could it be his skin color? His political affiliation? Fox News? All of the above?

With the power of Fox News and the power of fear it is very easy to spread lies such as death panels, Obama taking away our guns, insinuating the census will be used to round up white people and a whatever WorldNetDaily is ranting about this week.

Progress is really hard for some people.

Maybe it’s not fair that some white people are being forced to live under a black president. Maybe the idea that we as a country are trying to evolve into a nation that does not put corporations first is not fair to people living under corporate owned America. It’s not fair that women are allowed to vote and are fighting for equal wages in the work place. That blacks were allowed to use the same water fountains and are being treated the same as whites in most regards. It’s definitely not fair that Mexicans are trying to take advantage of a country Americans always owned outright. It’s also very hard to force people to treat homosexuals as equals too. Wanting to get married and what not. Finally, it’s definitely not fair that a democratically elected government is doing what they were elected to do. That’s just a low blow.

But really, progress is hard for the hard headed. Why should we stop health insurance companies from screwing us over? Why should we let gays destroy our perfect marriage institution that has a divorce rate of about %50? It’s easy to hold onto what you already have. If you are comfortable with what you have why should things change to benefit someone else? This is my America! Not their America! Right?

I will wait with much excitement for the elections later this year and in 2012. Why? Because I want to see how much of an affect these tactics have on America. Has hope been killed off by fear? What will win? Love? Or hate? Will we decide to take a few steps back because a news organization and the political organizations they serve created bad enough fantasies to force us to fear progress? Or will we take larger steps in the right direction and re-elect President Obama? Will Americans finally come first? Or will we yet again take a back seat to the plutocrats that have such a strong grip over our nation?

by Patrick Britton

29 April 2010

Action Now or Reaction Later

US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015

The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.

The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.

"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.

It adds: "While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India."

The US military says its views cannot be taken as US government policy but admits they are meant to provide the Joint Forces with "an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concept to guide out future force developments."

The warning is the latest in a series from around the world that has turned peak oil – the moment when demand exceeds supply – from a distant threat to a more immediate risk.

The Wicks Review on UK energy policy published last summer effectively dismissed fears but Lord Hunt, the British energy minister, met concerned industrialists two weeks ago in a sign that it is rapidly changing its mind on the seriousness of the issue.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency remains confident that there is no short-term risk of oil shortages but privately some senior officials have admitted there is considerable disagreement internally about this upbeat stance.

Future fuel supplies are of acute importance to the US army because it is believed to be the biggest single user of petrol in the world. BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, said recently that there was little chance of crude from the carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands being banned in America because the US military like to have local supplies rather than rely on the politically unstable Middle East.

But there are signs that the US Department of Energy might also be changing its stance on peak oil. In a recent interview with French newspaper, Le Monde, Glen Sweetnam, main oil adviser to the Obama administration, admitted that "a chance exists that we may experience a decline" of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 if the investment was not forthcoming.

Lionel Badal, a post-graduate student at Kings College, London, who has been researching peak oil theories, said the review by the American military moves the debate on.

"It's surprising to see that the US Army, unlike the US Department of Energy, publicly warns of major oil shortages in the near-term. Now it could be interesting to know on which study the information is based on," he said.

"The Energy Information Administration (of the department of energy) has been saying for years that Peak Oil was "decades away". In light of the report from the US Joint Forces Command, is the EIA still confident of its previous highly optimistic conclusions?"

The Joint Operating Environment report paints a bleak picture of what can happen on occasions when there is serious economic upheaval. "One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest," it points out.

28 April 2010

Arizona Considering Unconstitutional Law


When people get scared, they become much more willing to give up their rights for a perceived safer world, and it looks like that is what's happening in Arizona. The right-wingers in the Republican Party have been demonizing immigrants for several years now -- especially those with a darker skin color, and Arizonans seem to be buying the racism the party is selling them.

The Arizona House of Representatives has just passed a bill, supposedly to fight illegal immigration. The bill is expected to also be passed by the senate and signed by the governor. The bill would forbid any city to adopt a "sanctuary" policy which would restrict police and social service workers from enforcing immigration laws. It would also expose drivers to sanctions if they knowingly transport an illegal alien -- even a family member.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the new law is the power it gives police to stop anyone and demand to see paperwork showing they are in the United States legally. Anyone without that paperwork could be arrested. I remember during the days when the Soviet Union was in existence, one of the differences between that country and America was the requirement to carry identity papers which could be demanded by police at any time.

The only identification that a citizen of the United States has been required to carry is a driver's license, and then only when driving. It has always been a mark of our freedom that we are not required to carry identification. It seems strange to me that the party that claims to be upholding our freedoms and our Constitution would be the party to take away some of that freedom -- the Republicans. I guess they can't be both the party of freedom and the party of fear at the same time, and they've chosen fear.

Of course, this law will almost force the police to engage in racial profiling (unless they plan to stop every citizen and demand to see their papers). No, I expect this will only happen to Hispanics -- many of them American citizens. This has to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in that it creates a law aimed at only one class or race of people. It is simply wrong for Hispanics to be singled out to be harassed in this manner.

I think the law is also unconstitutional in a different way. Just a few years ago, an African-American man liked to take walks through a high-class suburb of San Francisco. He was repeatedly stopped and arrested by the suburban police because he did not carry any identification, although he always told them his true name and address and cooperated with them. He just believed that in America a man had the right to walk on public property anywhere without carrying identity papers.

He finally became angry with the continued harassment and sued the suburb. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and the court found the suburban community's police had violated the man's rights. They found that there was no requirement for an American to carry identity papers, and since the man cooperated and gave them his name and address, he should not have been arrested.

This Arizona bill is trying to do the same thing the suburban police had tried to do -- require American citizens to carry identity papers. It is wrong and should be quickly nullified by the courts.

I have nothing against the requirement to carry a driver's license when driving, but I have no desire to live in a state or country where I have to carry identity papers (such as pictured above) anytime I go out in public. That is just like an old-style East European police state, and cannot be tolerated in a truly free country.

It all boils down to one question. Do we want to live in a free country, or are we so fearful that we are willing to give up more of our freedoms? Personally, I choose to live in a free country.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

27 April 2010

Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: April 12, 2010

HORSHOLM, Denmark — The lawyers and engineers who dwell in an elegant enclave here are at peace with the hulking neighbor just over the back fence: a vast energy plant that burns thousands of tons of household garbage and industrial waste, round the clock.


The Vestforbraending plant in Copenhagen, the largest of the 29 waste-to-energy plants in Denmark. Their use has reduced the country's energy costs.
Far cleaner than conventional incinerators, this new type of plant converts local trash into heat and electricity. Dozens of filters catch pollutants, from mercury to dioxin, that would have emerged from its smokestack only a decade ago.

For more info click here.

26 April 2010

50 Greenest Buildings Around the World

“Greenest” is, of course, always a highly subjective and nebulous term. An environmentally-friendly building encompasses an exceptionally broad spectrum of elements – with some excelling in a couple of areas but potentially in need of a boost in another. Therefore, once one gets to the platinum LEED certification levels as outlined by the United States Green Building Council it is difficult to define what makes a building “greener” than one of its fellow sustainable contemporaries. Not to mention that there are far more than 50 platinum-certified buildings, both retrofitted and built from the ground up around the world. Some nations also play host to extremely green buildings, but hold them to different standards than the United States or have not submitted themselves for LEED certification in spite of probably meeting at least one level of their different criteria. So please consider this list not as a definitive compilation of the latest and greatest in environmentally-friendly architecture, but rather a brief overview of some highlights instead.

Fir the rest of the article and the list click here.

25 April 2010

'So how's that hopey, changey thing workin' out for ya?'


Sarah Palin recently had this to say...

"That bumper sticker that maybe you'll see on the next Subaru driving by -- an Obama bumper sticker -- you should stop the driver and say, 'So how's that hopey, changey thing workin' out for ya?'"

ANSWER:

Pretty damn well actually, in just one year President Obama...

Passed Healthcare Reform (ending preexisting conditions, giving small business subsidies for providing insurance, Creating 3.2M HC-related jobs over the next 10 years, closing the medicare donut hole in drug coverage, ensuring coverage for all kids up till the age of 26, covering 32 million americans, expanding medicaid to cover the rest, all while cutting the national debt by a 100 billion dollars) - Check.

Signed into law Tax Cuts for all middle income families, and 95% of all Americans - Check

Signed an Arms control agreement with Russia to dismantle nuclear weapons - Check

Reauthorized SCHIP to cover all Children - Check

Saved the entire stock market from collapsing (from a low point of a dow of 6000 within a month of Obama taking office, to close to 11,000 just an year later, basically preventing millions of retirement accounts from getting wiped out) - Check

Ended the ban on travel for people with HIV - Check

Stopped the dismissals of homosexual individuals serving in the military by the Pentagon (It's the first step to dismantling DA,DT completely) - Check

Ended the federal crackdown on Medicinal Marijuana centers in CA - Check

Passed into law Mortgage Fraud Protections - Check

Ended the ban on Stem Cell Research - Check

Passed Student Loan Reform, and Used The Savings to Significantly Increase Financial Aid Loans and Grants - Check

Engaged in diplomatic dialogue with Middle Eastern countries, instead of using language like "Axis of Evil" that achieves nothing other than to piss them off some more. - Check

Passed Credit Card Reform (Minimizing Predatory Lending, Making the terms of credit cards clear, eliminating arbitrary rate increases) - Check

Since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, have had the new job loss numbers from their peak right as Obama took office, go down steadily month after month, every single month like clockwork to the point that finally, this month is going to have job growth in the six figures (a trend expected to accelerate this whole year) - Check

Reversed the ban on sending foreign aid to countries with legal abortions (The Mexico City Policy) - Check

Signed the Expanded Hate Crimes Bill - Check

Helped stem down employment discrimination by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Act - Check

Extended Unemployment Benefit, helping millions of Americans stave off bankrupcy until the economy recovers - Check

Drew down troops in Iraq for a 2011 withdrawl date - Check

Drew down Gitmo detainees and making prepartations to close it by 2011 - Check

Increased the forces in Afganistan and brought to justice 500+ major Al Queda senior leaders in the past year (more than the Bush Administration brought in all eight years combined) - Check

Saved the entire US Auto Industry (GM and Chrysler) from going bankrupt thus preventing dozens of major factories and hundreds of dealerships from closing their doors - Check

Saved banks from going bankrupt to the point that they're profitable again and have now paid back all of government loans and bailout funds in full and with interest - Check

Signed into law, new mileage and emissions standard for cars and suvs - Check

Working on Education Reform and Financial Regulatory Reform so banks can't pull this crap again - The very next thing on his list

It's been a hell of a productive first year for him. He made good on more than 90% of what he promised while running for election. I can't think of many presidents who accomplish that much in eight years (especially on issues as big as healthcare reform). And that's just what I can remember. Do you guys have anything to add?

I would love to see someone in the media compile a more comprehensive version of this list to atleast cover all that this administration has accomplished in the past year and two months.

P.S: When exactly did posters of America's first Black President painted in White Face become socially acceptable?

P.P.S: Why do Democrats do such a piss poor job of standing by and talking up their own accomplishments. The Republicans have no problem sticking to even ridiculous talking points like death panels and accusations of fascism. But the democrats can't even show a chart of the actual national debt for and spending by President Bush vs. President Obama, a chart of the stock market, or a chart of monthly job losses since the recession started, in 2007. Every month, the number of jobs losses had been going up, higher and higher, month after month until a few months into Obama's term when the taxcuts and the stimulus were implemente into law. Since then, the job loss number have been steadily going down, month after month, at nearly the exact same rate they went up. Right till this month when job losses stopped completely, and the economy has finally started to add new jobs again. The dow jones was at 6000 a year ago. Now, a year after the bailouts that successfully saved key industries, including the entire US auto industry, on the verge of failure, the dow is back up to 11,000. And companies have started reporting profits and have started hiring again. The stimulus paved the way for the recovery.

24 April 2010

Community Solar Power



A community in Canada has an unusual form of solar power that can provide over 90% of the annual heating and hot water needs for the homes, despite being situated in a cold Alberta location where winter temperatures can reach -33 degrees C (-27 F).

The Drake Landing Solar Community collects solar energy in a heat storage fluid through an array of solar panels on the roof of each home and covering all of the garages at the back of each home. The heated fluid is transferred to a neighborhood energy center, and then into the ground beneath an insulated layer, where the heat is stored in the earth.

Combined together, the 52 home community is able to collect and store enough energy from the sun during the summer that the ground storage temperatures reach 80 degrees C (176 F). This heat is sufficiently insulated beneath the ground that it can be drawn from throughout the winter to provide heat and hot water.

The homes in the community are moderately sized, ranging from 1,492 to 1,664 square feet, and are insulated to a level 30% higher than the average home in Canada in order to keep the energy needs low enough to work with the system. The homes are also closely located to one another. This provides a more walkable neighborhood, as well as reducing the lengths that the fluid for the solar heating system needs to travel.






Entire Neighborhood Has Shared Solar Heating

The system works in part due to the scale of the project utilizing the combined capacity of the entire community. A similar system scaled down to a single family home version would not work as efficiently simply because too much heat would be lost. But the scale of a system for 52 households makes this a feasible project.
While the technology is similar to a ground source heat pump, which relies on a relatively stable, constant temperature of the ground, the Drake Landing Community is actually storing heat throughout the summer and then relying on that banked heat during the winter.

Solar heating is a more exciting prospect than solar generation of electricity because heating is a much larger percentage of a home’s total energy use (60% for space heating, 20% for water heating, and 20% for appliances, lights, and other electrical loads).

23 April 2010

No Comment Needed

22 April 2010

California Proposes First Renewable Energy Storage Requirements

Yesterday Attorney General Jerry Brown announced a completely new kind of renewable energy legislation, introduced by State Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D) – designed to add more renewable energy storage to the grid.

You’ve heard of Renewable Energy Standards. These are (state level only, so far) rules that require that electric utilities add more renewable energy every year, in the 24 states that have them.

Using the legislation, four Northeast States have been able to reduce their greenhouse gases on an EU scale – to below 1990 levels by contributing to the build-out of about 17 Gigawatts of renewable energy along with neighboring Canadian provinces. Other states, Like Michigan, are on track to do so with elegant policy design that gets solar rooftops down to as little as $6,000 each.

Reducing greenhouse gas levels below 1990 levels simply takes replacing the dirty 19th century energy they used to have on the grid with more clean renewable 21st century energy. That’s what passing Renewable Energy Standards does: it forces utilities to replace old power plants that they have grandfathered in to evade Clean Air Act rules for the last 40 years, and add more low carbon electricity.

But California might be the first state to implement another necessity borne from adding more renewable energy to the grid: adding more storage for renewable energy.

In a sense, the storage industry will the equivalent of the 19th century railroad industry. Railroads had to be built in order to cheaply bring coal to coal-fired 19th century power plants that were near the cities of those times, and even to stoke homeowners individual fireplaces. Like the railroad, the storage industry will be a trillion dollar industry.

AB 2514 would require utilities to incorporate energy storage in their distribution networks. The rules will mandate storage equal to 2.25% of daytime peak power by 2014 and 5% of daytime peak power by 2020.

This bill will provide the first real boost to the renewable energy storage industry, as it secures a clean energy future for California. To bring 2.25% of peak demand in storage online, Jon Petersen estimates that (with 135 MW a year of storage needed) $200 million each year will need to be invested, along with the new jobs that all that new investment brings.

The legislation dovetails nicely not only with California’s needs (and the world’s) but it immediately amortizes the $620 million from the Obama Administration’s advanced grid awards from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) invested by the newly energized Department of Energy in a variety of innovative new storage technologies.

Some examples:
For Baseload Wind Cheaper than Fossil Fuels
Storing Renewable Energy in Boxes of Air
Top ARPA-E Funding Goes to Renewable Storage in “Liquid Battery”
Metal-Air Battery With 11 Times the Energy at Half the Cost?
Pump Hydro Underground to Store Wind Power

Storage is critical, because as PG&E’s Jonathan Marshall told me “There have been times that wind turbines at Tehachapi have actually had to be turned off at night, because power going into the grid causes damage if it’s not used.” PG&E was awarded $25 million of that $620 million advanced grid funding. California Gets Smart-Grid Funds to Bottle Wind.

The legislation will also tend to favor, and help along the implementation of those solar technologies that include storage, (typically solar thermal using heliostats) such as SolarReserve; which has 7 hours of night time storage in salt.

21 April 2010

AWESOME!!

20 April 2010

No Comment Needed

19 April 2010

18 April 2010

No Comment Needed

17 April 2010

16 April 2010

Unrefined

By Richard Embleton

If and when the average person thinks about peak oil, their attention and concern are focused on the gasoline and diesel fuels that run the family car, the heating oil that warms the family home, and the jet fuel that runs the plane that takes the family on vacation. And that is reasonable. By far the biggest single use of crude oil is for the production of those various fuels. Our society literally runs on oil. But remember that there are over 300,000 other products, other than those fuels, in every day use around the world that are derived from oil.

The road between the undiscovered crude oil in the ground and the gasoline in your car's fuel tank - or any other usage - is a very long and expensive one. It must be discovered, analysed, wells drilled and extracted. From there it has to be gotten to a refinery for processing to produce gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel, lubricating oil and other lubricants. That resulting gasoline has to be distributed to a service station near you so you can drive your car in and fill up your tank.

In case you hadn't noticed, there is a shortage of oil refining capacity in the United States. From 324 oil refineries in operation in 1980-81 (when the U.S. was still a major exporter of refined products) closures over the past thirty years have reduced that number to less than 140.[13] In that same thirty years no new oil refineries have been built in the United States [16], and more refineries close each year. And increasingly tough and demanding environmental legislation, coupled with a general, overall reduction in the quality of available crude oil that is more difficult, expensive, and polluting to refine, lessens the probability that any will be constructed in the foreseeable future.

Despite the fact that more than 20 million barrels of oil are consumed in America every day, the total remaining refining capacity in the country is down to 17,734,900. And 1.6 million barrels or more of refined product are still exported to other countries every day, up 33% since 2007[15]. That is 9% of a total refinery output that is already insufficient to meet demand. This means that the capacity for refined product for American consumption of more than 20 million barrels a day is 16.225 million barrels a day, and dropping.

There is no spare capacity in the system, no refining buffer. Any refinery closure, whether temporary due to storms, strikes or other problems, or whether permanent, the shortfall cannot be made up from spare capacity. The favorite mantra of economists, of course, is that supply will always rise to meet demand. An average of 2-3 million barrels of refined product is being imported every day, largely from Europe, to make up for the current shortfall. And still there are no new refineries under construction to meet the unfulfilled demand. With an average capacity of 125,000 barrels a day, the equivalent of the output from over 15 unbuilt refineries is being imported every day. That could hardly be interpreted as supply rising to fill demand.

Margins in the refining industry are quite low, with costs continuously rising. In the early days of the oil industry when the majors could sell their oil for 20 times or more what it cost to produce it, the oil companies largely ran their own refineries and were prepared to live with the low margins in the refining end of the business which were more than offset from the huge profits in the oil production end of the business. But independently owned refineries are the order of the day with major after major selling off their refinery operations to independent refiners. And today, rather than new refining capacity coming online to satisfy the increasing demand for finished product as economic theory suggests, the refining industry is, in fact, looking to reduce overall capacity to drive margins up. The question is not whether but where and when capacity will be reduced further. The trend to date is to close capacity in states where state government has an anti-pollution agenda while holding on to capacity in those states that are refinery and oil industry friendly and likely to remain so.

And where refining capacity is being shut down is a recipe for future fuel shortage problems. The two latest refinery shut downs have been in the high population upper east coast market (Valero Energy Corp. shuttered permanently its 182,200 barrel-a-day Delaware City, Delaware, refinery last month because of “very poor economic conditions.” Sunoco Inc. shut indefinitely its 145,000 barrel-a-day Eagle Point plant in New Jersey in November) [8] taking nearly 300,000bpd capacity out of the system in the highest demand market area in the country.

Domestic gasoline supply on the east coast is now served almost exclusively by pipeline. But just like refining capacity, no new pipeline capacity is being built to satisfy increasing pipeline subscription from, for example, the gulf region to the east coast. In fact the primary pipeline serving the east coast has been badly oversubscribed because of these two refinery shutdowns for over six months now, even before the peak demand summer driving season, and supply is being pro-rated[7]. Pro-ration means nobody gets what they need but the pain is distributed equally.

There is not an overall shortage of refinery capacity globally. New refineries continue to be built in, for example, the middle east and Asia and some parts of Europe, in regions with more relaxed environmental standards where development in high profit industries like oil is encouraged. So, at least for now, refining capacity shortages in the United States can be made up from imports of refined product from overseas. [13] Increasing refiners are responding to domestic environmental legislation by shutting down domestic capacity and pushing it offshore. But the more the country builds a reliance on refined imports as well as crude imports the more vulnerable it becomes to shifts in global geopolitics. And the greater the growth of bottlenecks in the supply chain in the United States for refined product.

When peak oil critics and deniers claim that there is plenty of oil, that there is no oil shortage, they are right. What there is is a growing shortage of light sweet crude. There is plenty of tar sands oil, plenty of very high-sulfur heavy crude, plenty of high-sulfur oil sands crude, plenty of oil shale, and plenty of very expensive to extract deep sea oil, most of which is also high in sulfur. But these are almost all much more expensive and much more polluting to refine. The sulfur extracted from the heavy sour crude of a single 100,000 barrel-per-day refinery would be equivalent to 5% of the total national sulfur market and a shift to high-sulfur heavy crudes would totally flood that market.[9] Introduction of ever stricter environmental legislation makes the likelihood of such a shift happening very slight.

So we may or may not yet be at a global peak in crude oil production, depending on how you define it and what type of oil you include in your crude oil definition. Sooner or later, and more likely sooner, we will get there. Regardless the shift in type of oil available for refining means that we have reached a peak - whether temporary or permanent is unclear - in serviceable refinery capacity and refined product distribution systems. In light of this reality peak oil hardly seems to matter anymore.
______________________________

15 April 2010

Teabaggers Against Social Security


Sometimes I think the teabaggers are trying to commit political suicide. It was easy for them to be against health care reform, because many people weren't sure what needed to be done and others were afraid they might lose what little coverage they already had. But there are other issues they are forwarding that a clear majority of Americans consider to be settled, and don't want them changed.

One of these is the issue of race. By allowing racists to enter the movement and loudly proclaim their vile beliefs, the teabaggers are turning off many Americans. Frankly, most Americans are embarrassed by America's racist past and are not about to countenance a return to those bad old times. Unless they are able to distance themselves from the racists, they will turn off a lot of Americans in November.

Another issue that a huge majority of Americans are in favor of is social security. The program has been around for a long time now and has served us well. This is a true "third rail" of American politics. A good way to lose support very quickly is to come out against social security.

That's why I was surprised to find some teabagger leaders coming out against social security (especially since many in the "movement" seem to be of social security age). Larry King had a couple of the movement's leaders on his show -- Dana Loesch and Wayne Allyn Root. They told King they were opposed to the health care reform because it was mandatory. King reminded them that social security was also mandatory, and both said they wanted to do away with that too. Here is the exchange:

KING: Would anyone turn away Social Security now? Would you do away with it?

LOESCH: I would, yes.

KING: You would?

LOESCH: Yes, absolutely.

KING: Would do you away with it, Wayne?

ROOT: I’d certainly like to. At best, I do away with it because I could find better ways to spend and save my own $15,000 a year.


I can't believe they are taking this position with an election only months away, but I hope they stick with it. I hope they ride the racism and anti-social security stances all the way to November, because I believe these stances will be the best gift the Democrats could get. The American people are simply not going to support these views.

(The picture above shows Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act into law.)
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

14 April 2010

A Strange Time To Get Mad


You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.
You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans. . .oh hell no!

13 April 2010

Obscene Salaries


If there was any doubt in your mind as to why Wall Street has a serious disconnect with the rest of America, this should settle that doubt. It seems that hedge fund managers have set a new record in incomes. The top 25 hedge fund managers made over $25.3 billion last year. Here are the top four earners:

David Tepper..........$4.0 billion

George Soros..........$3.3 billion

James Simons..........$2.5 billion

John Paulson..........$2.3 billion

At a time when millions have lost their jobs and are existing on a pittance from unemployment income, and millions more have no income because their unemployment benefits have run out, this is just obscene. It shows just how out of whack our economic system has become.

And I don't want to hear how these men deserve to pay lower taxes. Personally, I think we need to raise taxes on anyone making over a million dollars a year. And anyone making over a billion dollars should have their taxes raised substantially.

Ain't capitalism grand? Millions of people suffer so a few can have obscene incomes.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

12 April 2010

Slimy Green Solutions: One Town's Algae Adventure




Many have said that while the world is focusing on the climate crisis, another dangerous situation is brewing right underneath our noses: the water crisis.

Between pollution from industrial development and excessive consumption, the world's supply of clean, fresh water for human use is dwindling, and while we scramble to come up with conservation methods that people will actually use, some are looking to nature itself for the answer.

In Hopewell, Va., city officials recently voted to implement a cost-saving approach to nutrient removal that is green: literally.

For the next nine months, algae will be used to clean nitrogen from wastewater in the town instead of conventionally engineered solutions, reports the Progressive-Index.com.

The company responsible for conducting this exciting experiment is AlgaeWheel, an Indianapolis company whose founders were inspired by nature's ability to develop the efficient cycles necessary to maintain aquatic life.

From the AlgaeWheel website:

Algae can metabolize sewage far more rapidly than bacterial treatment. Treatment is more complete and more rapid since bacteriological treatment is a process of decay whereas algae treatment is one of conversion of organic matter to live, healthy plant life.

Current bacteriological treatment plants discharge nitrates, phosphates, sulfates, etc. into a natural body of water for dilution and continued treatment by naturally occurring plant and animal life. It is recognized that nutrients in treated effluent water have increasingly become a problem because they cause an increase in the amount of algae in our lakes and streams.

In addition to causing fewer greenhouse gas emissions and using far less energy than traditional solutions for combating nitrogen river environments, the Hopewell officials are pleased to announce that the AlgaeWheel experiment will ultimately save tax payers money on their sewage rates. Implementation of conventional methods for nitrogen removal from wastewater would have cost the City and residents upwards of $90 million.

As an added benefit, the city reports that bio-fuel and "green coal" will be produced from algae residue, creating a revenue stream for the area.

The plant’s first algae unit currently treats 30 million gallons of wastewater daily. A second new unit will process about 100,000 gallons daily, reported Progress-Index. The city has applied for federal stimulus grants to pay for both units, according to the article.
The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture recently selected 19 biorefinery projects, including an algae project, to receive up to $564 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

11 April 2010

New way of fish farming could help fix environment


Mussels grown in experimental multi-species fish farms not only consume waste, they can provide an additional revenue stream to producers

New designs for fish farms could keep them in the ocean and help restore damaged marine environments at the same time, says a biologist working on a five-year nationwide aquaculture project.

Marine biologists in New Brunswick and in B.C. are employing mussels, oysters, sea cucumbers, urchins and seaweed to dramatically increase the amount of food created by salmon farms, and they believe they can extract excess carbon and nitrogen pollution from the sea in the process.

Taking the aquaculture industry onto land could be a missed opportunity to do the Earth some good and help mitigate the impacts of global warming, according to Thierry Chopin, a marine biologist at the University of New Brunswick. Nitrogen from agricultural sources contributes to oxygen depletion in the world's oceans, resulting in huge dead zones in which nothing can grow. Fixing and storing carbon is believed to be key to fighting global warming.

"We have to think of extractive species as having a cleansing function in the ecosystem," Chopin explained.

"Everybody is talking about carbon trading and carbon credits, but we could also have nutrient credits. If your extractive species [seaweeds and shellfish] accumulate nitrogen or carbon, when you harvest them you remove that from the coastal system."

"Shellfish shells are made of calcium carbonate, so there is quite a lot of carbon right there," said Chopin, the scientific director of the Canadian Multitrophic Aquaculture Network, a collaboration among 26 scientists at eight universities and six federal laboratories.

Five functioning farm sites employing species from different levels in the food chain are already running in the Bay of Fundy and one on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island and Chopin believes that what scientists call a multitrophic system could even help control sea lice that infest farmed salmon and may spread to wild salmon stocks.

Mussels are effective water filters, collecting tiny organisms and even viruses. In Chopin's lab, mussels proved effective at reducing the virus ISA, which causes infectious salmon anemia. Placed around salmon cages, mussels could form a sanitary barrier against ISA, he said.

"There is no reason to think that mussels could not also consume sea lice at an early stage in their life cycle," Chopin said. He will test his theory in the next stages of the $5-million project.

Moving the aquaculture industry onto land — the goal of some environmental organizations including the Suzuki Foundation — would merely shift the environmental problems rather than eliminate them, Chopin said. Contained aquaculture produces considerable waste that must be stored, treated, dumped or trucked away to landfills, plus you have to pump water, which adds a significant energy overhead and expands the carbon footprint of the operation. "You think you are addressing one problem, but you are creating another."

University of Victoria associate professor Steve Cross and Chopin use shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels to create a seabed perimeter around salmon farm cages. The shellfish comb the water for free-floating small particles of fecal matter excreted by the fish. Bottom-feeding sea cucumbers and urchins are placed under the fin-fish cages to collect larger particles that fall to the sea floor, while rafts of kelp and other seaweeds placed around and downstream of the cages collect excess nitrogen released by the fish and shellfish in feces.

The goal is to create a fish farm that functions like a complete ecosystem and that converts the industry's highest cost — feed — into food products, not just salmon, but shellfish and edible seaweeds.

Cross is implementing a sustainable ecological aquaculture system of his own design on a commercial scale at his aquaculture firm Kyuquot SEAfoods. He is raising sablefish in an integrated system with scallops, oysters, blue mussels and cockles, sea cucumbers and two different types urchin and two species of kelp.

"I'm licensed for 11 species only one of which has to be fed," said Cross, who has worked as a consultant in aquaculture for more than 25 years. Cross is the UVic's team leader on the aquaculture project.

By extracting more value from the feed used in aquaculture and creating markets for the extra shellfish and seaweeds they grow, producers can keep the price of farmed salmon lower and mitigate the industry's impact on the environment, making it an attractive choice for consumers, said the project's economist, Duncan Knowler of Simon Fraser University.

Salmon extract about 65 per cent of the nutrients and energy from their feed. In conventional aquaculture, the balance is waste.

"What is the point of having waste accumulate at the bottom of a tank or the sea when you can use it?" Chopin asked.

Multi-crop sustainable aquaculture has been practised in various forms for thousands of years, Knowler noted.

In India, rice fields that are flooded for part of the year are used to grow fin fish, shrimp and crabs, then drained to make way for rice crops, which use the naturally occurring waste as fertilizer. Well-integrated complementary systems can be sustainable in the long term, he said.

rshore@vancouversun.com

10 April 2010

Extreme Weirdness: Antarctica’s “Blood Falls”

There is a glacier in Antarctica that seems to be weeping a river of blood. It’s one of the continent’s strangest features, and it’s located in one of the continent’s strangest places — the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a huge, ice-free zone and one of the world’s harshest deserts. So imagine you’re hiking through this –




– which has been kept ice-less since God was a child because of something called the katabatic winds, which sweep over the valleys at up to 200 mph and suck all the moisture out of them. Anyway, you’re hiking along, passing dessicated penguin carcasses and such, and you come to this.





A bleeding glacier. Discovered in 1911 by a member of Robert Scott’s ill-fated expedition team, its rusty color was at first theorized to be caused by some sort of algae growth. Later, however, it was proven to be due to iron oxidation. Every so often, the glacier spews forth a clear, iron-rich liquid that quickly oxidizes and turns a deep shade of red. According to Discover Magazine –The source of that water is an intensely salty lake trapped beneath 1,300 feet of ice, and a new study has now found that microbes have carved out a niche for themselves in that inhospitable environment, living on sulfur and iron compounds. The bacteria colony has been isolated there for about 1.5 million years, researchers say, ever since the glacier rolled over the lake and created a cold, dark, oxygen-poor ecosystem.Even weirder: scientists think that the bacteria responsible for Blood Falls might be an Earth-bound approximation of the kind of alien life that might exist elsewhere in the solar system, like beneath the polar ice caps of Mars and Europa.

09 April 2010

Chinese report documents human rights disaster in the United States

On March 13, China’s Information Office of the State Council published a report titled, “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009.”
This document was clearly intended as a rebuttal to the annual US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009, released two days earlier.
The Chinese report quite legitimately notes that the US government “releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices year after year to accuse other countries, and takes human rights as a political instrument to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests. This fully exposes its double standards on the human rights issue…”
Delivering the US government a well-deserved dose of its own medicine does not, of course, absolve the Chinese regime of its own gross violations of human rights. It rules autocratically over 1.3 billion people, most of them desperately poor peasants and super-exploited workers.
That being said, the Chinese report is an eye-opening document—factual, sober, even understated, drawn entirely from public government and media sources in the United States, with each item carefully documented. It presents a picture of 21st century America as much of the world sees it, one which is in sharp contrast to the official mythology and American media propaganda.
Not surprisingly, the report went unmentioned in the US mass media.
The 14-page report is divided into six major sections: Life, Property and Personal Security; Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Racial Discrimination; Rights of Women and Children; US Violations of Human Rights Against Other Nations. The cumulative picture is one of a society in deep and worsening social crisis.
A few of the facts and figures cited on violence and police repression in the United States:
• Each year, 30,000 people die in gun-related incidents.
• There were 14,180 murders last year.
• In the first ten months of 2009, 45 people were killed by police use of tasers, bringing the total for the decade to 389.
• Last year, 315 police officers in New York City were subject to internal supervision due to “unrestrained use of violence.”
• 7.3 million Americans were under the authority of the correctional system, more than in any other country.
• An estimated 60,000 prisoners were raped while in custody last year.
On democratic rights, the report notes the pervasive government spying on citizens, authorized under the 2001 Patriot Act, extensive surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, and police harassment of anti-globalization demonstrators in Pittsburgh during last year’s G-20 summit. Pointing to the hypocrisy of US government “human rights” rhetoric, the authors observe, “the same conduct in other countries would be called human rights violations, whereas in the United States it was called necessary crime control.”
The report only skims the surface on the socioeconomic crisis in the United States, noting record levels of unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness, as well as 46.3 million people without health insurance. It does offer a few facts rarely discussed in the US media:
• 712 bodies were cremated at public expense in the city of Los Angeles last year, because the families were too poor to pay for a burial.
• There were 5,657 workplace deaths recorded in 2007, the last year for which a tally is available, a rate of 17 deaths per day (not a single employer was criminally charged for any of these deaths).
• Some 2,266 veterans died as a consequence of lack of health insurance in 2008, 14 times the military death toll in Afghanistan that year.
The report presents evidence of pervasive racial discrimination against blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, the most oppressed sections of the US working class, including a record number of racial discrimination claims over hiring practices, more than 32,000. It also notes the rising number of incidents of discrimination or violence against Muslims, and the detention of 300,000 “illegal” immigrants each year, with more than 30,000 immigrants in US detention facilities every day of the year.
It notes that the state of California imposed life sentences on 18 times more black defendants than white, and that in 2008, when New York City police fired their weapons, 75 percent of the targets were black, 22 percent Hispanic and only 3 percent white.
The report refers to the well-known reality of unequal pay for women, with median female income only 77 percent that of male income in 2008, down from 78 percent in 2007. According to the report, 70 percent of working-age women have no health insurance, or inadequate coverage, high medical bills or high health-related debt.
Children bear a disproportionate burden of economic hardship, with 16.7 million children not having enough food at some time during 2008, and 3.5 million children under five facing hunger or malnutrition, 17 percent of the total. Child hunger is combined with the malignant phenomenon of rampant child labor in agriculture: some 400,000 child farm workers pick America’s crops. The US also leads the world in imprisoning children and juveniles, and is the only country that does not offer parole to juvenile offenders.
US foreign policy comes in for justifiable criticism as well. A country with so many poor and hungry people accounts for 42 percent of the world’s total military spending, a colossal $607 billion, as well as the world’s largest foreign arms sales, $37.8 billion in 2008, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year.
The Chinese report notes the documented torture of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the worldwide US network of military bases, the US blockade of Cuba (opposed by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 187 to 3), and the systematic US spying around the world, utilizing the NSA’s “ECHELON” interception system, as well as the US monopoly control over Internet route servers.
The report also points out the deliberate US flouting of international human rights covenants. Washington has either signed but not ratified or refused to sign four major UN covenants: on economic, social and cultural rights; on the rights of women; on the rights of people with disabilities; and on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The report does not discuss the source of the malignant social conditions in the United States—nor should that be expected, since that would require an explanation of the causal connection between poverty, repression and discrimination and the operations of the capitalist profit system, something that Beijing is hardly likely to undertake.
Patrick Martin

08 April 2010

New planet Corot-9b has Earth-like temperatures


By Steve Connor
The first planet with a "temperate" climate to orbit a distant star has been discovered by astronomers, who claim that the techniques used to study it will be critical in the search for Earth-like worlds beyond our own solar system.

Corot-9b, as the planet is called, is one of more than 400 "exoplanets" found to be orbiting other stars, but it is the first one with a near-normal temperature range that can be studied as it moves across (or "transits") the sun it orbits. "This is a normal, temperate exoplanet just like dozens we already know, but this is the first whose properties we can study in depth," said Claire Moutou, one of the team of astronomers at the European Southern Observatory who made the discovery. "It is bound to become a Rosetta stone in exoplanet research."

Corot-9b passes in front of its host star, 1,500 light years away in the constellation Serpens, every 95 days, and the transit lasts about eight hours, which is when astronomers can make measurements of the planet's composition and temperature, estimated to range from minus 20C to 160C.

"Corot-9b is the first exoplanet that really does resemble planets in our solar system," said Hans Deeg, the lead author of the study published in the journal Nature. "It has the size of Jupiter and an orbit similar to that of Mercury."

07 April 2010

The Real TRUTH !!!

06 April 2010

No Comment Needed

A person who seeks knowledge knows more and more, a person who seeks enlightenment knows less and less until things are just what they are.

Lao Tzu

04 April 2010

No Comment Needed

03 April 2010

Wave Power



In 1993, professional diver Rauno Koivusaari was exploring a shipwreck in the Baltic. He was almost hit by a bulkhead door that was flapping slowly back and forth in powerful underwater waves. Most divers have noticed this phenomenon, but Rauno began to wonder if this bottom wave energy could be harnessed. It can – with WaveRoller.

In surface waves or swell, water particles roll in a circular motion. Coming in toward the shore, this energy is squeezed by the reducing depth. Below the surface swell, at a depth half of the length of the swell, the circular rolling motion becomes more elliptical, and at the sea bottom the water particles rock back and forth up to the breaker line.

WaveRoller captures this kinetic energy, using a specially designed bottom-mounted moving wing. The captured energy is converted to electricity using traditional technologies.

02 April 2010

Chemicals that eased one environmental problem worsen another

Chemicals that helped solve a global environmental crisis in the 1990s - the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer - may be making another problem - acid rain - worse, scientists are reporting. Their study on the chemicals that replaced the ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once used in aerosol spray cans, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other products, appears in ACS' Journal of Physical Chemistry A, a weekly publication.

Jeffrey Gaffney, Carrie J. Christiansen, Shakeel S. Dalal, Alexander M. Mebel and Joseph S. Francisco point out that hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) emerged as CFC replacements because they do not damage the ozone layer. However, studies later suggested the need for a replacement for the replacements, showing that HCFCs act like super greenhouse gases, 4,500 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The new study adds to those concerns, raising the possibility that HCFCs may break down in the atmosphere to form oxalic acid, one of the culprits in acid rain.

01 April 2010

No Comment Needed