31 July 2011

Developing Countries leading the Green Revolution, Us has head in its ***

Global Investments in Green Energy Up Nearly a Third to US$211 billion

China, developing countries are now biggest investors in large-scale renewables while Germany surges ahead on rooftop solar;


Positive trend in government research and development in renewables spotlighted-up over 120 per cent to well over US$5 billion;


UNEP and Frankfurt School launch Collaborating Centre

for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance

Wind farms in China and small-scale solar panels on rooftops in Europe were largely responsible for last year's 32% rise in green energy investments worldwide according to the latest annual report on renewable energy investment trends issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Last year, investors pumped a record US$211 billion into renewables - about one-third more than the US$160 billion invested in 2009, and a 540% rise since 2004.

For the first time, developing economies overtook developed ones in terms of "financial new investment"-spending on utility-scale renewable energy projects and provision of equity capital for renewable energy companies.

On this measure, US$72 billion was invested in developing countries vs. US$70 billion in developed economies, which contrasts with 2004, when financial new investments in developing countries were about one quarter of those in developed countries.

The report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011, has been prepared for UNEP by London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

It was launched today by UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Udo Steffens, President and CEO of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management as it was also announced that a new UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance is being inaugurated at the Frankfurt School.

China, with US$48.9 billion in financial new investment in renewables (up 28%), was the world leader in 2010. However, other parts of the emerging world also showed strong growth:

South and Central America: up 39% to US$13.1 billion;

Middle East and Africa: up 104% to US$5 billion;

India: up 25% to US$3.8 billion, and

Asian developing countries excluding China and India: up 31% to US$4 billion.

Another positive development, highlighted in the report with implications for long-term clean energy developments, was government research and development. That category of investment climbed over 120 per cent to well over US$5 billion.

Mr. Steiner said: "The continuing growth in this core segment of the Green Economy is not happening by chance. The combination of government target-setting, policy support and stimulus funds is underpinning the renewable industry's rise and bringing the much needed transformation of our global energy system within reach.''

"The UN climate convention meeting in Durban later in the year, followed by the Rio+20 summit in Brazil in 2012, offer key opportunities to accelerate and scale-up this positive transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication," he added.

"The finance industry is still recovering from the recent financial crisis," adds Udo Steffens, President of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. "The fact that the industry remains heavily committed to renewables demonstrates its strong belief in the prospects of sustainable energy investments. "

"The investment activity in the developing world is not only leading to innovations in renewable energy technologies. Further more, it will open up new markets as first mover investors are facilitating a range of new business models and support entrepreneurship in the developing world", explains Udo Steffens.

The report points out that not all areas enjoyed positive growth in 2010: there was a decline of 22% to US$35.2 billion in new financial investment in large-scale renewable energy in Europe in 2010. But this was more than made up for by a surge in small-scale project installation, predominantly rooftop solar.

Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: "Europe's small-scale solar energy boom owed much to feed-in tariffs, particularly in Germany, combined with a sharp fall in the cost of photovoltaic (PV) modules."

Investments in Germany in "small distributed capacity" rose 132% to US$34 billion, in Italy they rose 59% to US$5.5 billion, France up 150% to US$2.7 billion, and the Czech Republic up 163% to US$2.3 billion.

The price of PV modules per megawatt has fallen 60% since mid-2008, making solar power far more competitive in a number of sunny countries.

By the end of 2010, many countries were rushing to make their PV tariffs less generous. Indeed, Spain and the Czech Republic both moving to make retroactive cuts in feed-in tariff levels for already-operating projects "damaged investor confidence," the report says. "Other governments, such as those of Germany and Italy, announced reductions in tariffs for new projects - logical steps to reflect sharp falls in technology costs."

Nevertheless the small-scale solar market is likely to stay strong in 2011, the report suggests.

Further drops in costs for solar, wind and other technologies lie ahead, the report says, posing a growing threat to the dominance of fossil-fuel generation sources in the next few years.

Throughout the last decade, wind was the most mature renewable energy technology and enjoyed an apparently unassailable lead over its rival power sources.

Wind turbine prices have fallen 18% per megawatt in the last two years, reflecting, as with solar, fierce competition in the supply chain.

In 2010, wind continued to dominate in terms of financial new investment in large scale renewables, with US$94.7 billion (up 30% from 2009). However, when investments in small scale projects are added in solar is catching up, with US$86 billion in 2010, up 52% on the previous year. With US$11 billion invested, biomass and waste-to-energy come in third in front of biofuels, which boomed at US$20.4 billion in 2006, but fell off dramatically - to US$5.5 billion last year.

The sharpest percentage jumps in overall investment were seen in small-scale projects - up 91% year-on-year at US$60 billion, and in government-funded research and development, up 121% at US$5.3 billion, as more of the "green stimulus" funds promised after the financial crisis arrived in the sector.

Two areas of investment showed a fall in 2010 compared to 2009: corporate research, development and deployment (down 12% at US$3.3 billion, as companies retrenched in the face of economic hard times) and provision of expansion capital for renewable energy companies by private equity funds (down 1% to US$3.1 billion).

Clean energy share prices fell in 2010, with the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX) down 14.6%, under-performing wider stock market indices by more than 20%. This showing reflected investor concerns about industry over-capacity, cutbacks in subsidy programs and competition from power stations burning cheap natural gas.

Acquisition activity in renewable energy, representing money changing hands rather than new investment, fell from US$66 billion in 2009 to US$58 billion in 2010. The two largest categories of M&A - corporate takeovers and acquisitions of wind farms and other assets - both fell by around 10%.

The low price of natural gas-which was between US$3 and US$5 per million BTU for almost all of 2010- hurt the growth of renewables, the report says. The price of natural gas was far less than it was in much of the mid-2000s, before it peaked at US$13 in 2008.

"This gave generators in the US, but also in Europe and elsewhere, an incentive to build more gas-fired power stations and depressed the terms of power purchasing agreements available to renewable energy projects," says the report.

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and UNEP launch new Collaborating Centre

The report launch marks the beginning of the new UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Its goal is to develop cost-effective ways to reduce energy-related carbon emissions by mobilizing sustainable energy investments and strengthening their associated markets.

This is achieved by working with financial institutions to develop technical know-how, innovative financing approaches and new forms of entrepreneurial and end-user finance.

The Centre's approach combines project implementation on the ground with research, think tank activities, training and education.

One of Europe's leading business schools, the Frankfurt School also builds and strengthens financial sector capacities in emerging markets and developing countries through consulting and training projects. Through its "Sustainable Energy Finance" centre, the Frankfurt School has implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy projects worldwide.

"At the Frankfurt School we look back on profound experience with international advisory in all fields of development finance," says the school's President and CEO Udo Steffens. "The UNEP Collaborating Centre allows us to apply this expertise and knowledge to climate and sustainable energy finance, covering research, advisory and education."

30 July 2011

GOP HATES our Children. Wants to leave a wasted and spent planet.

As the combined threat of climate change and energy dependence continues to drive the urgent need to shift away from risky fossil fuels, few entities are leading the charge quite like the U.S. military. In a June memo, General David Petraeus wrote that “ ‘operational energy’ is the lifeblood of our warfighting capabilities.” The military’s ambitious goals for investing in renewables, efficiency and alternative fuels are unparalleled in the U.S. today.

A panel briefing on Thursday hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts highlighted the extraordinary energy innovations that the Department of Defense as well as the Army, Navy and Air Force are working on collectively under DOD to minimize the risks posed by high fuel use. There is plenty of work to do. According to Petraeus, fuel is responsible for nearly 80 percent of ground supply movement, and the DOD spends $20 billion on 135 million barrels of fuel and 30 million megawatt-hours of electricity every year.

The event, “Leading by Example: How Energy Innovation is Strengthening America’s Military,” brought together three department assistant secretaries who currently serve as the highest-ranking officials directly overseeing energy-related issues in the military. Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, these officials – Katherine Hammack (Army), Jackalyne Pfanneenstiel (Navy) and Terry Yonkers (Air Force) – were all recruited from the private sector. Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, reiterated the importance of private-sector innovation and capital to enable the military’s transition to cleaner energy sources.

Despite strong DOD support for leaving the law intact, the House voted yesterday to approve a GOP amendment to the defense spending bill that blocks funding for Section 526, which bans the federal procurement of alternative fuels with higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fossil fuels as part of extensive and bipartisan energy legislation that passed in 2007. This comes despite vocal opposition from DOD, clearly expressed in a July 5 memo:

This exemption could further increase America’s reliance on non-renewable fuels. Our dependence on those types of fuels degrades our national security, negatively impacts our economy, and harms our planet. This exemption would also send a negative signal to America’s advanced biofuel industry and could result in adverse impacts to U.S. job creation, rural development efforts, and the export of world leading technology…. The Department urges exclusion of the House provision. The existing law has not, in any way, prevented the Department from meeting its current mission needs.

Pfannenstiel outlined Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ aggressive Five Energy Goals and affirmed that these are not just lofty goals, but rather part of a 5-year, $4 billion plan to save lives, save money and enhance national energy security:


Changing the way the Navy and Marine Corps award contracts during the acquisition process to consider the lifetime energy cost of the system
By 2012, creating a “Great Green Fleet” composed of nuclear vessels and ships powered by biofuels and deploying that fleet by 2016
By 2015, reducing petroleum use in its 50,000 commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent by phasing in hybrid fuel and electric vehicles
Producing at least half the shore-based energy requirements from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and ocean generated by the base
By 2020, ensuring at least 40 percent of the Navy’s total energy consumption comes from alternative sources.
These are serious and profound initiatives that are going to transform and strengthen the Navy over the next decade while curbing climate pollution and cutting costs. As Yonkers highlighted, “Every dollar saved by managing our energy resources is a dollar that we can invest in the fight, or other high Air Force priorities.”

Pfannenstiel explained the intended impact of the Navy’s vast array of energy initiatives:

We’re spending our $4 billion wisely, on programs that are going to institutionalize the energy practices we support. Those of us who have been around the energy field for a long time – forever – recognize that this nation’s energy focus has been fickle. Oil prices go up, there’s a rash of technologies that look interesting, oil prices go down, we move on to other things. So the Department of the Navy is going to demonstrate that our military mission can be accomplished based on a fundamentally different paradigm for energy.

NPR’s Diane Rehm had an excellent piece this week on “The Military and Alternative Energy” with an in-depth discussion of the economic and security risks of the military’s current fossil fuel dependence. You can listen here.

Despite the U.S. military’s lengthy and continued engagement in two wars in the Middle East, not to mention an absurdly high $20.2 billion annual price tag for A/C in Iraq and Afghanistan, NYT columnist Tom Friedman pointed out a potential bright spot last year in his column “The U.S.S. Prius.”

Unlike the Congress, which can be bought off by Big Oil and Big Coal, it is not so easy to tell the Marines that they can’t buy the solar power that could save lives. I don’t know what the final outcome in Iraq or Afghanistan will be, but if we come out of these two wars with a Pentagon-led green revolution, I know they won’t be a total loss. Wars that were driven partly by our oil addiction end up forcing us to break our oil addiction? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

As former Senator John Warner (R-VA), who served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and now advises Pew’s Project on National Security, Energy and Climate, also noted, the military isn’t just deploying clean energy technologies – it’s also developing respected American leaders that recognize the importance of clean energy innovation.

You’ve got another asset that you’re developing, and that is these young men and women when they finish their military service … there is nobody in America today with a greater degree of credibility and admiration than those who wear the uniform. And as they leave the service and go home, isn’t there a way we can incentivize them more to step out and tell their local townships and tell their cities and tell their universities and tell others about how we in the service personally experienced the essential need to have that energy and to use it efficiently, and we are doing it, so why can’t we do it back here at home?

The U.S. military is addressing these energy issues as a “critical vulnerability” in their operations and developing a model for how the rest of the country can make the transition to a new energy paradigm. At home and abroad, climate inaction and fossil fuel addiction don’t just ignore the science – they perpetuate a dangerous strategic vulnerability that is at the foundation of our energy econom

29 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

28 July 2011

Another proof - AMERICANS are Ostriches! (sorry ostriches)




The above chart is from the National Geographic website. Here is what they have to say about it:

This chart depicts the public acceptance of evolution theory in 34 countries in 2005. Adults were asked to respond to the statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." The percentage of respondents who believed this to be true is marked in blue; those who believed it to be false, in red; and those who were not sure, in yellow.

A study of several such surveys taken since 1985 has found that the United States ranks next to last in acceptance of evolution theory among nations polled. Researchers point out that the number of Americans who are uncertain about the theory's validity has increased over the past 20 years.

27 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

26 July 2011

25 July 2011

Energy Use in the US

Description: cid:image002.png@01CC3CB7.616C7000

· Note that nuclear power has been fairly level for many years, as has coal power with large fluctuations.

· Note that renewable power has climbed steadily since 2001.

· Note that natural-gas power has climbed rapidly since 2005 due to the fact that the lack of environmental controls has made it easy to extract from shale. My web page on shale gas shows that the extraction is so fast that it will peak in about a decade and then decline rapidly.

· Of course, crude-oil power has declined steadily since 1985, mainly because extraction of crude oil peaked for the U.S. about a decade before then.

SOURCE (CLICK HERE)


24 July 2011

Barack TAKE A LESSON DUDE!

Now here is a real president!

22 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

A frog in water
Doesn't feel it boil in time.
Dude, we are that frog.

21 July 2011

Virginia - Where are you?

Our backward thinking, Uranium loving, nuke licking, off shore oil dripping, mountain top raping Governor, O'Dumbell, has continued to ignore the fact that locking arms with the Koch brothers and clinging to unsustainable old technologies will only hurt our state.

Below is a graph of the expansion of solar in the US. 66% growth in a year. now that's a growth industry.


Now here is a graph of the leading states in their solar installs. Need I say more?


20 July 2011

Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We've Almost Lost Nebraska

Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.

We know only two things for certain: worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it---at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.

Indeed, the assurances from the nuke power industry continue to flow like the floodwaters now swamping the Missouri Valley heartland.

But major breakthroughs have come from a Pennsylvania Senator and New York's Governor on issues of evacuation and shut-down. And a public campaign for an end to loan guarantees could put an end to the US industry once and for all.



FUKUSHIMA: The bad news continues to bleed from Japan with no end in sight. The "light at the end of the tunnel" is an out-of-control radioactive freight train, headed to the core of an endangered planet.

Widespread internal radioactive contamination among Japanese citizens around Fukushima has now been confirmed.http://nukefree.org/internal-human-contamination-confirmed-fukushima

Two whales caught some 650 kilometers from the melting reactors have shown intense radiation.http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/06/15/japan-nuclear-radiation-whales-caught-650-km-fukushima-31-becquerels-kilogram-cesium-detected-27701/

Plutonium, the deadliest substance known to our species, has been found dangerously far from the site.

http://nukefree.org/nhk-plutonium-found-outside-fukushima

Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government have admitted to three 100% meltdowns but can't confirm with any reliability the current state of those cores. There's reason to believe one or more have progressed to "melt-throughs" in which they burn through the thick stainless steel pressure vessel and onto the containment floor.

The molten cores may be covered with water. But whether they can melt further through the containments and into the ground remains unclear.

Possibilities may include a "China Syndrome" scenario in which one or more still-molten cores does melt through the containment and hits ground water. That could lead to a steam explosion that could blow still larger clouds of radioactive steam, water and debris into the atmosphere and ocean.

At least three explosions have occurred, one of which may have involved criticality.

There is no doubt at least two containments were breached very early in the disaster. Unit Four is cracked and sinking. The status of its used radioactive fuel pool, which has clearly caught fire, is uncertain. Also unclear is the ability of the owners to sustain the stability of Units Five and Six, which were shut when the quake/tsunami hit.

That stability depends on continued power to run cooling systems, which could disappear amidst seismic aftershocks many believe are inevitable. A very substantial quake hit after the tremors that led to Indonesia's devastating tsunami, and few doubt it could happen again---soon---at Fukushima.

All the above is dependent on reports controlled primarily by Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government. There is every reason to believe the situation is worse than it seems, and that those in charge don't really know the full of the extent of the damage or how to cope with it.

Just five years ago a quake shut seven reactors at Kashiwazaki. The entire nation of Japan sits on a wide range of fault lines. Tsunami is a Japanese word

Radiation from Fukushima has long since been detected throughout the northern hemisphere, with health effects that will be debated forever.

Some fifty reactors still operate in Japan. According to some, the Japanese public has the legal right to shut them all.

Let us pray they do. Yesterday.



LOS ALAMOS: A massive wildfire has swept at least to the outskirts of the national laboratory that was at the core of the program that built the Atomic Bomb.

The first explosion irradiated a nearby valley on July 16, 1945. Then came the two that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are significant quantities of stored radioactive material in and around Los Alamos. How much there is, where it is, how badly it is threatened, how much (if any) has already been engulfed in flames remains to be seen. Evacuations are underway.

Official reassurances are not reliable.

Nor are estimates of the potential for radioactive fallout to spread throughout North America and beyond.



VERMONT YANKEE: Entergy, owner of the one reactor in Vermont, has sued to shred a solemn public contract.

The one thing certain here is the company's contempt for the sanctity of its own word.

Years ago Entergy sought official permits at VY. It promised in return that the state could choose to shut the reactor on March 21, 2012, which it's now done.

In recent years VY has spewed tritium into groundwater and the Connecticut River, in some cases from underground pipes whose existence the company denied. A cooling tower has collapsed.

But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the reactor's license and asked the federal Justice Department to intervene on behalf of the utility.

http://nukefree.org/sen-sanders-says-nrc-has-sided-entergy-vermont-yankee-case

The request trashes any credibility retained by the NRC. The Commission was established in the mid 1970s to be a disinterested party on which the public could rely. For it to now take a partisan stand on behalf of a reactor owner it's bound to regulate thoroughly contaminates the core of its existence.

Entergy has sued so it can buy some $65 million in radioactive fuel the people of Vermont do not want burned on their land.

This will go to the US Supreme Court, where the future legal sanctity of any and all public contracts signed by any corporation, nuclear or otherwise, may be determined.



NEBRASKA: The flooding Missouri River continues to threaten at least two heartland reactors.

Late reports indicate Cooper may still be running, with public assurances it could be shut very quickly. What might happen if the operators are a little bit late has not been explained.

Nor is there much to go on about the impacts of flooded cores and fuel cooling ponds on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers or the eco-systems along the way to a Gulf of Mexico still reeling from BP's toxic dose.

But an almost surreal set of circumstances surrounds the true nature of design specifications and protections in place (or not) at Ft. Calhoun.http://www.counterpunch.com/giambrone06272011.html

They may be best summarized by what happened to a "flood berm" meant to protect Ft. Calhoun. This huge rubberized water-filled sausage was sixteen feet at the base and eight feet high.

But CNN http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-26/us/nebraska.flooding_1_nuclear-power-plant-omaha-public-power-district-berm?_s=PM:US has quoted a company representative as saying a some sort of equipment "came in contact" with the berm and punctured it.

Not to worry: the "same level of protection is in place" as had been prior to the installation of the berm.

In other words, the device was installed to protect the reactor. Then somebody punctured it. But things are as they were before so they must not have needed that berm in the first place. Got it?

It's as yet unclear whether flood waters will continue to rise at these two reactors, whether the operators can protect them, and what will happen if they can't.

The corporate media is carrying virtually zero coverage of any of the above stories. All are subject to rapid, dangerous changes about which we may have little reliable information.

But we do know for sure that US Senator Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) now wants to see more deeply into one of the key holes in the nuclear fa├žade: evacuation.

After Three Mile Island's 1979 partial melt-down, new federal legislation allegedly gave states more power over how to get people out of the path of a melting nuke.

But after an as-yet unopened Perry reactor was damaged by a 1986 earthquake, Ohio's then-Governor Richard Celeste sued to keep Perry shut pending a state evacuation study.

The NRC refused and won in federal court. Perry opened. Ohio's official study then said evacuation was virtually impossible.

A quarter-century later, Casey wants to see what it might now take to move downwinders out of harm's way from a TMI, Perry, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Vermont Yankee, Cooper, Ft. Calhoun…..you name it.

Casey's being joined by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose demands for the shut-down of Indian Point, 35 miles north of Manhattan, have left its owners "shaken." http://nukefree.org/ny-governor-cuomo-emphasizes-aim-shut-indian-point

Cuomo and Casey might do well to join governors of states like Vermont, Massachusetts, California and others in testing the law on evacuation planning. Populations have vastly increased at virtually all US reactor sites since TMI. And the ugly realities that define the so-called "Peaceful Atom" are still making themselves all too apparent.

Whether the US will now turn with Germany, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Israel and others away from atomic power and toward a green-powered Earth is up to us. The Solartopian technologies of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, bio-fuels, increased efficiency and conservation are now demonstrably cheaper, safer, cleaner, more reliable, more job-producing and quicker to install than anything atomic energy can promise.

A $36 billion loan guarantee give-away still mars the proposed 2012 federal budget.http://nukefree.org/bonnie-jackson-graham-we-may-be-brink. Constant pressure on Congress and the White House can kill that, and any other proposed funding for still more of these nightmares.

The stream of reactor disasters spewing from this dying industry is certain to escalate. The toll rises with each leak at Fukushima, every flame at Los Alamos, each legal brief at Vermont Yankee, every foot of Nebraska floodwater.

The need to stop the madness grows more desperate every day

19 July 2011

Global oil production



Global oil production (crude oil plus condensate) has been on a plateau / in decline for 7 years, resulting in high energy prices that are feeding inflation, eroding family budgets and crippling the World economy. It is time for the international political community to awaken to the risks posed by Peak Oil. A British Government report published last week under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request makes clear that civil servants working at the UK department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) seem very aware of the risks posed by peak oil.

Wake up people, saying it isn't so does not make it that way.

18 July 2011

The Ignorati are Becoming the New Ruling Elite

Reposted from The Omnipotent Poobah

One frequent criticism from many on the right is that “the elites” run the country. And as with many things the right does and says, it does it without seeing the tiniest speck of irony. The irony being that in their unrelenting war on education and intellectualism, they are becoming the new elite running the country.

America was once a land of mostly illiterate agricultural workers – a whole country of disadvantaged migrant farm workers like the right so hates today. But those agricultural workers realized – like the migrant workers of today – that education was the way to pull themselves and the country out of the intellectual dark ages. Unschooled and sometimes illiterate parents made many sacrifices to educate their kids to develop the raw knowledge and skill to move themselves and the country forward.

Insane Amounts of Belly Button Gazing
The right may have a point that a society too dependent on intellectualism is a society frozen by insane amounts of belly button gazing and an over-dependence on books at the expense of the real world. But that is where the point ends.

Successful societies need thinkers and doers because a society without thinkers doesn’t have the ability to help provide the knowledge and technology to the doers. The growing attack on intellectualism works like a photocopier that has made a copy from a copy from a copy. Each succeeding generation gets weaker and weaker until, at last, the final copy becomes unreadable.

Over the past few decades, the right has been unrelentingly chipping away at our educational infrastructure. From the abysmal Every Child Left Behind Act, to a steadfast refusal to approve taxes for schools, to rewriting textbooks to follow Christian teachings rather than actual history or science, we’ve reached a tipping point where we can no longer function. Instead of bellyaching about the minimum wage, that money and time would be better spent figuring out how to improve education than to fixate on obliterating it. Give people knowledge and we wouldn’t need to set a minimum wage.

Then Came the Ignorati

This nation is well on its way to becoming an anti-intellectual wasteland ruled by the ignorati instead of the intelligentsia or the commonsentsia. We’ve produced a crop of “leaders” without the good sense to come in out of the rain. The Christine O’Donnells, Sarah Palins, Sharron Angles, and Michele Bachmanns of the world recoil at the mention of anything requiring more thought than their many bubbleheaded Tweets.

Present the ignorati with immutable facts and they’re congenitally unable to process them. Producing an Obama birth certificate 47 ways from Sunday (along with assurances of its legitimacy from the Republican governor of Hawaii) and their answer is, “but it isn’t the right birth certificate”. They refuse to believe scientific data only to assure us the world is merely 6,000 years old. And, the list goes on.

You don’t have to be an egghead to see this problem. You don’t have to belong to the intelligentsia. You don’t even have to be a moderately intelligent person with a poor education. You only need to do this:

Listen to speeches by the leaders of the ignorigentcia and openly think about what they say – lest you become its newest member of their elite.

17 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

16 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

15 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

14 July 2011

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY! Corporations Nab 88% Of Income Growth


The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University has released a study they have done on the economy. According to the researchers, the recession is over. They base this on a now growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The only problem with this is that the recession is not over for everyone.

Corporate profits have grown about 40% in the first seven quarters since the "end" of the recession (from the second quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2011). This is a growth of $465 billion. But none of this wealth has reached American workers. The rise in corporate profits has eaten up 88% of the growth in income since 2009. Meanwhile, the study says the median wage for workers is actually below what it was in 2009, and there has been no net growth in job creation (the few jobs created don't equal the number lost plus the number of new people entering the job market).

So the recession is over for the corporations (and some Wall Street investors), but the rest of America is still as bad off as they were during the height of the recession. Millions of people are out of work and those that do have jobs are seeing their buying power go down each year. And as usual, the Republicans want to cut taxes (and continue subsidies) for the corporations -- the only sector of the economy showing record growth in income (and it is record growth since that 88% of all income is the highest share of income ever recorded by corporations after a recession -- the previous high being 53%).

Obviously, the Republican's "trickle-down" economic theory is working just like it always has -- nothing is trickling down, either in wages or in jobs. Maybe it's time for someone to remind the Republicans of the saying that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insane.

If they were serious about cutting the deficit (and the national debt), the Republicans would realize that the corporations need to share some of that record-setting new wealth with the rest of America, and the easiest way to do that is by raising their taxes (or eliminating some subsidies -- or both).

This has become so obvious that even a few honest Republicans are admitting that there needs to be some new revenue in the form of taxes. Ken Langone, a Wall Street investor and former head of the New York Stock Exchange (and large contributor to Karl Rove's new super-PAC), said recently, "Well I say this as a devout Republican. I think in these negotiations, I think number one guys like me, I've said this before, there's a caveat. I shouldn't get Social Security. I should pay more taxes."

And former Republican senator Alan Simpson says, "We're at 15 percent revenue, and historically it's been closer to 20 percent. We've never had a war without a tax, and now we've got two. Absolute bullshit."

This just shows the current Republicans in Congress are more interested in protecting corporate profits (and their own campaign donors) than in really dealing with the deficit or the debt. If they were serious about dealing with the deficit and debt, they would listen to the voices of reason within their own party instead of the teabaggers and corporate CEOs. Even their patron political saint, Ronald Reagan, raised taxes when it was necessary.

The budget can't be balanced on the backs of hurting Americans. Those making record profits (the corporations) must pay their fair share in taxes.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

13 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

12 July 2011

Productivity Grows - Wages Don't


As this chart from Mother Jones shows, productivity in the United States has grown by 80% since 1979 but the wages of workers had virtually remained stagnant. Where has all the money gone? To the richest 1% of Americans, whose income has risen more than 240% in the same time period. Americans are working harder than ever, and the richest Americans are the only ones reaping any benefit from it. While this may be the Republican dream, it is nothing less than the slow death of the American Dream.

11 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

10 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

09 July 2011

No Comment Necessary

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

-Louis D. Brandeis

08 July 2011

Pythagoras Solar Turns Windows Into Panels Of Energy

A start-up in Northern California is working on creating "solar windows" that could act as solar panels at the same time as blocking sunlight from entering office buildings to reduce their energy needs, according to a Sunday story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The company Pythagoras Solar is based in San Mateo, California, and it won an award from the "GE ecomagination Challenge," award of $100,000 last week for its idea.

The company makes a "window laced with solar cells," that could generate power for office buildings and shield offices from sunlight, thus reducing air conditioning costs.

The GE award is a "validation of three things -- that (the window) is unique, that it's feasible and it could have a big impact," Gonen Fink, Pythagoras' CEO told the Chronicle.

The technology is a class of equipment that seeks to replace parts of buildings with solar panels to generate energy. Other possibilities include window awnings and roofing tiles.

Some of Pythagoras' windows are already installed on Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower.)

CEO Fink wouldn't reveal his system's cost per watt to the Chronicle, but he says that "for the typical customer" the system will pay for itself in three to five years.

He's excited about the technology, he says, because it could change the way buildings are built.

07 July 2011



Reposted from Jetsongreen
It’s no secret that Passivhaus, or Passive House, is exploding in popularity right now. This site is publishing more about Passive House every week and readers seem to be more interested in these ultra-efficient homes than ever. In fact, the volume of news references for “Passive House” and “Passivhaus” is up in recent years, according to a simple search using Google Trends.

So, what’s the secret behind the success of Passive House?

Dr. Wolfgang Feist, professor at the University of Innsbruck and founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Germany, explains in Passive Houses – The Secrets why this standard has become the “yardstick for the measurement of sustainable construction.”

1. Realized Projects. There are thousands of Passive House projects around the world. Many have open documents in support of performance accomplishments.

2. Tried and Tested. Passive Houses deliver tremendous energy savings and the results are demonstrated in tons of monitored examples.

3. Life Cycle Affordability. These homes achieve their energy savings through careful design and smart construction, not expensive gadgetry. The savings add up at the front and over time.

4. Best Indoor Air Quality. Passive Houses have great ventilation systems and will provide top-notch indoor air quality without using much energy.

5. No Metering. Some homes will use more energy in a month than a Passive House might use in a year. The energy use is so small, it may not pay to meter energy use.

6. Openly Learnable. The Passive House standard requires study and learning, but it’s not a secret or complicated program. Those that put in the time will pick it up.

7. Best Thermal Comfort. These houses are bright, clean, and comfortable with less drafts and temperature differences.

8. Architecturally Advantageous. Passive Houses can be architecturally significant and energy saving at the same time. The program doesn’t mandate a certain style, it requires airtight construction and a low-energy design.

06 July 2011

Energy Bag Offers New Storage for Wind Power



Canadian firm Thin Red Line Aerospace is working on the first test deployment of its energy storage system for use with off-shore wind turbines. The Energy Bag provides power storage as "undersea compressed air energy storage" (CAES) to store compressed air deep underwater, and then release it again to drive generators when more power is needed. Storing power for peak load demand or for periods of intermittent wind are an important part of developing a responsive wind generation system that can effectively contribute to the grid at all times.

The process is conceptually straight forward: Wind turbines fill the balloon-like underwater bags with compressed air that later drives electrical generators on demand. While initial application is ideally linked to floating wind turbines, excess electricity from the grid—or from clean energy sources such as tidal and wave power—can also be used to drive compressors to fill the energy bags. The technology is especially suited to countries with relatively deep waters near their coasts.

Instead of engineering a heavy pressure vessel to store large amounts of highly compressed air, the Energy Bag uses a deep water location to serve as the pressure vessel to store the compressed air at extremely high pressures. The prototype Energy Bag itself weighs only 75 kilograms (165 pounds), but is able to displace 40 tons of seawater. It will be located about 600 meters (2000 feet) below the surface, where pressures are 60 to 70 times atmospheric pressure. The power storage in just one bag can be considerable. "At depths of around 600m, there will be enough pressure in one 20m-diameter bag to store around 70MW hours of energy. That’s around the same as 14 hours of energy generation from the largest offshore turbines currently in operation."

The Energy Bag has the potential to be orders of magnitude less expensive than industrial battery storage systems, and even just a fraction of pumped hydro storage systems. Not every location has deepwater locations suitable for this power storage, but several areas in Europe in particular have both good wind potential and deep water close by offshore as potential locations where this could be implemented.

05 July 2011

04 July 2011

Happy 4th of July

03 July 2011

The True Price of Gas

02 July 2011

01 July 2011

No Comment Necessary