Sep 30, 2010

You already use crude from the Alberta oil sands - Get over it...

EIA Canadian Crude Oil Imports: Increasing Importance to the United StatesHTML clipboard

U.S. consumers are sometimes surprised to learn that our single largest foreign source of crude oil is Canada, which surpassed Saudi Arabia as the leading supplier to the United States in 2004 and has continued to hold that position.

Figure 2. The Enbridge Lakehead Pipeline System

Since 1990, total U.S. crude oil imports from Canada have increased by 1.3 million barrels per day, accounting for 40 percent of the 3.1 million barrel per day growth in total crude oil imports since that date. Over the last decade alone, the share of U.S. crude oil imports coming from Canada has increased from 13 percent to 22 percent.

From January through June 2010, 2.0 million barrels per day of Canadian crude oil were imported into the United States, of which 1.2 million barrels per day went into the Midwest. According to the Canadian National Energy Board, almost half of the crude oil exported to the United States was either synthetic crude or blended bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. Bitumen, a heavy, viscous type of hydrocarbon extracted from the oil sands, is blended with lighter hydrocarbons to allow it to flow through pipelines. It then may be upgraded into a relatively light, sweet synthetic crude oil that can be used by most refineries.

The recent shutdown of two pipelines bringing Canadian crude oil to the U.S. demonstrated the growing importance of these imports. On September 9, the Enbridge Lakehead System had to shut down its Line 6A pipeline due to a crude oil leak in Romeoville, Illinois. This incident followed the discovery of another leak and a shutdown of Enbridge's Line 6B late in July. Line 6A is a major source of light synthetic, heavy, and medium Canadian crude oils for seven refineries in the Midwest and Pennsylvania, and many of the affected refineries have limited alternate supply sources. Fortunately for Midwest consumers, Enbridge was able to restart Line 6A on September 17 and Line 6B on September 27.

Read more at EIA this week

Americans use same amount of energy at home as in 1971

Washington Post - The amount of energy that the average American requires at home has changed little since the early 1970s -- despite advances in technology that have made many home appliances far more energy efficient.

...A key reason, experts say, is that American homes are getting bigger, which means more space to heat and cool. And consumers are buying more and more power-sucking gadgets -- meaning that kilowatts saved by dishwashers and refrigerators are often used up by flat-screen televisions, computers and digital video recorders.

These trends "have balanced each other out. It's been a wash, basically," said Lowell Ungar of the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy.

Saving energy is easier than making more of it. Increasing energy efficiency is called the low-hanging fruit in the effort to cut emissions as well as imports of foreign fuel without harming the economy.

Last year, the consulting firm McKinsey and Co. estimated that by 2020 the United States could cut its projected energy use 23 percent by implementing efficiency measures and that about one-third of that change could happen in homes.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 5 to 10 percent of a home's energy use comes from "vampire losses" -- devices such as cellphone chargers, DVRs and computer power supplies that remain plugged in and draw power even when set to "off."

An average digital cable box with a DVR built in, for instance, draws 43 watts when in "off" mode -- more than a 40-watt light bulb when it's on.

Tanner said he doesn't spend much time trying to dissuade customers from indulging their love of gadgets. He said set-top boxes that receive cable signals or record TV shows often suck power all day long.

"You tell them to turn off their cable box or their video box," he said. But then "they crank it on and they lose five minutes when it's warming up. That's the last time they're going to do that."

Residences account for about 22 percent of all the energy used in the country, a total that includes both electricity use and fuels burned for home heating such as oil, natural gas and coal.

Since the late 1970s, U.S. government statistics show the use of heating fuels declining and electricity use edging up: In 1978, electricity counted for about 23 percent of an average household's energy use; in 2005, the number was 42 percent.

Please read full at Washington Post

The oil 'peak' has been reached

'Peak' oil is no longer a fracturing theme. The projections for the year, quinquennium or decade when global oil production would start declining "are now part of history", underlines Luís de Sousa, member of ASPO-Portugal and collaborator of the blog "The Oil Drum", talking to the Expresso. "There is a generalized idea that such period of peak is already being lived. Predicting it is no longer relevant", he adds.
According to this specialist, the vast majority of the important mathematical and accounting models of oil production used by entities independent from the oil industry point to an interval of about a decade centered between 2008 and 2010, for a production interval between 78 and 85 million barrels daily.
Luís de Sousa underlines that "since 2005 world liquids production has been bound between 80 and 82 million barrels per day in clear consonance with those models", but this plateau "has been sustained by the increase of natural gas liquids, with pure crude [petroleum] in decline since that year".
Nonetheless the 'peak' has returned to the spotlight due to a secret report by the futurist studies group of the German Centre for the Armed Forces Transformation, a military think thank work for the Berlin Ministry of Defence. The study was published by "Der Spiegel" casting consternation on those less used to the issue and its geopolitical implications.
The diplomacy of Oil
The report has an alarming tone: "scarcity shall affect everyone" and "oil price increases pose a systemic risk, not only for transport systems, but also for all other sub-systems". And left a message: "It is vital to secure access to oil", for in an horizon up to 2040 we shall assist to "a change of the international security panorama with new risks - like that of fuel transport - and new actors in a possible conflict around the distribution of an increasingly scarce resource".

The german report concludes that "the free oil demand and supply market will shrink" and that oil diplomacy will sky-rocket relatively to its geo-politization.
The rising scarcity referred by the Germans is linked to "an almost rigidity of oil production, fixed within a band that formed since 2004" underlines Luís de Sousa. This variation "band" is called by many specialists, with some humour, "undulating plateau".  Meaning, in this plateau, production variations oscillate, like a wave, from year to year, independently of price variations. The present crisis, whose end continues a source of polemics, "will likely prolong this undulating period, flattening what otherwise would have been a prominent peak". 

Read full at EuropeanTribune and join discussion at TOD


Clean Air Device cuts building energy use by up to 25% and improves indoor air quality

Heating, cooling and dehumidifying air in buildings currently consumes one sixth of all the energy used in the world.
Professor Matthew Johnson

Professor Matthew Johnson

With the "Cleanair" system Professor Matthew Johnson of the University of Copenhagen has created a device that cuts building energy use by up to 25%.
In a real-world test 40 different compounds were removed from a new office building at the University of Copenhagen within minutes of switching on the device.

Every second we pump air into our houses that is too hot, too cold or too moist. And then we spend billions of kilowatts treating that air; cooling it, heating it or dehumidifying it. If we could clean the air, we could recycle air that already has the perfect temperature
Matthew Johnson's web page

Blog Source: NBF

China trade deficit will cost one-half million U.S. jobs in 2010

Economic Policy Institute (PDF)

Recent Census Bureau reports show that the U.S. trade deficit with China through July 2010 has increased 18% over the same period last year. Growing China trade deficits will displace between 512,000 and 566,000 U.S. jobs in 2010, as shown in Table 1. These deficits have contributed to the weak performance of the U.S. job market this year, and they could push the United States back into recession if the labor market weakens in the future.

China's growing trade surplus with the United States and the rest of the world has been fueled by massive, illegal currency manipulation, subsidies, and other unfair trade practices (Scott 2010). The best estimates show that the Chinese Renminbi (RMB) is undervalued by at least 35% to 40%, which makes U.S. goods at least 35% more expensive for Chinese purchasers and makes Chinese goods artificially cheap in the United States and around the world.
As a result, U.S. imports from China have soared and U.S. exports to China and the rest of the world have been suppressed.

Via DocUticker

Sep 29, 2010

Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

The annual cost of federal regulations in the United States increased to more than $1.75 trillion in 2008. Had every U.S. household paid an equal share of the federal regulatory burden, each would have owed $15,586 in 2008. By comparison, the federal regulatory burden exceeds by 50 percent private spending on health care, which equaled $10,500 per household in 2008. While all citizens and businesses pay some portion of these costs, the distribution of the burden of regulations is quite uneven. The portion of regulatory costs that falls initially on businesses was $8,086 per employee in 2008. Small businesses, defined as firms employing fewer than 20 employees, bear the largest burden of federal regulations. As of 2008, small businesses face an annual regulatory cost of $10,585 per employee, which is 36 percent higher than the regulatory cost facing large firms (defined as firms with 500 or more employees). VIA DocUticker

Cost of "un" care... why do we stand for this?

CEPR - NYT columnist Ross Douthat told readers today that: "And as everybody knows, the only way to really bring the budget into balance is to reform (i.e., cut) Medicare and Social Security."

Of course everybody who knows anything about the budget knows full well that this is not true. The budget problem is almost entirely a story of a broken health care system. If the United States had the same per person health care costs as any of the countries which enjoy longer life expectancies than the United States than it would be facing long-term budget surpluses, not deficits.

Read full at CEPR

Over 50% of oil spill remains in Gulf, scientist says

WASHINGTON (Via Google AFP)  — More than half the oil released from a busted BP well remains in the Gulf of Mexico, a presidential panel was told Monday, as the US pointman lamented a "dysfunctional" response to the disaster.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar meanwhile told the bipartisan commission that the spill had bolstered a drive to reform federal regulations for offshore drilling, promising that lessons were learnt.

In an ominous sign for Gulf residents, however, oceanographer Ian MacDonald told the probe that while much of the oil was dispersed, evaporated or removed by burning and skimming, the "remaining fraction -- over 50 percent of the total discharge -- is a highly durable material that resists further dissipation."

His assessment implied some 2.5 million barrels of oil -- or 105 million gallons -- was still embedded in the fragile ecosystem, out of the estimated 4.9 million barrels that gushed into the Gulf during the 87 days before the well was capped... read more Via Google AFP

U.S. Health Stats at a Glance

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Abortions 1,210,880   [2nd of 19]
Age of women at first childbirth 24.9 years old   [15th of 17]
Breast cancer incidence 21.2 per 100,000 females   [17th of 26]
Daily smokers 17.5%   [29th of 30]
Death from cancer 321.9 deaths per 100,000 peopl   [9th of 16]
Drug access 95%   [27th of 163]
Heart disease deaths 106.5 per 100,000 people   [13th of 26]
Hospital beds 3.6 per 1,000 people   [27th of 29]
Hospital beds > per 1,000 people 3.3 per 1,000 people   [37th of 149]
Life expectancy at birth > Male 75.29 years   [48th of 226]
Life expectancy at birth > Total population 78.14 years   [46th of 225]
Maternal mortality 8 per 100,000   [121st of 136]
Obesity 30.6%   [1st of 29]
Physicians > per 1,000 people 2.3 per 1,000 people   [31st of 148]
Spending > Per person 4,271   [1st of 133]
Suicide rate > Females 4.4 per 100,000 people   [40th of 80]
Suicide rate > Gender ratio 4.5 per 100,000 people   [17th of 76]
Suicide rate > Males 19.8 per 100,000 people   [30th of 80]
Teen birth rate 64   [1st of 40]
Teenage pregnancy 494,357 births   [1st of 26]

View this page with:  Sources,  Definitions Both ... View all Health stats

Sep 28, 2010

H.R. 5892 Water Resources Development Act of 2010

H.R. 5892 would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct about 240 new studies to determine the feasibility of specific projects. Those individual projects are related to reducing damage from floods, protecting streambanks and shorelines, improving navigation, restoring aquatic ecosystems, controlling aquatic plants, and conserving water. The bill also would authorize the Corps to participate in the construction of several new projects as well as increase the federal cost-share for about 30 construction and resource projects authorized in previous legislation. Assuming appropriation of the necessary funds, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 5892 would cost $1.3 billion over the 2011-2015 period and an additional $2.2 billion in the decade following 2015. Read full CBO Doc Here

"Russia is a natural (GAS) partner for China."

Russia is ready to meet China's entire demand for natural gas, which amounts to 90 billion cubic meters/year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Monday...adding that "Russia is a natural partner for China."
Read full here

NASA Data Reveals China's Industrial Air Pollution Skyrocketing

"China's skyrocketing industrialism comes at a price to the environment, according to Canadian scientists who used NASA data to publish a report on worldwide air pollution (PDF) in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The biggest problem appears to be a bright red mass in Northeastern China around the Yangtze River Delta — a rapidly developing piece of China's explosive economy. There doesn't seem to be a lot of acknowledgment from the state media, but blogs are picking it up as one of the few sources of data on air pollution for the area.

 The sad fact is that particulate matter in the air less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter is not classified as pollution by the Chinese government, so they have no official measurements to provide. If you're in Shanghai and looking for a breath of fresh air, you've got quite the journey ahead of you."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sep 27, 2010

Private company takes over US public libraries

New York Times  - Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Libraries

A private company in Maryland has taken over public libraries in ailing cities in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas, growing into the country's fifth-largest library system.

Now the company, Library Systems & Services, has been hired for the first time to run a system in a relatively healthy city, setting off an intense and often acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy.

"There's this American flag, apple pie thing about libraries," said Frank A. Pezzanite, the outsourcing company's chief executive. He has pledged to save $1 million a year in Santa Clarita, mainly by cutting overhead and replacing unionized employees. "Somehow they have been put in the category of a sacred organization."

"A lot of libraries are atrocious," Mr. Pezzanite said. "Their policies are all about job security. That's why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We're not running our company that way. You come to us, you're going to have to work."

Please read full at New York Times

Why leave facebook...

Hi EhsDirector,
We have received a request to permanently delete your account.
Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days.
Thanks, The Facebook Team.

Maybe me not buying into Social Networking is not a big enough reason for you to leave... here are a few more:
  • The rise of American Idiot... Nope we twitter away our day to expand the new idiots. Charles Pierce - The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise. It's not so much antimodernism or the distrust of the intellectual elites that Richard ...
  • Digital Disconnect Causing Dramatic Drop In Empathy... and in fact rarely distinguished between news and more general information. ...often by following the story via "unconventional" outlets, such as through text messages, their e-mail accounts, Facebook and Twitter. Please read full here.
  • Over 40% of Twitter is pointless babble...A study released by Pear Analytics, a research firm that specializes in website analysis, shows that 41% of all traffic on Twitter is pointless babble, as in "I just combed my hair." But the more interesting statistic is by how little ...
  • Why Engineers Don't Like Twitter Because most engineers are smart ;-) /."A recent EE Times survey of engineers found that 85% don't use Twitter. More than half indicated that the statement 'I don't really care what you had for breakfast' best sums up their feelings ...

Your computer is a tool, do not become the tool of your computer.

Smashing - Take back your life... delete them all.
  • You can find more information on deleting your Twitter account here.
  • Official instructions for deleting your myspace account can be found here.
  • As far as social networking sites go, LinkedIn probably has the most straight-forward account closure process found here.
  • Full details on deleting your Google account can be found on the Google's Help page "Deleting: Your Google Account".
  • Closing your Windows Live account is actually surprisingly easy.
You just got 30 hours a week of your life back... your welcome ;-)

Sep 26, 2010

3.8% tax on all home sales to pay for new national health plan

Via (NaturalNews) The news about Obama's health care reform just keeps getting worse -- and we only find these things long after the bill has passed, of course. The newest revelation concerns a 3.8% tax on home sales and home rental income which will go into effect in 2013.

So if you sell a home worth $300,000 you'll pay $11,400 in taxes to the government to help fund Medicare "sick care." A house worth $500,000 would result in paying $19,000 in taxes to fund sick care.
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How could this be? Because the new health care bill imposes a 3.8% tax on "unearned income" which includes income from any source that you aren't directly working for. This includes interest you receive on a savings account, dividends from stocks, rental income from a property you own, social security income, unemployment checks, child support and of course income from home sales....There's never enough money to pay for disease

Treating disease is wildly more expensive than preventing disease in the first place. But treatment is also wildly profitable, thrusting billions of dollars worth of profits into the hands of drug companies, cancer clinics and radiation machine manufacturers. The entire health care reform bill, it turns out, was designed to keep these dark, dangerous industries rolling in the dough while confiscating the money to pay for it all from U.S. homeowners, investors and social security recipients.

But if people will swallow 3.8%, why not raise it to 9%? Or 18%?

That's where this is headed because -- once again -- there's never enough money to pay for disease

"those who actually decide to take care of their health and avoid diseases by making healthy choices in their lives are penalized the most! The more you work, save and invest, the more you're punished by the government. The only way to get a "free ride" is to stop working, stop taking care of yourself and just let everybody else pick up the bill for your sickness and poverty." .....our "sick-care nation" that will inevitably find itself bankrupt if it doesn't change course. -  NaturalNews

Haase Note: NaturalNews is a little gritty, nutty and anti-gov for my taste...yet makes some valid inarguable points that many should not ignore about critical health and care choices we need to address. - Kinda like an angry raisin granola bar, you need to get past a little bad taste to enjoy the benefits ;-).

Schoolchildren have access to milk and sugary drinks at lunch, but not water

According to the Los Angeles Times millions of California schoolchildren -- and probably millions of children in other states as well -- currently have no access to drinking water during lunchtime.

Schools are required to have a certain number of water fountains on campus per number of students, but in many cases, they are not located in or near school lunchrooms. So the only lunchtime drink options for many children is either plain or chocolate pasteurized milk, and maybe some sweetened juice product.

In California, 40 percent of school districts that responded to a California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) survey indicated that their students have no access whatsoever to free drinking water during lunch. And among those who at least have water fountains in or near their cafeterias, the water is often not clean or desirable to drink.

In the case of the Los Angeles Unified School District, unsafe lead levels have been found in drinking fountain water, for which repairs are still underway.

"You just don't imagine in our country in 2010 that there isn't free water to drink while you are having a meal. But there isn't," said Keneth Hecht, executive director of CFPA.

Please read full at LA Times

Groundwater Depletion Rate Accelerating Worldwide

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2010)  In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use. These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers find.

Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, says Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study. "If you let the population grow by extending the irrigated areas using groundwater that is not being recharged, then you will run into a wall at a certain point in time, and you will have hunger and social unrest to go with it," Bierkens warns. "That is something that you can see coming for miles." He and his colleagues will publish their new findings in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

In the new study, which compares estimates of groundwater added by rain and other sources to the amounts being removed for agriculture and other uses, the team taps a database of global groundwater information including maps of groundwater regions and water demand. The researchers also use models to estimate the rates at which groundwater is both added to aquifers and withdrawn. For instance, to determine groundwater recharging rates, they simulate a groundwater layer beneath two soil layers, exposed at the top to rainfall, evaporation, and other effects, and use 44 years worth of precipitation, temperature, and evaporation data (1958-2001) to drive the model.

Applying these techniques worldwide to regions ranging from arid areas to those with the wetness of grasslands, the team finds that the rate at which global groundwater stocks are shrinking has more than doubled between 1960 and 2000, increasing the amount lost from 126 to 283 cubic kilometers (30 to 68 cubic miles) of water per year. Because the total amount of groundwater in the world is unknown, it's hard to say how fast the global supply would vanish at this rate. But, if water was siphoned as rapidly from the Great Lakes, they would go bone-dry in around 80 years.

Groundwater represents about 30 percent of the available fresh water on the planet, with surface water accounting for only one percent. The rest of the potable, agriculture friendly supply is locked up in glaciers or the polar ice caps. This means that any reduction in the availability of groundwater supplies could have profound effects for a growing human population. The new assessment shows the highest rates of depletion in some of the world's major agricultural centers, including northwest India, northeastern China, northeast Pakistan, California's central valley, and the midwestern United States. HTML clipboardA farmer takes water from a dried-up pond to water his vegetable field during a drought in Jiangxi province. Photograph: Stringer Shanghai/Reuters (Courtesy of

"The rate of depletion increased almost linearly from the 1960s to the early 1990s," says Bierkens. "But then you see a sharp increase which is related to the increase of upcoming economies and population numbers; mainly in India and China." As groundwater is increasingly withdrawn, the remaining water "will eventually be at a level so low that a regular farmer with his technology cannot reach it anymore," says Bierkens. He adds that some nations will be able to use expensive technologies to get fresh water for food production through alternative means like desalinization plants or artificial groundwater recharge, but many won't.

Most water extracted from underground stocks ends up in the ocean, the researchers note. The team estimates the contribution of groundwater depletion to sea level rise to be 0.8 millimeters per year, which is about a quarter of the current total rate of sea level rise of 3.1 millimeters per year. That's about as much sea-level rise as caused by the melting of glaciers and icecaps outside of Greenland and Antarctica, and it exceeds or falls into the high end of previous estimates of groundwater depletion's contribution to sea level rise, the researchers add.

Sep 25, 2010

Google announces Project 10^100 winners

Google - Two years ago today, we began Project 10^100 by asking you to share your ideas for changing the world by helping as many people as possible. Your spirit and participation surpassed even our most optimistic expectations. People from more than 170 countries submitted more than 150,000 ideas. We selected 16 big ideas and asked the public to vote for their favorites. The five ideas that received the most votes are the winners of Project 10^100. Over the past 12 months, we've reviewed concrete proposals to tackle these ideas, and today we're pleased to give a total of $10 million to five inspiring organizations working on solutions to each of these global challenges... Read more at Google' Blog

Sep 24, 2010

Turning $25 of Natural Gas into a $75 Barrel of Oil? Natural gas costs about 1/3 the cost of oil in terms of energy content (see graph). What if we could convert natural gas into long chain hydrocarbons and high value chemicals cheaply and cleanly? How would that change the balance of the energies?

Natural Gas  & Crude Oil

A cheap and efficient way of turning methane into liquid chemicals and fuels could free the chemical industry from its dependence on pricier and dirtier petroleum. But knocking off one of the four hydrogen atoms arrayed around methane's sole carbon atom requires so much energy that the process tends to run out of control, burning up the entire gas molecule. "If you can't stop it, you end up with CO2," says Charles Musgrave, a computational chemist at the University of Colorado.

This process is in the early stages. But it is just the beginning of what is coming, with a clever application of ingenious new catalysts. Nano-fabrication techniques will provide a range of industrial catalysts undreamed of since the down of the machine. It will take time to work through the vast array of what is becoming possible.

Read full at

Aid Sought for Nuclear Plants

NY Times The federal loan guarantee program and other aid for new nuclear plants may not be enough to induce Constellation Energy to build a third reactor at its Calvert Cliffs site, 40 miles south of Washington, the company's president and chief executive said on Thursday.


Energy Switch provided peak power saving of 39%

Tokyo Institute of Technology, MERSTech and the Office of Naval Research Global's office in Tokyo have developed the Magnetic Energy Recovery Switch (MERS) harnesses and recycles residual magnetic power that is produced by electrical current. By using a device that controls the flow of electricity, light bulbs can now maximize their potential.

MERS technology significantly reduced lighting energy consumption. The Magnetic Energy Recovery Switch provided peak power saving of 39 percent. The device not only conserves electricity, but produces far less heat and produces less electromagnetic interference than conventional technologies. - Read more Via NBF

China cuts off rare earth minerals to Japan?

"The NY Times reports that the Chinese government has placed a trade embargo on all exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles. China mines 93 percent of the world's rare earth minerals, and more than 99 percent of the world's supply of some of the most prized rare earths, which sell for several hundred dollars a pound. The embargo comes after a dispute over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain whose ship collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels as he tried to fish in waters controlled by Japan but long claimed by China. The Chinese embargo is likely to have immediate repercussions in Washington. The House Committee on Science and Technology is scheduled to review a detailed bill to subsidize the revival of the American rare earths industry and the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to review the American military dependence on Chinese rare earth elements."

What do Clinton, Vegans and GaGa have in common?

Former President Bill Clinton went on a essentially a plant-based diet... living on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit."- details and health impact of his newfound whole-foods, low-starch, mostly vegan diet (here).

While former Vegan is promoting to "eat meat to save the planet"?

The 59-year-old, who lives on the Monkton Wyld Court 'centre for sustainable living' near Bridport, Dorset, said: "700 million tonnes of human edible food are poured down the gullets of livestock every year to provide a luxury commodity for the wealthy, while around a billion people in the world do not have enough to eat. 

"The Gandhian response, of rejecting such a tainted product, is understandable; yet the net result – importing protein and fat from third world countries – has perverse repercussions."

In a recent contribution to Permaculture magazine, he wrote: "Livestock provide the biodiversity that trees on their own cannot provide. They are the best means we have of keeping wide areas clear and open to solar energy and wind energy.

"They harness biomass that would otherwise be inaccessible, and recycle waste that would otherwise be a disposal problem. And they are the main means we have of ensuring that the phosphate which leaks out from our arable land into the wider environment, and that is crucial for agricultural yields, is brought back into the food chain."

He also challenges the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation report Livestock's Long Shadow, which suggested that farm animals generate 18 per cent of human-generated global warming gases, through their flatulence and other types of emissions.

He said the figure attributes all deforestation in the Amazon region to cattle, rather than logging or development, and confused the gross and net production of nitrous oxide and methane.

Mr Fairline said his earlier experiences living on a different commune, dominated by vegans, convinced him it was sensible to eat some meat.

He said many of he key ingredients in their diet, including olive oil, soya milk, chiHTML clipboardckpeas, lentils and rice, had to be imported, often from developing countries, at huge cost despite the existence of grass-eating dairy livestock on the site.

"We were producing, from grass, a substantial proportion of the protein and fat that we required for our nutrition, but this was shunned," he said. "Instead we imported it from countries where people go hungry."  Read full at telegraph

EyeCandy NOTE: to my colleagues, educators, regulators, scientists and true environmentalists… I am sorry for the GagA

Sep 23, 2010

Pesticide free Fly trap from vinegar and dish soap



In Cool Tools, Oliver Hulland explains how he kills fruit flies with a bowl of apple cider vinegar and dish soap.

Fruit flies can materialize in even the most spotless kitchens. Until recently, I had no idea that they could be dealt with in a safe, effective, and cheap manner using apple cider vinegar and dish soap.

By simply pouring apple cider vinegar into an open cup or bowl and adding a drop or two of dish detergent you can easily make an incredibly effective trap for ridding your kitchen of fruit flies. Place it near your fruit bowl or trash can and within a day you will have nipped the problem in the bud.

Cool Tools

Global map of air pollution

Image: NASA's satellite-derived map of air pollution, throughout planet earth, between 2001-2006. Specifically, the "warmer" areas of the color map (yellow, orange, red) indicate higher densities of problematic particles known as fine particulate matter, or PM2.5. These are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, roughly 1/10 the width of a strand of human hair. They're small enough to sneak past your body's defenses, and lodge inside your lungs.

Click for large size.(ViaBoing2)

Scientists Sample the Last Pristine Air on Earth

HTML clipboardvia io9 - The full ramifications of the Industrial Revolution on this planet may never be known, not because the scope of the those changes can't be measured but because the same rapid, spastic technological changes that hurled industry forward into a new era did the same for science. As such, pre-industrial science didn't possess many of the instruments and technologies that allow modern science to happen. So how do you, say, find out what air quality was like before the Revolution wrecked it? You climb up into the canopy in the remotest part of the Amazon rainforest and take a deep breath.

That's exactly what an international team of researchers recently did in order to get a sample of what air was like before human activity crowded it with particulate pollution. Deep in the Amazon Basin of Manaus, Brazil, the team climbed up 130 feet into the air to find pristine air that had blown two days' travel away from the nearest contaminating sources. This is where the atmosphere is thought to most closely resemble pre-Revolution conditions.

It was the first time anyone has ever captured unblemished aerosol particles in this way, and what the researchers found was surprising. For starters, droplets created from the oxidation of plants made up something like 85 percent of the particles in the air. That's basically opposite the way it is in industrialized atmospheres. Which basically means the way these droplets interact with aerosols in unadulterated environments could be completely different than scientists have always thought.

Moreover, and perhaps not as surprising, the researchers found just a few hundred particles per cubic centimeter of pre-industrail air. In industrialized areas of the world, that number is usually more than 10,000. Which means when we measure changes to atmospheric conditions in our cities and measure them against the earliest (but still post-Revolution) particulate counts that we have, we're not really getting a good reading, but one diluted with a lot of particulate noise.

Put another way: we've already got so much foreign stuff in our industrialized urban air that it's very difficult to keep tabs on changes in atmospheric conditions. But having our first look at untouched aerosols should pave the way for better models of the water cycle and the effects of atmospheric pollution on global climate change.  Read full at via io9   (Picture source: Smart from Adoftheworld)

Sep 18, 2010

Depression update - Poverty at 14.3%

 U.S. Census Bureau reported the highest it has been in 15 years:

NPR: This morning, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on income,
poverty and health insurance in the U.S. The poverty rate in 2009 rose by 1.1 percent, to 14.3 percent. According to the agency, "there were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008 ...

More from this blog about the 'depression'

12 Year-old McDonald’s Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

"There is nothing 'food-like' about these substances at all."

26b3e9ec11a2 300x163 12 Year old McDonalds Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

For nonbelievers, Foley has this so say: "I don't want you to believe me. I would rather have you buy a couple hamburgers from your local McDonald's and follow our instructions on how to create a Bionic Burger for yourself."

Enter the Matrix - Fuel Cell Powered by Body Fluids

National Geographic  A new fuel cell is putting a twist on alternative energy from biofuels: The implanted device draws power from chemicals in living animals.

Dubbed a glucose biofuel cell, the implant gets its juice from glucose—aka blood sugar—and oxygen, both of which are naturally present in the fluids between a body's cells.

In a recent study, researchers created a test version of their glucose biofuel cell and implanted it in a white lab rat named Ricky. The rat sported the device successfully for 11 days and suffered no ill effects.

Also From DARPA is Harvesting Energy From Humans, The Matrix Inevitable

Electronics keep shrinking, as "embedded technologies" like microchips grafted to the skin and computer monitor contact lenses have surged over the last decade. But how can engineers generate enough energy to run such mystifyingly compact, yet complex gadgets?

In Smithsonian Magazine's August issue, an article details how the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—the U.S. Department of Defense agency that helped fund the development of computer networking, the first hypertext system, and global positioning—is trying to deal with the battery problem: Their Energy Starved Electronics program, founded in 2005 with MIT researchers, seeks to utilize the human body itself as the power source. The Wachowski brothers were right!- geekosystem

Sep 17, 2010

DOE - One Man's Trash is Another Man's Fuel

The average American throws away more than 900 pounds of trash every year. Organic waste degrading in landfills produces methane gas – a gas 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Although most landfills vent this gas in the atmosphere, some facilities are exploring how to use it to fuel trash haulers and other vehicles. The Department of Energy's Clean Cities program recognizes the potential of these new facilities to generate sustainable fuel from methane gas and thus is working to support landfill gas projects across the country... The potential for these projects is enormous. The U.S. population produces 27 billion cubic feet of landfill gas a year. This volume is enough to reduce gasoline use by 121 million gallons annually – the equivalent of 220,000 light-duty cars being removed from the road! An analysis by Argonne National Laboratory reports that there are currently 6,000 inactive landfills that could be tapped. The technology has already achieved success abroad, as more than half of Sweden's 11,500 natural gas vehicles run on biogas. Read more from the DOE's Blog

White House: Global Warming Out, 'Global Climate Disruption' In???

FoxNews From the administration that brought you "man-caused disaster" and "overseas contingency operation," another terminology change is in the pipeline.

The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

Pakistan on the brink of an energy crisis?

ScienceNews (UPI) -- Pakistan is bracing for a major shortage of petroleum products as the Pakistan State Oil company moves closer to a financial emergency, a source suggested. PSO is on the verge of defaulting on its international payments as $190 million in debt is due to foreign suppliers. An official at the company told Pakistan's English-language Dawn newspaper that PSO was considering canceling a significant amount of oil imports.

"The situation is very bad," the source said. "It has never been like this."

Whats seats 4 and gets over 100mpg non-hybrid?


Eco Factor: Lightweight car achieves 102mpg.

Manufactured by a Virginia-based company, Edison2 Very Light Car Number 98 has took the top honors in the Automotive X Prize competition with a fuel-efficient engine that gets about 102mpg. The developers took home half of the $10 million prize, while the other two teams got $2.5 million each.

edison2 wins automotive x prize_1

The Edison2 is a lightweight car powered by a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. With the use of lightweight materials and superior aerodynamics, the vehicle did have everything needed to win the prize. Weighing just 377kg, the eco-friendly four-seater car is entered via the window, like a racecar.

The vehicle, which has a top speed of 100mph, is also equipped with a heater and a basic air conditioning system. Made from low-cost and recyclable materials, the vehicle could go on sale for just $20,000.

Read more Via: Popsci/Guardian

The Economic Impact of Obesity in the United States

Brookings Institution... more than two-thirds of  Americans now overweight...Estimated medical costs of obesity are as high as $147 billion a year for 2008, or almost 10% of all medical spending. 

This is a substantial increase from their 1998 estimate of $78.5 billion a year. The authors attribute the majority of this increase to higher prevalence of overweight.

Read full report here

Sep 16, 2010

Solar Container energy to provide virus-free drinking water


solar container solar and wind powered water purifier

Eco Factor: Solar and wind-powered water purification system.

Spectra Watermakers and Trunz Water systems have unveiled a new water purification system for disaster-struck areas that can provide up to 8000 gallons of virus-free potable water each day. Dubbed the Solar Container, the system is powered by renewable solar and wind energy and can help eliminate the spread of water transmitted diseases.

Many disaster relief organizations have reported that it is often a struggle to provide victims with enough drinking water. In such a case, the Solar Container can provide relief with a more reliable solution. The filter is equipped with a series of filters and eight reverse osmosis membranes and can also utilize saltwater and effectively remove large matter, bacteria, viruses, salts and even toxic chemicals.

Via: The Epoch Times

Nuclear waste piles up with no disposal plan

Tens of thousands of tons of potentially lethal radioactive waste have been piling up across the nation for more than a generation, but the federal government has yet to decide how to get rid of it permanently. "It's going to continue to pile up," he said. "Ultimately, there has to be someplace (where) all that waste has to go. In my opinion, a permanent repository is the way to go."

The White House says even if the expert panel recommends a permanent "geologic" resting place for the waste, such a repository won't be built at Yucca Mountain, located about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas in the home state of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A 1982 law set a 1998 deadline for building a permanent disposal site, but it didn't happen.

It wasn't until 2002 that Congress, acting on President George W. Bush's recommendation, fixed up Yucca Mountain as the permanent site.
Since then, taxpayers have spent more than $10 billion for exploratory work at the site, including building a deep tunnel.

Soon after becoming president, Obama announced he would cancel the Yucca Mountain project — a decision that South Carolina, Washington and some other local governments are fighting in federal court. Those state and local governments have teamed up with the nuclear industry to argue before the NRC that the administration can't terminate work on the project, only Congress can.

The nuclear energy industry is pushing for an interim storage facility where spent fuel rods could be stored while a geologic repository is built.

The government also should allow the industry to recycle the used fuel rods to extract all possible use from them, said McCullum at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Though legal in France, such "reprocessing" has been banned in the U.S. since 1977. President Jimmy Carter outlawed the practice that year, citing the potential for countries to use the plutonium byproduct to make atomic weapons.  Read more at GreenChange

S. 2812 Nuclear Power Gets a Shot in the Arm

The CBO's cost estimate for S. 2812, Nuclear Power 2021 Act  would authorize appropriations for the Department of Energy (DOE) to enter into cooperative agreements with private-sector entities to develop standard designs for small modular nuclear reactors as well as processes for licensing such reactors with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The bill would authorize appropriation of the necessary sums for DOE to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of developing designs for such reactors and up to 25 percent of the cost to demonstrate licensing processes and would specify a final deadline for all work to be completed by January 1, 2021.

CBO estimates that fully funding S. 2812 would require appropriations totaling $460 million over the 2011-2015 period and an additional $100 million in 2016.

Read full at CBO

Sep 14, 2010

Oil net energy loss and an answer that works.... conserve


...Today, we use 18.7 million barrels a day and produce 5.3 million, so we use three and a half times more oil than we produce. Since 1970, domestic oil production has decreased about 1.5 percent a year.

U.S. oil production peaked in 1970 at 9.6 million barrels per day, but even 41 years ago we weren't self-sufficient, because we were already using over 15 million barrels a day.

There are currently two disturbing trends that will greatly impact our ability to import oil.
Mexico...oil production is plummeting &  China / India are set to exceed US net oil imports sometime around 2013.

... the combination of China and India would be importing the equivalent of 100 percent of the combined net oil exports from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE sometime around 2019.

The No Effort Path to Energy Independence... safe, sane driving is good energy policy.
Can you imagine our economy operating on less than a third of today's transportation of people and goods within eight years?
Edmunds...did a test to study the effects of aggressive driving on gas mileage. Here's how they did it.
Aggressive vs. Moderate Driving: read the entire test
Result: Major savings potential
The Cold Hard Facts: Up to 37 percent savings, average savings of 31 percent

From The Daniel Island News (is 'new, news' 2005? ;-)