Feb 29, 2012

Why the Environmental Movement Is Not Winning | | AlterNet

Alternet - A searing new report says the environmental movement is not winning and lays the blame squarely on the failed policies of environmental funders. The movement hasn't won any "significant policy changes at the federal level in the United States since the 1980s" because funders have favored top-down elite strategies and have neglected to support a robust grassroots infrastructure. Environmental funders spent a whopping $10 billion between 2000 and 2009 but achieved relatively little because they failed to underwrite grassroots groups that are essential for any large-scale change, the report says. Released in late February by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Cultivating the Grassroots was written by Sarah Hansen, who served as executive director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association from 1998 to 2005.

Environmental funders mainly support large, professionalized environmental organizations instead of the scrappy community-based groups that are most heavily impacted by environmental harms. Organizations with annual budgets greater than $5 million make up only 2 percent of all environmental groups, yet receive more than half of all environmental grants and donations.

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More bad news: U.S. water bills to triple | Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner - A shocking new report about the nation's crumbling drinking water system says that Americans should expect their bills to double or triple to cover repairs just to keep their faucets pouring. That means adding up to $900 a year more for water, nearly equal the amount of the newly extended payroll tax cut.

Fixing and expanding underground drinking water systems will cost over $1 trillion in the next 25 years and users will get socked with the bill, according to the American Water Works Association.

As with most infrastructure investments, spending heavily now means less costs down the road. But with little appetite in the country for even trickling taxes now, a delayed and more expensive fix is almost guaranteed. The association figures that spending to fix leaky water systems will double from roughly $13 billion a year today to $30 billion annually by 2040.

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Those Sleeping Pills May Be Killing You - Slashdot

"A recent article in in BMJ Open reports a strong association between the use of prescription sleeping pills and mortality. The study used electronic health records for 2.5 million people covered by the Geisinger Health System to find 12 thousand who had been prescribed sleeping pills and a matched set of controls. Death rates were much higher in the patients taking sleeping pills and the risk increases with age. Kudos to the authors for publishing this in an open access journal."
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US Wants Natural Gas As Major Auto Fuel Option - Slashdot

Natural gas has never been much of an option for U.S. car drivers, and it's going to take a lot of effort by the government and auto manufacturers to make it a viable alternative to gas. But that's just what a $10 million program from the Department of Energy's advanced project development group The Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) aims to start anyway. ARPA-E's Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) program wants to develop system 'that could enable natural gas vehicles with on-board storage and at-home refuelingwith a five-year payback or upfront cost differential of $2,000, which excludes the balance of system and installation costs.'"
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EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Testimony Before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce

WASHINGTON - As prepared for delivery. Thank you for inviting me to testify on the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. I'm joined by the Agency's Chief Financial Officer, Barbara Bennett. EPA's budget request of $8.344 billion focuses on fulfilling EPA's core mission of protecting public health and the environment, while making the sacrifices and tough decisions that Americans across the country are making every day

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16 dead after blast at China chemical plant

An explosion at a chemical plant in northern China on Tuesday killed at least 16 people, injured more than 40 and left dozens missing.

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Woman charged with burning 3,500-year-old tree..yep she was high

Meth freakin...central Florida woman has been charged with setting a fire that burned one of the world's oldest cypress trees, local media reported.

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Army Unveils First Military Fuel Cell Fleet

The Army has unveiled a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Hawaii as part of its efforts to research renewable energy sources.

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Elocal Infographic Shows How Much Water Your Home is Wasting

How much water is your home wasting, water issues, water conservation, water, elocal, residential water usage

From spending five extra minutes in the shower to leaving the faucet running while you do the dishes, you most likely waste more water in your home than you think you do. While fresh water is a renewable resource, we consume clean, usable water at rates faster than it can be replenished. Elocal compiled information from a variety of experts to put together a very informative infographic about residential water consumption in the United States, highlighting the fact that the average U.S. family uses 127,000 gallons of water every year!

Read the rest of Elocal Infographic Shows How Much Water Your Home is Wasting

Feb. 29 US: OSHA GHS Adoption Moves Forward to Federal Register

From prweb.com:

OSHA’s revised hazard communication standard passed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review. The updated standard incorporates the principles of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) which aims to standardize the classification and labeling of chemicals and related hazard communication. Benefits of OSHA’s updated HCS include reduced time and costs involved in meeting multiple regulations for hazard communication, improved comprehension and understanding of health and environmental hazards, facilitation of trade by removing barriers created by various health and safety requirements, and reduction of duplicate material testing.

The OMB approved the standard through the final ruling stage as “consistent with change.” The consistent with change status signifies that the draft rule had been modified in the course of the review, but was determined to be consistent with the executive order and all applicable requirements. However, it is not yet known the extent of the changes, whether they are substantive or inconsequential. Now in the Final Rule stage, the last step is for the rule to be published officially in the Federal Register thus setting the effective date for the transition period. The timing of publication to the register is not known at this time.

IBM cuts more than 1,000 U.S. workers - Computerworld

IBM has laid off just over 1,000 employees so far this week, and more layoffs may be possible, according to an employee organization.


Bill Gates on Insanity and Energy R&D - ScienceInsider

The U.S. government is "crazy" when it comes to funding for energy research and development, according to high-tech titan Bill Gates. "It's crazy how little we are funding this energy stuff," Gates today told an audience at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conference near Washington, D.C. "Funding for energy [research] in the U.S. is underfunded by a factor of two."... nearly an hour, Gates discussed energy challenges with DOE Secretary Steven Chu in an informal "fireside chat" moderated by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and now chair of the Center for American Progress, in Washington, D.C .

Gates's call for increased spending on energy R&D echoed recommendations he made late last year as a member of a blue-ribbon panel of U.S. business leaders convened by the Washington-based American Energy Innovation Council. That group noted that the U.S. government spent about $5 billion on energy research in 2010, compared with about $30 billion for medical research and over $80 billion for defense R&D.

It is "likely that underfunding is delaying the rate of progress," in developing new, cleaner energy technologies, Gates argued.

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Health Habits, Worldwide [Daily Infographic]

Kilzer for Daily Infographic

Across countries, whole grains are considered to be the top healthy food, and is consistently in the top three health food purchased by region. Other popular health foods are yogurt, iodine enhanced salt and low cholesterol butter or margarine. World inhabitants looking to loose weight are quick to change their diet, which is important for weight loss, and is followed by exercise. And while over 50% of the world percieves themselves to be over weight, the highest percentage is in North America. North Americans need to change their diet, start exercising and begin to see themselves more positively. See large chart Via

The Myth of “Baseload” Power

In this way of thinking, the “baseload” power demand is met with big generators like old coal and nuclear plants that don’t turn on and off very well. To accommodate electrical needs above the “baseload,” smaller, more responsive plants are used that can more easily follow the demand. Makes sense, right?

The problem with this idea is that it’s not how the electrical grid actually works. In reality, the grid isn’t one uniform pool of power demand, but a huge, sprawling, interconnected web of transmission lines of various sizes and capacities, dotted with producers and users of power. More like this:

From Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The whole thing is controlled by an “independent system operator,” whose job is to make sure the system works right and everyone gets the power they need as cheaply and reliably as possible. This means constantly turning production up and down at various plants and using various mechanisms to manage flow.

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Feb 28, 2012

Very scary char... More than 40% of Americans aren’t working.

The employment/population ratio compiled by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics see chart below from http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000
This number is the percent of Americans 16 and older who are employed. Right now, that number is 58.5%. That’s right, fewer than six-in-ten Americans who are eligible to work are actually working. More than four-in-ten are not. 

Plug into any power outlet with ELVIIS smart EV-charging system - GizMag

A smart system for charging electric vehicles currently under development and known as ELV...

A smart system for charging electric vehicles known as ELVIIS may leave the electric car industry all shook up - and for the better. The ELVIIS cross-industry research project would not only enable EVs to be recharged from any available outlet, but also use mobile and smart grid technology to establish the best energy deal for the consumer... Continue Reading Plug into any power outlet with ELVIIS smart EV-charging system

But Dogs Are so Cute... Why our society sucks -GraphJam

funny graphs - But Dogs Are so Cute

No one is on google+... Yeah, Facebook wastes the most time, money and energy

shortformblogA somewhat different take on the thing we reblogged earlier, but it shows two very interesting things: First, Tumblr and Pinterest are timesucks in equal measure, and second, nobody’s actually hanging around Google+ once they sign up. 

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The Shocking Truth About Defibrillators - IEEE Spectrum

When a policeman, shopkeeper, or passerby uses an AED promptly and correctly, it can help keep the suffering person alive until professionals can provide treatment, increasing survival chances up to tenfold. 


Yet despite the enormous investment in these AEDs, the death rate from sudden cardiac arrest is no better than it was 20 years ago. It still kills more Americans than lung, breast, and prostate cancers and AIDS combined. Worldwide, it kills about 7 million people a year.

So what’s going wrong? Are too many AEDs badly designed or prone to malfunction? Are they just not numerous enough to be found and used in time? Or are there other reasons they aren’t saving lives, reasons that would render public AEDs a waste of money?

First, a primer on the problem. Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. In a heart attack, blood can’t flow properly to the heart but the muscle itself keeps beating, so sufferers typically remain conscious. In cardiac arrest, the heart’s pumping mechanism—an electrochemically choreographed affair—becomes deranged, so that the many motions of the various parts no longer work together to pump any blood. With no blood flowing to the lungs or brain, victims rapidly lose consciousness.

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Everything Not Nailed Down Being Bought... 2008 may be here

ZeroHedge: When in doubt - buy. When in doubt what - everything. As the chart below shows starting with the open of the US market, literally everything has been bought: stocks, bonds, crude, gold, and 'logically', the VIX. It took the market virtually no time to remember that when trillions in liquidity are being injected into the market in 2008

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Antidepressants Are Useless, Pushed on Public Anyway | Natural Society

The psychiatric community as well as health and government officials have been pushing antidepressants on the people for years. Instead of addressing the underlying cause of such negative feelings, psychiatrists and medical representatives have been making you think that the only answer to depression is an antidepressant drug. However, the claims that antidepressants are the answer are completely false, but many will refuse to admit the truth to the public. Why? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that antipsychotics raked in over $14 billion in sales back in 2008.

Those pushing antidepressants would at least have an argument for their use if the drugs worked, but they aren’t even effective. In fact, the pills have been shown to worsen depression. The Food and Drug Administration even admits that antidepressants are more than capable of causing suicidal thoughts and an increased risk of suicide. According to research concerning antidepressant trials, around 1 in 5 patients on popular Cymbalta and other related pharmaceuticals may actually feel worse than those given placebo pills. Despite the evidence linking popular antidepressants like Prozac to suicide, more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are now taking antidepressants 

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Mars Chocolate launches 1.258MW solar garden in North America | PV-Tech

Mars Chocolate, North America, has announced the installation of a solar garden at its Henderson chocolate factory, providing 100% of the factory’s electrical energy. The solar garden features 2,112 ground-mounted solar panels on 4.4 acres. Mars claims its installation as the largest by a food manufacturer in Nevada.

The installation generates 1,258MW of zero-emission electricity each year, offsetting 867 metric tons of greenhouse gases - the equivalent of removing approximately 170 vehicles from the road. The project will generate enough energy for 115 Nevada households use annually.

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Redfield ethanol plant to convert to butanol plant | BioFuelsChat

A South Dakota corn ethanol plant will soon begin producing a fuel additive with a wider variety of uses.

Tom Hitchcock, chief executive of Redfield Energy, said the 50 million gallon-per-year plant is teaming with Englewood, Colo.-based Gevo to convert the facility in Redfield to a 40 million gallon-per-year butanol plant using the same 18 million bushels of corn a year.

Hitchcock said each gallon of butanol contains more energy than a gallon of ethanol.

“You use the same amount of corn to get a more valuable product,” he said.

South Dakota legislators this week approved extending a 20-cents-per-gallon tax incentive forethanol plants to facilities that produce butanol, and the bill is expected to be signed by the governor. But because the statewide program is capped at $4 million, Hitchcock said, the benefit to the Redfield plant actually amounts to about a penny a gallon.

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Obama's Favorite Algae Company - Forbes

President Obama’s reference to algae in his Thursday energy speech drew flak over the weekend from Newt Gingrich, who called it “weird” before calling algal biofuel “a terrific concept.” But Obama had political reasons to promote algae in Florida, the sunny, swampy, politically-volatile state he carried in 2008.

The Obama Administration has already sunk $25 million into a Florida company—Algenol Biofuels—that is building an algae biorefinery using a patented technology that promises to streamline the process of extracting ethanol directly from algae.

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Yale Environment 360: Denmark Offers Best Conditions for Clean Technology Growth, Report Says

...Denmark offers the best conditions for green technology innovation and entrepreneurship, with a strong record of support for technology startups that have achieved widespread market adoption, particularly in the area of wind energy. In an evaluation of 38 countries, the so-called Global Cleantech Innovation ...The U.S. ranks fifth overall...While China ranks 13th, the researchers noted that China is a leader in cleantech manufacturing

Beyond Cap and Trade, A New Path to Clean Energy: Yale Environment 360

Putting a price and a binding cap on carbon is not the panacea that many thought it to be. The real road to cutting U.S. emissions, two iconoclastic environmentalists argue, is for the government to help fund the development of cleaner alternatives that are better and cheaper than natural gas.

Please read more by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger at:

Feb 27, 2012

AWESOME Job opening as admin. assistant at The Green Team please pass on!

There is an opening for a admin. assistant at The Green Team of Wisconsin. If you know of anyone who wants to work with several businesses as part of a Sustainable Landscape Consortium, your help is appreciated. Interviews are next week. It is a part-full time job 30-50 hours in spring, 30-40 in summer, 30+in fall, and fewer hours in winter, no benefits or paid vacation at this time, sorry. The candidate would answer incoming calls for 3 businesses and do a variety of data entry and quick books during down time. See job description.

Contact: www.greenteamwi.com
Bradley Blaeser
President The Green Team (of Wisconsin, Inc.)

Feb 26, 2012

Putting 1 million tonnes of CO2 a mile under Illinois... A horrible gamble that costs trillions and does not work.

A scheme to inject 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide under Decatur, Illinois seeks to rai...

ecoGizmo- A bold undertaking to store one million metric tonnes (1.1 million short tons) of carbon dioxide in a sandstone reservoir 1.3 miles (2.1 km) below Decatur, Illinois, is well under way. The project began last November, and has so far injected more than 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide, almost one tenth of the target. The University of Illinois, which is leading the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project (IBDP), hopes that the scheme will demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of carbon sequestration, as well as raise public awareness of the process's potential environmental benefits... Continue Reading Putting 1 million tonnes of CO2 a mile under Illinois

Also the executive director of the International Energy Agency, is supporting that $2.5 to $3 trillion should be invested in carbon capture and storage (C.C.S.) projects from 2010 to 2050, or 6 percent of the overall investment needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

The agency recently unveiled a roadmap at the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum in London to give policymakers and industry leaders milestones and steps for reducing emissions. The roadmap includes plans to build 100 C.C.S. demonstration projects by 2020, and increase that to 3,100 projects by 2050. Read full from EcoSeed

Nevermind that:

EPA and "policy" experts not buying it? Better read more about it here:

'We Won't Pay': Greece's Middle Class Revolt against Austerity - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Look at the debt in a year...and think, would or could you pay? Or give them more?
Graphic: Rising sovereign bond yields.

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BP faces billions in fines as Gulf oil spill trial nears | NOLA.com

On the cusp of trial over the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, phalanxes of lawyers, executives and public officials have spent the waning days in settlement talks. Holed up in small groups inside law offices, war rooms and hotel suites in New Orleans and Washington, they are trying to put a number on what BP and its partners in the doomed Macondo well project should pay to make up for the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.
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Social Networking at It’s Worst - graphjam.com

funny graphs - Social Networking at It's Worst 

Phone-based scanner detects harmful bacteria - GizMag

Scientists have created a scanner that can be attached to a mobile phone, to detect the pr...

Soon, you may never have to play Russian roulette with potato salad again. Instead of just hoping that E. coli bacteria aren't present in your foods or drinks, you could instead use your mobile phone to find out for sure. That phone would have to be equipped with a bacteria-detecting scanner, which researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science recently created - in a prototype version, for now. .. Continue Reading Phone-based scanner detects harmful bacteria

Did Santorum just give Obama an endorsement?

Rick Santorum criticized President Barack Obama's call for all Americans to go to college in a speech to the Americans For Prosperity Michigan Forum.
"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob," Santorum said, to raucous applause from the audience.

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"raucous applause from the audience." - who are these people?
Are they the same who hooted and hollered when Perry announced how many people he put to death?

PETA killed over 95% of its animals in 2011

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

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Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling - Forbes

Panic is in the air as gasoline prices move above $4.00 per gallon. Politicians and pundits are rounding up the usual suspects, looking for someone or something to blame for this latest outrage to middle class family budgets. In a rare display of bipartisanship, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are both wringing their hands over the prospect of seeing their newly extended Social Security tax cut gobbled up by rising gasoline costs.

Unfortunately, the talking heads that are trying to explain the reasons for high oil prices are missing one tiny detail. Oil prices aren’t high right now. In fact, they are unusually low. Gasoline prices would have to rise by another $0.65 to $0.75 per gallon from where they are now just to be “normal”. And, because gasoline prices are low right now, it is very likely that they are going to go up more—perhaps a lot more.

What the politicians, analysts, and pundits are missing is that prices are ratios. Gasoline prices reflect crude oil prices, so let’s use West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to illustrate this crucial point.

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Wyoming House advances doomsday bill

State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into preparing Wyoming for a complete economic or political collapse in the United States. House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a task force to research and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government. It would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. Please continue reading at:

NOTE: They must have read, The Coming Collapse of the American Republic, by Robert A. Hall

USGS Measures Fallout from Fukushima in US NADP Precipitation Samples

Press Release- Following the disaster, radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium were detected in precipitation samples collected in the U.S. at NADP sites. 

National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) sites where USGS measured 137Cs in precipitation samples

cesium 137 wet deposition in becquerels per square meter march 15 - april 5, 2011Dot size represents relative deposition amounts. Fallout amounts measured in precipitation by USGS provide a clearer picture of fission-product wet deposition across the USA.

Detectable quantities of Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Cesium-134 were observed at approximately 20% of the NADP locations where precipitation was sampled between March 15 and April 5, 2011.  Radioactive iodine and cesium are often some of the largest contributors to human radiation doses after an accident at a nuclear reactor. 

Fallout amounts measured in precipitation by NADP were similar to amounts measured by other organizations, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern.

Methods and results of the study are documented in USGS Open-File Report 2011-1277.  The data are interpreted and compared to measurements of others in an article published in Environmental Science and Technology, March 6, 2012.  A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) pertaining to the study is available via the link provided below.

Open-File Report 2011–1277
Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program Wet Deposition Samples Following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Station Incident, March 8 - April 5, 2011. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1277, 2011, 34p., Gregory A. Wetherbee, Timothy M. Debey, Mark A. Nilles, David A. Gay, and Christopher M.B. Lehmann.

Environmental Science and Technology
Wet Deposition of Fission-Product Isotopes to North America from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Incident, March 2011, Environmental Science and Technology, doi:10.1021/es203217u, March 6, 2012, Gregory A. Wetherbee, David A. Gay, Timothy M. Debey, Christopher M.B. Lehmann, and Mark A. Nilles.

Source and information from USGS originally posted here:

Feb 25, 2012

‘Invisible’ Lung Disease Called A Death Sentence By Doctors... kills as many people as breast cancer.« CBS Dallas

Haase- This is what I lost my father to... He was 53, healthy and lived a very healthy lifestyle, that does no good against this silent killer.

(CBSDFW.COM) – Have you ever heard of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis? Probably not. But every year it kills just as many people as breast cancer.

But there are no marches, no ribbons, not even much research for Pulmonary Fibrosis.  There is no cure.... was fit. I never did smoke. I never did drugs. I had a great healthy life. I did every thing right.”

“One day, swimming, I ran a little short of breath,” he continued.

“So, I went to my doctor and said, ‘Hey, I’m having a problem here. I’m coughing,” he said.

The doctor thought it might be asthma or COPD, and gave Vick an inhaler. But it didn’t help.

In September, he went to lung specialist, who diagnosed Vick with a lung disease he’d never even heard of.

“Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. I said ‘what’s that?’ He said, ‘that’s a death sentence.’”

“The median survival may be three to five years,” explains Dr. Timothy Chappell.

Vick is walking less, but talking more about the disease.  “I call it a Ninja disease. Because it’s kind of invisible and people don’t know about it. They don’t see it. But when it strikes you, it’s a killer.”

It’s strikes most over 50. But nobody even knows what causes it.

“This year, there will be probably 40,000 people that die from breast cancer – a terrible disease there will be over 40,000 people that die from pulmonary fibrosis.

Vick, who’s social media savvy, hopes awareness sparks research. Because he knows no one would want to walk in his shoes.

“I want to be an advocate. I want to raise awareness,” he said.

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    Solyndra now faces environmental, health and safety problems - Washington Times

    The full extent of the potential environmental problem at the leasedSolyndra facility remains unclear. Officials at iStar say in court papers that they were not given the keys to the premises until this month, thoughSolyndra stopped making its lease payments in September when it filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

    “There may be at the premises based on the materials the debtor has left behind, which consist, in part, of open containers of unidentified chemical waste and lead processing machinery,” iStar attorney Karen Bifferatowrote in a recent court filing.

    Photographs attached to the iStar court filing provide an inside look atSolyndra’s stripped-down facility after the company hauled away whatever equipment might fetch money at auction.

    In one picture, two large blue drums are filled with a black substance with no secure lids and covered instead with clear plastic wrap. Another photograph shows a yellow drum about the size of a large garbage can containing a yellow-brown gooey substance.

    Yet another picture shows a large machine with a metallic tube coming from the top and another tube from the side. Both tubes display the words “lead exhaust.” A smaller sign on the front of the machine says “toxic” next to what appears to be a small skull and crossbones. A large structure outside the facility has the words “Argon Refrigerated Liquid” on its side.

    Court filings from the landlord also describe a high temperature oven assembly that is connected to an outside collection system, all of which are contaminated with lead.

    “It is not yet known if the lead contaminated equipment at the iStarpremises poses an imminent health problem, and since iStar only recently obtained access … it is in the process of having the lead contamination investigated,” the landlord stated in court papers.

    At a bankruptcy hearing Wednesday, Ms. Bifferato said the landlord is worried that it will be stuck with “a big mess with potential environmental problems,” including Environmental Protection Agency violations.

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    Micro- and Mild Hybrids Power a $6.9 billion market for energy storage

    The market for micro-hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles is on track to grow nearly eightfold to 39 million vehicles in 2017, driving a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices. Unlike full hybrids, micro-hybrids Mild hybrids improve fuel efficiency by assisting …Continue reading from luxresearchinc

    Green Car Congress: CoolPlanet BioFuels claims conversion yield of 4K gallons gasoline per acre biomass

    CoolPlanet BioFuels, a start-up developing technology to convert low-grade biomass into high-grade fuels including gasoline, and carbon that can be sequestered  (earlier post), claims it has achieved a conversion yield of 4,000 gallons gasoline/acre biomass in pilot testing using giant miscanthus, an advanced bioenergy crop.

    On an energy basis, that yield is about 12 times greater than current corn ethanol production levels, the company noted.

    These test results are based on nearly optimal crop growth conditions and demonstrate what is possible in a good growing season. Under more routine growing conditions, we estimate yields of about 3,000 gallons/acre should be achievable throughout the Midwest by selecting the proper energy crop for local conditions.

    —Mike Cheiky, Cool Planet’s founder and CEO

    The giant miscanthus was developed at the University of Mississippi and provided from a high yield plot by Repreve Renewables. Other advanced bio-energy crops, such as sorghum and switch grass, can provide similar annual yields using this new process.

    Agricultural waste from food crops can also produce up to 1,000 gallons of gasoline/acre using this new technology.

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    New Polymer Could Increase Capacitor Storage And Discharge Rate

    I don’t think there is enough talk about the potential for capacitors to change the electric vehicle field, though companies like Maxwell Technologies and Ioxus are making major progress on capacitor technology. If this research pans out though, it could reshape electric vehicle technology, and help EV’s overcome a potentially devastating design flaw. And while battery technology definitely has performance potential, capacitors have even more capacity to develop fast, fun, and efficient electric cars.

    Source: Science DailyThough electric cars are still in their infancy, already many people are seeing the potential for performance in the instant torque of electric motors. It’s not the motors that are the problem though; the batteries just can’t keep up. That is why some companies believe that capacitors, not batteries, are the future.

    But capacitors face their own challenges, like lower energy density. But new research has uncovered a polymer that increases capacitor energy storage seven-fold, as well as the pace at which capacitors can discharge, making them ideal for performance vehicles.

    Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a polymer known as PVDF enables capacitors to store and discharge as much as seven-times as much energy as current capacitor technology. Unlike batteries, which use chemical reactions to produce electricity, capacitors use lots of separate electrical charges that can be charged and discharged quickly. The problem is that in general they cannot store as much energy as larger batteries, though they can provide enough short-term power for some serious performance.

    Dr. Vivek Ranjan was the first to find that capactiors which contained the polymer polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF, along with another polymer called CTFE, could store a lot more energy than conventional capacitors. Other researchers ran a simulation at the atomic level, and found that the atoms within capacitors containing these two polymers performed a “synchronized dance”, flipping from polar to non-polar, discharging energy with very little electrical input.

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    Gas Prices... Classic Gary Varvel

    Gas Prices

    There are a variety of reasons for gas prices increasing. But it wasn’t so long ago, the fault was easy to find.

     Please read and follow Varvel at: http://blogs.indystar.com/varvelblog/2012/02/22/gas-prices-4/

    New Avenue For MRSA 'Superbug': Pigs - Slashdot

    ...researchers have discovered another waymethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics. According to the study (abstract), the bacteria made the jump to pigs on livestock farms, developed greater resistance through the rounds of antibiotics commonly used to keep the pigs healthy, and thenjumped back to humans."The important development in the story of ST398 is its move back off the farm into humans, causing first asymptomatic carriage in that original family, and then illnesses in other Dutch residents, and then outbreaks in healthcare settings, and then movement across oceans, and then appearance in retail meat, and then infections in people who had no connection whatsoever to farming—all from an organism with a distinctive agricultural signature. That’s an important evolution, and an illustration once again that, as soon as resistance factors emerge, we really have no idea where they will spread. So it would be a good idea to take actions to keep them from emerging, or at the very least to implement surveillance that would allow us to identify them when they do."
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    Why Tesla Cars Aren't Bricked By Failing Batteries - Slashdot

    Don't believe recent claims made by a blogger that non-functioning batteries in the Tesla Roadster cause the electric cars to be bricked, says IDC analyst Sam Jaffe. 'Here's the primary fact that the blogger in question doesn't understand: the Tesla battery pack is not a battery,' says Jaffe. 'It's a collection of more than 8,000 individual batteries. Each of those cells is independently managed. So there's only two ways for the entire battery pack to fail. The first is if all 8,000 cells individually fail (highly unlikely except in the case of something catastrophic like a fire). The second failure mechanism is if the battery management system tells the pack to shut down because it has detected a dangerous situation, such as an extremely low depth of discharge. If that's the case, all that needs to be done is to tow the vehicle to a charger, recharge the batteries and then reboot the battery management system. This is the most likely explanation for the five 'bricks' that the blogger claims to have heard about.'"
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    Where Next-Generation Rare Earth Metals May Come From - Slashdot

    Great piece in The Atlantic by Kyle Wiens of IFIXIT.org, who visited and photographed the Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California's Mojave Desert. The mine is the only source of rare earths in North America, one of the only alternatives to the mineral cartels in China, and one of the only sources for the key metals such as tantalum needed in cell phones. There is of course actually one other source of rare earth metals in the USA — recycled cell phones. Is the best 'state of the art' mining as good as the worst state of the art recycling? If the U.S. Department of Energy subsidizes the mine, will China open the floodgates and put it out of business? Or will electronics be manufactured with alternative materials before the mine ever becomes fully scaleable?"
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    Cars Emit More Black Carbon Than Previously Thought - Slashdot

    Gasoline-burning engines put out twice as much black carbon as was previously measured, according to new field methods tested in Toronto. The tiny particles known as black carbon pack a heavy punch when it comes to climate change, by trapping heat in the atmosphere and by alighting atop, and melting, Arctic ice. With an eye toward controlling these emissions, researchers have tracked black carbon production from fossil fuel combustion in gasoline-burning cars and diesel-burning trucks. Until this study was published [abstract of paywalled article], gas-burning vehicles had been thought to be relatively minor players."
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    America has already lost a decade of economic progress | The Economist

    Economist - The Economist has crunched the numbers and on the basis of seven indicators covering economic output, wealth and labour markets, the United States has already gone back in time some ten years. Its GDP per person, for example, was at a higher level than today back in 2005 and its main stockmarket index was higher in 1999. Of the countries considered, Greece has fared the worst. In economic terms, it is just entering the new millennium again. As a whole the rich world has been hardest hit by the financial crisis. Just six of the 34 "advanced" economies categorized by the IMF have GDP per person higher in 2011 than in 2007. Notable among them are Germany and Australia.

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    Court rules visitors to national forest don't have to pay a fee

    Pasadena Star News - In a decision that could bring an end to the national Adventure Pass program, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Forest Service cannot charge for hiking, walking, picnicking or visiting undeveloped areas of national forest land.

    In the unanimous ruling released Feb. 9 in favor of four hikers who objected to paying a fee to visit the forest, Judge Robert Gettleman wrote: "Everyone is entitled to enter national forests without paying a cent."

    The strongly worded, 15-page decision says any member of the public who walks, hikes, rides a horse, picnics on the side of a road, camps at undeveloped sites, even parks in a national forest "without using facilities and services" is allowed to do so without being charged....

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    Ending poverty, not adding tests, is solution to school woes | Mercedes Olivera Columns - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News

    Mercedes Olivera, Dallas Morning News ... recent studies also reveal that U.S. students from middle-class families and well-funded schools outscore students in nearly all other countries.

    "Our average scores are less than spectacular because the U.S. has the highest percentage of children in poverty of all industrialized countries," said [Stephen] Krashen, professor emeritus at the University of Southern California

    Poverty means inadequate nutrition, inadequate health care, exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment and little access to books. All those factors are strongly associated with lower school performance, he said.

    "If all of our children had the same advantages middle-class children have, our test scores would be at the top of the world," Krashen said. He criticized the Obama administration’s move to spend billions on new standards and tests, which he said will do little to improve a child's ability to learn.

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    before you vote, look at a few statistics since Barack Obama became the president of the United States.

    Hey folks, it's election time... and yes, with the help of newt, perry and santorum, Obama is starting to look like the only logical choice again.

    But, before you vote, look at a few statistics since Barack Obama became the president of the United States.

    In February 2009, President Obama was very confident that his economic policies would turn the country around within a year. He said, and I quote, 'A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition.'

    Well where are we after three years?

    #1 Today there are 88 million working age Americans that are not employed and that are not looking for employment.  That is an all-time record high.

    #2 ... the percentage of unemployed Americans that had been out of work for more than 52 weeks was less than 15%.  Today, it is above 30%.

    #3 There are 1.2 million fewer jobs in America today.

    #4 When Barack Obama first took office, the number of "long-term unemployed workers" in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

    #5 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is hovering close to an all-time record high.

    #6 ...worker health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent.

    #7 ...the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by 90 percent.

    #8 ...home values in the United States have declined by another 13 percent.

    #9 ...new home sales in the U.S. set a brand new all-time record low in 2009, they set a brand new all-time record low again in 2010, and they set a brand new all-time record low once again during 2011.

    #10 ...the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by more than 6 million.

    Please read all 18 from source blog (warning, it's a doom blog):

    Gallup Finds Unemployment Climbing to Nine Percent in February | CNSNews.com

    (CNSNews.com) – Unemployment in the U.S. rose to nine percent in mid-February, up from 8.3 percent a month earlier, according to a new Gallup survey. The polling company said this suggests that it is “premature” to assume the economy will not feature prominently in the 2012 election season.

    Gallup figures typically provide an indication of what the government will report at the end of the month.

    “The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February,” Gallup said in its mid-month unemployment survey, released on February 17. “The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.”

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    $6 Gas This Summer — U.S. Economy Falls Off Cliff (NYSEArca:USO, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, NYSE:COP, NYSE:BP, NYSEArca:XLE, NYSEArca:UGA) | ETF DAILY NEWS

    And at $6 per gallon, US consumers will not only experience a touch of Europe without leaving the comforts of their own homes, the drain on another flat-lined metric—household income—could inject additional life to the anti-Obama tide of disenchantment this election cycle.

    “March is now on the way, and we are seeing very high prices for gasoline at the pump,” Leeb told King World News.  “ . . . we are continuing to see  higher prices for gasoline and it may even hit record highs.  In fact, I  think they will hit record highs and we will see a minimum of $6 per gallon gasoline in the United States this summer.”

    As geopolitical tensions between the West and Iran reach fresh highs, some in the business of managing money reckon that soon the oil price (NYSEArca:USO) could reach fresh highs as well, with the added help of a runaway printing press operator at the helm of the Fed, Ben Bernanke.

    One 40-year money manager veteran Robert Fitzwilson, founder of Portola Group, anticipates the possibility of oil trading up from the present $80 to $100 range, to a new range, above the record price of $147 per barrel, set during the summer of 2008.

    Along with Leeb, Fitzwilson believes the proverbial ‘perfect storm’ between two reliable catalysts for higher oil prices are about to clash hard this year.  Those catalysts include a Middle East war (this time with Iran) and the Fed’s unofficial policy of encouraging  sidelined money to take on risk at near-zero borrowing costs.

    “Regardless, the secular forces almost ensure that the price of energy is going higher,” Fitzwilson told Eric King of KWN.  “With this [ultra-loose monetary policy] as a backdrop, we have the Fed mandating that they are going to try to get the stock market higher and improve the economy by printing money. You can’t have that happen without demand for oil increasing.

    “So, both from a monetary perspective and a supply/demand perspective, the price of oil has to go higher and has to go higher in a substantial way.   $170 to $250 a barrel oil would not surprise me.”

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    The compression of generations – 25 million adults live at home with parents because they’re unemployed or underemployed. The crushing cost of a college education today.

    Where have the young adults gone?

    Without a doubt many young adults, those between the ages of 25 to 34 have moved back home (or never left home) because of the recession:

    census age living at home

    Source:  Census

    Part of the trend is unmistakable in that much of the growth has come from men.  This is likely due to industries like construction taking a brutal hit once the housing market went bust.  However the trend has also occurred with females if we go back to the early 2000s.  There are a variety of reasons for this compression of generations.  This is common in other parts of the world but certainly is a new phenomenon here in the US.  In Italy it is common for men to live at home well into (and beyond) young adulthood but how well will this go in the US?

    It doesn’t seem like much of this is by voluntary choice:

    “(TIME) Nearly 25 million adults live at home with their parents because they’re unemployed or underemployed, they’re trying to pay off student loans or save money to buy a place, or for any number of other reasons. While calling mom and dad your “roommates” may be a smart financial move, it’s the kiss of death for a healthy dating life. Trulia’s survey found that only 5% of unmarried adults would be open to dating someone who lived with their parents.”

    This might also explain a massive slowdown in the first time homebuyer market since many purchase their first home between the ages of 25 to 34.  It is tricky to purchase a home when people are working low-wage jobs or simply not working at all.  The massive amount ofstudent debt also hangs above many from moving into another major debt purchase.  As the above data highlights living with your parents might be good for your pocketbook but it might be difficult to woo a potential partner when living at home for many reasons.  Yet this also delays the need for a home since there is little need for larger spaces when you are single.  Without a doubt the trend of young adults living at home has increased:

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    EPA funds University of Hawaii marine debris research project / Agency providing $15,000 to further

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently provided $15,000 in funding to the University of Hawaii to further research efforts on marine debris. The funding will be used to begin studying plastic debris caught in the filters of ship-board cooling systems – this project will develop methods and protocols to better monitor debris as the ships cross the Pacific

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    Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors - WSJ.com

    The Federal Reserve has operated almost entirely behind closed doors as it rewrites the rule book governing the U.S. financial system, a stark contrast with its push for transparency in its interest-rate policies and emergency-lending programs.

    While many Americans may not realize it, the Fed has taken on a much larger regulatory role than at any time in history. Since the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul became law in July 2010, the Fed has held 47 separate votes on financial regulations, and scores more are coming. In the process it is reshaping the U.S. financial industry by directing banks on how much ... 

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    Chart: 'America’s Per Capita Government Debt Worse Than Greece' | The Weekly Standard

    Debt ceiling: Doomsday may come sooner than expected - POLITICO.com

    The federal government could hit the debt ceiling sooner than expected — and possibly around the November election — according to a report out Friday.
    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill had hoped that last summer’s deal to end the nasty fight over lifting the debt ceiling would ensure the issue wouldn’t resurface until at least 2013.
    But the Bipartisan Policy Center said Friday that the debt-limit doomsday could come earlier than that.
    Analysts from the Bipartisan Policy Center projected that the United States will hit its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling between late November 2012 and early January 2013 due to lower-than-expected corporate tax revenues and the recent extension of the payroll tax holiday.
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