Thursday, January 31, 2013

Major energy accident disappoints calamity groupies, and fossil fuel promoters, oh I repeated myself.

A violent wind blew down a large wind turbine in Scotland this week.  Disaster report follows:
Oil spill = none
radioactive leaks = none
fisheries threatened = none
people evacuated  = none
gas leaks = none
rescue ships required = none
exclusion area established = none
people killed in explosion = none
fire crews responding = none
birds and otters needing cleaning = none
hazmat suits needed in aftermath = none
adjacent generation units at risk of domino style failure = none
adjacent generation units still operational = ALL
operational status of grid it was part of = unchanged
percent of energy the wind farm can still produce = almost as before
total replacement of damaged unit = a few months
damage to farmland it fell on = plow it a couple times and you'll never know it happened.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And Jesus said to the hungry living near the refinery

If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day.

If you teach me to fish you have fed me until the river is contaminated and the shoreline is seized for development.

If you teach me to organize then whatever the challenge I can join together with my peers and fashion our own solution.

We'll always have Paris, kid.

Yes, Rick and Elsa will still have Paris, and with a cleaner bluer sky over France.  
Starting this summer, businesses (not private homes) in Paris must turn off all lights no later than 1 hour after the last person departs.  There are exceptions (longer hours) for a few iconic locations and during the Christmas season.  Even most of those will go dark at 1AM.  The savings every night will be equal to powering 750,000 homes, allowing for shutting off 2 or 3 large coal fired power plants every night.

Another cool thing in (a few) European neighborhoods.  The streetlights operate by motion sensors.  A car of pedestrian approaching will turn on a section for a short time.  The savings for taxpayers is hugh, and not having lights on full time draws fewer insects.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

junk science from the Fringe. Fly clean, fly smart, help the earth.

Watch this video and learn how to book a flight that pollutes the least.
Why?  Like cars, some use more fuel than others for the same trip.  Depending on the model, age,  weight, and the engine it's equipped with, some flights burn far less fuel than others.  This video explains how without any real effort, often at the same price, you can screw the oil companies.

junk science from the Fringe, understanding tons of carbon

When I was in the 7th grade my science teacher told of an experiment going on while he was at university.  They wanted to learn where the weight of a tree came from.  A large tank was built, dirt was weighed dumped in and a tree was planted.  The tree growing in it's container would one day be pulled up and weighed, and the soil weighed again. Well, it had been years, they had yet to complete it so far as he knew.  We all imagined (with his prompting I suspect) the dirt became wood and so it might weigh less, it made sense since we were often told wood rots and returns to dirt one day.  

Today we know the imagined results has little to do with what happens.  What really happens is trees absorb a scarce few ounces of trace minerals and nutrients from the soil and carry them into the wood.  If we re-weigh the dirt in that container, it will be almost the weight as before.  So where did the mass of the tree come from?  

Carbon is a constant on earth, it’s total volume does not change.  What changes is where the carbon is.  The danger to us, to the planets current life forms and our current form of agriculture lies in where that carbon is getting to, where we are putting it.  

Carbon is the primary ingredient in plants and animals.  Science found the weight of that tree was (about) 90% carbon, 10% water. The weight and volume of the dirt it grew in did not change. If a storm blows down a big tree behind your house, and you leave it lay, slowly over the years it molders away. The water and the carbon are released during the rot and insect activity, released into the atmosphere. The tons the tree weighs, those tons of carbon, simply float away in the air.  A few spoonfuls of minerals remain; bugs and microbes wallow in the humus and build a little soil there, but the weight of the tree, the carbon, slowly floated off.  Now if the first winter after your tree fell, you cut it up and burn it, those tons of carbon are released right then by the flame, immediately into the atmosphere.  If the storm that fell the tree had instead been a landslide and the tree had been covered deep under ground, these tons of carbon would not have made it into the atmosphere for a long time, perhaps centuries, it may have become oil or coal holding the carbon millions of years.

When we dig up coal, oil, or natural gas, which were the trees meadows and animals of earlier biospheres and burn it in our car or power plant, we are taking that CO2 (carbon) from one place on earth, deep underground, and throwing it immediately into the atmosphere, tons and tons of it in an instant, all day, every day.  Most of this ends up in the atmosphere, the thin layer of balanced thermal and light wave protection system only 1/1000th as thick of the diameter of earth, disrupting that balance.   The volume of CO2 hasn't changed, only it’s location and concentration, creating a greenhouse of rising temperature and chemical reaction disaster at the earth’s surface such as increase acidity of the seas.

The fact is, dirt does not become trees that become dirt again, dirt to dirt and ashes to ashes is not a true description of the natural world.  CO2 is taken in from the atmosphere by cell respiration of plants and resides there in forms that are useful to all life forms as they evolved up to now.  Since the industrial revolution, almost 200 years now, we have been releasing ever-increasing volumes of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, at the same time clearing the earth of our best carbon storing plants.  Saving and replanting the world’s forests and tall grass prairie's, low till farming, non fossil fuel energy sources, more effective lighting and engines are the only way to halt the migration of CO2 from safe to dangerous locations. 

It's not easy to make sense of numbers which proclaim the car put out some tons of carbon, or the solar panel saved (prevented) as much.  Hopefully this is a start.  Better plant a tree now, carbon will build you a shade tree, tons of shade.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

SIERRA CLUB is taking the touchy feely gloves off.

The Sierra Club board of directors has OK'd lifting their ban on civil disobedience.  The Tar Sands Pipeline and environmental issues warrant it according to the directors.  It's no longer a rich kids hiking club, they intend to let fly and try to make a difference.  Bout friggin time.  I might rejoin.

The EPA is toothless.  It takes the state of California to protect the nation.  Last week Tide agreed with Calif (under pressure) to remove cancer causing petroleum products from Tide starting ??, but at least they will.  Nice huh, wash your panties in Tide, get breast cancer, bag cancer, and kids, wow.

The EPA is giving Navajo power plant 15 or 20 more years to do something about their pollution.  The Navajo people have no political power, screw them, screw the Grand Canyon National Park which is near by and catches much of the smog on some days from the plant.  In the mean time, the Navajo and Hopi can let lead, mercury, acid and soot fall on their homes, sheep, horses and kids.

This is a picture from a Japan space craft of the lights.  Do you see that glow in the upper left corner.  It's in North Dakota, where it should be dark.  That is flaring.  Fracking of thousands of natural gas wells there in only the last few years turned it into the #2 gas and oil state.  Over 35% of the natural gas is just vented.  They go to all that trouble, and then piss away a third of our resource because it's cheaper than preventing it from escaping.  So much escapes it would blow the damn place up if they don't keep burning it off.  It's not harmless, it adds CO2 to the atmosphere.  And the whole thing is legal.  They could have the same amount of gas with 1/3 fewer wells, but waste is the norm, and that glow, that's global warming, that's higher gas prices, that is waste, that is big oil fucking us over.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Germans worried about mass fantasies in the US

I have a German friend in Berlin I have known for 35 years.  He, like most Germans, follows what's going on in the US closely.  While people in the US pay no attention to the goings on in Germany, they are truly informed about us.
A couple days ago he told me Germans believe the Republicans will damage our credit and economy which will also damage theirs.  As a nation of people better educated than we are (on average) they are curious how we can believe we will remain the most powerful nation in the world while cutting back education funding from pre-school to university.
All that was earlier emails.  But the main thing, and what he wrote about this time, is guns.  Specifically the Germans are worried about what he called "paranoid fantasies old white americans have that they are about to fight a rebellion against fascist", and (as practical Germans would speculate) they are spending their family resources hiding ammo in the cellar.
I can only reply to him that most of these old white boys are weighted down with glasses, pot bellies, bad knees and bladder trouble.  If the civil war starts on an icy morning, getting to the drug store for blood pressure meds on the way to attack the social security office will take skill, ensure, and a nitro tablet.

Hey freedom fighters, answer me this: Does medicare cover falls during civil insurrections?

Jokes aside, his alarm is warranted, what the hell are these guys doing other than stocking their house and head with dangerous possibilities that makes their home all the more likely a place a gun will take a life by accident, domestic violence, or suicide.  Suicide is the number one killer by guns, not a crime, suicide.  When you see the figure of 900 killed since SandyHook, it didn't include suicide, that number was larger, and mostly white men 35 to 70.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fuck Whole Foods

Whole Foods CEO Mackey calls Obamacare "Fascism".  It's amazing how many people do not know what the various failed kinds of governments are.
Fascism is an ultranationalistic system that promotes political violence, seeks wars (as an excuse to impose strict discipline and control of the people), it uses religion where it can for it's benefits, leans heavily towards state owned property, and is the enemy of communism, conservatism, liberalism and social democracy.  While being against both conservative and liberal ideals seems odd, the end goal is to promote a class of superiors to lord over the masses.  Ok, that is generalized, but basically correct, and Obamacare doesn't comply.

Today Mackey went on NPR and made the Fascism statement.  Thats the end of Whole Foods for us.
We don't have one here, but on the frequent trips to Austin, Memphis and others, we always include a shopping trip to pick up some things we really enjoy, but I assure you can do without, and will.  I vote with my pocket book, and like Chic-filet, Menards, Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, this bastard too will never see another shadow of mine fall on his cash register.
Fuck Whole Foods!

Doesn't he know who his customers are?  Liberals mostly, he's not going to make it up easily.  Getting a bunch of republicans and red necks to start buying organic will be a hard sell, they don't believe in that shit.

Wall-Mart PR stunt falls short of impressing me

Wally world has decided it's time to jump start the economy, their words.  In the next 10 years they will spend $50 billion buying American made products and hire 100,000 military vets during the next 5 years.  OK, I'm not a total dip-wad, this is good, I am glad they will do this.

But, this is also a sad PR stunt.  Consider they do 444 billion a year in business, and they plan to shop for 5 billion a year in the domestic market, wow so that's a little over 1% of sales.  And since they always expand and increase sales, in 10 years time it likely will be less than 1%.
As for the vets, that's good too, but, there is a stunt here as well.  Since Wally world is primarily a part time employer and offers little or no health care to it's employees, this will ensure the American tax payer continues to pay for vets health care while they (wally world) pay nothing (directly).  Keep those guys pointed back to the VA hospital, not a local doc through insurance. And since most of todays military is white (as opposed to the 50's to the 90's) this will trend to a minority replacement action.  Then there is the pay scale, not exactly what most vets aspired to risking their life for a 35 hour week at wages that guarantee the kids never get braces.

Again, I like both of these actions.  I just think the first one is so small it's a joke, glad they are doing it, but it's feeble.  Good news too for vet's but this is a trick to keep wally world from offering insurance.  (Well, maybe when Obamacare kicks in the insurance thing won't matter.  Or will it?  Have to think on that one)  One more pat on the head for Wally world, they are adding solar power to some of their stores and forcing some suppliers to hold packaging size and content to a minimum saving waste, cost, shelf and truck space and weight.  But still, I don't consider them a good corporate citizen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Seven years of aphasia cured

Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas, known for his thrift of curiosity, who has written only a half dozen more opinions for the court than I have, woke from 7 years of sleep with an outburst from the bench.  The un-mute button was engaged just long enough for, not a question or legal matter, but a remark about a lawyers schooling at Yale, CT's school, something something something whatever, a kind of joke about his maybe not being qualified.
Jeeze, shut-up already!

Random power trips, the stuff that sticks in my head

*From the earliest temperature record keeping, the ratio of new record highs to record lows stayed about equal year in and year out.  That changed in the 1970's when record highs started showing up more often.  Now they are dominant.  In 2012 the US saw about 7 to 1 highs over lows.  Over 14,000 record breaking high temps set just last year.  In Africa it is higher than that.  It's 10 to 1.  Australia the same, with outback temps currently reaching new highs of 130°F+.  At these temperatures food crops can hardly be kept alive, and produce very little.
*California has given 2.4 billion of tax breaks to home and small business solar installations in the last 7 years and got 1 gigawatt of new energy source out of it, equal to a new nuke plant, which would have cost 6 to 9 billion, of which the state and feds would have given billions of support and tax breaks, taken 12 years and produced hot crap that has to be protected and stored for generations.
*It takes 714 lbs of coal to light a 60 watt incandescent for 1 year, only 2 hours of wind, 8 hours of solar.  Every 14 seconds (during the day) enough solar hits the US to power it for the whole day.
*The civil wars in north Africa, with muslims pushing south with fundamentalist ideals, may be misunderstood.  It may not be so much a zealot's crusade as a scramble for food, water, farmable land, it may be a global warming event as the Pentagon predicted in the last month of Bush 43's reign, that global warming will set off wars and mass migrations, starting now!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Public very clear on their "green" opinions

Environmental Working Group with another group conducted a poll.
94% of Americans (& 92% Repubs) want political leadership on balancing more energy production with protecting clean water and air.
86% want leadership on shifting from coal & nuclear energy to wind & solar.
79% concerned about fracking as relates to water quality.
-------- meanwhile -------
Kansas legislature (a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch brothers) sees continued new wind energy farms as an attack on their beloved fossil fuel, so much so they are considering the reversal of a mandate from years ago that utilities should get 15% of power from renewable sources by 2020.

Friday, January 11, 2013

5 hours into a new sculpture

From a Limestone block, 10" x 12" x 5".
What is it?  I'll put another photo up after a little more progress.

part 1

Excellent movie, stick with it, it's really really good, and full of surprises.

part 2

Lots of surprising events here, it was an Oscar winner, short film winner.  Be sure you watch the credits, they are a bit unusual.  Oh, this movie makes another good case for gun control don't you think?

Every day I look at NYT, click "science" then "environment"

Less than 90 days after the largest atmospheric swirly swirly ass kicking the North East US has ever seen,  during the nations 3rd year of drought and wild fire epidemic with temperatures averaging for the year almost 4°F higher than the last centuries average, the NYT is closing it's environmental news department.  Next week the staff will be assigned to other duties, scraping lead paint off the basement walls perhaps.
That was it, that was the only reason I visited that site.  Once there I sometimes read other things, or click an add, but this weekend will be about the end of that.  Free up a slot on my "bookmarked" list, I may add the German site, "Greenbang", or if someone has another suggestion please comment.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Prostate cancer prevention, Apples with peelings, Flax seed,

Vegetables, exercise, and here's the scoop.

Men, watch these 8 video's,  2 minutes each.  It's mighty simple to prevent prostate trouble.  Cut down on meat, white bread and sugars, do more fruit and vegi's, get a bag of ground flax seed, (keep it in the fridge or it goes rancid) and sprinkle a couple spoons of it on your cereal or fruit or desert or in your soup every day, (get organic if you can) apples, eat 2 a day with peelings.  Keep your equipment in good health.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Junk science from the fringe, or, how 4,000 gallons of gas burned next to my house today

My city is laid out in 1 mile grids  The one mile square I live in has 4 lanes on all 4 sides of it.  The 3 year old traffic count I found on line gives each side of the square a value, combined its almost 75,000 vehicles, which in this case would also be about 75,000 miles driven.
The national fleet (the whole mix of cars and light trucks) now gets at best 20 mpg.  Now I'll spare the math here but it works out to 3,750 gallons burned every day on the perimeter of my square just for the drive.  At each of the corners is a traffic light, about 1/3 of the cars get caught at one end or another of this mile and set for about 3 minutes, so thats 75,000 minutes burning 1/4 gallon per hour at idle, for another 312.5 gallons just to go nowhere.

That's 4,063.5 gallons up in smoke every day, and close enough to be a concern.  (todays price $3 gal).  Tomorrow I will find out how much CO2 that was.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hagel fog

Headline on one site today "Now they care about gay rights!"  Yes, suddenly the GOP pretends Hagel's remark many years ago was hateful.  Really?  Now they get it?  Now they like queers?

Hagel won't support Israel?  Really?  Does the department of defense make foreign policy?  NO.  No they do not.  They follow the direction of the President and the State Department.  The department of defense has one job with two parts; 1) kill people, 2) break things doing it.  The remark he made years ago about the Jewish lobby was a misstatement, his remark was to disparage the amerikan christianistas zealous wish for war in the holy land, not the jewish state nor jewish americans.

The GOP will spit and fume about Hagel, but he will pass the test.  They hate him for being a war vet that thinks,  and reversing his support for Bush and the war contractors when Iraq went sour.  They will never forgive him, the religious right is good at that.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The cost of harvesting carbon from the arctic

Sarge, you are OK with arctic drilling, I am against it.  Neither of our positions, even if they were unanimous would change it, they will drill.  But please be aware of the damages to follow this blunder, from the loss of wildlife and fish (from the biggest unused fish sanctuaries in the world under that ice that will soon be dead or flavored with crude), to native hunting and fishing cultures changed forever, and the added carbon made available to heat the world.

Shell has two rigs up there now, one was being towed for tax reasons from Alaska waters into international waters to spend Jan 1, then it would be towed back not having to pay Alaska any tax for the year.  The tax cheat fell in disfavor of the gods and a storm sent it onto the rocks.  The second rig was put under criminal investigation yesterday for violations of all kinds to do with safety and pollution violations.  So much for Shell being a good citizen.

2012 saw only two rigs trying to work in Alaska arctic waters, both disasters.  Next year expect about a dozen, the following year perhaps 25.
So far, no matter where in the world there was an oil spill, no more than 5% of the oil was recovered or cleaned up.  In many of these cases it was in warm waters, calm weather, such as the BP gulf spill.  Here we had hundreds of vessels working to clean it up.  3% was skimmed, 6% burned, that's it.  The arctic spills will have at beast a handfull of vessels to help, fish, bears, seals, king crabs, whales will die.    In total darkness for weeks, violent storms, ice bergs, they will have an excuse for safety reasons to do nothing, nothing at all.
oil sticky after 23 years ExxonValdez
Oil spill in frozen sea

The industry has a new containment dome to stop run away wells that break off underwater, remember how hard that was to put on in the Gulf, the new one, the one to fix all the former failures, and this one designed for under ice failed it's first test, crushed like a beer can a few weeks ago.  I have no faith in these companies, they will soon cause dead zones as we have in the gulf.

crushed containment dome
Air up your tires, coast to the stop sign, use as little oil as you can.  F--- the oil guys.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Major Award announcement

The Major Award for the most destructive and harmful "thing" in our lives is a 4 way tie.  The winners are: Fracking, Mountain Top Removal,  Arctic Drilling and Tar Sands Mining.

Runners up: NRA, Syria, Koch Industries, GOP, Fox, Climate Deniers, Sugar Producers, 700 Club, Afghan War, Wallmart brake job, Rick Santorum, Urban Sprawl, Papa Johns Pizza.

News media about to get foxed again

Rupert Murdoch is on the cusp of getting approval for another expansion of Fox News empire.  The target, Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times, to be remade as right wing parrots.  Twice before he tried this and the FCC turned it down after massive public outcry.  Déjà vu.

The international social action network Avaaz has fought Murdock in England to a standstill on a number of issues, and is taking up this fight in the US.  The thinking public of the world knows that a monopoly in the media is a threat to democracy.  Go to this link and send the FCC a message, all it asks is email, initials or name, zip, thats it.  Avaaz is 17+ million people ragging on corporations, governments, crooks, it will take you 2 minutes to land a punch at the Fox empire.  So ..... scoot your cursor over the link that follows ........ and CLICK.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Germans and bears may be only ones concerned

A little push back please.  Currently a deep sea drilling ship got away from Shell in Alaska and is banging around on rocks in rough waters.  How they gonna clean that up in ice and wind? There is only two kinds of drilling operations, ones that are spilling, and ones that will spill.

I haunt foreign news sites, read (some) German so long as it's not technical or political.  The Germans are protesting pretty stiff right now against fracking.  Unlike the US, they can fill the streets and plug up the doors to government with protests, it often works.  The sign says 'no chemicals in ground water'.

Old soldiers win battle in fiscal cliff cluster fuck

 The Production Tax Credit for new wind energy projects found it's way into the law passed in Washington on New Years Day.  A 1 year extension, not a policy, but at least a positive.  This gives the renewable non polluting energy source a tiny fraction of the billions of welfare oil, coal and gas get.
A number of environmental news sites are offering the veterans group Operation Free the trophy for this feat.  They lobbied hard for this, others did too, but somehow they are garnering lots of praise.  If you are a vet, and care about the environment, stopping pollution, and halting wars over energy sources, visit and join your buddies at
Wind, it's not controlled by a religious zealots, dictators, pirates, cartels, and we don't send your kids off to die for it.
Operation Free also supports solar energy, every 14 seconds enough light falls on the US to power it for the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Disgraced by the President and the Senate on New Years Day

It's too early yet to know what the fine print in the Senate and Presidential cave in contains.   Maybe it will will be OK, but although they passed it, I understand by some news stories that they are still writing some of it.  You can imagine as they work on it more shit will stick to it than a magnet in a junk yard, some good, some not so much.  As I said, I am not sure, how can any of us be sure if what they passed is good or bad, it will take a couple of days for the fine print to see light.

Disgraceful.   Washington has set up another 60 days of hostility and threats and bluster to finish the project.  If even then they will.   They didn't finish the job.  Another 60 days of pitting half the nation against the other half on budgets and debt and party.  Another 8 weeks of hearing every fucking business man I encounter using "uncertainty" as a hammer on any and everything he can't make up his mind on.  Deciding what to do is a never ending problem and one they love to blame on something other than their own entrepeauneurial  laziness.   Shame on Washington.  Lets see what the Repubs in Congress do.  I think they will pass it because they see the fight in 60 days as something they have more leverage on, it's mostly about cutting services and finding a way to cut parts out of Obama care, social security, and serve their corporate owners.