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August 31, 2012


$16 Trillion

That’s about how much money the United States of America is in debt to creditors today – a sum which won’t be paid off anytime soon, if ever.  
And that debt is growing by leaps and bounds. Millions of dollars are added to the total every few minutes. Interest alone just to service this mountain of debt is now accumulating at the rate of about $200 billion every year.
It’s going to get worse.



Along with the Arctic Ice, The Rich World's Smugness Will Melt

I have no idea what is coming to Europe and North America this winter and next summer, in the wake of the record ice melt, but it's unlikely to be pleasant. Please note that this record represents a loss of about 30% of Arctic sea ice, against the long-term average. When that climbs to 50% or 70% or 90%, the impacts are likely to be worse.

Our governments do nothing.

Analysis of US EIA data: US crude oil stocks rose 3.778 million barrels

U.S. commercial crude oil stocks increased by 3.778 million barrels to 364.524 million barrels during the reporting week ended August 24, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Antarctica’s Hidden Carbon Stores Pose Warming Risk in Study

The carbon stored under Antarctic ice is on par with the amount held in the northern hemisphere’s frozen permafrost soils and the lower end of estimates for methane trapped under the Arctic Ocean, according to Jemma Wadham, professor of Glaciology at the U.K.’s University of Bristol and lead author of a study in the journal Nature yesterday.

Antarctic methane could worsen global warming: scientists

Large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane could have been produced under the Antarctic Ice Sheet over millions of years, which could add to global warming if released into the atmosphere by a thaw, a study said on Wednesday.

Appeals court keeps anti-coal measure off Bellingham ballot

It's official: The initiative attempting to prohibit coal shipments through Bellingham will not be on the ballot in November.

Brazil judges uphold Chevron, Transocean operating ban

An injunction banning No. 2 U.S. oil company Chevron Corp and its drilling contractor Transocean Ltd from operating in Brazil was upheld by a panel of three Brazilian federal judges on Tuesday while charges over a November oil spill are being considered.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics Market Revenue to Quadruple to $2.4 Billion by 2017

Despite the difficult market environment for the solar industry as a whole, the opportunity for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) looks extremely promising.

Bystander Fired Deadly Shot, Not Officer

There were two big developments Monday in the case of a motorist who was shot and killed along Greenwell Springs Road Friday after a fight with a police officer.  Investigators say an autopsy shows the deadly bullet was fired by a bystander, not the officer. 

Chilly European winters linked to solar activity

Some clever cross-referencing has helped an international team of researchers establish a link between low periods of solar activity and frosty European winters. The Sun's level of magnetic activity follows an 11-year cycle. Peaks in this cycle pose a threat to telecommunications and electricity networks and it's long been suspected that there's a correlation between the opposite end of the cycle and extreme winters in Europe. A lack of historical average temperature data makes it difficult to confirm this link, but scientists have filled the gap by studying the comings and goings of 19th Century riverboats on the Rhine.

CHP Industry Hails White House Executive Order Supporting Combined Heat & Power

The U.S. Clean Heat & Power Association (U.S. CHP Association) today praised the Obama Administration for today's Executive Order, "Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency," which calls for a national combined heat and power deployment goal of an additional 40GW by 2020.

Clean vs Dirty Energy: Learning From India's Great Blackout

India is a fast-developing nation with a population of 1.2 billion people, and by 2030 will likely be the most-populous in the world. India's disparities and inequalities are staggering, with 32.7 percent of the population living on $1.25 per day. As the country continues to grow, the impacts on its citizens and the environment become more severe.

CNNMoney: Most Strategists and Economists Oppose QE3

A CNNMoney poll shows that 93 percent of strategists think the Fed should refrain from easing at its Sept. 12-13 meeting, and 77 percent of economists feel the same way.

Constellation adds 20M kWh to MD grid

Over the last five years, Maryland has added 530 times more solar to its grid. The magnitude of a recently completed solar PV system should come as no surprise. The new 16.1 MW grid-connected system will add approximately 20 million kWh to Maryland's grid.

Consumer spending posts biggest rise in five months

Consumer spending got off to a fairly firm start in the third quarter, rising by the most in five months and offering hope economic growth would pick up this quarter.

Could tropical storm Isaac actually help break US drought?

Although tropical storm Isaac is causing evacuations and is expected to lead to power outages when it comes ashore, there may be a silver lining for drought-pressed farmers farther inland.

After the storm leaves the coast, it is expected to move north, dumping heavy rain up the Mississippi Delta.

Cryogenic treatment could cut coal-fired power plant emissions by 90%

Cooling the emissions from coal-fired power plants would significantly reduce the levels of dangerous chemicals entering the atmosphere

Cutting Your Budget Can Be The Best Thing For Your Child's Future

When the older, greatest generation looks around at the financial mess we're in, I have to wonder what they think. My mother-in-law is from that era, and I know that she has a few choice words. This is a woman who grew up in the Depression, in a family of 11 siblings on a farm in Louisiana. I tease her somewhat about her thriftiness (she won't let one spoonful of food go down the drain) and about her "pack rat" tendencies (which allow her to reuse items over and over again for various reasons without shelling out any money), but I have to give her kudos.

Deposits at US Commercial Banks Approaching 9 Trillion

Here is another reason QE3 will do little to change bank behavior or encourage lending. US commercial banks are awash with liquidity these days as deposits hit a new high (approaching $9 trillion).

Early Isaac losses muted compared with other storms

Hurricane Isaac has caused up to $1 billion in economic losses for offshore energy properties and up to $1.5 billion in insured losses onshore in Louisiana and neighboring states, disaster modeler Eqecat said on Wednesday.

ECB's Nowotny: Economic Uncertainty Growing 'Massively'

Economic uncertainty in Europe is rising "massively" as growth prospects worsen, especially for debt-strapped southern eurozone members, European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said.

Empire substation still a sore subject for nearby residents

Residents of Highlander Avenue in Hidden Hills live nearest to the substation site. They told the zoning commission that Empire moved into the rural neighborhood with heavy equipment and cleared trees from about three acres without any notification or explanation to any of them.

Energy secretary touts policy; The Oklahoma First plan is "pragmatism."

Oklahoma's energy policy is focused on free-market realities whereas the federal government picks winners and losers, state Secretary of Energy Michael Ming, an engineer and educator, told business recruiters and University of Tulsa students Monday.

"We're going to talk pragmatism vs. ideology instead of trying to grab the unknown silver bullet," he said during the TU Energy Update and Recruiters Workshop. "We'll take what we have and make it better."

E.ON expands in U.S. solar market: unit head

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is planning to expand its solar business to the United States, aiming to install an annual 120 megawatts (MW) of solar power there from 2015, the head of its renewable unit said.

"There is more sun in the United States, projects are bigger and competition greater than in Europe," Mike Winkel, chief executive of E.ON Climate & Renewables told Reuters at the annual Handelsblatt conference on renewable energy.

European Financial Crisis Looms Larger than Ever

The second headwind threatening the banking industry is the ongoing European financial crises.  While the most immediate danger currently engulfs Greece, Spain and Italy, the debt crisis could potentially bring down the entire European Union and, along with it, the global economy. 

While the current U.S. economy seems to be stabilizing and the stock market robust, don’t be fooled.  Evidence of this already exists by looking at the GDP Annual Growth rates of the world’s 15 largest economies...

Experts: Financial Markets Can Expect a Stormy September

Stock markets will roil more than normal this September, a typically volatile month anyway, as home-grown and overseas uncertainty will send stocks swinging up and down all month, experts say.

The European debt crisis continues to threaten global recovery, while China continues to steer its economy back to faster growth rates and avoid a hard landing in the process.

FERC: The news has been good for renewable energy

In the first half of 2012, 229 renewable energy projects accounted for more than 38 percent of new electrical generation capacity, including 50 wind projects (2,367 MW), 111 solar projects (588 MW), 59 biomass projects (271 MW), five geothermal projects (87 MW) and four water power projects (11 MW).

First Australian bionic eye prototype successfully implanted

Australia has a bit of a history when it comes to pioneering cyborg technology. The country was home to the first functioning bionic ear implant in 1978 and now, in 2012, comes a new version of a bionic eye, with Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) researchers announcing the success of their first retinal implant trial.

German cabinet passes draft law on offshore wind

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday to accelerate the expansion of offshore windparks, a crucial part of a planned shift to green energy from nuclear.

Glimmer of hope for copper from Europe green energy target

Expected growth in Europe's generation of renewable energy offers hope for copper demand, helping to offset a lack of appetite from builders and other traditional industrial users as economies slow.

Green energy projects such as wind farms, which use large amounts of copper, are set to grow as countries aim to meet a European Union target to obtain 20 percent of power from renewable sources by 2020.

Hope of Greater Global Food Output, Less Environmental Impact of Agriculture

Can we have enough to eat and a healthy environment, too? Yes -- if we're smart about it, suggests a study published in Nature this week by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal.

Global demand for food is expected to double by 2050 due to population growth and increased standards of living. To meet this demand, it is often assumed we will need to expand the environmental burden of agriculture.

Hot Spots Mantle Plumes

Increase Charged Particles à Deceased Magnetic Field à Increase Outer Core Convection à Increase of Mantle Plumes Increase in Earthquake & Volcanoes à Cools Mantle and Outer Core à Return of Outer Core Convection

Isaac a blessing and a curse for U.S. farmers

Torrential rain and flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac will bring relief to a large chunk of drought-stricken cropland but will stall early harvest of corn, soybeans and rice, an agricultural meteorologist said on Tuesday.

Is There a ‘Just’ Form of Domination?

Concisely stated, “Domination is wrong!” It is wrong for many reasons, chief among which is the fact that domination results in its correlative, dehumanization. Based on that standard of judgment it is wrong for one people to dominate another people by stripping them of their ability to live free, and by holding them under a system of domination. Based on that judgment, in my view we ought to be working to end both domination and dehumanization wherever they exist on the planet.

Japan has no Iran crude imports in July, first time since Feb 1981

Japan did not import any crude from Iran in July, preliminary figures released Friday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.

It is the first time since February 1981 that Japan has had no crude imports from Iran, the METI data shows. Japan imported 302,000 b/d of crude from Iran in July last year.

Jim Goodman: Toxic algae, dead dogs, and how we grow our food

You wouldn’t think a game of fetch could be deadly. But last month an Indiana couple’s dogs died after fetching balls in an algae-infested lake. There were no warnings posted, and only after the dogs got sick and died did their owners learn the lake was toxic.

Judge Decides TVA Coal Ash Case

A federal judge found the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was negligent in not preventing a December 2008 coal ash dam failure at its Kingston power plant that allowed millions of gallons of ash-laden sludge to foul a local river.

Lake Michigan gets look from wind researchers

The notion is intoxicating: Capture the wind that has buffeted boaters on the Great Lakes for centuries and convert it into clean, renewable energy. But one important piece of data has been missing: We don't know exactly how windy it is out there.

Soon, we will.

Latest on China: All is Well and "Economic Growth is Stabilizing"

Here are some of this morning's key economic news coming out of China. Given that China has been the largest component of the global GDP growth, the situation is worth monitoring closely.

Loss of tax credits could cripple future of wind farms

The impact of wind energy in this region of West Texas can be seen simply by driving down the road.

South of Sweetwater, hundreds of towering wind turbines from some of the nation's largest wind farms dot ridge lines as far as the eye can see.

Natural gas fired power has sound future

The long-term prospects for natural gas fired power are "sound," especially in North America and Europe, according to research from Frost & Sullivan.

Because of its relatively clean burning characteristics and flexible operating capabilities, gas-fired power generation should grow across the globe.

New fuel efficiency standards set stage for energy independence

By 2030, the U.S. is project to save nearly 23 billion gallons of gasoline in and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 270 million metric tons. Consumers could see $54 billion in net savings. The new fuel efficiency standards will also relieve some of the United States' dependence on foreign oil.

New nanocrystals let solar panels generate electricity ... and hydrogen gas

Scientists have developed new nanocrystals that allow solar panels to generate both electricity and hydrogen gas

New Northeast gas pipeline projects may not breach traditional bottlenecks

Even with more than a dozen gas pipeline projects going into service in the Northeast by year's end, volatility could still abound this winter, as these projects spread out the supply glut caused by rampant Marcellus Shale production without fully breaching the gas-hungry city-gates markets, traders and analyst sources said.

New York packing big solar impact

New York is looking to invest in solar and it has sweetened the pot with $107 million in incentives to increase the amount of electricity generated by PV systems throughout New York.

In 2012, $36.4 million of the $107 million will be available.

Ooh, Scary! USDA Wants to Protect Us from Raw Almonds

The agency insists that even organic almonds be cooked, but doesn’t want consumers to know they aren’t raw or how they are cooked.

Protesters prepare to speak against BofA, Duke Energy

Activists planning to march before the Democratic National Convention went over their plans one last time Wednesday, and said they expect thousands to turn out Sunday and protest Charlotte-based Bank of America and Duke Energy.

Quarter of World’s Freshwater Used to Grow Wasted Food

“More than one-fourth of all the water we use worldwide is taken to grow over one billion tons of food that nobody eats,” Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute, said Monday at the opening of World Water Week.

“Reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources,” he said.

Renewable Energy Experience Explosive Growth

Two recently-issued federal studies underscore the dramatic growth in electrical generation from geothermal, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources during the first three and one-half years of the Obama Administration.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was moderate. A region around the east limb produced an M1 flare.  No Earth-directed CMEs were observed  Geomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet to unsettled on 31 August and 1 September with a chance for minor to major storm levels at high latitudes.

Report: Prairie State plant not fulfilling promise of cheap power

Cities that agreed to buy power from the Prairie State coal plant in southwestern Illinois are paying higher prices than promised by the plant's developer and will continue to pay above-market rates for electricity for the next decade, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Reserve Growth in the United States

additions to proven oil and gas reserves equal about 10 percent of the overall U.S. oil and gas endowment, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimate of reserve growth in conventional reservoirs. The USGS estimates that the mean potential undiscovered, conventional reserve additions for the United States total 32 billion barrels (bb) of oil, 291 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, and 10 bb of natural gas liquids (NGL).

Rising Tide for Ocean Energy: UK Aims to Ride the Wave

Growing global interest in harvesting the sea's vast generation potential is now focused on the UK, where a series of initiatives such as the new Marine Energy Parks are aimed at maintaining the country's technological lead.

Romney's Energy Plan Ignores the Success of Solar and Wind: One View

With his pledge to achieve U.S. energy independence by 2020. It's just too bad his plan relies almost entirely on fossil fuels and largely ignores the solid promise of clean energy.

Salt Lake Community College Opens Utah's First Solar Training Yard

"The completion of the photovoltaic training yard is an exciting addition to sustainable green energy practice and workforce development in Utah. It has been great to be a part of this project--it demonstrates the College's commitment to help prepare Utah's workforce for renewable energy technologies and conservation,"

Sapphire completes first phase of algae-to-energy facility

When completed, the facility will consist of approximately 300 acres of algae cultivation ponds and processing facilities, producing 1.5 million gallons of crude oil per year.  The cultivation area consists of some of the largest algae ponds ever built with groupings of 1.1 acre and 2.2 acre ponds which are an eighth of a mile long.

Scientists start hacking minds with cheap EEG gear

Inexpensive brain-computer interfaces could be used maliciously to obtain private information such as PINs stored in one's memory, according to researchers. Are you ready for brain spyware?

Shifting to Renewables in Japan – An Uphill Task

Renewable energy is emerging as the “clinch deal” in Japan`s painful power crisis that pits the government and business against public demand for zero nuclear power. But experts say the going is easier said than done.

Sniffing Out Pollutants: A Groundbreaking New Tactic For Contaminant Detection

What if you could track the source of contaminants in your stormwater quickly and easily, without relying solely on the painstaking and expensive process of lab analysis? A small but highly specialized outfit from Michigan provides this service for municipalities with its unique and groundbreaking methodology.

SoberLook - German Economy Converging with the Eurozone's

So much for the hopes and dreams of German decoupling from the Eurozone's economic troubles. How things have changed in just six months! Germany's growth trajectory is now converging with the rest of the euro area's weakened economic conditions.

State says Xcel should keep solar subsidy

Xcel Energy's popular program to subsidize solar-electric arrays may not be extinguished after all.

The Minnesota Commerce Department's energy resources division, which reviews utilities' energy conservation spending, said it supports continuing Xcel's Solar Rewards program, which costs the utility's customers $5 million a year.

State urged to deregulate power market

Wisconsin should end monopoly regulation of electric utilities and open its power market up to competition, a national electricity choice coalition said Thursday.

Stop worrying about embryonic stem cells – they may not be needed any more

There are ongoing moral and ethical battles concerning the farming and application of human embryonic stem cells in medical research and applications. Without judging any of the viewpoints represented in the fracas, it is clear that the stem cell world would be a friendlier place if the harvesting of embryonic stem cells were not necessary. Toward this goal, Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a reliable method to turn the clock back on blood cells, restoring them to a primitive stem cell state from which they can then develop into any other type of cell in the body.

Study: China, Not the US, Caused the 2008 Crash

Wall Street did not cause the U.S. housing bubble and its collapse. China did, according to a new study from the Erasmus Research Institute of Management.

Study vs. Sleep: Which is more beneficial to your academic success?

...according to researchers at UCLA, sacrificing sleep to cram for an exam is actually counterproductive.

According to new research, regardless of how much a student studies each day, if sleep time is forfeited, he or she is likely to have more academic problems the following day which can include misunderstanding of certain concepts or performing poorly on tests or quizzes.

Testing of power plant cooling tech underway at Georgia Power

The technology, a thermosyphon cooler developed by Johnson Controls, transfers heat to the environment without evaporative water loss by using an air-cooled refrigerant that pre-cools water before it enters the cooling tower. This reduces the amount of water that must be cooled by evaporation in the cooling tower and, ultimately, water consumption.

The Certainty of Uncertainty

Over the past year we have heard intermittent calls for the restoration of confidence, usually by those who would relax all manner of regulation and oversight of commercial and financial ventures.  The past, it would seem, adds credibility to their argument.  Regulation in the financial markets and the internal financial operations of publicly held companies has done absolutely nothing to prevent the ongoing crisis we find ourselves in.

The Day the Feds Seized My Food

In the eyes of the government, I'm probably considered a criminal. All because I had the audacity to seek out wholesome, nutrient-dense, naturally prepared food. It all started six years ago, when one of my children got sick, and conventional medicine had nothing to offer him. Nothing. Despite taking him to some of the best hospitals and doctors in the region, nobody had any answers. And meanwhile, I watched my 9-year old suffer in pain day after day after day. It went on for over a year. Some days he could barely get out of bed.

The Moment I Realized I Knew Nothing About Off-the-Grid Living

I decided I wanted folks who had hands-on experience with their subject matter. I wanted writers with a passion for what they were writing about. I didn't want someone who would go to Gun Digest to research a weapon for an article... I wanted someone with experience in weaponry to actually write our articles.

Tide is turning for harnessing new energy

One million tons of water flow through this channel every second.

Further round the coast of the Orkneys, the sea dashes waves against cliffs.

This is one of the roughest patches of water on the planet. Some in the industry believe harnessing the power of the sea here could produce enough electricity to power one fifth of all the UK's energy needs and perhaps more.

U OF A Expert Pinpoints Nutrient Behind Fresh Water Algae Blooms

University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler has reviewed data from studies of controlling human-caused algae blooms in lakes and says controlling the input of the nutrient phosphorus is the key to fighting the problem.

U.S. Fed's Beige Book Report: "Economic Activity Expanded Gradually" in July and Early August

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, indicated that overall economic activity “continued to expand gradually” in the period since the last report in mid-July. Eight of the Federal Reserve Districts saw modest or moderate growth during the reporting period while three noted a slowing growth and one cited mixed reports from business contacts (this distribution of assessments was unchanged from the previous report).

U.S. finalizes big jump in auto fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency of U.S. cars and light trucks will nearly double by 2025 under a standard finalized by the Obama administration on Tuesday.

American vehicles will get 54.5 miles to the gallon in the new standard that aims to save consumers at the fuel pump, while cutting dependency on foreign oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Ease Going Into The Labor Day Weekend

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgage rates pulling back and following bond yields lower after gradually moving higher over the past month.

US grants narrow approval for Shell to prep for Chukchi Sea drilling

The US Interior Department said Thursday that Shell can drill "top holes" into non-oil-bearing zones and make other preparations for an exploratory well in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

U.S. Money Funds' Ongoing Shift to Japanese Banks

U.S. prime money market funds (MMFs) continued to increase their exposure to Japanese banks while exposure to eurozone banks also grew moderately, according to Fitch Ratings' latest research on MMF holdings as of end-July 2012.

U.S. Wind Energy Layoffs Continue in Colorado, Iowa as Federal Policy Uncertainty Continues

US working natural gas in storage rises 66 Bcf to 3.374 Tcf: EIA

US natural gas storage stocks rose by 66 Bcf to 3.374 Tcf for the week that ended Friday, the US Energy Information Administration said Thursday in its weekly report.

Utilities defend 'smart meters' before Public Service Commission

Four major electricity providers defended the safety of "smart meters" Tuesday at a hearing called by the Maryland Public Service Commission after commissioners read reports of similar meters overheating and catching fire in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Utility, customer go round and round over meter

Tucked deep into the woods in rural South Kitsap stands a shed.

Next to the shed stands a pole. And on the pole is a PSE electricity meter box.

Occasional shed resident Chris Sherrod doesn't like the box. He thinks PSE is clocking more juice than he's using.

He found numbers he believed proved it. But he got no relief...

What Is The Future Of Generation? The Path Ahead

Nearly all players in the US energy sector -- from utilities and independent power producers to regulators and government agencies -- agree that demand for electricity is intrinsically tied to economic growth. Evidence of such a link has certainly been seen during the post-2008 recession period; consumption has grown about one percent per year over the past three years. Assuming this modest one percent growth in electricity demand continues, US utilities will need to produce approximately 7.5 additional gigawatts (GW) per year to keep up with demand. Planned capacity additions between 2012 and 2015 currently add up to 52 GW, a number that far exceeds the country's needs.

Why you'll never hear about the war on drugs at the political conventions

Forty years ago, the United States locked up fewer than 200 of every 100,000 Americans. Then President Nixon declared war on drugs. Now we lock up more of our people than any other country -- more even than the authoritarian regimes in Russia and China.

A war on drugs -- on people, that is -- is unworthy of a country that claims to be free.

Will Russia replicate US success in tight oil development?

As Russia's traditional oil provinces such as West Siberia are depleting, the country is increasingly looking to more expensive new frontier resources.

Work begins on $30 million solar project at Volkswagen

When Volkswagen turns on its solar park late this year, the site will generate enough electricity to power about 1,200 Chattanooga homes, according to the automaker.

World food prices jumped 10 percent in July: World Bank

World food prices jumped 10 percent in July as drought parched crop lands in the United States and Eastern Europe, the World Bank said in a statement urging governments to shore up programs that protect their most vulnerable populations.

Worries about region's use of natural gas surface

The operator of the New England electric grid is expressing concern about the region's increasing reliance on relatively inexpensive natural gas as a source for electricity.

In a July report, the Independent System Operator of New England issued a warning call for the region's stakeholders to plan a strategy to ensure the region does not run out of power on a cold winter day sometime in the future. New Hampshire power providers and generators said this week they have seen the report and know the answer is diversification.


August 28, 2012


33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly

If you started using reusable bags exclusively starting at age 25, you could save more than 21,000 plastic bags in your lifetime. Point being: sustainable eating doesn’t have to be hard, and it also doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. A single change can make a difference

Al-Qaida Advertises for Suicide Bombers

The terrorist organization al-Qaida is running a “job ad” on an Internet forum seeking applicants for short-term employment — as suicide bombers.

The ad on the Shumukh al-Islam forum, which is accessible only to al-Qaida members, appears under the heading “Area of activity: The planet Earth.”

Arctic Ice Melting At Startlingly Rapid Rate

The Arctic ice cap is melting at a startlingly rapid rate and may shrink to its smallest-ever level within weeks -- and then keep on melting.

Army, firefighters keep fires from Serbian villages

Hundreds of soldiers, police and firefighters kept back wildfires threatening villages in southwestern Serbia on Sunday and a forecast of rain promised some respite for the scorching, drought-hit western Balkans.

Cartels’ Bribing of DHS Workers Raises Terrorist Threat

Mexican cartels are increasingly engaged in the “systematic corruption” of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) workers to expand their smuggling operations — including the trafficking of aliens from terrorism-linked countries.

Climate change 'may boost South-East Asian agriculture'

Increased rainfall and temperature due to climate change could bring benefits to South-East Asian agriculture, a study suggests, contradicting more common expectations that a warmer planet will reduce agricultural productivity in the region.

Coal plants still pressured despite Romney plan, EPA court loss

Coal-fired power plants will face pressure and in some cases closure despite a Republican energy plan favorable to the industry and a court victory against new environmental rules.

As many as one-sixth of U.S. coal-fired power plants would close within eight years and be replaced by natural gas, according to an Energy Department estimate.

Denmark expedition gathers crucial data for North Pole claim

Scientists gathering data to underpin a claim by Denmark to a vast Arctic Ocean tract including the North Pole have harvested crucial new information about the seabed and toasted their arrival at the pole with sparkling wine.

Denmark is pressing ahead with its claim to the area - which is thought to hold untapped oil and gas and is likely to offer new shipping lanes as ice recedes - in the teeth of rival claims from Russia and Canada.

Disaster Is Coming... Are You Ready For Anything?

Look. Some people are sitting back, enjoying life, and choosing to think their fairy tale life will just happen. It won't. Folks, we have to quit ignoring the signs around us. This world we are living in is taking a step in the wrong direction. We know that something is about to sweep across this land, and those who choose to close their eyes will be knocked completely off their feet. Will it be an EMP, solar flares, worsening economic conditions...what? I don't know. The fact is that none of us know what it is, but we are smart enough to know it is coming.

Effective Natural Cooling Strategies

Thankfully, the dog days of summer are almost over now, as the temperatures in most places are finally starting to moderate into the range of the tolerable. The summer of 2012 has been the hottest we have seen in quite some time, and unless you have been spending the last three months holed up inside your home with the air conditioner blasting away, the chances are that you and your family have been suffering a good bit.

Egypt prosecutor probes anti-Brotherhood critic

The charge added to concerns that the government is backtracking on the democratic aims of the uprising that toppled the autocratic regime last year.

Existence of 1,200C E-Cat Test Report Confirmed

PESN has obtained confirmation that a report about a third-party test of an E-Cat module, reaching 1,200 degrees Celsius, does indeed exist. We're not a liberty to say more than that, so don't ask.

FedEx increases recycling rate, report says

FedEx Corp. recycled 47.9 million pounds of the material generated at its facilities last year, according to the company's 2011 Global Citizenship Report.

In 2010, the parcel delivery company recycled 41.5 million pounds.

Firm seeks to patent liquid-free fracking technology

Oil and natural gas companies that operate in US shale plays use enormous amounts of water, sometimes requiring upwards of 5 million gallons to frack a single well. And there are significant costs and operational requirements that come with using so much water, such as trucking it to remote job sites, mixing it with various chemicals, and later removing those chemicals from the oil and gas that fracked wells produce.

Fresh Kills' transformation into park continues, with some bumps

Let's be frank. Turning a place called—of all things—Fresh Kills, a site once infamous as the world's largest garbage dump, into a park three times the size of Central Park was always going to be tough. In fact, it will take an estimated 30 years and $140 million to pull off.

Government mandate or no, fuel ethanol is here to stay

For the past five years, the U.S. government has paid fuel companies billions of dollars in subsidies to buy home-grown, corn-based ethanol, making it a viable part of the nation's gasoline supply.

Now you'd have to pay them not to buy it.

How Ocean Currents Affect Global Climate Becoming Better Understood

Florida State University oceanographer Kevin Speer has a "new paradigm" for describing how the world's oceans circulate -- and with it he may help reshape science's understanding of the processes by which wind, water, sunlight and other factors interact and influence the planet's climate.

If We Want to Create Jobs, Shouldn’t We Talk to Job Creators?

The problem we face in the United States is that many members of Congress have never started their own business and don’t understand how to create jobs.

President Barack Obama himself has never had a job outside of politics, and many of his friends have experience in academia, not real-life experience.

Illegal immigrants benefiting from billion-dollar tax loophole

Immigration may be among the most divisive topics in U.S. politics today. So when a reporter in Indiana uncovered a billion-dollar tax loophole that allowed illegal immigrants, who may not even be paying taxes, to get a 5-figure dollar amount in tax returns, more questions were raised than answered.

Iran opens nonaligned summit with nuclear appeals

Iran opened a world gathering of self-described nonaligned nations Sunday with a slap at the U.N. Security Council and an appeal to rid the world of nuclear weapons, even as Tehran faces Western suspicions that it is seeking its own atomic bombs.

Malawi Fears Hunger as Lake Chilwa Dries

The drying of Lake Chilwa is a national food security concern. The basin is a rice growing area, and fish from the lake provide a source of nutritious protein to many rural Malawians.

Man breaks into home with machete, gets shot

Officers then spoke with the homeowner who told them that he was asleep when he awoke to find someone standing by his bed holding a machete.

Mississippi River still closed for dredging near Greenville: US Coast Guard

A stretch of the Mississippi River near Greenville, Mississippi, is still closed for dredging Monday after barges were grounded and refloated Sunday afternoon, the US Coast Guard said Monday morning, leaving a queue of vessels in both directions totaling 54.

Most Americans Believe They'll Never Go Hungry

In the 1950s, the Pentagon conducted a study to find out what people would do at different stages of starvation.

What they discovered was shocking.

Nutrition Beats Toxic Vaccines to Boost Immunity

Ironically, the reason the shingles vaccine was developed was because of the widespread use of the chickenpox vaccine. This latter vaccine dramatically increased the incidence of shingles in adults.

'Obama 2016' Movie Races to Box Office #1

The anti-Obama documentary based on Dinesh D’Souza’s book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” expanded nationwide on Friday — with early first-place showings in the domestic box office rankings, Deadline Hollywood reports.

Obama and Romney: Electrifying the Energy Debate

While the presidential candidates are playing politics, the utility world is demanding certainty. The paradox is that those political positions come in two-to-four increments but power companies are developing 30-year business strategies.

Oh No, There Is No Toilet Paper! What Do I Do?

There are very few situations in life that have ever caused me to lose my cool. I am quite proud of the fact that I can keep a level head when everyone else is stumbling around in a blind panic. However, there is one scenario that for some reason completely fills me with dread – discovering there is no toilet paper left while sitting on the toilet.

Organic Consumers Association Petitions Michelle Obama to Pressure President Obama to Honor Campaign Promise to Label GMOs

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today launched a national petition on asking Michelle Obama to pressure President Obama to honor his 2007 campaign promise to support the labeling of genetically modified foods. The petition also asks President Obama to endorse California's Proposition 37, a Nov. 6 citizens' ballot initiative that would require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food ingredients.

Paternal Mutations

Mutation is simply defined as "random changes in genetic material". Without mutations and there would be very little change in species or evolution. Humans inherit more than three times as many mutations from their fathers as from their mothers, and mutation rates increase with the father’s age but not the mother’s, researchers have recently found in the largest study of human genetic mutations to date.

Power plant emissions a global problem

Launched in 2007, the Center for Global Development's online Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database has been expanded and upgraded to incorporate data from more than 60,000 power plants across 200 countries. Electricity production is responsible for about one-fourth of all greenhouse gas pollution.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was very low.   Several CMEs were observed however none appear to be Earth-directed.  Solar activity is expected to be very
low to low with a slight chance for moderate activity for the next
three days (28-30 August). The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to unsettled with a slight chance for active conditions on days 1-2 (28-29 August) due to continued effects from a coronal hole high speed stream.

Romney Backs Fossil Fuels and Nuclear, Drops Renewables

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today released an energy plan for the nation that supports development of oil, gas and nuclear power but undercuts wind and solar energy.

Speaking in Hobbs, New Mexico, an oil and gas industry center, Romney promised to create three million jobs and more than $1 trillion in new revenue and predicted complete “North American energy independence by 2020, a never-realized goal claimed by presidential candidates for decades.”

SoberLook - Damage from Possible QE3 has Already Started

Some are blaming this on the Tropical Storm Isaac, others on the Amuay plant explosion in Venezuela. The reality however is that these price increases are for the most part in anticipation of QE3:

Some Birds use a Hurricane to Fly Fast - REALLY Fast!

Migrating Whimbrels — a type of shorebird — may struggle for hours against winds when trying to cross the Caribbean during hurricane season but get a huge boost as they fly out of storms, report researchers from the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Study confirms Arctic sea ice set to plunge to lowest measure on record

With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before ice begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, scientists are expected to confirm the record — currently set in 2007 — within days.

The Chemical Internet

The Internet has fundamentally changed our world. Now, the creation of another kind of internet--a chemical internet--also has revolutionary potential, not only for the field of chemistry, but for the environmental impact of the chemically-laden world we now live in. Bartosz Grzybowski is a professor of chemistry at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Professor Grzybowski and his team have developed software that can track the almost infinite number of possible chemical reactions to find the quickest, cheapest and most environmental safe ways to make things. They nicknamed this software the "chemical internet."

Thousands of Dead Fish Wash Up on Galveston Island

Thousands of dead fish that washed ashore on Galveston Island over the weekend were killed by a toxic algal bloom, state officials confirmed Monday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said a bloom of Karenia brevis, also known as red tide, was found in Galveston Bay in concentrations high enough to kill the fish.

Three companies to pay $29.8 million for superfund cleanup

The 38-acre site became contaminated with hazardous wastes from decades of industrial activity, the EPA said. A company that later became Vertellus Specialties Inc. operated the site from 1932 to 1973 for tar processing. A predecessor to ExxonMobil operated a plant located adjacent to the tar processing site. A predecessor to CBS Corp. sent mercury-containing fluorescent light bulbs, lead dust and mercury-tainted waste oil to the site.

Trade With China Cost US 2.7 Million Jobs

“The growing trade deficit with China has been a prime contributor to the crisis in U.S. manufacturing employment,” states the report from the Economic Policy Institute.

U.S. imports from China have soared from $102 billion in 2001 to $398.5 billion last year. Meanwhile American exports to China have grown from $18 billion in 2001 to $96.9 billion in 2011, producing a trade deficit last year of more than $300 billion.

U.S. government: 24.19 percent U.S. Gulf oil, 8.24 percent gas output shut on Isaac

The Gulf accounts for 23 percent of daily oil and 7 percent of daily natural gas output in the U.S.

That path would bring the storm across one of the most energy infrastructure-heavy areas of the Gulf.

Walking More Dangerous Than Driving for Seniors

Crossing the road is particularly risky for older adults who can't judge speed and distance very well, said Rolison. They're safer if they are accompanied by a younger person.

Because older adults are often frail, they are also more likely to die of their injuries if they're involved in an accident, he explained.

Why we are poles apart on climate change

The problem isn’t the public’s reasoning capacity; it’s the polluted science-communication environment that drives people apart, says Dan Kahan.

Understandably anxious to explain persistent controversy over climate change, the media have discovered a new culprit: the public. By piecing together bits of psychological research, many news reporters, opinion writers and bloggers have concluded that people are simply too irrational to recognize the implications of climate-change science.

Young Americans ‘Paying the Price’ for Poor Economy

Politicians on both sides of the aisle might heed a new survey showing that nine in 10 young adults say the poor economy negatively impacts their life, and just 38 percent believe today’s leaders represent their interests.

Why pay attention? Because the poll by Generation Opportunity also disclosed that 76 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 plan to vote in the presidential election.


August 24, 2012


18 Little-Known Facts That Will Motivate You to Cut Back on Food Waste

With nearly 100 percent certainty I can assure you we won’t be hearing President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, or their respective surrogates, talking about America’s food waste dilemma (or what I and  others would describe as a crisis) in the months ahead.  That’s too bad since food waste is creating significant  social, economic and environmental consequences  for the US (and the world).

40% of food is wasted in U.S., says new report

The amount of unconsumed perishables in the U.S. is worth $165 billion per year and is estimated to equal more than 20 pounds of food per person every month, according to a National Resources Defense Council report.

It's no secret that Americans have a love affair with food, but a recent report shows that 40% of U.S. edibles goes uneaten.

60 Month Average Retail Price Gasoline Chart

Americans tune out Afghan war as fighting rages on

It was once President Barack Obama's "war of necessity." Now, it's America's forgotten war.
The Afghan conflict generates barely a whisper on the U.S. presidential campaign trail. It's not a hot topic at the office water cooler or in the halls of Congress — even though more than 80,000 American troops are still fighting here and dying at a rate of one a day.

Americas solar industry shares Governor Romney's desire to achieve energy independence

"America's solar industry shares Governor Romney's desire to achieve energy independence by 2020 as well as his support for using all domestic resources, including solar, to achieve this goal.

Antarctic Peninsula started warming 600 years ago

Temperatures in the Antarctic Peninsula started rising naturally 600 years ago, long before man-made climate changes further increased them, scientists said in a study on Wednesday that helps explain the recent collapses of vast ice shelves.

The study, reconstructing ancient temperatures to understand a region that is warming faster than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, said a current warming rate of 2.6 degrees Celsius (4.7 Fahrenheit) per century was "unusual" but not unprecedented.

Antea Group Granted Green Remediation Technology Patent

Through the advanced separation of vapor streams, hydrocarbons are removed from the vapor stream and the remaining gases are separated into two air streams; one oxygen enriched and the other consisting of nitrogen and trace gasses. The oxygen enriched stream is re-injected into the subsurface to enhance aerobic degradation and the nitrogen stream is re-injected into the subsurface to foster anaerobic degradation where desirable. This process eliminates atmospheric emissions and associated air permitting monitoring requirements.

Archaeological Dig Reveals Causes—and Possible Cures—for Diabetes Epidemic

... has determined that the overwhelming prevalence of diabetes among Pueblo descendants may stem from their radical departure from the healthy diets of their progenitors. According to his research, high diabetes rates might be caused by what Native Americans eat—not by how much they eat.

Arctic sea ice approaches another record melt

Sea ice extent in the Arctic is very near to beating the previous record low set in 2007, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Researchers told Reuters that they expect the record to be beaten by the end of month, well over a week before the melt season ends in the frozen north. In 2007 the sea ice extent fell to a record nadir of 4.28 million square kilometers (1.66 million square miles), astonishing experts and prompting a second look on how quickly sea ice might disappear from the Arctic altogether during the summer. But researchers say sea ice extent could fall below 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) this year if current melt trends continue.

Bond Market Watch

Equity markets and other risk assets continued the rally that began at the end of May of 2012. For the month of July, the S&P 500 index returned 1.38%, European equities returned 2.91% and the excess return of U.S. credit markets versus U.S. Treasuries was 1.23%. There were some interesting divergences: Spanish and Italian bonds dropped in price by about two points in July and U.S. Treasuries had positive returns for the period.

Brazilian Court Halts Belo Monte Dam

A halt to construction of the controversial Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam on the Amazon’s Xingu River was ordered late Monday by a federal court in the Brazilian capital. If built, Belo Monte would be the world’s third-largest dam, diverting up to 80 percent of the Xingu River from its natural course.

Indigenous people of the Xingu River region and conservationists from Brazil and other countries have been demonstrating against the proposed dam for years.

California Desert Flash Point in Renewables Development

Conflicts and questions remain three years after California launched an ambitious plan to streamline development of renewable energy on millions of acres of desert land.

China increases rare earths export quota for 2012

China released a new round of rare earths export quotas on Wednesday, taking its 2012 export quota to 30,996 tons, the Ministry of Commerce said, up slightly on last year despite a crack-down on small producers.

China says U.S. support for clean energy violates WTO rules

China's Commerce Ministry said on Monday the United States must cut support for six government-backed renewable energy programs or face unspecified penalties, in the latest trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The U.S. measures supporting wind, solar and hydroelectric energy programs in several U.S. states, including Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey, present a barrier to Chinese exports, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

China's oil demand rebounds in July

But refinery runs, crude imports show lingering weakness

China's apparent oil demand* rose 2.4% year on year in July to 38.92 million metric tons (mt), or an average 9.2 million barrels per day (b/d), a just-released Platts analysis of recent Chinese government data showed. This is a rebound from June’s first monthly contraction in more than three years.

Confidence in US Equity Market Structure Sinks to New Low

Surveying market participants between August 6 and 13, TABB learned that only 2% of the respondents drawn from broker/dealers, asset managers, hedge funds, execution venues and vendors rate their confidence level as very high, down markedly from 12% in a May 2010 TABB survey following the Flash Crash.

Cooler Heads at the FOMC Should Prevail, Avoiding QE3

Fed's James Bullard popped the market's latest "exuberance" by pointing out that the Fed minutes discussing QE3 were actually "stale".

County Attorney and Attorney General Seek Summary Judgment in Medical Marijuana Lawsuit

“It is the County’s position that the AMMA is in direct violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act and therefore cannot be implemented without exposing County employees to the risk of federal prosecution,” Montgomery said. “The AMMA also runs afoul of the Supremacy Clause enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by our Founding Fathers, which preempts state law that conflicts with federal law,” he added.  

Dammed No More: Chinook Return to Elwha River

A century later, the salmon still know where to go.

In what the National Parks Service (NPS) is hailing as the Return of the Kings, adult Chinook salmon have been spotted in Olympic National Park in Washington, less than five months after the removal of the Elwha Dam, which became operational in 1913.

“The return of the salmon marks an important milestone in the restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem and a historic moment in the history of the park,” the NPS said in a statement on August 20.

Discovering contaminants of emerging concern

CONTAMINANTS ARE UBIQUITOUS. According to Battaglin and Kolpin (2009), “the environmental occurrence of trace organic compounds such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, and hormones, and their potential adverse effects on aquatic and terrestrial life and on human health is an issue that concerns not only scientists and engineers, but also the general public.” Investigations are detecting such trace organic compounds with increasing frequency in the environment on a global scale

DOE Wind Report: 67 Percent Domestic Content in Wind Turbines

he U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) latest annual report for wind power depicts an energy source being threatened by policy uncertainty — yet one that is now conventional, driven by the continuing trends of downward prices and more of the technology's components being made in America.

Edible dispersant could provide more eco-friendly way to fight oil spills

Some people believe that there’s no problem that peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream can’t solve. These people could be onto something with news that a team of researchers has developed a new, safer oil dispersant that uses edible ingredients found in the aforementioned trio of treats. The new dispersant could save the lives of thousands of birds and animals caught in environmental catastrophes.

I do not believe that breaking the oil slick up helps clean it up

EIA agrees with many that coal retirements due to more factors than EPA's regulations

Although environmental regulations have an effect, it is low natural gas prices relative to historic coal prices and drops in electricity demand that are driving the retirements, an Energy Information Administration official said in late June at a Bipartisan Policy Center event in Washington that focused on the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2012.

Electric rates soar, but utilities say they fund green energy initiatives

A report to be released today says a 2008 state law that was supposed to result in lower electricity rates has instead led to double-digit increases for Michigan consumers.

The report, commissioned by the Energy Choice Now coalition that includes the Michigan Retailers Association, the Michigan Agri-Business Association and companies that want to compete with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, says high electric rates are harming the Michigan economy.

Elliott Wave’s Kennedy: Oil Will Plunge to $32.40 a Barrel

Crude oil is headed for a major tumble — to the tune of 66 percent, says Jeff Kennedy, chief commodity strategist at Elliott Wave International, which predicts markets based on chart patterns.

The technicals show that oil is now stuck in a range of $75 to $115 a barrel, he tells Yahoo. Crude recently traded at $96.40.

El Nino lurks, limited impact on Australia likely

An emerging El Nino weather pattern is likely to have only a modest impact on crops and mining in Australia and could benefit sugar cane growers in Queensland, a senior forecaster said.

Energy panelist: 'We're not broke -- we're crazy'

"We're not broke -- we're crazy," Gary Palmer said Tuesday as he told a story related to the national debt and the nation's abundant natural resources.

Energy Predictions for the Second Half of 2012

During the first half of 2012, the outlook for sustainable industries looked challenging.  Clean-tech equity financings, project financings, and average deal sizes were down compared to Q4 of 2011. Macro issues, including the European debt crisis and the upcoming U.S. elections, also weighed on the overall economy. Despite these conditions, however, Cascadia believes that financing and M&A will begin to recover through the second half of the year and will normalize by the end of this year. We expect this recovery to be led in part by early stage financings, along with M&A activity in the energy efficiency and solar sectors.

Energy-saving Greencam app is a real turn-off

Computing guzzles a great deal of electricity and striving for greater energy efficiency both saves money and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. Although computers already come with energy-saving mechanisms, such as sleep mode and other power saving features set by users, there's always room for improvement. This is the idea behind Ecobeneficios’s Greencam. The Brazilian company has launched a PC app that automatically turns off the user’s monitor when he or she walks away from it.

Farmers may help utilities through water-pollution offsets

Faced with a planned federal mandate to cut water pollution from power plants, American Electric Power and other utility companies might simply pay farmers to do the job for them.

In a "water quality trading" test program recently announced by environmental regulators in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, farmers could cut polluted stormwater runoff from their fields and sell the reductions as credits to power companies.

Federal immigration agents just now filed a suit against Janet Napolitano's DREAM amnesty

All summer, citizens have been crying out, 'Why doesn't somebody take this to court!' over Janet Napolitano's Dream amnesty directive.

Feds to Expedite Major Western Renewables Projects

The federal government will expedite two wind and five solar projects in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming, which together will be worth nearly 5,000 MW of generating capacity, according to an Aug. 7 announcement by the White House.

Forecasts for 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

Private forecaster Weather Services International raised its prediction on Tuesday for the number of named storms during the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season to 13 from 12.

WSI also tweaked its forecast for the number of hurricanes expected to form during the June-November Atlantic hurricane season, increasing it to seven from six.

Formerly Faddish, 'Green' Is Standard

Energy-efficient building techniques that were once considered faddish or experimental have become standard as builders and owners in Arkansas and beyond have realized the long-term savings to be had.

Fossil fuels not the answer to energy challenges

According to Worldwatch, expanding fossil fuels is not the answer to the world's energy challenges.

"We need solutions that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable -- many of which are now at hand," said Alexander Ochs, Director of Worldwatch's Climate and Energy Program and author of Worldwatch's Sustainable Energy Roadmap reports.

Google Is Not Happy With This Proposed Law

Google has been speaking out about a proposed law in Germany, which would require search engines and aggregators to pay to license content from publishers via ancillary copyright, in order to display headlines (with links) and snippets of text. You know, the typical display of search results you see in Google News. It does seem to be specific to the Google News format, which takes the beginning of the article (usually not much more than a sentence or two), as opposed to the web search format, which provides more random snippets of text, based on the user’s query. Of course, the law is still being drafted, so who knows?  [Ed:  Obvously we're not happy either]

Green living; green living

Imagine a house where you're careful to turn off the lights in rooms you're not using - but you're not obsessive about it.

Harvest Your Cool Garden Crops in 60 days

Unlike many of my northern friends who have had their fall garden crops in the ground for weeks now, we in the South are just getting around to planting those wonderful greens and sundry vegetables that don't really like the heavy heat of our summers. And while my "cool garden" spot was definitely a success in expanding my spring gardening capabilities, this winter's crop is what I'm really looking forward to tackling.

How Estrogens Persist in Dairy Wastewater

Wastewater from large dairy farms contains significant concentrations of estrogenic hormones that can persist for months or even years, researchers report in a new study. In the absence of oxygen, the estrogens rapidly convert from one form to another; this stalls their biodegradation and complicates efforts to detect them, the researchers found.

Hundreds of regulations impact the energy industry

The face of energy and environmental regulations in the U.S. is changing. The pace and complexity of U.S. federal regulations is rapidly increasing and becoming more difficult to comply with. Just look at the increased scrutiny and difficulty of completing a merger in the energy industry, as well as recent developments in EPA regulations concerning carbon emissions, which can be an expensive proposition for utilities.

IAEA Pushes for Access to Suspect Iran Nuke site

Iran is in the final stages of sanitizing a military site it is suspected of using for secret nuclear weapons-related experiments, two senior diplomats said Tuesday, as the U.N. atomic agency intensified efforts to gain access to the area before the alleged clean-up succeeds in erasing any traces of such work.

Immune system discovery could lead to a vaccine for heart disease

Most people probably know that plaque buildup in the arteries surrounding the heart is one of the major causes of heart disease. The reason that the plaque does accumulate, however, is often due to an inflammation of the artery walls. Recently, scientists from California’s La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology were able to identify the type of immune cells responsible for that inflammation. With this knowledge in hand, they now hope to be able to develop a vaccine for heart disease.

Is Our Food Supply Threatened by Diminishing Corn Yields?

Just when you thought the economic news couldn't get any worse, a lower-than-expected corn crop yield is more than likely going to keep corn prices at another all-time high for the next year.

And that just means ever-increasing food prices across the board.

Japanese Company Plans To Convert California Coal Plants to Biomass

The two coal-fired plants are Rio Bravo Jasmin and Rio Bravo Poso stations, each with a capacity of 33 megawatts, according to the statement.

The rest of the plants, all biomass, are the 25-megawatt Chinese Station, Rio Bravo Rocklin and Rio Bravo Fresno, both with 28 megawatts of capacity, the statement said.

Leveling the playing field for renewables

If fossil fuel subsidies were phased out by 2020, global energy consumption would be reduced by 3.9 percent that year compared with having subsidy rates unchanged, according to projections by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Further, total subsidies for renewable energy totaled $66 billion in 2010, but are still dwarfed by the total value of global fossil fuel subsidies, according to research from Worldwatch Institute.

Living with cats is good for your health (Dogs too!)

News headlines over the past few years have linked cat ownership to everything from cancer to craziness, but new studies suggest that cats are actually beneficial to human health, and may even reduce our risk for cancer and other diseases.

Low water strands 97 vessels on Mississippi River: USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday that 97 vessels were stranded by low water on the Mississippi River near Greenville, Mississippi, after it closed an 11-mile stretch of the drought-parched waterway for dredging and to replace missing navigation buoys.

Male Fertility May Be in Trouble: Testosterone and Sperm Counts Plummet

GMO foods could make it worse.

Testosterone deficiency is a serious health issue. It can lead to loss of stamina and lean muscle mass, reduced libido in both men and women, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. Growing research also suggests low testosterone levels might be linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

Many of the herbicides and pesticides used in conventional farming are “environmental estrogens.” This means that their molecules mimic the activity of the human hormone estrogen, too much of which is not good for men or women; it also affects testosterone levels.

Managing China's Rising Interest Rates

Interest rates in China have been on the rise. The 7-day repo swap rates have been increasing across all tenors. These swaps exchange the 7-day repo rate (reset weekly) for a fixed rate over a longer period (such as 2 years) - thus providing a window into the market's long-term expectations of repo rates. The increase is an indication of tightening liquidity conditions in the interbank market.

Minutes: Fed Ready to Ease 'Fairly Soon' Unless Economy Improves

The Federal Reserve is likely to deliver another round of monetary stimulus "fairly soon" unless the economy improves considerably, minutes from the U.S. central bank's latest meeting suggested.

Mobile machine can make biofuel for military and humanitarian operations

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have created a device called the Endurance Bioenergy Reactor (EBR) that can produce bioenergy on location, using waste from kitchens and latrines. The fuel can go directly into engines and generators without any need for refining, avoiding the complications of distribution and supply chains associated with fuel production. The researchers say the EBR can produce 25 to 50 gallons (94.6 to 189.2 liters) of biofuel a day from waste streams or processed cellulosic materials.

Monroe County man shoots at reported burglars

A Monroe County resident reportedly took matters into his own hands Monday night when he got home and found someone had broken in.

According to Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell, a residence on Parham Store Road a few miles north of Hatley was broken into, and when the homeowner arrived home, the alleged thieves ran out the back door.

Cantrell said the homeowner grabbed a gun and shot at them as they ran into the woods.

More bad news for future of coal industry...

Only one coal-fired generator was brought online in the first half of 2012, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

This is more bad news for the struggling coal industry.

The only coal-fired generator brought online this year was an 800-megawatts (MW) unit at the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois.

More than 75,000 Electric Drive Buses Will Be on Roads Worldwide by 2018

No other category of heavy duty vehicles has seen more adoption of electric drivetrains than buses. In North America, hybrid models have captured as much as 40 percent of new transit bus purchases in recent years. Electric drivetrains – whether for hybrid systems, battery electric, or fuel cell – hold appeal for the bus market for many of the same reasons they do for light duty vehicles: the promise of moving away from oil, efficiency gains, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and, in many cases, lower operating costs.

Neurological discovery could lead to machines that speak for the speechless

Recently, scientists unlocked the code used by neurons in the retina for sending visual data to the brain. This allowed them to create a device that restored almost-normal vision to blind mice. Now, another group of scientists has announced that they have determined the brain’s code for pronouncing vowels, and they believe that their discovery could lead to machines that speak for people who are physically unable to do so.

New England Governors Plan Massive Renewable Energy Procurement for End of 2013

 The resolution charges the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) with the responsibility of developing a work plan and executing the procurement, though all six states will contribute input and experts to the process. The procurement process will likely involve a request for proposal (RFP) issued by the body for a certain amount of renewable energy, with projects competing for contracts based on their bid-in price.

New York Passes Sewage Pollution Right-to-Know Act

Under the current system, sewage discharges need only be reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the local department of health if they will affect recreational areas, shellfish harvesting, or public water supply intakes.

No simple fix for power outages as state tackles grid reliability

Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration launched an effort Tuesday to limit the extended power outages that have troubled Marylanders in recent months, but industry experts warned that any solution could require significant costs and trade-offs.

NYMEX crude, products settle higher on FOMC minutes; EIA data supportive

NYMEX crude and products futures settled higher Wednesday after receiving a late boost from the release of US Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes from earlier in August.

NYMEX October crude settled 42 cents higher at $97.26/barrel

Power plants releasing hotter water

As fish die in record numbers across Illinois this summer because of the intense heat and drought, state officials are granting power plants special exemptions to flush massive amounts of hot water into already stressed lakes and rivers.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is allowing power plants to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of water per day at temperatures approaching 100 degrees into the state's waterways, the Tribune has learned.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

the largest event of the period, CME was observed, not expected to be geoeffective. A CME was subsequently observed.  Analysis is underway to determine the potential geoeffectiveness of this event.

The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled.

Researchers demonstrate first backdoor "hack" into the human brain

Using an off-the-shelf Emotiv BCI, researchers have shown that it's possible to 'hack' a human brain

Rockefeller's Passionate Plea to Coal Constituents

At age 75, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, says that he’s not done yet. After dedicating his professional life to public service, he says that he has at least one more goal -- to get his coal constituents to recognize that their future depends on commercializing new technologies, not rolling back the regulatory clock.

Romney Calls for Fed Audit as GOP Weighs Platform Plank

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney renewed support for auditing the Federal Reserve, wading into an issue that threatens to spark a fight at his party’s national convention next week.

“The Federal Reserve should be accountable,” Romney told thousands of voters at a campaign rally Monday in Goffstown, New Hampshire. “We should see what they’re doing.”

Scientists develop material that's harder than diamonds

Diamonds may be forever, but they aren’t what they were. True, they shine just as brightly and they’re as hard as ever, but scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Washington are giving them some competition. An international team led by Carnegie’s Lin Wang has discovered a new substance that is not quite crystalline and not quite non-crystalline, yet is hard enough to dent diamonds.

Shadow Government Statistics

Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting.

Slow Down Massive Immigration to Save Jobs for Unemployed Arizona Residents

Even as tens of thousands of Arizona workers are struggling to find a job, Congress has continued to issue 125,000 new work visas a month to immigrants and other foreign workers. This equals 1.5 million new foreign workers each year, who compete directly with Arizona residents for a very limited number of Arizona's jobs.

Soaring Number of West Nile Virus Cases Set to Increase with Climate Change

 "We're in the midst of one of the largest West Nile outbreaks ever seen in the United States," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the CDC's Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Division official. (photo: eyeweed / Flickr) And with climate change, we can expect an increasing number of this and other mosquito-borne diseases like yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever.

Solar cell efficiency receives a transparent boost

Think about this during these dog days of summer: Researchers are working to capture the sun's rays more efficiently and turn them into electricity, using a see-through solar panel no thicker than a plastic grocery bag.

Spain's Record High Misery Index to Rise Further

Spain's misery index (combination of unemployment and inflation) hit a new record this month.

Storm Isaac threatens Caribbean, U.S. Republican Convention

Tropical Storm Isaac swirled over the Caribbean on Wednesday and was forecast to become a hurricane as it moved on a track that would put it off the coast of Florida on Monday, the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Supervisors want EPA public hearing in St. Johns

APACHE COUNTY — The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that is making the rounds of local governments, to extend the public comment period on the EPA’s plan to require additional pollution controls for nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide on three power plants in eastern Arizona, including SRP’s Coronado Generating Station outside St. Johns and Cholla in Joseph City.

Temple massacre has some Sikhs mulling gun ownership

The Sikh temple massacre prompted calls for stricter gun control, but some members of the India-based faith -- who carry ceremonial knives -- are considering taking up firearms in light of the tragedy.

Sikhs are rattled after the horrific Aug. 5 shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., in which Wade Michael Page opened fire for no apparent reason before a police officer gunned him down. Although the religion teaches tolerance and good deeds, some believe arming themselves could be the best protection against hate crimes that have too frequently been perpetrated by assailants who mistake them for Muslims. Page's own motive is unclear, though he was a known white supremacist.

The Chemical Industry is Destroying Human Fertility

Men May Be Drinking Estrogen in the Water From the Contraceptive Pill - Pemanducomm
Common household chemicals and medicines have been found to reduce male fertility, cause female reproductive disorders, obesity, cancer and immune failure.

A new report by the European Environment Agency has linked the chemical industry with declining rates of fertility in humans, stating that reproductive and developmental problems in humans have increased in line with the increasing use of chemicals. Simply put, our love affair with chemicals and industry is killing us.

The Dire Effects of Estrogen Pollution

Pollution of the environment and food supply by estrogenic chemicals is getting increased attention.  Early in the study of estrogens, it was noticed that soot, containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, was both estrogenic and carcinogenic.  Since then, it has been found that phenolics and chlorinated hydrocarbons are significantly estrogenic, and that many estrogenic herbicides, pesticides, and industrial by-products persist in the environment, causing infertility, deformed reproductive organs, tumors, and other biological defects, including immunodeficiency.

The Great Organic Deceivers

Many natural and organic brands are actually owned by huge conglomerates that don’t support sustainable, organic, non-GMO, non-toxic agriculture. In fact, their product labels are often designed to mislead consumers just so they can grab a share of the lucrative health-conscious consumer market.

Thousands being moved from China's Three Gorges - again

China relocated 1.3 million people during the 17 years it took to complete the Three Gorges dam. Even after finishing the $59 billion project last month, the threat of landslides along the dam's banks will force tens of thousands to move again.

TVA found liable for 2008 coal ash spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority is liable for the massive 2008 coal ash spill at the Kingston coal-fired plant and claims by 800 plaintiffs may move forward, a federal judge said Thursday.

Judge Thomas Varian in US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville ruled that TVA's conduct caused the failure of a coal ash containment dike and that it is liable for damages, provided that each plaintiff individually can prove entitlement to the relief.

University of Arizona professor invents lightweight infinite pipeline

A University of Arizona professor has invented a theoretically infinite pipe that promises to bring down the costs of laying pipelines while reducing environmental damage. Developed by Mo Ehsani, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona, the new pipe, called InfinitiPipe, is of a lightweight plastic aerospace honeycomb under layers of resin-saturated carbon fiber fabric put together by a new fabricating process that allows pipes to be built in indefinite lengths on site.

Uranium from seawater said attainable goal

U.S. scientists say they're making progress towards a 40-year-old dream of extracting uranium for nuclear power from seawater.

"Estimates indicate that the oceans are a mother lode of uranium, with far more uranium dissolved in seawater than in all the known terrestrial deposits that can be mined," researcher Robin D. Rogers of the University of Alabama told a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

US Accused of Killing India's Solar Energy Industry

India’s national solar mission specifically states that crystalline photovoltaic projects must use India-manufactured products, while thin-film projects can use parts from other regions. The Ex-Im bank is taking advantage of this rule by offering low-interest loans to Indian solar project developers that use U.S.-manufactured solar cells and panels, according to CSE.

“The major beneficiaries in this case have been American producers such as First Solar and the now bankrupt Abound Solar,” according to the CSE report. India’s domestic solar industry is now in a dangerous state, says the report, with 30 percent facing closure due to low demand.

U.S. court strikes down EPA rule on coal pollution

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday overturned a key Obama administration rule to reduce harmful emissions from coal-burning power plants, sparking a rally in coal company shares and relief among utility firms.

U.S. Federal Reserve Minutes: More Support Warranted Unless Data Turns

The minutes highlight the diverging degrees of concern among policymakers about the run of disappointing economic reports during the spring and early summer. While the weakening resulted in several members indicating that they had lowered their near-term expectations for growth, most did not change their forecasts for the economy's performance in the medium term.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher for Fourth Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgage rates following long-term Treasury yields higher amid continued positive data on the housing market. This marks the fourth straight week of fixed mortgage rates gradually moving higher.

U.S. Housing Inventory at Post-crisis Lows

As discussed earlier the US housing recovery is progressing, albeit quite gradually, as the unsold inventory of homes continues to decline.

Video purports to show successful hover bike test flights

Videos released by California-based tech research company Aerofex appear to show successful test flights of a prototype hover bike that gains lift from two large ducted rotors, similar in principle to Chris Malloy's Hoverbike prototype we've previously covered. Aeroflex claims its hover bike allows the pilot intuitive control over pitch, roll and yaw without need of artificial intelligence, flight software or electronics of any kind.

Waste-to-energy plant in Newport News closer to reality

"The reasons for doing it is because No. 1 it's good for the environment, and No. 2, it's in our financial interest," Morgan said. "I'm favorably inclined to move forward."

West Nile Virus Outbreak Worst in U.S. History

A mosquito bite can kill, and this year 41 Americans have found that out the hard way as they lost their lives to the mosquito-borne disease West Nile virus.

Forty-seven of the 50 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, in Atlanta.

Wildcat or not, drillers want 'confidential' status for wells

North Dakota, like other oil-producing states, allows exploration and production companies to request so-called "tight hole" status for their wells. Once granted by regulators, that status limits the amount of information -- such as production levels, geographical data and engineering specifications -- that a state can publicly disseminate about those wells for a certain period of time.

Will coal barges clog the Columbia River?

In a few years, coal could be the No. 1 commodity traveling by river barge on the Columbia, supplanting wheat.

Ambre Energy wants to be first to export coal through the Northwest to Asia, starting as early as next year. Its Morrow Pacific project would use covered barges for 218 miles of the trip, running from Boardman, through the Columbia River Gorge and on to Port Westward, an industrial park between St. Helens and Astoria.

Wounded Knee: Still Wounded After All These Years

The National Park Service and officials on the tribal council have tried to make the Wounded Knee memorial site a national park. “And a couple of times they got pretty close to it, but a lot of people here disagree with that. It would be a slap in the face,” Dakota says.

Among the obstacles is the fact that 20 of the soldiers who participated in the slaughter were awarded Medals of Honor by the U.S. Army. Native American activists call them “Medals of Dishonor” and demand their revocation. According to Lakota tribesman William Thunder Hawk, “The Medal of Honor is meant to reward soldiers who act heroically. But at Wounded Knee, they didn’t show heroism; they showed cruelty.” In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them.


August 21, 2012


25-year Indian coal deal hailed as beginning

At a time of instability in the coal industry due to layoffs, a weak market and permit delays, the news of a 25-year export market for Appalachian coal is being hailed as the first inroad to a "monumental" export market.

"We have been beat to death," Kentucky Representative W. Keith Hall said. "We have had so sue our own government, this couldn't come at a better time."

35% of Americans Receiving Government Welfare

The United States is on a “dangerous road to fiscal decline and growing dependence on government,” and this is the “real legacy of Obamanomics.”

That warning comes in an editorial from Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), which cites reports pointing to the widening discrepancy among Americans in what they pay in to government — and what they take out.

100 days of science: AZ scientists, utilities, gov'ts all major players in solar research

The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

If Arizona scientists don't come up with the breakthroughs needed to put solar energy on par with burning fossil fuels, it won't be for lack of trying.

ADL Urges Ban Ki-moon to Shun Tehran Conference

Iran is assuming the presidency of the 120-member NAM for the next three years.

The ADL said in a letter to the Secretary General: “Your presence in the Iranian capital at this time will be counterproductive to the efforts of the international community to bring Iran into compliance with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

Agriculture Department Announces Funding for Projects to Boost Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Energy Consumption

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that 106 projects in 29 states, Guam and Puerto Rico have been selected for funding to produce renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program, which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. REAP provides grants and loan guarantees for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to reduce energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects.

Annual Renewable Distributed Energy Generation Installations Will Nearly Triple by 2017

The centralized model of power generation, transmission, and distribution is growing more and more costly to maintain at current levels, let alone expand to meet the rising electricity needs of growing populations.  Despite being smaller in scale, renewable distributed energy generation (RDEG) sources such as distributed solar photovoltaics (PV), small wind power, and stationary fuel cells, with less need for transmission and little to no emissions, are uniquely positioned to disrupt this traditional paradigm.  Distributed renewable installations today represent far less than one percent of total worldwide electricity generating capacity...

A River Runs Through It: The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians Are Turning Umpqua River Into a Tourism Jackpot

All interviewees concurred that while angling opportunities may be the icing on the cake, the  overwhelming natural beauty of the area  is the main visitor magnet.  “The Umpqua River sells itself.  It’s a marvel of nature and an unbelievable stretch of beauty mile after mile,” says tribal staff member Susan Ferris.

Arizona Gov. Re-Affirms State Ban on Public Benefits for Illegal Aliens as Federal Executive Amnesty Takes Effect

On the day that President Obama's deferred-action amnesty took effect, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order re-affirming that amnesty recipients are not eligible for drivers licenses and other public benefits under state law. The governor said the deferred-action program does not grant recipients a legal status that would make them eligible for public benefits banned under a 2004 voter-passed ballot initiative.

Asian Storms Leave Hundreds Dead, Millions Displaced

Three typhoons that blasted across Chinese coastal areas in the past two weeks have caused 51 deaths and left 21 people missing as of Monday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In Bangladesh, flash floods have killed 130, in India more than 100 people have died, while in the Philippines heavy rains and floods have claimed 92 lives.

"Avoid Answering THESE Anti-Gun Questions..."

“Why do you carry a gun?  Why are you so paranoid?  How can a dangerous weapon make your family safer?”

The core issues are not guns, gun control, or rights.  The core issues are perspective and reality.  Many people who are vehemently anti-gun simply don’t live in reality.

Beyond basics, is there such a thing as informed energy debate? The API joins in

"Dueling studies" is the phrase one former US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member used to describe anticipated cost/benefit reports on contentious power market designs. But, the image of consultants riffing with research reports like dueling bangos in American folk music applies to just about every US energy debate, and even more so in a presidential election year.

China accuses six US renewable-energy projects of WTO violations

In the latest salvo of a brewing trade war between China and the US over clean-energy manufacturing, China's Ministry of Commerce on Monday said six renewable-energy projects in the US are illegally subsidized and violate World Trade Organization rules.

Clean Energy Projects Spawning Jobs

Clean energy projects were announced in 30 states in the second quarter with the potential of creating more than 37,000 jobs, according to a new report.

Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking

Eventually those local moratoriums against fracking will expire in Boulder, Longmont and Erie. And residents will worry anew about toxic fracking operations inching up on schools and neighborhoods in pursuit of a product that goes "poof" the instant it's used. Nice value ~ not.

Crude futures settle higher on geopolitical concerns and QE hopes; RBOB down

The oil complex settled mostly higher Thursday on a mix of geopolitical considerations and hopes that both US and European central bank officials will move forward with monetary stimulus measures.

Delco woman who feeds neighborhood children hits red tape

A Delaware County woman who voluntarily distributes free food to children from her driveway has run afoul of officials in Chester Township who say her efforts violate zoning ordinances.

Despite New Regulation, Debit Continues to Grow

“The latest Debit Issuer Study provides more evidence that growth in debit remains robust even in the face of significant regulatory headwinds”

DREMC makes history with solar farm

Duck River Electric Membership Cooperative (DREMC) has become the first electric cooperative in the seven state TVA territory to offer its nearly 71,000 customers access to green power with a 25.92 kW solar farm.

Energy Department Investments to Develop Lighter, Stronger Materials for Greater Vehicle Fuel Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced seven new projects to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials for the next generation of American-made cars and trucks. These projects include the development and validation of modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as research into new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines

ExxonMobil says cleaning up oil spill in Nigeria, source still unknown

ExxonMobil's Nigerian oil producing unit said Monday it is assisting in the clean-up of an oil spill on Niger Delta shoreline, although it denies the crude leaked from its production facilities.

Eyes in the sky spy on threatened jungles

In the two minutes it takes to read this story, an area the size of 60 football pitches will have been clear-cut by illegal loggers globally, according to Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London.

Catching the loggers and their bosses has long been a problem because of corruption, lax law enforcement and limited ability to detect the crime quickly.

Feds say 2 closed Xcel nuclear reactors safe

Two Minnesota nuclear power reactors that were abruptly shut down Tuesday by Xcel Energy pose no safety hazards, federal regulators said Wednesday.

The reactors, one at Prairie Island just north of Red Wing and the other in Monticello, were shut down for unrelated reasons.

FHA's 30x Leverage on Mortgages is Creating a New "Subprime" Market

The U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA), who continues to provide (via insurance) 30x leverage on mortgages by requiring only a 3.5% down-payment, is having a rough time. The loans the agency has been insuring are seeing worsening delinquency trends.

First Chinese ship crosses Arctic Ocean amid record melt

An icebreaker has become the first ship from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, underscoring Beijing's growing interest in a remote region where a record thaw caused by climate change may open new trade routes.

Future of tax credit on mind of Siemens plant

"As of right now, we don't have a final firm load plan we can base those decisions off of," Jones said, referring to future orders. "We're ready either way, to go with full production or make minor reductions."

Goshute Tribes Fight for Water Rights in Face of 300-Mile Pipeline to Vegas

The eight-foot-diameter pipeline would carry water 300 miles from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas, pumping about 84,000 acre-feet of water annually from Goshute and other tribal lands.

Government's Foreign Debt Hits Record $5.29 Trillion

The U.S. government's debt held by foreign entities hit a record $5.2923 trillion in June, reported, citing Treasury Department data.

The government’s indebtedness to foreign entities has shot up 72.3 percent since President Barack Obama took office.

Hanford Double-Shell Tank Leaks Nuclear Waste

For the first time, a leak of highly radioactive waste has been detected from a double-shelled tank at the Hanford Nuclear Site in central Washington state.

Hong Kong and south China brace for typhoon

Typhoon Kai Tak veered closer to the financial hub of Hong Kong late on Thursday, prompting the local observatory to raise the No. 8 tropical cyclone warning signal as some port operations were disrupted along with local transport services.

How Environmental Destruction Causes Illnesses and Diseases

Preventing illness is the best way to get health-care costs down. So why aren’t governments doing more to protect the environment? We’ve long known that environmental factors contribute to disease, especially contamination of air, water, and soil. Scientists are now learning the connection is stronger than we realized.

Hydropower bills energize environmental debate over dams

Hydropower dams would get a boost, while their skeptics would get punished, under a controversial new bill backed by Western conservatives in Congress.

ICE agents' union posts petition to protest Obama Administration orders to disobey immigration laws

It shouldn't be surprising, but it IS reassuring that a union has stepped forward to try to slow down the Obama Administration's increasingly brazen unilateral decisions to ignore -- and even violate -- immigration laws.

Idea to convert Slope gas into electricity gains listeners

An idea studied years ago by an oil company for producing vast stores of North Slope natural gas without building a giant pipeline has emerged again, this time before state legislators trying to find relief for residents crushed by heating and electricity costs.

In a surprise, CO2 emissions fall to 20-year low in U.S.

Mainly because power plants have switched from coal to natural gas, climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions hit an unexpected 20-year low earlier this year...

Increase in North American oil output to depend on pipeline capacity: CIBC

Light oil production in North America could increase by 800,000 to 900,000 barrels per day per year through 2016, including an annual increase of 380,000 b/d in Canadian oil sands output that will continue through 2020, if the industry can resolve the lack of pipeline capacity, CIBC World Markets said Friday.

India's water reservoirs at 51 percent of capacity: government

Water levels in India's main reservoirs were at 51 percent of capacity in the week to August 16, down 12 percentage points from a year ago, reflecting this year's weak monsoon, government data showed on Thursday.

Inside Kimberly Craven’s Cobell Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

 Indian Country Today Media Network has learned details of what Kimberly Craven’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement will include.

Is this the largest rooftop wind installation in the world?

A newly opened wind farm on the roof of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is claimed by turbine suppliers Venger to be the largest building-integrated wind farm in the US

Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit Against DHS to Release Documents Pertaining to Executive Amnesty

Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security requesting documents, under the Freedom of Information Act, regarding the Executive Amnesty that went into effect on August 15. The policy, announced in June, allows illegal aliens who came to the United States before the age of 16, have maintained continuous residence, are 30 years of age or younger, and attend school or hold a high school diploma to receive deferred action and a work permit. An estimated 1.8 million illegal aliens are likely to qualify.

Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania Have Worst Toxic Air Pollution from Power Plants

Residents of Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania are exposed to more toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants than in any other state, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Learning to See How American Indians Are Dominated

For generations, we,, the original nations and peoples of North America, have been conditioned to think and behave in a dominated manner. This has been part of the process of becoming “civilized,” which is a polite word for “dominated.”

Marcellus Shale killing REX, Rockies gas producers should look west: analyst

Rocky Mountain natural gas producers need to start finding additional markets on the Gulf Coast or West Coast because gas flowing east on the Rockies Express pipeline is being displaced by new volumes from the Marcellus Shale, a veteran gas analyst said Thursday in Denver.

Medicine Hat, Alberta, seeing red over rats at city landfill

In Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, rats are big news.

In a province that says it is rat-free, the discovery of a rat colony at the city landfill is making headlines.

MIT develops new "reverse air conditioner" solar power system for the developing world

Solar power would appear to be an obvious choice for the developing world, but as impoverished regions need systems that are simple, self-operating and cheap to build and maintain, this is generally not the case. The ability to provide heating in addition to electricity would also be beneficial because many communities need hot water has much as they need lights. An MIT team has developed a solution that meets these needs with a solar power system that is an air conditioner built backwards.

Netherlands: As Socialists Advance, Merkel Loses

Recent polls show Dutch voters moving much farther left, and much more likely to vote for leftists in the parliamentary elections next month. This is likely to not only change the political situation in the Netherlands, but to also affect the debate over austerity in the Eurozone and slow progress toward reform. The swift implementation of reforms advocated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be key to preventing a total collapse of the European Union and a deepening of the debt crisis on the continent. The Netherlands may not stand in her way, but it is likely to make her job harder.

New Mexico metal recyclers shut down due to new state law

In addition to regulation violations, police found stolen property at one of the recycling businesses, including 32 pounds of telephone wire, 12 oxygen bottles belonging to a local health care company, a city of Albuquerque traffic sign and 12 PNM high-wire tools, the newspaper said.

Newsweek Cover: Hit the Road Barack

Newsweek magazine is targeting its latest controversial cover at the Obama administration. It’s part of a devastating story written by esteemed British historian Niall Ferguson telling President Obama that it’s time to go and that the only team that can possibly turn the country around is the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission may study power plant health risks

The last time federal officials assessed cancer rates in the communities surrounding nuclear power plants, they concluded that radiation releases were insignificant and health risks, if any, were too small to measure.

TheU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissionhas been relying on the results of that 1990 National Cancer Institute study ever since to inform the public about cancer risks posed by the 104 licensed reactors it governs nationwide.

NY passes multiple solar bills

Solar energy should continue to grow rapidly in New York State since the approval of solar legislation by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The package of three bills related to tax exemptions should have a positive impact on the total amount of electricity derived from renewables in the state.

Obama’s DREAM Act-lite runs into more trouble as Nebraska, Arizona go rogue

Nebraska has joined Arizona in opposing legal status for immigrants who are newly-documented under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, setting up a constitutional battle while raising tough questions about the program.

Congress churns out fewest laws since 1947

Congress is on pace to make history with the least productive legislative year in the post-World War II era.

Just 61 bills have become law to date in 2012 out of 3,914 bills that have been introduced by lawmakers, or less than 2 percent of all proposed laws, according to a USA Today analysis of records since 1947 kept by the U.S. House Clerk's office.

Old Dominion suspends permitting for Surry coal plant

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative has suspended efforts to obtain the environmental permits needed to build what would be the state's largest coal-fueled power plant in Surry County.

“On the Misdiagnosis Of Surface Temperature Feedbacks From Variations In Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance”

Does this one work actually "debunk" Global Warming?..

PA extends energy conservation mandate

The Pennsylvania Public Utilites Commission (PUC) has extended Act 129, which regulates energy efficiency and reduction benchmarks, through May 2016.

Peco suspends smart-meter installations after Bucks fire

Peco Energy Co. on Wednesday suspended its ambitious smart-meter installation program after 15 of the electrical devices overheated, including one that set fire to a home in Bucks County.

The utility, which has installed 186,000 devices since March, said it has temporarily halted the project to investigate the cause of the malfunctions.

Probe: Obama pushed $2B loan for Cape Wind

President Obama was personally briefed on Cape Wind's request to secure a nearly $2 billion federal loan, with one official urging the Department of Energy to "get it done" because it was "important" to Obama, newly released e-mails show.

Rare wildfires threaten Canadian polar bear habitat

Wildfires sparked by lightning near Canada's Hudson Bay are threatening the habitat of polar bears, encroaching on the old tree roots and frozen soil where females make their dens, a conservation expert on the big, white bears said on Thursday.

Red Cliff Band Raises 70 Mystery Barrels Dumped by U.S. Army Into Lake Superior

The mystery of more than 1,450 55-gallon barrels dumped into Lake Superior between 1959 and 1962 by the U.S. Army should be less of a mystery after an effort headed by the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to raise 70 of those barrels to review their contents and condition.

Refuse being a victim of the "Price Fixers" !!   Act NOW before the price of Crude skyrockets even more!

Graph of average gasoline for one month.

Report: New Jersey has potential for 600 clean energy jobs, seventh in nation

The state created as many as 600 "green" jobs last quarter.

The power-generation sector posted the most project announcements, with 35. Solar power was leading the category, with 19 projects. Wind power followed, with 12 projects.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was moderate.  Region 1548 (N19E62) produced two M-class flares.  Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for an M-class event for the next three days (20-22 August).  The geomagnetic field ranged from quiet to unsettled levels.  A coronal hole high speed stream became geoeffective during the past 24 hours.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at mostly unsettled levels with a chance for active conditions on day 1 (20 August), decreasing to a slight chance on days 2-3 (21-22 August).  The disturbed conditions are expected in response to the continued presence of the coronal hole high speed

Rep. Smith: Illegal Immigrants at the Top of President’s Jobs Agenda

There is little that’s clear about the President’s jobs agenda but it’s crystal clear that he has placed opportunities for illegal immigrants to work in the U.S. at the top of his list.  With unemployment at 8.3%, it’s unconscionable that the Obama administration’s amnesty program actually requires illegal immigrants to apply for work authorization in the U.S. This undercuts the 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.

Risk of smart grid security breaches higher than ever

It's no secret that cyber security is an integral part of the smart grid, but utilities and regulators are continuing to grapple with the best way to fortify themselves against the expanding host of cyber threats.

As the grid continues to expand – the Edison Foundation projects 65 million smart meters will have been deployed in the U.S. by 2015 – so does the need to secure not only the influx of data but also the increased number of intelligent electronic devices...

Room-temperature solid state maser may be the laser of tomorrow

Maser is an acronym that stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Essentially, it’s the same as a laser, but where a laser generates an intense, coherent beam of light, a maser generates an intense, coherent beam of microwaves. Masers were invented in the 1950s and laid the groundwork for invention of the laser in the early 1960s, but the two technologies soon took very different paths.

Scientists develop catalyst that cleans diesel emissions without platinum

Diesel engines are a classic example of good news and bad news. The good news is that diesel engines are much more fuel efficient than petrol engines. The bad news is that they belch out some pretty nasty emissions like nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. The good news is that catalytic converters can scrub those out. The bad news is that last Friday the platinum needed by the converters is selling for US$1,473.10 an ounce. Now the good news is that a team at Nanostellar in Redwood, California, has developed a mineral catalyst that outperforms platinum at a fraction of the cost.

Seven M-Class Flares Within Last 30 Hours

Solar activity was high over the last 30 hours, with the most active region being sunspot region 1548. The largest events from this region were an M5.5 at 18/0102, followed by M1.9 at 0323 UT - M2.1 at 1607 UT - M1.1 at 2254 UT - M1.4 at 2322 UT. The same region also produced several C-class events. Included in this series of 7 M-flares were two events on August 17th - an M2.4 at 13.19 UT and M1.0 at 17:20 UT.

Shale gas producers must adhere to best practices: IEA head

The shale gas revolution that has swept across North America in recent years can dramatically reduce US energy imports and be expanded globally, but only if gas producers can convince governments and the public that extraction can be done safely and in an environmentally friendly way, the executive director of the International Energy Agency said Friday in Houston.

"Companies need to realize they need to be transparent about what they're doing and they need to take people's concerns seriously," said Maria van der Hoeven, speaking at the Baker Institute Energy Forum at Rice University.

Significant Earthquakes Past 30 Days

  1. M 6.3, 56km SSE of Palu, Indonesia Saturday, August 18, 2012 09:41:54 UTC
  2. M 7.7, 158km ENE of Poronaysk, Russia Tuesday, August 14, 2012 02:59:42 UTC


Small Solar is 40% of US Project Pipeline

Favorable incentives and financing models continue to fuel interest in small solar projects, with installations at schools, municipal buildings, hospitals and retail stores now accounting for 40% of the US pipeline, reports NPD Solarbuzz.

Solar company bringing 1,000 jobs to Riverside

A company that markets solar panels and has a very bullish outlook about the future demand for its products is relocating its operations to a historic but long-abandoned Riverside building and hopes to employ as many as 1,000 people there, a spokesman said Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Spending on green energy falls short on jobs

What has America gotten so far from President Barack Obama's spending on clean energy, and has it been worth the cost?

The multibillion-dollar outlays of the past four years had equally big goals: putting people to work right away, but also future jobs in a growing global endeavor to cut pollution and the risks from climate disruption.

Suffolk, Va., recycling program successful in first year

Suffolk, Va., residents have taken to their recycling program.

In the first 11 months of service, more than 10.1 million pounds of recyclables were collected by TFC Recycling with an average participation rate of 63%, the Suffolk News-Herald reported.

The Beveridge Curve Shows a Structural Shift in U.S. Employment Dynamics

The Beveridge curve, developed in the UK back in 1958, compares job vacancies as a fraction of total labor force with the unemployment rate. It allows one to study, among other things, labor inefficiency and labor mobility. If there are job openings in one part of the country or one industry, but the unemployed are unable to fill those openings due to geographical or skill mobility constraints, the Beveridge curve would show it.

The Effect of Dams on Global Warming

A new study has revealed the under-appreciation that exists for the role dams play in climate change; how the reservoirs behind them can cause surges of greenhouse gases as the water levels go up and down. In a study of the water column at such a reservoir, marine scientists found an astonishing 20-fold increase in methane emissions as water levels were drawn down. Bubbles coming out of the mud and sediment at the bottom were chock full of this potent greenhouse gas.

There is no left or right

Frederic Bastiat called government (the state) the “great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Politicians on the left and right live by that fiction. Because of the libertarian difference, an increasing number of Americans are beginning to see through that falsehood and uncover the left or right camouflage and subterfuge so painstakingly erected by politicians.

The Eye of Sauron

The pieces come together. Within the last week I have read:

1) New software, associated with Google, will recognize customers in stores so as to offer them discounts; having your photos uploaded to allow this service will (for now) be voluntary.

2) A new surveillance system in New York will store footage from cameras in, for example, the subway, so that when an unattended package is discovered, the police can look back in time to see who left it.

3) TSA is perfecting a laser that will allow detection on travelers of trace amounts of drugs, explosives, and doubtless a wide variety of other things.

Top 10 states for clean energy jobs

According to research from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), up to 37,409 jobs could be created from the more than 70 major clean energy projects launched across the U.S. in the second quarter of 2012 alone. Public transportation, electric vehicle manufacturing and power generation led the growth.

UN Chief Seeks to Strengthen Law of the Sea Treaty

nited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday introduced the Oceans Compact, a new initiative to support and strengthen implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Uncle Sam Needs YOU for a Bailout: 6 Reasons Another Big Banking Crisis Is Coming Our Way

Rampant financial crime and poor regulation can only mean another blowup, and guess who will be holding the bag?

Surprise, surprise! Last week, the Justice Department announced it wasn’t going to prosecute Goldman Sachs or its employees for its shady activities during the mortgage crisis. The same day, Goldman disclosed in a regulatory filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had dropped an investigation into a troubled $1.3 billion residential mortgage-backed securities deal launched in 2006.

U.N. observer mission in Syria ends, violence continues

Mystery surrounds Syrian vice president

The mandate of the U.N. observer mission in Syria ended Sunday, with the country no closer to a lasting peace than when monitors arrived four months ago.

U.S.-backed battery-makers fall to foreign competitors

When the U.S. decided to jump-start its battery industry essentially from the ground up in 2009, it was taking on Asia's technology titans: Samsung, Sanyo and Panasonic, among others.

President Barack Obama saw a future filled with electric cars and in total pumped about $5 billion in federal funding into the emerging technology. It was all part of a new economy that promised "green" jobs.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use fell in 2011

After an increase in 2010 of 3.3 percent, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions declined in 2011 by 2.4 percent and were 526 million metric tons (9 percent) below the 2005 level. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined in the United States in four out of the last six years.

U.S. Court Upholds Status Quo on Gene Patents

Is a gene more like a tree trunk or more like a baseball bat? A federal court Thursday took a stand on the question, ruling that isolated DNA molecules are “not found in nature”, and are therefore more like inventions, such as baseball bats, than natural phenomenon, such as tree trunks.

U.S. EPA spending more than $50 million to clean Wisconsin river

The U.S. EPA will spend up to $57 million in projects along the Sheboygan River in Wisconsin to help remove the river as an area of concern, the agency announced.

The river was named an area of concern as a toxic hot spot in 1987. Of the 40 areas of concerns listed on the Great Lakes, only one has been delisted.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher For Third Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgage rates following long-term Treasury yields higher. This marks the third straight week of fixed mortgage rates moving higher.

U.S. Wind Energy Production and Manufacturing Surges, Supporting Jobs and Diversifying U.S. Energy Economy

The Energy Department released a new report today highlighting strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011, increasing the U.S. share of clean energy and supporting tens of thousands of jobs, and underscoring the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the manufacturing and jobs associated with this booming global industry remain in America

Venezuela Training ‘Guerrilla Army’ Against U.S.

Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela is training a “guerrilla army” it aims to grow to one million strong by 2013 to fight off possible “imperialist aggression” from the United States, an opposition lawmaker claims.

What is the real cost of renewable energy (part 5)

Could PV really be a champion for the next decade?

Today, Solar Photovoltaics (PV) is rubbing shoulders with wind power as the renewable energy technology of choice for many, despite its higher cost in many scenarios.

While generous subsidies have played a major role in helping to drive demand and push costs down, the technology is starting to stand on its own feet, achieving grid parity with conventional generation in some select locations. Within the next decade that could be the norm, according to recent findings, as Gail Rajgor reports.

Why 90 million of us won't vote

A nationwide USA Today/Suffolk University Poll of people who are eligible to vote but aren't likely to do so finds that these stay-at-home Americans back Obama's re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-to-1. Two-thirds of them say they are registered to vote. Eight in 10 say the government plays an important role in their lives.

You say you want a revolution, shale gas? Here are some things to do

From Reagan to Twitter, the industry needs to use a variety of campaign tools if it wants to win over the broad swath of Americans caught in the middle of the hydraulic fracturing debate, communication experts said. Many Americans are still on the fence in the shale debate, between industry fans and detractors who say it wrecks the environment or just don't want it in their backyard.


August 16, 2012

[ED:  This edition replaces regularly scheduled for tomorrow.  (Personal reasons.)]


12 New GM Crops Up For USDA Approval

Earlier this summer USDA posted 12 new GE crops for public comment with a September 11 deadline, and 9 are under the new fast-tracked process. That's 12 new GMOs to review and issue comments on in two months!

80 Percent of Public Schools Have Contracts With Coke or Pepsi

Advance warning system for solar flares hinges on surprising hypotheses

Scientists may have hit upon a new means of predicting solar flares more than a day in advance, which hinges on a hypothesis dating back to 2006 that solar activity affects the rate of decay of radioactive materials on Earth. Study of the phenomenon could lead to a new system which monitors changes in gamma radiation emitted from radioactive materials, and if the underlying hypothesis proves correct, this could lead to solar flare advance warning systems that would assist in the protection of satellites, power systems and astronauts.

After drought blights crops, U.S. farmers face toxin threat

The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out metric tons of toxic feed.

Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs.

Agent Orange Soy: Just Another Day at USDA

The poison can drift up to 100 miles, and may be in your water!

Remember our article from February about the strain of corn that has been genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide 2,4-D, one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange? Here’s the sequel:

Algae Fuel Advancing in Practicality

Its deserts are hot and dry, and underground aquifers in the south are brackish or saline. By most standards the deserts in Israel don’t make prime real estate for farmers, but as far as algae are concerned —— minute plants that grow in water and on ponds as scum —— Israel's conditions are perfect. And a new company from Tel Aviv called Univerve is working to turn this natural substance into third-generation renewable fuel for today and the future.

Analysis of US EIA data: US crude stocks drop 3.699 million barrels, led by US Gulf Coast declines

U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 3.699 million barrels to 366.158 million barrels the week that ended August 10, led by declines in U.S. Gulf Coast and West Coast stocks, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Solar Storm?

A solar disaster isn't a question of if, but when--and it looks like soon.

 One of the biggest disasters we face would begin about 18 hours after the sun spit out a 10-billion-ton ball of plasma--something it has done before and is sure to do again. When the ball, a charged cloud of particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME), struck the Earth, electrical currents would spike through the power grid. Transformers would be destroyed. Lights would go out. Food would spoil and--since the entire transportation system would also be shut down--go unrestocked. 

Asian Storms Leave Hundreds Dead, Millions Displaced

Three typhoons that blasted across Chinese coastal areas in the past two weeks have caused 51 deaths and left 21 people missing as of Monday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In Bangladesh, flash floods have killed 130, in India more than 100 people have died, while in the Philippines heavy rains and floods have claimed 92 lives.

Assessing Obama and Romney Energy Economics

When it comes to re-generating the economy, who has the better plan? Is it President Obama, who is using government’s levers to increase consumer demand and consumer confidence? Or, is it GOP-hopeful Mitt Romney, who would reduce taxes across the board?

Black Hills Auction: The Auction of the Sacred

As the wind breathes out of Wind Cave in my face, I am reminded of the creation of humans and my own small place in this magnificent world. Wind Cave National Park is named for the cave itself, called Washun Niya, or the Breathing Hole of Mother Earth by the Lakota People. In this creation story, it is from here that they emerged to this world.

BREAKING NEWS: We Are Witnessing a Pole Reversal "Right Now" 

Before you go running up your credit cards, let's remember, this is a process that takes a few thousand years. However, questions are seriously being viewed as to how far along we are on this 10,000 year cycle. Some scientists ruminate the Earth has already journeyed somewhere between 9,985 - 9,997 of this 10,000 year sequence.

Catastrophic Solar Flare Scenario Touches Off Stormy Debate 

Working on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, scientists with JASON, a government advisory group, recently published a report on the vulnerability of the nation’s electrical grid to solar flares. “Impacts of Severe Space Weather on the Electric Grid” concludes that while energy blasts from the sun, called coronal mass ejections, can damage transmission lines, it’s unlikely the entire grid could be brought down.

Challenges facing the future of Antarctica

A century ago, Antarctica was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the continent is under threat from human activity.
An international team of experts, including scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published this week in the journal Science.

Charles Koch: Why We Fight for Economic Freedom

Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, Inc., calls for more economic freedom and more prosperity for all Americans and says big governments “are inherently inefficient and harmful.”

Chemical in many antibacterial soaps linked with impaired muscle function

Introduced in the 1970s, the compound triclosan has become an increasingly popular ingredient in many antibacterial soaps and other personal-care items, such as deodorants and mouthwashes.  However, as the chemical’s popularity continues to grow, a recent report has raised concerns about some frightening risks that triclosan could pose to public health.

City project helps cut energy costs

From small laundromats and gas stations to residential complexes, Milwaukee Energy Efficiency is signing on city businesses looking to save on the bottom line.

Crime Statistics Some Don't Want You To Consider

To keep things in perspective, that's around 20 people a year who die from the actions of psychopaths who exhibited behaviors that should have caused notice and intervention, but didn't. And while 20 people a year are 20 people too many, the cold fact is you have 4 times more chance of being killed by a lightning strike than you do by a mass-murdering psychopath bent on mayhem and death.

Decontamination tech gets test drive in Fukushima

Companies participating in the Environment Ministry's technology verification project for the decontamination of radioactive substances in Fukushima Prefecture are testing their cleanup solutions to determine whether they can be used widely.

Drought hits U.S. power supply

Water shortages due to ongoing drought affect the U.S. power supply as power plants become overheated and shut down or run at lower capacity, analysts say.

Because they are completely dependent on water for cooling and make up about half the water usage in the United States, power plants can become casualties of droughts, says Barbara Carney of the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, W. Va.

Economic Lessons from American History

AMERICA is still a young country. Only 405 years separate us from our ultimate origins at Jamestown, Virginia, while France and Britain are 1,000 years old, China 3,000, and Egypt 5,000. But what a 400 years it has been in the economic history of humankind!

Eli Lilly admits to more than $200 million dollars worth of doctor payoffs

Prozac. Cialis. Cymbalta. If you have a television or read magazines, you've heard of their drugs. Eli Lilly, out of Indiana, makes billions of dollars every year off the sale of their patented chemicals, which are used to suppress the symptoms of disease in the human body. Founded by a chemist in the late 19th century; today the pharmaceutical giant has offices in 18 countries, and its products are sold in 125 countries, with revenues exceeding $20 billion annually.

Farmer becomes disillusioned with GMOs

*Weed resistance to Roundup, high seed costs, and doubts about GMO safety spur switch to non-GMO

Wendel Lutz hardly qualifies as an anti-GMO activist. As a conventional corn and soybean farmer is nearly a polar opposite of an environmentalist. Yet, he shares some views with opponents of genetically modified foods based on his experience growing GM crops.

Feds Stockpiling Even More Survival Food

Early last year, we reported that the federal government was quietly stockpiling millions of emergency meals, tying up so much capacity that consumers were reporting shortages in the stores.

Now the feds are doing it again.

Fed Study: 21 Money-Market Funds Were at Risk of Breaking $1 from 2007-2011

A whopping 78 money-market mutual funds needed assistance from their management firms between 2007 and 2011, and 21 of those funds would have seen their net asset value per share drop below $1 without that aid, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Freshwater From The Sun

An experimental desert oasis in Israel is testing a new solar-powered nanofiltration system to desalinate water for African crops.

Israel is an undisputed leader in providing desalination plants, equipment, novel technology and know-how for removing salt from water. Israeli company IDE Technologies has installed hundreds of desalination plants around the world to help parched regions make sea and brackish water drinkable.

Genome Disruption Syndrome

GDS represents a new understanding of the diseases and disorders raining down on us from dangerous, unsustainable and irresponsible (but highly profitable) technologies to which all of us are repeatedly exposed without informed consent.

GE, UGE pioneer world's first wind-powered EV charging station

GE Energy Management and Urban Green Energy (UGE) will pioneer the world's first integrated wind-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

Global Warming Causes More Extreme Shifts of the Southern Hemisphere's Largest Rain Band, Study Suggests

The changes will result from the South Pacific rain band responding to greenhouse warming. The South Pacific rain band is largest and most persistent of the Southern Hemisphere spanning the Pacific from south of the Equator, south-eastward to French Polynesia.

Occasionally, the rain band moves northwards towards the Equator by 1000 kilometres, inducing extreme climate events.

Hugh Johnson: Fear of ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Hurting Economy Already

Many experts are worried about the “fiscal cliff” that may derail the economy next year. And already concern about that cliff is curbing growth, says Hugh Johnson, chairman of money management firm Hugh Johnson Advisors.

“It is clearly fear, or at least uncertainty, before the reality,” he tells Yahoo. “Nobody knows if their taxes are going to go up, or if it's going to be postponed and they're taxes won’t go up."

Japan video shows delay in using seawater to cool meltdown reactor

A Japanese nuclear power company hesitated before using corrosive seawater to cool the No. 2 reactor at the stricken Fukushima plant because it hoped it could be used again, video released by the company shows, contradicting official findings.

Landslide deaths much higher than thought: study

Landslides killed more than 32,000 people across the world from 2004 to 2010 - up to 10 times more than previously thought, the first detailed study of the disasters showed on Thursday.

Liquidity Is King

Changes in liquidity levels could also reflect external factors, such as weakening in the supply of credit. For this reason, it is important that the market infrastructure is sufficiently flexible to accommodate any change in liquidity.

Major Advance Made In Generating Electricity From Wastewater

Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity.

Microgrids will become more prevalent across utility landscape

Although utility approaches to integrating distributed energy resources using microgrids have been inconsistent, Pike Research predicts that microgrid adoption will steadily increase over the next several years.

Monticello, Prairie Island nuclear reactors idled for "repairs"

Neither plant released any radiation or posed any danger to citizens, the company said. The Monticello nuclear plant's single generating unit, which had been operating at 10 percent capacity since last weekend, was shut down because of a leaking pipe inside the plant's concrete containment structure, the company said.

Natural Gas Increases are Diminishing Carbon Emissions

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are falling. Why? New data by a governmental branch is saying that the switch from coal to unconventional forms of natural gas is the main reason, followed by an unusually warm 2012 winter.

New Assessment of Oil and Gas Reserves Released by USGS

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is charged with the cataloging and assessment of land formations and mineral reserves in the United States. They have recently assessed the potential additions to domestic oil and gas reserves from reserve growth in discovered, conventional accumulations. All the assessed reserves are believed to be technically recoverable and do not include Federal offshore areas. The numbers show significant growth in the known (discovered) fields throughout the country.

Northwest Passage is open again - NASA

The image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows that more than two-thirds of the Parry Channel was ice-free on July 30. The median coverage for that date was 79 percent from 1980-2010. The Parry Channel separates Victoria Island from Melville Island in Canada's far north.

Northwest Tribes Fight for Treaty Rights in Face of Coal-Transport Plan

Treaty fishing rights are meaningless if there are no healthy fish populations left to harvest, say Pacific Northwest tribes, fishers and tribal environmental organizations.

Obama, Romney talk energy in battleground states

President Obama visited an Iowa farm Tuesday where a family grows corn and soybeans while also generating wind energy with several turbines on their 1,000 acres. Republican Mitt Romney spent time at an Ohio coal mine, speaking in front of hard-hat-wearing workers whose livelihood depends on continued demand for their often-maligned product.

Ontario Entices EV Buyers With Charging Stations

The Ontario government is investing C$80 million to jump-start the widespread availability of electric car charging stations to make EVs more attractive to potential buyers.

Oregon seed, farm groups sue state over GMO canola

A U.S. farm group, seed producers and biotech critics filed suit on Wednesday against Oregon officials in an effort to curtail planting of genetically modified canola, warning of a potential "disaster" for the state's seed and organic industries.

Potent Human Toxins Prevalent In Canada's Freshwaters

Nutrient pollution, one of the greatest threats to our freshwater resources, is responsible for the algal blooms that blanket our lakes and waterways in summer months. Large  blooms of cyanobacteria (‘blue green algae’) can cause fish kills, increase the cost of drinking water treatment, devalue shoreline properties, and pose health risks to people, pets, and wildlife. A new paper just published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences shows that microcystin, a toxin produced by cyanobacteria, is present in Canadian lakes in every province.  

Private Companies Are Trying to Patent Your Genes!

Not only that, but a federal court has now ruled that FDA can regulate your cells as drugs.

Regulators approve showing renewable energy costs on electric bills

Public Service Company of New Mexico customers can expect to see between $1.38 and $1.47 tacked onto their monthly electric bills soon to cover the costs of adding renewable energy to the company's portfolio.

Remembering Indigenous History: The Past Is Never Over

Over the years, when discussing Indigenous history and many of the injustices perpetrated upon the Native peoples who populate what is now Hawai’i, Alaska and the continental U.S., I’ve often heard people say, “That’s history and things are better now” or “What’s [in the] past has passed; its time to move forward.”

I believe Native peoples have moved forward and are thriving in many instances. Cultures and languages are being strengthened, Native businesses and organizations are numerous, and a path has been laid for a whole new generation of tech savvy Indigenous leaders. There are Native lawyers, doctors, Ph.D.s, teachers, athletes, entertainers and artists.

Report sees a wallop to wind power if tax credit ends

Wind energy is powering new investments in domestic manufacturing, but the impending expiration of a federal tax incentive is threatening the trend, the U.S. Department of Energy says in a report out Tuesday.

Amid election year debate over the wind industry's 20-year-old federal tax credit, the Energy Department touts the economic benefits of the incentive in a commissioned analysis authored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

About two-thirds of the equipment installed on new U.S. wind farms in 2011 came from domestic manufacturers, according to the report. That compares with an estimated 35 percent in 2006.

Republicans, Democrats Join to Protect Lake Tahoe

Clarity in Lake Tahoe has stabilized after the years of cloudiness that threatened the lake’s attractiveness to millions of visitors from around the world, politicians and business people heard Monday at the annual Lake Tahoe Summit, but new threats abound.

Researchers Rebuild Failing Hearts Without Surgery

Instead of undergoing a heart transplant or another type of risky surgery, heart patients may soon have a much better option. Researchers say the day is coming soon when they’ll be able to regenerate ailing heart muscle with a simple injection or catheter to deliver healing “nanomaterials” to the organ.

Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low.  No Earth-directed CMEs were observed.  Solar activity is expected to be very low to low for the next 3 days (16 - 18 August).  The geomagnetic field was quiet.

Scientists find way to block opioid addiction without affecting pain relief

Researchers have found a way to block addiction to various opioid drugs, including heroin and morphine, without negatively affecting the pain-relieving properties of these drugs.

Self-Powered Solar Building Creates New Possibilities in NYC

Green building in New York City will take a huge leap forward in September when Voltaic Solaire officially unveils The Delta, the first private completely self-powered building in the city. The $700,000 private use building, which will triple as a bed and breakfast, restaurant and residence, will combine solar and wind energy to generate its own heat, electricity and hot water - meeting 100% of its energy needs.

SoberLook - TARGET2 Replacing Other Sources of Funding for Bank of Spain

Kostas Kalevras posted his update for Bank of Spain's (BdE) balance sheet this morning. Once again, both lending to banks and TARGET2 liability rose sharply.

Solar Flares Could Disrupt Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013

Solar observers say the Earth could be destined for a massive solar flare event in 2013 disrupting global infrastructure and costing trillions.

Solar initiative expands to upstate

A state initiative to promote solar energy has expanded to upstate New York, offering more than $100 million in incentives to regional businesses and municipalities. A media release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Thursday announced that $107 million is available to upstate New York and beyond through the NY-Sun initiative, which aims to increase the amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic systems statewide.

South Korean Solar Companies Make Strong Push Into U.S. Market

A growing trade dispute may be leaving most Chinese companies reticent to set up shop in the lucrative American market, but two South Korean corporations are launching large-scale U.S.-based operations.

Study shows plastic bag bans hurt sales

A ban on single-use plastic bags can hurt sales for grocers and retailers within the bag ban area and drive shoppers to stores just outside the ban region, according to a new study from the National Center for Policy Analysis

The Battle for Japan’s Energy Supply

Last year, the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan resulted in the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and a forced reduction in the nation’s overall energy use. Now, one year later, extreme energy efficiency is still the modus operandi, and many of Japan’s businesses and commercial interests are chafing under the strict use regulations.

With only two nuclear power plants in operation—out of the country’s 50 total plants—Japan’s energy sector is struggling to meet demand.

The Deal: European Supergrid Sets High Expectations

The plan for a European Supergrid is slowly progressing with each interconnector – but is it worth the investment?

Imagine if we lived in a world where constant sunshine, flowing rivers, steady wind, abundant forests, and hot rock beneath our feet were equally accessible resources able to instantly power our around-the-clock energy demands. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world, and sometimes the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

The science of cute

Why do small helpless things – babies, kittens, puppies, pandas in baby form – turn even the most cynical human into a helpless wreck? (

Trendspotting: US States Warming up to Renewable Energy Heating and Cooling, Part 2

If states are going to add a heating requirement to their RPS or even allow heat energy to be applicable, monitoring and metering will be key and that can be problematic.

Triggering permafrost meltdown is closer than we think

  • Current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are probably sufficient to trigger large-scale permafrost carbon feedbacks and global warming that human effort would be unable to contain.
  • The time to slash emissions was a long time ago but now is still much, much better than later, which may, as new studies suggests, simply become too late.

Trouble Having Kids? Eat Some Walnuts

A new study has found that men who eat a healthy serving of walnuts every day will improve their sperm quality and boost fertility. The chemical in the walnut, omega-3, is also common in many other tree nuts. The researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing believe it is the omega-3 that provides the fertility boost. A previous study found that one in six couples is infertile, and that 40 percent of these cases were due to a male factor. Fortunately, walnuts can be found at many local supermarkets and convenient stores, as well as on the branches of the many walnut trees throughout the world, and most likely cost less than going to a fertility clinic or fertility medication.

US EPA vows to find regulatory fix by year-end after biodiesel fraud

The US Environmental Protection Agency expects to propose a regulatory fix by the end of the year aimed at restoring the market for renewable fuel credits after three fraud cases shut out all but the largest biodiesel producers.

U.S. weed resistance growing to 2,4-D herbicide: report

As U.S. farmers struggle to control the rise of "superweeds" choking key crop land, a leading herbicide known as 2,4-D that has shown good weed control for decades appears to be losing its effectiveness, a report from a science journal said on Wednesday.

Vestas begins layoffs

Vestas on Monday confirmed an undisclosed number of workers at its Pueblo tower plant received layoff notices as the wind turbine maker began a pullback due to slumping U.S. orders.

Want power system congestion data? DOE finds it's not so easy

It remains to be seen whether the Department of Energy will again draw corridors where the federal government can expedite the building of new power lines where congestion is a problem. But the DOE is now doing studies to assess the state of congestion in the US, and it has fingered a problem: getting the data it needs.

White House hopeful on renewal of wind tax credit

The White House is hopeful Congress will renew a $12 billion tax credit for wind power production, a senior Obama administration official said, as a government report warned that thousands of U.S. jobs would be lost if the incentive runs out.

Wildlife vanishing fast in Brazil's forest fragments

Animals living in patches of rainforest cut off from bigger expanses of jungle by farms, roads or towns are dying off faster than previously thought, according to an academic study published on Tuesday.

"We uncovered a staggering rate of local extinctions," the British and Brazilian researchers wrote in the online science journal PLOS ONE.

Yucca Mountain Ruling will have to Wait

A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has decided to wait a few months before deciding whether to order the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart license review of the Department of Energy (DOE) application to develop a nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.


August 14, 2012




Advance could turn wastewater treatment into viable electricity producer

Research at Oregon State University by engineer Hong Liu has discovered improved ways to produce electricity from sewage using microbial fuel cells

A Gun That Will Last Until The End Of Days…. And Then Some

“The end of the world as we know it” has been a popular and often oddly described event that many living off the grid have actually placed some importance on or at minimum have factored the idea into planning.  And for many of these off-gridders, the “end of days” requires a firearm capable of meeting a variety of needs.

American wind power reaches 50-gigawatt milestone

2012 sets red-hot pace, but layoffs hit supply chain amid policy uncertainty for 2013.  Layoffs have begun up and down our American manufacturing supply chain

Army names first openly lesbian general

Army officer Tammy S. Smith, 49, became the first openly lesbian military general in U.S. history on Sunday after the Army promoted her to the rank of Brigadier General.

Asia gasoline cracks surge to 42-month highs on unplanned refinery outage

Asian gasoline cracks surged to their highest in three-and-a-half years Friday, driven largely by unplanned refinery outages amid seasonal peak demand.

Barriers To Using Biogas For Electricity Identified By Water Environment Research Foundation

Research recently completed by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) answers enduring questions on why more US wastewater treatment facilities do not harvest the biogas generated during wastewater treatment to power the plant operations or return power to the grid. Most often the answers are related to simple risk aversion or incomplete economic consideration rather than technical feasibility.

Black Carbon from Slash and Burn Practices Still a Problem in Brazil

Although nearly 40 years have passed since Brazil banned slash-and-burn practices in its Atlantic Forest, the destruction lingers. New research reveals that charred plant material is leaching out of the soil and into rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean. So much of this "black carbon" is entering the marine ecosystem that it could be hurting ocean life, although further tests will be needed to confirm this possibility.

Breakthrough technology promises photovoltaics from any semiconductor

A new technology that could enable low cost, high efficiency solar cells to be made from virtually any semiconductor material has been developed by researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley.

Building a Battery Bank for Your Off-Grid Energy Needs

Solar and wind energy can be as fickle as the weather they depend upon. Therefore, anyone hoping to escape from the grid by turning to these renewable forms of energy must have good storage systems set up to supply all of their power needs when the sun has set and the winds have become still.

Building A Battery Bank For Your Off-Grid Energy Needs, Part Two

Building a battery bank will allow you to harness the maximum technical advantage from your alternative power generation techniques. However, electricity and stored power are a couple of intimidating technologies and offer some daunting challenges.

Bureaucracy fuels China's safe water problems - report

The kind of top-down bureaucracy that can discourage communication and hobble some Western corporations is fueling widespread problems with China's water supply, with lessons for the rest of the world, researchers reported on Thursday.

Burglary and a 12 Gauge

A man I know quite well was put into a dangerous situation due to his neighbor’s house being burglarized. This person, we can call him “Jim,” lives in a very quiet section of a very small town. The little town does not even have a traffic light, so it is smaller than those one traffic light towns we often hear about. Another house, just two doors up from the victim’s house, has always been an issue because of the occupants. No real trouble, just suspicions. It is a familiar house to neighborhoods across the country. The place where things just do not seem quite right.

California Gathers Facts to Plan for a Hot, Dry Future

California could lose up to 20 percent of its hydropower generation as climate change causes high-elevation reservoirs to shrink, finds a new report from the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission.

China hikes 2015 solar power target by 40 pct

China has hiked its 2015 target for solar power capacity by 40 percent to 21 gigawatts (GW), a government agency said on Wednesday, with falling costs and new regulations boosting growth in the sector.

China's July crude imports rise 12.4% on year to 21.83 mil

China's crude oil imports in July rose 12.4% year on year to 21.83 million mt or an average 5.16 million b/d, according to preliminary customs data released Friday.

CNNMoney: Looming ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Cuts Cause Paralysis Among Govt Contractors

The potentially massive spending cuts associated with the so-called fiscal cliff are still months away, but according to CNNMoney, small businesses that rely on government contracts are already feeling the pinch.

Contamination discovered at PPL nuclear plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported this morning that radioactive contamination was unexpectedly found last week on a trailer used to transport fuel at PPL's nuclear power plant in Salem Township.

Corn Crop May Plunge to 9.86 Billion Bushels, Farm Futures Says

U.S. corn production may be 24 percent smaller than the government’s estimate as drought in the Midwest slashes yields and spurs farmers to abandon acres, Farm Futures magazine said, citing a survey of 1,800 growers.

Could electric cars help supply the power grid? Researchers will use Austin to find out

Dennis and Carole Mick are self-described "enthusiasts" about saving energy.

They live in the Mueller Community, have solar panels on their roof, participate in Pecan Street Inc.'s energy research project and drive a hybrid Prius.

Decade-Long Feeding Study Reveals Significant Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods

Scientists in Norway have released results from experimental feeding studies carried out over a 10-year period, and the verdict is in: If you want to avoid obesity, then avoid eating genetically engineered (GE) corn, corn-based products, and animals that are fed a diet of GE grain.

Decade-Long Feeding Study Reveals Significant Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods

Scientists in Norway have released results from experimental feeding studies carried out over a 10-year period, and the verdict is in: If you want to avoid obesity, then avoid eating genetically engineered (GE) corn, corn-based products, and animals that are fed a diet of GE grain.

Developing World Needs Farming Innovation to Ease Poverty, Says Gates’ Official Rob Horsch

Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and half of them are farmers, Horsch noted. A typical farmer is a woman living on less than a dollar a day and growing several crops on one-half to one whole hectare (1.2-2.4 acres) with no mechanization.

By using better land-management practices, he said, typical small farmers in a developing country could see their land’s output triple or more.

Don't Believe Poll Propaganda

I was outraged today when I saw a Washington Post article headlined "Three Polls Show Obama Widening Lead Over Romney." One was a poll from FOX News that showed Obama 9 points ahead. The others were surveys by CNN and Reuters showing a 7 point Obama lead.  NOT TRUE!

Do you know more about energy efficiency than a regulator?

The rationale for enacting any government regulation is to fix a problem the market has failed to rectify on its own. If there is no market failure, there is no reason for a regulation, at least in theory.

Drought crop damage worsens, ethanol waiver urged

The worst drought in more than 50 years has caused more damage than expected to corn and soybean crops, the government said on Friday, heightening calls for a suspension of ethanol quotas to head off another global food crisis.

Drought, food prices fan fears of new crisis

Global alarm over a potential repeat of the 2008 food crisis escalated on Thursday after data showed food prices had jumped 6 percent last month and importers were snapping up a shriveled US grain crop, helping drive corn prices to a new record.

Drought tightens grip on top US farm states: climatologists

In the past week, extreme drought doubled its grip on the top corn and soybean producing state of Iowa, according to a report by a consortium of climate experts issued Thursday.

Drug caravan to visit more than 20 US cities

A coalition calling for an end to the war on drugs began its monthlong campaign Sunday in San Diego that will take it to more than 20 U.S. cities.

ECB's Greek Fudge: Nutty and Stale?

The ECB has made some decisions regarding Greece that clearly indicate it does not want to push Greece out of monetary union. It has gone so far as to essentially allow the Bank of Greece to fund the Greek government.  

Egypt military signals support for president

Egypt's military signaled its acquiescence Monday to the president's surprise decision to retire the defense minister and chief of staff and retake powers that the nation's top generals grabbed from his office.

El Nino emerges, raising fears over food prices

An El Nino weather pattern is underway and will last until winter, Japan said on Friday, foreshadowing disruptive conditions that could harm crops from Australia to India at a time of rising fears about global food supplies.

Europe is leader in PV solar cell deployment

Germany remains top of the list with and accounts for more than 63% of the PV installations worldwide. Having said that, PV production volume is now dominated by manufacturing in Asia where China and Taiwan now account for about 74% of the world supply

Fed's Quandary: 15 of 18 Banks Fixing Libor Aren’t American

Mark Calabria at the Cato Institute usually isn’t shy about criticizing Timothy Geithner. Yet he says it was ultimately up to the British to deal with the manipulation of Libor, as only three of the 18 banks that set the London interbank offered rate are based in the U.S.

Flu Pan[dem]ic Time Again?

Well, nobody died from the swine flu last time, so let's have another massive vaccination campaign to protecct us from another disease. Maybe West Nile Virus? Maybe not.
Nobody is dying from tetanus, so we just have to have a massive campaign to protect us from it - and this particular vax is one that is used to induce infertility - proven. They've been touting a "shortage" of the toxin. Such "warnings" are always a "Red Flag" for future scare campaigns.2

Former Biden Adviser Bernstein: All Americans Must Pay More Taxes

Americans don't pay enough in taxes and need to pay more for the good of the country's fiscal health, said Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Frackers in frantic search for guar bean substitutes

Oil and gas companies are racing to find a new substitute for India's guar bean, a key ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technology that has revolutionized the energy industry by opening up vast new fields for production.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," first created a boom in natural gas drilling over the past decade that brought huge new supplies of the fuel to market, and that technology is now being used to unlock giant oil fields that were long considered too difficult to tap.

Gamera II human-powered helicopter flight record confirmed by NAA

The National Aeronautic Association has confirmed a new national record of 49.9 seconds for human-powered helicopter flight for the Gamera II flight on June 21

Global Municipal Solid Waste Continues To Grow

Growing prosperity and urbanization could double the volume of municipal solid waste annually by 2025, challenging environmental and public health management in the world’s cities, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute ( for its Vital Signs Online service. Although some of this waste is eventually recycled, the doubling of waste that current projections indicate would bring the volume of municipal solid waste—or MSW—from today’s 1.3 billion tons per year to 2.6 billion tons, writes report author and Worldwatch Senior Fellow Gary Gardner.

Gone with the wind (tax credit)

The future of Wyoming's renewable energy sector hangs in the balance as Congress considers whether to extend a tax credit for wind energy production.

The Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit for wind energy, first passed in 1992, is set to run out at the end of this year unless Congress acts to renew it.

Groundwater Footprint Highlights Challenging Global Water Situation

Farmers are unsustainably exploiting groundwater in a number of important agricultural regions, according to a team of researchers...

They call it the groundwater footprint. And like the ecological footprint, which has become the common measure for calculating human demands on the biosphere relative to its ability to regenerate, the groundwater footprint is designed as a location-based measure of the sustainability, or lack thereof, of human groundwater use around the planet.

How Your Water Company May Be Poisoning Your Kids

Historically, there have been four main sources of lead poisoning: paint, gasoline, tin cans, and water pipes. Lead paint was banned years ago, though old paint still remains a hazard in old housing, particularly in window sills. Leaded gasoline is no longer sold, and its only remaining threat is via old lead deposited in soil, especially in urban areas. Tin cans haven't used lead sealant for decades.

Hydropower in supply in dry zones

The drought worsened this week in the Midwest and the Plains, but the region's hydroelectric power has not diminished because abundant 2011 rain and snow filled reservoirs.

In Concerns over Weight, Perception becomes Reality

Thin, in-shape people are paraded around us constantly in our daily lives through billboards and other media. The concept of beauty has become centered around being thin. Yet in our modern age, there are greater percentages of people throughout the world who are overweight or obese. Trends during our teenage years has a great effect on our body sizes throughout life. A new study from researchers in Norway has found that excess weight is not only caused by over-eating and lack of exercise, but it is a product of our own perception. Teens, even normal-size teens, who feel fat are more likely to grow up to be fat.

Interest in hybrid cars up, but not sales

In a Harris Poll, 23 percent said they had more interest in purchasing an alternative energy car, but at 2.7 percent of total new-vehicle sales over the past three months, hybrids still constitute a sliver of the sales picture, MediaPost News reported.

Iowa, Nebraska ethanol output cut amid drought

Ethanol plants are voluntarily slowing production as corn prices climb and supplies tighten amid a widespread drought that has generated discussion about whether more of the crop should be devoted to food production.

Ethanol production nationally has dropped by 20 percent since the beginning of the year and is at a two-year low, said Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, a national trade group.

Iraq overtakes Iran as OPEC number 2 oil producer behind Saudi Arabia

Many in the oil industry will remember well the mantra of Iran's delegation to OPEC in the 1980s: that Iran's OPEC quota should always be double that of Iraq. They will also remember the late 1988 OPEC meeting at which Tehran accepted quota parity for Iraq.

Iraq severely warns Total over Kurdish oil

Iraq has given French energy giant, Total, an ultimatum to either end its dealings with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) or sell its stake in a giant oilfield in southern Iraq.

Iraq to cut ties with foreign oil firms over Kurdish deals: Shahristani

Iraqi deputy prime minister Hussein al-Shahristani said late Sunday that Baghdad was determined to cut ties with ExxonMobil and any other foreign oil company if they violate Iraqi law and proceed with upstream work in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iron-air batteries audition for grid storage role

Researchers at the University of Southern Calif.'s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute say they have come up with iron electrodes that could make iron-air batteries practical for storing energy as generated by intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Is Air Conditioning Heating Up the Planet?

Stan Cox is a senior researcher at the Land Institute. His book, Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air Conditioned World, describes the threat that our ever-increasing need for air conditioning poses to efforts to maintain our planetary climate within its natural limits, the limits that all living things on the planet have evolved to thrive in.

Is Israeli Strike on Iran Just Weeks Away?

Yes, it is possible that Israeli leaders could be bluffing. Yes, it is also possible that they are simply trying to pressure the U.S. and international community to take more decisive action to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat. But reading the latest tea leaves, I believe evidence is rapidly mounting that this could really be it — Israel could be just days or weeks away from a massive preemptive strike against Iran.

Issa: Obama used bailout to get higher mpg

"In the wake of a massive taxpayer funded bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama administration took aggressive action to force a rule-making process that reflects ideology over science and politics over process and law," Issa said in a statement.

Is It Fear-Mongering... or the Truth?

It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the signs of the times. No, I'm not talking about some Nostradamus-like power to see into the future. I'm speaking in reference to just being observant of all that is going on around the world, using some common sense, and relying on old math (where 2+2 actually did equal 4, and not whatever answer makes me feel good about myself) to come to reasonable conclusions about the direction of our future.

For instance, if I were to tell you that there is only a 3-day supply of food available to your grocery store at any given time and that any disruption in that food supply chain could be a calamity, what would you think? Having suffered through hurricanes and tornadoes alike, as well as economic setbacks and infrastructure failure, I can tell you what my reaction is...

Prepare, and to encourage others to prepare.

Judgment time for 'America's Toughest Sheriff' Joe Arpaio

Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio – known for his controversial jail tactics and tough stand on immigration – faces a class-action lawsuit and US Justice Department probe of alleged racial profiling targeting Latinos. He's also up for reelection.

Kentucky utilities on track to retire coal-fired plants

Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) have awarded PCL Industrial Construction (PCL) and Black & Veatch a $583 million contract to design and build a new natural gas-fueled power plant.

Keystone Pipeline Curving Around Politically Sensitive Areas

The Keystone XL Pipeline is curving around some politically sensitive areas. But President Obama is figuring that the $7 billion investment will bring him huge political headaches just before the November election.

So, the deal will have to wait until the coast is clear.

Liberal Dream Team to Host Presidential Debates

Conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell slammed the choice of only mainstream-media correspondents to moderate this year’s presidential debates, which could determine the outcome of the election. And he blames the Republican establishment for letting it happen.

Midwest Drought Helps Push Gasoline Prices Higher

Gasoline prices in the United States rose during the past two weeks, driven partly by supply disruptions and a drought-induced rise in ethanol prices, a widely followed survey showed on Sunday.

The Lundberg Survey said the national average price of self-serve, regular gas was $3.69 on Aug. 10, up from $3.51 on July 27.

Military adding more electric vehicles to fleet

Electric vehicles are becoming a more common sight on military bases as the Department of Defense adds "road-capable" electric cars such as the Chevy Volt to a fleet of thousands of smaller battery-powered vehicles.

More Than 260 Million Tons Of Waste Per Year Will Be Converted To Energy By 2022, Forecasts Pike Research

Today, nearly three-quarters of the trash discarded worldwide ends up in landfills or open pits. With many countries facing dramatic population growth, rapid urbanization, rising levels of affluence, and resource scarcity, systems that convert waste to energy (WTE) are becoming an attractive technology option to divert this waste to useful purposes and to promote low carbon growth.

Mutations found in Fukushima butterflies

Radioactive materials released into the environment by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have caused mutations in butterflies, a study indicates.

Scientists say they've detected an increase in mutations in leg, antennae and wing shape among butterflies collected following the 2011 Fukushima accident, and that laboratory experiments have confirmed the link with the radioactive release.

Native Nations Should Define Themselves

We need to stop thinking about being “Indian” as being a matter of race or culture (both of which are just part of our reality) and think about being Indian in terms of citizenship in a “Native Nation.” Race should not define us although it is part of our reality. Culture is dynamic and changes (sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly) and should not define being Indian although it too is part of our reality.

New Google Algorithm Change Immediately Raises Concerns

The EFF's concerns are the vagueness of what Google considers to be a high number of removal notices, how Google plans to make its determinations, and how "there will be no process of recourse for sites who have been demoted."

New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers

In Scottsdale, Arizona, any new home must come equipped with fire sprinklers, a decades-old rule lauded by fire safety advocates nationwide. But 12 miles away in Phoenix, city officials are not even allowed to discuss adopting a requirement like Scottsdale's, because of a state law passed last year.

[editor's note: Note that this conflict is between two levels of governments over issuing mandates, not the banning individual common sense! - SAT] (08/10/12)

New Legislation Hopes to Increase Massachusetts' Renewable Development

North Carolina needs to step up efforts to divert food waste, report says

Food waste generated in North Carolina tops 1.1 million tons each year, and the state isn't doing enough to divert that waste from landfills, a new study shows.

Ocean's Ability to fix Nitrogen Underestimated

In order to predict how Earth's climate develops scientists have to know which gases and trace elements are naturally bound and released by the ocean and in which quantities. For nitrogen, an essential element for the production of biomass, there are many unanswered questions. Scientists from Kiel, Bremen and Halifax have now published a research study in the international journal Nature showing that widely applied methods are part of the problem.

Old Dominion suspends permitting for Surry coal plant

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative has suspended efforts to obtain the environmental permits needed to build what would be the state's largest coal-fueled power plant in Surry County.

One month in, oil sanctions on Iran start to bite

Landmark European Union and American sanctions directly targeting Iran's oil export revenues have now been in place for more than a month and appear to be having a big impact on the country's ability to sell its oil, even to big customers in Asia that are not directly subject to the EU embargo on imports of Iranian oil.

Palin Will Not Speak at Republican Convention

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will not speak at the U.S. Republican nominating convention in Tampa later this month, she said in statement on Sunday.

Parasites may get nastier with climate swings: study

Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures.

Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.

Perseid Meteor Shower: The One Not To Miss, August 11-13

Word on the street: If you see no other meteor shower this year, make it this one. Tonight, August 11, through the 13th, the Perseids will light up the sky, joining our old friends Venus, Jupiter and the moon as the three align.

Probe: Obama pushed $2B loan for Cape Wind

President Obama was personally briefed on Cape Wind's request to secure a nearly $2 billion federal loan, with one official urging the Department of Energy to "get it done" because it was "important" to Obama, newly released e-mails show.

The emails, released as part of a congressional investigation into Cape Wind and other green energy companies like Solyndra, appear to show the administration trying to use political influence to approve the massive wind project on Nantucket Sound, according to investigators.

Professor sees energy 'trap' ahead

...led him to the alarming realization that exponential economic growth cannot continue into the decades and centuries ahead because of constraints on energy supplies, said Murphy, whose website is named Do the Math: Using physics and estimation to assess energy, growth, options.

Rare earth magnet recycling faces uncertain future

It’s no secret that rare earth metals have become indispensable for the emerging clean-energy economy. For example, the magnets in many state-of-the-art wind turbines and electric vehicles use rare earth praseodymium, neodymium, and dysprosium. Problem is, many of these materials come from parts of the world that have political tensions with the U.S. So the topic of avoiding rare-earth supply shortages is now top-of-mind for many manufacturers.

Rate of Arctic summer sea ice loss is much greater than predicted

This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region. In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

a C2 flare.  Analysis is underway to determine the potential geoeffectiveness of a possible CME.  Solar activity is expected to be low with a slight chance for an isolated M-class flare.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to unsettled with a slight chance for an active period on day 1 (14 August) due to a high speed stream from a
coronal hole.  Days 2 and 3 (15 - 16 August) are expected to be at
predominately quiet levels.

Report tallies continuing TVA ash spill costs

Although TVA has excavated more than 1.6 million cubic yards of coal ash from the Emory and Clinch river area, the utility and EPA are looking at ways to handle another 500,000 cubic yards of ash that remain underwater in the Emory, Clinch and Tennessee rivers.

Republic unveils world's 'largest recycling operation'

The Phoenix-based company's Newby Island Resource Recovery Park in Milpitas, Calif., will be able to process up to 110 tons of multiple waste streams per hour and divert at least 80% of material collected, according to Republic.

Romney Says Obama ‘Robbed Medicare’ for Health Overhaul Cost

President Barack Obama “robbed” Medicare to pay for the healthcare legislation he pushed through Congress in 2010, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in an interview broadcast Sunday night...

“There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney responded.

Shotgun robber no match for victim with handgun

Police say an armed robber got more than he bargained for Friday night when he targeted the wrong victim.

Just after 10 p.m. a 36-year-old man was confronted by a robber with a shotgun in the parking lot of the Walgreens located in the 3600 block of College.  The man said the robber held the shotgun to his head and demanded money.

Significant Earthquakes Past 30 Days

Stewart Baker on Whom to Blame for the Failure of the Cybersecurity Bill

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker has this interesting piece on whom to blame for the collapse of the cybersecurity bill, which failed on a cloture vote in the Senate the other day. Baker suggests four culprits—two on the lobbying side and two on the governance side:

Stronger Eurozone Integration Remains Elusive as Financial Fragmentation Increases

The argument goes that it's the equivalent of measuring money supply for one of the states in the US. But evidence is accumulating that this way of thinking about the Eurozone periphery is utter nonsense. Periphery nations are becoming increasingly financially isolated, not just from the Eurozone core but from each other. In particular cross-border financial transactions among banks are dwindling.

Study: Geese learn to avoid wind farms

The findings suggest this species of geese, at least, has identified wind farms as a threat and alter their flight to avoid the spinning turbine blades, the researchers said.

Stunning Third Party E-Cat Test Report Details Leaked During NIWeek

For months now, Andrea Rossi has been telling us about a new version of the E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology that he calls the "hot cat." This new variation of the technology is claimed to allow for extremely high temperatures, with total stability, of up to 1,200 degrees Celsius. Such temperatures hold the potential to allow for direct conversion of heat to electricity utilizing solid state devices. For example, thermophotovoltaic panels and thermoelectric generators could utilize the E-Cat as a source of very high temperature heat.  

Syrian Jets Pound Rebel Positions as Opposition Presses for No-Fly Zone

Syrian jets fired on areas in and around Aleppo again on Sunday, continuing an escalation of force that has led activists and rebels to demand that foreign forces establish a no-fly zone to counter the government’s air superiority.

The Equitization of Fixed Income

New capital rules and other changes to the basic structure of global fixed-income markets might succeed in achieving a transformation that has been discussed — but never realized — since at least the 1990s: the “equitization” of fixed income.

The Homesteading Handbook That's Too Good Not To Have On Your Shelf

There I was, driving into town to fill up my vehicle with gas. I was having a great morning. I came around the corner and I saw them changing the price sign at the gas station. There goes my good morning. I was a little irritated because I knew it was going up a few cents. Then they posted the new number. I couldn't believe it! They had just upped the price of gas 52 cents. 52 cents! Are you kidding me?

The Jackson Hole "Fix" is Not Coming

Expectations of a new asset purchase program by the Fed continue to persist as various pundits anticipate its unveiled at the Jackson Hole gathering.

They're Getting Closer — Swarms of Drones

"Bugging" is a slang term for one form of covert surveillance, but the word may take on a new meaning with the development of drones not much larger than insects. Researchers at several facilities, with the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania in the lead, are developing truly miniature drone vehicles displaying amazing agility and the ability to fly in formation, or swarm. Scientists envision squadrons of tiny drones soon scouting battlefields or searching for natural disaster victims. Before that can happen, however, they must develop sensors small and light enough to be carried by the bug-like craft.

Thousands evacuated in Spain forest fires

More than 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Spain's Canary Islands because of forest fires that are difficult to control due to a heatwave and strong winds, authorities said on Sunday.

Throwaway Economy Headed for Junk Heap of History

In their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart conclude that waste and pollution are to be avoided entirely. “Pollution,” says McDonough, “is a symbol of design failure.”

The challenge is to re-evaluate the materials we consume and the way we manufacture products so as to cut down on waste. Restructuring the transportation system has a huge potential for reducing materials use as light rail and buses replace cars.

Treasuries Rise as Japan GDP Underscores Global Slowdown

Treasury 10-year notes erased gains even as growth ebbed in Japan and before a report that analysts said will show Europe’s economy shrank in the second quarter.

Treasuries’ Slide Is Longest Since February on Economic Views

Treasuries fell, pushing the 10-year note yield to the highest since May, as economic data showed strength, dimming prospects for added monetary stimulus and limiting demand for $72 billion of U.S. debt sold at auctions.

Trendspotting: US States Warming up to Renewable Energy Heating and Cooling, Part 1

Of the fifty U.S. states, four territories and one District of Colombia, almost forty of them have some kind of renewable energy requirement on the books and of those forty, only about fourteen allow some type of thermal renewable energy to meet at least a portion of its renewable portfolio standard. But that might be changing.

US Army Receives USD$7 Billion For Renewable Energy Projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through its Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, has issued a Multiple-Award Task Order (MATOC) Request for Proposal (RFP) for $7 billion in total contract capacity to procure reliable, locally generated, renewable and alternative energy through power purchase agreements. The $7 billion capacity would be expended for the purchase of energy over a period of 30 years or less from renewable energy plants that are constructed and operated by contractors using private sector financing

US Banks Told to Make Plans for Preventing Collapse

U.S. regulators directed five of the country's biggest banks, including Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., to develop plans for staving off collapse if they faced serious problems, emphasizing that the banks could not count on government help.

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher for Second Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgage rates moving higher following stronger-than-expected employment reports. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent, and the 15-year fixed averaged, 2.84 percent, still near the historic low.

US Freezes All Nuclear Power Plant Licensing Decisions

Federal nuclear regulators today froze at least 19 final reactor licensing decisions in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that spent nuclear fuel stored on-site at nuclear power plants “poses a dangerous, long-term health and environmental risk.”

U.S. Opens Alaska Reserve to Onshore, Offshore Drilling

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today proposed to allow additional oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, NPR-A. After two days of meetings with North Slope leaders, Salazar said the plan would protect the region’s caribou herds, migratory bird habitat, uplands, and sensitive coastal resources central to the culture and subsistence lifestyle of Alaska Natives.

U.S. Renewable Electricity Future Is Within Reach

In June, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a groundbreaking new study showing that the United States could generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050 with commercially available technologies, while meeting electricity demand in every hour of the year and every region of the country.

U.S.'s largest coal ash impoundment to close

The nation's largest coal ash pond is set to close after actions by a state regulatory agency, National Geographic News reported.

The 1700-acre Little Blue Run impoundment, which opened in 1974, straddles the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. Owned and operated by FirstEnergy Generation Corp., a subsidiary of Akron, Ohio-based electricity company FirstEnergy Corp...

'Warning behaviors' sought to stop killings

It can seem all but impossible to understand why anyone would commit a mass murder as Jared Loughner did near Tucson last year, as James Holmes is accused of doing in Aurora, Colo., last month, as Wade Michael Page did at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin last Sunday, and as happens, on a smaller scale, about 20 times a year in the United States.

Waste Pro opens first CNG station

Waste Pro USA Inc. opened its first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station earlier this week, a $15 million facility in Fort Pierce, Fla.

The new CNG fueling station is part of Longwood, Fla.-based Waste Pro's $100 million investment to transition its fleet of heavy trucks from diesel fuel to CNG.

Watch These Dolphins Swim Underwater—A Solid Minute of Pure Bliss

The dolphins do seem to be talking in this video, though their little squeaky sounds can barely be heard above the Pearl Jam soundtrack as the mammals undulate just behind the boat, some of them staring intently into the camera. Thus we’ll never know what they are trying to tell us.

"Why Gun accuracy isn’t as important as you may think"

FBI research shows that 81.4% of gun fights happen at a distance of under 20 feet.  This means that the average attack on a victim unfolds very quickly and at a close distance.

Zero waste hype from some companies is misleading; hazardous waste often isn't diverted

The consensus was that zero waste claimed by companies is hype or rhetoric used to make the companies look greener, and some responses said that there is no such thing as zero waste.


August 10, 2012


2012 Hurricane Season Update

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date, and may have a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook

6,000 suspected illegal immigrants detained in Greece

Authorities in Greece are rounding up thousands of suspected illegal immigrants in a large-scale deportation drive to combat what a government official compared to a prehistoric invasion.

Greece has long been Europe's main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the West. But Greece's severe economic problems and high unemployment are making the problem worse than ever.

A Critical Mass for Real Food

Here, you see the logic of the modern industrial food system in its rawest form—a logic of prioritizing profit over human and environmental welfare.  A lot has changed in the 400 years since the Elmina Fort was built, but this principle has not gone away. The logic of the plantation is the logic of today’s industrial food system.

Air Pollution Worsening Worldwide: Cut Emissions Further, Experts Urge

Most of the world's population will be subject to degraded air quality in 2050 if human-made emissions continue as usual. In this 'business-as-usual' scenario, the average world citizen 40 years from now will experience similar air pollution to that of today's average East Asian citizen. These conclusions are those of a study published August 1 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

APS Seeks New Solar Energy Project

Arizona Public Service Co. announces a Request for Proposal (RFP) from solar developers and installers to construct a 32-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility in Gila Bend, Ariz. This project will be financed by APS through the company's AZ Sun Program.

Are the Batteries Ready? 100% Clean Energy Requires Progress on Storage

In the long run, there’s no avoiding energy storage for a 100% renewable energy society.  The two major sources of renewable power are wind and sun, and they are either fickle or reliably not available at night.

The problem is that the simplest energy storage option for electricity is batteries, and this image from Wikipedia (hat tip to Robert Rapier) illustrates a significant technical barrier: our simplest option is also among the least energy dense material we have.

Asia Report: World Takes Hard Look at India Grid, Promises of Solar

Suddenly, the world is intrigued by India's unstable grid and the role solar can play in providing solutions for a country desperately in need of a new energy strategy.

As US Congress breaks, any new energy legislation is stopped dead

The US Congress is gone. Some in the country, even within the ranks of lawmakers themselves, wish the five-week vacation--they prefer "state work period"--would last forever. It will not, but at least for a while it will be hard to tell.

Beat the Black-Outs

First, some of the stories we've recently uncovered at Off The Grid News reveal a frightening trend regarding just how vulnerable the power grid is... and this information even has me a more than a little concerned for my readers who don't have a back-up power plan yet.

China Braces for Record Third Typhoon in a Week

China is facing its third typhoon in a single week, as Haikui strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday into a typhoon on Monday afternoon.

“Within seven days our nation may be hit successively by three typhoons, the first time such circumstances have arisen since records have been taken,” Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said in a statement.

Coal issue playing a major role in presidential Battleground States

New billboard advertising in six battleground states across the country is asking voters if they know where candidates stand on coal use and affordable electricity.

Could U.S. utilities be the next to say "if only?"

Northern India's electricity has been restored after 600 million people were left in the dark for two days last week. While an outage of this magnitude is unlikely to occur in the U.S., grid stability and capacity are still a global concern.

Curiosity sends images of Mars back to Earth

After a successful landing on Sunday, the NASA rover Curiosity has begun sending back images of the planet including the first color pictures and 3D stereographs. In addition to images from the surface of the red planet, the lander has also sent back images captured by onboard cameras during the craft’s dramatic descent through the Martian atmosphere and landing. Meanwhile, an orbiter from an earlier NASA mission sent back images of Curiosity’s descent.

Despite Flaws, Indonesia is a Model Muslim Democracy

With the Arab Spring now in a new phase as authoritarian regimes are replaced with new governments, Indonesia has been portrayed as a model for nascent Muslim democracies to follow. Once an authoritarian state itself, Indonesia adheres to democratic norms and Islamist political parties have little influence. While there have been some recent concerns about religious liberty and extremism in Indonesia, the trend in the country appears to be moving away from radical Islamism, as LIGNET explains.

Drought-hit US busts heat record from Dust Bowl days

In the throes of a historic drought in the United States, a government agency said on Wednesday that it broke a heat record in July that had stood since the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936.

Drought Resistant Heirlooms Outperform GMOs

As you know, farmers since the early 1950s have been growing hybrid and genetically modified corn and soybeans for one reason - productivity. The problem is that system has failed them this year, and we are the ones who will pay for it at the grocery store and at the gas pump.

Drought seen slashing corn crop to five-year low

The worst drought in more than half a century has analysts expecting the smallest U.S. corn crop in five years, which will translate to smallest ending stocks next summer in 17 years, a Reuters poll of 21 analysts showed on Monday.

Drug Found to Protect Heart from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

"When patients are admitted to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, the main problem doctors face is preventing damage to the body whilst the body slowly removes the chemical," said University of Leeds' Professor Chris Peers, who led the research. "We've shown that ranolazine can rapidly protect the heart and prevent the kind of cardiac events which threaten patients long after their exposure to the gas."

El Niño conditions are likely to develop during August or September 2012

Nearly all of the dynamical models favor the onset of El Niño beginning in July - September 2012

Extreme heatwaves 50 to 100 times more likely due to climate change

A recent rise in deadly, debilitating, and expensive heatwaves was caused by climate change, argues a new statistical analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Climatologists found that extreme heatwaves have increased by at least 50 times during the last 30 years. The researchers, including James Hansen of NASA, conclude that climate change is the only explanation for such a statistical jump.

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Strong scientific evidence links climate change with increasing heat waves, coastal flooding, and other extreme weather events

FCC Should Reassess Its Advice on Cell Phone Radio-Frequency Limits: GAO

Questions about whether smartphones and the radio-frequency energy they emit can cause health problems in users were the impetus for an investigation by the Government Accountability Office. What it found was that the Federal Communications Commission's current RF guidance doesn't reflect the latest research and that testing requirements may not identify the possible maximum exposure in some use cases.

Fed's Zero Rate Policy Carries Significant Costs for US Households

Ben Bernanke (Reuters): "Interest rates are low because our economy is still in a fragile recovery," Bernanke told a town hall meeting in Washington with educators.

"Lower rates are intended to restore more normal levels of employment and growth."
That may be true, but on average a prolonged low interest rate environment has been hurting US households.

Five companies to pay $9M for superfund cleanup in New York

Five companies, including Gillette Co. and Energizer Battery Manufacturing Inc. have agreed to conduct $9.3 million worth of cleanup at a superfund site in New York, the U.S. EPA announced.

Flamestick – the firestarter and cooking fuel made from recycled plastic

Looking not unlike a plastic Popsicle stick, the Flamestick from Germany's AceCamp is a firestarter made from recycled thermoplastic that measures 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) long by 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) wide. While plastic may sound like a strange way to start a fire, the Flamestick offers several advantages over more traditional materials.

From White Buffalo Naming Ceremony, a Conversation With Lakota Medicine Man Steve Stonearrow

Lakota Medicine Man Steve Stonearrow traveled to northwestern Connecticut along with a group of Lakota elders to perform a naming ceremony for a white buffalo born June 16. This interview took place the night of July 29, the day after Stonearrow named the white buffalo Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy in ceremony.

Fuel Your Food Storage The Olympian Way

In 1519, Hernando Cortez reached the ancient city of the Aztecs and was greeted by soldiers who resembled today's modern Olympians. The soldiers had physiques like nothing Cortez had seen before. If you remember your history, you're probably asking how Cortez defeated this great Aztec army. The answer is simple--lies and deception. The rest is for the history books.

Gas to remain 'backbone rather than back-up' of global energy mix: Shell

"It is not a temporary back-up until renewables take over," he told delegates at the Global Business Summit on Energy in London.

"Renewables grow very fast but we need more fossil fuels to meet demand," he said.

GE trains wind technicians of the future

Nacelles -- each the size of a small bus -- sit on the floor of General Electric Co.'s training facility here, holding the gears, generator and other equipment that create electric current out of wind.

Grassley argues for wind energy

Sen. Charles Grassley left little room for doubt about where he stands on extending wind energy tax credits, which await action in Congress.

Home Invasion Thwarted by Quick-Thinking Home Owner

The burglar first pounded on the door in Plano, and presumably the thief figured that nobody was home, so he climbed onto the balcony and broke the window in order to gain access. The homeowner heard the glass shattering and went for his weapon and called 911. What would have happened if the homeowner was unable to defend himself against the thief? There will be no charges filed against the homeowner, thankfully.

Interior, Defense Departments team up on renewable energy

The U.S. Interior and Defense departments on Monday announced a joint effort to promote reneweable energy on Federal lands, an initiative designed to support the Obama administration's "all-of-the-above" energy policy.

Is garbage predicting another recession?

Bloomberg The graphic, created by economist Michael McDonough, shows how waste/scrap rail shipments correlate with gross domestic product. Recent numbers don't look good.

Economist Michael McDonough created this chart a week-and-a-half ago. It compares rail shipments of waste and scrap (reported by the Association of American Railroads) to the United States' gross domestic product. (The year-to-year percent change of waste/scrap shipments is on the left; the year-to-year change in GDP is on the right.)

July was hottest month ever for continental US: NOAA

July was the hottest month in the continental United States on record, beating the hottest month in the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the US government reported on Wednesday.

It was also the warmest January-to-July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, and the warmest 12-month period, eclipsing the last record set just a month ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

Lee County wind farm hearings drag on

The hearings for a proposed Lee County wind farm could last months, much longer than ever before.

Libya's transitional council hands over power

Libya's National Transitional Council handed over power Wednesday to the General National Congress, the national assembly formed by last month's elections.

Man with gun shot after entering home uninvited

According to police, Robinson entered the home on 21 Street uninvited, and began to wave a gun at three occupants of the home and telling them to get out of the house.

One of the occupants of the home, 22-year-old Frank Lee Green, says he pulled a handgun from his pocket and shot Robinson.

Medical-marijuana growers await outcome of Arizona lottery for dispensaries

Today, however, will be the beginning of the end for many as the state Department of Health Services grants permission for 99 medical-marijuana dispensaries to open around the state.

More Cargo, Cleaner Air At The Port Of Los Angeles

Air pollution from Port-related sources continues to drop as cargo rebounds at the Port of Los Angeles. New data shows that from 2005 to 2011, cumulative harmful emissions at America’s No. 1 trade gateway plunged as much as 76 percent while container volumes increased 6 percent. On a year-to-year basis, there has been a decrease up to 7 percent of harmful emissions.

New Saudi Intelligence Chief Will Strengthen Ties to US

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former ambassador to the United States, was recently named the new chief of Saudi intelligence, thrusting him into a position of broad authority where he can strongly influence his country’s ties to the United States and its approach to regional problems. Bandar has spent a career working at the highest levels of the Saudi government developing myriad contacts while often operating behind the scenes, attributes that will enhance the effectiveness of Saudi Arabian intelligence.

Nuclear Weapons: Earth’s Greatest Environmental Threat

Japan held a solemn ceremony Monday to mark the 67th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. About 50,000 people gathered in Hiroshima’s peace park near the center of the American bomb blast that destroyed much of the city and killed about 140,000 people.

Obama Fast-Tracks Renewables on Military Bases, Public Lands

The Obama Administration is moving quickly to harness solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near military bases across the United States and on public lands.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a Renewable Energy Partnership Plan on Monday ahead of the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0 held Tuesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Ohio seeks cleaner ways to use state's coal

Shale gas may be making headlines, but Ohio still has significant coal operations.The state yesterday announced an effort to find clean uses for coal and is pledging $30 million over the next two years to support that effort.

Oil complex settles higher on equity gains, stimulus comments

The petroleum complex settled higher across the board Tuesday as equities surged and expectations for further monetary stimulus were raised by comments made by the head of the Boston Federal Reserve.

NYMEX September crude settled $1.47 higher at $93.67/barrel. ICE September Brent crude settled $2.45 higher at $112.00/b, but not before rallying $3 to $112.55/b around 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT).

Opec Leaves 2012 World Oil Demand Forecast Unchanged at 88.72 Million B/D

OPEC said Thursday it was leaving its estimate of world oil demand for 2012 unchanged at 88.72 million b/d as consumption follows its usual seasonal pattern across the globe.

In its latest monthly oil market report, OPEC said world oil demand has overcome an "earlier notion" of declining momentum and moved to a more stable trend.

Philippines rushes aid as more rains pound Manila

Heavy rains pounded the Philippines capital on Wednesday, prompting a new danger alert as emergency workers rushed food, water and clothes to almost one million people through streets turned into rivers after 11 straight days of monsoon downpour.

Pimco’s El-Erian: ‘Best Fed Can Do is Postpone Storm’

“The best the Fed can do is to postpone the storm a little,” he told CNN Money. "It doesn’t have the tools to promote growth and to deal with our structural issues.”

The central bank is hesitant to move quickly – it refrained from additional easing at its meeting last week – partly because it’s worried about what’s happening overseas, particularly in Europe, El-Erian said.
And, “every time the Fed does something it creates problems somewhere else,” he said.

Politicians struggle to put brakes on genetically altered fish

A U.S. Senate bill, which would have prohibited the sale of genetically engineered salmon unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could find the fish would cause no significant environmental harm, was withdrawn from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee late last week.

It's just one of many such bills proposed in the last two years that haven't gotten any traction.

Proposed Rule Changes Could Increase Volatility of Capital Ratios for U.S. Banks

Proposed capital rule changes implementing the Basel III accord will increase the volatility of regulatory capital ratios for U.S. banks, especially during periods of market stress, according to Fitch Ratings. Fitch believes U.S. banks will have to hold additional capital to manage volatility associated with unrealized gains and losses from their available for sale (AFS) portfolio.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low. produced the largest flare of the period, a C8 x-ray flare, at 09/1147Z.  Further analysis will be conducted to determine the geoeffectiveness of any CMEs associated with this flare as more data becomes available.  The geomagnetic field is expected to remain quiet on day one (10 Aug).  Days two and three (Aug 11-12) are expected to be quiet to unsettled due to the effects of the interaction between the two filaments that lifted off the solar disk on 07 and 08 Aug and the corotating interaction region ahead of a coronal hole high speed stream.

Retinal chip implant undergoes clinical trials

The device is a light-sensitive, externally powered microchip. This is surgically implanted beneath the transparent top membrane of the retina and into the macular region. This is the area of the eye where clear images are formed in normal-sighted individuals and where the implant is best protected against working loose.

Reverse Pres. Obama's Amnesty & Work Permits; Arizona needs those jobs

With more Americans unemployed at any time since the Great Depression, President Obama is making it easier for illegal aliens to take American jobs. That's right: With 20 million Americans having trouble finding work, President Obama's bypassed Congress to unilaterally give amnesty and work permits to 2-3 million illegal aliens currently in the United States. It means more job competition and wage depression for working class and fewer jobs for returning veterans and recent graduates.

Rochester's coal-fired power plant to go dark

"This is clearly an economic decision," Jerry Williams, president of the city-owned utility's board, said of the vote to decommission the plant in 2015. "Basically, we can go out on the open market and purchase electricity ... at a lot less cost."

Simple construction system 'offers quake protection'

A new technique for building low-cost houses in earthquake-prone areas has been successfully tested in Peru, and could be rolled out in any developing country with a seismic risk, according to researchers.

The system consists of prefabricated steel bars in the form of trusses, triangular support structures, which are welded to each other to form grids that, in turn, form the walls and ceiling of a house — essentially forming a lightweight steel structural skeleton.

Social Conservatives Demand Prime-Time Slot At GOP Convention

Already stung by the Romney campaign’s reaction to the Chick-fil-A battle, social conservatives are openly voicing doubts that their concerns will receive much more than lip service at the GOP convention.

From tea party leaders to battle-scarred veterans of the culture wars, conservatives are warning that the morale of the GOP base will suffer if social issues are shoved to the side of the stage in Tampa.

Spray-on skin speeds healing of venous leg ulcers

According the UK’s National Health Service, one person in 50 over the age of 80 will develop venous leg ulcers. The ulcers occur when high blood pressure in the veins of the legs causes damage to the adjacent skin, ultimately resulting in the breakdown of that tissue. While the ulcers can be quite resistant to treatment, a team of scientists is now reporting success in using a sort of “spray-on skin” to heal them.

Study links heat waves to warming of planet

The percentage of the earth's land surface covered by extreme heat in summer has soared in recent decades, from less than 1 percent in the years before 1980 to as much as 13 percent in recent years, according to a new scientific paper.

The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events such as the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by human release of greenhouse gases.

Superfast laser delivers record-breaking peak power of one petawatt

Not even a month since researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) announced a 500 trillion watt laser shot, researchers at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) have managed to deliver a record-breaking petawatt, that is, a quadrillion watts, in a pulse just 40 femtoseconds long at a rate of one pulse every second. To put that in perspective, a petawatt is more than the combined output of all electric power plants in the world at any given time and one femtosecond is a quadrillionth of a second.

Tulsa wind tower factory to close in November

Employees for a manufacturer of towers for wind turbines in Tulsa face an uncertain future after its parent company announced plans to sell the factory and another in North Dakota.

US affirms support for UN climate goal after criticism

The United States reaffirmed support for a UN goal of limiting global warming after criticism from the European Union and small island states that Washington seemed to be backing away.

"The US continues to support this goal. We have not changed our policy," US climate envoy Todd Stern said in a statement on Wednesday.

U.S. begins cleaning dioxin in Vietnam

“It’s better late than never that the U.S. government is cleaning up the environment for our children,” Duoc said in Danang, surrounded by family members sitting on plastic stools. “They have to do as much as possible and as quickly as possible.”

US utility output falls 3% year-on-year in week ended August 4: EEI

US utilities generated 94,049 GWh in the week ended August 4, down 3% from 96,929 GWh generated in the corresponding week of 2011, the Edison Electric Institute said Wednesday.

The weekly total was 214 GWh below the 94,263 GWh total posted in the week ended July 28, EEI said.

Utility resists solar effort

A Hudson Valley utility company is being asked not to turn out the lights on a growing program that allows customers who own rooftop solar or wind renewable energy systems to get paid by selling back their excess power.

Washington Co-op Capitalizes on Low Solar Costs

For years the high cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, meant that only wealthy Americans could afford them. But that cost has been falling steadily, and panel installations in the U.S. jumped 31 percent in 2011, many of them on middle-income households.

Water Shortages Lead To Rising Demand For Desalination

Once considered too expensive to use on a large scale, the costs of desalinated water have declined. This is due to technological advances, improvements in energy efficiency and an increase in the lifetime of desalination plants. NRG Expert, the energy market research company shares their findings from their latest Global Desalination Report which has just been released.

Will China Exploit an Independent Greenland?

Chinese companies continue to scour the globe for natural resources, even with the slowdown in economic growth. In Greenland, they may have found everything they need: iron, copper, uranium, and plenty of so-called rare earth elements, essential for manufacturing certain high-tech products. A strong economic partnership with China that included large-scale mineral extraction projects could be a game-changer for Greenland, allowing it to become completely independent from Denmark. But for Europe and North America, it would raise a number of serious concerns.

Winnemem Wintu Tribe Wrestles With Bureaucracy to Perform Sacred Ritual

Following many protests and support from grassroots activists to protect the privacy of their Coming of Age ceremony, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe was allowed to hold its ceremony along the McCloud River in northern California with minimal interference from outsiders.

World over-using underground water reserves for agriculture

The researchers, from McGill University in Montreal and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, combined groundwater usage data from around the globe with computer models of underground water resources to come up with a measure of water usage relative to supply.

That measure shows the groundwater footprint - the area above ground that relies on water from underground sources - is about 3.5 times bigger than the aquifers themselves.


August 7, 2012


7 Climate Change Diseases to Ruin Your Monday

From the known and treatable (Lyme disease) to the unpronounceable and potentially deadly (Cryptococcus gattii), climate change is giving gross diseases a leg up, clearing their way onward to the United States.

After Six Years of Decline, U.S. Home Prices Find Their Footing

After six years of decline, the U.S. housing market is finding its footing as home prices stabilize and begin to recover across the country. Single-family home prices increased in 151 out of 384 metropolitan areas in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago. While average U.S. homes prices declined by 1.9 percent on a year-over-year basis, and are forecast to decline another 1 percent in the next twelve months, Fiserv Case-Shiller projects a 5 percent increase between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014.

Avoid All Refined Sugars, Use Unrefined (Sparingly)

Unfortunately, much of our food supply has refined sugar added to it, so it’s easy to exceed the USDA’s recommendations. You could do it simply by eating a quarter cup of pancake syrup or having a 12-ounce soft drink. Even a fruit-filled yogurt contains nearly the entire daily allotment.

BLM Analysis Reveals Massive Potential Damage From Las Vegas Water Grab

The Bureau of Land Management today released its long-anticipated final environmental impact statement for the pipeline right-of-way for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "groundwater development project." The project envisions unsustainably siphoning more than 37.1 billion gallons of groundwater per year from at least four valleys in central Nevada and pumping it 300 miles to the Las Vegas Valley.

Blumenauer Introduces The Water Protection And Reinvestment Act

Would Provide Desperately Needed Investment in America’s Clean Water Infrastructure

California weighs innovative community solar bill

Rooftop solar power is growing like crazy in California. But there's a big problem: About 44 percent of California residents are renters, not homeowners. That means that nearly half the residents of the state can't purchase solar-generated electricity even if they want to.

Chemo Can Actually Cause Cancer

Cancer-busting chemotherapy can cause damage to healthy cells which triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumor growth and resistance to further treatment, a study said Sunday.

Researchers in the United States made the "completely unexpected" finding while seeking to explain why cancer cells are so resilient inside the human body when they are easy to kill in the lab.

Chevron Faces Midnight Deadline in $19 Billion Ecuador Judgment

U.S. oil giant Chevron has until midnight tonight to pay a US$19.04 billion Ecuador court judgment for polluting Amazon waterways or officially default and face another lawsuit to seize its assets, this time in Ecuador. Such collection lawsuits are pending against Chevron in Canada and Brazil.

Cleantech bubble burst predictions misguided

The global cleantech market has had a rough couple of years with bankruptcies, profit warnings, staff layoffs, financing challenges and a downward trend in cleantech indices. Despite this, Frost & Sullivan believes the long-term outlook for cleantech is positive.

Climate change is here — and worse than we thought

James E. Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

Coast Guard prepares for expanded Arctic role

The Coast Guard is ready for expanded activity in Arctic waters, including petroleum exploration, Commandant Robert Papp told a U.S. Senate subcommittee Monday, even though the nearest agency base is more than 750 miles southwest of the Bering Strait on Kodiak Island.

Documents tell of wind farm plan's demise

When the New York Power Authority deflated plans last fall for the Great Lakes' first offshore wind farm, it justified pulling the plug by highballing the price tag.

But confidential NYPA documents obtained by the Times Union reveal that figure -- $100 million annually for 20 years -- to be double what the authority privately expected it would cost.

But if it wasn't about the money, why did the project, initially touted as a pioneering bid to harvest steady lake winds for electrical power, get shut down?

Enbridge says pipeline system safe despite U.S. concerns

Enbridge Inc, whose pipelines ship the bulk of Canada's oil exports to the United States, defended the record of its system on Friday after a U.S. regulator said it had concerns about the safety of the operation following a series of spills.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has refused to allow Enbridge to reopen its 318,000 barrel per day Line 14 after a rupture spilled 1,200 barrels of oil into a Wisconsin field a week ago.

Food And Water, Nope. Vaccines, Yep.

As one of the world's most well-known and respected voices, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a unique opportunity to call attention to important social issues and make a huge impact worldwide.

Unfortunately Gates, through his foundation, has been partnering with not only biotech giant Monsanto to hoist genetically modified seeds on third-world countries, but also with Big Pharma, to whom he pledged $10 billion to provide vaccinations to children around the world.

Global Fuel Cell Industry to Surpass $15 Billion by 2017

For the fuel cell industry, 2011 was a decidedly mixed year. On the positive side, total shipments broke the 20,000 barrier for the first time, thanks to a 2009-2011 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83 percent. This aggregate figure, however, hides the fact that the fuel cell industry has continued to exhibit a growth/contraction pattern.

Global public sentiment still "vehemently anti-nuclear"

Improvements in reactor technology affecting both efficiency and safety, which are said to be making nuclear power generation safer than ever, are doing nothing to assuage public fears over nuclear energy. Research from GlobalData shows that nuclear is still a highly controversial source of power and public suspicions show no signs of stopping.

Greenland ice said more resistant to climate change than feared

The discovery of fluctuations casts doubt on projections that Greenland could be headed for an unstoppable meltdown, triggered by manmade global warming. Greenland contains enough ice to raise sea levels by 7 meters (23 ft) if it all thawed.

Gun ruling may become a model for the nation

In a decision that may become a model for the nation, a federal judge here ruled that gun restrictions imposed by the Wilmington Housing Authority on its residents are constitutional.

The housing authority's policy of prohibiting residents from openly carrying firearms in "common areas" of public housing buildings is reasonable and does not unduly restrict residents' Second Amendment right to own and possess a gun, U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark wrote in a 42-page opinion.

Hiroshima marks 67th anniversary of A-bomb attack

Japan marked the 67th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack with a ceremony Monday that was attended by a grandson of Harry Truman, the U.S. president who ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Insight: A year on, Nigeria's oil still poisons Ogoniland

A bright yellow sign above the well in this sleepy Nigerian village says 'caution: not fit for use', and the sulphurous stink off the water that children still pump into buckets sharply reinforces that warning.

Is It Hot Enough for Ya?

CLIMATE change is hardly a seasonal issue, but summer is the only time of year when Americans and the news media regularly fix their attention on the everyday heat emergency that’s already altering life on our planet. Indeed, this summer’s record-shattering weather across the United States has created a heightened level of interest in and concern about the consequences of climate change.

JPMorgan Chase denies manipulating California's electricity market

Energy trader JPMorgan Chase & Co. denies charges that it manipulated California's electricity market for extra profit. The Wall Street giant calls itself the victim of strong-arm tactics by state officials -- and is demanding that they return millions taken from the firm while the electricity investigation is still pending.

Kamakura Troubled Company Index Increased 0.13% to 8.26% in July

Kamakura Corporation reported Monday that the Kamakura index of troubled public companies increased 0.13% to 8.26% in July. The index reflects the percentage of the Kamakura coverage universe that has a default probability over 1%.  While the index was higher on July 31 than it was on June 30, the overall story for July points towards a more nuanced interpretation of the credit conditions during the month.

Metals and the Beginnings of Life

Long ago life began on Earth. One of the most intriguing questions is what caused it to start just then. A little less than 2 billion years ago, metals including copper, molybdenum and zinc became available to primitive cells, at the same time that the cells began to become much more complex. Some scientists indicate that they have identified the event that introduced these metals, which made it possible for those primitive cells to develop, evolve, and spread.

Ocean acidification could disrupt marine food chains

"The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons, and the trend is widespread across marine species," the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said in a statement of the findings.

On Clean Energy, the Military’s Biggest Fight is with Congress

All these activities are part of the U.S. military’s major push into clean energy, a trend presented in this space earlier this year by Environmental Entrepreneurs co-founder Nicole Lederer. In a very bumpy year for the clean-tech industry, the Pentagon’s development of clean energy continues to be one of the brightest lights. It is creating markets and jobs, and seeding next-gen technology developments. At the same time, organizations like Veterans Green Jobs and Airstreams Renewables are promoting training and hiring of military veterans in the clean-tech sector.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low to moderate. several C-class flares.  CMEs do not appear to be Earth-directed.  slight chance for an isolated M-class flare.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be at mostly quiet levels on day one (07 Aug), then increase to quiet to unsettled levels on day two (08 Aug) due to a glancing blow from the 04 Aug CME.  Day three (09 Aug) should see a return to mostly quiet levels with isolated unsettled periods as the effects of the CME begin to wane.

Research Supports Home Use Of Recycled Gray Water

Home gray water purification systems are efficient, safe, environmentally friendly, and money-saving, according to Israeli researchers studying the matter.

‘‘Gray water can be treated relatively simply and maintain ‘very high’ to ‘excellent’ water quality as defined by the Ministry of Health,’’ researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Technion Institute of Technology said in an as-yet-unpublished report on the first 18 months of an ongoing study.

Scientists seek next wave in power generation

Aerospace engineers are working to make ocean wave energy the nation's newest source of green power by applying the physics of wind turbines to the sea.

Former U.S. Air Force Academy scientists took over Texas A&M University's wave tank recently to test the idea that if air can produce affordable electricity, so can ocean water.

Social Security not deal it once was for workers

People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It's a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Solar superstorm could knock out US power grid - experts

US weather has been lousy this year, with droughts, heat and killer storms. But a solar superstorm could be far worse.

A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid, according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Even a few hundred destroyed transformers could disable the entire interconnected system.

"Super volcano", global danger, lurks near Pompeii

Across the bay of Naples from Pompeii, where thousands were incinerated by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, lies a hidden "super volcano" that could kill millions in a catastrophe many times worse, scientists say.

Syrian Implosion:  20,000 dead; now Assad Regime Prime Minister Defects to Jordan, as do 3 cabinet members

the painful truth is that Syria is imploding. The bloodthirsty regime of Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering its own people, and steadily losing control of the country. The latest reports indicate that more than 20,000 Syrians have been murdered. Top Syrian officials are defecting. The rebels are steadily winning control of more and more of the country. Iran is sending forces to fight on behalf of the Assad regime against the rebels. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly sending naval warships and Russian marines to Syria as a show of support for Assad,...

The Employment Report is Weaker Than It Appears

The US employment numbers generated a sharp rally in risk assets, with crude oil rising 3.5%, S&P500 up 1.8%, copper up 1.6%, and Brazilian Real up 90bp. It's worth taking a quick look at what in this employment report is causing such euphoria and whether it is justified.

The Real Poll Numbers

The media is trying to create a sense of momentum and of inevitability about the Obama candidacy. One benighted Newsweek reporter even speculated about a possible Democratic landslide.

Touchdown! Curiosity lands safely on Mars

NASA's Mars lander Curiosity has landed safely on Mars. After a 253-day voyage punctuated by a dramatic plunge through the Martian atmosphere, the nuclear-powered rover has reported to mission control that it is on the ground and systems are nominal.

Tribal Leaders Seek Clear Path in Little Colorado River Water Rights

Since the Navajos voted down the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement last month, presumably stopping its progress, leaders from both tribes have been lamenting the loss of a clear path to clean drinking water that the settlement had promised.

US CO2 emissions fall to lowest first-quarter level in 20 years: EIA

Energy-related carbon emissions fell 8 percent from the same period a year ago to 1.134 billion metric tons (1.25 billion tons), according to the latest monthly energy review by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) - the energy department's statistics arm.

US says it is 'concerned' about escalating South China Sea tension

The US State Department Friday said it is "concerned" about increasing tensions in the South China Sea, including "disagreements over resource exploitation."

White Buffalo Calf Named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy Amid Fire, Water and Thunder

A week after a crowd of more than 1,000 people from all over the country flocked to a ranch in northwestern Connecticut to witness a naming ceremony for a sacred white buffalo, the baby calf named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy and his mom were peacefully grazing in the back pasture.

Wind power tax credit clears Senate panel

A bipartisan majority of the important Senate Finance Committee gave Vestas and other U.S. wind-power manufacturers a long-awaited boost Thursday by approving legislation to extend a federal wind power tax credit through 2013.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution innovates to help track Arctic Ice

As the Arctic sea ice continues to melt, an initiative led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is trying to predict out future changes to the Arctic and how this will affect the environment.

Yucca Mountain Ruling will have to Wait, Court Considers Budget Issues

A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has decided to wait a few months before deciding whether to order the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart license review of the Department of Energy (DOE) application to develop a nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.


August 3, 2012


12 Innovations to Combat Drought, Improve Food Security, and Stabilize Food Prices

Soaring temperatures and low precipitation could not occur at a worse time for many farmers in the United States. Intensifying drought conditions are affecting corn and soybean crops throughout the Midwest, raising grain prices as well as concerns about future food prices. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 88 percent of this year's corn crop and 77 percent of the soybean crop are now affected by the most severe drought since 1988. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing drought assistance to 1,584 counties across 32 states and warns of increased food prices in 2013 as a result of corn and soybean yield losses.

Ahmadinejad calls for "annihilation" of Israel;  Netanyahu warns U.S. timeis running out to stop Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta yesterday that time is running out for the international community to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat. Yes, economic sanctions are seriously harming Iran's economy, but Netanyahu is making clear that he doesn't see the sanctions actually having any effect on changing Tehran's feverish bid to build nuclear weapons.

America's 'Most Polluted' Lake Finally Comes Clean

Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., has often been called the most polluted lake in America. It was hammered by a one-two punch: raw and partially treated sewage from the city and its suburbs, and a century's worth of industrial dumping. But now the final stage in a $1 billion cleanup is about to begin.

Antarctica's tropical past is revealed

Antarctica was once home to a diverse range of tropical plants including ferns, palms and rainforest trees, say scientists.

They have uncovered the first direct evidence of a much warmer, greener continent in the Southern Ocean. They publish their findings today in Nature.

APS to Provide Solar Awareness and Education for Students

As part of the APS Solar for Schools Program, students at more than 30 K-12 Arizona schools will come back from summer break to find their classrooms powered by solar energy. In addition - and perhaps more importantly - the students will have the opportunity to learn about solar power thanks to educational kiosk displays provided by APS and project partner AlsoEnergy, an industry-leading provider of energy monitoring systems.

Arizona's Snowflake recycled paper mill closing at the end of September

Catalyst Paper Corp. is permanently closing the Snowflake recycled paper mill in northeastern Arizona at the end of September.

Breakthrough allows inexpensive solar cells to be fabricated of any semiconductor

Despite their ability to generate clean, green electricity, solar panels aren't as commonplace as the could be. The main sticking point, of course, is price. Due to their need for relatively expensive semiconductor materials, conventional solar cells don't yet have a price-efficiency combination that can compete with other sources of electricity. Now Profs. Alex Zettl and Feng Wang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed seriously unconventional solar cell technology that allows virtually any semiconductor material to be used to create photovoltaic cells.

China announces plans for 2013 Moon landing

The Chinese news agency Xinhua announced on July 31, 2012, that China will be sending its first unmanned lander to the Moon in the second half of 2013.

China opposes Iran-based US sanctions on CNPC's Bank of Kunlun

China has announced its opposition to US sanctions imposed on the Bank of Kunlun, owned by China National Petroleum Corp, for doing business with Iranian banks.

China's Index of Leading Indicators Points to Further Economic Erosion

A couple of months ago some analysts from Credit Suisse took a trip across Asia to conduct a survey of China's steel industry. They later wrote in their report that the sector is in worse shape than it was in 2008. We got a number of e-mails suggesting that this report surely must be erroneous. It turns out that it wasn't.

Climate change threatens California power supply: report

California's electricity sector is more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought, as higher temperatures will impede the state's ability to generate and transmit power while demand for air conditioning rises, a report said Tuesday.

Coal leaders happy but cautious over EPA ruling

West Virginia scored no small victory Tuesday in the "war against coal" with the Environmental Protection Agency, but industry leaders were cautious that a ruling that the Obama administration exceeded its powers in water quality criteria might be ignored.

Community Development Finance Institutes: Providing Clean Energy Capital

Oftentimes, larger institutions do not finance small renewable energy and energy efficiency projects due to their lack of scale and higher risk profile. But, this is exactly the niche community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are filling by making it possible for small developers, businesses, and underserved homeowners to finance clean energy projects.

Congress approves new sanctions on Iran

Congress voted Wednesday to slap sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping and financial industries, convinced that increasing the economic pressure on Tehran will derail its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Cybersecurity Act fails to pass in the Senate

Despite warnings from intelligence officials that the U.S. is ill-prepared to stop a growing wave of cyber attacks against its critical national infrastructure, the Senate on Thursday failed to pass a watered-down bill that would have set voluntary standards to harden the network defenses of electric utilities, chemical plants and other privately-owned facilities.

Dead Zone Down: Thank You Drought For Something!

This year, the "dead-zone," a patch of oxygen-starved water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, is the fourth smallest ever recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The dead-zone is still larger than Delaware at 2,889 square miles (7482 square km).

Drought bill offers livestock farmers up to $100,000 each

Livestock producers hit by the worst drought in half a century could get up to $100,000 each to offset high feed costs and death of animals under a bill expected to pass the House of Representatives as early as Thursday.

Duke Energy's Focus: Nuclear and Coal Gasification

Deciding upon the future of an idle nuclear unit in Florida, completing a $3bn-plus coal gasification power plant in Indiana and building new natural gas plants in North and South Carolina lead the generation priorities for Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) now that it has completed its merger with Progress Energy.

Ebola Outbreak in Uganda Kills 14

ganda's Ministry of Health is advising residents to avoid eating dead animals especially monkeys, after declaring an outbreak of the highly infectious Ebola virus that has killed 14 people.

El-Erian: World in ‘Serious, Synchronized Slowdown’

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian called recent declines in purchasing manager indexes in Europe and Asia “frightening” and said the world economy is suffering its severest slowdown since the global recession ended in 2009.

Email shows ex-Solyndra CEO thanked 'Bank of Washington,' as new report rips loan process

A congressional report concluded Friday that "political pressure" by a White House eager to tout stimulus spending was largely to blame for fast-tracking the ill-fated $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee -- findings compounded by the release of an email that showed the former CEO once referred to the aid as "The Bank of Washington."  

EPA can't regulate livestock farms it can't find

The report to Congress was blunt: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to regulate pollution from the nation's livestock farms , many capable of generating more waste than some cities , because it lacked information as basic as how many farms even existed.

Escape plan lacks nuclear scenario

The newest version of an emergency plan for Cape motorists to escape a hurricane does little to reassure activists concerned about the lack of a local plan if there were an accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

"We're a population at risk but we've been basically ignored," Diane Turco, a Harwich resident and Pilgrim opponent, said Monday.

Experts: U.S. risk of demand-linked blackout low

Energy experts say it's unlikely the nation's power grid could experience an outage such as one in India on Monday that disrupted life for 370 million people, largely because American operators in a competitive marketplace keep aging infrastructure in better shape.

Federal wind energy credit could expire

Windkits CEO Eric Schwartz has been watching the political maneuvering over extending a 20-year-old tax credit for wind energy producers, and he doesn't like what he's seeing.

Fed to Signal More Easing but Stop Short of Big Steps

The Federal Reserve is likely to show on Wednesday that it is ready to act against a weakening U.S. economy but stop short of aggressive measures for now.

Geithner: Europe Must Act More Forcefully to Stem Crisis

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday that Europe needs be more forceful and creative in fighting its debt crisis to keep it from blighting the region's economy.

Green Mountain Power files for first rate decrease in 24 years

The benefits of the recently approved merger between Green Mountain Power (GMP) and Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) are already apparent. As a result of the merger, Green Mountain Power has filed for its first rate decrease in decades.

Hawaii Drives Past Solar Power Cost Barrier, Surprised by Additional Roadblocks

Solar has crossed a major threshold in Hawaii.  The state’s homes and businesses can cut their electric bills with unsubsidized solar power, but are also discovering that cheap solar is not a panacea.  As the tide of solar costs has receded, a number of unexpected barriers have emerged.

Health Problems Uncovered By New Research Into Wastewater Reuse

Study will show the possible consequences when some drug compounds seep into the soil

The reuse of treated wastewater can be a valuable resource in arid regions around the world, with water being reclaimed for irrigation, surface release, and groundwater recharge.  But some contaminants in the water are being identified as health problems -- especially pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs).  New research reveals better understanding of the conditions in which PhACs accumulate and degrade over time, could negate the risk of these potentially harmful compounds.

Hopi Elders Speak Out on Senate Bill 2109

“For the first time in history the Traditional Hopi Elders from the Village to Shungopavi (the Mother Village) are stepping forward to speak to the public,” says the text accompanying the video. “They have a warning for the world. They say they have been told this time would come when the water would be taken from them. If this happens it will have an effect on the whole world as they are the microcosm of the world, of the universe.”

House Votes to Extend Tax Cuts for All Through 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend tax cuts through 2013 for all income levels, defying a veto threat from President Barack Obama.

The 256-171 vote, mostly along party lines, continues a stalemate on tax policy that lawmakers say will last beyond the Nov. 6 election. Nineteen Democrats voted for the Republican bill, and one Republican was opposed. The measure won’t advance in the Democratic-led Senate.

How Did Americans Become Poor?

Actually, Americans are worse than "poor" – Americans are staggeringly indebted, in debt beyond anything that can ever be repaid (other than with worthless, hyperinflated dollars) and thus with a negative per-capita real net worth. Yet we are still borrowing trillions of dollars every year; by itself, the projected federal deficit for next year is over $1 trillion, for the fifth year in a row (Bush's last year and all four of Obama's). And the federal government's off-the-books debt (mostly, unfunded liabilities for Medicare and other programs) is $60 trillion to $202 trillion, depending on how you count and whose numbers you believe.

Hydrogen fuel station is a model for others

An innovative hydrogen production and vehicle fueling station jointly developed by the military and the state of Hawaii over the past six years is ready for prime time.

Immigrants Are Big Business for Private Prisons

The country's largest prison companies are generating huge profits as the U.S. locks up more undocumented immigrants than ever, and an Associated Press review shows the businesses are spending tens of millions on lobbying and political campaigns.  

India, China And Brazil Kill Effort To Eliminate Super Greenhouse Gases

For the fourth year in a row, Brazil, China and India have prevented formal talks at the Montreal Protocol on proposals to end global production and use of the most powerful known greenhouse gases (GHGs).   

India's Blackout is Enlightening

When India went black, the lights may have actually come on. No, nearly 640 million people were still without power for several hours. But the powers-that-be there defined for their own people and the rest of the world what the central problems are that led to such a massive power outage.

Iran to launch first solar chimney power plant

The first power plant based on solar chimney technology is going to be launched in the northwest Iranian province of Zanjan, IRNA news agency reported on 31 July.

Kofi Annan quits peace mission; more Syrian bloodshed ahead

The resignation Thursday of veteran diplomat Kofi Annan and the collapse of diplomatic efforts on Syria by the United Nations and the Arab League all but assure a bloody finish to the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Krugman: It’s Doubtful Euro Can Be Saved, But It Must Be

It’s doubtful that the euro can be saved, no matter what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says, writes Paul Krugman in his column in The New York Times.

Losing Our Country:  One Freedom At A Time

For businesses today, outsourcing is the name of the game. Everyone is looking for a way to save a dollar, and in today's economic climate, who can really blame them? Uncertainty over the implementation of Obamacare, the faltering economy, onerous taxes and regulations, and politicians who would have better served the country had they been accountants instead of lawyers, all combine together for a recipe of disaster.

Economic stagnation is a reality. The people suffering from that economic stagnation are also a reality. And when people suffer, they will do anything to alleviate the pain.


Majority of Californians say they know nothing about emissions cap-and-trade program

California's landmark global-warming bill was a white-hot topic in the 2010 governor's race and remains former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature environmental achievement.

But as the state prepares to unroll the law's cap-and-trade program in November with the first state auctions of emissions permits, a new poll finds that 57 percent of Californians say they have never heard anything about the program.

Martial law shakes hands with the US vaccine program

This "Blue Angel" project, as it's called, suddenly puts the Pentagon in the forefront of the vaccine business. The big question is: why is the Army involved in vaccines at all? And the answer is no surprise. According to DARPA, it's all about readiness in containing bio-threats. Translated, that means terrorist attacks that could use flu viruses.

Methane Measurements At Low Level Flight: Detection Of The Greenhouse Gas Methane In The Arctic

A team of scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences has just completed an airborne measurement campaign that allowed for the first time to measure large-scale methane emissions from the extensive Arctic permafrost landscapes. The study area extended from Barrow, the northernmost settlement on the American mainland, across the entire North Slope of Alaska, to the Mackenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Needing a better thesaurus for energy reporters

 I consider myself an environmentalist. 

I don't have a family or a job or hobby requiring a big vehicle, so I drive a Honda Civic, and the back is always filled with assorted re-usable bags to tote around groceries. I recycle and try to remind my husband, also an energy journalist, to put the beer bottles in the recycling bin and not the trash.

Obama will 'evaluate' bill to ban online munition sales

uring the daily press briefing, Mr. Earnest was asked whether Mr. Obama supports the measure, which aims to end sales of unlimited amounts of ammunition on the Internet and other mail orders. The bill also would force ammunition dealers to report large sales of bullets and other munitions to law enforcement authorities

Off-grid power shines in India solar village

Life in the remote Indian village of Meerwada used to grind to a standstill as darkness descended. Workers downed tools, kids strained to see their schoolbooks under the faint glow of aged kerosene lamps and adults struggled to carry out the most basic of household chores.

Oil in 2013: aberration or paradigm shift?

Short-term forecasts for the oil market over the next 18 months portray a starkly different picture to the long-term outlook.

While some aspects of this variance may be temporary aberrations from trend, others can be put in the context of longer-term developments based on policy direction and technological innovation.

Palin: GOP Establishment Embraces 'Status Quo'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she strongly supports Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential nominee, but suggested the GOP establishment is out of step with what voters are looking for in their elected officials these days.
Referring to Ted Cruz’s surprising upset win in the Texas GOP Senate primary this week over favored Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Palin said it proves that voters are tired of the “establishment embracement of the status quo.”

Pedal-powered washer could make a big difference in developing nations

In the developed world, we forget that there was once a time when washday meant “day” rather than “toss it in the machine and come back in 20 minutes.” In many parts of the world without access to electricity and clean water, that time is still now.

Poll: Latino Voters Favor Clean Energy Economy

An overwhelming majority of Latino voters who responded to a new public opinion poll support clean energy, are very concerned about the public health effects of fossil fuel production and use, believe that global climate change is happening, and want to protect the nation's public lands.

Power farm welcomes hot sun

While the extended periods of sunshine this summer have been a bane for northwest Ohio corn farmers mired in drought, they've been a boon for Public Service Enterprise Group's Wyandot Solar Farm near Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County, which has been able to produce more energy than expected.

Radiation From Fukushima Found In Food Supply

In an article published by Natural News about a month ago, they noted that there have been trace elements of the nuclear fallout from Fukushima found in the US food supply. Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 have been found in the seafood chain.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low.  Regions produced C-class flares.  A coronal mass ejection was associated with the behind-limb event, but is not expected to be geoeffective. Solar wind showed a slight increase to 496 km/s at 02/1938Z and has since subsided.  Geomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet to unsettled on day 1 (03 August) followed by
mostly quiet levels on days 2 and 3 (04-05 August).

Restoring Heritage Cuisines and Indigenous Agroecosystems to Address Obesity, Malnutrition and Trauma

One of the consequences of the conquest and settlement of North and South America by Europeans was the displacement and destruction of native biological and cultural diversity. The environmental historian Alfred Crosby has called the European invasion of the Americas [sic] a biological conquest and a form of “ecological imperialism.”

'Rusting' battery could be energy aid

U.S. researchers say they've developed an inexpensive rechargeable battery that works by the oxidation of iron plates -- more familiarly known as rusting.

The air-breathing battery uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates exposed to the oxygen in the air, scientists at the University of Southern California reported Wednesday.

"Iron is cheap and air is free," ...

Scientist: Fasting Promotes Longevity

A leading British scientist claims that the secret to a longer life isn't exercise and fad dieting, but eating a diet that is as low as 600 calories a day.

Seaweed microbe could be next weapon in fight against tooth decay

Researchers at the UK's Newcastle University have discovered an enzyme from a microbe on the surface of seaweed is effective at fighting plaque-forming bacteria

Senate bill sets up permitting requirements for coal ash sites

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would set up a state permitting program for coal ash and ensure coal ash storage sites have requirements for groundwater monitoring and protective lining.

Senate Finance Committee approves PTC extension through 2013

The Senate Finance Committee has given the go-ahead for a one-year reprieve for the soon-to-expire Production Tax Credit (PTC). The one-year extension (through 2013) must now go to the full Senate. If passed, the bill will go to the House.

Solar Energy Blazes New Path

Solar energy projects will be blazing through the regulatory process now that the Obama administration has put the finishing touches on a plan to fast track those deals on public lands. As such, 17 sites in six southwestern states may become home to new green energy plants.

Solar Philanthropy: Five Groups Using Solar to End Energy Poverty

Approximately 1.3 billion people live without regular access to energy. People are forced to use fuels that pollute and cause respiratory illnesses, like kerosene and biomass, and spend long hours time collecting fuel. It is a global crisis that is harming the health and well-being of people in the developing world, in addition to harming the planet.

"The Political Debate That is Costing Lives..."

The way to stop a murderous attacker is with strategic and accurate lethal force.  In the time it takes for police and SWAT to arrive to the scene of a mass shooting, “duck and cover” will only have made the murderer’s mission easier.

THE US DROUGHT AND ITS IMPACT: Water-intensive fracking spared ... for now

As the great drought of 2012 continues its turf-cracking domination of the summer, fears of the impact on the US power sector are proving empty through the first week of August.

And in another energy-related area where water is a huge issue -- the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploring for natural gas -- the impact has also been minimal so far. But fears are being expressed about what the future might bring should the drought drag on.

Trackers Lead Solar Into Harshest of Environments

There are two particularly egregious arguments against solar power: it does not work in certain areas because of weather and it costs too much. But as we saw at Intersolar in San Francisco earlier this month, the industry's continuous innovation is helping to blow these false perceptions out of the water.

Twist is Fed's Most Effective Policy Tool Right Now

The most probable outcome of the FOMC meeting currently under way is the continuation of "Operation Twist" and possibly the extension of the current “exceptionally low… through late 2014” rate guidance to "mid 2015."

Unborn Babies Exposed to Technology’s Magnetic Fields Face Increased Risk of Childhood Obesity

Prenatal exposure to high magnetic field levels—widely present in today’s high tech world—could raise the risk of a unborn baby becoming overweight or obese in childhood, according to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California.

U.S. 30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Moves Up, Averages 3.55 Percent

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgages rates breaking their streak of record-breaking lows and moving higher on mixed Eurozone and domestic economic data. Before this week, the average rate on the 30-year fixed had fallen to or matched record-low levels in 13 of the past 14 weeks.

US expanding arms sales to counter Iran

While Iran's military trumpets every new project or purported advance in hopes of rattling the U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies, the U.S. is quietly answering with an array of proposed arms sales across the region as part of a wider effort to counter Tehran.

U.S. Federal Reserve Makes No Change to Policy and Pledges to Provide "Additional Accommodation as Needed"

The Fed, as expected, maintained the fed funds target rate in the 0.00% to 0.25% range. There were no changes made to policy with the extended Operation Twist program maintained and the policy of reinvesting the proceeds of maturing debt intact. The main differences in the statement were the acknowledgement that the pace of economic growth "decelerated somewhat over the first half of the year" and a heightened tone to the degree of risk to the outlook being generated by global events.

US House Republicans seize on EIA data to slam licensing policies

US House of Representatives Republicans on Thursday used new federal data showing a spike in US proved oil and natural gas reserves to highlight the difference between production on federal and non-federal lands.

"There is a tale of two energy policies to be told in this country," Representative Fred Upton, Republican-Michigan, said at an Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing.

U.S. Manufacturing May Be Softening; Factory Orders Fell in June

New orders for factory goods unexpectedly fell in the United States in June, a fresh sign that the slowdown in the country’s manufacturing sector will probably stretch into the second half of the year.

U.S. Treasury Plans Floating-Rate Notes in Year or More

The U.S. Treasury Department said today it is developing a floating-rate note program that could be operational in a year or more, while it is preparing for possible negative-rate bidding.

Utilities say smart meter concerns are overblown; they'll let consumers opt out... for a fee

The short intervals between charging your electric car alert the insurance company that you might be a speeder. That 2 a.m. batch of microwave popcorn outs you to pharmaceutical companies looking to peddle their insomnia medications.

Some people fear utilities or anyone with access to their data are using new smart electricity meters to peer into your home and create a usage profile that can be sold.

Vertical wind turbines a better option?

Vertical axis wind turbines have the potential to solve some of the problems of generating energy from offshore breezes, U.S. researchers say.

Wal-Mart Beating Ikea, Apple in U.S. Solar Panel Installations

What's a Serving of Food

How much is enough when it comes to eating? Should you use a big plate or a small plate to measure? One scoop or two? Think you know what one serving of food looks like? You may want to think again, according to a new study from York University. Many people overestimate the size of one serving of food as defined in Canada’s Food Guide, so they may be overeating even if they believe they are being careful,..

Why a Major Food Organization Is Teaming Up With Monsanto and Friends to Block Your Right to Know What's in Your Food

This November, Californians will vote for or against Prop 37 , the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. The outcome of that vote will likely determine whether the U.S. will one day join the nearly 50 other countries that allow their citizens to choose between genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered food through the enactment of laws requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

World Wide Air Pollution in the Future

What is the world wide trend in air pollution? On the surface North America and Europe have been gradually improving. However, that is due to often moving industry to other countries such as China or India where air pollution is a bit more of a problem. Most of the world's population will be subject to degraded air quality by 2050 if human-made emissions continue as usual. In this business-as-usual scenario, the average world citizen 40 years from now will experience similar air pollution to that of today's average East Asian citizen. These conclusions are those of a study published August 1 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). Air pollution is a major health risk that may worsen with increasing industrial activity. At present, urban outdoor air pollution causes 1.3 million estimated deaths per year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.


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for News of 2007 go to:  News_2007

for News of 2006 go to:  News_2006

for News of 2005 go to:  News_2005

for News of 2006 go to:  News_2006

for News of 2005 go to:  News_2005

for News of 2004 go to:  News of 2004

for Events of 2008 go to:  Events of 2008

for Events of 2007 go to:  Events of 2007

for Events of 2006 go to:  Events of 2006

for Events of 2005 go to:  Events of 2005

for Events of 2004 go to:  Events of 2004

for News and Events of 2003 go to  News and Events Archive 2003


Alternative Energy Discount House

Click Title for Link

Find Clean, Sustainable Energy Products

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Alternative Energy Discount House

Find Clean, Sustainable Energy Products

which enhance your independence,

help clean up the environment,



Click Title for Link