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June 30, 2012


[We apologize for this abreviated version.  We have just suffered three days without internet connection.  Thanks for your patience.



Death Tolls for Health Care

Yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court, holding up the individual mandate in ObamaCare, is the death knell for the American health care system as we know it. In a way however, it might be a mixed blessing. First, it's uniting us as we haven't been in a very long time. And second?

It might just force us to really pay attention to our health, to treat our bodies with the respect these bodies deserve, and to do those things that will keep our bodies functioning properly.

Egypt: Morsi Tries on a Mask of Moderation

To ease concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in the Arab World’s most populous country, Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi has backtracked on many of his previous extreme positions and reached out to liberals and to Egypt’s Christians. But at the same time, Morsi is pressing the military to give back some of the power it grabbed for itself over the last few weeks and probably hopes his conciliatory rhetoric will help him succeed. Observers inside and outside of Egypt are now watching to see how much power the Egyptian military will cede to Morsi and whether the Muslim Brotherhood has in fact really changed.

Germany: Merkel Shifts, But Keeps the Upper Hand

European leaders who’ve been pushing a so-called “growth pact” scored an apparent victory on June 22 when the heads of the eurozone’s biggest countries announced injections of fiscal stimulus into the ailing currency union. However, on the more important issues of eurobonds and a banking union, no progress was made as an unyielding German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected additional economic integration in the absence of political integration.

Hedged US airlines not capturing falling fuel prices

US jet fuel costs have fallen by a fifth this quarter. Don't be surprised if you don't see it in your ticket prices yet. US airlines aren't seeing it in their fuel costs yet, either.

There's typically a lag in spot trading price changes for commodities being felt at the pump. But the jet lag--pardon the pun--isn't just distribution. It's also hedging.

Hedgers seek refuge in $70 put as crude drops 25% since May 1

Open interest in the NYMEX September $70 crude put option has risen above open interest for the $80 put option, as the underlying futures contract has fallen below $80/barrel, exchange data showed Tuesday.

Iran warns it may halt imports of S Korean goods to protest oil ban

Iran's top envoy in Seoul warned Wednesday his country may halt imports of all South Korean goods to protest South Korea's decision to suspend Iranian crude oil imports over EU sanctions.

Iran "may decide to fully stop importing [South] Korean goods" if Seoul imposes the ban, Ambassador Ahmad Masumifar told Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

It's Our Fault Because We Allowed It

I've not seen in my lifetime any politician who is a heroic figure. The manipulation that all politicians use on one level or another is so transparent. - Dean Koontz

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. - Thomas Jefferson

NOAA: Gulf Of Mexico 'Dead Zone' Predictions Feature Uncertainty

A team of NOAA-supported scientists is predicting that this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone could range from a low of approximately 1,197 square miles to as much as 6,213 square miles. The wide range is the result of using two different forecast models. The forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient inputs compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Oil’s Fall Won’t Last Much Longer

Right now, the price of oil has dipped into the high $70s and Brent crude just dipped below $90 per barrel. But don’t get used to that. It won’t last much longer. Why?

There are a few reasons, actually. One of the main ones is that Saudi Arabia has a breakeven point on oil at $78.30 a barrel. This is how much they need to make per barrel in order to meet their budgets.

Pimco's Gross: US Is ‘Best of the Worst’ Global Investments

Bill Gross, the world's biggest bond fund manager at Pimco, said the United States is the least bad choice in a poor global investment environment, but this could change if Washington doesn't get control of the nation's fiscal situation.

Reduced Demand, Cleaner Supply

On Monday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012), a yearly report detailing expected trends in energy use and consumption for the nation. This year, it’s predominantly good news, as the report predicts US energy consumption should slow—with growth at less than 1% per year from now through 2035—while the country simultaneously moves away from dependence on foreign oil.

Remember... women plan and prepare in ways the men in our lives just don't think about. We aren't strange or weird--we're just wired differently

We all know that women and men are different. And to be honest, I like that. I celebrate our differences. I'm happy to give men the room they need to be masculine, engage in guy things, and be the protectors and providers of their families. That's their job.

As a woman, my job is more of a nurturing one.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

two impulsive M1 flares produced several C-class events.  Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for M-class flares for the next three days (01-03 July).  recurrent coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). Increased solar wind speeds,  Solar activity is expected to
be unsettled to active during the next three days (01-03 July) with
a chance for isolated minor storm periods

Seventy Companies Reach Agreement With EPA To Remove Highly Contaminated Mud From Lyndhurst Section Of The Passaic River

Cleanup work estimated to cost $20 million

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has reached agreement with 70 companies considered potentially responsible for contamination of the lower Passaic River to remove approximately 16,000 cubic yards of highly contaminated sediment from a half-mile long area of the Passaic River in Lyndhurst, New Jersey at their expense. High levels of contaminants, including PCBs, mercury and dioxin, are present in the sediment and can cause health effects. The work is scheduled to begin in spring 2013. 

SoberLook - Eurozone's Banking Union Will Not be Credible; FDIC-Type Fund Seems Out of Reach

There has been a great deal of discussion about the Eurozone's so-called "banking union" that would create pan-Eurozone banking regulation and depositor protection.

Soros: Three Days Left to Save the Euro

Tuesday, 26 Jun 2012

Only three days remain for European policymakers to decide on a way to save the euro and keep the monetary zone intact, says billionaire financier George Soros.

European Union leaders will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss ways to firewall and extinguish the European debt crisis raging within Greece and spreading fast to Spain and beyond.

Study: Runoff, sewage overflow major problem for U.S. beaches

Results from a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council show 2011 was one of the worst years for health-related beach closings in the study's 22-year history.

The number of beach closings and warnings reached the third-highest recorded level, often due to excessive bacteria levels indicating the presence of human or animal waste from stormwater runoff, according to the report.

Supreme Court Rules Individual Mandate a Tax

The consequences go far beyond a simple matter of constitutionality or states’ rights. The ruling has long term effects for insurance companies and policyholders.

In a clear message, the Justices’ decisions show that conservative principles can be reconciled with the Democratic logic of clear benefits to the majority of the population as laid out in the ACA.

Clearly, the big losers of the battle are the strict constitutionalist movement — those who narrowly interpret the constitutional powers granted to the federal government.

Supreme Court upholds Obama's healthcare law

The penalty for lacking insurance is simply a tax, not an unconstitutional mandate, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. says in his majority opinion.

Tennessee issues $2.8 million in scrap tire grants

The state of Tennessee has granted 41 Tennessee communities more than $2.8 million in 2013-14 to help recycle tires and keep them out of landfills.

The New Solid State E-Cat

When first introduced to the world, Andrea Rossi's E-Cat required a flow of water to remain stable, even at low temperatures. Now, he has developed a new "solid state" high temperature model that is stable at temperatures even higher than 600C -- with no cooling needed!

There has never been a better time to start growing your own food!

"Farmers, ranchers and rural residents need affordable and accessible health care. We remain concerned that mandating individuals and businesses to buy insurance will impose an expense that creates economic hardship, particularly for self-employed individuals and small businesses."

U.S. Consumer Confidence Fell in June; House Prices Rose in April

US consumer confidence fell by 2.4 points to 62.0 in June 2012 from a downwardly revised 64.4 reading in May (previously was 64.9). Market expectations were for a reading of 63.0.
The dip in the headline index reflected declines in consumers’ expectations for the next six months while appraisals of current conditions improved modestly.

Who gets your Social Security if you are dead?

Remember, not only did you contribute to Social Security but your employer did too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. If you averaged only $30K over your working life, that's close to $220,500.

Why You CANNOT Ignore the Rest of the World

By now you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about the global market turmoil in the European Union with Greece, Spain and Italy monopolizing the headlines. If it seems like the European debt crisis has been going on forever, that’s because it has.


June 26, 2012


14-year-old Phoenix boy shoots armed intruder

A 14-year-old boy shot and nearly killed an intruder who broke into his Phoenix home and pulled a gun on him while he was watching his three younger siblings, police said Saturday.

$80 Billion in Food Stamps and No Clue How It’s Spent

Even food stamp costs have more than doubled in recent years, the Times said, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it can’t disclose how much each store accepts in benefits, which stores do the most business in food stamps, and what kind of food is bought. The amount of food stamps laundered into cash has increased dramatically, the Times reported. The USDA administers the food stamps program in conjunction with states. The Senate passed a version of the farm bill last week that lowers food stamp spending by $4.5 billion.

Accounting for pollution likely within a decade: group

Corporate and government accounting will likely reflect environmental profit and loss within a decade, thanks partly to progress made this week at a U.N. conference in Rio de Janeiro, backers of the plan told Reuters on Thursday.

Alaska establishes new loan program targeting renewable energy projects

Energy development in Alaska, including renewable energy projects, could be eligible for low-interest financing through a newly created, state-administered loan program.

Algae energy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, global energy usage will increase 53 percent by 2035. IEEE identifies algae as the most promising source of sustainable energy to meet increasing global energy demands.

Algae-based biofuels provide a sustainable alternative for the production of crude oil, jet fuel and aviation gases due to algae's extremely high growth rate.

Analysis: Search for rare earth substitutes gathers pace

The hunt for substitutes for rare earth minerals is gaining momentum as auto makers, lighting companies and clean tech developers seek to reduce their reliance on thin and unreliable supplies of the raw material.

Ariz. Gov Brewer: Ruling a 'Victory' for All Americans

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold part of the state's illegal immigration law is a victory for all Americans.

Despite the court striking down key provisions of the statute Monday, Brewer says the heart of the law can now be enacted.

BIS - It's Time to Break the Vicious Cycles, says BIS in 82nd Annual Report

Those hoping for quick fixes to the strains in the global economy will continue to be disappointed, writes the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in its 82nd Annual Report, released yesterday.

Five years on from the outbreak of the financial crisis, and the global economy is still unbalanced, seemingly becoming more so as interacting weaknesses continue to amplify each other. The goals of balanced growth, balanced economic policies and a safe financial system still elude us.

California city could declare bankruptcy this week

Stockton, Calif., is set to declare bankruptcy as early as this week, according to local officials, a move that would make it one of the largest U.S. cities ever to file for reorganization.  

California energy officials plan for life without San Onofre

California energy officials are beginning to plan for the possibility of a long-range future without the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The plant's unexpected, nearly five-month outage has had officials scrambling to replace its power this summer and has become a wild card in already complicated discussions about the state's energy future.

Climate Change: Waiting for a Catastrophic Wake-Up Call

Disasters are the new midwives of history. But in order to play this role, they need to be catastrophic, like the accidents in Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 that led governments to suspend and even abolish their nuclear energy programs.

CNNMoney Survey: Obama, Congress Earn ‘D’ Grades on Economy

President Barack Obama and Congress both receive average “D” grades for their handling of the economy in a CNNMoney survey of 20 economists.

Obama had a slight edge over Congress, though, with three Bs and one F, while Congress has one B and five F’s, according to the poll.

Coal's Future Linked to CO2 Technology

Cheap natural gas from shale might dominate the business pages these days but much of America’s electricity is still supplied by coal and coal’s future is interlaced with commercial development of technology to use the fuel more cleanly.

Crude could trade in $62 to $200/barrel range by 2035: EIA report

The price of crude oil could dip as low as $62/barrel or spike as high as $200/b by 2035 according to different economic growth scenarios published Monday as part of the Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook.

Data transmission speed of 2.56 Tb/s achieved by twisting beams of light

By using twisted beams of light, researchers have achieved data transmission speeds of up to 2.56 terabits per second

Egypt's new president: U.S.-educated Islamist

The first leader in Egypt's history to win a democratic election is a study in contrasts: a strict Islamist educated in southern California, who vowed to stand for women's rights yet argued for banning them from the presidency.

EIU forecast; Euro Fears Weigh on Global Outlook

The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe's debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.

Electric cars have little advantage over diesel cars: study

Electric cars have hardly any advantage over diesel cars, a study by the Vienna University of Technology showed Friday.

European tire recycling technology comes to Texas

A new tire recycling facility in Harlingen, Texas, is using technology imported from Europe to turn whole tires into biofuel and steel, reportedly with less waste than most American tire recycling plants.

EU says to implement sanctions against Iran on July 1 as planned

The EU's sanctions against Iran -- including a ban on oil imports and a ban on the provision of insurance for tankers shipping Iranian oil -- will come into force as planned on July 1, the EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.

Expert: Kill Gasoline Taxes for Highway Upkeep

Reliance on gasoline taxes to fund U.S. highway repairs and improvements is outdated and should be replaced with a miles-traveled tax, a transportation expert asserts.

Several problems with the gasoline tax have developed in recent years, according to Robert Poole, director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at the Reason Foundation, who has advised the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations.

Factbox: Main points in Rio+20 agreement

Global leaders on Friday wrap up a United Nations development summit with little to show but a lackluster agreement, as critics scorned governments for showing no urgency to tackle climate change as well as food and water scarcity.

Nearly 100 heads of state and government gathered over the past three days in efforts to establish so-called "sustainable development goals," a U.N. drive built around economic growth, the environment, and social inclusion.

Farmworkers plagued by pesticides, red tape

Laboring in the blackberry fields of central Arkansas, the 18-year-old Mexican immigrant suddenly turned ill. Her nose began to bleed, her skin developed a rash, and she vomited.

The doctor told her it was most likely flu or bacterial infection, but farmworker Tania Banda-Rodriguez suspected pesticides. Under federal law, growers must promptly report the chemicals they spray.

Fire Ruins Forests in Kashmir

Wildfires have destroyed an area of forest stretching several kilometers along the Indo-Pakistani border in Kashmir. Crews have failed to extinguish the flames due to lack of appropriate tools and an insufficient number of personnel.

Food or Forests?

Forests are lovely. Food crops are more nourishing. Which is more important? It is no surprise that the United States and China are the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters. What may be surprising is the country that is third: Indonesia. Indonesia is a major culprit not because of its traffic or power plants, but because of its massive deforestation. Deforestation accounts for almost 20 percent of global emissions — more than the world’s entire transportation sector. But saving the trees — as beneficial as it would be to the changing climate — comes at a significant cost as a growing, wealthier population competes for food, says a new MIT study.

Green energy saving environment, money

Home and business owners who have adopted solar power as an alternative energy source have found the devices are not only helping reduce their carbon footprints but creating opportunities for profit.

Mike Eason said there's nothing like going outside and watching his electric meter roll backwards, putting money in his pocket.

"You'll be shocked at how fast it goes on a summer day," Eason said.

Groups Want to Stop Politicizing Green Energy

The groups say the effort is to rebalance the debate about renewable energy toward a fact-based business analysis instead of the politicized rhetoric that dominates discussions currently.
PREF members provided analyses that show how crucial renewable energy is as part of the nation's overall energy mix.

How to Hide Your Guns

A few months back, Forbes put out a list of the most dangerous cities in America. One would expect that with current economic conditions, all forms of major crimes would be escalating, but just the opposite has been true. For the past four years, violent crime has dropped... the murder rate dropped by over 4% in 2010 alone, rape was down by 5%, and robbery dropped by 10%. That doesn't mean that your area is that much safer however.

Human Hormones Are Being Eclipsed By Synthetic Chemicals

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology has raised some disturbing possibilities regarding the dangers of common hormone-mimicking preservatives found in thousands of consumer products on the market today.

Hurdle Cleared for Sale of 15% Ethanol Blends

The Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for the first retailers to sell 15% ethanol blended fuel.

Illegals Caught Entering U.S. From Terror-Linked Nations

The Border Patrol apprehended 315 aliens trying to enter the United States illegally from nations that “promote, produce, or protect terrorists” in fiscal 2011.

From Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011, the Border Patrol — the U.S. Customs and Border Protection component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — arrested 327,577 illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Among those were 46,997 termed “Other Than Mexican,” including 255 who originated from what the DHS calls “special interest countries.”

India's Currency Spirals Out of Control

The Rupee hit a lifetime low against the dollar as flow of capital out of the country accelerates. The RBI (central bank) has been selling record amounts of dollars to slow down INR's fall, but so far has been unable to do so.

Intel chief rolls out new measures aimed at plugging leaks

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is rolling out new measures Monday aimed at ending what recently has been a spate of leaks regarding classified programs and operations.

Among Clapper's recommendations, to be instituted across the 16 intelligence agencies, are an enhanced counterintelligence polygraph test for employees who have access to classified information, and the establishment of a task force of intelligence community inspectors general that will have the ability to conduct independent investigations across agencies in coordination with the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.

Justice Scalia: Obama’s Immigration Stance ‘Boggles the Mind’

Justice Antonin Scalia took President Barack Obama to task in a scathing 22-page dissent to Monday’s Supreme Court decision striking down the majority of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law, calling Obama’s failure to enforce parts of the Immigration Act “mind boggling.”

Lease sale shows shallow waters in Gulf of Mexico are back: BOEM chief

The director of the US federal agency in charge of offshore oil and gas leasing said Sunday that what struck him most about the recent Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale was the interest in drilling on the continental shelf, as opposed to just interest in the deepwater Gulf.

Los Angeles to Heat Up an Average 4 to 5 Degrees by Mid-Century

A groundbreaking new study led by UCLA climate expert Alex Hall shows that climate change will cause temperatures in the Los Angeles region to rise by an average of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century, tripling the number of extremely hot days in the downtown area and quadrupling the number in the valleys and at high elevations.

Medical Tourism Is on the Rise

An increasing number of Americans are traveling to other countries for medical treatment to circumvent soaring healthcare costs in the United States.

These “medical tourists” seek procedures ranging from root canals to knee surgeries and hip replacements — at a fraction of what they would cost at home.

More and more homebuilders going green

Five years ago, "green" home building was a new concept for South Carolina.

Today, the state is on the cusp of making green standard in all new homes -- with some leading builders starting their own energy-efficiency programs.

New Eqyptian President:  "Jihad Is Our Path":  What happens to Eqypt in the last days?

Who is the new President of Egypt? He’s an absolute disaster — an Islamic Radical who poses a grave threat to Israel, the U.S. and to the people of Egypt, especially the Christians of which there are about 2.5 million in Egypt. Here’s what Mohamed Morsy said at a speech at Cairo University in May: “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.”

New radiation-resistant circuits could aid work in damaged nuclear power plants

High-radiation environments are a silicon microchip's worst nightmare and even state-of-the-art radiation-shielded circuits can fry after just a couple hours of exposure. Now engineers at the University of Utah have come up with a micro-electromechanical system that could be used to build robots and computers that are impervious to such conditions and may help us deal with high bursts of space radiation, damaged nuclear power plants or even the aftermath of a nuclear attack.

NRC plans meeting over cracks

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to hold a public meeting regarding its acceptance of FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Corp.'s "root cause" report concerning cracks discovered last year in the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant's concrete shell structure.

Nuclear Physicist: Most Of The Plutonium MOX Fuel Nuclear Fallout Likely To Drop On The U.S As US Plutonium Levels At 20 Year Highs

As plutonium and uranium concentrations in the US hit their highest levels in 20 years a top nuclear physicists says most of the plutonium MOX nuclear fallout from Fukushima will drop on the United States.

Putin Tells Israel Not to Strike Iran

The new Czar of Russia arrived in Israel on Monday morning for a two day trip to the epicenter. The question is: Why is Vladimir Putin there?

Renewable Electricity Futures Study

A report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures), is an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States over the next several decades.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

a C1/Sf flare. A long-duration B7 flare.  No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections were observed during the period.  The geomagnetic field was at quiet to unsettled levels.he geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet during the period (26 - 28 June) with a chance for unsettled levels.

Republicans Assail Obama’s Policy on Nigerian Terror

Prominent Republicans have attacked the Obama administration for its “insufficient” response to the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram that has targeted Christians and killed more than 1,000 people.

Rio+20: Agreement Reached, Now the Work Begins

Practical actions agreed by government leaders in the Rio+20 final declaration will begin "immediately," Brazil's Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said today. "We have methods and deadlines to be met until we complete the process that will be consolidated in 2014 or 2015," she said as the United Nations summit on sustainable development concluded in Rio de Janeiro.

Rising sea levels to hit California hard by 2100

Seas could rise higher along the California coastline this century than in other places in the world, increasing the risk of flooding and storm damage, dune erosion and wetland destruction, the U.S. National Research Council reported Friday.

Rising sea levels have long been seen as a consequence of climate change, because as the world warms, glaciers melt and contribute water to the Earth's oceans. At the same time, ocean waters tend to expand as they heat, pushing sea levels higher.

Romney Begins Bus Tour In Six States With 418,000 Green Jobs

Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney begins a 5-day bus tour on Friday. He’ll cross six different states, focusing on economic issues and the “ordinary concerns of the American people.”

As he has throughout the campaign, Romney will likely talk about why he doesn’t believe that clean energy is good for the country. In recent months, the Romney campaign has attacked American renewable energy companies, lied about the clean energy stimulus, and called American green jobs “illusory” — even with 64,000 clean energy jobs in his home state of Massachusetts.

Salazar Approves First-Ever Commercial Solar Energy Project on American Indian Trust Lands

As part of the Obama Administration’s all of the above approach to American energy, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved a 350-megawatt solar energy project on tribal trust land of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (Tribe) in Clark County, Nevada. The project marks a milestone as the first-ever, utility-scale solar project approved for development on tribal lands, and is one of the many steps the administration has taken to help strengthen tribal communities.

Santee Cooper proposed electric rate rise worries seniors

A small crowd, mostly filled with officials, gathered at the Santee Cooper office in Conway Thursday night for the first in a series of public comment meetings about the utility's proposed increases in electric rates over the next two years.

Santee Cooper officials say the planned changes would mean an increase of about $5.60 a month in the first year for typical homeowners who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy a month. In the second year the rate hike would mean another $8.29 a month on average.

Sea Level Rise on US Atlantic Coast 3-4 Times Faster than Global Average

The East Coast of the United States is home to many of its major population centers. While some of the early colonizers migrated west, many stayed and built up some of America's great cities, including Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charleston, and Miami. Now this region is facing an unprecedented challenge caused by the changing climate. The sea level is rising, and due to a variety of oceanographic and topographic factors, it is rising faster on the US Atlantic Coast than it is globally. The greatest increase will be felt in the "hot zone", from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to north of Boston, Massachusetts.

SoberLook - The U.S. Debt to GDP Ratio will Soon Look Like the Eurozone Periphery

The market has instilled some discipline around the periphery nations' debt growth. There is a natural limit to how much they will be able to borrow. Not so for the US, as the world seems to have a seemingly endless appetite for US government paper (for now). And of course the Fed is always there to pick up any slack. At this rate in a few years the US debt to GDP ratio will look very much like that of the Eurozone periphery

Social Security Disability Fund Nears Collapse

The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has soared in recent years and is threatening to push the program into insolvency. ..

Nearly 11 million Americans currently receive disability benefits, and last year the program cost taxpayers $132 billion — more than the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Justice, and the Interior.

Spain pays sharply higher rates in debt auction

Spain's borrowing costs soared in a pair of short-term auctions Tuesday as investors worried that the country would not be able to manage an expensive rescue of its ailing banking sector.

The Treasury auctioned (EURO)3.1 billion ($3.9 billion) in the two maturities, just above its target range, and demand was strong.

Supreme Court Splits on Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants on Monday, rejecting the Obama administration's stance that only the U.S. government should enforce immigration laws in the United States....

But in a split decision, the justices also ruled that the three other challenged provisions went too far in intruding on federal law, including one that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to work and another that requires them to carry their documents.

Tackling global warming in 21 easy steps

In the past, whenever world leaders have huddled to discuss what to do about this steadily warming planet of ours, they’ve usually endorsed one big, sweeping solution. That was the logic behind the Kyoto Protocol — each nation would promise sharp cuts in their overall carbon emissions.

The U.N.'s War on the Internet: Could the Web Lose?

A lot of speculation has been floating around about a proposal from the United Nations that could impose a global Internet tax on the world's largest content providers. Based on leaked documents from the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) that are being made available at, the speculation is, in fact, true.

Tiny implantable fuel cell harvests energy from the brain

A new implantable fuel cell that harvests the electrical power from the brain promises to usher in a new generation of bionic implants. Designed by MIT researchers, it uses glucose within the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain to generate several hundred microwatts of power without causing any detrimental effects to the body. The technology may one day provide a whole new level of reliability and self-efficiency for all sorts of implantable brain-machine interfaces that would otherwise have to rely on external power sources.

Tucson goes solar at several locations

$11.6M power system expected to produce revenue, energy saving

The city of Tucson is in the process of turning on new solar photovoltaic power systems at seven city-owned sites.

The power systems are part of an effort by city officials to make municipal facilities more energy efficient while generating revenues.

Unrealized Losses Could Create Bank Capital Volatility

U.S. bank regulatory proposals to apply unrealized gains and losses (UGL) on available-for-sale (AFS) securities to common equity tier 1 capital could reduce bank capital levels during periods of material market illiquidity. For example, if such rules had been in place during the 2008 financial crisis, Fitch Ratings estimates that nine out of 57 banks we reviewed with assets of more than $25 billion would have experienced a reduction in their common equity tier 1 capital ratio of 100 bps or more.

US biofuels advocates aim to raise profile with tax break debate

You know you have arrived if a Saudi oil minister and a UN official talk about your relevance or prevalence, right? In the past couple of weeks, renewables and biofuels have been on the tongues of such dignitaries, perhaps signaling they may be emerging from being seen as insignificant.

But there's a move afoot to alter the US tax code to boost renewables further. 

U.S. consumers say 'No' to antibiotics

Consumers increasingly are leery of the use of the use of antibiotics for meat production purposes and are urging grocery stores to employ labels that clearly state whether meat in coolers has been treated with the drugs.

U.S. Interior Needs To Strengthen Fracking Rules: Lawmakers

U.S. Democrats in the House of Representatives urged the Obama administration on Wednesday to expand proposed regulations for fracking for natural gas, saying companies should be required to reveal the chemicals to be used in the process prior to drilling.

U.S. New Home Sales Rose by More than Expected in May, and Prices are up Compared to Year-ago Levels

New home sales jumped by 7.6% in May 2012 to an annualized pace of 369,000, thereby beating market expectations for a modest increase to 346,000.

White House waves veto pen at measure to nix EPA pollution rule

The White House said Monday that it would likely veto a GOP-led plan to overturn Environmental Protection Agency regulations that require cuts in mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Why We Cry: The Fascinating Psychology of Emotional Release

This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. Therefore, our notions about tears and other forms of emotional release are still partly based on “steam-kettle thinking”—the culturally pervasive but biologically absurd notion that emotions are stored quantities of energy, which, like steam, wreak havoc when bottled up too long or released too abruptly. Our everyday language is rife with steam-kettle metaphors. We talk about “blowing off steam,” being “flooded with emotion,” “boiling over” with rage, and “feeling drained” after a good cry.

Worst ever Duluth, Minnesota flood causes $80 million in damage

Duluth officials on Thursday estimated damage at up to $80 million just to the city's public infrastructure from the flood that swamped the northeast Minnesota city and nearby communities this week.

The flooding, which left huge sinkholes and ripped up dozens of roads, also forced hundreds of people from their homes and killed several zoo animals.


June 22, 2012


600 Celsius - The Accelerating Evolution of Andrea Rossi's E-Cat

The development of a low cost, safe, abundant, and robust source of energy is the goal of many researchers working on exotic technologies. Such a source of energy -- if used appropriately -- could allow humanity to survive the severe challenges facing our civilization. Although it is not known to everyone, such a game changing technology already exists and has been evolving rapidly over the past year.  

2012 Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

A team of NOAA-supported scientists is predicting that this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone could range from a low of approximately 1,197 square miles to as much as 6,213 square miles. The wide range is the result of using two different forecast models. The forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient inputs compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is typically about 8,000 square miles and is located where the Mississippi River dumps high-nutrient runoff from its vast drainage basin, which includes the heart of U.S. agribusiness, the Midwest. This is equivalent to a dead zone the size of New Jersey.

Air Canada jet flies from Toronto to Mexico City using 50 percent cooking oil-derived biofuel

Along with the use of biofuel, the airline took a number of other measures to maximize the aircraft’s efficiency on the test flight. Some of these included a preflight fuselage wash and wax to improve aerodynamics, an engine compressor wash, runway taxiing using only one engine, minimized use of the on-board Auxiliary Power Unit by relying on ground-supplied power at the airport gates, and reduced thrust on take-off.

Alternative-fueled vehicles on display in Dublin

"We've got some fantastic fleets here ? Flexsteel, Best Buy, Fred's," Clay said. "Right now, we're in the 1910 stage with Henry Ford trying to get gas out there for the horseless carriage."

Anti-desertification plan gets official launch in Rio

Organizations from Africa, Brazil and France have officially launched a scientific collaboration to fight desertification in Africa. The collaboration was discussed at the Fight Against Desertification in Africa conference in Niger in October 2011. The "Declaration of Niamey" adopted at the conference highlighted the need for interdisciplinary research in the fields of desertification, drought and land degradation, focusing on social, economic and environmental issues.

Asteroid deflection schemes go green with solar-powered laser spacecraft

Blowing a 46 million tonne (50.7 million ton) asteroid into pieces with lasers would be difficult, but that won’t be necessary. The goal here, instead, would be to ablate some of the asteroid's surface and steer it away from us as a result. As material is vaporized from the asteroid’s surface, it generates thrust and propels the asteroid away from its original course.

As U.S. Astronauts Leave Space, China’s Presence Grows

In only its fourth manned mission to space, China achieved a significant milestone on Monday when its Shenzhou-9 spacecraft docked with China’s Tiangong-1 space lab. Only the United States and Russia have demonstrated such technological prowess, highlighting China’s growing capabilities in space at a time when America no longer has the means to send astronauts into orbit after the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Should the United States be worried that China is supplanting it in space? LIGNET takes a closer look.

A Visible Slowdown in Global Economic Activity

The global slowdown is becoming quite visible among the major economies. The US is still growing, but the latest PMI measure for June came in at 52.9, down from 54 last month. Germany's PMI came in below 50 (indicating contraction), with manufacturing PMI below 45.

Backup Power Just Won't Run the Air Conditioner

It seems that these days, major, prolonged power outages are just business as usual. Give me the choice between a power outage in the winter or the summer and frankly, I'd rather lose power in the winter when I can fire up my nice, cozy woodstove. Call me a wimp, but I hate living without air conditioning.

BoA’s Harris: Fiscal Cliff Is Closer Than Many Think

The so-called "fiscal cliff" looming at the start of 2013 with planned tax increases and spending cuts may begin to push the U.S. into a recession as early as the second half of this year, Bank of America’s top U.S. economist Ethan Harris tells Fortune.

Bridgestone tests Russian dandelion as raw material for tire rubber

Taraxacum officinale, or dandelion, the herb used for tea and salads, is an excellent liver tonic and diuretic. But there’s another variety of dandelion known as Russian dandelion, aka Taraxacum kok-saghyz, which Bridgestone Americas is researching as raw material to make high-quality rubber for car tires. After preliminary tests, the company said it will continue to assess the material at its technical laboratories in Akron and Tokyo in coming months, and will follow that with larger-scale testing in 2014.

Canada's New Budget 'Guts' Environmental Protections

Late last night, Canada's House of Commons passed Bill C-38, the budget of the majority Conservative government, ignoring thousands of Canadians who spoke up for nature and democracy.

Climate models still see El Nino returning: Australia

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said climate models it surveys continue to indicate a return of an El Nino weather pattern, often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, later this year.

Cold Fusion - The First Domino

Cold fusion is not just another every day discovery. It holds the potential to totally revolutionize our civilization. The "powers that be" and the other individuals who have attempted to suppress cold fusion recognize this fact. It is one of the reasons they have worked to suppress the technology. A breakthrough that could provide cheap and almost limitless power is too much of a threat to their control of humanity. However, the benefits cold fusion could offer humanity is not the greatest fear of some of these individuals.

Could novel technique to curb global warming also trigger earthquakes?

A report finds that injecting carbon dioxide into underground rock formations, while a potential means of fighting global warming, could increase stresses on faults, leading to earthquakes. 

Credit Growth in the U.S. Should Keep the Fed from Implementing QE3

With all the negative economic and market news out there it's worth pointing out a positive development that's been taking place recently. It is the expansion of bank credit in the US, which surprisingly has held up reasonably well. Certainly the rate of expansion is nothing like it was during the 04-07 period, but nevertheless it is trending up.

Damaged California Nuclear Plant to Remain Shut All Summer

Steam generator tubes that emitted radioactive steam at California's San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in January were not properly tested by the manufacturer before they were installed, nuclear regulators told a public meeting in San Juan Capistrano on Monday.

Despite Drop from 2009 Peak, Agricultural Land Grabs Still Remain Above Pre-2005 Levels

An estimated 70.2 million hectares of agricultural land worldwide have been sold or leased to private and public investors since 2000, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute ( for its Vital Signs Online service. The bulk of these acquisitions, which are called "land grabs" by some observers, took place between 2008 and 2010, peaking in 2009. Although data for 2010 indicate that the amount of acquisitions dropped considerably after the 2009 peak, it still remains well above pre-2005 levels...

Eurozone's Leadership Political Rift is Widening

The Eurozone has always struggled with lack of cohesion among its leaders. But any semblance of coordination that existed last year may now be breaking down. There is significant risk that Germany and France will no longer be able to reach joint strategic decisions (such as the one described here) as they did in the past. As discussed back in January, Hollande's potential victory posed a risk to the Franco-German leadership in the euro area. Now that Hollande has won the election, signs of discord are becoming apparent.

Faulty tests blamed for California nuclear plant leak

Tubes that leaked radioactive steam at a California nuclear power plant, leading to an indefinite shutdown, were not properly tested by the manufacturer prior to installation, nuclear regulators told an overflowing public hearing on Monday.

Fighting Global Energy And Water Shortage

Two of the biggest global issues are shortage of clean energy and clean water. Despite of the present economic downturn, fossil fuels are not the answer to the ever growing energy need. While some new technologies offer possibilities for providing electrical energy there are few technologies that address the need for truly sustainable transportation fuels. The second issue has an even greater impact but is not yet addressed as such. The lack of clean water is impairing complete nations from Latin America, through Sub-Saharan Africa to South-East Asia. Approximately 1,1 billion people have no access to clean water. There is some initial research being done on how to clean and distribute the water and less on how to produce it.

Focus Fusion

Focus Fusion is projected to be a safe, clean, easy, reliable energy solution that could provide electricity at a few tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour.

Germany Stands up to Radical Islam

Raids on radical Islamists in Germany and a new German ban on a Salafist group reflect how German patience is running out with Islamist groups that espouse violence. While Germany has fewer problems with radical Islamists than France or the UK, its actions will influence policies toward Islamist extremism in other European countries.

Global Resources Grab Kills One Person A Week: NGO

At least one person is being killed in an environmental dispute around the world each week as the battle for land, natural resources and forests becomes increasingly violent, a report said on Tuesday.

Greece Is a Sideshow Compared to Spain and Italy

Every development that signals some progress in stemming the debt woes in Europe seems to do little to calm market nerves over the unfolding crisis. While the victory on June 17 of Greece’s pro-bailout New Democracy party eliminated the prospect of an imminent Greek departure from the euro, attention quickly focused on the difficulty New Democracy leader Antonis Samaris would have in forging a workable coalition with other parties in the country. Meanwhile, the eurozone’s plan to inject as much as 100 billion euro into Spanish banks was met with skepticism in the markets and mounting anxiety over the precarious financial position of the Spanish government. With pressure mounting for more action, reports are circulating of a possible deal to bail out Spain and Italy by directing two pan-European government funds to buy up 750 billion euro of their bonds.

Greenspan: US Economy Remains ‘Very Sluggish’

The Fed on Wednesday extended its Operation Twist program, which will swap $267 billion in short-term securities with longer-term debt through the end of 2012. Fed officials also downgraded their forecasts for growth and employment while noting “significant downside risks” to the economy remain.

“It looks very sluggish to me,” Greenspan said when asked about the U.S. expansion. “We have a two-stage economy in this country.”

House Republicans Implore President to Revisit Mercury Rules

Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, came out swinging in a floor speech June 18 ahead of a scheduled June 20 vote on his proposal to kill the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule, also known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

Iran: 'Massive cyber attack' detected on nuclear facilities

Tehran blames US, Israel, Britain after talks fail

Is 80 Percent Renewables by 2050 Wishful Thinking?

The Renewable Electricity Futures Study (RE Futures) is an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States. This study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels—from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation from renewable technologies—in 2050.

Italy-Spain Spread Reaches a Record as Spain's Fiscal Problems come into Focus

As analysts look deeper under the hood of Spain's public finances, they are finding an increasingly unstable engine. It's not just the growth in the debt to GDP ratio that worries people but also the "contingent" liabilities and other debt not yet included in this ratio. In many cases the central government will be stepping in to bail out regional governments,some of which are in trouble (sometimes unable to pay vendors such as garbage collectors, etc.).

Japanese authorities sat on data showing radiation spread

Japanese authorities failed to disclose U.S. data about the spread of radiation spewing from a crippled nuclear plant last year, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday, leaving some evacuees fleeing in the same direction as the radioactive emissions.

June 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook

Over the year ending March 2012, an additional 1.5 million households moved into rental housing, a 4 percent increase in a single year.

Latin America Report: 'Time Is Not On Our Side,' Says U.N. Chief

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon struck a particularly harsh tone during his opening speech in which he implored world leaders to move beyond mere discussions and loose agreements and toward real action on sustainability. "It's time for all of us to think globally and long term, beginning here now in Rio, for time is not on our side," he said.

Longest Day in the North...Shortest in the South

As most people on Earth celebrate the Summer Solstice yesterday by enjoying a few extra minutes of sunlight, our fellow global brethren in the South celebrated their shortest day of the year. Typically the solstice is on June 21st, but 2012 was a leap year so it is one day before. For those poor unfortunate souls studying the ice in Antarctica, June 20th was the absolute darkest day of the year.

Megacities Slash Greenhouse Gases, Share Best Practices

Mayors of the world's megacities today announced that the existing actions of the cities in their organization, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 248 million tonnes a year by 2020.

Million Year Old Groundwater In Maryland Water Supply

A portion of the groundwater in the upper Patapsco aquifer underlying Maryland is over a million years old. A new study suggests that this ancient groundwater, a vital source of freshwater supplies for the region east of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, was recharged over periods of time much greater than human timescales.

MISO's energy plan sways with the wind (and other renewables)

This week, energy industry leaders attended the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator's (MISO) Annual Stakeholders' Meeting to discuss MISO's Strategic Plan and how to deliver cost-efficient energy.

Renewables – and related technology options – as a solution were a prime focus.

Missteps by West, Iranian Defiance Cause Nuclear Talks to Fail

The complete failure of this week’s multilateral talks in Moscow to reduce tensions over Iran’s nuclear program has led to new fears of military action by Israel and calls for increased sanctions. Lost in this diplomatic debacle is how an ill-advised policy shift by the West – led by the United States – probably played a major role in the failure of the Moscow talks and set back international efforts to resolve growing concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

Moody's downgrades 15 major banks

Credit ratings agency Moody's has downgraded 15 global banks and financial institutions.

The UK banks downgraded were Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC. Lloyds also had its rating cut by Moody's in a separate announcement.

In the US, Bank of America and Citigroup were among those marked down.

NRC says steam flow too great in San Onofre generators

Steam flowed much too quickly through the generators installed at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, leading to the problems that shut the plant down and have kept it from restarting, federal regulators said during a public meeting in San Juan Capistrano on Monday night.

Part of Kalamazoo River to reopen after oil spill

Nearly two years after 800,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, a 34-mile stretch of the river will be reopened, the U.S. EPA announced.

"The long wait to open most of the oil-damaged Kalamazoo River is now over -- just in time for summer,"...

PNM Proposes Renewable Charge

A hearing examiner has recommended state regulators approve a Public Service Company of New Mexico request to add a new renewable energy charge to customer bills -- and for the first time include a line item about the cost.

[ed:  This should be the other-way-around.  There should be a charge for using un-clean, unsustainable sources of energy!]

Putin Takes Control of Russia’s Energy Industry

Russian President Vladimir Putin has established a new energy commission and appointed himself the chair, giving the Kremlin significant influence, if not outright control, over Russia’s entire energy sector, which provides the government with the lion’s share of its hard currency. The move is confirmation that Putin, in his third term, is abandoning the trend toward a free market and instead strengthening his own control over Russia’s economy.

Renewable energy development requires financial, technological and regulatory focus

Members of the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (PREF) recently convened at the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) Renewable Energy Finance Forum - Wall Street to discuss strategies for keeping renewable energy as a crucial part of the nation's overall energy mix.

Renewables no fix for U.S. military fuel woes: study

Renewable fuels for U.S. military ships and jets are likely to remain "far more expensive" than petroleum products absent a technological breakthrough, a study for the U.S. Air Force found on Tuesday, questioning a Pentagon push for alternative energy.

Report: Coal-fired plants cause deaths, asthma attacks

Coal-fired power plants owned by PPL and seven other energy companies contribute to thousands of deaths, asthma attacks and hospital visits, according to a report by an environmental group.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

a long duration B7 flare...There were no Earth-directed CMEs observed during the period.  There is a chance for an isolated C-class flare.  eomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet

Rio+20 Negotiators Report 'Progress,' NGOs Call It 'Weak'

Rapid progress is being made on negotiation of the outcome document at the United Nation's sustainable development conference, Rio+20, head of the Rio +20 Secretariat, Nikhil Seth, said today. Seth said Brazil's ability to dialogue with different groups of countries has led to a "consensus" and a "significant progress."

Senate strips public funding from party conventions

The Senate on Thursday approved an amendment to the farm bill that would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used for party conventions.

Senate Votes Against GMO Labels

The Senate draft of the Farm Bill moved to the floor this week for a series of votes on 73 amendments. A final Senate vote on the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) is expected later tonight. All of the amendments we've been tracking have been voted on.

The Senate Has Voted...

... Against GMO Labels
(Sanders Amend #2310)

SoberLook - ECB Lending Hits €1.2 Trillion, a New Record

About €9bn of that increase likely came from deposits moving out of the Eurozone periphery nations to Switzerland as the euro-denominated liabilities to non-residents rose again. The rest is probably due to deposits moving from the periphery to Germany. In both cases the ECB had to step in to replace those private funding sources.

Solar could be solution to Texas energy capacity issues

Research conducted by energy consultancy The Brattle Group using data from the summer of 2011 found that adding photovoltaic (PV) solar to the Texas grid could have saved customers an average of $155 to $281 per megawatt-hour.

Solar Winter Output Assessment: Measuring Snow-related Losses

Historically, PV modules installed in snowy climates have been part of small, off-grid arrays mounted at very steep tilt angles. This is done both to shed snow quickly and to maximise winter output. Unfortunately, this concedes too much annual energy to be a good design strategy for larger contemporary systems.

S&P Looks at How the Expiration of Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credits Could Affect Utilities

The U.S. government offers tax credits to developers of renewable energy projects to make such alternatives more competitive with traditional power projects and, ultimately, to increase the proportion of power that clean energy sources generate. In a report published recently, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services looks at what influences the market for renewable projects, which tax incentives help finance them, and what the expiration of these incentives might mean for the U.S. utility sector.

Taking Liberties: Murky foreclosure process kicks Colorado woman out of home

The Colorado “Right to Foreclose” Amendment would require all lenders in the state to prove they own the property before they can foreclose.

The Pied Piper of Grid Parity

You'd think that quarter after quarter of losses for PV industry manufacturers along with a steady march of failures would be enough to shake the industry loose from its addiction to the goal of grid parity. Instead, and despite evidence that the current pricing for PV modules is actually damaging the industry's ability to compete, the enthusiastic chorus about grid parity continues to grow louder. Disagree at your own risk, but agree or disagree, promises have been made for consistently lower system prices, and the cost of breaking these promises could be steep. "Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, by famous Hanover city" … so begins the famous poem by Robert Browning, famous more for its point about the danger of breaking promises than for its iambic pentameter.

Trade War Escalates: Chinese Seek Duty on US Silicon

Chinese polysilicon makers are pressing their government to impose duties on U.S. imports, a move to drive up prices for competing supplies of the material used in solar panels, four people familiar with the issue said.

Tribal officials seek greater flexibility to develop their lands' energy resources

Tribal leaders pushed recently for greater input on government decisions over “fracking” and stressed the importance of eliminating red tape from energy resources programs on Indian lands.

Turtle Lodge Calls for Prayerful Water Offering to Mother Earth

“It is absolutely important,” he said, “if we are going to find life, in the fullness of which it was given to us by the Great Spirit, that we need to experience the ceremonies…

“We consider ourselves as a ceremonial people, a people of ceremony, because ceremony helps us to connect with the Spirit itself, and it helps to invoke the Spirit within our presence.”

Uruguay mulls government marijuana sales

Peaceful Uruguay is planning a novel approach to fighting rising crime: having its government sell marijuana to take drug profits out of the hands of dealers.

U.S. 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Averages 3.66 Percent

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS), showing average mortgage rates easing amid worsening economic indicators. Both the 30-year fixed and the 5-year ARM registered new average record lows.

U.S. Conference Of Mayors Unanimously Supports EPA MACT Rule

At its annual meeting last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution supporting the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics (MACT) Standards Rule, demonstrating widespread support of the Agency's effort (resolution at Today, president, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter urged the U.S. Senate to reject efforts to block the implementation of this important public health rule through the seldom used Congressional Review Act.

U.S. Federal Reserve Weakened Its Growth Outlook; Rates Likely to Remain Low to Late 2014, and Operation Twist Extended to the End of 2012

Summary of Economic Projections showed downgraded growth forecasts, while the unemployment rate is expected to trend lower at a slower pace. Forecasts for headline and core inflation rates were lowered modestly.

Vandana Shiva: 'Making Peace With the Earth Is a Survival Imperative'

Indian eco-activist Vandana Shiva urges a paradigm shift away from the pervasive short-sighted growth model we see failing all around us, and says that "making peace with the earth" is now a "survival imperative."

Volunteer Jon Abel banned from NDSU for Stanley Meyers lab research

After spending 15 months as a volunteer doing research at North Dakota State University (NDSU), seeking to replicate the work of the late Stanley Meyer, as well as the MEG, Jon Abel was banned from the campus. He speculates that it has to with the university's being sponsored by the oil fracking industry.

Warnings Resound as World Leaders Gather at Rio+20

More than 100 heads of state and government today gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the start of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. The summit seeks to shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection in the face of warnings that the ecological basis of life is coming undone.

Water Power Rise

Hydropower or water power is power derived from the energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as watermills, sawmills, textile mills, dock cranes, and domestic lifts since ancient times. It is one of several renewable power sources. According to the Earth Policy Initiative, world hydroelectric power generation has risen steadily by an average 3 percent annually over the past four decades

What Walmart can Tell You

I don't need Money News to tell me that America's economy is in trouble. I don't need the Wall Street Journal to tell me about unemployment figures and I don't need the Center for Economic and Policy Research to tell me that my money doesn't go as far as it once did or that the equity in my house is down 33% over the last five years.

All I have to do is take a trip to the local Walmart.

Wind Developers Look to Ontario in the Midst of PTC Uncertainty

Planning for wind energy developments in the U.S. for 2013 is literally at a stand-still due to the uncertainty of an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). But that isn’t stopping some developers from moving forward with new projects for next year. These new builds might, however, pop up not in the U.S., but in a community with a stable government support for renewable energy – Ontario.

Woman’s Survival Garden Seized and Destroyed by Authorities

A woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma is suing the city’s code enforcement teams after they illegally cut down her entire survival garden. Denise Morrison, who started the garden after becoming unemployed, had over 100 medicinal and edible plants in her front and back yard.


June 19, 2012


10 Ways To Use Honey

Honey is one of nature’s most delightful creations. This gooey, sticky liquid that can range from dark amber to light gold in color is a miracle creation made by our friends the honeybees. Honey is not only tasty, it is also very good for you. It is a natural source of sweetness, uncontaminated by human processing. If all you have ever done with honey is put a little on your hot cereal or in your tea, you are in for a surprise. There are many other uses for honey from food to beauty to health and first aid.


Alternative-fueled fleets becoming more viable

"The challenge for us is to ask all the right questions so we don't get blindsided," he said. "Get the training for the vehicles for our technicians, so they can feel comfortable."

Often, mechanics need to be trained on how to fix the vehicles because even if they are covered under warranty, regular maintenance will be required. Sometimes, the local dealership might not be knowledgeable on the vehicle.

Arctic Vegetation Changing in response to warming

Recent years' warming in the Arctic has caused local changes in vegetation, reveals new research by biologists from the University of Gothenburg and elsewhere published in the journals Nature Climate Change and Ecology Letters. The results show that most plants in the Arctic have grown taller, and the proportion of bare ground has decreased. Above all, there has been an increase in evergreen shrubs.

Arizona updates Solar Strategic Plan

The Arizona Energy Consortium (AEC) has updated the state's Solar Strategic Plan, which tracks the implementation of a series of recommended actions for the long-term growth of the state's solar industry.

The state's goal is to be the national leader in solar production, as well as solar exports.

Capital Flight Out of Eurozone Seen in Foreign Deposits at the ECB

When a non-Eurozone central bank holds euros, it tends to deposit those euros with the ECB. So when the Fed executed its liquidity swap, it received euros as collateral and deposited  them in its account at the ECB. That deposit by the Fed created a "non-Eurozone resident" liability at the ECB.

But the Fed's liquidity swap is now a fraction of what it was at its peak. The ECB returned the dollars and the Fed returned the euros.

CO2 Market Has Failed To Promote Cleaner Energy

Europe's emissions trading scheme has failed to create incentives for utilities to use cleaner energy fuels, meaning that governments will have to switch to simpler tools, such as subsidies and regulation, to enforce emissions reduction targets.

Crude futures settle lower, Greek election optimism fades

Crude futures settled lower Monday after euphoria that led to a short-lived bounce from weekend Greek elections faded as investors resumed concerns regarding eurozone debt.

Debate Fumes Over ‘Agent Orange Corn’ as Dow Awaits Federal Approval of the Genetically Engineered Seed

Critics of a new genetically modified corn created by Dow AgroScience, a division of The Dow Chemical Company, are voicing fears that the crop could pose serious threats to human health and the environment, reported

Economists: US to Post Weak 2% Growth, Barely Avoid Recession

The U.S. economy will barely avoid falling into a recession this year and post very lackluster growth rates of 2 percent, economists say.

That figure isn't enough to make a dent in unemployment rates and provides little cushion if shockwaves emanating from the eurozone roil the global financial system.

Disappointing data continues to flood financial newswires.

Egyptian military moves to retain power after vote

Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed a hollow victory Monday in Egypt's presidential vote just hours after the country's military rulers stripped the office of its most important powers.

The power grab by the ruling generals delivered another major blow to hopes for a democratic transition born out of last year's uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

EPA Tells Utilities not to Sweat New Soot Rule

In response to a court order, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 15 proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particulate matter pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5).

Experts Underscore Financial Benefits Of Building Efficiency

Public and private sector leaders at the 23rd annual Energy Efficiency Forum outlined legislation, policies and business strategies aimed at reducing energy use and operating costs in buildings. Buildings account for 40 percent of global energy use,...

Faraday Cages, Your Electronics, and EMPs

Homeowners have a number of concerns with household safety and protection. While many of these concerns reflect mundane life, some concerns reflect the global economy and the state of tension between world powers. With modern technology, a nuclear war is not the only global catastrophe we may face.

Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) are bursts of electromagnetic radiation that can be caused by nuclear explosions or fluctuating magnetic fields. [Note: There is no current evidence that the government has technology capable of producing this effect without using nuclear devices.]

Feedlot Animals Receiving a Double Dose of Antibiotics

FDA doesn’t seem to care.

FDA denied two Citizen Petitions (one filed in 1999 and the other in 2005) to restrict the use of certain antibiotics on farm animals. Last week, a federal judge ordered FDA to reconsider those denials, rejecting FDA’s argument that it was too time-consuming and costly to revoke the approval of antibiotics.

Findings and Solutions in the Living Planet Report 2012

The WWF's Living Planet Report (LPR) is the world's leading science-based analysis on the health of the Earth and the impact of human activity. The ninth biennial publication released in May, reviews the cumulative pressures humans are putting on the planet and the consequent decline in the health of the forests, rivers and oceans. Its key finding is that humanity's demands are exceeding the planet's capacity to sustain us.

Ford sets goal of cutting energy use by 25%

Ford expects to reduce by 25% the amount of energy it uses in its manufacturing plants over the next five years.

That is on top of a 22% drop over six years in energy needed to build a vehicle, the automaker reports in its 13th annual Sustainability Report "Blueprint for Sustainability: Accelerating Ahead" released today.

Gallup: Most Feel They Are Powerless to Save for Retirement

Most American investors feel powerless to save and plan for retirement, a Gallup poll finds.

Fifty-seven percent of investors say they feel they have little or no control over their efforts to build and maintain their retirement savings in the current environment, the polling firm finds.

Geomagnetic Storm Power System Transformer EMP Threat

North America’s electricity infrastructure is clearly one of our society’s most important assets. As reliance on digital technology and ‘just in time delivery’ distribution systems has increased, many North Americans have come to depend on the reliable delivery of electricity to their homes and businesses to power nearly every aspect of their lives.

Google: Government Requests to Censor Content Are ‘Alarming’

Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011, the company said on Monday, denouncing what it said was an alarming trend.

Hundreds Occupy Brazil's Belo Monte Dam Construction Site

As Brazil hosts the Rio+20 UN summit on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro, in the Amazon region 2,000 miles to the north 300 women and children affected by construction of the giant Belo Monte Dam Friday began a symbolic occupation of the dam site to "free the Xingu River."

Is Groundwater At Risk From Hydraulic Fracturing?

Some believe the promise of greater energy independence, job growth, and affordable energy supplies locked away in the Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale, and Eagle Ford Shale formations overshadow other concerns. Others contend the potential, or perceived potential, for environmental or public health damage is too great a risk to take. Misunderstanding and miscommunication cloud the discussion further.


Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can be difficult to isolate for a variety of reasons. EMI can travel via conductive radiation, via cables and power cords, or electromagnetic radiation which can pass through walls and other structures. For a sensitive instrument affected by EMI, the first step is to make sure the system is properly grounded. This can dissipate troublesome static buildup from the system.

Japan Approves Two Reactor Restarts, More Seen Ahead

Japan on Saturday approved the resumption of nuclear power operations at two reactors despite mass public opposition, the first to come back on line after they were all shut down following the Fukushima crisis.

Japanese Tsunami Dock Sterilized on Oregon Beach

A large dock from Japan that floated more than 5,000 miles across the Pacific to land on the Oregon coast has been sterilized of non-native species before disposal.

The dock, which washed ashore June 5, is debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan, the Japanese consulate in Portland confirmed after reading a metal plaque attached to the 165 ton structure.

Lake Michigan: A source of wind power?

Lake Michigan is an untapped reservoir of wind energy, say researchers who are studying whether it can be harvested economically and without environmental harm.

Scientists at Michigan Technological University have been gathering data come from a 6-ton floating buoy deployed at three locations in the lake, two near the shoreline and another 35 miles off shore.

Las Vegas plugging into solar energy

"Solar technology is changing so fast. It's really pretty incredible," said Bettencourt, manager of the photovoltaic project under construction next to the city of Las Vegas' wastewater treatment plant near Vegas Valley Road and Nellis Boulevard.

Late ice floes could delay Shell's offshore Alaska drilling by weeks: Odum

Shell might drill three exploratory wells in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas this summer, rather than the five planned, if unusually late ice cover delays the start of drilling into mid-August, company President Marvin Odum said Thursday in an interview.

Local energy policy brings cohesion to fragmented U.S. energy policy

Renewable energy is becoming quite popular despite costs and intermittency issues, with 14 states adopting CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) programs. The CLEAN programs can significantly increase the deployment of local solar power, according to research from the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR).

Managing Your Food Supply – Inventory, Label, And Rotate

Food storage is one of the most important aspects of prepping and survival planning. Even if you have a nice homestead set up with a garden and livestock, you should be prepared with stored foods. This can include canned goods, dried goods, preserved meats, and the fruits of your own garden, canned and preserved. And, of course, don’t forget water. If you have a year’s worth of food stored in couple of different locations around your homestead as well as a garden and animals, you are in an excellent position for when society falls.

Message From The Editor of Off-Grid News

I'd take the day to say thank you to the dads who are doing it right. Thank you for raising your kids to be respectable, responsible young adults. Thank you for teaching them the value of hard work and discipline. Thank you for showing them the way a husband should treat his wife. Thank you for your example.

MHD-EMP protection guidelines

MHD-EMP, also called E3 since it is the third component of the high-altitude EMP (HEMP), lasts over 100 s after the exoatmospheric burst. MHD-EMP is similar to solar geomagnetic storms in it's global and low frequency (less than 1 Hz) nature except that E3 can be much more intense with a far shorter duration. When the MHD-EMP gradients are integrated over great distances by power lines, communication cables, or other long conductors, the induced voltages are significant. (The horizontal gradients in the soil are too small to induce major responses by local interactions with facilities.) The long pulse waveform for MHD-EMP-induced currents on long lines has a peak current of 200 A and a time-to-half-peak of 100 s. If this current flows through transformer windings, it can saturate the magnetic circuit and cause 60 Hz harmonic production. To mitigate the effects of MHD-EMP on a facility, long conductors must be isolated from the building and the commercial power harmonics and voltage swings must be addressed.

Moody's gives cautious welcome to Japan nuclear unit restarts

Moody's Japan said Monday that Japan's decision to allow the restart of two nuclear reactors was supportive of the financial profile of the country's utilities sector, although many uncertainties remain.

Navigating the energy industry transition

The world's energy consumption continues to rise and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, consumption will grow approximately 40 percent by 2035.

New Research Finds Future of Solar Power is Bright

Nearly everyone thinks that generating electricity via solar power is good for the environment, but there’s much less agreement on whether it makes sense from an economic point of view. At what point will solar power be competitive with electricity generated by conventional, fossil-fuel plants, and how long will subsidies need to remain in place before the solar industry can stand on its own?

On Alaska, White House and industry find common ground, for a change: Odum

Relations between the oil industry and the Obama administration may be strained in many regards, but there is agreement on at least one issue: the strategic importance of developing resources offshore Alaska, Shell Oil President Marvin Odum said in an interview aired Sunday.

OPEC agrees to roll over oil output ceiling

OPEC agreed as expected at talks in Vienna June 14 to retain its current 30 million b/d crude output ceiling.

Panel's message: Clean energy worth the effort for Nevada

Rake said the goal was to talk about the future of clean energy in Nevada and how it can help the economy. Though he hoped all the seats in the chamber room would be filled, he was pleased with the turnout of more than 50 residents and public officials.

Pray for Arizona’s Mount Graham During National Sacred Places Prayer Days

Once a part of the original San Carlos Apache reservation, the mountain was taken from the tribe by the federal government in 1872, notwithstanding the fact that Apaches considered it a portal to the spirit world with the belief that spirits known as Gaahn, guardian spirits of the Apache, reside there and provide health, direction, and guidance. The mountain is also an ancestral Apache resting place, a ceremonial site, home to native medicinal plants and a species of endangered squirrel.

Radiation, Japan, and the Inverse-Square Law

When considering the potential for radiation spreading out from the severely damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it is very important to understand the ‘inverse-square law‘, which helps to put in context the potential intensity of radioactive Fallout as it relates to distance.

For every doubling of distance away from the source that is emitting an ‘intensity’ (in this case, radiation), the radiation will be diluted to one-fourth the original quantity as it disperses into three-dimensional space to a point representing a doubling of distance.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

a few low level C-flares.  There were no Earth-directed CMEs observed during the period. Solar activity is expected to remain low with a chance of isolated M-class activity.  The geomagnetic field ranged from quiet to minor storm levels. Active levels This elevated activity was due to persistent effects from the 13 and 14 June CMEs.

Rio+20 Negotiators Report 'Progress,' NGOs Call It 'Weak'

Rapid progress is being made on negotiation of the outcome document at the United Nation's sustainable development conference, Rio+20, head of the Rio +20 Secretariat, Nikhil Seth, said today. Seth said Brazil's ability to dialogue with different groups of countries has led to a "consensus" and a "significant progress."

Russia, Iran, Syria, China to Hold Massive War Games in Middle East: Echoes of Bible Prophecy?

"Iran, Russia, China and Syria will hold the Middle East's largest ever war game, Iranian news outlets reported quoting unnamed sources," reports the Jerusalem Post.

"According to the report, 90,000 troops, 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks from the four countries will take part in land and sea exercises. The war games will feature Russian atomic submarines, according to Iranian media, as well as warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers. Semi-official Iranian FARS news agency stated that the exercise was being planned in coordination with Egypt, which recently acceded to grant the passage of 12 Chinese warships through the Suez Canal.

'$mart' meters or not?

Residents worried about potential health problems from "smart" electric meters are planning to turn out at a Tuesday Ashland City Council meeting to voice their concerns. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Socialists take French Parliament, sweep power

Francois Hollande is the man in charge after his Socialist Party swept France's parliamentary election. Voters welcomed the French president's vision of injecting government money into Europe's economies in hopes of helping the joint euro currency stave off disaster.

Social Security Now Called "Federal Benefit Payment/Entitlement!

Have you noticed, your Social Security check is now referred to as a "federal benefit payment"? I'll be part of the one percent, to forward this, our government gets away with way too much in all areas of our lives, while they live lavishly on their grossly overpaid incomes!

Solar vs. natural gas, environment vs. economics

Solar PV is not yet competitive with fossil fuel like natural gas from the utilities' perspective and the road ahead is long, according to research from Stanford University....

For the time being, that is. The research also contends that if the industry can continue to lower the cost of solar panels and tax subsidies persist, utility-scale installations could become cost-competitive within 15 years.

Study sees global trash avalanche

World Bank researchers predict a staggering increase in municipal solid waste generation during the next 13 years. And the trash challenges beyond that date could be even more daunting.

Survey: More commercial building owners want to be energy efficient

Commercial building owners are turning to energy efficiency more than ever, and they continue to seek tax credits, incentives or rebates, according to the global survey from the Institute for Building Efficiency at Johnson Controls Inc.

The sixth annual survey found 85% rely on energy management to boost operational efficiency, up 34 percentage points from the Energy Efficiency Indicator survey conducted two years ago.

Syrian rebels strengthen control of the countryside

This city is almost completely empty after a week of heavy shelling by the Syrian government. But it is empty of government forces as well.

The Allure of Long-term Treasuries has been the Reduction in Portfolio Volatility

Financial advisers continue to profess that US treasuries should be a large part of a balanced portfolio. With the 10-year treasury yielding around 1.6%, the advice is hardly based on return expectations. It is also not due to expectations of mark to market gains. The up-side case in being long the 10-year treasury would be if the rate were to drop to the level of Japan's - just over half (a fairly unlikely outcome). The mark to market gain would be 7.5%. The downside case on the other hand would be if the 10-year yield rose to what it was just a year ago (or higher) - say around 3%. The mark to market loss would be around 11.5%. So the instrument effectively has an asymmetric payout profile and terrible current yield. What gives?

The Changing Face of OPEC: Less Iran, More Iraq

Last week in Vienna, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to maintain current oil production levels. This news reassured global markets, but was a painful blow to Iran, which had lobbied hard for a decrease in production in order to raise prices. It is the latest sign that Iran is losing influence within OPEC — a trend that will likely benefit Iraq in the long run, as LIGNET explains.

The Chinese Tallow Tree - Growing Oil on Trees

The Chinese Tallow Tree has long been recognized by U.S. scientists (beginning with Benjamin Franklin in 1772) for its beneficial economic potential and the tree has been successfully introduced in southern and coastal regions. Serious efforts by the USDA in the early part of the 20th Century demonstrated the adaptability and large oil yield of the tree in the U.S. However, traditional Chinese hand harvesting methods were not economical and the mechanical harvesting technology of that era was not capable of efficient recovery of the large potential oil resource.

The How's and Why's of Harmonic Distortion

Today, we have an environment rich in nonlinear loads, such as UPS equipment, computers, variable-speed drives, and electronic fluorescent lighting ballasts. Operation of these devices represents a double-edged sword. Although they provide greater efficiency, they can also cause serious consequences to power distribution systems — in the form of harmonic distortion.

The War of 1812 Could Have Been the War of Indian Independence

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a war all but forgotten in American history books. But what did that war mean for this country’s Indigenous Peoples?

Turkey: A Lean to the West Shifts Power in Gulf

Turkey’s recent shift away from Iran as a source of oil as well as its decision to comply with U.S.-backed sanctions on Iran could shift the balance of power in the Persian Gulf region. Turkey is now looking to Saudi Arabia for additional oil, which it appears willing to provide as tensions rise due to continued violence in Iran-backed Syria.

U.N. suspends observer mission in Syria due to uptick in violence

The United Nations on Saturday suspended its monitoring mission in Syria due to intensifying violence, sending a strong indication that prospects for peace are failing.

"There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days," said Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria.

Upcoming Gulf of Mexico lease sale looks to be robust: BOEM, analysts

To hear industry and even sale sponsor US' Bureau of Ocean Energy Management talk, the first Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale in nearly two years, scheduled for this week, appears even in advance to have a lot going for it.

Uranium debate still fierce

Gov. Bob McDonnell's uranium-mining study group will provide its first public update tonight in Pittsylvania County.

The group is studying the safety of mining the radioactive metal, particularly at a proposed site in Pittsylvania about 145 miles southwest of Richmond.

Environmentalists last week continued to criticize the openness of the group, saying it operates behind closed doors and provides little new information on its website.

US Antagonists Join Forces to Build Drones

The announcement by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez of a joint development effort between Venezuela and Iran to build Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV) is evidence of the expanding ties between these two anti-American countries. Their military partnership also demonstrates the complexity of containing Iran as it seeks to export its weapons technology around the globe, especially to antagonistic governments in America’s backyard

U.S. Considers Export of Excess LNG

The US should approve liquefied natural gas export projects, but policymakers should keep an eye on potential domestic impacts on gas prices and the environment, Michael Levi, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said during the first week of June.The US should approve liquefied natural gas export projects, but policymakers should keep an eye on potential domestic impacts on gas prices and the environment, Michael Levi, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said during the first week of June.

US-Russian Relationship Grows Cold Over Arms to Assad

U.S. accusations that Russia is supplying the Syrian regime with weapons to attack civilians have marked a significant escalation of tensions between the two countries. That tension was visible at a meeting between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin before the start of the G-20 summit yesterday where the two leaders issued the blandest joint statement that talked only of a need for the violence in Syria to stop and for a political solution to be achieved. It was evident that Russia was angered by the accusations of arms shipments. But while dipomacy may suffer in the short term, there is a chance that Washington's new hard line could advance U.S. policy goals over the long term.

U.S. Study Sees Little Earthquake Risk From Fracking

The fracking drilling technique used to tap shale oil and gas is unlikely to trigger earthquakes, but underground injection of waste water from drilling offers more risks for seismic activity, a new U.S. study said on Friday.

Utility wants to hold off on shutting down old coal plants

Minnesota Power, an electric utility that serves the state's iron mining industry, said Monday that the state Commerce Department's recommendation to shut down at least three of its coal-burning power plants requires more study of its effects on rates and reliability.

Very Fine Particulates

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just proposed updates to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution, including soot (known as PM2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been potentially linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children. A federal court ruling required EPA to update the standard based on best available science. The current proposal, which meets that requirement, builds on steps already taken by the EPA to slash dangerous pollution in communities across the country. Thanks to these steps, 99 percent of U.S. counties are projected to meet the proposed standard without any additional action.

Voyager 1 closes in on interstellar space

Based on the latest data received from Voyager 1, scientists say the venerable spacecraft is now on the very edge of our solar system. The data, which traveled some 17.8 billion kilometers (11 billion miles) on its 16-hour-38 minute journey to NASA’s Deep Space Network on Earth, reveals a marked increase in the intensity of charged particles from beyond our solar system, indicating that Voyager 1 is soon to become the first man-made object to leave our little slice of the universe.

Wavelength and Aperture Size

But when we are talking about something like a faraday cage to block out microwaves for example, we say the spacing of the cage 'bars' should be shorter than the wavelength, I have trouble understanding this, as the wavelength is along the normal to the cage surface, and the wavelength shoul not have a bearing on whether it 'gets in' or not.

Why is it that the spacings (which are paralell to the polarisation vector) determine what kind of waves get through?

Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers

Aren’t critics of genetically engineered food anti-science? Isn’t the debate over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) a spat between emotional but ignorant activists on one hand and rational GM-supporting scientists on the other?

Why we are three times heavier than we were in the '60s

The affluence of the Western world may be the envy of empires and kingdoms past, but much of that affluence has come at a heavy price in terms of health. The obesity epidemic is only getting worse, despite efforts in the U.S. and Europe to battle bulging waistlines with better research, better information and better dietary habits.

So, why is this epidemic only worsening? What is at the root of the problem? Quite simply, it's the food we eat. Or, more specifically, according to a recent report in The Guardian, what's in the food we eat.


June 15, 2012


5 Most At-Risk Rivers in the World

It is often said that life began on a river bed. It's no surprise that, still today, the world's rivers make up some of the most fundamental sources of fresh water and habitats for life of all kinds. Unfortunately, some of the largest and most highly-needed rivers are under attack from environmental threats that have already caused potentially fatal disruption. That's why the WWF, World Wide Fund for Nature, compiled a list of some of the most threatened rivers in the world.

9 al-Qaida fighters killed in Yemen missile attack

Tuesday's success capped weeks of fighting as Yemen's new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has pledged to uproot al-Qaida from the south with help from the United States as part of a new cooperation following Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster.

10,000 Germ Species Live on You

They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds.

Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes.

Air Pollution Linked To Chronic Heart Disease

High pollution increases risk of repeated heart attacks by over 40 percent, says TAU researcher

Air pollution, a serious danger to the environment, is also a major health risk, associated with respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher has concluded that not only does air pollution impact cardiac events such as heart attack and stroke, but it also causes repeated episodes over the long term.

American death toll in Afghanistan hits grim milestone

After more than 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the U.S. reached a milestone on Wednesday when the 2,000th American died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

A peak oil follower despairs of his movement's future

When OPEC officials meeting in Vienna are talking about "tremendous" surpluses of oil in the world, and US crude production has risen above 6 million b/d, it's tough to be a disciple to the peak oil school of the future. ..

It certainly isn't for lack of belief in the ultimate imbalance between the world's ability to produce oil, and its desire to consume it, which is what is at the heart of the peak oil school of thought.

Arizona Energy Consortium Meets to Discuss Arizona's Solar Strategic Plan

The Arizona Energy Consortium (AEC), a committee of the Arizona Technology Council, announced that it has invited the state's District Nine congressional candidates to attend its next regularly scheduled meeting to discuss their energy policies. The meeting is Friday, June 15, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. in the Phoenix office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Asia Report: As EU Trade Case Looms, Market Could Shift East

Rumors are swirling that a trade complaint against Chinese solar manufacturers will be filed in the European Union, and that the announcement could land during the massive Intersolar Europe event that started on Monday in Munich, Germany.

Average U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Reverse Course

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates ending their six week streak of record-setting lows. Regardless, mortgage rates still remain near the historic lows helping to keep home buyer affordability high, and providing a strong incentive for those looking to refinance.

Book: Renewables not fossil fuel solution

While many assume solar cells and wind farms will displace coal use and lower carbon dioxide levels, Zehner argues that subsidizing renewable energy merely expands energy supplies, which exerts a downward pressure on prices.

Energy demand subsequently increases, he said.

British-Russian Relationship Turns Cold With Putin Olympic Snub

Russia is an important market for British exporters and investors. Six hundred British companies do business in Russia, making the UK one of Russia’s largest sources of foreign investment. This relationship, however, has soured in recent months, with Russian President Vladimir Putin declining the invitation to appear at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London next month. This snub, and ongoing disputes, could put the relationship between Russia and the UK on ice for years to come.

China’s Investment in Canada’s Oil Sector: Espionage in Disguise

After the Obama administration shelved the Keystone XL pipeline last November, vocal critics, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, expressed deep concern that the decision would push Canada into the open arms of China. While this could still happen, a less talked-about issue is arguably of greater importance; namely China’s ongoing efforts to acquire oil extraction technology and know-how under the benign umbrella of investments in Canada’s energy sector.

China to regulate residential power use in new trial

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced Thursday that China will initiate a trial to charge residents more for electricity if their usage exceeds a certain level.

Climate Change Will Boost Number Of West's Wildfires

Climate change will make wildfires in the West, like those now raging in parts of Colorado and New Mexico, more frequent over the next 30 years, researchers reported on Tuesday.

More broadly, almost all of North America and most of Europe will see an increase in wildfires by the year 2100, the scientists wrote in the journal Ecosphere, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.

Concerns Grow About Seriousness of Intelligence Leaks

The seriousness of the recent leaks about sensitive U.S. intelligence operations appears to be sinking in among members of Congress and has led to calls, so far mostly by Senate Republicans, for an independent investigation. While President Obama appears to have cover for now from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein to resist appointing a special counsel to investigate, this may soon change as her committee proceeds with its own investigation and faces a likely refusal by the administration to cooperate on executive privilege grounds.

Cyber Security Bill May Evacuate Congress

As a major cyber security bill wends its way through the congressional chambers, some key organizations are trying to knock the wind out of it. Civil libertarians and privacy rights activists are saying that the measure would do more harm than good -- a notion that is refuted by its sponsors who say that time is of the essence.

Diesel Exhaust Fumes Cause Lung Cancer, WHO Says

Diesel engine fumes can cause lung cancer and belong in the same potentially deadly category as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said on Tuesday.

In an announcement that caused concern in the auto industry, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, reclassified diesel exhausts from its group 2A of probable carcinogens to its group 1 of substances that have definite links to cancer.

Eating Our Way to a Better World? A Plea to Local, Fair-Trade, and Organic Food Enthusiasts

My belly is full. It seems no matter how hard I try to “eat my way to a better world”, that world never materializes. The organic and fair-trade industries are booming, Farmers Markets are the new norm, the word “locavore” was added to the Oxford Dictionary, and Michelle Obama even planted a White House garden. But agribusiness continues to consolidate power and profit, small farmers worldwide are being dispossessed in an unprecedented global land grab, over a billion people are going hungry, and agriculture’s contributions to climate change are increasing. It’s not just that change is slow, but we actually seem to be moving in the opposite direction than alternative food movements are trying to take us.

Egypt: Court’s Pre-Election “Coup” a Setback to Islamists

Two surprise decisions by Egypt’s highest court yesterday appeared to be a power play by the interim military government and led Islamists to accuse the court of attempting a “legal coup.” The last-minute decisions spurred calls for a boycott of the presidential election because of fears of election fraud by the military. LIGNET believes the decisions are certain to shake up Egyptian politics but probably won’t end the dominance of Egyptian Islamists.

E.ON Seeks 8 Billion Euros In Nuclear Exit Damages

E.ON AG, Germany's largest utility, is seeking 8 billion euros ($10 billion) of compensation in a potential industry-wide claim against the government following its decision last year to shut down nuclear power stations.

Epic Fail:  Families are Imploding, Debt is Exploding:  My response to Dennis Miller:  Our only hope is Jesus Christ and a Third Great Awakening

Yes, I do believe that something has gone terribly wrong with the American experiment. Our families are imploding. Our national debt is exploding. Experts on the left and the right warn we are on an unsustainable trajectory and urgently need to change course. Yet too many in Washington, academia, the media and even the church are in a “business as usual” mode. As result, millions of America fear the ice is cracking under our feet.

Consider the state of the American family. All around us we can see marriages falling apart. Marital unfaithfulness is rampant. Couples we never thought would get divorced are leaving each other, creating devastatingly painful wounds in them and their children.

Europe Makes Big Bets On Nuclear Waste Burial

On a small Finnish island and deep in remote rural France, far from the debates and doubts that followed Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, the ground work is underway for a commitment to atomic power for the long term - the very long term.

Fed reports U.S. families lost 39% of worth in recession

The recent recession wiped out nearly two decades of Americans' wealth, according to government data released Monday, with middle-class families bearing the brunt of the decline.

The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged 39 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on a par with where they were back in 1992.

First Super Weeds, Now Super Insects -- Thanks to Monsanto

“Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects.”

Fluoride Dangers: What You Need to Know

Here’s a shocking fact: The average tube of toothpaste has enough fluoride to kill a child.

Yet fluoride is enthusiastically hailed in ads as a dental savior and is touted by legions of dentists, parents, and governmental agencies. Yet toothpaste with fluoride must carry a poison warning and directions to seek medical attention if more than the recommended amount is ingested.

Forest fire crews gain ground in Colorado, New Mexico

Fire crews on the attack against flames roaring through national forests in New Mexico and Colorado gained ground in both blazes on Tuesday, though thousands of evacuees remained unable to return to their homes, officials said.

New Global forum to collate research on sustainable consumption, production

A new global forum, meeting for the first time this week (13—15 June), will gather scattered research on sustainable consumption and production from countries across the world, as well as from journals, reports and grey literature, to consolidate existing findings and discuss the agenda for future research.

Global Renewable Energy Investment Hits Record $257 Billion

More renewable energy was installed worldwide last year than ever before, and solar energy surged past wind power to become the renewable energy technology of choice for global investors in 2011.

Solar attracted nearly twice as much investment as wind, driving the renewable energy sector to another record-breaking year, according to two new reports on renewable energy trends issued today by the UN Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, REN21.

Greece Politics: The Spanish Impact

Last weekend (June 9th-10th) Spain secured a €100bn bail-out for its ailing banking sector. The bail-out differs significantly from those extended to Greece, Ireland and Portugal over the past few years. It is limited to the banking sector, and comes with no additional fiscal austerity targets attached. Greek politicians from left and right, who are in the middle of a tough election campaign, have tried to capitalise on the latest bail-out for their respective campaigns. It is far from certain whether the Spanish bail-out will have any significant impact on the election outcome, but it goes to the heart of Greece's political and economic dilemmas—which are very much linked to the European context.

Groups react to trial balloon in New York fracking debate

The possibility that New York might open some fissures in its de facto ban on hydraulic fracturing would be a move in the right direction, the state's oil and gas trade group said, but environmental groups said the plan itself is cracked.

Both factions were reacting to a news report that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is finalizing a plan that would allow fracking in five Southern Tier counties with the most potential for Marcellus Shale natural gas.

H2 Logic hydrogen station adds to network in Norway

The H2 Logic hydrogen refuelling station in Lilleström is part of the Akershus Energypark, which will develop and test a wide range of hydrogen production and compression technologies. The company says that this station is the first in the world to be supplied by hydrogen produced from domestic waste.

House Subcommittee Approves Bill That Could Ease Domestic Hydropower Development

Legislation that would unlock hydropower development at existing infrastructure around the country took a big step last week when the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power voted to advance H.R. 5892.

IEA says oil market 'better supplied', but not over-supplied

The world oil market is currently better supplied after an easing of the fundamental supply/demand balance in recent months, but it is not over-supplied, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.

In its latest monthly oil market report, the IEA said the market could clearly be characterized as "better supplied, but 'over-supplied' looks something of a stretch, given the myriad uncertainties that lie ahead for the summer."

Israel's Secret Project: Super-Battery To Reduce World's Oil Thirst

Quietly and with little media coverage, it seems that Israel has made it its national goal to develop a battery that can provide enough power for a 500 kilometer-drive with a single charge.

Jobless Claims Spike Higher as Labor Market Stays Sluggish

More Americans sought unemployment aid last week, suggesting hiring remains sluggish.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, an increase from an upwardly revised 380,000 the previous week.

McCain, Graham Want Outside Prosecutor to Probe Leaks

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday fended off Republican demands that he appoint a special counsel outside of the Justice Department to look into national security leaks.

Microsoft scrambles as it patches 26 bugs, warns users of active attacks

Microsoft on Tuesday patched 26 vulnerabilities, including one in Internet Explorer (IE) that's already being exploited. The company also warned customers of a new zero-day attack and quashed yet another instance of a bug that the Duqu intelligence-gathering Trojan leveraged.

The software maker also ditched one security update at the last minute and substituted another in its place, probably because the second was more serious.

Mom-Turned-Activist Launches National Movement to Boycott GMOs

Diana Reeves was furious when her state legislators caved into threats by Monsanto to sue the state of Connecticut if it passed a GMO labeling law. Lawmakers effectively told Connecticut's voters, who had clearly expressed overwhelming support for GMO labeling, "oh well."

Monthly Federal Deficit Doubles, Nears $1 Trillion

The U.S. government budget deficit dramatically widened in May, as spending jumped 31.3 percent from the same month a year ago.

The deficit expanded to $124.6 billion from a $57.6 billion shortfall in May 2011, according to Treasury Department data released today in Washington.

Overall, the federal budget deficit is approaching $1 trillion for a fourth straight year even though the government is collecting more tax revenue than last year.

New York Dismisses Case aimed at Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on June 13 won a decision in Albany County State Supreme Court dismissing a lawsuit that aimed to block the state of New York's participation in the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Ohio's hydrogen fuel-cell makers poised for boom times

Ohio stands poised to become a major player in the hydrogen fuel-cell industry, says the head of a statewide coalition of fuel-cell developers.

Oil's Role in the Global Economic Crisis

Between January 2002 and August 2008, the nominal oil price rose from $19.7 to $133.4 a barrel. This led to a large increase in oil revenues for oil exporters and a deterioration of the current account for oil importers (Figure 1). Between 2002 and 2006, net capital outflows from oil exporters grew by 348%, becoming the largest global source of net capital outflows in 2006 (McKinsey 2007).

Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto: Appeal Filed!

The farmers’ appeal is in response to Judge Naomi Buchwald’s dismissal of OSGATA’s case against the biotech behemoth Monsanto on Feb. 24, 2012. This outrageous decision sent shockwaves around the world. Passionate responses were heard from countries far and wide, with many voiced on the first petition we created in March to support OSGATA. Thanks to all of you who signed and commented on it; together we totaled over 8,500 signatures and over 1,000 heartfelt comments from countries all over the globe, some of which I had never even heard of! Thank you to all of you who took the time to sign and share it!

Practical Tool Can ‘Take Pulse' Of Blue-Green Algae Status In Lakes

Scientists have designed a screening tool that provides a fast, easy and relatively inexpensive way to predict levels of a specific toxin in lakes that are prone to blue-green algal blooms.

Blue-green algae is not your average pond scum — rather than consisting of plant-like organisms, blue-green algae actually are cyanobacteria, and some species are linked to the production and release of the toxin microcystin into the water. Human exposure to the toxin through drinking or recreational water contact can threaten public health by causing liver damage, neurological problems and gastrointestinal illness in humans.

Program pushes clean energy

With rising fuel prices and the reach for cleaner energy sparking discussions and debates across much of the nation, it's not surprising that consumers and business leaders alike are exhibiting greater interest in fuel alternatives.

Arizona Energy Consortium Outlines Progress and Recommended Actions in Updated Arizona Solar Strategic Plan

The Arizona Energy Consortium (AEC), a committee of the Arizona Technology Council and the state's only broad-based energy sector organization, today announced the update of the "Arizona Solar Strategic Plan." Created through the AEC in November 2011 as a product of the Arizona Solar Leadership Conference, the document tracks the implementation of a series of recommended actions for the long-term growth of the state's solar industry. The plan may be viewed on the AEC's website at

Report: 7 items lacking at Seabrook plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a report on NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant's application to extend its operating license 20 years, finding that if seven still outstanding issues are fixed, the power plant will have met the requirements needed for a new license.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was moderate.  Region 1504 (S16E01) produced a long duration M1/1n flare.  An isolated M-class event is likely.  Geomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet on 15-16 June.  An increase to unsettled to active levels is expected early on day 3 (17 June) due to combined effects from both the 13 June and 14 June CMEs.

Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit Opens in Brazil

President Dilma Rousseff today opened Rio +20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, at Brazil's giant pavilion in Athletes Park opposite Riocentro, the main seat of the conference meetings.

President Rousseff urged compromise among all countries of the world to achieve sustainable development goals, especially the developed nations facing economic crises.

Sanctions denting Iranian oil exports -- and production is set to follow

The EU embargo on imports of Iranian oil has yet to come into force, but tightening sanctions against the Islamic Republic are already making a big dent in its crude exports, according to the International Energy Agency.

The IEA reckons that oil-importing countries bought nearly 1 million b/d less crude from Iran in April and May than in late 2011 as a result of the sanctions.

SoberLook - 2012 Eurozone Funding Requirement by Country

Here are the amounts of debt that the major Eurozone nations will need to issue this year. Let's put things in perspective. Spain's requirement for 2012 is to raise €35.5bn. With the new €100bn aid to the banking system, Spanish banks will have no trouble absorbing this debt. Even with higher haircut requirements due to the downgrades, Spain's banks will be able to finance a big portion of these bonds at the ECB.

Some officials want to cap wind turbines

Lee County has 232 wind turbines, and 60 more are proposed.

How many more will come after that?

None at all, if some Lee County Board members get their way.

Space Fight — Orbiting Plane Will Bolster US Military Might

The new space plane built by Boeing is expected to return to earth in the coming days after completing its first mission. But few people know what that mission was. The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) was built solely for use by the U.S. military, and could potentially be used for satellite jamming and kinetic attacks. But it may be used mostly for intelligence purposes, including gathering information on enemy space systems. China’s state-controlled media has reported that the X-37B may have been spying on China’s space station.

Stanford gets 110 years in 'epic' fraud

After three years of denial, a vigorously contested trial that lasted six weeks and Thursday's unrepentant speech before a judge and a courtroom filled with aggrieved investors, R. Allen Stanford offered an apology of sorts to a victim of his multibillion-dollar fraud.

States forecast highest tax revenue in 5 years

States expect to collect higher tax revenue in the coming budget year that combined would top pre-recession levels, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The increase could reduce pressure on states to cut budgets and lay off workers.

Sudan’s “War Criminal” President: A Pariah with Many Allies

The notorious president of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, is currently under indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a host of human rights abuses, including genocide perpetrated in the Darfur region of his country. Despite this fact, he retains the support of the African Union and his presence at its upcoming summit forced Malawi to cancel plans to host the event. This development shows the weakness of the ICC and how Bashir’s many allies are preventing him from receiving justice for his crimes.

Texas offers grants for green vehicles

The U.S. state of Texas is offering 5.7 million U.S. dollars in grants to encourage the use of hybrid or alternative energy vehicles instead of diesel vehicles, U.S. media reported Monday.

There's a Shortage in America

They tell us there's nothing to worry about, that middle class America is "doing fine," that they have everything under control. It's like we're in the middle of a house burning down and they're trying to convince everyone that there really isn't a fire. Unfortunately, too many are too willing to turn back to their bubbles of comfort and believe them.

What is this commodity that I'm speaking about?


Threat to U.S. Control of the Internet Is Real and Growing

Last week, officials from Google, the Federal Communications Commission and the State Department testified before Congress to warn of the dangers posed by an international effort underway to transfer control over the Internet from the United States to a United Nations agency. They expressed their fear that an upcoming UN conference in Dubai could be a game-changer with terrible consequences for the independence of the Internet. LIGNET shares their concerns.

Tipping Point Near for Planet Earth, Scientists Warn

Population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences, warns a group of scientists from around the world.

Trump: Saudis Pumping More Oil to Lower Prices, Re-elect Obama

OPEC member Saudi Arabia has been pumping hefty amounts of oil to lower prices and do what it can to ensure that President Barack Obama is re-elected this November, says billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia has ramped up production this year to offset any supply disruptions that could result from a military conflict between the West and Iran.

Upstream operators say technology coaxes more oil from US Gulf Shelf

A renaissance is underway on the Gulf of Mexico's shallow-water Continental Shelf as exploration and production companies look to updated technologies and sharper seismic to eke more oil from a traditionally natural gas province, two small independent operators said Wednesday.

US bucks global trend of closing down nuclear power stations

The new report shows that the figure for Europe accounts for nearly 69% of the total global number of expected nuclear power reactor closures by 2030, the largest amount for any region. Barring any changes, the European commercial nuclear decommissioning market value stands at $81,484m.

U.S. Consumer Prices Declined in May, Yet Core Prices Rose; Initial Claims Increased in the Latest Week

  • Consumer prices declined by more than was expected in May 2012; they were down 0.3% after holding steady in April. The annual overall inflation rate moderated sharply to 1.7% from 2.3% in April.
  • Core prices came in as expected by rising 0.2% in the month. The annual core inflation rate held steady for the third consecutive month at 2.3%.

US demand for liquid fuels to average 18.76 million b/d in 2012: EIA

US crude oil production is expected to climb to 6.32 million b/d this year, up 11% from 2011, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA again raised earlier output projections -- raising the 2012 average 2% from last month's forecast and increasing the 2013 outlook by 6% to 6.73 million b/d.

US sending money to North Carolina, New York farmers for energy crops

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to announce Wednesday that North Carolina and New York each will receive about $4 million for farmers growing crops used to produce energy.

The expansion is part of a federal push to produce more non-food energy crops, used to make liquid biofuels or electricity from renewable sources.

U.S. weekly jobless claims climb to 386,000

Applications for unemployment benefits rise for 5th time in 6 weeks

Utilities are Bailing on Coal

Coal’s days are getting dimmer. With environmental regulators coming down on it in combination with extremely cheap natural gas prices, it is losing market share. But it’s also losing some support in the utility community.

‘Very Little Sign of Life’ in Economy May Force Fed to Act

New claims for state jobless benefits rose for the fifth time in six weeks and consumer prices fell in May, opening the door wider for the Federal Reserve to help an economy that shows signs of weakening.

Though the increase was small, it undermined hopes that a recent slowdown in hiring would prove temporary.

Water utilities have doubts about the future

The electricity used to produce water can account for as much as 30 percent of a water utility's budget.

"Utility leaders are continuously challenged to make the most of limited budgets – a situation truer today than just five years ago," said Cindy Wallis-Lage, President of Black & Veatch's global water business. "As a result, the vast majority of survey respondents doubt the sufficiency of their future funding to manage and maintain their systems."

What Is the United States Government Waiting for?

We continue to post the opinions of many international scientists on the potential global catastrophe that would result from the collapse of Reactor 4 at Fukushima Dai-ichi. The message now is simple and clear—Japan’s government will not act; it is the United States who must step forward—yet no action has been taken.

Where Did All the Solar Go? Calculating Total U.S. Solar Energy Production

Good data can be hard to come by. Let's take solar production data. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar electricity production facilities — including photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) — produced a total of roughly 1,800 GWh in 2011. That's a 50 percent increase over 2010. Even so, as a percent of total energy produced, the number is so small

World's oil reserves still climbing

BP's latest annual review of world energy appears to paint a rosy picture of global proven oil reserves, which rose almost 2% in 2011 and are now enough to cover 54 years of current production, up from 46 years in 2010.

The positive numbers mostly reflect higher oil prices, however, rather than more actual oil in the ground, BP said.

World's sustainable future is uncertain

Solar industry competition is at a record high with global solar energy capacity more than quadrupling in 2010 and overall global renewable energy spending projected to more than double by 2030, according to IEEE. But the future of renewable energy remains uncertain.

WSJ: JPMorgan Knew of Risky Trades Two Years Ago

JPMorgan Chase executives knew a London risk-management unit was making risky trades two years ago, long before the unit botched a trading strategy that led to an initial $2 billion loss, The Wall Street Journal reports.


June 12, 2012


A Place for Men

I had never been so mad at my husband as I was that day in church. I wanted a measly hour to enjoy the sermon, relax with the foot-tapping singing, and just for once not be "on call" as a mommy. Was that really too much to ask?

Another Threat to the EU: Illegal Immigration

The agreement last week by EU ministers to impose tighter internal border controls comes in response to rising illegal immigration from the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings. The change in policy shows that the bonds holding the EU together are weakening in ways beyond the current sovereign debt crisis, although the two issues are intertwined, as LIGNET explains.

A Small Piece of Our very best advice

If you are concerned about the our energy future, as we are sure you are,  you've probably given it a little thought and are searching for some answers.

We've done the same.  But we are in the fortunate position that allows us the ability to actively pursue answers.  Here's our latest.

Canada sees boost in plastics recycling, report says

Postconsumer plastic packaging recycled across Canada increased 15% from 2009 to 2010, according to a recent report.

Cash-Strapped Calif. Building ‘Bullet Train to Nowhere’

A new poll shows that California voters no longer support building a $68 billion high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the Democratic-controlled state legislature is expected to approve the initial $6 billion, 130-mile section of the line — which could lead to the construction of a costly “orphan track” in rural California not connected to either city.

Climate Scientists Lament a Nation Stuck on the Wrong Debate

While the national climate debate is fixed on whether Earth is warming, climate scientists are focused on understanding how bad it will be.

Court: Nuclear commission must re-evaluate impacts of disposing hazardous waste

The U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must re-evaluate the environmental impacts of the storage and disposal of nuclear waste.

EPA Urged to be More Flexible

If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives coal-fired power generators flexibility to comply with new and pending regulations, approximately $100bn in future compliance expenditures could be saved, according to a new assessment released May 31 by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Federal Court Throws Cold Water on Nuclear Waste Ruling

The nuclear energy industry here has just been dealt a blow -- by a U.S. federal appeals court. One just ruled that nuclear regulators did not fully assess the risks associated with allowing utilities to store their spent fuel onsite for decades longer than originally intended.

For energy storage, batteries could be replaced with energy harvesters

Demand for energy harvesters is expected to grow with the development of low-power electronics, motivated by the increasing need for various applications to run efficiently, independently and remotely, according to GBI Research

Half of Americans Now Believe in Creationism

Only 15 percent of Americans now believe the human species evolved from lower forms of life and God had no part in the process, a new Gallup poll reveals.

In a Crisis, Eight Out of Ten People Will Remain Passive

Studies show that in a crisis, eight out of ten people will remain passive, relying on someone else to take charge. One out of ten will panic and endanger others in the process.

And only one out of the ten will take swift, decisive action to improve their situation. (When they do, they immediately increase their chances of survival.)

In Spite of the Bailout of Spain's Banks, Periphery Redenomination Risks Loom

The media is putting a great deal of emphasis on the EU-arranged Spanish bank rescue, which will clearly provide Spain some much needed relief. But it's important to step back and look at the larger problem the Eurozone will still have to confront going forward. Here is a sobering assessment from Antonio Garcia Pascual of Barclays Capital...

In the renewable energy race, U.S. lags

Despite the fact that U.S. renewable energy production has increased by more than 300 percent in the last 10 years, the country still lags far behind Europe and Indonesia and is only slightly ahead of Mexico, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Israel Arming Subs With Nuclear Missiles

Israel is placing nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on submarines supplied by Germany, according to a new report — assuring a retaliatory capability following a nuclear attack from Iran.

It Pays to Go Solar, If You're Willing to Wait for the Savings

Thanks to a rebate from the state and a federal tax credit, along with ongoing energy credits and reduced electric bills, I figure I have just about paid for the $15,000 system.

And I will continue saving for at least 20 more years.

MBS Could be Part of the Fed's Easing Program

JPMorgan recently conducted its MBS (mortgage backed securities) investor survey. The key questions were focused on the Fed, as the next policy steps will be particularly critical for the MBS market. Let's look at the responses to two of the questions.

McCain: National Security Leaks Special Probe Essential

Sen. John McCain is pressing the case for a special outside counsel over recent White House security leaks, even as President Barack Obama says it is “offensive” and “wrong” to claim his White House would deliberately leak sensitive information for political gain.

Medicare, Medicaid Called ‘Open Invitation’ to Fraud

Medicare and Medicaid’s model for paying out claims is an “open invitation” to fraud that could amount to nearly $200 billion a year.

But the programs could drastically cut down on fraud by adopting common-sense procedures already used by the private sector.

More Harm than Good

While the preliminary tariffs recently announced by the United States Department of Commerce (U.S. DOC) should at face value help drive the U.S. solar industry, reality will be quite different. Work-arounds still exist for Chinese manufacturers that will keep them very competitive against those of plaintiffs such as Solarworld, while U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturers will likely suffer the brunt of retaliatory tariffs as they ship into China. The end result? Solar power generation will become more expensive in the U.S. right around the time when it was becoming competitive with traditional power generation sources.

New Report Ranks World's Biggest Countries on Renewable Energy

U.S. production of renewable energy has increased by more than 300 percent in the past decade, but the United States still lags far behind Europe and Indonesia and is only slightly ahead of Mexico in the percentage of electricity it gets from renewable sources, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

European countries, led by Germany, get more of their electricity from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources than any other region in the world, NRDC's global renewable energy scorecard shows. The United States got about 2.7 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2011, making it No. 7 among G-20 member countries.

Obama finds sufficient non-Iranian oil supply in May to carry on sanctions

US President Barack Obama determined Monday that the global oil market had sufficient supplies outside of Iran in May to follow through with tough new sanctions against Tehran, the White House said.

As required by the sanctions law, Obama must report to Congress whether a sufficient supply of crude and petroleum products exists to permit significant cuts in Iranian oil exports.

OPEC president says oil market oversupplied

World oil markets are currently oversupplied and the surplus has led to a "severe" and rapid decline in oil prices, OPEC's Iraqi president Abdul Karim al-Luaibi said Monday.

" is very clear that there are tremendous surplus quantities that have led to his severe decline in prices in a very short time span. Obviously, this does not serve anyone. In our opinion, stable prices are best for all," Luaibi told reporters in Vienna, where the oil producer group will meet on Thursday to set output policy for the rest of this year.

Oregon’s New Energy Plan Pushes Renewables And Conservation

The plan would cover the entire increase in energy use over the next 10 years by improving energy efficiency. To help reach the goal, the state would retrofit up to 4 million square feet of state office buildings with energy efficient technology.

The plan also calls for upgrading the power grid and making it easier for clean-energy developers to get financial backing and permits for new projects. In an earlier speech, Gov. Kitzhaber cited several reasons to draft an energy plan for the state.

Out of the fryer -- and into the clink

Restaurant owners used to pay to have their waste oil removed. Then companies began hauling it for free. Now some eateries are getting paid for their fat, while others exchange it for rebates on future oil purchases or cash off their waste-hauling bill.

So with rising fuel prices, it's probably no surprise that used cooking oil has become a target, often an easy one, for thieves.

Petrodollars: no shortage of private equity investing in oil and gas

A giant cache of private equity money is chasing a growing treasure chest of oil and gas assets ready to be harvested, and the result is a horde of deal-making that isn't likely to slow anytime soon, observers say.

Production Tax Credit Tops Wind Energy's Priorities

Failure to extend the production tax credit would devastate the domestic wind energy supply chain and virtually wipe out wind power development next year, officials stressed during the June 4 opening of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) annual conference in Atlanta.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low. a C-class flare. There were no Earth-directed CMEs observed during the period. Solar activity is expected to range
from low to moderate.  An isolated M-class event is likely.  Geomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet to unsettled on day 1 (12 June).  An increase in activity is expected mid-day due to a glancing blow from a CME observed on 08 June.

South Africa's Coal-Fired Power Plant Advances

While the world tries to go green, South Africa still invests in coal. Last Friday, President Jacob Zuma visited what is soon to become the fourth largest coal power-station in the world.

Syria: Regime Escalates Crackdown Amid a Serious Charge Against the Rebels

Despite the Syrian regime’s use of new “horrific” tactics, reportedly including helicopter gunships and children as “human shields” to defend against rebel attacks, the international community continues to bicker on how to respond. While Syrian rebels appear to be stepping up their attacks on government forces, they remain divided and their international support could be undermined by a German press report accusing the rebels of responsibility for the Houla massacre.

Ties With US Loosened as Saudi Arabia Takes on New Role

Saudi Arabia has watched as the political tumult of the Arab Spring has swept rulers from power and thrown once stable nations into chaos. It has also kept a close watch on the expansion of terrorist activity in the region, especially in Yemen, and has become increasingly alarmed at al-Qaeda’s influence there. In reaction to this change in the region, Saudi Arabia’s traditionally low-key foreign policy has given way to a more activist approach. It is supporting the Syrian rebels, and may support military action against Iran. But it is also forming ties with China, and leaning less on its long friendship with the United States.

"Tin whiskers" could triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries

For over 60 years, electrical engineers have been trying to minimize the problem of tin whiskers. Growing on tin-plated electronics, the needle-like structures get up to ten millimeters long, and can cause short circuits. Instead of trying to eliminate them, however, Washington State University’s Prof. Grant Norton has been looking into ways of growing them – albeit in a controlled manner. His research has led to the creation of a tin battery anode, which he claims could triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

UN: Humanity speeding down "unsustainable path"

A United Nations report warns that the earth's environmental systems "are being pushed towards their biophysical limits" and that sudden, irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes are looming.

The UN's Environment Program says that climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, plummeting fish stocks and the mass extinction of animals are among the most worrisome environmental threats.

U.S. and China Increase Shale Gas Business Ties

China and the United States may have trade disputes over green technologies. But they will still be collaborating in the shale gas arena.

China needs foreign technology and capital to get at its vast shale gas reserves -- fuel that it desperately needs to feed its energy appetite at 12 percent growth a year. If it is able to access its plethora of recoverable shale gas, it would then become far more reliable, independent and, perhaps cleaner.

U.S. experiences second warmest May, hottest spring on record

Lower 48 also experienced record warm year-to-date and twelve-month periods

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during May was 64.3°F, 3.3°F above the long-term average, making it the second warmest May on record. The month's high temperatures also contributed to the warmest spring, warmest year-to-date, and warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

U.S. House votes to restore clean-coal technology funding

Funding for clean-coal technology research that President Barack Obama attempted to eliminate has been restored by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives in a new water and energy appropriations bill.

Wind Energy at Vortex of Political Spin

The wind power industry is caught in the political whirlwinds. Once again, the sector finds itself at the vortex of a spin battle between partisans, although not between all Republicans and Democrats.


June 8, 2012


5 Genetically Modified Foods You Should Be Aware Of

With all of the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods, many people are actively seeking unaltered foods and avoiding modified.  What some don’t realize, however, is that unlike places such as Europe and Japan, the United States doesn’t require food manufacturing companies to disclose if their food is genetically enhanced or not.  Here are five foods that you might least expect to be genetically modified.


ACEEE: Major New U.S. Energy Find Could Offset Nearly A Quarter Of Nation's Power Use

America now has a major new source of energy that could rival the contribution made to the economy by natural gas, coal, and nuclear power, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which concludes that up to about a quarter (22 percent) of current U.S. energy consumption could be replaced by what experts are calling "intelligent efficiency."

African nations agree to put a price on nature

Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so.

Apps for Energy winners don't discriminate

Winners in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) "Apps for Energy" competition have been announced. The competition was intended to facilitate innovative mobile and web applications that will help energy consumers save money using "Green Button" electricity usage data...

Renewable energy cannot and did not go overlooked.

Bee-Killing Virus Gets Supercharged By Mites

Parasitic mites have turbo-charged the spread of a virus responsible for a rise in honey bee deaths around the world, scientists said on Thursday.

Bee populations have been falling rapidly in many countries, fuelled by a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Its cause is unclear but the Varroa mite is a prime suspect, since it spreads viruses while feeding on hemolymph, or bee's "blood".

Big Pharma: Getting away with murder

If a study comes up negative for your favorite drug, just don't publish it! 68 percent of all drug studies are swept under the carpet to keep those pesky side effects from being reported. Only 32 percent of studies come up positive, and a lot of those studies are "shortened" to limit the long-term findings.

Boeing's Phantom Eye autonomous aircraft makes its first flight

In the course of the ensuing 28-minute flight, Phantom Eye climbed to an altitude of 4,080 feet (1,244 meters) and reached a speed of 62 knots. The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft is actually designed to go as high as 65,000 feet (19,812 meters), carrying a maximum payload of 450 pounds (204 kg), staying aloft for up to four days at a time.

Building a Little Solar-powered House on the Prairie: Off-the-grid or Grid-tied?

Off-grid or not off-grid—that is the question. Indeed, that was a HUGE question Locus architect Paul Neseth posed to Linda and I as we sat down to yet another design session. Like “paper or plastic,” but a lot lot harder.

Business Executives Adopt Dimmer View of U.S. Economy

Business executives are more guarded about the 12-month outlook for the U.S. economy than they were last quarter, according to the second quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants in executive and senior management accounting roles. Most continue to see better prospects for their own companies than the economy as a whole, but concerns about hiring have intensified since the start of the year.

California can't get enough of the Chevy Volt as sales surge

Just a few weeks after General Motors curbed production of Volts, Chevrolet dealers in California are scrambling to get the extended-range electric cars on their lots as sales surge because of special state incentives for electric vehicles and West Coast gas still above $4 a gallon.

China Reduces Interest Rates for First Time Since 2008

China cut borrowing costs for the first time since 2008 and loosened controls on banks’ lending and deposit rates, stepping up efforts to combat a deepening slowdown as Europe’s debt crisis threatens global growth.

China-Russia: Disagreement Over Energy Deal Reveals Underlying Tensions

In his first visit to China after securing a third presidential term, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao issued a joint statement pledging greater cooperation on a number of economic issues, but a natural gas trade agreement was conspicuously absent. The point of contention was said to be price, but the real sticking point is of much larger strategic importance, as LIGNET explains.

Coal losing favor as energy source for electric plants

Low natural gas prices and environmental regulations have had coal on the defensive for some time. But utility executives, despite using more natural gas to generate power, have been reluctant to abandon the idea of coal as the best economical option.

Composite bridges made from recyclables appear across EU

Construction in Europe is traditionally associated with metal, steel and other heavy materials, but plastics and plastic composites are increasingly used as energy and cost-efficient alternatives for buildings, bridges, houses and other structures.

Concerns Increasing about Huawei’s Electronic ‘Backdoors’

Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company best known as a manufacturer of cell phones, is making inroads into the U.S. market despite the fact that several countries, such as Australia, have banned the company from bidding on cellular networks and government contracts due to concerns about electronic “backdoors” in Huawei components – computer code that could allow the Chinese government to secretly steal information or sabotage electronic devices. New information from a sensitive LIGNET source associated with Huawei seems to validate security concerns about Huawei.

Cultural Collapse?  Cannibalism, "Mommy Porn," Gay Rights, Abortion Driving U.S. Headlines this Week

Forget the stagnant American economy and our severe debt crisis and the rapidly mounting troubles in Greece and Spain, at least for a moment. Consider what's driving the news just this week:

Dangers of Genetically Modified Food

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are not as new as you might think.  Both animals and plants have been modified for hundreds of years through a process called selective breeding.  It wasn’t until the rise of genetic engineering that we saw these organisms getting altered in ways not possible before.
Here’s a somewhat staggering statistic: By 1999, over two-thirds of processed food within the United States contained genetically modified ingredients.  So, let’s take a closer look at GMOs and why it sparks so much debate.

Delays mire nuclear plant construction

It almost feels like the 1970s and '80s again with so much news about every new and under-construction nuclear plant registering cost overruns and delays.

Energy Department Announces Launch of Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced plans to invest up to $120 million over five years to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub, establishing a multidisciplinary and sustained effort to identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials. Rare earth elements and other critical materials have unique chemical and physical characteristics, including magnetic, catalytic and luminescent properties, that are important for a growing number of energy technologies. These critical materials are also at risk for supply disruptions.

EPA region launches online waste-to-biogas mapping tool

The EPA launched an online mapping tool for those interested in waste-to-biogas facilities and activities.

Eroded Rights

Nobody recognizes the erosion of rights until it's THEIR rights.(cartoon)

“Eurobonds” Could Save the EU, But Opposition Remains Strong

Ideas to solve the European debt crisis are plentiful and intriguing, but there is inadequate consensus on their merits and no political will to implement them effectively against inevitable popular resistance. The latest flavor of the week is “eurobonds,” which would pool the debt of eurozone members into one place, thereby lightening the burden of troubled nations like Greece. As attractive as this idea is on paper, it is unlikely to be implemented as LIGNET explains.

Eurozone Now Needs the Rest of the World More Than Ever

A great deal of Eurozone's GDP growth in the past came from domestic demand - both in Germany and elsewhere within the union. Of course some of that growth was driven by credit, including cheap sovereign debt. But as austerity kicks in, demand growth begins to struggle.

Flagstaff Residents Embark on Hunger Strike to Oppose Snowmaking on San Francisco Peaks

A pair of young Flagstaff, Arizona residents has embarked on a hunger strike to oppose snowmaking at a ski area on the San Francisco Peaks, held sacred by 13 tribes in the Southwest.

Jessica Beasley, a Navajo tribal member and Northern Arizona University nursing student, and her partner, Joseph Sanders, are keeping vigil during daylight hours at Flagstaff City Call; a city-wide camping ordinance prevents them from staying overnight.

Geostellar raises $13M for solar analytics

Two-year-old Geostellar pulls together dozens of different types of data into its solar analytics platform, including information about weather, shadows, roof slope, closest transmission lines, property values, land use, electricity rates, solar subsidies, and solar hazards. All that data (and more) goes into a system that solar installers and utilities can use to search for useful data to target solar customers.

German solar market shines despite incentive cuts

The German government recently proposed cutting feed-in tariffs (FIT) for new solar installations to simplify the tariff system.

Despite the proposed reduction in incentives, some German markets will remain attractive for photovoltaics (PV) in 2012, including residential and large-scale systems, due to the return on investment (ROI), according to IHS...

Getting Personal: Report Back from the Clean Air Hearings

We all understand that carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels—the gasoline in our cars and coal in our power plants—are contributing to global warming. And the public has spoken: We are ready for climate action!

Great Barrier Reef Headed for World Heritage in Danger List

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has issued a warning to the government of Australia that the Great Barrier Reef could be listed as World Heritage in Danger within eight months if new coastal and port development continues.

Hemp legalization added to Senate farm bill

In a last minute addition to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has submitted an amendment that would legalize the production of industrial hemp, a potential new bumper crop for U.S. farmers.

Intelligence Leaks on Iran Cyber Program Could be Very Damaging

Recent leaks about sensitive U.S. intelligence programs – especially alleged American cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear program – could prove very damaging to U.S. national security and have spurred bipartisan congressional outrage and calls for investigations. Although the Obama administration and its political allies in Congress adamantly dismiss claims that White House officials leaked this information for political gain, the text of a recent press story makes it hard to sustain this argument.

IRENA touts "Renewable Revolution"

Renewable power generation technologies are becoming increasingly competitive due to dropping costs, accounting for the addition of half of all new power generation capacity worldwide.

According to a cost and performance analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable technologies have become the most economical solution for off-grid electrification and grid extension in most areas, as well as for centralized grid supply in locations with good resources.

Japan PM Urged To Be Cautious About Nuclear Restarts

Nearly a third of Japan's ruling party lawmakers are petitioning Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to be cautious about restarting nuclear reactors given safety concerns after last year's earthquake and tsunami, an organizer said on Tuesday.

Kurdistan has the potential to become a key supplier of oil and gas

If Kurdistan has streaked ahead of the rest of Iraq in terms of power development, it still lags in pipeline and refining development. Tamsin Carlisle, in this week's Oilgram News column New Frontiers, discusses how that is about to change.

Medical Device Perils — Are You in Danger?

Millions of Americans live with artificial joints, surgical mesh, heart defibrillators, and other medical devices. Although most people assume they've been tested for safety, the unsettling truth is that in most cases, they haven't. Are they safe?

Recent headlines have questioned the safety of metal hip devices...

Military Biofuels Ban Moves Forward, Ignites Criticism, Backlash

As a proposed ban on military investment and use of biofuels inches closer to fruition in Washington, several groups are speaking out against the bill.

Monsanto Vs Nature: The Weeds Fight Back

So much of Monsanto's poison was spread in the past decade that weeds naturally developed a resistance to it.

Rather than find ways to cooperate with the natural world, America's agribusiness giants reach for the next quick fix in a futile effort to overpower nature. Their attitude is that if brute force isn't working, they're probably not using enough of it.

New Materials Could Slash Energy Costs For CO2 Capture

Study IDs 'zeolite' minerals that are one-third more efficient for carbon capture

A detailed analysis of more than 4 million absorbent minerals has determined that new materials could help electricity producers slash as much as 30 percent of the "parasitic energy" costs associated with removing carbon dioxide from power plant emissions.

NREL research dispels solar cost myths

NREL contends that Chinese producers have an inherent cost advantage of no more than 1 percent, compared with U.S. producers. When trans-ocean shipping costs are factored in, Chinese producers are at a 5 percent cost disadvantage.

Oak Creek power plant back on line

A We Energies coal plant in Oak Creek that had been out of service since last fall returned to full power late last week, a utility spokesman said.

Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security

An accelerating series of leaks of classified information all have two things in common: They directly endanger national security, and the stories reporting on them paint President Obama as a hero.

Plant the Plate Infographic

We all know it—we should eat more fruits and vegetables. But, these healthy foods are currently grown on only 2 percent of U.S. farm acres. Check out our infographic to learn ...

Price tag On Climate Change In Latin America: $100 Billion

Damage from climate change could cost Latin American and Caribbean countries $100 billion per year by 2050 if average temperatures rise 2C (3.6F) from pre-industrial levels, as is seen likely, a new report said on Tuesday.

The region accounts for only 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is considered particularly vulnerable to impact from climate change due to its geographic location and reliance on natural resources, the report commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank said.

Production Tax Credit Tops Wind Energy's Priorities

Failure to extend the production tax credit would devastate the domestic wind energy supply chain and virtually wipe out wind power development next year, officials stressed during the June 4 opening of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) annual conference in Atlanta.

Quote of the Week

By: John F. Kennedy

“Today, we need a nation of Minutemen. Citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”

Record-Setting Low U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Persist

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing average fixed mortgage rates falling to new all-time record lows for the sixth consecutive week amid weak economic and job data helping to keep homebuyer affordability high.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low.  Several C-class flares were observed over the past 24 hours. Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for isolated M-class activity. The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at high levels throughout the period. The geomagnetic field is expected to begin the forecast period at unsettled levels with a chance for active conditons on day one (08 June) as coronal effects wane and a weak CME from 05 June arrives.

Research at Stanford may lead to computers that understand humans

After decades of trial and error, artificial intelligence applications that aim to understand human language are slowly starting to lose some of their brittleness. Now, a simple mathematical model developed by two psychologists at Stanford University could lead to further improvements, helping transform computers that display the mere veneer of intelligence into machines that truly understand what we are saying.

Rove, Gibbs and the Politics of Wind's PTC

So it was with sobering political reality that Karl Rove, a Republican strategist revered for his ability to build the type of coalitions that move voters and legislators alike, spoke to a weary industry Tuesday at Windpower 2012 in Atlanta. Rove, who in many ways cut his political teeth during the early stages of wind development in Texas, took the stage with former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs in a discussion that meandered easily between traditional talking points and insightful projections.

‘Safe' Levels Of Arsenic In Drinking Water Have Negative Health Effects On Pregnant/Lactating Mothers And Offspring, Scientists Find

Exposure to arsenic in drinking water at the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently deems as safe in the United States (10 parts per billion) induces adverse health outcomes in pregnant and lactating mice and their offspring, concludes a study led by Joshua Hamilton of the Marine Biological Laboratory...

Saudi Arabia maps out master solar plan

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia unveiled its ambitious plan to install 41GW of solar power by 2032, including 25GW of CSP. The first bidding round for CSP projects will open early next year.

Scientists Warn Geoengineering May Disrupt Rainfall

Large-scale engineering projects aimed at fighting global warming could radically reduce rainfall in Europe and North America, a team of scientists from four European countries have warned.

Geoengineering projects are controversial, even though they are largely theoretical at this point. They range from mimicking the effects of large volcanic eruptions by releasing sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, to deploying giant mirrors in space to deflect the sun's rays.

Seething Phytoplankton Rainforest Discovered Beneath Arctic Ocean Ice Worries Scientists

The United States space agency NASA has turned its gaze inward—under the Arctic Ocean, to be exact—and discovered a veritable rainforest of phytoplankton bloom beneath the ice.

It’s the complete opposite of what scientists expected, since the single-celled organism was thought to need massive amounts of sunlight for photosynthesis to take place, and they believed there was only enough during summer.

Sen. Bingaman: 'The Only Losers in the Clean Energy Race Will Be Those Who Do Not Compete'

Representing several months' coordination on the part of representatives from U.S. and foreign geothermal companies, government officials, and many experts and individuals in the geothermal community, the GEA's International Geothermal Showcase in Washington, DC on May 23 was a concrete indication of the rising interest in facilitating the use of geothermal energy on every continent except Antarctica. A common theme of the day was that countries around the world are open for business and many governments are taking competitive strides in developing framework for successful geothermal ventures.

Shale Natural Gas And Low Prices Mean A New Reality For U.S. Pipelines

The burgeoning development of shale gas plays across the U.S. has changed the playing field for long-haul pipelines, according to a report published yesterday by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services titled "The Shale Gas Boom Is Shaping U.S. Gas Pipelines' New Reality."

SiGNa's portable hydrogen power solution due out soon

SiGNa Chemistry, a company developing portable hydrogen fuel technology, is close to taking one of its solutions to market. Hydrogen is an emissions-free renewable source of energy – however, logistic obstacles related to current considerations such as high-pressure tanks, and metal and chemical hydrides, have stymied its progress towards the mass market.

Simple Steps for Ultra Effective Home Security

In this report we will provide simple tips such as…

  • How to conduct a 6-step 360-degree Home Security Inspection
  • 3 questions you should ask about your ground level windows…
  • How one simple landscaping tip can help to keep you and your family safe…
  • A simple awareness trick that will cause a home invader to look for another home to target
  • And more…

SoberLook - Draghi Gives a New Meaning to "Behind the Curve"

The European Central Bank left interest rates on hold as the debt crisis tightens its grip on the euro-area economy, increasing pressure on policy makers to deliver

Solar cells for underwater use developed

U.S. researches say they've developed solar cells capable of producing sufficient power underwater to operate electronic sensor systems at depths of 30 feet.

Spain downgraded as bailout estimates mount

Spain's credit rating has been downgraded as estimates on the size of the bailout it needs begin to mount up.

Fitch cut its rating on Spanish government debt by three notches to "BBB", a sign it thinks Spain's ability to honour its debts has weakened.

Earlier, there was strong demand for Spanish bonds at an auction on Thursday, seen as a key test of the country's ability to raise funds.

Study: Coffee Combats Alzheimer’s

Intriguing new research suggests your morning cup of coffee may do more than merely boost your energy and alertness: High blood caffeine levels in older adults appear to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Study: Green operating rooms can save money, reduce environmental impact

Operating rooms produce 20% to 33% of all waste in hospitals in Canada and "greening" those operating rooms can save money and reduce the environmental impact, a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal said.

Much of the waste in the operating room is subjected to specialized treatment, which is expensive and can have a negative impact on the environment, the study said.

The Importance of Belly Fat

Exercisers and those on diets know for sure, that losing weight around the midsection can be the hardest thing to do. They should take comfort in that fact, because according to a new scientific study, belly fat is very important to the immune system. Yes, having a bit of a gut can potentially keep you from getting sick.

There is a 50% chance that El Niño conditions will develop during the second half of 2012

ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in May 2012, following the dissipation of La Niña in April. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are currently near average across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and above-average in the far eastern Pacific

These Ants are Something Else

I saw them in the morning, after quite a few had arrived. You'll have to pardon me for not noticing them right away - until I have my caffeine, I'm not that observant. You could probably march a zombie gang through my kitchen at 6 a.m. and I wouldn't bat an eyelid.

The Specter of Default: How Safe are U.S. Treasuries?

The soaring United States debt -- about $15.6 trillion -- is financed through the sale of Treasury securities, and these enormous offerings make the U.S. dollar the go-to currency for governments, businesses and investors who need to store reserves with the utmost safety. But the debt cannot continue growing forever, or borrowing costs will deprive the government of money it needs for other purposes. Economists and policy makers -- from right and left -- agree on that.

Top 4 Foods to Switch to Organic

So you’ve been reading up on the dangers of eating foods stuffed with growth hormones, and you’re ready to make the plunge for yourself and your entire family.  But your budget doesn’t allow for a complete overhaul.  Luckily, by changing only four foods to organic, you will be able to benefit not only from much heartier meals; but enjoy a healthier lifestyle that avoids many of the horrific additives found in many of the “regular” foods you’re used to eating.

Tweaking U.S. Tax Code Could Spur Green Energy: Senator

A freshman U.S. Democratic senator thinks he may have found a way to encourage investment in wind, solar and biofuel projects without sapping too many taxpayer dollars or injecting new venom into a bitter partisan battle over energy incentives.

Urge Congress to finalize a healthy Farm Bill

Why are we spending billions in taxpayer dollars to subsidize unhealthy junk foods while farmers growing healthy fruits and vegetables get little to no support? Our chance to change all this is now!

U.S. Banks Moving Away from Wholesale Funding

Since the financial crisis, US banks have been rapidly reducing their reliance on wholesale funding. Large time deposits (CDs) went from 21% of the total bank liabilities prior to Lehman to around 13% today (chart below).

US braces for tsunami debris, but impact unclear

More than a year after a tsunami devastated Japan, killing thousands of people and washing millions of tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government and West Coast states don't have a cohesive plan for cleaning up the rubble that floats to American shores.

There is also no firm handle yet on just what to expect.

U.S. cities lag in climate change prep

Cities most active in preparing for climate change are not always the biggest or wealthiest, with Latin America ahead of U.S. cities, a survey found.

U.S. Fed’s Beige Book Report: “Overall Economic Activity Expanded at a Moderate Pace”

Consumer spending was characterized as “flat to modestly positive” across the Districts. Business contacts in three Districts reported that sales increased by a more moderate pace than the previous reporting period as the unseasonably warm weather and an earlier Easter holiday had brought activity forward. Other Districts, however, reported that the warm temperatures were continuing to provide a boost to retailers. Overall, outlooks were optimistic, with modest sales growth expected over the near term.

U.S. firm to build Rwandan homes with organic waste

Global Marketing Partners announced plans recently to invest more than $10 million in the project, according to the article. Wheat, rice and sorghum waste will be converted into fireproof panel boards. After they are reinforced with steel, the boards will be used to build housing units for Rwandan families.

U.S. House votes to kill Obama's medical device tax

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to strike down a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices and other parts of President Barack Obama's healthcare law, although the effort is likely to hit a wall in the Democratic-led Senate.

Vermont governor signs bill banning recycables in landfills

A law banning plastic, glass, cardboard, paper and eventually organic waste from landfills in Vermont has been signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Warmest U.S. Spring On Record: NOAA

So far, 2012 has been the warmest year the United States has ever seen, with the warmest spring and the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Thursday.

Temperatures for the past 12 months and the year-to-date have been the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, NOAA said.

WGC ANALYSIS: Oil-linked gas pricing here to stay

Gas pricing in Europe is at an irreversible tipping point, according to Zeyno Elbasi, part of UK major BP's legal framework and prices team, speaking Wednesday at the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was a view strongly contested by Sergei Komlev, pricing chief for Russia's Gazprom Export, who argues that oil indexation is here to stay as an essential part of a hybrid pricing system.

Will Idaho's solar industry go dark?

The market chaos that drove two Idaho solar power manufacturers to stop production and lay off 350 employees is actually an opportunity for consumers interested in purchasing solar systems.

World Oceans Day 2012

Since 2002, June the 8th has been celebrated as World Oceans Day, a global event coordinated by the Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network. World Oceans Day provides a chance to think about the importance of oceans to humans and celebrate these vital and inspirational bodies of water.

You Think HFCS Drinks Are Dangerous, Mr. Mayor? Why Do You Think Diet Drinks Are Better?

Most soft drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS is a corn syrup that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired level of sweetness. HFCS may suppress the chemicals that signal when you should feel full. For this reason and others relating to the metabolism of sugar into fat, it has been linked to obesity. In addition, because of its processing, some brands of HFCS may contain mercury, a known neurotoxin.


June 5, 2012


8 Surprising Things That May Be Making Americans Fat

Eating too much and exercising too little, considered the root of obesity, are not the only probable culprits

A fortune in fly ash? Neumann Systems digs for rare earths in power plant waste

Outside the Ray Nixon Power Plant south of Colorado Springs sits 3.3 million tons of coal ash, the remnant of three decades of coal-fired power generation.

Nationwide, 20 percent of that residue, called fly ash, is recycled into concrete, but the 80,000 to 100,000 tons of fly ash produced each year by Colorado Springs Utilities' two coal power plants doesn't consistently meet construction industry standards. So, it collects in a landfill that grows by hundreds of tons every day.

After Four Days, Oil Sees Rise

Oil prices edged higher on Monday, snapping a string of four lower finishes, as a drop to multi-month lows attracted bargain hunters and as the euro rose against the dollar on hopes that Europe's leaders can keep the euro zone intact.

Brent and U.S. crude prices fell sharply in early trade coming out of the weekend, still feeling pressure from concerns that slowing U.S. and Chinese economies and the euro zone crisis will curb petroleum demand.

A Hidden Surprise in the US Employment Report

One of the worst surprises buried in the report however was the fact that all the job growth came from increases in part-time jobs. The number of full-time jobs actually declined significantly.

Almost Half of Big Corporations Plan Renewables Increase, Study Says

Nearly half of the world’s largest corporations plan to moderately or significantly increase investment in renewable energy over the next five years, according to research by Ernst & Young.

Arctic Monitoring Stations Report CO2 Levels of 400 parts per million

NOAA reported that six other arctic monitoring stations in their international cooperative air sampling network have reported CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm this spring...

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations run through a natural annual cycle, rising in the fall, winter, and early spring as plant material decays and releases its carbon. Concentrations fall as plant growth takes the CO2 back up in the late spring and summer.

As United States and Western nations pull out, China seeks role in Afghanistan

China and Afghanistan will sign an agreement in the coming days that strategically deepens their ties, Afghan officials say, the strongest signal yet that Beijing wants a role beyond economic partnership as Western forces prepare to leave the country.

At least 30 vessels of unsold coal cargoes float off China's coast

At least 30 Panamax or Capesize vessels are floating off China's coast because traders who bought them have been unable to resell them to end-users, two industry sources said Tuesday at a conference in Indonesia.

Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food

On a recent sunny morning at the Big Y grocery here, Cynthia LaPier parked her cart in the cereal aisle. With a glance over her shoulder and a quick check of the ingredients, she plastered several boxes with hand-designed stickers from a roll in her purse. “Warning,” they read. “May Contain GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).”

Beneficial Birds

Many species of birds have been on the decline in the U.S. for several years. Reasons for the population decline include loss of habitat, pesticides and herbicides, and feral cats, among others. There are ways in which you can attract birds to your homestead and your garden, not only to help bird populations rebound, but also to improve the state of your garden. Many types of birds are beneficial to have around for more than just the enjoyment of their songs.

'Blimp' to Boost Military Intelligence Collection at Low Cost

A military blimp may seem counterintuitive in an era of satellites, stealth fighter jets and drones, but a new unmanned hybrid airship will be a major boost to U.S. military intelligence capabilities by serving as a low-cost, long-duration intelligence, surveillance, and communications platform. Built by Northrop Grumman (NOC) and known as the Long-Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), the new airship is slated to take its inaugural flight in the next few weeks and could be ready for deployment later this year.

Boston officials unsure why lead concentrations in compost increasing

High concentrations of lead found in Boston's compost site have city officials and scientists perplexed.

Since 2005, lead levels have more than doubled in the compost that is collected every year from Boston-area household yards, the Boston Globe reported.

California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and Colorado Lead the Nation in Clean-Energy Leadership

Clean Edge’s third annual State Clean Energy Index, released today, provides the industry’s most comprehensive and objective analysis of how all 50 states, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations that operate there, compare across the clean-energy spectrum. According to Clean Edge’s assessment and ranking of more than 70 different indicators in technology, policy, and capital, the top 10 states in the nation this year are California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, New York, Illinois, New Mexico, Vermont, and Minnesota.

Carbon capture technology breakthrough

A recently analysis has revealed new materials that could help electricity producers slash carbon capture costs by up to 30 percent.

The research comes from Rice University, the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) who found that commonly used industrial minerals called zeolites could significantly improve the energy efficiency of carbon capture technology.

China Leads Growth in Global Wind Power Capacity

Global installed wind power capacity continued to grow in 2011, albeit at a slightly lower rate than in 2009 and 2010, according to new research conducted for our Vital Signs Online service. The world now has approximately four times the installed wind capacity that it did in 2005, reflecting the combined effects of falling prices, improved technology, global investment, and various incentive programs. China led the way with a 43 percent share of global capacity additions in 2011, followed by the United States at 17 percent, India with almost 7 percent, and Germany at 5 percent, writes report author and Climate and Energy Program Manager Mark Konold.

China's Big Customers Will be Doing Less Shopping

In the past when developed market nations slowed down, China relied on its emerging markets clients (EM) for growth. No such luck these days. Emerging markets across the board are slowing sharply, as we saw last week with India (China's big customer).

Chinese Solar Companies Suspend US Shipments

US imports of Chinese solar panels could drop by half this year as a result of the US Commerce Department ruling that slaps a tariff on imports, says market research firm, IHS, Inc.

CNN Lost Half Its Audience in Past Year

CNN’s average audience in May fell to 388,000, with only 113,000 in the 25-54 age bracket that advertisers covet. Fox’s average was 1.65 million, and MSNBC’s was 658,000.

Colorado Researchers Raise Atlantic Storm Forecast

Colorado State University researchers on Friday raised their forecast for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season to 13 tropical storms, with five hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

In April they forecast 10 tropical storms, with four strengthening into hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 miles per hour during the six-month season that began on Friday.

Cool paving materials helps lower city temperatures, study finds

Using cool materials to construct roads and walkways is an effective way of lowering urban temperatures to make cities more comfortable in hot weather, according to a new study. The research found surface temperatures were reduced by 12°C and ambient temperatures were reduced by 1.9°C after cool pavements were installed in a city park in Greece.

Despite Talks, Suspicious Activity Continues at Iranian Nuclear Sites

Multilateral talks with Iran over the last two months aimed at reducing concerns about its nuclear program have achieved nothing and have become overshadowed by reports of new, unexplained activity at Iranian nuclear sites. The talks have essentially backfired, by providing more space and time for Iran to work toward development of nuclear weapons. Tensions are now higher, and the chance of an Israeli attack on Iran has increased.

End of Bush Tax Cuts Will Impact All

President Obama and other Democrats have sought to vilify the Bush-era tax cuts as a benefit for the wealthy, but the scheduled expiration of the cuts at the end of the year would boost taxes for almost every American taxpayer.

If the cuts expire on Dec. 31, all tax brackets will rise, not just the top brackets, and taxes will increase on capital gains and dividends as well.

Energy Storage Market Set for Growth

Self-generation incentives are helping to fuel market interest in small energy-storage systems designed for residences and small businesses in California.

Ex-Im Bank Approves $6.8 Billion in Export Financing in Two Days

The board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) authorized $6.8 billion in export financing on May 30 and 31, increasing its current portfolio to $99.3 billion. These transactions were approved after President Obama signed the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act into law. This legislation immediately increased the Bank's portfolio cap

Flesh-Eating Bacteria: Time to Panic?

Necrotizing fasciitis — more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria — has hit the headlines lately in a big way. Georgia graduate student Aimee Copeland, who has been fighting for her life, and a new mother of twins from South Carolina, are among the victims.

France To Ban A Syngenta Pesticide To Protect Bees

France said it plans to ban a pesticide made by Swiss agro-chemical group Syngenta that is widely used to treat rapeseed crops after scientists suggested it could pose danger to bees.

G8: Leaders open up vital new front in the battle to control global warming

It seems to have gone virtually unnoticed, but the world leaders at the weekend's G8 summit look as if they have taken the biggest step in years in tackling climate change. And it's quite apart from anything to do with carbon dioxide.

Global Economies Enter 'Synchronized Slowdown'

May's dismal jobs report, which showed the U.S. economy picked up a net 69,000 jobs, serves as fresh evidence the world's major economies are slowing in tandem, says Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Pimco, manager of the world's largest bond fund.

GMO Corn and Birth Control

It reads like something out of a Stephen King horror novel--elitists, corporate agents, and government operatives secretly implementing fertility-control methods, decimating populations of people in a nefarious program that would make Margaret Sanger, a leader of the eugenics movement and founder of Planned Parenthood, proud.

Grassley: Wind power tax credit renewal unlikely until after election

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told employees at the Acciona Windpower wind turbine plant here that Congress will probably renew a key tax credit for their industry, but not soon enough to avoid a slump in business.

Halliburton executive drinks fracing fluid at conference

An energy company executive's sip of fracking fluid at an industry conference this month has been called a demonstration by some and a stunt by others, but it's bringing attention to new recipes for hydraulic fracturing fluids that in the past have contained chemicals commonly used for antifreeze or bleaching hair.

Hurricane Season 2012

The 2012 hurricane season is just beginning, While most are predicting a mild season, Florida State is not. On May 30, 2012, COAPS (Center for Oceanic and Atmospheric Prediction Studies) scientists released their fourth annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast. This year's forecast calls for a 70 percent probability of 10 to 16 named storms and 5 to 9 hurricanes.

Iran, Iraq sign agreements to boost cooperation in oil, gas sectors

Iran and Iraq reiterated their cooperation in various areas such as refining, increasing exports of oil and gas products as well as development of shared fields, local news agencies reported Monday.

Iraq Poised to be Oil Giant & An Economic Power, Reports New York Times:  Consistent with BibleProphecy?

n April, I noted the nation we know today as the Republic of Iraq -- known variously in Scripture as Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Shinar -- will emerge as the global center of wealth, power and terrible evil in the End Times, according to Bible prophecy. In Revelation 18, for example, we learn that Babylon will rise to become the most wealthy place on the face of the planet, and develop into an existential threat to Israel and the Jewish people, and then face divine judgment during the Tribulation.

LENR-to-Market Weekly -- May 31, 2012

Once again, we bring you a compilation of various news items about the various LENR companies since our May 24 compilation.

Market forces working against renewable energy

The on-again, off-again nature of U.S. energy tax incentives and the uncertainty over federal spending on research and innovative technology presents a major challenge to the wind energy industry and other alternative energy industries, said Sen. Jeff Bingaman speaking at the opening session of the Sandia National Laboratories Wind Turbine Blade Workshop.

Market tepid for electric vehicles

Eighteen months ago, Philadelphia entrepreneur Norman P. Zarwin opened an electric-vehicle charging kiosk at a gas station he owns on Columbus Boulevard. If he built it, he figured, electric vehicles would come.

They haven't.

McDonald's To End Pork Gestation Crate Use.......... By 2022

McDonald's USA said Thursday that by 2022 it will only buy pork from farmers and other sources that do not use gestation stalls for housing its pregnant sows.

N. Amer coal-to-gas switching likely to stay strong through 2013: S&P

With North American natural gas prices remaining low for the foreseeable future and companies not having fully utilized gas-fired generation capacity, coal-to-gas fuel switching should continue to accelerate through 2013, a Standard & Poor's Ratings Services team said Friday.

Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project Construction Begins

Federal government and Navajo Nation officials Saturday broke ground on the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, which will deliver clean running water from the San Juan River to 200,000 members of the Navajo Nation, a first for many.

New Efficiency Standards for Washers and Dishwashers to Save Billions

The Department of Energy recently announced energy efficiency standards for residential clothes washers and dishwashers that aim to save consumers $20 billion in energy and water costs. The new standards for both clothes washers and dishwashers were informed by feedback from manufacturers, consumer groups, and environmental advocates.

No-money-down leasing deals add energy to solar panel sales

Sunrun Inc. has a message for homeowners who are contemplating going solar: It's cheaper and easier than you think.

Now Greece is looking at an energy crisis

Greece's debt crisis threatened to turn into an energy crunch, with the power regulator calling an emergency meeting this week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system.

Obama-Backed UNESCO Bashing Israel Again

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) this week hosted meetings on the status of Palestine, again drawing attention to its position on an issue that forced the United States to cut off funding for the agency.

Obama’s Betrayal of Oprah Winfrey

Ed Klein’s blockbuster new best-seller about President Barack Obama chronicles Obama’s shocking betrayal of Oprah Winfrey, disclosing how Oprah helped him win the presidency and then was “frozen out” of the White House after the election.

Obama Urged To Threaten Aid To Mexico Over Tuna Labels

A group of U.S. Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged President Barack Obama to threaten Mexico with cuts in economic assistance if the southern neighbor continues to pursue a trade case that has put U.S. "dolphin-safe" tuna labels at risk.

Paying Medical Bills in Cash Slashes Costs

Most Americans are unaware that many hospitals and doctors offer deep discounts for patients who pay in cash — as long as they don’t use their health insurance.

P&G Shifts 200 Forklifts to Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power

Proctor & Gamble, owner of the Tide, Pampers and Gillette brands, will convert its battery-operated forklift fleets at three facilities to ones powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Pipeline Companies Fined $1 Million for Spills in Three States

Two Texas pipeline companies have agreed to pay more than $1 million to the U.S. government to settle claims from three natural gasoline pipeline spills, the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency have announced.

Power plants affected by climate change

Nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants are vulnerable to climate change, U.S. researchers say, as water used to cool their turbines is becoming too warm.

Preparing Your Home (And Yourself) For An Armed Invasion

Be prepared or be a victim—it’s that simple. Who hasn’t heard the horror stories or watched it played out on the evening news? It’s always stories of home invasions and whole families being tortured and killed. Although the statistics say you have more of a chance of being hit by a piece of falling debris from an alien spaceship, why take a chance? With the economy failing, jobless numbers to the moon, and drug use abounding, the chance that you and your family may be at risk rises every day.

Prius Hits the Big Time: #3 Top Selling Car Worldwide

The Prius is officially part of the big leagues. Rather than just leading the hybrid niche, it is now the third top selling car in the world.

Proposed 28th Amendment

No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women serve in the U.S. Military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their pay on retirement. While Politicians hold their political positions  in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full-pay retirement after serving one term. It just does not make any sense.

Quadrotor UAVs used to wirelessly deliver power

..NIMBUS lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are developing a quadrotor equipped with a system that uses strongly-coupled magnetic resonances to transmit power from its batteries to the receiving device without ever needing to make physical contact. The roboticists see this as a solution for powering devices that are otherwise inaccessible to conventional electrical sources.

Recycling sewage into drinking water could save San Diego millions

The city of San Diego could save hundreds of millions of dollars by recycling sewage into drinking water, according to a study given to the city in late May.

Renewable Energy Integration is Becoming a Higher Priority for Smart Grid Projects

Smart grid technologies are often portrayed as being vital to efforts to increase renewable energy production, yet this aspect of the smart grid is the least developed.  While there are multiple companies currently active in this market, their efforts have largely been relegated to PowerPoint presentations, pilot programs, and long range planning.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low.  No Earth-directed CME's were observed during the period. The geomagnetic field was unsettled to active during the past 24 hours due to effects from a favorably positioned coronal hole high speed stream.  The geomagnetic field is expected to be unsettled to active, with a chance for isolated minor storm periods on day one (05 June), due to continued effects from the CH HSS. Days two and three (06-07 June) are expected to be unsettled, with a chance for isolated active periods, as the effects from the CH HSS begin to subside.

Rhode Island to offically open facility for statewide single-stream recycling

Rhode Island's statewide switch to single-stream recycling has finally come.

Rights activist Julian Heicklen flees US, takes refuge in Israel

The Libertarian News Examiner has confirmed that longtime libertarian rights activist Julian Heicklen fled the United States on May 22 for Israel where he was granted political asylum and Israeli citizenship.

Scheduling And Planning Basics For The Prepper Lifestyle

It taught me a great deal about being prepared. Not at all a planner by nature, I have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person. I imagine it is a hangover from the way I was raised. Neither of my parents planned well, and looking back I think they had two things going for them: being in the right place and the right time and there but for the grace of God go I. Honestly, I can’t see how else they got through sometimes.

ScottMadden to Release Energy Industry Update: Solar and Wind Developments

In this upcoming issue themed “Uncertainty Fatigue,” ScottMadden will offer insight on solar and wind developments in light of persistent low natural gas prices, waning policy support in Europe, and uncertainty in the United States. After a ramp-up of development through global stimulus efforts, the renewables sector is at an inflection point as government supports are reduced. Despite these headwinds, declining technology costs due to learning curve effects and approaching compliance dates for many state renewable portfolio standards may help buoy demand for solar and wind projects.

Sen. Murkowski's Fresh Energy Plan To Look Beyond 2012

Frustrated by the gridlock that has stalled Congress leading into the 2012 presidential elections in November, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee is drafting what she hopes is a fresh look at the big-picture energy policy.

Details are still under wraps,..

SoCalGas demonstrates Cogenra’s cogeneration solar system for cooling purposes

Cogenra's cogeneration system produces heat and electricity, increasing efficiency to up to 75 percent.  ..

The idea is to add an element of multitasking to a solar system, in order to maximize its output and value. With Cogenra's cogeneration system, captured and stored heat is used to run the air conditioning system, instead of electricity

Solar energy industry is flourishing in Mass.

Massachusetts is no California when it comes to sun. But that isn’t stopping the solar energy industry from flourishing here.

Massachusetts, better known for long, cold winters, gloomy springs, and gale-driven nor’easters, is undergoing an unlikely solar power boom, attracting solar companies from around the country that are installing systems for homeowners, businesses, and institutions.

Solar power generation world record set in Germany

Plants produced 22 gigawatts at midday hours on Friday and Saturday, meeting half country's electricity needs on second day

Solar-Ready Roofs Standard for New California Buildings

California's latest update on its energy efficiency code for new homes and commercial buildings is doing a wonderful thing:

It requires them to be "solar-ready!"

That puts into place common sense design standards that ensure a building can accommodate solar, opening the possibility for many more buildings to run on solar and helping California's solar industry. Today, many buildings can't have solar because they have too much shade or face away from the sun.

Soros: Germany Has Three Months to Stem Euro Crisis

Germany and its central bank are unlikely to lead the way out of the eurozone debt crisis within three months time, after which it will be too late, U.S. billionaire George Soros said on Saturday.

Speaking at an economic conference in Trento, Italy, Soros said that the euro crisis — which he defined as a sovereign debt crisis and a banking crisis closely interlinked — threatened to destroy the European Union and plunge it into a lost decade like Latin America in the 1980s.

Supplements at the Crossroads...

Will they remain available for you?...

One of our primary concerns regards the sourcing of Dietary Supplements. Right now most dietary ingredients on the US market are manufactured in China or in North America, both areas under immediate threat from Fukushima. "Organic" standards in both areas are not very high.

TEP is asked to stop burning coal

With natural gas prices at their lowest levels in years, Tucson Electric Power Co. hasn't been burning coal at its south-side power plant lately.

Environmentalists want to keep it that way.

The Clean Energy Economy is Creating Jobs

Clean energy jobs are being created all across the country.

The clean energy economy is here, and creating jobs all across the country. In fact, some may even be in your neighborhood.

Transit of Venus and the Mayans

The transit of Venus from June 8, 2004, in this series of six exposures taken in a 38 minute span beginning at 6:34 a.m. on the left and ending at 7:12 am on the right, photographed in Clinton County near Wilmington, Ohio. The second of the pair of twice-a-century transits occurs on June 5 and 6, 2012, in the afternoon and morning, respectively.

It will be an astronomical spectacle for the ages. On June 5 and 6, Venus will undergo a solar transit—for the last time in our lives.

Tundra to Forest

As global warming proceeds the frozen arctic tundra will turn into forest or grass lands. In just a few decades shrubs in the Arctic tundra have turned into trees as a result of the warming Arctic climate, creating patches of forest which, if replicated across the tundra, might accelerate global warming. Scientists from Finland and Oxford University investigated an area of around 100,000 square kilometers, known as the northwestern Eurasian tundra, stretching from western Siberia to Finland. Surveys of the vegetation, using data from satellite imaging, fieldwork, and expert observations from indigenous reindeer herders, showed that in 8-15% of the area willow (Salix) and alder (Alnus) plants have grown into trees over 2 meters in height in the last 30-40 years.

U.S. Team and Israel Developed Iran Worm

The U.S. is pursuing a wide-ranging, high-tech campaign against Iran's nuclear program that includes the cybersabotage project known as Stuxnet, which was developed by the Central Intelligence Agency in conjunction with Idaho National Laboratory, the Israeli government, and other U.S. agencies, according to people familiar with the efforts.

Utility earns top honor for solar

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has named the Investor Owned Utility of the Year for 2012.

The award was presented to Tucson Electric Power (TEP), beating out competing finalists Duke Energy and Hawaiian Electric Company.

WGC: Oil prices weaker on demand outlook, reduced geopolitical concern - Shell CEO

Oil prices have fallen in recent weeks due to a weaker global demand outlook and the reduced impact of short-term geopolitical risk in the market, Shell's CEO Peter Voser said Tuesday.

"The softening of the oil price at the moment is a reflection of some of the geopolitical issues being less dominant and the lower demand outlook coming into the pricing picture," Voser told reporters on the sidelines of the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Why Don't TV Meteorologists Believe in Climate Change?

In recent years, the world's scientists have begun to show that climate change is altering the magnitude and frequency of severe weather, and polls say a majority of Americans now link droughts, floods and other extremes to global warming

And yet, this country's TV weather forecasters have increasingly taken to denying evidence that warming is affecting weather—or is even happening at all. Only 19 percent accept the established science that human activity is driving climate change...

Wilson Electric Installs 1.5MW of Solar Frontier Modules in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Leading Arizona electric services provider, Wilson Electric, announced today the completion of a 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar supplement for the energy needs of the Town of Prescott Valley, Ariz., Tank Farm and Wastewater Treatment Plant, which house a portion of the town’s water pumping stations and wastewater processing. The installation of “CIS” modules manufactured in Japan by Solar Frontier mark the first solar installation for the Town of Prescott Valley.

Wind Not a Silver Bullet, Study Suggests

A former regulator says a study that concludes an increasing amount of wind generation will put downward pressure on electricity prices may not be giving adequate weight to certain critical factors.

The study, “The Potential Rate Effects of Wind Energy and Transmission in the Midwest ISO Region," released May 22, concludes that increasing the amount of wind generation in the Midwest ISO (MISO) region will result in significant reductions in energy costs with only a comparatively modest investment in additional transmission.

World markets under pressure

European stocks were mixed Monday, while Asian stocks sold off in reaction to last Friday's U.S. jobs report that was released after Asian markets had closed.

Investors continue to cast a wary eye on Europe, where problems with Spain's banking system have dominated sentiment, along with the back-and-forth debate about whether Greece will leave the eurozone.

Worsening Spanish Banking Situation Makes Bailout More Likely

Although Spanish bond yields improved slightly today, tensions remain high over Spain’s banking crisis after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said over the weekend that this “is not the eve of the Apocalypse” for his country’s economy and Spanish and EU officials probably began informal discussions of some sort of bailout plan. A debt auction on Thursday will be a key test for the Spanish economy and could force Madrid to drop its official opposition to an EU/IMF bailout.


June 1, 2012


 5-30 Henry Hub Average Natural Gas Spot Prices

The Henry Hub is the pricing point for natural gas futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

400 Chernobyls: Solar Flares, EMP, and Nuclear Armageddon

There are nearly 450 nuclear reactors in the world, with hundreds more either under construction or in the planning stages. There are 104 of these reactors in the USA and 195 in Europe. Imagine what havoc it would wreak on our civilization and the planet’s ecosystems if we were to suddenly witness not just one or two nuclear melt-downs but 400 or more! How likely is it that our world might experience an event that could ultimately cause hundreds of reactors to fail and melt down at approximately the same time?  I venture to say that, unless we take significant protective measures, this apocalyptic scenario is not only possible but probable.

Analysis of US EIA crude oil data

U.S. crude oil stocks climbed 2.128 million barrels last week, continuing an upward trend largely in place since mid-December, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed Wednesday.

An Overview of the U.S. Power Grid Model for the Geomagnetic Storm Threat Environments

Although there are different types of disturbances noted at the Earth surface, the disturbances can be characterized as a very slowly varying magnetic field, with rise times as fast as a few seconds, and pulse widths of up to an hour. The rate of change of the magnetic field is a major factor in creating electric fields in the Earth and thereby inducing quasi-dc current flow in the power transmission network.

Asia Report: China's Solar Giants Unite to Confront Tariff Ruling

For those keeping score, there's one more alliance that's sprouted up in response to ongoing U.S.-China trade disputes.

Average U.S. 15-Year Fixed-Rate Mo Percent

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing fixed mortgage rates following bond yields lower to new all-time record lows. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.75 percent setting a new all-time record low for the fifth consecutive week. The 15-year fixed averaged an unprecedented 2.97 percent bringing three of the four benchmark mortgage rates below 3 percent for the first time in Freddie Mac's weekly survey.

Breakthrough in energy production

Six independent studies were conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the California Institute of Technology. Concluding this research, scientists have validated the company's "Hydrino Theory," saying that it "represents a fundamental breakthrough in clean energy technology." Hydrino's inventor claims that the process releases 200 times more energy than directly burning hydrogen.

Dangers of Genetically Modified Food

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are not as new as you might think.  Both animals and plants have been modified for hundreds of years through a process called selective breeding.  It wasn’t until the rise of genetic engineering that we saw these organisms getting altered in ways not possible before.

Detroit Homeowner Shoots and Kills Intruder, Accidentally Shoots Wife

This news story reports of a 63-year-old man who defended his wife and home against two intruders. However, he ended up shooting his own wife! This is one thing that needs to be considered by everyone who keeps a firearm for self-defense. Do not buy into the rhetoric that homeowners are more apt to shoot themselves with a firearm. Crime is stopped and deterred by law-abiding gun owners every single day. However, it is vital to learn how to shoot correctly and when to shoot. Shooting a gun a few times when you were in the Army or when you were a child is not sufficient.

DOC Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Wind Towers

The United States Department of Commerce has once again ruled in favor of American companies who say Chinese manufacturers are receiving unfair government subsidies.

Dragon spacecraft splashes down marking successful completion of historic mission

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft has splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, marking the successful completion of its mission in which a number of historic firsts were achieved. The splashdown came at approximately 11:42 US EDT, with the unmanned capsule landing in the waters roughly 500 miles (805 km) off the coast of Baja, California.

EU Carbon Eemissions Rise, End Multi-Year Decline

Greenhouse gases from the European Union rose more than 2 percent in 2010 when a cold winter and a rebound in many economies drove up energy use, breaking a multi-year pattern of emissions declines.

The year-on-year rise in the official EU data released on Wednesday was slowed by emissions declines in struggling Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

Eurozone Contagion Spreads to Emerging Markets

Emerging markets currencies are under pressure again. In particular the rupee is getting slammed - now above R56 per $1. The Eurozone-based risk aversion as well as India's economic uncertainties are driving investors into dollars.

Fed's Bullard Says More Easing Unlikely, Warns About Europe

The Federal Reserve could resort to more quantitative easing if the U.S. economy deteriorates, but this situation is unlikely as it is on track for a moderate recovery, an official of the U.S. central bank said on Thursday.

Europe is a potential risk to the global economy and it is up to European governments to follow a plan that reassures financial markets they can repay their debt, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told reporters in Tokyo.

Global Addiction to Government Stimulus

It is quite sad to see just how dependent the global economy and markets have become on government stimulus and bailouts. Here are just a couple of examples:

Green guilt about e-waste on the rise, survey shows

Green guilt is on the rise, according to a survey commissioned by Call2Recycle.

The study shows that 29% of Americans admit that they should be doing more to help preserve the environment.


Groundwater Depletion In Semiarid Regions Of Texas And California Threatens U.S. Food Security

The nation's food supply may be vulnerable to rapid groundwater depletion from irrigated agriculture, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere.

Gulf Power announces rate reduction

"We've seen declining natural gas prices along with increasing coal prices," said Bentina Terry, Gulf Power's vice president of corporate services and external affairs. "In response (to) this, we've aggressively sought out opportunities to provide electricity that is generated by natural gas. By adding more gas to our mix, and with gas prices down, we want to pass those savings along to our customers, especially as we're coming on the hot summer months."  [ed: Yes, it CAN happen]

ICBC Deal May Signal More Chinese Bank Expansion in U.S.

The Federal Reserve's recent approval of the acquisition of the U.S. subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia by the Chinese state-controlled Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) likely signals the start of a bigger push by Chinese banks into the U.S. market. Fitch Ratings sees the potential for additional acquisitions by Chinese banks to alter the competitive landscape for U.S.-based banks that primarily serve the Asian American community.

In Position to Seize

Authorities can seize any property they want under civil forfeiture laws, and anyone carrying a lot of cash or valuables on their person is automatically suspected of committing nefarious activities. You're guilty before proven innocent... and even though you're seldom charged with a crime, you almost never get your property back.

Italy's Recession is Becoming Severe

There is basically no good economic news coming out of Europe these days. And the news out of Italy has been particularly sad. A couple of nasty earthquakes that recently hit Italy have killed a number of people and damaged factories, adding to an already bleak economic picture. On top of that the government had to increase gasoline taxes to pay for the reconstruction.

It doesn't matter where you live, you can Grow a Garden

I don't know if you're like me, but when I walk in the grocery store and find a limp summer squash priced at over a dollar, I can't bring myself to put it in the buggy. And those tomatoes that are beautiful on the outside? They taste like ammonia when you bite into one...

... or taste like nothing at all. And my jaw dropped when I saw the price on a four-pack.

Just How Prepared Are We?

We talk quite a bit about preparedness, but in all honesty, how prepared are we really? According to our guest on Off the Grid Radio today... not very.

Justice Department Probes Whether BP Execs Lied To Congress: WSJ

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether BP executives lied to Congress about how much oil leaked in the company's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the investigation.

MHD-EMP protection guidelines

a strong magnetohyrodynamic electromagnetic pulse (MHD-EMP). The geomagnetic disturbance interacts with the soil to induced current and horizontal electric gradients in the earth. MHD-EMP, also called E3 since it is the third component of the high-altitude EMP (HEMP), lasts over 100 s after the exoatmospheric burst. MHD-EMP is similar to solar geomagnetic storms in it's global and low frequency (less than 1 Hz) nature except that E3 can be much more intense with a far shorter duration. When the MHD-EMP gradients are integrated over great distances by power lines,

Natural gas use at power plants up 40% in March from a year ago: EIA

The use of natural gas to fuel US power plants climbed by nearly 40% in March from a year ago, from 503.9 Bcf to 703.5 Bcf, the US Energy Information Administration said Wednesday in its monthly electricity update.

The increase in natural gas use came at coal's expense as coal use fell by more than 20% from a year ago, from 72.3 million tons to 57.6 million tons.

New federal grant bolsters UNLV research on nuclear waste storage

Deep in the heart of the UNLV campus, down windowless hallways and in laboratories teeming with beakers, centrifuges and Geiger counters, the element technetium has become an object of intense fascination for researchers.

New method speeds search for solar energy storage catalysts

Storing solar energy for the periods of time when the sun isn’t shining is key to improving solar technology. The energy produced can be stored in batteries or used to produce fuel that can act as storage. Solar fuel processes are generally modeled on photosynthesis, the natural process whereby plants convert sunlight into chemical energy in the form of biomass and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Current options are expensive, but a group or researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison claim they have found a faster, cheaper method to find electrocatalysts that improve the water oxidation process in the search for solar energy storage.

Pollution Teams With Thunderclouds To Warm Atmosphere

New simulation study shows that atmosphere warms when pollution intensifies storms

Pollution is warming the atmosphere through summer thunderstorm clouds, according to a computational study published May 10 in Geophysical Research Letters. How much the warming effect of these clouds offsets the cooling that other clouds provide is not yet clear. To find out, researchers need to incorporate this new-found warming into global climate models.

Reich: US Can Fix Budget Without Austerity

Economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says the United States can fix its economy without resorting to the austerity measures plaguing much of Europe.

"The way to avoid this austerity trap is to get growth and jobs back first, and only then tackle budget deficits," Reich writes in the Christian Science Monitor. "The U.S. hasn’t yet fallen into the trap, but it could soon."

Renewables minimize GHG emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions increased in the European Union (EU) in 2010, driven by economic recovery and a colder winter. Continuing, strong growth of renewable energy sources is containing that growth.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low ..everal low-level C-class x-ray ..No Earth-directed CME's..The geomagnetic field isexpected to be mostly quiet on days one and two (01 - 02 June). Quiet to unsettled conditions with a chance for isolated active periods are expected late on day three (03 June) due to the anticipated arrival of a recurrent coronal hole high speed stream.

Report: Tariffs' Impact on Solar Project Costs Will Be Small

Solar geoengineering could lead to whiter, brighter skies

We’ve already heard reports that placing small, reflective particles into the upper atmosphere could actually improve crop yields, but would also significantly reduce the amount of electricity generated by solar power plants and do little to arrest the acidification of the world’s oceans. Now another potential side effect has been theorized by Californian researchers, who say that solar geoengineering could lead to whiter skies.

Spain May Leave Eurozone Before Greece

The world is gnashing its teeth over the notion that Greece could exit the eurozone, dubbed by markets as a "Grexit."

Market observers should fret more over a "Spexit," one analyst says, as a Spanish withdrawal from the eurozone is more likely as the country is too big to bail out.

TEPCO facing a challenge of rising fuel prices

Japan's largest power utility Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, has fallen into sharp deficit for two consecutive years after suffering from nuclear accidents caused by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The Law of the Sea Treaty: Going Nowhere Fast

Although the Obama administration is engaged in a full-court press to persuade the U.S. Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) – which has been before the Senate without a vote on ratification since 1994 – the treaty’s supporters still have not answered serious security and sovereignty concerns. As a result, a change in U.S. policy is unlikely, as LIGNET explains.

The Market to Spain: Recapitalize the Banks or Face Funding Problems

Spain's banking system and regional debt problems are now becoming the key driver behind the risk aversion sweeping  the Eurozone. The German current 3-month bill yield is now firmly in the negative territory. People are paying the German government to hold on to their euros.

The Spike in Ratings Downgrades is Driven by Banks

Fitch has been on a downgrade "war path" recently. The latest downgrade vs upgrade statistics are showing a "mini spike" in the number of downgrades. It's not nearly as bad as the 2008/2009 cycle, but is clearly visible. This spike is coming entirely from rating actions in the developed markets.

US coal production falls 5.3% year-on-year in week ended Saturday: EIA

US coal production in the week ended Saturday totaled 18.5 million st, 5.3% below that of the corresponding week of 2011, and 4.4% above the previous week's estimate, the Energy Information Administration said Thursday.

US heaps new pressure on Russia over Syria

"The U.S. is heaping new pressure on Russia to change course and support international action in Syria, warning that intransigence by Moscow may lead to open civil war that could spill across the Middle East with devastating effects. Speaking on Russia's doorstep in Denmark, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton derided the Russian government for continuing to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, even after last week's massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla."

What Is Holding Back Solar Hot Water in the US?

Solar hot water has been a commercialized technology for many, many years now. It had its heyday back in the 1980s when it seemed like everyone was putting a system on his or her roof. Even my dad, the ultra-conservative New York City money manager put one on our house in Connecticut when I was a teenager.

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

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.

When it Comes to Credit, Greece is Already Out of the Eurozone

Recently, the problem of tight credit conditions have been exacerbated by domestic and foreign firms becoming more unwilling to sell goods to Greek customers unless they are paid for up front. In other words, credit risk is stopping some transactions from taking place. What’s more, some foreign buyers of Greek goods and services are delaying payment, in case Greece exits and the size of their bill (in euro-terms) drops.

Whose mess is it? Electric company says it's not required to dispose of trees that fall on lines

"On Monday, (the Potomac Edison crew) worked hard to get the service up. They took the huge branch off the power lines," said Dahut, who lives on Lindbergh Avenue in Frederick.

But after cutting the limb into large pieces, the utility company workers did not remove the debris.

"I called Potomac Edison and was told their policy is that they don't take the trees away," Dahut said. "I told them it was a bad policy.

Xcel officials say customers won't suffer blackouts

Xcel Energy officials are confident their Texas and New Mexico customers will be all right, even with the possibiilty of rolling blackouts in the Texas energy grid, but noted that conservation is always helpful in the heat of May through August.

Yes, authorities are now searching citizens' trash

Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, a spa resort town of about 27,000 in the western, French-speaking portion of the country, has started enforcing its pay-as-you-throw trash system with unusual gusto.

(How do you say "big brother" in French? … grand frère?)


May 29, 2012


Aboriginal Leader Ovide Mercredi’s Stirring Anticolonialism Speech

Aboriginal Leader Ovide Mercredi gave a stirring speech at the Crown–First Nations Gathering in January 2012. Now, as the 11th Session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has wrapped up and leaders strive to bring the message of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the people, Mercredi’s discourse about decolonization earned thumbs-up from aboriginals everywhere.

Alaskan Crews Gear Up To Tackle Japan Tsunami Debris

Cleanup workers will soon attack a jumble of debris from Japan's 2011 tsunami that litters an Alaskan island, as residents in the state gear up to scour their shores for everything from buoys to building material that has floated across the Pacific.

All the Subscribers to the Housing Armageddon Theories, Just Look at the Data - the US Housing Market is Beginning to Recover

The US housing's bubble and its spectacular end left a indelible mark on people's view of residential property markets. Sadly the idea of a "permanent" US housing market decline has been drummed into the heads of numerous, often well educated and otherwise open-minded people. Hoards of angry bloggers keep spewing the same line over and over again - housing prices will fall "forever" because of the shadow inventory, etc., etc. People, including many in academia, would deny a housing market improvement even if it stared them in the face. Positive housing news cause many to experience what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance", as they desperately attempt to rationalize away the data that doesn't conform to their views.

Another Confirmation of Run on Spanish Banks

There have been some questions about the veracity of the ISI data shown in the post labeled "Run on banks in Spain is very real". As a confirmation of those results we provide the latest data from the ECB. The chart below shows quarter over quarter changes in total deposits by the "real economy" (excluding deposits by banks with each other) at German and Spanish banks. The data is through Q1 of this year. Given the record spreads of Spanish to German bonds was saw on Friday, does anyone believe this situation has improved since the end of the first quarter?

Bail-in Provisions Will Exacerbate Run on Banks, Drive German Asset Inflation

Should a bank were to become "insolvent", these provisions will allow the regulators to force orderly defaults, subordinating these bonds behind any government bailout funds. But because most bank assets that would have value in a liquidation are already pledged (particularly in the periphery) to the ECB under the LTRO programs, there will be nothing to recover under these unsecured claims. Unsecured bank bonds have basically become equity with no up-side. The provisions will essentially put an end to most EU banks' ability to issue anything but covered bonds.

Black Mesa Shouldering the Burden of Navajo-Hopi Water Project

Black Mesa is among the most remote and traditional communities on the vast Navajo Nation and an area who will be affected by the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Settlement Act of 2012.

Climate Change Doubt not due to ignorance of the science

A new study has dispelled the myth that the public are divided about climate change because they don't understand the science behind it.

And the Yale research published today reveals that if Americans knew more basic science and were more proficient in technical reasoning it would still result in a gap between public and scientific consensus.

Egypt: Islamists Look to Consolidate Control

Violence that followed last week’s presidential election in Egypt speaks to the frustration felt by many Egyptians at the narrowing of the field to two candidates, neither of whom is likely to move the country in a more democratic direction. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, who is likely to win the two-man run-off election next month, could be expected to take the country in the opposite direction in fact, consolidating power, threatening the Christian population and joining with the Islamist-dominated parliament to revisit the peace accord with Israel.

Entergy Gets Nuclear License Extended

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has authorized Entergy’s (NYSE: ETR) 660-MW Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, Mass., to continue operating for an additional 20 years, until mid-2032.

It’s all part of the bigger debate as to whether nuclear energy will grow its market share in this current climate or whether it will maintain it, or even shrink. The debate also highlights the current dissension among the NRC’s commissioners, and who might replace the exiting NRC chair.

Experts: Oil Prices May Have Further to Slide

Crude oil has plunged about 15 percent from its February high, and some experts say the party’s just getting started.

Crude futures settled at a seven-month low Wednesday, just below $90, and remain not far from that level, weighed down by surging stockpiles and slowing global economic growth that has pinched demand.

Former Fukushima Daiichi Worker: ‘I believe the country will be evacuated if No. 4 fuel pool collapses’ — ‘Should be hundreds or thousands of people working furiously every day’

There are several reasons why I believe the country will be evacuated if the #4 SFP collapses. The amount of radioactive material in the fuel pool dwarfs the total amount at Chernobyl by a factor of 5 to 10. Chernobyl’s core was still mostly contained in a building (although heavily damaged), and most of the radioactive material melted downward and became lava like. If #4 SFP collapses it will be lying on the completely open ground, probably going critical on and off in portions of the pile for years. The dose rate from this pile will make dropping sand or anything from the air much more lethal than anything at Chernobyl. And probably impossible. The entire site at Fukushima will be uninhabitable and unworkable because of the dose rate coming from this pile of fuel. That means there will be no control of the other fuel pools, and we could lose control of them.

Fukushima Radiation Higher Than First Estimated

The radiation released in the first days of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was almost 2-1/2 times the amount first estimated by Japanese safety regulators, the operator of the crippled plant said in a report released on Thursday.

Fukushima Radiation Seen In Tuna Off California

Low levels of nuclear radiation from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima power plant have turned up in bluefin tuna off the California coast, suggesting that these fish carried radioactive compounds across the Pacific Ocean faster than wind or water can.

Small amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after these chemicals were released into the water off Japan's east coast, scientists reported on Monday.

Global CO2 Emissions Hit Record In 2011 Led By China: IEA

China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

Iran Under Mysterious 'Flame' Cyber Attack

Security experts have discovered a highly sophisticated computer virus in Iran and other Middle East countries that they believe was deployed at least five years ago to engage in state-sponsored cyber espionage.

Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear program in 2010, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software maker that claimed responsibility for discovering the virus.

Iraq's fourth bid round evolves with Kurdish oil dispute

When the remaining qualified international oil companies bid on the 12 exploration blocks offered by Baghdad in a licensing round May 30 and 31, they will also be acknowledging that only the central government has the final authority to sign oil and gas deals.

Is Something Wrong With Modern Medicine?

Modern medicine can treat these diseases and is even getting much better at curing cancer. However, there is no cure for diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. Modern medicine enables these diseases by giving patients drugs to treat symptoms without curing the diseases. This is fraud. Patients must remain on these drugs for the rest of their lives. This means that patients must deal with the diseases and the toxicity of the drugs. Some of the drugs used to treat the symptoms of these diseases are very toxic.

Japan Says Fukushima Spent-Fuel Risk Contained

Japanese officials said on Saturday the unprecedented effort to remove spent fuel rods from one of the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors was on track despite lingering concerns about the structure's vulnerability to another earthquake.

Kansas Governor Signs Bill Effectively Banning Shariah

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill aimed at keeping state courts and agencies from using Islamic or other non-U.S. laws when making decisions, his office said on Friday.

Landfill gas-to-electricity plant brought online in Nevada

Energenic receives landfill gas extracted from a series of wells at the landfill and processes the gas in two turbine generators to make renewable electricity for NV Energy customers. The captured methane is converted to water and carbon dioxide when the gas is burned to produce electricity.

Massive black holes stop the creation of new stars

Astronomers are suggesting that the radiation and winds from supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies halts star generation within the galaxy

New study dismisses "myths" concerning competitiveness of solar power

A new research paper released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims that common perceptions advocating a lack of competitiveness of solar power are misleading and redundant.

Nuclear power plant shut down after switchgear malfunction

Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR)’s 974 MW River Bend nuclear power plant in Louisiana was shut down May 24 due to loss of a high-pressure feed to the reactor following a switchgear malfunction.

Ohio Legislature OKs Bill On Energy Fracking Rules

The Republican-led Ohio legislature approved a bill setting rules for drilling and related activities in the state's shale gas industry, in a vote late on Thursday, responding to a series of small earthquakes in Ohio last year that experts linked to a practice called fracking.

Oil prices still very high in fragile global economy: IEA chief economist

Oil prices are still unacceptably high at a time when the global economic recovery remains fragile, International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol said in an interview ahead of a key gas report Tuesday, calling on key oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia to continue to "behave responsibly" during the months ahead.

President Obama Evolving on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Now, it seems though President Obama’s stance on hydrogen fuel cell cars and vehicles is evolving. From recent rhetoric is sounds like within the President’s “All of the Above” energy policy that he is no longer discriminating against hydrogen cars in favor of battery electric cars.

This Estimate of Situation [EoS] regards the dangerous technologies that are threatening human survival and the natural solutions to the dangers posed. I have called these the “Genomicidal Technologies that are weaponizing the world against human survivial...”

Rating Agencies Warn Further Downgrade Without Deficit Plan

Rating agencies say they need to be convinced that lawmakers have a real plan in the works to reduce the growing debt if the nation is to avert future downgrades, according to a report by The Hill.

“If Congress doesn’t put in place a process that assures people that this will be addressed in a real manner . . . then there is no doubt in my mind that our sovereign debt will be downgraded,” said Steve Bell, the senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Markets throughout the world are going to be looking at the action of the United States government.”

Real Budget Deficit $5 Trillion, USA Today Study Finds

According to the U.S. Congress, the federal government’s budget deficit last year was $1.3 trillion. According to a USA Today analysis, the true figure is an astronomical $5 trillion.

The reason: Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits when computing the deficit, unlike companies which must include these commitments in financial statements.

Liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other retirement programs rose by $3.7 trillion in 2011, but the amount was not included on the government’s books, the analysis found.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

B7 flare at 28/1249Z, which was the largest flare of the period.  A CME The CME does not appear to be Earth directed.Solar activity is expected to be very low to low for the next three days (29-31 May).  The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet for the next three days (29-31 May). .  Event Probabilities 29 May-31 May

Solar cheaper than fossil fuels?

It’s not an altogether uncommon prediction these days. Just last week we heard from market intelligence company Global Data, whose latest report has found that the cost of generating clean energy like solar power is coming increasingly closer to the cost of generating energy from traditional, non-renewable sources. The report says that some US projects could reach grid parity as early as 2014. China is also due to witness similar developments, says the report, with grid parity for solar expected to reach in most regions by 2015-2016.

Sustainable Ekó House takes inspiration from Brazilian indigenous nation

For its entry in the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe, a group of Brazilian architects, designers, students and researchers has taken its cues from the native Tupi-Guarani people, one of the largest aboriginal nations in Brazil. Called Ekó House, the project scales up Ikea’s self-assembling concept and combines it with solar power, rain collection, natural lighting, a dry toilet and a system to turn sewage into garden fertilizer.

Texas posts 13 percent increase in energy from renewable sources

Texas posted a 13 percent increase in energy generated by renewable sources in 2011, according to the state’s renewable energy credits registry administered by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of the state.  

The JPMorgan Incident, in Real Talk

The Senate banking Committee and many politicians are trying to politicize the recent revelation that JPMorgan lost $2 billion on a trade that the CEO considered "stupid".

Three people lost their jobs, and many politicians and regulators have attacked JPMorgan and its flamboyant CEO, Jamie Dimon.

The trouble with Persian Gulf islands

States on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf have long regarded their offshore islands as special places.

There are several reasons for this, all linked to the islands' shared geology and the resulting regional distribution of sweet water and oil resources.

U.S., China on course to solar grid parity

In the U.S., solar PV technology is expected to reach grid parity by 2017 in most regions in alignment with average residential electricity prices. China is expected to reach grid parity in most regions between 2015 and 2016, the research projects

Watered-down U.K. "cookie law" comes into effect, internet barely notices

A new law came into effect in the U.K. this past weekend which requires U.K.-based websites to receive consent from visitors before using cookies to store tracking information about them. Though the law originally called for visitors to explicitly opt-in with the use of a checkbox or similar method, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent privacy watchdog, backpedaled just 48 hours before the law was to come into force and watered down the legislation to allow "implied consent" - in other words, websites can assume users have already consented to the use of cookies.


May 25, 2012


14 Pilgrim protesters charged with trespassing

Sunday was not the first time Joyce Johnson has been arrested for standing her ground.

The 79-year-old Falmouth resident was arrested in 1988 at the entrance to Otis Air National Guard Base while protesting the deployment of Green Berets to El Salvador, she said Monday while waiting to be arraigned for allegedly trespassing at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station over the weekend.


150,000 More US Heat Deaths Projected By 2100

Killer heat fueled by climate change could cause an additional 150,000 deaths this century in the biggest U.S. cities if no steps are taken to curb carbon emissions and improve emergency services, according to a new report.

About the Law of the Sea

The declining health of the world’s oceans is a global concern. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a set of rules for the use of the world's oceans, which cover 70 percent of the Earth's surface.

The Convention was concluded in 1982 to replace a group of treaties adopted in 1958 that were out of date and unfavorable to America's economy and security. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, and to date, 159 countries and the European Union have joined the treaty. As of yet, the United States has not.

Abundance of Methane Hydrates will Destroy the Oil Market

As Al Fin pointed out yesterday natural gas is priced to a barrel of oil equivalent at about $10-$11 per the estimable Geoffrey Styles view, something less than 10% of the cost of oil.  For North Americans adding a viable and hopefully low cost means to make use of gas hydrates could be giant boost to low cost fuel sources and a massive kick to the economy.

Advice to these trash guys: Don't look down

Chinese people have visited temples and shrines atop Mount Hua or "Hua Shan" for thousands of years. Tourists flock there, too, lured by the Hua's stunning beauty, incredible views and awe-inspiring immensity (the steep cliffs climb more than 7,000 feet into the sky.)

After Chicago Summit, a Weaker NATO Emerges

In announcing its decision to officially end combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, NATO has all but admitted that it is exhausted after a decade of war in that rugged, inhospitable nation. Departing without a clear-cut victory to its credit and with difficult budgetary challenges to confront at home, the alliance is now weaker than it once was and this trend is likely to continue, as LIGNET explains.

Another Volley as US-China Trade Battle Intensifies

China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said that after a months-long investigation it has ruled that the United States government broke World Trade Organization rules by supporting six renewable energy projects through unfair grants.

Asia Report: Solar Stocks Tumble After Tariff Ruling

It was another rough week for China's once booming solar manufacturers, who are already reeling from overcapacity and major subsidy drawbacks in the European market.

Australian shale gas still 10 years away from substantial output: Wood Mackenzie

Australia's nascent shale gas industry is still around 10 years from achieving any significant level of production, according to industry consultants Wood Mackenzie.

"We are just so early days -- to get any sort of substantial production, you are going to have to drill lots of wells, 50 to 100 at least...

Back in the Day

Back in the day, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted. Since I turned thirty, I definitely noticed my metabolism slowing, and now I have to work extra hard to maintain a healthy weight.

What really stinks is the fact that avoiding sweets & fattening foods is no longer my only concern!

Genetically modified organisms (GMO's)

WOW! What the heck is that?

Beijing Olympics Study Reveals Biological Link Between Air Pollution, Cardiovascular Disease

Using the 2008 Beijing Olympics as their laboratory, University of Southern California (USC) researchers and colleagues have found biological evidence that even a short-term reduction in air pollution exposure improves one's cardiovascular health.

Ben Franklin Center identifies shale gas innovations with potential

The two best shale gas innovations related to new products and services or new technologies were:

  • Holding multiple patents on ultra-high performance polymers used by the oil and gas industry, Polymics Ltd. developed a lightweight, reusable, leak-proof mat system that effectively contains mud and fluids during pad construction.
  • The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State University developed a "patch box" system for retrofitting diesel truck fleets utilizing natural gas, addressing a critical transportation issue in the industry.

Beyond oil, can Alaska be tapped as a source for renewable energy?

Alaska has massive hydro, wind, geothermal and other renewable resources, but the state's rural villages are chained to diesel and suffer oppressive energy costs they say threaten their existence. Lawmakers, energy experts and Native leaders said Thursday it's a dire problem with elusive solutions.

Biomass facility leads to powerhouse closure

With the recent startup of the Biomass Cogeneration Facility to provide clean energy to the Savannah River Site, a coal-burning facility that powered the site for 60 years is now preparing for deactivation.

Breaking News: Big Scientific Free Speech Win!

In a 335-page ruling handed down today, an Administrative Law Judge with oversight of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has upheld the right of pomegranate juice manufacturer POM Wonderful to tell consumers about the health benefits of its juice.

Breakthrough: Skin Cells Used to Build Heart Muscle

Scientists have for the first time succeeded in taking skin cells from patients with heart failure and transforming them into healthy, beating heart tissue that could one day be used to treat the condition.

California PUC Rules in Favor of Net-Metering

The commission clarifies language that will unlock gigawatts of distributed solar in the state.

Carbon Sciences pursues carbon dioxide recycling

Carbon dioxide emissions result from the burning of petroleum, coal and natural gas. With growing environmental standards, there is an interest in keeping carbon dioxide emissions to a minimum. Instead of capturing and burying the carbon, Elton proposed using those releases to create "syngas," which could then be converted into transportation fuels.

"While you can achieve the goal of making 'syngas,' using carbon to do so is not now commercially viable because it is still too expensive," Elton told Forbes.

CBO: Ending Bush Tax Cuts Will Send US Off 'Fiscal Cliff'

A new government study says that allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire and a scheduled round of automatic spending cuts to take effect would probably throw the economy into a recession.

CBO: 'Fiscal Cliff' Could Push US Back Into Recession

A stalemate over how to tackle a series of fiscal deadlines at year's end would likely push the United States economy into recession in the first half of next year, the Congressional Budget Office warned.

A wave of U.S. tax hikes and automatic spending cuts — dubbed the "fiscal cliff" — are set to take effect in January unless Congress and the White House agree on ways to delay or revise at least some of them.

Climate Change Heat Waves: the Silent Killers

More than 150,000 additional Americans could die by the end of this century due to excessive heat caused by climate change, finds a new report based on peer-reviewed science.

Of the 40 cities studied, the three with the highest number of projected heat-related deaths through the end of the century are: Louisville, Kentucky with 19,000 deaths, Detroit, Michigan with 18,000 deaths and Cleveland, Ohio with 17,000.

Climate Models Indicate Likely El Nino Return: Australia

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the climate models it monitors indicate a possible return of the El Nino weather pattern, often linked to heavy rainfall and droughts, in the second half of 2012.

CO2 Removal Catalyst

There are several ways to remove CO2 from a stack gas. None have reached a commercial basis yet due to the expense of the processing. The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing CO2, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs. With this success, the Laboratory has become a world leader in designing catalysts that mimic the behavior of natural enzymes.

Coal-to-gas switch in US Southeast driven by price, new builds through 2015

The Southeast, the top power-consuming region in the US and the leader in coal-to-gas switching, is poised to become a gas-on-gas battleground as Marcellus producers aim to win market share from other shale basins and traditional Gulf supplies.

Congress at the Crossroads

Mr. President, today [May 24, 2012] I'm offering an amendment to the FDA. I'm troubled by images of armed agents raiding Amish farms and preventing them selling milk directly from the cow. I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers' land and telling them they can't sell milk directly from the cow.My amendment has three parts.

Counting the barrels of oil going through Seaway, now and in the future

Genscape, a company whose many activities include flying around Cushing, Oklahoma and figuring out from the sky how much oil is in the ocean of storage tanks there, has been taking a look at the Seaway Pipeline.

Court upholds $3.4 billion Native American deal

An appeals court on Tuesday upheld a $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit over mismanagement of government trust funds for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, ruling that it was fair, reasonable and adequate.

CSR project aims to create a high-speed, carbon-neutral steam-powered locomotive

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.

Declaring War on Alternative Fuels

Sometimes calculating efficiency can be difficult. Do you rely just on the cost associated with your achieving your ultimate goal? Does it make more sense to look a little deeper and assess the impact of your choices to determine whether the route that looks the cheapest carries with it unintended consequences—consequences that could trigger even more expensive fixes at a later date? And what about the influences that are more difficult to quantify: those environmental, political, or human resource-related hazards and half steps?

Desalination: Solving Water Problems Or Creating A New One?

Faced with water shortages in its sunny south, Spain has become a European trendsetter in harnessing seawater for human use and is an industrial leader in desalination.

In other increasingly dry regions of southern Europe, desalination offers promise for farmers and households that compete for freshwater, say advocates who also see the technology as both economically vital to the European Union and an answer to its long-term water security.

Electricity generated from water: BlackLight Power announces validation of its scientific breakthrough

Leading academic and industry experts have validated BlackLight's new process that directly produces electric energy from the conversion of water vapor to a new, more stable form of Hydrogen. Experts agree that BlackLight's 'Hydrino theory' represents a fundamental breakthrough in clean energy technology.

European refiners see US shale oil boom as a 'game changer' threat

Europe's long-suffering refining industry is facing a new threat from the boom in US shale oil and gas which could see a surge in US light fuel production erode Europe's traditional export market for gasoline, the deputy head of Europe's refining industry association Europia said Wednesday.

Europe's Big Fat Greek Heart Attack

A diet can't save them now. Time to get that defibrillator ready.

Imagine being told that you will likely suffer a heart attack, yet not how big it will be or how serious. If you could get your arms around the enormity of the news, you'd want to know whether your body could stand the shock and what the aftermath of the attack would look like.

This is exactly what is going on today in policy circles -- and beyond -- as the world monitors the developments in Greece with a growing feeling of helplessness and concern. Recognition is spreading that Greece faces the rapidly rising probability of another default and, critically this time around, a potential exit from the eurozone. And governments in Europe, and increasingly elsewhere, are wondering what this means for them.

Failure of Nuclear Talks Increases Chances of Israeli Airstrike

Despite significant concessions made to Iran by the United States, France, and the UK during multilateral talks this week on Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran refused any deal unless all sanctions against it are first dropped, a demand the West rejected. While the participants agreed to meet again in Moscow next month, Iran’s intransigence and word that it continues to expand its uranium enrichment program has left tensions at a high level and raise the chances of an Israeli airstrike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

FDA, Under Court Order, Nevertheless Refuses to Allow Truthful Claims Based on Good Science

You would think the FDA would obey a judge’s ruling on qualified health claims. Think again.

FEULNER: Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty

According to its advocates, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. One of them concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our continental shelf. The treaty’s proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty.

“If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended continental shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded,” said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican.

Foreign Dominance of U.S. Clean Energy Market Spells Trouble for America

If you are a small player in the U.S. clean energy market, you are having a harder and harder time finding capital to continue to fund your business, despite that fact that your domestic market is seen as the one with the largest potential for growth. So what do you do? According to Third Way, a political think tank, you look to foreign investors.

Fuel Cells Aren't Spewing Hot Air, But are They Cost Effective?

What’s going on in the fuel cell world these days? Those in the communications arena are saying that life is only getting better while those using the technology for on site generation are still trying to make headway.
Fuel cells can be used to fuel vehicles and to provide power to industry. And, they can be applied as well to telecom businesses, particularly for those niches that can’t afford to lose communications with those in the field: Think disaster relief or military missions.

Genetically Engineered Food Declared “substantially equivalent” to conventionally grown food--twenty years ago

Thanks to this decision, Americans have spent the last twenty years as unwitting guinea pigs in a massive, uncontrolled, and involuntary experiment on the long-term health effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Greek Politics Spreads to Italy

Few in Europe are happy to admit it, but Italy is looking disturbingly similar to Greece these days. Mass youth unemployment, an over-regulated bureaucratic economy and a shaky financial sector have crippled the fiscal health of both countries; both now face a future of austerity and stagnation. And the similarities became even more pronounced late last year, when technocratic governments (charged with implementing European policies) replaced popularly elected leaders in both countries, becoming caretakers until the next election.

Historic Lows for U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) yesterday released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing the record lows for average fixed mortgage rates holding steady for the week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked slightly down to 3.78 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged from last week at 3.04 percent.

How can an Unelected State Agency destroy research and equipment without a Search Warrant?

A beekeeper of 58 years wants to know how an unelected state agency, which appears to answer to no one, can come in and destroy years of research, equipment, and bees without due process and even without a search warrant. Has recent loose interpretations of the Constitution and the power of the federal government spilled over into state governments, who now think they can act with impunity and shut down any business that happens to question an agency’s validity, credentials, or findings? Is the era of big bully government upon us?

ICE July Brent falls $3 to $105.41/barrel

ICE Brent crude for July fell $3 to $105.41/barrel during Wednesday afternoon US trading, as eurozone worries increase and Iran tensions relax.

The decline in Brent prices comes as bearish US oil inventory data, released Wednesday by the US Energy Information Administration, weighs on crude markets in the US.

Indian Benefits: Misnomer and Propaganda

The United States contractually owes tribal nations. “Indian benefits” is a misnomer for the debt owed to Native peoples. The federal government pledged through laws and treaties to compensate for land exchanges accomplished through the forced removal of tribal nations from their original homelands. Unfortunately, payment is commonly expressed as “benefits.” This term—benefits—implies giving assistance, subsidy, or even charity, rather than deserved reimbursement. The Department of Interior even describes the obligated recompense for American Indians as benefits on its webpage.

International crude data highlights

• Dated Brent hit a 3.5 year high in March, buoyed by political tensions between the West and Iran and lower production in many countries.

• It has since declined to its lowest level since late January due to fears about the economy, but remains well above $100/barrel

Iraq: Oil Production Surges But Problems Persist

Iraq’s surging oil production may soon exceed that of Iran—the world’s fifth largest oil producer in 2011—and help avoid global oil supply disruptions in the event of a future crisis in the Persian Gulf region. But Iraq’s domestic problems persist, including political infighting, infrastructure deficiencies, revenue allocation disputes and security shortfalls, all of which might sabotage the country’s export aspirations and reverse the current positive trend.

Joining Law of the Sea Treaty can’t wait

By not joining Law of the Sea, we’ve dealt ourselves out of the game that’s unfolding right in front of us. Let me give you a few examples:

Justices Allow Retrial on Rejected Charges

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a criminal defendant may be retried even though the jury in his first trial had unanimously rejected the most serious charges against him. The vote was 6 to 3, with the justices split over whether the constitutional protection against double jeopardy barred such reprosecutions.

LENR-to-Market Weekly -- May 24, 2012

Highlights this week include Rossi's claim to have achieved 600 °C, his positive response to Hank Mills agreeing to post more data; speculation about how the Greek crisis will effect Defkalion; video of Brillouin's reactor in operation; video of Mitch Swartz's reactor in operation; new NASA video about LENR.

Libya: June Elections Could Lead to More Chaos

Libya is preparing for its first national elections in 60 years, but with many parts of the country now under the control of local militias, ensuring the elections are free and fair will be a challenge, maybe too great a challenge.

Majority of Americans Agree: Protecting the Environment Creates Jobs

The majority of Americans (58 percent) think that protecting the environment improves economic growth and creates new jobs. The results are from a recently released poll by Yale University and George Mason University's climate change communication program. Only 17 percent of the poll's respondents think that environmental protection hurts the economy and job growth, and 25 percent think there is no effect. When there is a conflict between protecting the environment and improving the economy, 62 percent think it is more important to protect the environment, and only 38 percent thought economic growth is more important.

Major U.S. Banks Face Tougher Markets

Fitch Ratings believes results from capital market activities of major U.S. banks have the potential to decline meaningfully in 2Q12. Market concerns over Europe have resurfaced in 2Q12, and the recently announced JPMorgan Chase (JPM) losses have magnified overall market uncertainties. Consequently, the current quarter has been characterized by general spread widening in fixed income markets and more difficult equity markets.

Market For Chemicals To Treat Air Will Grow Faster Than Water

The present world market for chemicals to combat air pollutants is $13.8B but will be growing at a healthy eight percent per year over the next five years. The larger ($24B) water treatment chemicals market will be growing by six percent per year (real dollars). These are the latest findings by McIlvaine Company through extracting forecasts from a number of its market reports.

Maryland county sets 70% waste diversion goal

Montgomery County, Md., has set a 70% waste diversion rate goal by the end of 2020, County Executive Ike Leggett announced.

Masai Warriors Use Cricket to Modernize Community Without Losing Traditions

The Masai warriors cut striking figures as they played the game in their red traditional garments, complete with headgear and decorative jewelry. Their only concessions to the standard white cricket uniform were the shin guards, and in a bid to gain traction on the pitch, their sandals were replaced with modest sporting footwear.

May 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook

Initial estimates for first-quarter 2012 economic growth was 2.2 percent, slower than the previous quarter, but better than three of the past four quarters.

Miller: 'Gas prices are now competitive with coal'

It's true that the low price of natural gas is partially to blame for the downturn in the coal industry, said Mike Miller, senior vice president with Marshall Miller and Associates, an engineering and geological consulting firm based in Bluefield, Va.

But, he said, if it weren't for increasing federal government regulation, utilities wouldn't be switching so quickly from coal to gas.

New Global Initiative To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Peatlands

Recently, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the non-governmental organisation Wetlands International launch ‘The Organic Soils and Peatlands Climate Change Mitigation Initiative’. The Initiative has been established to increase awareness about how the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of peatlands can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and to facilitate strategic actions that can lead to measurable progress in this area.

New Model Of Geological Strata May Aid Oil Extraction, Water Recovery And Earth History Studies

‘Largest known chemical wave’ caused previously unrecognized effects, said Sandia researcher

A Sandia modeling study contradicts a long-held belief of geologists that pore sizes and chemical compositions are uniform throughout a given strata, which are horizontal slices of sedimentary rock.

NKorea vows to push ahead with nuclear program

North Korea on Tuesday vowed to push ahead with its nuclear program because of what it called U.S. hostility, as an outside analysis of satellite images suggested it has ramped up work at its nuclear test site over the past month.

Obama Leaves Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

At the Group of 8 (G8) meetings this past weekend, President Obama and the leaders of the rest of the world's richest nations abandoned their governments' previous commitments to donate $7.3 billion a year to end hunger in Africa, after disbursing only 58 percent of the total pledge of $22 billion and giving less than 6 percent in new money they pledged three years ago.

Obama taps Yucca Mtn critic to lead nuclear agency

Moving quickly to stem a controversy, President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated an expert on nuclear waste to lead the federal agency that regulates the nation's nuclear power plants.

Officials bracing for declining funding as coal production decreases

The recent passage of the 2012-14 state budget included millions of dollars in coal severance funds for the state's coal counties, but some officials fear that these counties may not receive all the coal severance money that was allocated to them, while others say there will be a long-term effect to local funding.

Pakistan jails doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden

Pentagon Labels China a “Growing and Persistent Threat”

A new U.S. Defense Department report on the threat from China paints a detailed picture of a modernizing Chinese military that remains committed to achieving a comprehensive capacity for "localized" and "regional wars." Most notably, the report states that the continued transformation of the Chinese military and broader espionage efforts “represent a growing and persistent threat to [the] U.S.”

Plants and CO2 Uptake

Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Exactly how fast this might occur is not clear. The capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to absorb carbon dioxide emissions from human activity may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, which looks at how plants react to environmental change. The authors say these results improve our ability to look into the planet's future and predict the magnitude of climate change before it happens.

Pollutants Mucking With Food Production

Two manmade pollutants known best as threats to human health have just been charged with two more offenses: shifting rainfall patterns and mucking with food production.

Power rates are going up

For the first time since the state's electricity rate caps expired in 2010, PPL Electric will raise its "price-to-compare" rates beginning June 1.

But even with the 15 percent increase...

Private supply ship rockets toward space station

A first-of-its-kind commercial supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station following a successful liftoff early Tuesday, opening a new era of dollar-driven spaceflight.

Protect Your Supplements from Sen. Durbin

Senator Dick Durbin is once again attempting to get rid of your supplements, and it may happen today, unless you act NOW.

Qatar oil minister says markets well supplied; no shortage anywhere: report

Qatari Oil Minister Mohammed al-Sada said Wednesday that oil markets were currently well supplied and there was no shortage anywhere in the world, official Qatar news agency QNA reported.

Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty: A Not-So-Innocent Passage

The "right of innocent passage" is the right of any nation's ships to traverse continuously and expeditiously through the territorial waters of a coastal nation, subject to certain conditions.1  Under the Law of the Sea Treaty, such passage is conditioned on passing in a manner that isn't threatening to "sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence" or the "good order and security" of that nation.
By this definition, if the Law of the Sea Treaty was a ship, it would fail to qualify.

Regarding Johnny Depp’s Portrayal of Tonto

I’m glad Depp was cast as Tonto and I can’t think of anyone better to portray him. Tonto is a character that is and always has been a simulation of Indigenous-ness. He was created out of lies and cultural misconceptions and that, I think, is how he should remain. As we all know, the word “tonto” is a Spanish word that translates to “stupid” in English. So that, for starters, is an indication of the motivation behind the development of the character.

Tonto is the epitome of Indigenous cultural misrepresentation in cinema, and a symbol of everything Hollywood has ever done wrong to Natives.

Report of Solar-Geophysical Activity

Solar activity was low. A few nominal C-class flares were observed during the period.  he geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet on day 1 (25 May).

Seagrass Stores More Carbon Than Forests - Study

Coastal seagrass can store more heat-trapping carbon per square mile (kilmometre) than forests can, which means these coastal plants could be part of the solution to climate change, scientists said in a new study.

Even though seagrasses occupy less than 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, they can hold up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon per square kilometer, a global team of researchers reported Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Solar Energy Industries Association Statement on Passage of Maryland Solar Bill

Today, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed into law the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for Solar Energy and Solar Water Heating Systems bill (Senate Bill 791 and House Bill 1187), which accelerates the target date for achieving the state's renewable portfolio standard two-percent solar carve-out by two years and ensures the industry maintains positive, year over year job growth. This bill will create 10,000 new local jobs between now and 2018, with a strong concentration in an industry that needs jobs the most - the construction industry.

State agency weighs new turbine regulations

State environmental officials may introduce new regulations to avoid placing wind turbines that exceed the state's acceptable noise threshold near residential neighborhoods.

Sustainability Worth $20-25 Billion to Utility Investors

“Earlier this year, we demonstrated that as a group the stocks of utilities that scored highly in Target Rock’s sustainability rankings outperformed companies with lower sustainability performance over the ten years ended December 31, 2011,”

The First 72 Hours

"The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical... Maintain enough non-perishable food for each person for at least 72 hours."

The Impossible Dream? Why Renewables Won't Reduce CO2 Emissions by Much

The solution to looming global warming? Easy. Reduce man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by cutting down on the use of fossil fuels -- coal, petroleum and natural gas. Leave them in the ground. The replacement? Renewables such as solar and wind power. If we phase in natural energy sources quickly enough, we may be able to avert catastrophic climate change.

U.N. nuclear watchdog expects deal with Iran

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he will sign an agreement soon with Iran over its nuclear program, a sign that Iran may have agreed to broader inspections.

US lawmakers say millions of fake biodiesel credits still circulating

The number of bogus renewable fuel credits in the market could double to nearly 300 million in the coming months as investigations keep rooting out fraud in the US biodiesel industry, four Republican lawmakers said Thursday.

U.S. Senate candidate defends coal-generated power

Flanked by piles of tires and with the Albright Power Plant behind him, U.S. Senate-hopeful John Raese attacked President Barack Obama, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson and his rival -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. -- for creating "a complex set of standards designed to make coal generated power obsolete.

U.S. Solar Producers Call on Trade Association to Fulfill Pledge of Neutrality in Trade Dispute

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) today calls on U.S. solar-industry trade associations to fulfill their pledges of neutrality in a solar-technology trade dispute by ceasing to endorse avenues for China to evade full accountability to well-established world trade laws and agreements.

Utilities beware: Hurricane season starts early

Earth Networks has released its 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast.

The company's WeatherBug Meteorology Team is forecasting a near-normal Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin even though the season started early with the formation Tropical Storm Alberto on the northeast Florida Coast in May. Hurricane season typically starts in June.

Warning Other Drivers Of Speed Traps Is Constitutionally Protected Free Speech

Driver in Florida can't be cited for using his lights to communicate

Web of Marine Life Dissolving Under Human Onslaught

Oceans cover about 72 percent of Earth's surface area and there are an estimated 250,000 marine species. "Yet, despite its importance, marine biodiversity has not fared well at human hands," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in his message to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.

What is the real cost of renewable energy (part 4)

While the levellised cost of electricity from onshore wind power continues to fall, reaching grid parity with coal, gas and nuclear in some places, the same cannot be said of all wind farms everywhere.

What's 880 nm long and generates electricity?

As it turns out, viruses may turn out to be great energy harvesters, according to scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.

WHO Releases Mixed Fukushima Radiation Report

The average annual dose from natural background radiation is about 2.4 mSv globally, with a typical range of 1-10 mSv in various regions, according to the 124-page report.

The experts based their assessment on data available up to last September on the amount of radioactivity in air, soil, water and food supplies after the disaster.

Will Chinese Solar Module Tariffs Restore Balance to the Industry?

In the quest to "level the playing field," the 31 percent anti-dumping tariff announced Thursday was a good start, said SolarWorld President Gordon Brinser, but even more is needed to bring the industry back into balance.

World record 1 GW PV installed

Belectric is being called "the first company in the world" to install more than 1 GW of photovoltaic (PV) power with the commissioning of multiple PV systems earlier this week.  The capacity compares to the system output of a large conventional power plant.


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