The Environment

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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:34 pm

I managed to miss a long awaited decision by Obama’s EPA which showed up with the previous Friday’s news dump.

WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of cars on the road could have more corn-based ethanol in their fuel tanks under an Environmental Protection Agency decision Friday.
The agency said that 15 percent ethanol blended with gasoline is safe for cars and light-duty trucks manufactured between 2001 and 2006, expanding an October decision that the higher blend is safe for cars built since 2007.The maximum gasoline blend has been 10 percent ethanol.



This decision was made despite repeated warnings from industry experts who have been pleading for more time to perform exhaustive testing. Were they being overly cautious? That’s a difficult argument to make, particularly since one delay in testing came from the fact that the higher ethanol blend fuel melting down the seals in pumps and storage tanks during testing.
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:09 pm

Watch food prices climb even higher if corn is diverted to biofuel. It's fine for us. With our grass-fed animals, our farmers are making a killing, in more ways than one.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:17 pm

Yesterday our electric utility conducted successful tests running a generator on biofuel. Hawaii is determined to stop using foreign oil. The palm oil used to run the generator came from Indonesia, same source country as our oil. When this stuff is discussed in the news they always mention it's a green solution, a renewable resource, etc. Since they never say it will save money, my suspicion is it costs more than oil.
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:25 pm

Hasn't anybody squawked about the palm oil?

Cadbury got into trouble for putting palm oil in their chocolate and had to take it out. Our farmers got into trouble for using palm kernel as stock feed. Palm kernel is a by-product of palm oil extraction and if it's not used as feed it's dumped or burnt, but the greenies squawked, all the same. They thought that if we didn't buy the waste product, the producers would stop making palm oil. They seem to have got the message, in that I haven't heard of any protests for a while and our farmers are still using palm kernel. I'm surprised you're allowed to burn palm oil for fuel without protest.
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Re: The Environment

Postby piqaboo » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:16 pm

Shapley wrote:
piqaboo wrote:New Zealand glaciers are retreating post-haste, however.


This 2009 article disagrees:

Contrarian New Zealand Glaciers Grwo In Age Of Global Warming


Well, lets see.... I was there in 1993, and walked to the face of the Fox glacier in a few minutes, with very little riverbed time.
I was there in 2009 and we spent more than 30 min in the river bed, and never got as close.
Franz Jozef was clear out of sight around the corner on my most recent visit, where we'd seen it the time before.

So, its small sampling rate over a medium time frame. Maybe its growing since some intermediate time in which they were even further shrunken?
Heckfahr, I bet America's glaciers grow this winter. The east coast may even get a brand new one, if they plow all the snowfall into a single pile and there's money to be made: "Come see the worlds first man-made glacier!"
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:02 am

John Kerry, (or "Barking Mad Moon Doggy" as I affectionally like to call him :D ) according to USA Today, has called for a reversal in the President's plan to cut home heating assistance saying:

"I've always supported serious efforts to restore fiscal sanity, but in the middle of a brutal, even historic, New England winter, home heating assistance is more critical than ever to the health and welfare of millions of Americans, especially senior citizens."


Weigh Kerry's description of this winter as "brutal [and] even historic" against an op-ed he wrote for the Huffington Post not two years ago in which he argued that global warming was such a looming threat that:

"Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now."


Either the Arctic is going to be ice free in two years or we need to fully fund home heating assistance to combat this brutal winter.

Can't be both.
Last edited by Haggis@wk on Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Shapley » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:07 am

We need to move the New Englanders to the Arctic, since obviously New England won't be ice-free for some time...
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:00 am

Good for the Obama Administration:

Administration to Push for Small ‘Modular’ Reactors.

The longer-term goal is to foster assembly-line production of the small reactors at a far lower cost than construction of conventional reactors. The reactors could even replace old coal-fired power plants that are threatened by new federal emissions rules and sit on sites that already have grid connections and cooling water.” And beyond that, there are many other applications. Faster, please. Some early efforts may be in my neck of the woods: “The Tennessee Valley Authority has publicly discussed the idea of placing several small modular reactors on a site adjacent to the Clinch River just outside Oak Ridge, Tenn., where 30 years ago the government tried to build a breeder reactor, which would have produced more fuel than it consumes.

That site could supply power to the government’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, some experts say.”



Good. But I still think we should have built that breeder reactor.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Shapley » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:12 am

The design for smaller-scale reactors exists, along the expertise to build them, as they have been powering submarines and aircraft carriers for decades. Nimitz-class carriers have sufficient capacity to supply a small city, and the Navy provides a steady supply of trained operators to run them.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:58 am

Scientists Warn Of $2 Trillion “Solar Katrina:”

The sun is waking up from a long quiet spell. Last week it sent out the strongest flare for four years – and scientists are warning that earth should prepare for an intense electromagnetic storm that, in the worst case, could be a “global Katrina” costing the world economy $2,000bn.

Senior officials responsible for policy on solar storms – also known as space weather – in the US, UK and Sweden urged more preparedness at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. . . .

The most intense solar storm on record, which ruined much of the world’s newly installed telegraph network in 1859, took place during an otherwise weak cycle. An 1859-type storm today could knock out the world’s information, communications and electricity distribution systems, at a cost estimated by the US government at $2,000bn.

In terms of terrestrial vulnerability, the biggest change since the 2000 peak is that the world has become more dependent on global positioning system satellites – and not just for navigation. The world’s mobile phone networks depend on ultra-precise GPS time signals for their co-ordination.
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:31 pm

At the next conference of "scientists" anywhere, somebody should read out aloud the story of the boy who cried "wolf". Y2K, bird flu, Global Warming, and there was something else that escapes me at the moment. All prophesied with great enthusiasm and many dire press releases, and all non-events.

The greater the panic, the greater the "research" grants.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:57 am

dai bread wrote:At the next conference of "scientists" anywhere, somebody should read out aloud the story of the boy who cried "wolf". Y2K, bird flu, Global Warming, and there was something else that escapes me at the moment. All prophesied with great enthusiasm and many dire press releases, and all non-events.

The greater the panic, the greater the "research" grants.


I tend to agree with you but since there's physical evidence that accompanied the last serious solar flare I believe that the threat of another is more serious than the possible occurrence of something like bird flu that never happened in the first place (unless you point to the 1918 flu pandemic.)
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Re: The Environment

Postby piqaboo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

W Y2K, i think the mess would have happened, except the boy cried wolf far enough in advance that systems were prepared for it.
At least, the system I used most at work was going to fall down and go boom (it was going to start subtracting 63 from 00 and getting the wrong answer (correct answer being 37).
I hope that someone will now think about solar flares and e-communication, and come up w a fix too.
It seems it should be do-able.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:29 pm

There's nothing wrong with preparedness, but constantly wearing a sandwich board and declaring "The End is Near!" wears out after awhile.
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:57 pm

I would expect electrical systems to be built with some sort of protection against solar flares. Flares and their effect have been known for some time now. Shielded cable comes to mind for really important applications; circuit-breakers for others.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:38 am

dai bread wrote:I would expect electrical systems to be built with some sort of protection against solar flares. Flares and their effect have been known for some time now. Shielded cable comes to mind for really important applications; circuit-breakers for others.


I think older satellites are a concern. Payload was so restricted that EMP shielding wasn't as robust as it is on today's birds. On a totally unrelated note, my buddy use to work on microwave relays between Thailand and Vietnam during the Vietnam War and use to brag that he'd power up a relay to knock birds out of trees and then eat them for lunch.

Huh, that really does sound tacky on re-reading. Young, semi-adolescent males in the military really do some quite stupid things. It's a wonder any of us ever survived to become older, semi-mature males in the military!! :rofl:
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:16 pm

When I was working at TVNZ, the satellite people there told me they could fry the breakfast eggs of the apartment-dwellers across the road if they tweaked the aim of their dish a bit.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:31 pm

the satellite people there told me they could fry the breakfast eggs of the apartment-dwellers across the road if they tweaked the aim of their dish a bit.
Sounds apocryphal. Maybe we have some engineers here who could comment.
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Re: The Environment

Postby dai bread » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:05 am

They could have been winding me up. I don't think so though.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: The Environment

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:01 am

I do recall in the field some guys cranking up the power on antennas and watching birds fall to the ground, but I assume that was a different phenomenon at work.
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