Sep 30, 2006

United States: Water storage heats up

Seattle Times: "Years of drought and predictions of climate uncertainty" set the backdrop for important water-storage studies under way in Eastern Washington. The words describing the conditions that inspire the hunt for more storage belong to Jay Manning, director of the state Department of Ecology. Last year, the Legislature committed $216 million to wiser use of the Columbia River's precious resource. Twenty-five people from diverse professional, political and environmental backgrounds ...Link

United States: Bush expected to sign bill to protect 273,000 acres of wilderness

San Francisco Chronicle: Congress gave final approval Friday for the biggest new wilderness designation in California in more than a decade when the Senate passed a bill setting aside 273,000 acres of scenic lands from Napa to the Oregon border. The measure had been approved by the House in July and is expected to be signed by President Bush. The bill, sponsored by California's two Democratic senators and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, affects existing Forest Service lands in five Northern ...Link

Perpetual greenwashing machine

Green energy experts are warning that some customers may be conned in the push for us to adopt alternative energy sources. “There are people hoping to make a lot of money out of roof-mounted wind generators,” he says. “I don’t think they are coming at it simply to rip people off, but that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t think a credible roof-mounted generator will come on the market.”

For a more serious free-standing wind generator, you should expect to pay anything from $1o,000 to nearly double that in installation charges. They are only really economic or practical for people in rural areas, particularly those not connected to the electricity grid. Even then, and taking account of electricity fed back into the grid, you should expect them to take at least 15 years to pay for themselves.

It does not take a genius to see that it would take more than 15 years to justify a photovoltaic installation on financial grounds.

Full read here

The Terminator To Stop Chemical Absorption

Reuters: California will become the first U.S. state to try to measure how its residents are absorbing chemicals from common products under a "bio-monitoring" bill signed on Friday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. State health officers will use blood, urine, tissue, hair and breast milk samples collected voluntarily from a cross-section of California, taking into account ethnic, age, income and geographic differences, to gauge levels of exposure. "There are literally ... Link

Wisconsin town looking forward to PHEV on the streets

Energy representatives from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, have joined other utility officials from the state to support Plug-In Partners, a national campaign to convince auto manufacturers to build plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

A recent meeting of the Wisconsin Public Power Inc. included an exhibition of the Columbia ParCar and a Toyota Prius converted to a PHEV. Officials were briefed on the effectiveness of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV), learning that one municipality uses a NEV to read meters. Many Wisconsin communities have passed measures to allow NEVs on public streets. Officials also got test drives in a NEV and PHEV.
(Source: autobloggreen)

Washington State Bans Detergents

Via Thanks Laura B! (

We recently learned about this news from the state of Washington and we’re sorry to say that it seems that it’s a few months old. However, it is still good news! According to a state legislative bill, the state will now “extend the limitation on the phosphorus in laundry detergent (already in place) to include automatic dish detergent.

Phosphates enter water bodies and stimulates excessive algae growth, which ultimately robs the water of oxygen and makes it unsuitable for recreation.” Finally, a state that knows there are better solutions! Now how do we get the others on board? Via Health Magazine

US on track with greenhouse goals

Reuters: Washington is sticking to goals for curbing greenhouse gases under a yardstick shunned by most of its allies as too easy. President George W. Bush said he has no plans to toughen the targets -- trimming the amount of heat-trapping gas emitted per dollar of economic output -- despite speculation that he was considering a revision because of worries about global warming. "We're meeting those targets," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on ...Link

Plug-in hybrids v. conventional hybrids: New study shows losses

This article in the Christian Science Monitor reports on a recent study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) which examines the environmental benefits and costs of a plug-in hybrid when compared to a conventional hybrid. According to their figures, the results aren't as plainly evident as you may have thought. (Source: autobloggreen)

$1,000,000,000,000: the cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions

Independent (UK): The cost of curbing the soaring emissions of harmful gases that are blamed for causing global warming has been estimated at $1 trillion by a major study of the cost of climate change. The volume of emissions of the gases that cause global warming will double by 2050 unless rich countries agree to take significant policy steps to cut energy use, it shows. The report, byPricewaterhouseCoopers, lays bare the potential damage to the environment of the industrial revolution in ... via:

October, and this year's theme is: "Promoting Healthy School Environments."

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 9/28/06.

Children's Health Month is every October, and this year's theme is: "Promoting Healthy School Environments." EPA programs for schools can help improve the health, productivity and performance of 53 million children and 6 million staff in the nation's 120,000 public and private schools, as well as save energy and money. In celebration of Children's Health Month, EPA is offering webcasts throughout October to raise awareness about protecting children from environmental risks, such as indoor air pollution, while they are in school. Beginning Oct. 5, the webcasts will be available for parents, educators, facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, teachers, staff and healthcare practitioners. Via:

Today is Museum Day, meaning that for today only you can get into museums all over the country for free.

Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, Museum Day is a chance for you and a guest (or any other of your friends savvy enough to print off the free admission card) to visit the museums you always tell yourself you're going to visit but never do. Check out the participating venues in your area and take in a little bit of culture for once. Thanks Camilo and William!

Canadian Conservatives Ponder Huge Gas Pipeline Investment

The Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper can't find $50 milion to maintain spending on greenhouse gas reduction, but it's contemplating a gas-pipeline investment of $1 billion or more - an effective subsidy of ExxonMobile and its partners.

Never mind the eco-actives: every libertarian think-tanker in the business should be spitting mad at the very notion of this level of government intervention in the most profitable business in the world.

DYK - Last week you lost another constitutional right?

The nation was distracted this week: the House
to quietly pass H.R. 2679, the "Public Expressions of Religion
Protection Act of 2006," with scarcely a mention in the media.
The bill would prevent plaintiffs from recovering legal costs in
any lawsuit based on the "establishment clause" of the First
Amendment, which of course only happens when the court finds
the plaintiff's Constitutional rights have been denied.  The
Senate is expected to pass a companion bill, S. 3696. 

Sep 29, 2006

We cannot fail to win unless we fail to try.

--Tom Clancy, American novelist 

China first of Free, clean, energy - China Fusion Reactor Test a Success

BEIJING (AP) -- China claimed to have carried out a successful first test Thursday on its experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor.... read link

How 'Manic' Thinking Makes Us Happy, Energized And Self-confident

Fast thinking, or "racing thoughts," is most commonly known as a symptom of the clinical psychiatric disorder of mania (and of the manic part of bipolar disorder or "manic-depression"). But, according to Princeton University psychologist Emily Pronin, most healthy people also have experienced racing thoughts at some point in time -- perhaps when they are excited about a new idea they have just learned, or when they are brainstorming with a group of people, or even when they lie in bed unable to fall asleep.

Solvent Exposure Linked To Birth Defects In Babies Of Male Painters

This has been know for decades, how is this NEW news? (
Men who paint for a living may be placing their unborn children at increased risk of birth defects and low birth weight. Full read

Huge = dumber (surprised?)

Elevated Testosterone Kills Nerve Cells A Yale School of Medicine study shows for the first time that a high level of testosterone, such as that caused by the use of steroids to increase muscle mass or for replacement therapy, can lead to a catastrophic loss of brain cells. Full link here

Hope for Colon Cancer Inheritable Genetic Defects

A new prediction model for genetic defects known as Lynch syndrome, which predisposes families to develop colorectal cancer, was created by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University and other institutions. The model, called MMRpro, is based on an individual's detailed family history of colorectal and endometrial cancer, as well as knowledge of how genetic mutations manifest themselves -- in the form of tumors. Linked here

Scientists Explain Why Atmospheric Levels Of Greenhouse Gas Have Stabilized

Scientists have explained why atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas methane have stabilized in recent years, but warn that increases could resume in the near future. In research published in Nature this week, an international team of scientists -- including CSIRO researchers -- has shown that it was a decline in emissions of methane from human activities in the 1990s that resulted in the recent slower growth of methane in the global atmosphere. Full read here

Scientists and Engineers for America - fight for science!

I have recently been involved with the creation of a new political group designed to allow scientists and concerned citizens to fight back against the ideologically driven health and science policies of the Bush Administration and their cronies in Congress. Today we launched Scientists and Engineers for America.

Concerned about the ideological and partisan manipulation of science, compromising of scientific integrity and harassment of scientists by the Bush Administration and Congress, leaders in the scientific and engineering communities announced the launch of a new organization on Wednesday, September 27th. The group, called Scientists and Engineers for America, is a 527 political organization that will focus on the need to address the current state of science policy by electing new political leadership...

Competent government depends on getting best science and technology advice. Scientists and Engineers for America will use web-based tools ( and lectures around the country to explain why independent scientific advice is essential for national security, energy, the environment, health care, education, and America’s competitiveness. The group proposes a basic Bill of Rights to prevent the politicization of science.

The group will discuss the impact the Bush Administration’s science and technology policies have had in their fields and the need for voters to consider the science and technology policies by candidates in this year’s mid-term elections. The group will also provide details of their activities including launching a speaking tour focusing on a number of this fall’s highly contested campaigns in key states.  (via Link

Free speech speaker series

Next Tuesday night, October 3, I'm hosting a free talk by Wendy Seltzer, the lawyer who founded EFF's Digital TV liberation front -- teaching people how to build the TV sets that the Broadcast Flag would ban -- and the Chilling Effects project -- which documents and analyzes the nastygrams used to censor Internet speech.

Wendy's coming to my USC speaker-series on Oct 3, the International Day Against DRM to tell us about the ways that copyright law have become a tool for censorship, perverting the original intention of copyright, to enable creativity. If you're looking to understand how free speech become suppressed speech, you need to come to this talk.

If you want rights, use them...

Serious off grid tech... free conf.

The Southern California Wireless Users Group (SOCALWUG) meets every month here in Los Angeles, and I'll be joining them this evening to share video, photos, and audio from a recent trip to Northern India and Tibet -- where I learned about some amazing guerilla wireless projects. We're also going to try to do a live Skype call with Yahel Ben-David, founder of the Tibetan Technology Center in Dharamshala, India. They're hosting a big community wireless summit there in October. Tonight's nerd hang should be fun, please come join us if you're in town. Link to details. 

China Says Illegal Logging Brought Under Control

Reuters: Illegal logging in China has been bought under control, though there are still parts of the country where the situation is serious, a police official said on Thursday. In recent years China has suffered severe flooding that has in part been blamed on excessive logging driven by the country's breakneck economic growth. In 2002, China banned all logging along the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers in an effort to control the problem. "We can see from the present situation that after ... Link

SImple Coffee by duncan

It's interesting how coffee is becoming so a battleground for Fair Trade, ethical production and green credentials. Simple Coffee have established a scheme called 'Better Trade' to work with farmers to create the Simple Coffee product. TreeHugger, as ever, has more details.

Is The Truth Behind the Spinach Scare: Cheap Beef?

When in Mexico, the saying goes, don't drink the water. You shouldn't eat the spinach either because it could be contaminated with the E. coli strain that has sickened close to 200 people in the United States and killed at least one, likely more. The problem is our food production system is so complex that most of us cannot be certain where our food comes from. Even the U.S. government, after two weeks on the case of the spinach E. coli outbreak, has narrowed the source to, oh, somewhere in central California. Gee, you think? California produces about three-fourths of the nation's fresh spinach, and Salinas Valley accounts for about three-fourths of that. These guys are sharp. But they aren't looking closely enough.  » original news

Ex Greenpeace Pres Spews Spin Over Science

Prior to becoming a professional spin doctor, salmon farmer, and apologist for unsustainable forestry, Patrick Moore was the cofounder of Greenpeace and served as that organization's president from 1977 to 1986. Proving that a man's beliefs follow his income, he has now become the latest "skeptic" in the lucrative business of misrepresenting the legitimate scientific evidence of global warming. In a laughable effort, Moore attempts to paint the Royal Society, the world's oldest national scientific society, as inquisitors bent on stiffling science because they had the audacity criticize exxon's funding of anti-global warming orgs.  » original news

Latest E. Coli Outbreak Should Prompt Rethink of Industrial Agriculture

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The recent tragic outbreak of E. coli contamination in spinach that has killed one person and poisoned at least 146 others, is being mistakenly blamed, by some in the media, on organic farming practices--specifically the use of animal manure in making fertilizer compost on organic farms. While no conclusive source of the current E.coli outbreak has yet been determined, mountains of E.coli-tainted manure on conventional factory farm feedlots and rainfall-induced agricultural runoff are the likely culprits. Despite this fact, a number of apologists for industrial agriculture continue to attack organic food in the press as "unsafe." Help spread the truth!  » original news (via:

The Eco-Idea House

The "Idea House," is a collaboration between Popular Science and Businessweek. It's "chock full of sustainable materials" and they have made houses built around and zero-energy. "A home generator produces electricity from natural gas at a 95% efficiency rate. Rooftop solar panels generate most or all of the home's electricity." " The home also comes with a FuelMaker Phill Home Refueling Station for refueling a natural gas-burning car. Its presence is a blatant plug to buy the Honda Civic GX, but the home pump deserves all of the press that it gets if it lives up to its promise: to bring fuel costs down to roughly the equivalent of $1.20 per gallon. Its natural gas is a domestic product, so no dependence on foreign oil. And natural gas-powered vehicles are the cleanest-burning internal combustion engines in the world with virtually no emissions. "This car makes the Prius look like a diesel semi."" There is a gallery with the article.  » original news

Pure water is more precious than gold

"Protect Special Places from Mining -- Support HR3968 National Parks, Wildernesses, sacred sites, precious water sources -- polluted by mining? That's what the federal government's interpretation of the current mining law allows. The 133 year old General Mining Law of 1872 prioritizes mining as the "highest and best use" of public lands -- lands owned by all Americans. It allows mining even when it would threaten drinking water -- mining even when it could undermine a Wilderness. -- mining even when it would destroy a sacred area continuously inhabited for 20,000 years. There is a reasonable, common sense solution to this problem. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chris Shays (R-CT), and Jay Inslee (D-WA) have introduced into Congress HR3968, the Federal Mineral Development and Land Protection Equity Act of 2005. This new bill moves mining law out of the 19th century and into the 21st. It would protect special places and important water sources by creating sensible rules that would encourage responsible mining, while simultaneously prohibiting mines that would threaten places that we hold dear.(...)"  » original news

DIY 1000 watt wind turbine

Build your own 1000 watt wind turbine to help charge the battery bank that powers our offgrid home. It's a permanent magnet alternator, generating 3 phase ac, rectified to dc, and fed to a charge controller. The magnets spin with the wind, the coils are fixed, so no brushes or slip rings necessary.  » original news

NYC plans ban on trans fats in eateries

"The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city's 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain" "artificial trans fatty acids." "Among the fast foods that would need to get an overhaul or face a ban: McDonald's french fries, Kentucky Fried Chicken and several varieties of Dunkin' Donuts." "Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden acknowledged that the ban would be a challenge for restaurants, but he said trans fats can easily be replaced with substitute oils that taste the same or better and are far less unhealthy. "It is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient," Frieden said. "No one will miss it when it's gone."" "A similar ban on trans fats in restaurant food has been proposed in Chicago and is still under consideration."  » original news

Take action Ban illegal timber

Image and video hosting by TinyPic You can help by sending a letter to Mr Mauri Pekkarinen, Finland's Minister of Trade and Industry, asking for laws to stop illegal timber being imported and sold in Europe.Wood that's been illegally logged in Russia and imported into Finland.  » original news

Take action Reach for a toxic free future

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIn the next few months MEPs will cast their second and final vote on whether to allow the chemicals industry to continue producing and using harmful chemicals even when safer alternatives are available. Some of these chemicals end up in products we use every day. These chemicals may cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive illnesses and disrupt our fragile hormonal balance, leading to infertility and other health problems.  Make your vote count! » original news

Globe warms: rainforests burn

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
In what is becoming an annual event, increasingly frequent and more intense fires are sweeping through the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Brazil. The burning of the rainforests not only threaten biodiversity in the affected areas but, by contributing towards climate change, they also put the entire planet at risk. In tropical latitudes, months pass without any rain and in the dry season forests become susceptible to fire. These can occur naturally and would normally not pose a serious problem, but clearing land as a result of logging or to make way for plantations is exacerbating the problem and every year the fires spread faster and further.  » original news

42% Think Gas Prices were Manipulated Down

Using market media for voter gain.... how is this NEW news or a "conspiracy theory"
… the real a conspiracy theory is the ignorance of the general public not listening to common sense or learning from history.
"A Gallup poll showed 42 percent of Americans believed the price of gas was manipulated so that it would decrease before the November 7 midterm vote." The video is Colbert explaining the economics of oil and why no one has a clue how the pricing works. A lot of new technologies like coal and ethanol can compete with oil at about the current price. I posted some say it could drop to $1.15 this Winter. They are not that crazy. Oil, gas pricing is nuts.  » original news

Children's Health and the Environment in North America

Three country reports on children’s environmental health from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. See also the summary report.

Children’s Health and the Environment in North America: A First Report on Available Indicators and Measures
Country Report: Canada

Children’s Health and the Environment in North America: A First Report on Available Indicators and Measures
Country Report: United States

Children’s Health and the Environment in North America: A First Report on Available Indicators and Measures
Country Report: Mexico


Schwarzenegger to sign bill against coal-fired power Wednesday

MarketWatch: On Wednesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill prohibiting the state's electric utilities from signing long-term contracts with coal-fired power plants, or investing in such plants, at least until equipment to control carbon dioxide is deployed. Schwarzenegger signed the bill as part of ceremonies in San Francisco and Malibu to enact a landmark bill to cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions, Assembly Bill 32, the governor's office said  ... Link

Wisconsin group says global warming is cause for concern

Fond du Lac Reporter: Temperatures throughout the state are on the rise and global warming is to blame, according to a report released by a Wisconsin advocacy group. A five-degree jump in average temperatures in the past five years throughout the state should be a matter of concern, said Bruce Speight, president of Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group. The group measured temperature patterns at 255 major weather stations throughout the United States from 2000 to 2005 and during the first six ... Link

Methane emissions soar as China booms

The explosive growth of the Chinese economy over the past seven years has been linked with a rise in emissions of man-made methane, a study has found. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and, molecule for molecule, it is about 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its ability to exacerbate global warming. Levels of methane in the atmosphere have risen since the Industrial Revolution but in recent years they appeared to have stabilised, leading scientists to ... Link

Seattle plans to reduce greenhouse emissions

Associated Press: Mayor Greg Nickels, who has enlisted 307 U.S. mayors in an effort to meet the international Kyoto Protocols for reducing greenhouse gases, on Wednesday announced his plan for city residents to lead the way. "Climate change is the biggest threat facing our planet," Nickels said. "With the release of the Seattle Climate Action Plan, we start down a hopeful - but challenging - road toward a solution." The plan has a $37 million tab for two years, most of it ...Link

When Renewable Energy Is Bad For The Environment

 The German parliament on Thursday started a debate over a quota law requiring biofuels -- organic, renewable sources of energy -- to make up a small percentage of the nation's energy supply. Current targets call for them to comprise at least 4.4 percent of the market by 2007. Biofuels burn cleaner than petroleum, and many are derived from crops which can be grown again and again -- guaranteeing business for local farmers. The biofuel industry is responsible for an estimated 86,000 ... Link

Coal top enemy in fighting global warming

Reuters: Cheap coal will be the main enemy in a fight against global warming in the 21st century because high oil prices are likely to encourage a shift to coal before wind or solar power, a top economist said on Thursday. Coal emits far more greenhouse gases, blamed by most scientists for a rise in world temperatures, per unit of energy when burned in power plants or factories than oil or natural gas. "The most important environmental problem in the 21st century is coal, or you ... Link

Yikes - OSHA "Quote of the Week"

"Our mission isn't to find a cause for an accident, our mission is to find if there were any violations of safety and health standards."

Safety "Quote of the Week" went to OSHA Philadelphia spokesperson Kate Dugan....
Thanks Jordan for Quote of the Week

WI: Governor Doyle announces four UW campuses to be energy independent by 2012

Governor Jim Doyle announced Wednesday that the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point will take part in a pilot program to make their campuses completely energy independent within the next five years. Upon completion, the schools will be the first state-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption. The campuses will work with the Department of Administration's Division of State Facilities to identify and implement technologies capable of replacing external power supplies currently serving their locations. Possible replacements include the use of solar or wind power, fuel cells, a greater emphasis on renewable fuels, and a switch to biomass. The project will also emphasize energy conservation strategies to curtail overall energy demand. Source: Wisconsin Office of the Governor, 9/27/06.

68% O.K. with goin NUKE

OK, we have to keep a healthy skepticism about this opinion poll, as it was conducted for the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). But, given the findings and the way that nuclear energy will effect the future of the automobile in America, it's important to look at what the NEI found: 68 percent of Americans support building a new reactor at the existing nuclear power plant closest to where they live. This is slightly different than the "Nearly 7 of 10 Americans Favor Nuclear Energy" the NEI used as the headline of its press release, but it does show that Americans are not afraid of nuclear power.

Nuclear power will obviously play a role in powering electric vehicles and may also someday be a source of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. Today, about 20 percent of U.S. homes and businesses use nuclear-generated electricity, and new plants are in the works. Thirty new reactors could come online in the next few decades, according to the NEI.

[Source: Nuclear Energy Institute]

ExxonMobil has only adds hot air in response to Guardian

Guardian's report on a letter that the Royal Society wrote to ExxonMobil demanding that the oil company stop funding organizations that undermine the theory of global warming. I quite wasn't sure just how Exxon would parry the blow, but now that we have the response I'm not entirely surprised. It essentially lacks any sort of substance.

They said that both the letter and the Society's public statements "inaccurately and unfairly" describe the company as a sceptic to climate change. They go on to say, "We know that carbon emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change - we don't debate or dispute this."

ExxonMobil says they are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, yet defend an apprehensive course of action by saying, "We support approaches to reduce emissions more broadly in ways that are cost effective for society and that consider the uncertainties that remain."

Apparently, the Guardian isn't flawless in their reporting. The article says that ExxonMobil allegedly distributed $2.9 billion to organizations that misrepresented the science of global warming. The Royal Society's letter instead states $2.9 million.

Schwarzenegger signs major warming law

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006, in San Francisco. Schwarzenegger signed into law a sweeping global warming initiative that imposes the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions, saying the effort kicks off "a bold new era of environmental protection." Standing on picturesque Treasure Island with San Francisco's skyline in the background, Schwarzenegger called the fight against global warming one of the most important issues of modern times. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)California’s landmark effort to cap greenhouse gas emissions is just one step in a long-term strategy to combat global climate change, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said ahead of Wednesday's signing of the bill. In Old MSNBC News

WP: Wildlife waste is major polluter

SLUG: me_animals.  DATE:   Sept. 18, 2006 CREDIT: James A. Parcell / TWP.  James  A. Parcell LOCATION:  Washington, D.C. Caption: story about poblems the geese are causing in the Anacostia River.    Geese pooping on grass near the stadium  StaffPhoto imported to Merlin on  Tue Sep 19 17:41:02 2006Scientists have run high-tech tests on harmful bacteria in Washington, D.C.-area rivers and streams and found that many of the germs -- and in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, a majority of them-- come from wildlife dung. In MSN News

500 Miles on a 5 Minute Charge

Texas start-up EEStor, has capacitors that can store huge amounts of charge, and release it in a relatively controlled fashion, have already started showing up in hybrid cars, but EEStor seems to have taken this further. They claim to have an ultracapacitor that can store enough power to drive a car 500 miles. Not only are ultracapacitors entirely free of toxic substances, they can be charged extremely quickly and never lose capacity. EEStor is already licensing the technology to Toronto based Feel Good Cars ( and they should be on the road by 2008. Soon after, we could see them in larger vehicles, as well as portable electronic devices. (via:

Seven main concerns about buying a hybrid vehicle is worth checking out.

I've listed the concerns below, but you'll need to click through to read the responses!
  1. Hybrids have complicated technology that is difficult or expensive to fix
  2. Hybrids have limited battery pack life
  3. Hybrids have technical problems like stalling and sputtering
  4. Hybrids do not pay for themselves to justify their premium cost
  5. Hybrids do not offer the driving performance needed
  6. Hybrids will not hold resale value
  7. Hybrids do not get the level of mileage promised
As it turns out, only three of the above concerns are deemed truly "legitimate" – most notably the fact that currently, a normal user can't really save enough on gas to justify the high price of a hybrid. (There are of course other, more altruistic, reasons to invest in a hybrid.)

If you've ever toyed with the idea of buying one, this informative article about seven main concerns about buying a hybrid vehicle is worth checking out. (Via

Sep 28, 2006

Thanks M. Simon - I got your comments & emails!

Self Medication, Drugs, and the War on (Some) Drugs

Blogger and DP commenter M. Simon has done a great deal of research on the issue of self-medication as it relates to addiction, and as it relates to governmental approaches to addiction. He thinks this is an important issue, and so do I.

What I have done is come up with a hypothesis that fits the facts. Why some people and not others are susceptible to addiction (as opposed to habituation which we know how to treat: Detox). Surprisingly this is a Well Known Secret in some segments of the medical community.

Self medication appears to be a very large part of our "addiction" problem. In fact we may not even have an addiction problem. What we may have is seriously undertreated population with various mental problems caused by imbalances in the brain. What is needed is more research. The only way we will get that any time soon is to pressure the government. Obviously the drug companies have no interest in finding out what addiction is because it will impact their bottom line if people take drugs for Problem Solving. In fact there are a lot of actors in this farce who would stand to lose big if such a study showed what I expect it might. The only folks to be benefited would be "addicts". And they don't have much of a lobby in Washington.

(c) M. Simon - All rights reserved.
M. Simon is an industrial controls engineer for Space-Time Productions and a Free Market Green.

Sep 27, 2006

A Natural History of Four Meals" provides few soundbites — but much to chew on

 Michael Pollan "Do Americans really want to know what we're eating?
That's the central gamble of Pollan's book. Are we disturbed enough by mad-cow disease, E. coli outbreaks, mercury levels, and reports like last week's New York Times story on arsenic levels in chicken to look, as the old saying goes, at how the sausage is made?"

'You hear plenty of explanations for humanity's expanding waistline, all of them plausible. … But it pays to go a little further, to search for the cause behind the causes. Which, very simply, is this: When food is abundant and cheap, people will eat more of it and get fat.'
-Michael Pollan, writing in "The Omnivore's Dilemma"

Read more here

Locally grown may be replacing organic as the new buzzword for consumers,

Another sign "natural" buzz is shifting... back to "MAD IN THE U.S.A"!
Many are increasingly willing to pay a premium for local milk, meat and produce.

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.

-John Barrymore, American actor


Waiting for the problem to solve itself after we exhaust fossil
fuel reserves has a significant downside. So who's waiting?
California is suing six automakers for environmental damage from
auto emissions. The British Royal Society charged that Exxon
funds groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute to spread
misleading information about climate change. Sir Richard Branson
says billions of dollars in his profits from Virgin companies
will be invested in alternative energy, and a lot of billionaires
in Forbes list of the world's richest people are investing in the
same thing. Ford and Chevrolet are sinking under the weight of
the SUV gas hogs they turn out (unfortunately, it's their workers
who will pay the price). All this from higher gas prices? Let's
shoot for $4 gas. But not everyone gets the message. A GM
spokesman sought to counter California's suit by pointing out
that GM is working on hydrogen-powered vehicles. Sigh!


Quote of the Year (

Good science cannot long persist in an atmosphere of intimidation. Political figures ought to be reviewing their public statements to make sure they are consistent with the best available science; scientists should not be reviewing their statements to make sure they are consistent with the current political orthodoxy. - House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)

General web posts on How can I be Green?

* Ecostreet has plenty of ideas for making the most out of grey water.

* The Independent gives you
7 days to Green your life.

* The Times has a comprehensive guide to
how to be green.

* Tom Chance has some
useful tips too.

* The Green Guy has a selection of
ethical tips

* 4ecotips has a list of eco tips too.

Seen a good website that's not on the list?

Global Warming "Ended" In 1998: Two Views

Australian geologist Bob Carter, who teaches at James Cook University in Queensland, offers this view about the end of the warm era. Now, try to reconcile Carter's self-satisfied claim with this graph.

Is Prof. Carter not aware of this information - Or is he somehow able to live with his conscience while saying things that are intentionally misleading?

For a more reasonable and informed view, check this Fox News story on the latest science, showing the world warmer than ever in, well, at least 12,000 years.

Cheap oil means cheaper gas means fewer green cars?

What effect do gas prices have on green car habits and green car technology?
Automakers are investing billions in gas-free propulsion sources and sales figures show that consumers are more than eager to go along with these advanced powertrains. At least, consumers who want to get the most out of $3.50-a-gallon gas were. But what happens when gas gets cheap(er)? Recently, we had posts about the possible return of $1.15 gas as well as customers' attitudes about high gas prices. The current situation lies somewhere in between, and when crude prices dropped to below $60 a barrel Monday they brought the average price of gasoline down to $2.38 a gallon in the United States. Some energy analysts told the AP that it's headed even further south, to around $2 a gallon. In light of this, some OPEC members have hinted at a production cut if prices stay below $60 a barrel. The future is uncertain.

Serbian nuke fuel to be sent to Russia

Serbia signed a $10 million deal with Russia to remove 8,000 spent fuel rods from an unsecured location near Belgrade amid fears of weapons ... Link

SPOOF - Actual Expert Too Boring For TV


Canton at the MSNBC studio where he failed to make the cut.

"We could deal with Dr. Canton being so short," said Cal Salters, a segment producer at MSNBC. "And we could've made him up so he didn't look like he spends all day in front of a computer. We even considered cutting away to stock footage so our audience didn't have to look at him for too long. But when it turned out that listening to him is about as interesting as picking the lint off his lapels—well, there was nothing we could do about that."

Is this a Spoof?


The environmental load of 300 million: How heavy?

Read the full story in the Christian Science Monitor.

In many ways, Americans have mitigated the impact of their increasing presence on the land. Since reaching the 200 million mark back in 1967, they have cut emissions of major air pollutants, banned certain harmful pesticides, and overseen the rebound of several endangered species. Despite using more resources and creating more waste, they’ve become more energy efficient.

The danger, experts say, is that the US may simply have postponed the day of reckoning. Major environmental problems remain, and some are getting worse - all of them in one way or another connected to US population growth, which is expected to hit 400 million around midcentury. Some experts put the average American’s “ecological footprint” - the amount of land and water needed to support an individual and absorb his or her waste - at 24 acres. By that calculation, the long-term “carrying capacity” of the US would sustain less than half of the nation’s current population.

 Thanks Laura L. Barnes, SuperLibrarian

GreenPeace Slams Apple in Parody Page

Apple has been trying to decrease its environmental impacts for some time, in my opinion, they've been fairly successful. In the last year, they've instituted recycling programs, cut way back on brominated flame retardants and they've actually been a leader in developing alternatives toxic substances. But this website created by GreenPeace, slams apple for its environmental record, and makes the company seem entirely uncaring. Without a doubt, Apple doesn't have the best environmental record. (VIA - EcoGeek)

What You Do and Don't Know About Fluorine and Fluoride

Fluoride's derivatives have many other uses than as a mouthwash. Researchers have been making compounds with this element for a long time. Paper By Tim Fitzpatrick

How clean is the electricity I use?

U.S. EPA’s Power Profiler can help you figure it out. You can use the Power Profiler to generate a report about your own electricity use. All you need is your ZIP code.  Thanks for the link Laura L. Barnes, SuperLibrarian

Wisconsin - Doyle unveils 'bioindustry' proposal

Business Journal of Milwaukee: Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled plans to grow bioindustry and renewable energy in Wisconsin through a $450 million public and private investment strategy in renewable fuel sources. Doyle's proposal, announced Monday morning, will be included in his budget next year if he is re-elected in November. The plan includes nearly $80 million in state financial incentives such as bonds, tax credits, loans, and grants for companies to invest in and develop new technologies and ... Link

Structure to be world's largest built with recycled industrial materials

A major commercial development in Syracuse, N.Y., will be the world's largest sustainable structure to be built with recycled industrial materials, incorporate energy efficient features, and reduce vehicle emissions. The developers of Destiny USA, a multi-use project, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, promising to use a variety of environmentally sustainable practices.

Proof there is GOD - Computers To Sort Out Facts From Opinions

In "information extraction," computers scan text for words and phrases that identify subjects, objects and specific types of information in order to understand the highly variable ways in which human beings express themselves. New research at Cornell will extend this idea to try to separate statements of fact from opinions. Link

USDA Awards $5.5 Million for Biofuels, Biomass, and Wind Power

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding nearly $5.5 million in grants to ethanol, biodiesel, biomass energy, and wind power projects. The agency is also offering $5.4 million for research in bioproducts and bioenergy and is co-hosting a renewable energy conference with DOE. Link

Honda Unveils New Fuel Cell, Diesel, and Gasoline Technologies

Honda Motor Company is planning to roll out a wide range of efficient vehicle technologies, including a new fuel cell vehicle slated for limited marketing in the U.S. and Japan starting in 2008. Honda has also developed efficient diesel and gasoline engines for cars and energy-saving engines for motorcycles. Link

Worker injures hand in press

Brookfield A man was taken to the hospital today after getting his left hand caught between two rollers in a press Deputy Fire Chief Colin Curtis said this afternoon. Officials were called to ABC Box Inc., 20625 Enterprise Ave. at 9:32 a.m. It took 12 firefighters and paramedics 30 minutes to free the man from the machine, Curtis said. "There's only about three-eighths inch clearance between the rollers," Curtis said. Firefighters used spreaders and hand tools to back the machine off of the man's hand. Each roller weighed about 1,000 pounds. The man, 37, whose hometown was unavailable, was conscious the entire time and was able to use his right hand to hit the emergency stop button to halt the press, Curtis said. He was taken to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa but his condition was not immediately known.
All of here wish you the best and a speedy recovery in this hard time.

Ethanol - Americas Big Fat Loser

Thomas Friedman’s 9/20/06 column in the New York Times on taxing ethanol imports highlights the political and structural obstacles to common sense.

Friedman writes:

Thanks to pressure from Midwest farmers and agribusinesses, who want to protect the U.S. corn ethanol industry from competition from Brazilian sugar ethanol, we have imposed a stiff tariff to keep it out. We do this even though Brazilian sugar ethanol provides eight times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it, while American corn ethanol provides only 1.3 times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it. We do this even though sugar ethanol reduces greenhouses gases more than corn ethanol. And we do this even though sugar cane ethanol can easily be grown in poor tropical countries in Africa or the Caribbean, and could actually help alleviate their poverty. Yes, you read all this right. We tax imported sugar ethanol, which could finance our poor friends, but we don’t tax imported crude oil, which definitely finances our rich enemies. We’d rather power anti-Americans with our energy purchases than promote antipoverty.
Editor comments:  Who gets Fat? Who Gets Fuel? 
We can all win Bio-Diesel gives everyone involved a real chance.
  • 20-30% more energy than any "alternative"
  • 10-20% reduction in emissions
  • Can survive without subsides
End the politics, scare tactics, government subsides... Bio-Diesel. 

Sep 26, 2006

DOE Grants Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV),

Development of Power Electronics and Electric MotorTechnology for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), Internal CombustionEngine Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) and Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) Traction Drive Applications
Grant Link

Organic raw milk joins ban

Image and video hosting by TinyPic First spinach, now milk. California regulators ordered the recall of Organic Pastures raw milk products sold in grocery stores - including Save Mart and S-Mart stores in San Joaquin County - after three children were hospitalized with E. coli illnesses.  » original news

Extent of Mercury Pollution More Widespread Than Previously Thought, According To Report

Mercury pollution is making its way into nearly every habitat in the nation, exposing countless species of wildlife to potentially harmful levels of mercury, according to a report released on Sept. 19 by the National Wildlife Federation. Read the full article in Environmental Protection. Thanks Laura L. Barnes, Librarian

Airborne Metal Particles From Pollution Could Lead To Lung Cancer, Researchers Find

Inhaling metal particles from air pollution could lead to the development of lung cancer, researchers at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center have found.

The ecological study, published on Sept. 15 in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, is the first study of its kind in a large population that compared incidence rates of lung cancer for all 254 Texas counties from 1995 to 2000 with industrial air releases of metals reported to EPA in the previous eight- to 13-year period (1988-2000). Read the full article in Environmental Protection.Thanks Laura L. Barnes, Librarian

EEStor Ceramic Battery to Drive Replacement of Internal Combustion Engines?

Seasoned scientists at EEStore say they've created a battery made of glass- and aluminum-coated ceramics that could allow electric motors to completely replace the internal combustion engine. The inventors, erstwhile Xerox PARC and IBMmers, boast about the car's efficiency, saying it'll be so cheap it'll be as if gas cost 45 cents per gallon, will drive 500 miles on nine bucks' worth of electricity, and needs just five minutes to completely recharge. Plus, the company's CEO says, "a four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari." Tall claims, EEStore.  » original news

Critics Blast Texas Plans for New 'Dirty' Coal Plants

Texas utility companies are proposing to build 17 new coal-burning power plants and one petroleum-coke power plant over the next four years. They have the support of the governor, but mayors in some of the state's largest cities are putting up a fight (including Laura Miller in Dallas and Bill White in Houston). Miller wants the utility companies to utilize the cleaner "integrated gasification combined cycle" technology, but all of the proposed power plants in Texas plan to use traditional coal technology. [This is from NPR, which offers both the audio and the transcript of the story.]  » original news

1 in 3 U.S. National Parks Polluted

Air pollution exceeds federal standards in nearly 40 percent of America'apos;s national parks according to a new report from the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association.

New WMRC publication on small scale biodiesel production

WMRC has just released a new publication entitled Feasibility Report: Small Scale Biodiesel Production.

Got your eamil yesterday... Thanks Laura L. Barnes, Librarian

Study Says Renewables Becoming Cost-Competitive in U.S.

Renewable resources currently provide just over 6 percent of total U.S. energy, but that figure could increase rapidly in the years ahead, according to a new report by the Worldwatch Institute and the Center for American Progress, “American Energy: The Renewable Path to Energy Security.”  Read the full story at (thanks Laura B!)

Honda Unveils Diesel System to Rival Gasoline Cars

Reuters: Japan's Honda Motor Co. has done it again. The car maker that floored the world in the 1970s with the first gasoline engine to meet US clean air guidelines without a catalytic converter said it has developed a new and simple diesel powertrain that is as clean as gasoline-fuelled cars. The technology marks a big step forward for Honda at a time when rivals are racing to come up with ways to clear the world's strictest emissions regulations, called Tier II Bin 5, that the United ... Link

China needs advanced tech to help conserve energy

Shanghai Daily: THE constantly increasing consumption of traditional non-renewable energy all over the world is posing threats to both energy sustainability and the environment. To tackle these problems, China needs to devote greater efforts to energy saving, developing clean energy and finding better alternatives. The "International Energy Outlook 2006" released by the US Energy Information Administration in June presented an assessment of the world's energy supply and demand at ...Link

Chinese Chemical Leak Cuts Water to Thousands

Reuters: A leak from a Chinese chemical plant into a river has polluted water supplies for more than 4,100 people, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. The spill of turpentine from a plant in the eastern province of Anhui contaminated the Jindong River on Thursday, Xinhua said. Authorities warned residents not to use water from the river and sent fire engines to distribute water. Many residents and more than 1,100 primary and secondary school students in the area drank ... Link

WI Governor unveils $80M push for renewable energy

Capital Times: Gov. Jim Doyle was set to announce a plan today to invest $80 million in state funds in an effort to encourage the development and use of renewable energy. The governor says the state money would help leverage an additional $370 million in private investment and put the state at the forefront of the national movement to find alternative sources of fuel. The plan includes a $50 million fund to give loans to companies expanding their use and production of renewable fuels and ... Link

China, India say share renewable energy goals

Reuters: China and India, the world's 2nd and 4th biggest greenhouse gas emitters, both hope renewable power technologies can help reduce their emissions while sustaining their rapid economic growth, representatives from the two countries said on Monday. "We are confident that renewable energy is going to play a major role," in India's ministry of non-conventional energy sources, Shri Subramanian, told a renewable energy conference in in London. The two rapidly developing ... Link

Billions and Trillions into the "Green" Quick fix hole

First the good news from last week: Richard Branson pledged approximately $3 billion in future profits from his various businesses to develop carbon-neutral energy supply technologies.

CNN Article on Branson
It would be great if other members from the recently released Forbes 400 would play "me-too", since the main sources of joy for many of these billionaires seem is from topping their peers.

But the good news from Branson was overshadowed by last week's announcement of a new study suggesting that $3 billion for new energy technologies may be three or four orders of magnitude too little, too late.

According to the work of Robert Hirsch, a senior analyst at SAIC -- a think-tank sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy -- about $1 trillion should be invested to develop innovative energy technologies each year for the 20 years preceding the peak rate of oil production to avert a severe and prolonged global economic crisis when energy supplies "hit the wall".

SF Chronicle Article on Hirsch
Based on the oil statistics and analyses I've seen, it's hard to imagine that we're not already within the 20 year horizon of peak oil production, meaning that (if Hirsch is correct) somewhat more than $1 trillion annually needs now to be diverted to developing new energy technologies. Since revenues from the global energy sector are approximately $5 trillion per year, R&D must therefore approach 20% of industry revenues. Alas, the energy sector has traditionally plowed back less than 1% of its revenues into new technologies.

Does anyone see a 20x increase in energy R&D coming?

Earth may be at warmest point in 1 million years

Reuters: Earth may be close to the warmest it has been in the last million years, especially in the part of the Pacific Ocean where potentially violent El Nino weather patterns are born, climate scientists reported on Monday. This doesn't necessarily mean there will be more frequent El Ninos -- which can disrupt normal weather around the world -- but could well mean that these wild patterns will be stronger when they occur, said James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New ... Link

Celebrate Banned Books Week


September 23-30th is Banned Books Week, and to celebrate, Google Book Search has partnered with the American Library Association to highlight 42 classics, including To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, and The Grapes of Wrath.

Google Book Search: Celebrate Your Freedom To Read

More MSNBC - Climate News

Global warming nears ‘dangerous’ level

LiveScience: Global temperatures are dangerously close to the highest ever estimated to have occurred in the past million years, scientists reported Monday.


Indonesia capital aims to replace dirty taxis

Drivers of three-wheeled "Bajaj" taxis protest outside the Jakarta Governor's office in this June 23, 2004 file photo. For years, their acrid fumes have been as much a part of the Indonesian capital as the distinctive smell of the country's clove cigarettes. Now the Jakarta city government hopes the old smoke-belching motorised rickshaws or bajajs, which Indonesians pronounce as "budge eye", may finally be able to rattle off into the sunset.To match feature INDONESIA-BAJAJ REUTERS/Supri/Files (INDONESIA)The Jakarta city government hopes the old smoke-belching motorized rickshaws or bajajs, which Indonesians pronounce as “budge eye”, may finally be able to rattle off into the sunset.

Truth about Katrina' s environmental disaster surfacing

Most of the Murphy oil spill in Meraux, La., has been cleaned up but some residents fear for their long-term health. Click Launch for scenes from the nearest neighboorhood last November, two months after the spill during Hurricane Katrina.

An oil company and plaintiffs affected by the worst environmental disaster during Hurricane Katrina said Monday they had agreed to a $330 million settlement. Full read here: $330 million deal to settle Katrina oil spill (MSNBC)

smoking and asbestos okay for you, climate change doesn't exist

Australian Labor Party MP, Tony Burke, pens a great piece today in the  Daily Telegraph castigating "... a handful of skeptics willing to rail against the weight of scientific opinion," on issues ranging from climate change to tobacco to asbestos.

As MP Burke rightly states: "We should remember, when those with something to lose ignored the information about the dangers of smoking and asbestos, some very real victims emerged."

Well said, and as regular DeSmog readers know full well, many of the same people who told us not to worry about tobacco smoke and asbestos are now telling us not to worry about climate change.

Here are a few examples:

Dr. S. Fred Singer
On Asbestos
"The US has spent billions of dollars removing asbestos from schools, and for no good health reason." (link)

On Climate Change
"So, the global climate doesn't seem to be warming, causing considerable embarrassment to scientists." (

I am only posting this as the picture freaked me out

Tim Ball: World-class Climatologist of Santa Impersonator?

That would be one scary Santa!

The Victoria Times-Colonist ran this letter Sunday:

Tim Ball takes issue with an earlier description of him as a climate change "skeptic," claiming instead that he is a "climatologist" fully conversant with "the absolute latest in modern science."

Yet the record shows that since his retirement as a University of Winnipeg geography professor in 1996, Ball has aligned himself with oil-industry front groups (Friends of Science, Envirotruth) and traded on a very light resume to sustain his busy calendar as a speaker and lobbyist against the Kyoto accord.

Not Hybrid Hype, just a pratical 60 mpg car

Perodua introduces new supermini
As oxymoronic as jumbo shrimp - and just as popular in Europe - the supermini segment has seen a rash of new releases recently, from the smart ev to the Obvio. Malaysian automaker Perodua this month is releasing yet another small city flitter, this one called Myvi. The myvi's best mpg statistic is 58.8mpg (Imp.) for the manual version over the Extra Urban cycle. I like that.

The Myvi has a 1.3 liter, 4 cylinder DOHC DVVT engine that still manages a top speed of 106 mph and power output of 64 Kw at 6000 rpm and a torque figure of 116 Nm at 3200 rpm. The numbers are decent, but we'll have to wait and see if the Myvi has a fighting chance in the supermini field.

You can read Perodua's full press release after the jump.

[Source: Perodua - via]

Basically, we're being accused of starving children so we can continue driving our big gas-guzzling SUVs.

Sep 25, 2006

Get a free college education online

Join the ranks of great thinkers in history who were also self-taught, like Joseph Conrad, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Paul Allen, Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway. You, too, can be an autodidact; the breadth of free educational materials available online is absolutely astonishing.


Grab some larnin' from the University of Washington's free online courses; Greek mythology, American Revolution, Heroic Fantasy are just some of the offerings. If you get tired of that, you can study economics at the University of Nebraska.

Teach yourself sign language from Michigan State University. Browse through the vast treasures at the Library of Congress. View free videos on all sorts of subjects from Annenberg Media, a major supplier to most distance learning universities, or read the core documents of American democracy.

Feel like a little light reading? You can study theology at Covenant Seminary; course offerings are delivered via a combo of free downloadable .pdf files and podcasts, and include subjects ranging from Church History to the Modern Reformation.

Learn mathematics with this extensive list of free online math courses from Whatcom Community College. Visit Carnegie Mellon University and take Biology, Causal Reasoning, Statistics, and more, all for free.


Portland State University offers a free Swedish language course, in addition to a free Hungarian language course. Or, you can take an Italian language and culture course from Brooklyn College. California State also offers a free Conversational Mandarin Chinese course, and you can learn Turkish via the University of Arizona.

The University of Washington School of Medicine offers free CPR classes online, complete with video and instructional guides. You can also take health courses from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; anything from adolescent health to population science.

Prepare for the US citizenship test from the Missouri Southern State University. Learn linear algebra from the University of Puget Sound. Learn about bioterrorism (really) and other hazards from the University of North Carolina.

Get free online mathematics textbooks, videos, and lecture notes from New York University. Take advantage of Tufts University's open courses on dentistry, medicine, nutrition, and more. Learn about cognitive science from Hampshire College.

Take eight different courses via the Sofia Project, a collaborative effort between select California community colleges. Brigham Young University offers independent study in subjects such as Family History, Family Life, and Religious Scripture Study. Get access to ten free seminary courses from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Learn about human resources in 52 (!) different free courses from ERI. Browse a huge variety of materials in the University of Michigan's courses and seminars on Internet laws.

Ivy League

Take advantage of Stanford University's free CS education library. Go to college by taking free classes at MIT. Go to Berkeley with your iPod.The University of Pennsylvania has an extensive online library; over 25,000 books are listed here.


Just debuted, you can take free courses from Yale (funded by HP) on such diverse subjects as the Old Testament or Physics. Watch or read free online lectures in archival format from Princeton. Get a free Introduction to Probability text from Dartmouth.

Google tricks

Using the right keywords, find course syllabi (insert your own subject), lectures, tutorials, notes, podcasts, and various sorts of online books using Google.

As time goes on, I'm sure we'll see even more colleges and universities making even more of their courses open access. Got any other free online college courses or resources you'd like us to know about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning."

--Ivy Baker Priest,  Former U.S. treasurer 

"A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours."

--Milton Berle,  U.S. comedian, actor 

Productive Uses of Water (PRODWAT) Case Study Award 2006

The PRODWAT Case Study Award is open to researchers, practitioners and students working in any development related context: including South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Papers may be submitted by joint or single authors. Case studies should be on the multiple use of water services at the local scale: emphasizing the negative or positive role of productive uses of water at the household/village/local level alongside traditionally recognized domestic uses. Possible topics might include the role of household water supplies in gardening and urban agriculture, for livestock, and for micro-enterprises. Case studies may emphasize technical, social, political, economic or institutional issues in water development and management for multiple uses at the local scale. Applicants can submit at any time before 31 October 2006 and the winning case study will be announced in December 2006. The award will be EUR 1000 and will support further research on the best case study submitted to the PRODWAT website. The successful applicant will be required to submit a short report within six months of the award, including details of how the award was spent and explaining the results of research. A good "simplified" read.

Handwashing Handbook -- Now available in French and Spanish!

It is hard to imagine how important simple practices can save 1,000's
The Handwashing Handbook is now available in French and Spanish. The Handbook outlines a large-scale approach to handwashing promotion and covers laying the foundation for a national program, consumer research, program implementation, and organization. The Handbook is designed for staff in governments and development organizations charged with carrying out handwashing programs. Decision-makers in ministries and funding agencies will also find assistance in designing policies and programs to improve public health. The French, Spanish, and English versions of the Handbook are available in electronic format at


Researchers have been finding trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in rivers and lakes. Now, a new report suggests that the presence of Prozac in water bodies might be endangering freshwater mussels. Celeste Headlee has details:

More on freshwater mussels and how to preserve them

More on declining mussel populations

Canadian forests do $93B worth of pollution control per year: economist

"Canada is home to one-quarter of the world's forests.

Boreal forests regulate the climate by capturing and storing an estimated 67 billion tonnes of carbon in Canada alone - a job worth $1.8 billion, based on the price of carbon emissions from the global insurance industry.

The water filtration and erosion control function of boreal peatlands is worth $77 billion, and forests also generate billions in tourist spending.

That work is worth at least $160 per hectare but it's not recognized in national income accounts or the country's gross domestic product, Anielski said."


Homemade Soybean Press Produces Fuel and High Value Feed

The Walders built a two stage press for a few thousand dollars that produces Soybean oil for fuel and leaves a high quality protein meal. I like the idea because: 1) It could reduce fuel use and green house gas emissions from the Ag sector (which are large). 2) It is small scale, allowing individual farmers buy or make one and increase their income. 3) It produces a high quality protien meal in addition to the fuel. From the Farm Show Magazine webite Gary  » original news

Yes I like this subject - CH

Biofuels: Green energy or grim reaper?

Many are looking to biofuels as a renewable and clean source of energy. However, biofuels - made by producing ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from maize, sugar cane, or other plant matter - may be a penny wise but pound foolish way of doing so. The grain required to fill the petrol tank of a Range Rover with ethanol is sufficient to feed one person per year. Assuming the petrol tank is refilled every two weeks, the amount of grain required would feed a hungry African village for a year  » original news