May 31, 2010

Beating Peak Phosphorous to save agricultural

Ostara Aims to Stave Off Peak Phosphorous.Forget peak oil. The next big crisis is peak phosphorous--a shortage of mined phosphorous for fertilizer. The problem is so bad that supply won't be able to meet agricultural demand within the next 30 to 40 years. But a Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-backed startup called Ostara thinks it might have the solution: a system that removes nutrients--including phosphorous--from wastewater and turns it into a slow-release commercial fertilizer called Crystal Green. The company's second commercial facility was unveiled this week at the Nansemond Treatment Plant in Suffolk, Virginia.

Ostara's process features a reactor that processes sludge liquid and recovers nutrients that might otherwise have to be disposed of using costly processes. The reactor is so effective that it can extract over 90% of phosphorous from a municipal waste stream. "Our process works very much in complement to existing wastewater treatment technology. There are plants that have advanced processes to remove nutrients from raw sewage, but they need to dispose of them. We can take those concentrated nutrient flows and extract out nutrients," explains Phillip Abrary, the CEO of Ostara, in an interview with "The system pays back for itself in five years."
Read more VIA BigGav at PeakEnegy

Electric Car Bills on the Hill: 10 Things You Should Know

The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, introduced in Congress this week, has a simple goal to electrify half of all cars and trucks on U.S. roads by 2030, and a basic strategy: focus the might of the federal government on a small number of pilot communities around the country, subsidizing the buildout of charging infrastructure and purchase of electric vehicles.

How much will the legislation cost?

The Senate bill is estimated to have an overall cost of $7-$10 billion over five years. The House bill is estimated to cost about $11 billion over five years. 

How would pilot communities by selected? According to a draft of the House bill, the Secretary of Energy would choose the communities based on criteria including the level of cost sharing they propose for grant projects, whether plans are in place for deploying public charging infrastructure and updating building codes, solid partnerships with a range of stakeholders and assurances that equipment will employ open standards.

Buying carbon offsets may ease eco-guilt but not global warming

CSM -  An investigation has found that individuals and businesses who are feeding a $700 million global market in offsets are often buying vague promises instead of the reductions in greenhouse gases they expect. They are buying into projects that are never completed, or paying for ones that would have been done anyhow, the investigation found. Their purchases are feeding middlemen and promoters seeking profits from green schemes that range from selling protection for existing trees to the promise of planting new ones that never thrive. In some cases, the offsets have consequences that their purchasers never foresaw, such as erecting windmills that force poor people off their farms. Read more here...

May 31st World No Tobacco Day in 1987 - 23years of FAIL

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and is estimated to kill 5 million persons each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if current trends continue, by 2030 tobacco use could cause 8 million deaths annually (1).

WHO created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to tobacco use and the preventable death and disease it causes. The theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day, which will be held on May 31, is "gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women."

The WHO Framework ... expresses alarm at "the increase in smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption by women and young girls worldwide".
Additional information regarding World No Tobacco Day is available at CDC

In related FAIL: a two-year-old boy is a chain smoker parents ca$h in.

Rizal, who lives in a fishing village Musi Banyuasin, Indonesia, smokes at least 40 cigarettes in a day. He got addicted to smoking after his father gave him a fag when he was just 18 months. He weighs more than 25 kilograms and finds it almost impossible to run with other kids.

"He's totally addicted. If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick," said her mother Daina.

Rizal smokes a particular brand and his habit costs his parents more than $5 a day. The officials of the village have offered to buy the family a car if he quits.

However Rizal's father Mohammed, a fishmonger finds no problem with his habit and believes his son is quite healthy.

"He looks pretty healthy to me. I don't see the problem," said Mohammed.

In honor of the soldiers who have given their lives for our country.

Some gave their all and some gave everything to protect our freedom...

Thank you.

May 30, 2010

Why CapNTrade can only hurt US and not stop world energy or enviro crisis...

Unstoppable energy consumption with no "change" in sight...
World marketed energy consumption grows 49 percent between 2007 and 2035,
driven by economic growth in the developing nations of the world, according to the Reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2010 (IEO2010) released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). "Renewables are the fastest-growing source of world energy supply, but fossil fuels are still set to meet more than three-fourths of total energy needs in 2035 assuming current policies are unchanged," said EIA Administrator Richard Newell.

 Total world energy use in the Reference case rises 49 percent, from 495 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2007 to 739 quadrillion Btu in 2035.
China and India are among the nations least impacted by the global recession, and they will continue to lead the world's economic and energy demand growth into the future. In 2007, China and India together accounted for about 20 percent of total world energy consumption. With strong economic growth in both countries over the projection period, their combined energy use more than doubles by 2035, when they account for 30 percent of world energy use in the IEO2010 Reference case. In contrast, the projected U.S. share of world energy consumption falls from 21 percent in 2007 to about 16 percent in 2035.

The impossible becomes implausible....
 Total liquid fuels consumption projected for 2035 is 28 percent or 24.5 million barrels per day higher than the 2007 level of 86.1 million barrels per day.
Conventional oil supplies from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) contribute 11.5 million barrels per day to the total increase in world liquid fuels production, and conventional supplies from non-OPEC countries add another 4.8 million barrels per day. World production of unconventional resources (including biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids, and gas-to-liquids), which totaled 3.4 million barrels per day in 2007, increases nearly fourfold to 12.9 million barrels per day in 2035.

Read report here...

More Haase Facts on "real" energy crisis, CO2 facts:

HUD Releases 2007 “Worst Case Housing Needs” Report to Congress

In 2007, (before the economic collapse) nearly 13 million low-income persons paid more than half their monthly income for rent, lived in severely substandard housing, or both. In a report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that these "worst case housing needs" grew significantly between 2001 and 2007.

.. Based on data from the American Housing Survey (AHS) conducted between May and September of 2007, this report does not address much of the economic impact being felt by this population due to the current housing crisis. HUD expects that its next Worst Case Needs report will include those findings. Full Report from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Via DocUticker

Haase Facts for congress memebers who read this blog... Considering 41% of US children – more than 29 million – live in low-income families...Not only are these numbers troubling, the official poverty measure tells only part of the story. And that  1 in 7 in the U.S. know the pains of hunger. Through the USDA's system of distribution in 2008, we provided $72 billion of its $97 billion budget directly to mandatory programs providing services and nutritional programs. 

In 2009 the U.S. You can look at the recent stock market rally yet even a 50+ percent rally is unable to create jobs or stem the economic pain of those at the lower end of the economic spectrum.  Looking at food stamp participation from the United States Department of Agriculture shows us a very disturbing picture.  When we did a report on this in August of 2009 we had 34 million Americans on food stamps.  In the span of one month, the number jumped by over a million.

The raw data shows us that a stunning 12 percent of our entire population is receiving some form of food stamp assistance. 

Getting dirty can Make You Smarter, and Happier

Jeff Kart, Tree Hugger - Getting some outdoor time is not only good for the soul, it's probably good for the mind. 

Research from The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, suggests that exposure to a natural soil bacterium called Mycobacterium vaccae can increase learning behavior. Another reason to enjoy, and protect, the great outdoors. And a potential reason to eat a little dirt here and there.

The bacteria studied is already believed to have antidepressant qualities. Which is probably another reason why sunshine and a cool breeze can lift your spirits. This Mycobacterium vaccae is likely ingested or breathed in by people when they spend time in nature, according to Dorothy Matthews, who conducted the research with Susan Jenks.

If you see a mouse or two the next time you're outside, tell them thanks for the information.

For this study, mice had to navigate a maze. Mice that were fed the live "brain bacteria" navigated the maze twice as fast "and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors" than control mice, the researchers said. After a few weeks, the effects of the bacteria wore off, suggesting that regular visits to the outdoors are wise.

Think about it: A real mouse has taught us to spend less time with a computer mouse. That's deep.

The picture above is of Kart's daughter, getting smarter by the minute.


While Cellphones may not cancer... this does sound plausible.
Telegraph, UK -  Britain has seen a 15 per cent decline in its bee population in the last two years Their disappearance has caused alarm throughout Europe and North America where campaigners have blamed agricultural pesticides, climate change and the advent of genetically modified crops for what is now known as 'colony collapse disorder.'

Now researchers from Chandigarh's Punjab University claim they have found the cause which could be the first step in reversing the decline: They have established that radiation from mobile telephones is a key factor in the phenomenon and say that it probably interfering with the bee's navigation senses.

They set up a controlled experiment in Punjab earlier this year comparing the behaviour and productivity of bees in two hives - one fitted with two mobile telephones which were powered on for two fifteen minute sessions per day for three months. The other had dummy models installed.

After three months the researchers recorded a dramatic decline in the size of the hive fitted with the mobile phones, a significant reduction in the number of eggs laid by the queen bee. The bees also stopped producing honey.

The queen bee in the "mobile" hive produced fewer than half of those created by her counterpart in the normal hive.

They also found a dramatic decline in the number of worker bees returning to the hive after collecting pollen. Because of this the amount of nectar produced in the hive also shrank.

Not sure?
Tim Lovett, of the British Beekeepers Association, said that hives have been successful in London where there was high mobile phone use.
"Previous work in this area has indicated this [mobile phone use] is not a real factor," he said. "If new data comes along we will look at it."
He said: "At the moment we think is more likely to be a combination of factors including disease, pesticides and habitat loss."

New Study Suggests Cancer-causing Chemicals in Drinking Water Comes from Shampoo, Detergent

a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, researchers reported that harmful nitrosamines form from quaternary amines, which are found in many consumer products, and since pretreatment with ozone or chlorine does not reduce the amount of nitrosamines that form, many of these nitrosamines end up in drinking water, wastewater and recreational water.

One nitrosamine, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), is of particular interest because it is a toxic organic chemical and a suspected human carcinogen.

Preliminary Findings Yield Grab-Bag of Results
The report is clear that the findings are preliminary. Only a fraction of the hundreds of potential products were analyzed, and, as the report states, there was wide variation in the tendency to act as a precursor to NDMA:

Our calculations are highly preliminary. Consumer products exhibited a range of tendencies to serve as precursors during chloramination, and it is unlikely that any one compound would account for the majority of nitrosamine formation. Certain products, including the Cheer laundry detergent and Pantene shampoo, did not form nitrosamines. However, the NDMA mass yield from Dawn dishwashing detergent was 26 times greater than that for Suave shampoo
Read full from the Hugger

May 29, 2010

Ouch... Greenhouse gases aren't warming Earth

WashingtonTimes - The climate certainly has warmed considerably in the past 10,000 years (when the last Ice Age ended), but much less since 1850 (the end of the Little Ice Age). No one disputes these facts. But the climate has not warmed during the past decade, in spite of the steady rise in human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. According to Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, there has been no warming trend since 1995.

The 2007 report of the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) furnished no credible evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The NRC-NAS panel did not add any new relevant information - nor did it have the expertise to do so.

The IPCC panel was made up of many qualified atmospheric scientists who are active in research. The NAS panel was politically chosen and listed among its "climate science experts" a sociology professor and a professor of "sustainable development," whatever that means. That certainly doesn't inspire much confidence in the NAS conclusions...that the climate is warming and the cause is human.

The report's recommendation is for the United States to put a price on carbon to staunch emissions of carbon dioxide, which is pointless, counterproductive and very costly.

Read full at WashingtonTimes

May 28, 2010

CBPO Environmental Updates

S. 3372, A bill to modify the date on which the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and applicable states may require permits for discharges on certain vessels  Under current law, permit requirements related to certain discharges from fishing vessels and nonrecreational vessels less than 79 feet in length will become effective on July 31, 2010. S. 3372 would extend that date until December 18, 2013.

S. 3373, Air and Health Quality Empowerment Zone Designation Act of 2010 would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create air andhealth quality empowerment zones in various regions of the country. Certain entities within those zones would then be eligible for federal grants to fund the replacement or retrofitting of vehicles or engines to reduce pollution.

S. 3374, Cleanfields Investment Act would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to provide grants to nonprofit organizations, units of local government, and other eligible entities for locating renewable energy facilities (including renewable energy manufacturing facilities) on brownfield sites.

Click links to read full at CBO

May 27, 2010

DIY Electric Car Breaks World Record Going 624 Miles on One Charge

Mira EV electric car record photo
Photo: Japan Electric Vehicle Club

The Daihatsu Mira EV Broke Its Own Record
An electric car went 623.76 miles (1,003 kilometers) on one charge, and on top of that it was a conversion done by the Tokyo-based Japan Electric Vehicle Club (link in Japanese), a group of EV enthusiasts. If they can do it, big automakers should definitely be able to do it. Read on for more details on the record-breaking electric car....Read the full story on TreeHugger

May 26, 2010

Prolonged drought having severe impact on some northern lakes, flowages

WDNR - Eight straight years of drought in northern Wisconsin is causing many people to ask what is happening to the fish, wildlife and recreation dependent on water.

A 12-month drought cumulative effects scale -- known as the Palmer Drought Index (exit DNR) -- shows below average precipitation again for 2010. The May index has northern Wisconsin in the moderate to severe drought category.

Deep Lake
Water levels are down 15 feet on Deep Lake in Washburn County.
WDNR Photo

The water deficit crosses most of the northern part of the state. Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Manager Dennis Scholl said the Rainbow Flowage in Oneida County is down 13 feet while Deep Lake in Washburn County is down 15 feet, one of the worst examples of the lack of precipitation. Most water bodies in the north are affected.

Although humans cannot do anything to avoid a drought, people can learn some valuable lessons from dry periods that guide responsible use of water. Whether we have a drought or not everyone should always conserve water and treat the natural resources with respect.

Please read full at WDNR

May 25, 2010

Webinar: Understanding the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010

On April 2, 2010, Senator Lautenberg, introduced The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 bill to Congress, (developed by EPA's Lisa Jackson, Chairman Waxman, Senator Boxer, Congressman Rush and others) which is slated to be passed without major modifications. This bill represents yet another burden placed on US organizations by Federal agencies who are clearly motivated to increase scrutiny and enforcement of chemical compliance.

With the explosion of new chemicals that have been introduced into the market during the past decade and with minimal environmental, health and safety analysis on these substances, the US, along with many other international governments, are making a concerted effort to regulate chemicals at an unprecedented pace. To learn more about the Safe Chemicals Act and US/international compliance trends, please attend this complimentary 45-minute Web seminar, Understanding the Safe Chemical Act of 2010, and understand Safetec's support for this new upcoming regulation in addition to overall Chemical Management, Compliance and Control.


• Why the Safe Chemicals Act was introduced and the brewing storm of chemical regulations
• Overview of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010
• Problems solved by this new regulation
How the Safe Chemicals Act will affect your organization
• How to JumpStart your compliance initiatives with cutting edge software tools and services


June 2nd, 2010 - 1:00PM Eastern (10:00AM PT)

Find out more and register by sending an email to Leah Sarkkinen at leahs (at)

You can also register online at

US ranks 42nd in child mortality

"There are an awful lot of people who think we have the best medical system in the world," said Dr. Christopher Murray, who directs the institute and is an author of the study. "The data is so contrary to that."

Singapore, the country with the lowest child mortality rate in the world at 2.5 deaths per 1,000 children, cut its rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2010.  The U.S., which is projected to have 6.7 deaths per 1,000 children this year, saw a 42% decline in child mortality...

Underscoring historic recent gains in global health, the number of children younger than 5 who die this year will fall to 7.7 million, down from 11.9 million two decades ago, according to new estimates by population health experts.

But as much of the world makes strides in reducing child mortality, the U.S. is increasingly lagging and ranks 42nd globally, behind much of Europe as well as the United Arab Emirates, Cuba and Chile.

Twenty years ago, the U.S. ranked 29th in the child mortality rate, according to data analyzed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The estimates, derived from modeling based on international birth records and other sources, are being published Monday in the British medical journal the Lancet.

READ MORE AT: Los Angeles Times

Graph from

GM Cells Will Sweat Ethanol and Diesel Fuel in Texas Pilot Plant

The tiny single-cell plants eat, reproduce, and then sweat fuel

PopSci: Considering the debate over how corn-derived ethanol competes with growing corn to support livestock and humans, this approach sounds a good deal more promising. It's also an intriguingly different approach from breaking down the tough cellulose walls of plants to create biofuels, which has represented the long-term goal for researchers. If Joule Unlimited can deliver on its promises, we envision that it should be able to carve out its own niche among the array of clean energy solutions jostling for position.

Tiny organisms such as algae offer great promise for a clean energy future by creating biofuels or even hydrogen, if only scientists can figure out how to use them in a cost-efficient way. A startup named Joule Unlimited has hit upon a possible solution, with a genetically tailored organism that sweats out its fuel and lives on to continue making more, New York Times reports. The company broke ground recently on a Texas pilot plant that will house the single-cell plant organisms in flat structures resembling solar panels facing the sun.

Water flowing through the panels will carry off the hydrocarbon fuel for separation. Hydrocarbon oils such as diesel produced by the organisms separate from water and make the gathering easy, while distilling technology already exists for separating out the ethanol from water.

Read on at PopSci

Global Oil Production Update - Rebound

EarlyWarning Oil on rebound

The rate of recovery I currently estimate at 2.9 mbd/year, with a 90% confidence interval of [2.2, 3.6] mbd/yr (using the same approach as in previous months).  It still appears to me that the most likely outcome is that this recovery will continue and exceed the 2008 peak of liquid fuel production.  That's assuming that the European Union has successfully kicked the can down the road a ways on the debt situation - a major flare-up in the financial crisis could obviously kick demand down again.  
I don't expect the spill in the Gulf of Mexico to have very much near-term impact on global oil supplies one way or the other.  In the longer term, it may have a slight negative effect by retarding US offshore production, but that's a pretty small piece of the overall pie ....
Read more by Stuart Staniford on oil supply

May 24, 2010

FAIL - Subsidies make the least healthy foods the cheapest to buy.

...Just mention subsidies and most people's eyes glaze over. But government subsidies transfer hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to large farmers who grow just a few types of crops, creating some of the country's least deserving welfare recipients. Subsidies set price minimums and ensure that corn, soy, wheat, and rice producers get paid regardless of how low prices for their crops are or whether they even need assistance in the first place. These subsidies support the cheap and unhealthy domestic food that shows up in the aisles of the supermarket. And they're the reason why a salad costs more than a Big Mac.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit, released its annual assessment of farm subsidies (which, because of changes in the law, is actually less transparent than in years past). The EWG's president Ken Cook says, "Even after the bitterly contested new health insurance reforms eventually take effect, most crops could fairly be said to have better coverage than many people in this country."

If the Obama Administration is serious about Let's Move, its obesity-reduction initiative, then the country needs a better Farm Bill in 2012—one that places a priority on better health care and nutrition. Even the Wall Street Journal applauded Let's Move in its op-ed pages, saying, "The best outcome would be if ObamaCare dies and the first lady's anti-obesity campaign results in some modest success."

The problem with the existing subsidies is that they don't to favor the majority of fruit and vegetable growers (nor the school kids that eat their produce). These farmers will need to at least double their acreage to reach Let's Move's proposed nutrition guidelines, writes The Washington Post's Jane Black. What if the money to pay for those new acres of fresh produce was taken from subsidies that make unhealthy foods artificially cheap?

So far, the House Agriculture Committee appears to be making modest inroads towards this goal by replacing some conventional subsidy programs with crop insurance programs, so that farmers might grow more diversified crops and be encouraged to stop overproducing. As Paula Crossfield of the blog Civil Eats writes, "If the new Farm Bill includes this change, it could spur farmers to diversify their crops, spreading out their risk, thereby creating new opportunities for local food systems."

Still, the next Farm Bill should aim for the heart of the problem, and lawmakers need to consider substantial reform. Spend a little time on EWG's database and then weigh in on the process before June 14. There's little doubt, judging by both the effects of subsidies and the looming federal budget deficit, that we need anything less than a complete overhaul.

Read full at GOOD

Green Speed Air motorcycle

NaxNews: "The thing that comes out from the exhaust is the same that we breathe," said design student Edwin Yi Yuan, referring to the Green Speed Air motorcycle, a concept bike intended to run on compressed air. A rotary air engine fed by high-pressure air tanks means no gas, no combustion, no exhaust--and no gearbox or shifting either, due to a single gear at a 1:1 ratio.

Built as a student project at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the GSA bike is intended to be a land racer, which also obviates the need for a headlight and tail-light. But the compressed-air technology is not without its problems:

It [air power] has lower mileage than petrol. I mean to cover the same distance, you need a lot more volume of compressed air than petrol. That means  a few things, we're either going to have to go to the gas station more often then we go to the restroom, or have a  tank the size of your bathtub on the bike which makes it not only somewhat odd looking but also very heavy.On the other hand I appreciate a subtle elements of classic bike design with the wrap around windshield. The up right seat back is also a great design feature that takes us back to the romantic mid 20th century designs.

Compost = free hotwater 130-150 degree hot water Hack

Want nature to supply you with 130-150 degree hot water? [Onestraw] shows you how to get just that by building a compost heap that heats water. Finding himself the proud owner of a dump truck of green wood chips [Onestraw] went about building his own version of Jean Pain's thermal compost pile. The idea is to produce and store methane generated from the compost pile but in order to do so, the temperature must be kept fairly low. The microorganisms in the compost generate a lot of heat trying to break down that matter and running water through the system will keep the temperature low enough for the methane-producers to be happy. The side effect of this cooling system is hot water coming out the other end. [Onestraw] even has plans to use salvaged car radiators to turn the hot water into a heating system for his home. Granted you're not going to add this to your apartment, but if you have space and waste plant matter and need hot water this is a great way to get it. Read more and comment at HackAday

HyBrids Hacked....

The CMT 380X Blackbird is one wicked hybrid car!

Looking like it just rolled off the set of the next Batman film, the Blackbird is the brainchild of Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director [Richard Hilleman]. Starting from a kit car base — the Factory Five Racing GTM chassis — [Hilleman] created a unique 230 horsepower drive train combining a 30 kilowatt diesel turbine and 24 KWh lithium polymer battery pack.

As a purely plug-in electric car, the Blackbird has a range of 85 miles. In hybrid mode, range is extended to 500 miles. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Come decelerating, the car makes use of regenerative braking.

Read more at HackAday

Aging Boomers Will Increase Dependency Ratio

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that the dependency ratio, or the number of people 65 and older to every 100 people of traditional working ages, is projected to climb rapidly from 22 in 2010 to 35 in 2030.HTML clipboard

This time period coincides with the time when baby boomers are moving into the 65 and older age category. After 2030, however, the ratio of the aging population to the working-age population (ages 20 to 64) will rise more slowly, to 37 in 2050. The higher this old-age dependency ratio, the greater the potential burden.

"This rapid growth of the older population may present challenges in the next two decades," said Victoria Velkoff, assistant chief for estimates and projections for the Census Bureau's Population Division. "It's also noteworthy that those 85 and older — who often require additional caregiving and support — would increase from about 14 percent of the older population today to 21 percent in 2050."

Full report The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050 (PDF)

Link source DocUticker

May 23, 2010

Largest-Ever Study On Cancer and Cellphones Finds "No Increase in Risk"

PopSci -  the largest completed analysis to date of brain tumor (glioma and meningioma) risk in relation to mobile phone use concludes: "Overall, no increase in risk of either glioma or meningioma was observed in association with use of mobile phones.  (Filed under "I told you so.." :-)
This result is in line with the majority of other published studies, which also observed no increased risk of brain tumors in association with cell phone radiation and cite biases and errors in those studies that do show a correlation. But the publication of the Interphone results does not address the two main concerns of those who believe cell phone radiation may have an impact on human health: namely, that the effect of long-term exposure, especially on children, is still unknown and that brain tumor rates alone are not the proper metric by which to measure risk... please read more at PopSci

Awesome - A Fish-Friendly Tidal Turbine

PopSci An underwater energy extractor that doesn't harm sea life

ECO-Auger John B. Carnett
Today's featured Invention Award winner is the ECO-Auger, which accesses tidal energy without harming marine life.

Anderson had used a revolving horizontal corkscrew to feed plastic to machines in his New Jersey factory and knew that ancient Egyptian farmers used augers to irrigate high ground. To see if a water-driven auger could do the job of conventional turbine blades, he tested an eight-inch plastic prototype in a pool, measured the torque, and ran it in a tank of minnows. When he saw that it worked without affecting the fish, he spent four months in his garage handcrafting a two-foot-diameter polyurethane-and-fiberglass auger that in a test captured 14 percent of the water's energy-not as much as the 25 to 45 percent that huge propeller-driven turbines can get, but Anderson says that percentage will go up as the auger's diameter increases, and for a fraction of the cost.
W. Scott Anderson spent the past five decades creating complicated machines for manufacturing, including a lipstick labeler and a plastic-straw maker. So when two years ago the 77-year-old industrial engineer invented a fish-friendly underwater turbine that looks like a giant screw, it seemed a cruel twist of fate that every manufacturer he approached said it was too complex to produce economically. But that didn't stop him.
 "We already know it will work," he says. "Now it's just a matter of doing it." 
Please read full at PopSci 

Oil Disaster reaches Louisiana marshlands

Photo from Louisiana Gov. Jindal's tour of the environmental devastation in coastal marshlands caused by the BP oil disaster.
Oil Impacts PAL, May 19, 2010 by lagohsep.
(Louisiana Gov.'s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, via the boing2)

Save our Future and Economy "Zero-energy buildings" - We have the technology

Are we really choosing to continue to invest in impractical, hightech and financially implausible solutions to our economic and energy crisis while we can create millions of jobs, save billions of dollars, and be energy independent IF we want to.... while may not give all the best answers, they do produce inarguable math that eliminates the need for unsustainable dreams of clean coal (drains .688 billion of economy), A Nuclear Renaissance (drains .708 billion of economy) and crap N trade (drain 10 trillionfrom market) 

So do we want to continue to throw away our future of finally invest in it?

"We have studies that show [zero-energy buildings] are practical for approximately 62% of buildings in the U.S., based on technologies we have today," he said. "That's mostly one and two-story buildings and still leaves out a lot that can't reach it, but those buildings can be low energy.

In fact, Peterson said that currently available energy efficiency technologies alone (not even looking at generating power from wind or solar sources) could reduce the amount of energy used by the total U.S. building stock by 50%.

While there is a lot of 'industry talk' by Peterson at Boing2, makes all the number the U.S. needs to 'understand'.
I know math hurts.

20 Worst Drinks in America 2010

Mens health's "Harmful Drinks in America" is a series of photos of sugary beverages next to their caloric equivalent in junk food. 
Here's a 280 calorie Rockstar Energy Drink alongside a mountain of 6 Krispy Kreme donuts. Of course, that's nothing compared to the 345 calorie Arizona Kiwi Strawberry drink (equivalent to 7 bowls of Froot Loops).

Enjoy all here at - 20 Worst Drinks in America

CUT - mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment?

Sixty-two percent of Americans think that the country should reduce spending in order to cut the deficit.  What do they think we should cut?  Nothing that can make a dent....

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones reminds us that foreign aid is about one percent of the U.S. budget.
…there were only four [other] areas that even a quarter of the population was willing to cut: mass transit, agriculture, housing, and the environment. At a rough guess, these areas account for about 3% of the federal budget. You could slash their budgets by a third and still barely make a dent in federal spending. 

And it is as if we are oblivious of where "renewable energy money should go"
Clean coal and nuclear do not look so 'cheap' when you peek at the actual budget costs....

May 22, 2010

First Amendment Could be Removed from Blogs?

This callous disregard for the First Amendment represents a fundamental threat the very fabric of the country and is even more alarming considering the position of Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan with regard to free speech. During the Citizens United vs. FEC case, Kagan's office argued that the government can ban books and political pamphlets. In separate writings, Kagan argued that the government could "disappear" free speech it deemed to be offensive.
In an audio excerpt of an interview which was posted on the website , Sunstein discusses how conservative websites should provide links to liberal websites and vice versa or even how political blogs should be made to include pop ups that show "a quick argument for a competing view".

"The idea would be to have a legal mandate as the last resort….an ultimate weapon designed to encourage people to do better," Sunstein concluded.

"The best would be for this to be done voluntarily," said Sunstein, "But the word voluntary is a little complicated and people sometimes don't do what's best for our society," he added (emphasis mine).

"The idea would be to have a legal mandate as the last resort….an ultimate weapon designed to encourage people to do better," Sunstein concluded.

As we previously reported, in a January 2008 white paper entitled "Conspiracy Theories," the Harvard Professor who is currently President Obama's head of information technology in the White House called for "conspiracy theories," that is any political opinion which didn't concur with the establishment view, to be taxed or even banned outright.

Essentially, Sunstein wants it to be written into law that the government can dictate the very nature of reality to Americans and that their opinions can only be voiced at best when accompanied by mandatory federal propaganda or at worst that Americans can be silenced entirely by federal decree.  Read full at PrisonPlanet

Bladeless Wind so 1900's

GizMag: A wind turbine that uses boundary layers instead of blades to generate power has been patented by Solar Aero, a New Hampshire based not-for-profit scientific research organization. Modeled on the 1913 Tesla steam turbine, the Fuller turbine is virtually silent and completely enclosed, which avoids many of the drawbacks of bladed turbines such as noise, radar interference, visual pollution and wildlife injuries.

Solar Aero's Howard Fuller says the principal of operation is roughly the same as for the Tesla steam turbine.

"Closely-spaced discs trap the motive fluid molecules (in this case air) in a laminar flow adjacent to the disc surface. This provides aerodynamic drag, which imparts force to the disc surface. By using multiple discs, the turbine then provides considerable torque to accelerate the rotation of the central driveshaft, which is directly coupled to an alternator, typically located at the base of a tower, or alternatively co-located on a rooftop."

Read full at GizMag

Sustainable prefabs... so 1980's

Lester Walker's 1981 classic American Shelter, (still in print!)

prefab 1970 american shelter book image
American Shelter

I do not mean this as any criticism of Blu Homes; I think they deserve praise. If modern prefab is going to catch on it has to be affordable, and the way to do that is to maximize the efficiency. There is no simpler or more efficient prefab than banging two long thin boxes with shed roofs together.


Toss in Blu Homes' folding system that dramatically reduces the amount of air that they are dragging across the country and eliminates all the special, expensive transport permits and escorts, and you have really squeezed out a lot of cost.

blu homes prefab floor plan image

More on the Blu Homes balance; see Preston's take on it at Jetson Green

$Green$ Tech Intel cuts energy use to save Big$

intel building photo
Photo via cytech
Intel has given a lot of lip service to reducing the carbon footprint of the IT industry. Thankfully, the company is walking the walk as well - and taking big strides. The progress includes cutting its overall carbon footprint by 24% in 2009, and trimming its energy use by 9% during the same year - equating to a $4 million savings on electricity costs - all while keeping business rolling strong. Intel's progress is made mostly by focusing on one area in particular. ...Read the full story on TreeHugger

Gearless Honeywell Wind Turbine’s Hitting the Market Soon???

I posted about a year ago about this... and we are STILL waiting. 
Now it's later and $6,500 - Whats the deal?
EarthAlt Honeywell Windtronics' compact for 25 percent household's energy needs with only 2 miles per hour of wind speeds, unveiled at the National Hardware Show this month, and will soon be sold at local ACE Hardware stores this August.

Honeywell Wind Turbine is small size with 6 feet (182 cm) diameter and 170 lbs (77kg) weighs designed for homes and businesses needs. The Honeywell Wind Turbine's Power Blade System creates energy at the blade tips, rather than through a central gear and rotor used in most turbine technology. With this system, wind turbine will be able to eliminate central gear and shaft resistances for cost and energy output efficiency.

Price at $6,495 Honeywell Wind Turbine is less expensive and easy to install. Equipped by a computerized smart box and inverter to support the perfect work at 2 miles per hour wind speeds. Read full at EarthAlt

May 20, 2010

ADHD linked to pesticide exposure

CNN - Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.

Organophosphates are "designed" to have toxic effects on the nervous system, says the lead author of the study, Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal. "That's how they kill pests."

The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD, Bouchard explains, "so it seems plausible that exposure to organophosphates could be associated with ADHD-like symptoms."

Detectable levels of pesticides are present in a large number of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S., according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in the study. In a representative sample of produce tested by the agency, 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 20 percent of celery, and 25 percent of strawberries contained traces of one type of organophosphate. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27 percent of green beans, 17 percent of peaches, and 8 percent of broccoli.

Although kids should not stop eating fruits and vegetables, buying organic or local produce whenever possible is a good idea, says Bouchard.

The researchers tested the samples for six chemical byproducts (known as metabolites) that result when the body breaks down more than 28 different pesticides. Nearly 95 percent of the children had at least one byproduct detected in their urine.

One group of pesticide byproducts was associated with a substantially increased risk of ADHD. Compared with kids who had the lowest levels, the kids whose levels were 10 times higher were 55 percent more likely to have ADHD. (Another group of byproducts did not appear to be linked to the disorder.)

In addition, children with higher-than-average levels of the most commonly detected byproduct -- found in roughly 6 in 10 kids -- were nearly twice as likely to have ADHD.

"It's not a small effect," says Bouchard. "This is 100 percent more risk."

Please read more at CNN

Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us?

Churning out iPods, iPads, and iPhones for Apple nonstop.

The consequences or our digital desires.... Undercover report from Apple's nightmare factory in China
Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly sent 20-year-old reporter Liu Zhi Yi undercover in Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, China. For 28 days, he experienced dreadful conditions that the factory's 400,000 employees endure, churning out iPods, iPads, and iPhones for Apple nonstop. Please read at GreenChange

May 19, 2010

Doyle vetoes bill to promote green buildings

A bill that would have applied green building standards to public projects died Wednesday when Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the proposal.

State Rep. Louis Molepske Jr., D-Stevens Point, chided members of Doyle's administration for not raising concerns about the bill while the Legislature was in session this year. Molepske was an author of the bill.

The bill, which passed through the state Senate and Assembly, would have required public building additions, renovations and new construction of at least 10,000 square feet be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards. The bill would have affected state, municipal and school district projects.

"Unfortunately, what seemed to have happened in this case was the bureaucracy won," Molepske said, "and it was bureaucracy who failed to come to the table who sank the ship here."

In a veto letter sent to lawmakers, Doyle called the bill 'unworkable.' The veto message focused on a requirement in the bill that, by 2015, the state achieve U.S. Green Building Council standards for 15 percent of the state's total building space, either owned or leased.

A requirement to dedicate all building program money toward the 15 percent goal would have crippled the state's building program, according to the veto message.

Although the bill had a laudable goal of promoting green building, it could have frozen spending on University of Wisconsin System projects, said David Giroux, executive director of communications and external relations for the UW System. Whether that was the intention or not, he said, the bill could have been misinterpreted.

Please read full at DailyReporter

EPA Restricts Emissions Control Rules to Largest Greenhouse Gas Sources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on May 13 that its final Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule will require only the largest new and modified sources of greenhouse gases to control emissions. During the first half of 2011, the rule limits the application of prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) requirements to sources that already must comply with its requirements for other pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides or particulate matter. These facilities will be required to include greenhouse gas emissions in their PSD permit if they increase those emissions by 75,000 tons per year.

Beginning in July 2011, the rule will apply PSD requirements to new sources that emit more than 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide-equivalent and to modified sources that emit more than 75,000 tons per year.

Under the Clean Air Act, PSD requires new and modified major air pollution sources to limit emissions using best available control technology. PSD requirements were triggered when EPA issued greenhouse gas emissions limits for cars and light trucks March 31.

"After extensive study, debate and hundreds of thousands of public comments, EPA has set common-sense thresholds for greenhouse gases that will spark clean technology innovation and protect small businesses and farms," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Full article at:

Clean Energy Investments Hit $27.3 Billion in First Quarter of 2010

Several reports are showing that the clean energy sector remained strong globally in 2009 and during the first quarter of 2010. Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that investments in clean energy increased 31% in the first quarter of 2010 over the same period in 2009. Read full at EERE

May 15, 2010

HazMat Humor - If you get it, your 40hr ;-)

Sustainable Sewage Treatment Plants

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have discovered a type of bacteria called Anammox that can directly destroy the ammonium into nitrogen in sewage treatment processes. The process can also generate up to 24Wh to serve sustainable sewage treatment plants.

As we all know that the sewage treatment process typically uses a variety of bacterium that convert organic matter into methane. One weakness of this process is that it can leave the waste containing ammonium into phosphates, which is further removed before the water is poured into rivers. Process that requires specific bugs is also spending a lot of electrical energy to 44 Wh per day for each person who adds waste to the sewage system.
Read More......

May 14, 2010

Ewaste could replace U.S. petroleum demand with biodiesel.

"The next best thing" - industrial design students at of the University of Illinois are boasting that it can make a Electronic Waste  'algae bioreactor'  that produces algae for Biofuel that "could replace U.S. petroleum demand with biodiesel."
Waste Electronic parts serve as a reservoir to cultivate algae that can be used to make biodiesel.
Inhabitat -  The makeshift tank’s water pump aerates the algae, while a faucet lets users extract algae on demand. Ultimately, the students hope that their device can change the biofuel game by increasing output and lowering costs of algae production(it doesn’t get much cheaper than recycled electronics). According to the students, if just 6.5% of Americans housed Bio-Grows, they could generate enough algae to completely replace petroleum with biodiesel. Read full via Discovery News  image source
Comment: I would love to see the EROI to disprove this but, the 'next big thing' may offer nothing more than 'obvious empty statements' considering the amount of energy, water consumed during the process may return less energy it requires produce it (i.e. the corn ethanol effect).  Yet this team does make some great work here and substantiates that fact that we can offset ALL U.S. energy and transportation needs with waste we currently send off to third world nations or landfills. AND if they utilize renewable water and energy (wind/waste water) sources for the process, their EROI are numbers would work.
"We do not want to believe that with the 'trillions' we have literally throw away for three decades on hydrogen unicorn power dreams and ethanol subsidies could have built a sustainable biodiesel and biogas energy program utilizing the waste and by products we discard everyday."
While we may not 'want to accept it', it is an inarguable fact - Haase