Jul 31, 2011

First Debt / Credit Bomb Dropped?

Jack Barnes - Someone dropped a bomb on the bond market Thursday – a $1 billion Armageddon trade betting the United States will lose its AAA credit rating.

In one moment, an invisible trader placed a single trade that moved the most liquid debt market in the world. 

The massive trade wasn’t placed in bonds themselves; it was placed in the futures market.

You only do this if you see an edge.
This means someone is confident that the United States is either going to default or is going to lose its AAA rating. That someone is willing to bet the proverbial farm that U.S. interest rates will be going up.

I believe what happened is a debt-ceiling deal was done in Washington and leaked to a major proprietary trader. Everyone knows the debt negotiations in Washington have been an extreme game of brinksmanship between political parties, but now someone knows how that game played out.

Citi's Top Economist Says The Water Market Will Soon Eclipse Oil

Citi economist Willem Buiter tells clients to invest in the water industry which will soon become hotter than oil (via FT Alphaville):
I expect to see in the near future a massive expansion of investment in the water sector, including the production of fresh, clean water from other sources (desalination, purification), storage, shipping and transportation of water. I expect to see pipeline networks that will exceed the capacity of those for oil and gas today.

Water as an Asset Class
I expect to see a globally integrated market for fresh water within 25 to 30 years. Once the spot markets for water are integrated, futures markets and other derivative water-based financial instruments — puts, calls, swaps — both exchange-traded and OTC will follow. There will be different grades and types of fresh water, just the way we have light sweet and heavy sour crude oil today. Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.

Read full at BusinessInsider

DOE Tests the Waters With Ocean Power Startups

Funding of renewable energy projects that are experimenting with hydrokinetics:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Alexander_Gorlov_inside_Helical_Turbine.gif
"Currently, the Department of Energy has a mandate to spend $50 million a year on backing such research. For its part, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved 72 permits for pilot projects over the past two years , according to its records. Ocean Renewable Energy Power Company, LLC , which has plans to build the largest ocean-based system in the U.S., is one of the companies that has won such funding. ... Virtually all hydrokinetic turbines resemble giant manual lawnmowers, a design patented by Alexander Gorlov of Northeastern University in 2001 (pictured). [CEO Chris Sauer] calls what his company uses an 'advance cross-flow' model, and he says each of his 150 kilowatt units could power 50 to 75 homes. ... The company plans to install one of its 150 kilowatt turbines this year, and four next year, anchoring them near the floor of the bay, and progressively build out to 3.2 megawatts by 2014. The system would tie into Bangor Hydro Electric Co. grid." - SlashDot

GM WIN? 50 mpg diesel Chevrolet Cruze coming to U.S.

For the first time in almost 30 years, a U.S. carmaker is planning to market a non-truck diesel vehicle in the U.S. — tAP says the info came from two people briefed on the matter and that these people say the diesel Cruze would be rated about 50 miles per gallon (21 kilometers per liter) ... Diesel engines get 20% to 40% better mileage than similar-size gasoline engines, alluring to automakers trying to meet tightening U.S. fuel-economy regulations. - SlashDot

Jul 30, 2011

MIT Unveils Sun-Free Photovoltaics

"breakthrough" Can anyone say thermoelectric power peltier effect?

Like how Russians used fissiled nuclear waste to power generators and lighthouses or how the U.S. used radiation to power satellites for the last 40 years? - Haase

Inhabitat - A solar energy system that doesn’t require sunlight is almost as bizarre as a tidal power system that doesn’t use water – however that’s exactly what researchers at MIT have cooked up. The team just unveiled a new photovoltaic energy conversion system that can be powered by heat, the sun’s rays, a hydrocarbon fuel, or a decaying radioisotope. The button-sized power generator that can also run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight.

The science behind the device is not necessarily groundbreaking, as engineers have long used the surface of a material to convert heat into precisely tuned wavelengths of light. However MIT’s method to convert light and heat into electricity is much more efficient than previous versions.

Described in the journal Physical Review A, MIT’s breakthrough was enabled by a material with billions of nanoscale pits etched on its surface. When this pitted material absorbs heat, it radiates energy at precisely chosen wavelengths depending on the size of the pits. It is hoped that the technology may one day be used to generate power for spacecraft on long term missions where sunlight may not be available.

“Being able to convert heat from various sources into electricity without moving parts would bring huge benefits,” says Ivan Celanovic, research engineer in MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), “especially if we could do it efficiently, relatively inexpensively and on a small scale.” Celanovic went on to say that he believes his team could triple the efficiency of their prototype, adding that “It’s a neat example of how fundamental research in materials can result in new performance that enables a whole spectrum of applications for efficient energy conversion.”

Considering that space firms are looking for new ways to power spacecraft efficiently now that the shuttle fleet has been retired, we imagine NASA will be among the many companies interested in this technology.


Obama reaches mileage deal with auto makers - Win, Win

CAFE"And just as cars will go further on a gallon of gas, our economy will go further on a barrel of oil."

The new corporate average fuel economy standards will increase from 2017 at 5% annually for cars and 3.5% for light trucks through 2021, with an overall target of a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Current standards were set at 35mpg by 2016 in 2008, when the auto industry was in a compliant mood after a $50bn government bailout... read more at WSJ

Jul 29, 2011

Philips: “Stock Up Now!” On Edison Bulbs

This video is a mash-up of Fox News bashing the light bulb provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”).  Most of the commentators seem to have an aversion to CFLs for one reason or another (i.e., bulb appearance, bulb cost, light quality, light color, mercury, cleanup), but I’m not hearing these same people talk much about the new EISA-compliant incandescent bulbs that are currently available. 

For example, Philips makes an EcoVantage bulb that looks just like a regular incandescent.  It’s an incandescent with halogen technology.  A prior version of the EcoVantage bulb is offered on Amazon and other places, but the more-efficient, EISA-compliant ones are sold excluslvely in Home Depot stores for ~$1.50 per bulb.

According to EISA, the 100-watt bulb must use 72 watts or less (by Jan. 1, 2012), the 75-watt bulb must use 53 watts or less (By Jan. 1, 2013), the 60-watt bulb must use 43 watts or less (by Jan. 1, 2014), and the 40-watt bulb must use 29 watts or less (by Jan. 1, 2014).  The 100-watt bulb is up first.

Read full at Jetson Green

Helios Eco-Trailer Powered by the Sun

Helios is an Eco-Trailer from King Kong Production Vehicles, a company that provides trailers and motor homes to the entertainment industry.  The company claims this is the world’s first solar hybrid production trailer and expected to be “the most advanced Eco trailer with the least impact on the environment,” according to a press release.
The green trailer has solar panels, bamboo cabinetry, FSC-certified lumber, recycled-content glass desks and countertops, recycled rubber floors, and a bio-diesel generator.
During a use of the Helios on location, the trailer ran for 14 hours without the use of a generator or other fuel.  This saved about 28 gallons of fuel that would have been used without the solar panels on the roof.

Space program FAIL... Russians launch space telescope 10,000 times the resolution of the US Hubble.

CSMONITOR - Russian scientists are jubilant at news that the Spektr-R, a powerful space telescope conceived in the depths of the cold war, was finally lofted into orbit aboard a Zenit rocket Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Once it is fully operational, the new radio telescope will sync up with ground-based observatories to form the biggest telescope ever built. It will be known as RadioAstron, with a "dish" spanning 30 times the Earth's diameter. Experts say it will be able to deliver images from the remote corners of the universe at 10,000 times the resolution of the US Hubble Space Telescope.

"We've been waiting for this day for such a long time," says Nikolai Podorvanyuk, a researcher at the official Institute of Astronomy in Moscow.

Canadian Oil: A Comparison of Civil, Political, and Economic Freedoms in Oil-Producing Countries

Attempting to restrict American imports of Canadian oil is a mistake that ignores both the reality of US dependence on imported oil, as well as the only major alternative sources of such oil—repressive governments that restrict civil, political, and economic freedoms. The study points out that Canada now provides more oil to America than all the Persian Gulf countries combined, even though America imports 5.5 million more barrels of oil daily than it did in 1973. Also, in 2009, the US relied on Persian Gulf countries for 14.4% of its oil imports, down from 24.5% of all US oil imports in 1979. In contrast, Canada supplied the United States with 21.2% of its oil imports in 2009, an increase from the 6.4% Canada supplied in 1979.

In addition to the reality of American oil demand and imports, this report measures how major oil-producing jurisdictions around the world, defined as those that produce more than 250,000 barrels of oil daily, perform on 17 comparisons of civil, political, and economic freedoms.

The comparison includes eight measurements specific to women’s freedoms. A total of 38 countries, from five continents, are compared. For example, with the exception of Norway, Canada is the only major oil-exporting country that scores highly on all measurements of civil, political, and economic freedom, including the rights of women to full career, medical and travel choices; on media freedom, religious freedom, and property rights, as well as on other measurements such as judicial independence and relative freedom from corruption.
 Read full (PDF) from Fraser Institute

Differences between Facebook and Google+

InfoGraphic - Why Do Americans Pay More For Healthcare?

Jul 28, 2011

FREE Webinar on OSHA Hazcom and GHS compliance

OSHA is scheduled to revise its Hazcom standard to comply with GHS by the end of September, 2011.
As an employer with hazardous materials on-site, significant changes to your hazard communication practices are in store. You will need to acquire a GHS compliant Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical in your inventory and re-label all chemical containers. If using materials no longer in production by the manufacturer, the burden of re-authoring MSDSs to SDSs and developing GHS compliant labels falls on you. In addition to adopting SDSs and labels, you must update your written programs and training to reflect the updated Hazcom standard. 

Prepare for GHS today by joining Kim Peterson, Safetec’s Regulatory Expert and Director of Environmental, Health & Safety on this webinar, Your Path to GHS Readiness.

By attending this webinar you will learn:
            • How and when GHS will affect your organization
            • Step-by-Step guide to GHS compliance

Complimentary GHS Transition Tools for Attendees!
            • GHS Transition Guide
            • GHS Overview Brochure
            • Detailed GHS White Paper

Register here

EPA NAAQS Proposal on Track over Industry Opposition

Against the urging of ACA and other industry groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 11 sent its reconsideration of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, motioning its commitment to moving forward with tightened air standards for ground level ozone. EPA will likely issue the final standard in August.

EPA is seeking to reduce the current air standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a level between 60 ppb and 70 ppb. This reduction, just a couple years after the 2008 standard was set, will be extremely costly for manufacturers.

Weeks earlier, ACA sent a letter to Administrator Jackson maintaining that EPA's proposal to issue a new primary ozone standard is premature, coming just three years after the agency's last review in 2008, and strays from the Clean Air Act's five-year NAAQS review process. ACA underscored that lowering the primary ozone standard now would have a negative impact on states, municipalities, and industries that are already striving to meet the existing ozone standard. Instead, ACA urged EPA to retain the existing primary ozone standard and consider merging the current reconsideration into the ongoing five-year review process set for 2013, which would allow for adequate stakeholder involvement in the process and grant EPA the time to conduct a thorough review of the ozone standard.

Read on at paint.org

EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rule For Certain Chemicals Known as Glymes

EPA proposed a significant new use rule, or SNUR, on July 11 for 14 chemicals known as "glymes." Issued under section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the SNUR would require persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process these chemicals for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by the proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. This notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs.

"Glymes" or glycol diethers are solvents used in a wide array of applications, including industrial paints and coatings, adhesives, batteries, and motor vehicle brake systems.

Of the 14 glymes, 12 have industrial or consumer uses of some kind and two have no current uses. EPA has preliminarily determined that the manufacture, import, or processing of 12 of the glymes for “any use in a consumer product” is a significant new use, although some ongoing uses are excluded from the SNUR. In addition, EPA has primarily determined that the manufacture, import, or processing of the remaining two glymes for “any use” is a significant new use.
Read more at Paint.org

Jul 27, 2011

Chesapeake Bay has huge dead zone

Darryl Fears, Washington Post -A giant underwater “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay is growing at an alarming rate because of unusually high nutrient pollution levels this year, according to Virginia and Maryland officials. They said the expanding area of oxygen-starved water is on track to become the bay’s largest ever.
This year’s Chesapeake Bay dead zone covers a third of the bay, stretching from the Baltimore Harbor to the bay’s mid-channel region in the Potomac River, about 83 miles, when it was last measured in late June. It has since expanded beyond the Potomac into Virginia, officials said. Link source TPR

CBO - The Effects of Renewable or Clean Electricity Standards

The Effects of Renewable or Clean Electricity Standards - Federal lawmakers have recently considered several policies to alter the mix of fuels used to generate electricity in the United States. Those policies, referred to as renewable or "clean" electricity standards, would lead to greater reliance on energy sources that produce few or no emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most prevalent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. This study examines how federal standards would change the mix of fuels used to generate electricity, the amount of CO2 emissions, and the retail price of electricity in different parts of the United States. In particular, the study explores how some proposed features of such standards (such as preferences, exemptions, and alternative compliance rules) would affect those outcomes. The study also highlights key elements in designing a renewable or clean electricity standard that would help minimize its costs to U.S. households and businesses.

Read full at CBO

Milwaukee HazMat Training Schedule with HAZWOPER and Confined Space Entry

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_VM17_u0_eIc/S-70bToe1lI/AAAAAAAABk0/gmvxxkNTInU/s1600/129164589322844776.jpgOne of my favorite instructors will be holding HAZWOPER and Confined Space Entry in the Milwaukee area for 40-Hour Initial Waste Site Worker Initial and 8-Hour Refresher along with 8-Hour Confined Space Entry training in Milwaukee through out the summer.

40-Hour Waste Site Worker Initial Training-Milwaukee
    * August 8-11, 2011
    * September 5-8, 2011
    * October 17-20, 2011

8-Hour Waste Site Worker Refresher
    * August 12-Milwaukee
    * September 9-Milwaukee
    * October 21-Milwaukee

8-Hour Confined Space Entry
    * July 29, 2011

Checkout full schedule here

Jul 26, 2011

New report details benefits of clean diesel grants

“The clean diesel grant programs have been an important resource for many businesses throughout Wisconsin,” said William B. Baumann, acting director, Bureau of Air Management. “The grants allow them to increase their profits while being environmentally responsible. It’s a win- win.”

WDNR -  Wisconsin is benefiting and will benefit substantially more in the future from the pollution reduction, health cost savings, and local economic incentives provided through clean diesel grants, according to a new state report outlining the effects of diesel vehicle emissions and highlighting improvements made under a clean diesel grant programs.

The more than 20 million diesel engines operating across the country are vital to the economy, from transportation and freight movement to construction, but their emissions account for a significant amount of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions. Because diesel engines have a longer life span than gasoline vehicles, it is important to ensure they are running efficiently to minimize their environmental impact.

The state Department of Natural Resources and its partners administer numerous clean diesel grant programs to help reduce diesel emissions from both public and private vehicle fleets across the state. The grant programs offer financial assistance to diesel equipment operators to purchase and install technologies that will reduce emissions from older diesel equipment while also often improving their bottom line. These grants have been found to be one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing diesel and mobile source emissions.

Grantees garner fuel-efficiency and improve their bottom-line with clean diesel technology installations. Technology manufacturers and vendors, some of which are based in Wisconsin, also receive financial benefits by selling and installing the clean diesel technologies. Wisconsin citizens benefit from cleaner air and health cost savings.

To date, the clean diesel grants offered in Wisconsin have improved more than 3,200 pieces of equipment from all types of diesel operations including truck, school bus, transit bus, construction, agricultural, locomotive and municipal. The grant activities will directly result in 394,000 tons of emission reductions, save 33 million gallons of fuel, and save $142 million in health costs.

The full report is available on the clean diesel grant program page of the DNR website.

July 30: Save Our Schools Rally in Washington

http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/sos_logo_dates.jpg"As concerned citizens, we demand an end to the destructive policies and rhetoric that have eroded confidence in our public schools, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation"

This movement is dedicated to finding a better path for education reform in this country.

Learn more about the issues relevant to the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action.

Members of the press: Click here for Media Resources


Jul 25, 2011

Departments of Energy, Defense Partner to Install Fuel Cell Backup Power Units at Eight Military Installations

EERE - - - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that as part of an interagency partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to strengthen American energy security and develop new clean energy technologies, DOD will be installing and operating 18 fuel cell backup power systems at eight military installations across the country. The Departments will test how the fuel cells perform in real world operations, identify any technical improvements manufacturers could make to enhance performance, and highlight the benefits of fuel cells for emergency backup power applications. The projects are being conducted under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two Departments in July 2010.

These projects will accelerate the deployment of this important clean electricity technology at DOD facilities and provide valuable data that will help identify future research areas for fuel cells. Continued R&D efforts will enable further reductions in the costs of fuel cells, and as costs continue to come down, fuel cells will become increasingly competitive in the commercial marketplace.

DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Program has funded research and development of catalysts, membranes, and other fuel cell components that has resulted in more than 250 patents and 30 commercially available technologies, many of which are in the military backup power systems announced today. More information on DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Program is available on the Fuel Cell Technologies Program website

Jul 22, 2011

Is solar power a boom for consumers? Or another subsidy bubble?

USA Today "Solar power boom shines for consumers"???
But if your rich and retired... you can have solar today!
Just ask 51-year-old Karl Hutter. The Silicon Valley tech executive refuses to drive a hybrid car but signed up with solar panel outfit SolarCity.
"You're doing good by the planet, and you're doing good by your pocket book," says Hutter of Menlo Park, Calif. "Fundamentally, when you have both it makes perfect sense."

For Hutter, the money saved was a "no-brainer," and he has pointed neighbors and family — scoring referral fees — to SolarCity. He says he's saving 25% off his electricity bill, a story that likely resonates with others.

"SolarCity is not doing this for the heartstring pull. It's pure economic benefit," says Ron Pernick, co-founder of Clean Edge and co-author of The Clean Tech Revolution.

Homeowners right now can get solar panels from various providers at no upfront cost and in turn get lower electricity bills .

"Don't worry about the subsidies and the costs. We'll take care of that," SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive says. "There's no hassle factor at all."

"The customer pays zero down," CEO Andrew Birch says. "We're expanding very quickly."

Comments: Not one word about cost...typical half of the news brought to you by USA Today
The average home in the US uses maybe 1,200 kwh per month. This would require a system of about 10,000 watts or more and a battery system to store electric for the days that the sun does not shine at least 4 hours. So, a total electric independence will cost ~ $50,000.00

Divide that by 10 years or 120 months( Battery replacement. repairs, etc will NOT last 20 years.)..that is = $400 per month savings.
$400 may be cheap electric in 10 years...^_^

New Tool Connects Energy Efficiency Professionals to Best Practices.

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Bonneville Power Administration have joined to develop a new tool allowing energy industry professionals to share information on energy efficiency best practices. The new tool, “Conduit,” provides a collaborative workspace where participants can learn best practices, find out about emerging technologies, discuss current issues, and stay up on major trends in the energy efficiency field. Interested parties can create an account at www.conduitnw.org.

A lot from the Congressional Budget Office this month

Jul 21, 2011

Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets

Congress was told that if the "too big to fail" banks did not receive bailouts that there would be chaos in the streets and this country would plunge into another Great Depression.  Since that time, however, essentially no efforts have been made to decentralize the U.S. banking system.  Instead, the "too big to fail" banks just keep getting larger and larger and larger. 

Back in 2002, the top 10 banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets. 
Today, the top 10 banks control
77 percent of all U.S. banking assets. 

Unfortunately, these giant banks are also colossal mountains of risk, debt and leverage.  They are incredibly unstable and they could start coming apart again at any time.  None of the major problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed.  In fact, the U.S. banking system is more centralized and more vulnerable today than it ever has been before.

It really is difficult for ordinary Americans to get a handle on just how large these financial institutions are.  For example, the "big six" U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) now possess assets equivalent to approximately 60 percent of America's gross national product.

Read more from source

India reveals 'world's biggest' uranium discovery

A new mine in south India could contain the largest reserves of uranium in the world, a government official said in remarks reported Tuesday, signalling a major boost for the energy-hungry nation.

The Tumalapalli mine in Andhra Pradesh state could provide up to 150,000 tonnes of uranium, Srikumar Banerjee, secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy, told reporters after a four-year survey of the site was completed.

"It's confirmed that the mine has 49,000 tonnes of ore, and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times that amount," Banerjee was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

"If that be the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world," he said.

Read via Google Associated Press

Jul 20, 2011

Gov't Funded Electric Car Company Goes Out of Business

Consider yesterday's collapse of electric car company Green Vehicles an object lesson in why it's a bad idea for cities to invest in the risky business of start-up car companies — perhaps especially start-up electric car companies. Even such companies with a viable product have seen their fair share of financial troubles, but Green Vehicles did not even have a product to sell off at a fire sale. The city of Salinas, California learned that lesson as Green Vehicles shut its doors, costing the city more than $500,000." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jul 17, 2011

EPA, DOE Launch “Most Efficient” Program

JetsonGreen - The EPA and Department of Energy announced the “Most Efficient” initiative for products recognized as the most energy-efficient in their categories among those that have received the Energy Star label.  The Most Efficient designation will attach to about the top 5% of products in these categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers.

The program provides an incentive for manufacturers to improve their products.  At the same time, it will inform consumers with a sort of best of the best certification to help compare various Energy Start models.ENERGY STAR Most Efficient in 2011

The new Most Efficient designation is the next step towards encouraging new, more energy-efficient products to enter the market, so that consumers will have even more choices when it comes to high performance, high efficiency products that will save them energy and money,” according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The EPA and DOE will consider adding additional product categories for inclusion in the program starting in 2012.  Products that obtain the recognition must demonstrate energy performance that is “truly exceptional, inspirational, and leading edge.

Aluminum-Celmet Could Increase EV Range By 300%

"Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries have developed a new material that they believe can significantly improve the capacity of EV batteries. The material is a form of porous aluminum called 'Aluminum-Celmet.' 'The positive electrode current collector in a conventional lithium-ion secondary battery is made from aluminum foil, while the negative electrode current collector is made from copper foil. Replacing the aluminum foil with Aluminum-Celmet increases the amount of positive active material per unit area. Sumitomo Electric’s trial calculations indicate that in the case of automotive onboard battery packs, such replacement will increase battery capacity 1.5 to 3 times. Alternatively, with no change in capacity, battery volume can be reduced to one-third to two-thirds. These changes afford such benefits as reduced footprint of home-use storage batteries for power generated by solar and other natural sources, as well as by fuel cells." - SlashDot

Mass Psychosis In the USA?

with over $14 billion in sales ... antipsychotics have become the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the U.S., surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. While once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses, today it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. 'Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics,' writes Ridgeway. 'Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.' By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. According to Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are 'simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one - SlashDot

America's only personal rapid transit

Morgantown, W.Va., is the only place in the world where riders can hop into cars and travel from point to point without stopping at other stations along the way.

On a typical fall and spring semester day, 15,000 passengers will travel between the five stations along an 8.7-mile track, riding in 71 self-propelled cars that travel at speeds of up to 30 mph. It’s easy to see why the people mover, as it is sometimes called, is so popular. With a wait time of just five minutes or less, as many as 20 passengers at a time pass the traffic congestion on the narrow streets below.

In fact, the PRT is part of the reason why WVU went from a student enrollment of approximately 10,000 in the late 1960s to nearly 30,000 today, according to Haven Sions, a mechanic supervisor who has been working on the system for 34 years. “In the pre-PRT days, we relied on shuttle buses to move students,” he recalls. “Because of traffic, the university had to schedule classes as much as two hours apart so the students wouldn’t be late.” Once the PRT was built, schedules tightened up considerably, making it possible to schedule more classes, which meant enrolling more students.

The Morgantown PRT began in 1975 as a transportation research project funded by the federal government and developed by Boeing. The project cost $120 million and relied on computer technology that can be described as primitive by today’s standards....  A crew of 55 keeps the system operating six days a week, working constantly to repair the aging cars and guideway, scrounging for hard-to-find parts. According to Foreman, the university spends $5 million annually to operate it.

In 1995, the computer control system was upgraded and now work is under way to modernize the individual control and propulsion systems in each of the 71 cars that remain in service. The PRT maintenance crew is proud of the fact that of the 80 million passengers who have ridden on the PRT since its start, no serious injuries or fatalities have occurred.

Read on at source

Cell Phone Cancer - Cause or Effect???

Jul 16, 2011

How Green Is Your Internet? [Infographic Video]

We are not alone... choice words

"Man is not alone on this planet. He is part of a community, upon which he depends absolutely."
Daniel Quin

Consumerism illustrated

Watch the numbers 4 trillion

What we spend on alternative energy vs. what we spend on other stuff.


2-income American families are putting in longer...


2-income American families are putting in longer hours than ever before to fulfill the American Dream.

The typical two-income family with children has seen income rise in the past 35 years, but not because hourly earnings have increased. Rather, it’s because of lengthening work schedules and women joining the labor force.

Since 1975, median wages for two-parent homes have increased by 23 percent. But over that same period, the working hours of parents grew by 26 percent, largely because of women taking jobs outside the home. The findings are in a recent study by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, which measures workplace and economic concerns.

“The American dream is for each generation to do better than the one before,” according to the survey released Friday. “But at least one measure of well-being suggests that families may be struggling to fulfill [that] promise.”

Notice how the environment is gone from the conversation...

google+ time = wasted

Cut Down On Nukes To Shave the Deficit

"Joe Cirincione writes in the Atlantic that the US government is set to spend almost $700 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years, roughly as much as it spent on the war in Iraq over the last decade. Most of the money will be spent without any clear guidance on how many weapons we need and for what purpose. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we will need some to deter nuclear threats from others, but do we really need to duplicate the entire nuclear triad for another 50 years? 'The Pentagon budget includes funds to develop a new fleet of 12 nuclear-armed submarines with an estimated cost of $110 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Also planned is $55 billion for 100 new bombers, and a new missile to replace the recently upgraded 450 Minutemen III intercontinental ballistic missiles. ... The consensus among military officials and bipartisan security experts is that nuclear reductions enhance US national security,' writes Cirincione. As the Nuclear Posture Review says, 'Our most pressing security challenge at present is preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, for which a nuclear force of thousands of weapons has little relevance.'" - SlashDot

Jul 15, 2011

EPA Announces Proposed Rule to Revise Definition of Solid Waste Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of its proposed revisions to the 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, and on July 6, held a conference call to brief stakeholders on the proposed rule. These revisions to the 2008 DSW rule are in response to EPA’s settlement agreement with Sierra Club from a lawsuit in 2010.

While devising the 2008 DSW, EPA estimated that 5,600 facilities handling approximately 1.5 million tons of hazardous secondary materials annually might be impacted by the rule. The activities most affected are metals and solvent recycling.

In general, the new rule adds increased oversight, including notification and recordkeeping requirements for all hazardous secondary material recycling activities for companies that recycle on-site or within the same company, and stricter standards for companies that recycle off-site.

In its new proposals, EPA plans to retain the exclusion from the 2008 DSW rule regarding hazardous secondary materials that are legitimately reclaimed under the control of the generator, but EPA is adding additional notification and recordkeeping requirements for this exclusion. However, EPA is proposing to replace the transfer-based exclusion for hazardous secondary materials with a new alternative, more stringent regulatory standard for hazardous recyclable materials transferred to other companies for reclamation.  This change is a response to EPA’s determination that the 2008 DSW final rule had “serious gaps” which created the potential for adverse effects on human health and the environment from discarded wastes. 

Notably, EPA is also creating a new focused exclusion for certain types of hazardous secondary materials that are re-manufactured into commercial-grade products, which include solvents, to encourage sustainable materials management.
The proposal requires recyclers to meet certain conditions before qualifying for the exclusion and lists 18 designated solvents that will fall under this new exclusion.      Read full at paint.org

Other EPA coatings news from NPCA

  • Senate Committee Passes CFATS Reauthorization Bill
  • EPA Begins Review of 11 Surface Coatings MACTs
  • Bill to Ban Copper Boat Hull Paint Moves through the California Legislature

  • Jul 14, 2011

    Arizona County Creates On-Line Calculator to Speed Solar Permits.

    Solar energy system installers in Pima County (Arizona) can now size their systems accurately on-line using a calculator and spreadsheet laid out in a standard system design. The on-line form lets users to compare structural and electrical loads, ratings, and sizes of equipment for compliance with county building code requirements. The completed spreadsheet can be printed out and submitted with permit applications. The on-line tool, believed to be the first of its kind, is expected to limit permitting and processing costs to a maximum of $150 per residential installation, just 6% of the national average. Applicants can save even more by submitting the permit applications on-line rather than in person. 

    Here are the direct links to the calculator, which is provided in a standard and micro application:
    Standard inverter:

    Micro inverter:

    The creation of the solar calculator marks another phase of county solar-permitting process improvements that got under way in 2006. That is when Pima County Development Services devised a method for setting up solar equipment on existing roofs without requiring engineered analyses.

    The new solar calculators were introduced to electricians and others at a Regional Solar Permitting Workshop held on June 29, 2011 for the industry.
    The workshop was organized by Pima County Solar One Stop, http://www.solaronestopaz.org

    Free Webinar" on July 26 Solvent Substitution or Optimization Can Save Money and Improve Safety

    Or you could just switch to ESS neutrals for industrial process cleaning ;-)
    Register today for this "Solvents Substitution Webinar" on July 26!
    Solvents are expensive and, if hazardous, special handling and management requirements add even more cost. Fortunately, many effective, nonhazardous alternatives are available. The exact combination of solvent and cleaning techniques will vary based upon soils and materials being cleaned.

    Please pass this invitation on to your clients who could benefit from this webinar.
    There are easy projects businesses can do to save materials and energy in their operations. The Nebraska Business Development Center is conducting Summer Webinar Series focusing on easy savings for small to medium-sized commercial businesses and manufacturers. The remaining webinars are solvents (July 26) and lighting (August 31).

    For more information about the webinar series, please visit our website: www.p2ric.org/business
    Also, view booklet with case studies on these areas plus water conservation, Easy Material and Energy Savings, http://nbdc.unomaha.edu/energy/energy_book.pdf.

    Gearless Sea Turbines New Wave Energy Generator Unveiled

    "We've learned about Scotland's wave energy initiatives in the past, and just this morning the nation unveiled Aquamarine Power's next-generation Oyster 800 wave power plant.

    wave energy, Oyster Wave energy converter, oyster aquamarine power, wave power oyster, orkney islands wave power, barge oyster aquamarine, aquamarine power wave energy

    The new generator can produce 250% more power at one third the cost of the first full-scale 315kw Oyster that was installed in Orkney in 2009. The device's shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy, and a double seabed pile system allows for easier installation." - SlashDot

    See more photos from Inhabitat

    Jul 13, 2011

    Congress Voting To Repeal Bush Administrations Incandescent Bulb Ban

    SlashDot "CNN Money is running as story about a bill Congress is going to vote on today to repeal the 'incandescent light bulb ban' that was put into place during the Bush administration. The bill is supported by Republicans in Congress who are claiming this places unnecessary restrictions on the market. For those of you wondering, it does bring up the standard issues of energy efficiency, mercury (in both the bulbs and that emitted by coal power), and cost of the bulbs. The bill was introduced by Texas Congressman Joe Barton."  Activists Seek Repeal of Ban On Incandescent Bulbs

    What have we done with this ban?

    US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas to retire from Congress

    Associated Press – U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said Tuesday he will concentrate on running for president and will not seek re-election to Congress, ending a 24-year career as one of the more colorful members of the House of Representatives. The 75-year-old Republican said he will serve out his term through December 2012, whether his presidential campaign is successful or not.  Paul said the growing support for his 2012 presidential bid convinced him he should not divide his energies. He won a straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference held in New Orleans last month.

    "I think that you have more credibility if you run for only one office at a time," Paul said. He acknowledged that he may miss some House votes because of the presidential campaign, but that his staff would continue to provide constituent services.

    Jul 12, 2011

    Congressmen Pushing To Reopen Yucca Mountain

    http://charlesgoyette.com/uploaded_images/toxic-waste-759820.gif"CNN is reporting that a group of congressmen backed by the nuclear industry are pushing to reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. The site has sat closed and uncompleted since the Obama administration scrapped the project. The article goes into the pros and cons of the Yucca Mountain site for storage and also brings up some interesting political issues involved in continuing development. It's also worth noting that there's been a fee on electric bills since 1983 for the building of the site."
    Read more at Slashdot

    Also see more on this subject at Yucca

    Jul 10, 2011

    Learn Sarver Heart Center's Continuous Chest Compression CPR

    Every three days, more Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest than the number who died in the 9-11 attacks. You can lessen this recurring loss by learning Continuous Chest Compression CPR, a hands-only CPR method that doubles a person’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. It’s easy and does not require mouth-to-mouth contact, making it more likely bystanders will try to help, and it was developed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

    "This video is worth sharing," said Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and one of the research pioneers who developed this method. Read more

    Jul 9, 2011

    Misery Index Updated July 2011

    So if you combine the current 9.2 unemployment rate with the 3.6 inflation rate, the rate of misery in the American economy is 12.7.

    The country hasn't seen that kind of number in almost 30 years....the monthly U.S. jobs report was released this week -  The economy generated only 18,000 total new jobs, the unemployment rate increased to 9.2 percent, and the number of unemployed Americans has gone up by 445,000. In other words, the recovery appears to be dead and trillion dollar stimulus-infused "recovery" refuses to ignite.

    And to make matters worse, May's paltry job growth numbers were revised even farther downward, from the initial estimate of 54,000 to 25,000 as recovery remains the weakest recovery of the post–World War II era. In past recessions, employment fully recovered within two to three years. Today, U.S. job growth is stopped dead in its tracks. - www.miseryindex.us

    Scariest Jobs Chart Ever


    I Agree With Obama... most of the time

    Hey it's July... That means More Facilities Need CO2 Permits

    Six months after U.S. EPA's first round of climate change regulations kicked in, the rules requiring new power plants and factories to get permits for their greenhouse gas emissions are being expanded to more facilities today. 

    http://www.recycled-energy.com/images/uploads/EPA-thumb.jpgThe program has now entered "Phase 2," meaning that any new or modified facility will need an air pollution permit if it would release more than 75,000 or 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Up until today, the CO2 limits only applied to facilities that would have needed a permit anyway because they would release large amounts of "criteria" pollutants that lead to soot and smog.

    "While there still remain daunting challenges for some agencies, especially those that are strapped in their resources, by and large it is working well throughout most of the states," Becker said today. "We're not hearing many complaints."

    Most of the new permits are expected to go to landfills, which allow greenhouse gases such as methane to escape into the air as trash decomposes, or manufacturing plants. Factories could trigger the new requirements if they use natural gas-fired boilers, which release carbon dioxide but release very little soot or smog-forming gases, Becker said.

    Read full at NY Times

    It all starts at the dinner table

    Simple way to improve your relationships and economy... Cover Image
    Eat together.

    Could the solution to the vexing challenges of peak oil, food insecurity, food price shocks, diet-related disease, globalization and commodification of food be that simple?

    The dinner table is as good a place to start as any and that's exactly where about 100 of Vancouver's farmers, policy wonks, food and poverty activists, nonprofit sector apparatchiks, farm market managers, educators and bloggers were this week to knock around some of the city's goals for enhancing our food security.

    "The Food Secure report and the baseline data it contains will become a living document moving forward, adding trend data as things change. We want to use it as a way to recognize vulnerabilities, but also to celebrate successes as things get better."

    Read more at VancouverSun

    Super LED lightbulb will hit $10

    Ahttp://s3.electronics-cooling.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/switch.gifs 100 watt bulb federal ban looms - Switch was among a handful that unveiled prototypes of a 100-watt-equivalent LED bulb, which is considered a kind of tipping point for LEDs—if someone can make an LED bulb that looks as great as a 100-watt incandescent, the LED bulb will have finally arrived.

    That seems increasingly likely. Switch will release its 60- and 75-watt equivalent bulbs to retailers in October, and its 100-watt-equivalent bulb will go on sale in December. There's a small hitch, though: At the moment, only the 60- and 75-watt alternatives are available in "warm white," the yellowish color that we associate with incandescents; the 100-watt-equivalent bulb will put out "neutral white," a bluer color that more closely resembles the light from CFL bulbs. Switch will release a warm 100-watt-equivalent bulb sometime next year, Sharenow says.

    Switch's 60-watt-replacement bulb will sell for about $20, and the 75-watt and 100-watt replacements will cost slightly more. This will be cheaper than other LED bulbs—Philips* sells a 60-watt replacement LED bulb that goes for about $45, for instance. But $20 for a light bulb still sounds expensive. Incandescent bulbs sell for about 50 cents to $1 per bulb, and CFL bulbs have been approaching that same low price. LED bulbs seem to break the bank by comparison...he estimates that a year from now, Switch's 60-watt-equivalent bulb will sell for under $15, and could hit $10 the year after that. At that price, Switch's new bulbs will be much harder to resist.

    But that's only until you do the math. On average, an incandescent bulb lasts about 1,000 hours—that's about a year, if you keep it on for about three hours a day. Electricity in America also costs about 11 cents per kilowatt hour (that's the average; it varies widely by region). In other words, a 50-cent, 60-watt incandescent bulb will use about $6.60 in electricity every year. Switch's 60-watt-equivalent LED, meanwhile, uses only 13 watts of power, so it will cost only $1.43 per year. The Switch bulb also has an average lifespan of 20,000 hours—20 years. If you count the price of replacing the incandescent bulb every year, the $20 Switch bulb will have saved you money by its fourth year. Over 20 years, you'll have spent a total of about $142 for the incandescent bulbs (for electricity and replacement bulbs) and less than $50 for Switch's 60-watt bulb. (I made a spreadsheet showing my calculations.) - SLATE 

    Haase - I have had success with $10 LED's (pictured right)

    Oil will hit $150 in U.S. despite IEA - Guild

    The price of physical crude oil will hit $150 a barrel this year in the United States due to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, despite the emergency oil stock release coordinated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a U.S. fund manager said.

    Monty Guild, the chief executive of Guild Investment Management, said the IEA's move did not change oil's fundamentals.

    "Our opinion continues to be oil prices will reach $150 barrels this year due to the fighting near Saudi Arabia," Guild told Reuters in a telephone interview.  -Reuters

    Clean Air, Mortality and Cost: A Thought Exercise

    What is the price of lives in the U.S.? China?
    We are at a point of choice... how will we choose?

    AP - The Environmental Protection Agency listened to hours of public comment Tuesday on rules to curb emissions of mercury, arsenic, lead, nickel, chromium and acid gases from coal-fired plants. Testimony was mostly in favor of the regulations, which proponents said will reduce airborne toxins that contribute to respiratory illnesses, birth defects and developmental problems in children.

    Once airborne, mercury eventually settles in water, where it builds up in ocean and freshwater fish and can be highly toxic to people who eat them.

    "Young children are uniquely vulnerable to the toxic effects of environmental poisons such as mercury and arsenic," said Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director of the poison control center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "These compounds are especially dangerous to the developing brain and nervous system."

    Some industry groups accuse the EPA of inflating the benefits and underestimating the costs to comply with new pollution-control technology, which could force some coal-fired plants to shut down and cause electricity prices to rise.

    NY Times - Studies indicate that the new Environmental Protection Agency rule expanding controls on coal-fired power plants would save up more lives than are lost on the highways annually.

    Is that worth $1 billion a year? Read on at
    NY Times

    The Only Reform That Will Restrain Spending

    From senate.gov: A constitutional amendment to balance the budget is imperative if we are to provide continuity of fiscal responsibility, and ensure we never return to the recklessness of the past and present. http://grandfather-economic-report.com/natdebt-vs-natincome.gifIt's time Congress passed the amendment and gave the states—and "We the People"—their say.The last time the Senate considered a balanced budget amendment was on March 4, 1997—and it failed to pass by one vote. On that day 14 years ago, the nation's outstanding debt was $5.36 trillion. Today it is $14.3 trillion, or nearly three times that amount.

    Whatever happens when President Obama meets with congressional leaders of both parties at the White House today, no long-term solution is on the table for the spending habits in Washington that have endangered the prosperity of future generations. With our federal debt exceeding $14 trillion—nearly 100% of our gross domestic product—fiscal calamity is jeopardizing our standard of living and undermining our national security. And President Obama recently requested that we add an additional $2.4 trillion to our debt.
    There has to be another way, and there is. Republicans in the Senate are united in our concern about our nation's fiscal future. Before we consider saddling our children with even more debt, we must enact significant spending cuts and enforceable caps on future spending. 
    For the long term, to prevent both this Congress and its successors from hijacking the promise of American prosperity, we also need a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, like the one we and all 47 Senate Republicans have introduced.
    The American people who will vote on such an amendment understand the basic financial rules that Washington has been breaking. In the real world, if a household brought in $44,000 annually but spent $74,000 by borrowing $30,000 each year to sustain its spending habits, such behavior would be considered reckless and irresponsible.
    Nonetheless, the federal government is doing exactly that on an unimaginable scale, running historic deficits in excess of a trillion dollars for three consecutive years and borrowing 40 cents for every dollar spent. Our government has balanced its budget only five times in half a century.
    The U.S. currently spends an astounding $200 billion per year just to pay interest on its debt, an annual amount projected to reach nearly $1 trillion by 2021. Money spent on debt-interest payments is money not invested in our economy, jobs, infrastructure or education. Economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have found that gross debt levels above 90% of GDP slow economic growth by 1% per year. First-quarter GDP growth this year was already abysmal at 1.9%. At that rate, China would surpass the U.S. economy in size even before 2016, the year recently forecast by the International Monetary Fund.
    If Congress increases our national debt ceiling next month without permanent, structural budget reforms, we will signal to taxpayers and bond markets alike that Washington is still in denial. Whatever agreement is reached, everyone will know that future Congresses are not obligated to follow it. As a result, the only way to compel lawmakers to maintain their responsibility forever is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution...

    Shuttle Fleet Retired

    Jul 8, 2011

    Department of Energy Announces Partnerships to Support Manufacturing Job Training

    EERE - To complement the Obama Administration's launch last week of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced a series of new manufacturing job training partnerships using the Department of Energy's National Training and Education Resource (NTER). DOE will be partnering with the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, and Macomb Community College to explore opportunities to provide students with highly interactive and engaging materials in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas, as well as virtual technician training. Partner organizations will be able to access the federal resources available through the NTER—an open-source, web-based, interactive learning environment—and be able to develop new training programs and materials.

    "The public-private partnerships we are announcing today will play an important role in educating and training a new generation of U.S. manufacturers," said Secretary Chu. "These organizations and others nationwide will be able to leverage the Department's online education platform—the National Training and Education Resource—to develop and distribute training materials quickly and cost-effectively."

    DOE will provide IT tools and technical support to each of the organizations, which will allow them to upgrade their existing curricula and create new immersive learning environments for students and technicians. Descriptions of the partner organizations are as follows:

    To learn more about NTER, visit the National Weatherization Training Portal.