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Should we all set up our own stills?

Popular Mechanics – May 8, 2008

Saw this article on Popular Mechanics.  It really isn’t that hard to set up your own still to create ethanol to burn in your flex fuel vehicle.  This Micro Fueler looks good but your housing association may have something to say about setting up a fueling station in your side yard!

While this isn’t going to make a huge dent in our development of CO2, it is an interesting idea to explore.  Perhaps the best way to reduce foreign oil dependence and cut back on CO2 pollution is to make everything smaller and closer to home.

Al Gore’s Doomsday Clock

Wall Street Journal – July 22, 2008

Sometimes I think that this site exists solely to condemn Al Gore.  He is easily the person that we discuss more than all else when you consider his film, his rock concerts, and his foolish statements it seems that it is all that one can read on the subject of energy. And to think that this man was a heartbeat away from being the President of the United States for 8 years in addition to a few hanging chads from being elected to the office himself.

Gore "borrowed" fake scenes for An Inconvenient Truth

There is a lot of controversy over this.  I really don’t know the right answer.  Is it okay for a film maker to have scenes in a documentary that are not what the narrator is discussing? My gut says that this happens all of the time.  Also, there was no question in my mind when I saw AIT that this portion of the film was CGI.

Of course, I didn’t know that it came from the movie “Day After Tomorrow” at the time but then I didn’t watch the credits and I am sure that he mentions them in the credits.  I have long lost my copy of the movie so I can’t check that fact.  If someone still has their copy of the DVD, please skip through to the end and check to see if the proper credit is given. You can leave a comment below to let us all know the truth.

What is your ecological footprint

The Independent has a calculator that will ask you a series of questions, do some magical math, and tell you your impact on the globe.  The questionnaire is Europe based so for the US based readers answer the Europe questions as if the question was about the US (travel domestic and international).  Also for the monetary ranges, just assume that 1 US dollar is equal to 1 pound.  What’s your planetary impact?

For the record, I was 4 planets.

http://independent.footprint.wwf.org.uk/

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McCain wants $30B for clean-coal research, 45 new nuclear reactors

Phoenix Business Journal – June 25, 2008

John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for US President, is deriding the Executive branch for their suggestions to curb energy prices as well as the Democratic leadership for its plans. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

Mr. McCain is proposing more aggressive investment in “clean” coal plants and nuclear energy.  Personally, I am not sure there is such a thing as a clean coal plant but I am all for it if we can make one!  I also think that we need to step up our reliance on nuclear energy and deal with the disposal issue which haunts that technology.

Wind farm to be built off Delaware shore

This is great news!  We need more effort in creating alternative energy sources.  I wonder if they did an environmental impact analysis?  Were their “greenies” protesting or are they too busy blocking other green projects like nuclear plants?

Obviously, Mr. Kennedy doesn’t have a resort in Delaware!

Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard said the power company will get about 16 percent of its electricity from a field of 150 wind turbines, anchored in the sea floor about a dozen miles off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.


The offshore site is expected to be operational within four years, but the timing depends on how quickly regulatory agencies can review and approve the construction project.

Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer

The Independent – June 27, 2008

There is a very real chance that there will be no ice at the North Pole this summer. This is probably being caused by a “perfect storm” of several events including a slight warming of the Arctic Ocean, a slight warming of the air above the ocean, a change in ocean currents, a change in prevailing winds and possibly even the ozone layer.  It is important to note that this does not mean that there is no ice in the Arctic Ocean as it appears that the water off the coast of Canada and Greenland will be ice covered.

Open letter to the UN Secretary General

www.tech-know.eu – July 14, 2008

A group of 13 prominent scientists have written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requesting him to “redress the lack of scientific integrity of the UNs Climate Change Panel (IPCC) and to stop making reactionary and futile Climate Change recommendations that hold back the developing world.”

I am not going to reproduce the entire letter here as it is freely available in PDF format.  I will point out that these are not lightweight scientists.  Evidently the signatories are below and they include at least one Nobel Prize winner.

  • Piers Corbyn Astrophysicist & forecaster, WeatherAction, UK
  • Vincent Gray IPCC Expert Reviewer, Climate Consultant, NZ

Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

Antarctic ice shelf ‘hanging by thread’: European scientists

Breitbart.com – July 10, 2008

image This is quite concerning. Most of the instability in the ice shelves in Antarctica have been during the summer.  Now it appears that this shelf is in danger even though the continent is currently undergoing winter.  There have been a rash of shelves collapsing and Nobel Prize winner, Al Gore, spoke of this in his film “An Inconvenient Truth”. It is not conclusive why ice shelves collapse but it is important for us to explore these situations.

It appears that this shelf is being “eroded” underneath by warm waters.  This is likely the cause of the rapid failure of the other shelves as well.  Interestingly, some of the other shelves exhibited water pooling on the surface before their collapse but there is no mention of this situation in this article.