flying high


I will say this once and only once. If nukes are a really bad idea on the Earth, then they are  a really really bad idea for Mars. They are only on or off. That is functional or not, and if it is NOT you are dead. If they go out of control no good can come of it. The first and foremost reason has always been, What do you do with the waste?.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nasa-seeks-nuclear-power-for-mars/

Purch
Space

NASA Seeks Nuclear Power for Mars

 After a half-century hiatus, the agency is reviving its reactor development with a test later this summer

As NASA makes plans to one day send humans to Mars, one of the key technical gaps the agency is working to fill is how to provide enough power on the Red Planet’s surface for fuel production, habitats and other equipment. One option: small nuclear fission reactors, which work by splitting uranium atoms to generate heat, which is then converted into electric power.

NASA’s technology development branch has been funding a project called Kilopower for three years, with the aim of demonstrating the system at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Testing is due to start in September and end in January 2018.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s’ Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, or SNAP, program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system — radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs — taps heat released from the natural decay of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have powered dozens of space probes over the years, including the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. [Nuclear Generators Power NASA Deep Space Probes (Infographic)]

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom-splitting fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first — and so far, only — U.S. nuclear power plant to operate in space.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Instead of investing in renewables and conservation. They fought them tooth and nail. Now they are paying the price.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/power-to-the-people

Power to the People

Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous.

     Mark and Sara Borkowski live with their two young daughters in a century-old, fifteen-hundred-square-foot house in Rutland, Vermont. Mark drives a school bus, and Sara works as a special-ed teacher; the cost of heating and cooling their house through the year consumes a large fraction of their combined income. Last summer, however, persuaded by Green Mountain Power, the main electric utility in Vermont, the Borkowskis decided to give their home an energy makeover. In the course of several days, coördinated teams of contractors stuffed the house with new insulation, put in a heat pump for the hot water, and installed two air-source heat pumps to warm the home. They also switched all the light bulbs to L.E.D.s and put a small solar array on the slate roof of the garage.

The Borkowskis paid for the improvements, but the utility financed the charges through their electric bill, which fell the very first month. Before the makeover, from October of 2013 to January of 2014, the Borkowskis used thirty-four hundred and eleven kilowatt-hours of electricity and three hundred and twenty-five gallons of fuel oil. From October of 2014 to January of 2015, they used twenty-eight hundred and fifty-six kilowatt-hours of electricity and no oil at all. President Obama has announced that by 2025 he wants the United States to reduce its total carbon footprint by up to twenty-eight per cent of 2005 levels. The Borkowskis reduced the footprint of their house by eighty-eight per cent in a matter of days, and at no net cost.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Let me say, right off the bat, there are other better storage mechanisms then batteries. But if this becomes a market trend, well then whatever.

Installation of New England’s Largest Battery Energy Storage System is Underway

Installation of New England’s Largest Battery Energy Storage System is Underway

NEC Energy Solutions has begun the installation and commissioning of a 2 MW, 3.9MWh GSS® grid energy storage solution for the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Sterling, Massachusetts. Once complete in December 2016, it will be the largest system of its kind installed in New England and the first utility scale project in the State. In the event of an extended grid outage due to a natural disaster, this utility scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) can be used to power local emergency response facilities using power generated from two nearby solar plants. The system will also provide enhanced clean energy usage and cost savings to the town of Sterling.

Sandia provided SMLD with analysis to identify the optimal deployment site, amount, and installation type of energy storage within budgetary limits. Sandia also assisted with crafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the BESS system, vetting bids, and installing and dispatching the system. “Sandia was instrumental in helping us pull that together. We had developed a minor RFP and they brought in the technical support that we needed to get this done right. Working with Dan Borneo and Ray Byrne on this project has been very valuable to us,” said Sean Hamilton, General Manager of SMLD.

Going forward, Sandia will help SMLD oversee the operation of the BESS to optimally maximize economic returns while safeguarding SMLD’s ability to provide resilient power; monitor BESS operations; and collect operational data for one-year post-commissioning. The data will be used to further the U.S. Department of Energy’s/Sandia’s understanding of the benefits and applications of battery storage in the utility context and provide a number of important battery use cases in resiliency, cost savings, and revenues that can be adopted by numerous municipal utilities and vertically integrated utilities.

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Go there and read. But there ain’t much more. More next week.

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But had I read this article before dealing with the problem in my basement I would have known to go straight for the water sources and not messed around with the other stuff I put outside on the porch or on the compost pile. But getting rid of that stuff did not hurt. I mean pancake mix that is two years old. Plant dubris that is months old and could act as food for the midges. So the energy saved in this case is MINE and that is important too.

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/midges.htm

Residential, Structural and Community Pest Logo

NCSU logo - click for NCSU home page

http://entomology.ncsu.edu/

 

 

BIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF NON-BITING AQUATIC MIDGES

By: Charles Apperson, Michael Waldvogel and Stephen Bambara, Extension Entomology

Insect Note – ENT/rsc-15

Non-biting midge flies or chironomids commonly occur in inland and coastal natural and man-made bodies of water. These midges are commonly known as “blind mosquitoes” because they are mosquito-like but do not bite. Midges are also called “fuzzy bills” because of the male’s bushy antennae. These aquatic insects are tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions. Chironomid midges are found in swift moving streams, deep slow moving rivers, stagnant ditches, and in lakes and ponds that are rich in decomposing organic matter. The presence of certain chironomid midges is often used as an indicator of water quality.Bodies of water in urban and suburban areas are subjected to intensive human use through residential, recreational and agricultural activities. Through runoff, these ponds and lakes often become exceedingly rich in nutrients. Consequently, the variety of organisms in such habitats is usually low with just a few pollution tolerant species developing large populations. Some species of chironomid midges that are tolerant of low dissolved oxygen conditions often are a major component of the bottom invertebrate organisms of urban and suburban lakes, ponds and storm water retention ponds.
BENEFICIAL ASPECTS
Most species of chironomid midges are highly desirable organisms in aquatic habitats. Midges are an important food source for fish and predatory aquatic insects. Larvae “clean” the aquatic environment by consuming and recycling organic debris

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Go there and read. Got the little bastards. More next week.

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Yes and the damage they will do is a lot more than 50,000 $$$ they initially put up.

 

Today (Thursday, 11/28/13) is Day 14 of the 49-day Comment Period on Fracking.  On this Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful for your comments to IDNR.
Topic – Inadequate Bonding Requirements for Fracking Companies
  • Click the button: Subpart B:  Registration and Permitting Procedures
  • In the “Section” dropdown box, click:  245.220 Permit Bonds or Other Collateral Securities
  • Submit your comment/s (below)
  • Click “Submit”
Section 245.220 states, “The bond shall be in the amount of $50,000 per permit or a blanket bond of $500,000 for all permits.” (Section 1-65(a) of the Act)
Comment:  Plugging a well alone costs more than $50,000. In the study “Who Pays the Cost of Fracking?: Weak Bonding Rules for Oil and Gas Drilling Leave the Public At Risk”, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center reported documented instances in which fracking wells have cost $700,000 or more to plug.  What is the motivation for the operator to not simply forfeit the bond when they shut down?  Furthermore, drilling companies typically frack a string of wells and not just one.  If they are cutting corners, using improper well-casings for example, or not sealing them correctly, the violation is likely to occur at each site.  One $500,000 bond for perhaps as many as 100 -150 well sites is as unacceptable as a $50,000 for one well site.
If the purpose of the bond is to protect the state from expenses incurred from an accident or violation, then the bond must be sufficient to cover those occurrences.  It makes no sense to offer a blanket bond—like some bargain basement “buy 2 pairs of socks and get a third pair free”.  Each well should be bonded individually and in the amount necessary to cover real and imagined damages as outlined by the PennEnvironment study.
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Go there and comment. More later.

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Yet when I go to the SJ-Rs Website I can not find the article to share with you. That is a really really bad mistake by a paper that is on its last legs. These guys claim that their digital Product is as good as their print Product, but guess what?  Maybe not. Anyway here is the home page. You go there see if you can find it.

http://www.sj-r.com/

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In the mean time here is an article that I could find discussing or should I say disgusting the issue. This is a real brazen attempt by vested interests to keep a wind farm out of the State Capital. I do not know whether it is the Republican parties hatred of the topic of man caused global warming in general, or because of oil and gas interests in the Capital. This is the stupidest thing the County Board has ever done. There are wind farms all over this state and Sangamon County is the only one that has to have “special” zoning codes for them. This after the City Council of Springfield, at no ones request, placed height restrictions on personal wind turbines so as to render them ineffective. This county is completely gross.

http://www.sj-r.com/local/x871170515/County-board-to-debate-new-wind-turbine-proposal

County board to debate new wind turbine proposal

Posted Nov 15, 2012 @ 09:08 PM

The Sangamon County Board has scheduled a special meeting Monday to look at changes to county wind turbine rules that would increase the minimum distance between a turbine and a house.

The board imposed a moratorium on wind turbines in January so it could revamp its zoning rules. The turbines use wind energy to generate electricity.

The county now requires a large wind turbine to be at least 1,000 feet or three times the diameter of the rotors, whichever is greater, from a house. The setback from the property line must be at least 1,200 feet.

While no wind farm proposals are before the county board, Springfield Project Development, a joint development between American Wind Energy Management and Oak Creek Energy Systems, is planning a wind farm in western Sangamon County.

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I would say, go there and read like I usually do but. More tomorrow.

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The more things change the more they stay the same. This Blog for instance will change at the beginning of the year. I am going to seek full time employment after working on Community Energy Systems for 6 years. I do not really know what that means. It could mean as little as 1 post a week. In an emergency like Katrina or the Gulf Oil Spew it could mean daily for awhile. Today I leave you with something I have seen up close and personal, the ancient Bristle Cone Pine tree.

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/oldest-living-tree-tells-all/

Read My Rings: The Oldest Living Tree Tells All

November 13th, 2012

By Hunter Oatman-Stanford

n 1964, a geologist in the Nevada wilderness discovered the oldest living thing on earth, after he killed it. The young man was Donald Rusk Currey, a graduate student studying ice-age glaciology in Eastern Nevada; the tree he cut down was of the Pinus longaevaspecies, also known as the Great Basin bristlecone pine. Working on a grant from the National Science Foundation, Currey was compiling the ages of ancient bristlecone trees to develop a glacial timeline for the region.

“Bristlecones are slow-growing and conservative, not the grow-fast, die-young types.”

Currey’s ring count for this particular tree reached backward from the present, past the founding of the United States, the Great Crusades, and even the Greek and Roman Empires, to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Sheltered in an unremarkable grove near Wheeler Peak, the bristlecone he cut down was found to be nearly 5,000 years old, taking root only a few hundred years after human history was first recorded. How could a half-dead pine barely 20 feet tall outdo the skyscraper-height sequoias, commonly thought to be the oldest trees alive?

The longevity of Great Basin bristlecones was first recognized in the 1950s by Dr. Edward Schulman, who shocked a scientific community that believed in a correlation between long lifespan and great size. Schulman systematically sampled Great Basin bristlecones in California and Nevada, and published his findings in a 1958 National Geographic article, which revealed several of the trees to be more than 4,000 years old. Schulman’s analysis supported the idea that “adversity begets longevity,” or that the severe conditions in which the bristlecone pine evolved actually helped extend its lifespan.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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So after the Election we took three days off and went to Giant City State Park and drove over to see the Garden of the Gods. Giant City was disappointing:

https://www.google.com/search?q=garden+of+the+gods&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails. Especially popular is a hike on Giant City Nature Trail, home of the “Giant City Streets” huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago .

Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, just minutes south of Carbondale, the Union / Jackson county park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. Eons of geological faulting and folding have molded a landscape like none other, which is now clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and 75-plus varieties of towering trees. The natural splendor of Giant City has made it a renowned retreat that attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually.

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But Garden of the Gods was amazing:

http://www.shawneeforest.com/Hiking/GardenoftheGods.aspx

More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest . Over the years, the elements have sculpted some of the most stunning and extraordinary rock formations known to man. This garden of sandstone sculptures and vast untouched wilderness was fittingly named Garden of the Gods.

The park contains a variety of plant and animal life, adding to the scenic beauty of the Shawnee Forest. Garden of the Gods covers more than 3,300 acres of forest throughout the Southeastern Illinois counties of Saline, Pope and Hardin. There are also plenty of trails for backpacking and horseback riding, allowing nature lovers a welcome tour of what the lively environment has to offer.

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Go there and be envious. More on Tuesday.

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This concludes my meditation on handicapped devices for the home. It was never meant to be a catalog or even a realistic sampling. After all, this is a blog about energy and the environment. That said, this is a blog that envisions humans being good to the planet and using nonpolluting energy sources not as living in a cave huddle around a fire. It is actually about improving the efficiency and quality of life for everyone including the handicapped. Today’s post is one from my deep past. My grandmother was in a wheelchair for 30 years. Her legs were paralyzed from the waist down. We had a Hoyer lift in our home for that whole time. So this is for you Treva where ever you are.

http://www.1800wheelchair.com/product/5463/hoyer-heavy-duty-lift-with-optional-scale

Description

Hoyer’s Heavy-Duty Power Lift features a power operated base with a clearance of 4.5″. The 6-point cradle design maximizes patient comfort, and the long padded handles offer a plethora of grip choices. This lift also features an extended reach for floor pick-up capabilities. Emergency stop and power manual lowering for added safety. Optional upgrade model features a scale for convenient weighing.

Features

  • Power operated base
  • 6-Point cradle design for maximum patient comfort
  • Long, padded handles offer a plethora of grip choices
  • Extended reach for floor pick-up
  • Emergency stop for added safety
  • Power manual lowering
  • 700 lbs. Weight capacity

Included

  • One Hoyer Heavy-Duty Power Lift with Optional Scale
  • Free Shipping
  • Limited 1 Year Warranty

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have been talking about a workshop regarding being handicapped and the last disability that I tried out was an arm amputation. They used a fancy belt to tie down one of my arms. They chose my dominate hand to immobilize so I would get a stronger effect. I have to admit that it made things pretty difficult. Opening doors was ok, but writing was nasty and do not get me started on going to the bathroom. They asked us to commit to picking a handicap and “living it” for a week. I chose to be an amputee and did it for 5 days. It made going to college a big deal.

And on a separate note, there is some confusion about whether these things we have been discussing are aids or aides. Some people including google seem to be confused about which one is right to use so I have been using them interchangeably. I am no word geek so you can figure proper usage out on your own. Thus people get around it by calling it assistance.

http://www.disabilityproducts.com/cgi-bin/disabilityproducts.cgi/scan/fi=products/st=db/co=1/sf=additional_categories/se=Bedroom%20Comfort%20%26%20Safety/op=rm/nu=0/ml=50/tf=description/to=x.html?mv_session_id=AQsksk89&mv_pc=3&header=Bedroom%20Comfort%20%26%20Safety

COMFORTABLE FOAM WEDGE
Our new, polyurethane foam wedge allows you to relax more comfortably in bed with less back and neck fatigue. You can sit upright or lay back, simply by changing its position, for visiting, reading, writing, watching TV, or other activities. Unlike stacked, lumpy pillows, this lightweight foam wedge maintains its shape and position during use. It features a removable, machine washable, white zippered cover that breathes for comfort, and will not retain heat. Each wedge is 24″ x 24″ wide, in a choice of three different elevations. Use the Available Options drop down menu to choose the wedge that’s right for you.
#HEFW40-

Available Options: 

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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