penetrating ideas


Disclaimer: I know no student involved in this endeavor nor do I know anybody at their High School. These have got to be brave and hard working students. They deserve all the support we can give. According to the article they need at least $9,000 to complete the project so please give all you can.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20171211/pana-students-take-on-solar-car-challenge

Pana students take on solar car challenge

PANA – Apparently building a moonbuggy wasn’t hard enough.

Pana High School students this year are setting out to build a solar-powered car from scratch and race it across Texas to California as part of the 2018 Solar Car Challenge.

Building the battery-powered four-wheeled rovers that Apollo astronauts used on the moon in the early 1970s is a tradition at Pana.

But industrial arts teacher Steve Bonser said students learned about the solar car challenge this summer and decided to give it a shot — despite being warned it wouldn’t be easy.

“The kids voted unanimously to up the game and take on a lot more work and build this solar car,” he said.

Starting to take shape

The framework of what will hopefully become a solar-powered car is beginning to take shape in the shop at the junior high school.

Bonser said the students have finished most of the design work and constructed the frame for the 8-foot long car. The goal is to have the entire vehicle, which will be street legal, finished in March.

Still early on in the process, Bonser said, the school was fortunate Battery Specialists in Taylorville donated a golf cart, which will provide some parts.

 The school also acquired solar panels that will power the battery. But much of how it will all come together is still an unknown.

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Go there and read. Please donate to this project. More next week.

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On this cold early winter day, I would like to return to our residential roots with a discussion of water heaters. After your furnace and air conditioner , the largest user of energy in your house. Yes this is a guest post. No I can not swear by everything she says or thinks. But she does a pretty good job.

https://www.jenreviews.com/water-heater/

Jen Reviews – only the best reviews

How to Choose a Water Heater, According to Science

There are many who want to buy an efficient and stable water heater for their homes. But do they? Water heaters do the difficult job of heating the water supply of your home. Providing you with immediate hot water when needed through various fixtures and knobs.

Like many other appliances, a water heater is more convenient than manually heating up the water whenever needed. It cuts back time and effort, for most homeowners, while making life simpler. So why do most people hurry when choosing the right water heater? Something this important needs careful consideration of features and functions.

The best part about using the best water heater is that it lasts for years. It requires minimal maintenance and even if you hire a professional to maintain one, it doesn’t cost you big bucks. That said, finding a dependable water heater isn’t easy.

Because water is being constantly heated inside the tank, it needs to be energy efficient and spacious enough to accommodate the entire house. Anything that takes up more energy is a waste, costing you a hefty power bill.

So how do water heaters work?

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Go there and read pages. More next week.

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Jennifer works at someplace called the Public Health Library, which I suppose is a great place to work.They apparently push plant based diets. I am not aq vegetarian because i do not have the discipline…plus I love pork and fish so it ain’t happening BUT it is important for as many of  as can to switch. Just think of me as your lovable hypocrite. She sent along a bunch of resources and I don’t normally post those, but she is so nice :+}

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People

New Research Says Plant-based Diet Best for Planet and People

As cities grow and incomes rise around the world, more and more people are leaving gardens and traditional diets behind and eating refined sugars, refined fats, oils and resource- and land-intense agricultural products like beef. This global dietary transition is harming the health of both people and the planet, says new research.

But the study also shows that shifting away from this trajectory and choosing healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespans and quality of life, but also slash emissions and save habitat for endangered species.

And we better hurry; the scientists project that if the trend continues, the situation will be worse yet with greenhouse gas emissions up by 80 percent by 2050.

Examining almost 50 years’ worth of data from the world’s 100 most populous countries, University of Minnesota Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and graduate student Michael Clark illustrate how current diet trends are contributing to ever-rising agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and habitat degradation.

On top of that, they write: “These dietary shifts are greatly increasing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic non-communicable diseases that lower global life expectancies.”

Culinary Resources for Vegetarianism

11 Facts About Meatless Monday That Will Inspire You To Reach For The Veggies

How To Transition To A Plant-Based Diet

Nutrition And The Vegan Diet

10 Helpful Tips for Beginning Gardeners

Grow Food At Home: 7 Tips For Growing Food In Small Spaces

Garden Better With Biodiversity & Wild Pollinators

The Buzz on Beekeeping: A Guide to Bringing Up Bees in Your Own Backyard

http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/blog/author/jennifermcgregor/

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Go there and read one hell of a lot. More next week.

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This is a really really long good article. So I am going to shut up and let you read. I have not felt this good in a long time.

https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/feature-china-and-the-new-energy-economy-26831057

Feature: China and the New Energy Economy

London (Platts)–31 Oct 2017 1239 pm EDT/1639 GMT

There is an increasingly inescapable sense that an energy transition of enormous proportions is taking place. The number of ‘bans’ announced on Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is growing, even if governments are placing them relatively far out on the political horizon.

More and more car manufacturers are taking note and shifting R&D spending into Electric Vehicles (EVs), a move which has profound implications for the development curves, and thus future cost, of EVs versus ICE vehicles.

In October, US automaker General Motors said that it would launch two new pure electric models in 2018 and a further 18 by 2023.

Its competitor Ford announced the creation of a new internal team to “think big and move fast” in order to accelerate the electrification of its auto production. Both are some way behind their European counterparts.

It is not hard to see why such decisions are being made now. While the number of EVs on the road remains just a fraction of the total parc, global sales are growing by about 40% year-on-year, making EVs the biggest growth story in the auto market in decades.

And, if governments are going to regulate against ICE vehicles and subsidize EVs, thereby changing the consumer choices which otherwise might be made, then what other path is there to tread?

CHINESE WHISPERS

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Go there and read. Rejoice. More next week.

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I think this report says it all. There is 15 pages here, but it is a good read.

https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/energy-environment-report-2017.pdf

 

OCTOBER 2017
R-17-09-A
NRDC’s Fifth Annual Energy Report
AMERICA’S CLEAN
ENERGY REVOLUTION
NRDC Senior Editor, Policy Publications: Mary Annaïse Heglar
NRDC Policy Publications Editor: Tim Lau
Design and Production: www.suerossi.com
Pipeline cover image: © Rick Wilking/Reuters/Newscom
© Natural Resources Defense Council 2017
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The NRDC Annual Energy Reports were conceived by Pat Remick, and like its predecessors, this fifth edition reflects her extensive editorial supervision. The authors gratefully acknowledge the invaluable contributions of a number of people: Michelle Bright, Lara Ettenson, Mary Heglar, Roland Hwang, Katherine Kennedy, Lissa Lynch, Matthew McKinzie, John Moore, Briana Mordick, and John Walke.
Fifth Annual Energy Report
Dozens of clean energy records have been shattered across the
United States in the last year and a half. Solar energy is growing at an
unprecedented rate and the first U.S. offshore wind farm now provides
clean electricity off the coast of Rhode Island. Grid operators and utilities
are implementing new techniques and grid improvements that allow us
to integrate more clean energy into America’s electricity system without
compromising reliability. At the same time, states and utilities have
increased their energy efficiency investments, reducing energy waste and
energy costs across the U.S. economy. Taken together, the United States is
slashing climate-changing and other harmful pollutant seven as national
energy spending hits record lows. Cities, states, and businesses recognize
the economic advantages of clean energy and have taken the lead on U.S.
climate action and must continue to do so. It is clear that a low-carbon
future is more affordable and achievable than ever. The last year and a half
has proved that, despite some new political headwinds, ever-improving
economics can propel the clean energy transition in the years to come.
The good news is we don’t have to choose between the
environment and a booming economy. Clean energy
not only reduces pollution harmful to public health
and our environment, it is also one of the fast-growing
areas for U.S. jobs and contributes billions to the U.S.
economy annually.
1   Energy efficiency and renewable energy are already
the cheapest sources of new energy
in the United States over the life of the investment.
2   Building new wind and solar farms is even expected to be
cheaper than running existing coal and gas plants within
the next decade.
3   Clean energy (from energy efficiency
improvements and renewable resource additions) already
employs almost 3 million Americans.
4,5   That is more than
twice the number of jobs in the U.S. fossil extraction and
production industries.
6   Energy efficiency supports the bulk of clean energy
employment in America today, providing permanent, well-
paying jobs in the design, manufacturing, construction, and
installation of energy-efficient buildings and appliances. In
addition, energy efficiency plays a crucial role in keeping
U.S. manufacturing and other industries competitive in a
global market—reducing energy waste, lowering the costs
of domestic production, and making our facilities some
of the most efficient in the world. The U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) estimated in 2016 that with more aggressive,
but feasible, investments in energy efficiency, industry
could save up to an additional 7.5 quads of energy annually
by 2030—about 35 percent of all power used by industry
in 2016, or about the total amount of energy used by 50
million Americans in a year.
7, 8   These electricity savings
would be worth almost $30 billion annually (using 2016
average electric prices for industry).
9   The energy intensity of the U.S. economy (energ

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This is not CES’ stuff. Sure, I am sure the building is energy efficient and well thought out but, I include this post because I saw the movie. I was so impressed. NASA put her in a building with no “Blacks Only” bathroom. So every day she would have to spend a half hour or more getting to the bathroom and back. Yet she got our white male astronauts to and from the moon with no complaints. WOW is all I can say. Please read the book and see the movie.

NASA Dedicates Building to Hidden Figures Heroine Katherine Johnson

When NASA’s Langley Research Center built its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Va., it was only right that they named it after Katherine Johnson, the NASA engineer and subject of the book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old math genius said when she heard about the naming of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building was dedicated on Sept. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The $23 million, 37,000-square-foot data center is named after Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling for black women in the space program. In 2015 Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program.

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This is startling and disturbing. Are these people crazy?

Florida Nuke Plant Did Not Meet Fed Safety Guidelines as Irma Roared

Update | Operators of a nuclear power plant in the path of Hurricane Irma kept one reactor operating during the cyclone, although the plant had not finished meeting stricter federal safety requirements implemented after Japan’s Fukushima accident.

The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, experienced an unrelated failure in one reactor’s cooling system during the storm. A part called the steam generator’s feed regulating valve failed on Sunday night, prompting engineers to shut down the reactor.

The cooling system malfunction did not cause any radiation leakage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The failure of the valve at Turkey Point was unrelated to larger, federally mandated improvements that are still pending, including improving seals on exterior doors and improving floodwater drainage mechanisms near “key” cooling pumps, according to a flood- and hurricane-preparedness report the power plant sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June — a requirement of post-Fukushima regulations.

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Go there and get sick. I mean read. More next week.

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Let me say right off the bat that there is a “down side” to this program in that ownership is never transferred to the tenants. In other words, in most leasing arrangements after a number of years the tenants take ownership of the solar panels. Under this program it appears that the “leasing arrangement” lasts forever. Still I would definitely participate if given the opportunity. The Dutch are really smart folks.

Press Release: Foreign investment to help tenants save up to £192M a year in energy bills

2nd September 2017

  • Department for International Trade helps secure £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors
  • Investment will unlock £1 billion solar panel installation programme that will result in annual energy savings of up to £192m for 800,000 households

International Trade Minister Greg Hands today welcomed £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors, the first step in a £1 billion programme to give over 800,000 poorer households access to cheap solar electricity.

The investment from Maas Capital (part of the ABN AMRO Bank), secured thanks to Department for International Trade (DIT) support, will help fund solar panels from UK firm Solarplicity to produce electricity for affordable housing across England and Wales.

The scheme will see Solarplicity partner with social housing providers to install panels on their housing stock, creating a Community Energy Scheme where tenants benefit from long-term guaranteed discounts on their bills. Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, and 800,000 in the next five years.

The panels will be free to social housing tenants, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year, saving up to £192 million in total, with 100% renewable electricity.

The deal will also create over 1,000 new jobs to install and maintain the panels. Many of these jobs will go to veterans from the armed forces, as Solarplicity helps re-train them into new maintenance careers.

Speaking from a social housing development in Ealing, West London, where new solar panels are being installed, Minister Hands said:

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Coal is no longer economical. That says it all.

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Consumers should come out ahead long term, utility says

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Xcel Energy on Tuesday continued its shift away from coal, announcing an agreement to retire two of its three coal-burning units at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo while adding substantially more wind, solar and natural gas generation.

Xcel Energy will request competitive bids before the end of the year for 1,000 megawatts of additional wind, 700 megawatts of solar and 700 megawatts of natural gas power generation under its “Colorado Energy Plan.”

The state’s largest utility also said it will retire 660 megawatts of coal-generated power from Comanche Unit 1, built in 1973, and Comanche Unit 2, built in 1975. It will continue to operate the newer and cleaner coal-fired Unit 3, which came online in 2010 and has a capacity of 750 megawatts.

“It is really about the economics,” David Eves, president for Xcel Energy in Colorado, said of the retirements, which will take place before the end of 2022 and 2025. “From the company’s perspective, this plan is a response to our customers”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Of course Illinois has already gone for wind in a big way so I should not complain. Well I could complain about Sangamon County because of its stupid rules about wind turbines. That is for another time. For now, how glorious it would have been talking offshore wind farms in New Orleans? Over beignets no less.

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

The budding wind power industry is rich in jobs, and the people of south Louisiana are ready for clean energy.

Justin Nobel | Longreads | July 2017 | 16 minutes (4,000 words)

If you’re visiting New Orleans and want to see something truly amazing, take your beer or daiquiri to-go and walk a few blocks past the Superdome—you’ll find a school being constructed on an old waste dump.

“All the toxic chemicals from the landfill are still there,” says toxicologist Wilma Subra. This includes lead, mercury, and arsenic, exposure to which can lead to reproductive damage, and skin and lung cancer. Even more astonishing, Subra says hundreds of schools across Louisiana have been built on waste dumps. Why? Dumps represent cheap land often already owned by a cash-strapped town or city, plus serve as rare high ground in a flood-prone state. And this is just the beginning of Louisiana’s nightmare.

The risk of cancer in Reserve, a community founded by freed slaves, is 800 times the national average, making the community, by one EPA metric, the most carcinogenic census tract in America—the cause is a DuPont/Denka chemical plant adjacent to the town that annually spews 250,000 pounds of the likely carcinogen chloroprene into the air. If you think the situation in Flint is bad, there are approximately 400 public water systems in Louisiana with lead or other hazardous substances leaching into the drinking water. Meanwhile, hundreds of petrochemical plants peppered across the state’s lush swampy interior freely emit carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins into the air and water, as well as inject them deep into the earth.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Louisiana is ranked, according to different surveys, 47th in environmental quality, third in poverty, and 49th in education. Are you still gushing about your latest trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest Presented by Shell, or French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron? “New Orleans is the best,” one visitor recently wrote to me, “you are so smart to live there!” But how smart is it to allow children to attend school built on toxin-laced waste? How smart is it to allow a community’s cancer rates to shoot off the charts? Louisiana is rich in culture, spirit, and faith, yet what type of state knowingly poisons its own people? What type of country stands by and allows it to happen?

While it is fashionable to critique President Trump for his scientific ignorance, science was misdirected long before Trump laid hands on it. It is time to open our eyes and see what is really going on in this world, to critique our society’s dinosaur methods, then step back and imagine what a new path forward might look like. It is with this aim that I begin a science column for Longreads. In my first story I’ll tour us through a land America should have never allowed to materialize—it’s what I’m calling the Louisiana Environmental Apocalypse Road Trip. As the Trump administration chucks environmental science out the window, evaporates industry regulations, and cripples agencies charged with protecting the environment, this tale is relevant for all Americans, because the poisoning happening in Louisiana could happen in your state too—in fact, it is probably already happening.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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