July 2013


What a tough month for the environment. I mean it is getting to the point that I may not survive. I mean originally I was thinking that environmental problems would effect my brothers and sisters grandchildren. Then I thought maybe the kids themselves. But the way things are going what about me?

http://news.yahoo.com/rig-owner-eyes-relief-well-divert-gas-off-080328100.html

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owner of a natural gas drilling rig aflame off of Louisiana’s coast said preparations were under way for the possible drilling of a relief well to divert gas from the site and bring the well under control.

Adam Bourgoyne, a former dean of Louisiana State University’s petroleum engineering department, said such an effort is a complicated task that could take weeks to complete.

The relief well team has to figure out questions such as where to intercept the well bore and what tools will be needed. The surface team has to figure out whether it’s safe to get onto the platform, how much debris there is and how it can be removed, he said.

“Sometimes, if the well control blowout preventers are intact, they might be able to get on-site and put down enough water and so forth,” said Bourgoyne, now a consultant.

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More steam rising from Fukushima reactor

Camera feed shows more steam escaping from Japanese nuclear plant but officials say levels of radioactivity unchanged.

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan said that steam had been spotted at the battered reactor for the second time in days and disappeared in hours.

 

Steam was seen around the fifth floor of the building housing Reactor No 3 Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said on Tuesday.

 

The steam has raised concerns about the damaged reactor, but TEPCO said no significant changes occurred, including in the levels of potentially cancer-causing radioactivity the broken reactor is releasing.

Steam was spotted in the same area on Thursday last week but had disappeared by the next day without any cause known. TEPCO said it was looking at the possibility that accumulated rainwater had been the source

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/10/quebec-train-crash-brakes_n_3574564.html

Quebec Train Crash: Employee Failed To Properly Set Brakes, Railway CEO Says

By DAVID CRARY 07/10/13

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — Canadian officials are now telling the families of the 30 people missing in a runaway oil train crash over the weekend that all are presumed dead.

With 20 bodies found, that would put the death toll from Saturday’s derailment and explosions at 50.

The head of the U.S. railway company whose oil train crashed into the Quebec town has blamed the engineer for failing to set the brakes properly. A fire on the train just hours before the crash is also being investigated.

Parts of the devastated town had been too hot and dangerous to enter and find bodies even days after the disaster. Some 60 had been presumed missing earlier.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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OKOKOK this an example of bad journalism or AT LEAST cultural differences between 2 countries forms of journalism. Either way it made me slightly angry. If you read the article you will see that a fungus which is a really important food source but also a source of naturopathic medicines in Japan is at the heart of this article. (and yes, the disaster continues apace but the world has gotten tired of it and the Nuclear Power industry has wanted everything to die down) But if you actually read the article, the fungus is new and with great potential but it was discovered or at least the sample was taken in 2006 and the only connection to the Fukushima  meltdowns is that the fungus is in a village closed to the public because of its proximity to the site and the mention comes at the END of the article. Now in the US, except in the tabloids, these kinds of headlines would not be allowed. But I guess any tie-in in Japan to something that is still roiling the country is allowed.

 

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000379803

 

New fungus discovered in Fukushima

The Yomiuri Shimbun A fungus found in the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2006 is a new species, it has been learned.

The fungus, named tsubugata-aritake, is a type of tochukaso, or caterpillar fungus, that grows and feeds on insects and is valued as an herbal remedy. The formal acknowledgment came as a German specialist journal on mycology carried a paper on the fungus earlier this month.

Unlike other caterpillar fungus in Japan, tsubugata-aritake is a “takeover” type that feeds on insects such as ants and cicadas that have already been parasitized by another tochukaso, scientifically termed Ophiocordyceps sinensis.

The Chinese and Tibetan caterpillar fungi that parasitizes larvae of ghost moths is well known as a Chinese medicine. According to the Japanese Society for Cordyceps Research, a society for caterpillar fungus researchers and enthusiasts, there are about 500 types of the fungi, 450 of which have been found in Japan, where research and studies on fungi are thriving and many new types have been discovered. In recent years, the caterpillar fungus has been attracting attention for use in health supplements.

“If it has any medicinal benefits, I’d like to commercialize it and donate sales profits to reconstruction [of the prefecture],” said Yoshitaka Kaitsu, a pharmacist in Date in the prefecture who discovered the fungus.

Kaitsu, the society’s vice chairman, has a good track record in finding caterpillar fungi. In 1986, he found another type of caterpillar fungus that also turned out to be a new species and was named “kobugata-aritake.”

 

 

 

 

 

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I wrote the following rant in response to a question from my stepson Gus. I did it the way I write emails, minues capital letters and punctuation. I may change that later but for now here it is.

as one of my professors used to say.. think about the question before you ask it because it will have an answer….so my first answer is that nuclear anything is an inappropriate use of technology and worse yet design….at least here on the earth…at least until the END…now in space that is another matter…as a small is beautiful person schumacher said that – building nuclear power plants is like using a firehose to knock an ant off your toilet seat…it would do it but it would trash the rest of the bathroom….

using commercial grade nuclear power plants to generate electricity are by their natures large and complex with many moving parts.. they were larely invented by scientists who had a hard on for large complex machine and the military who needed cover for their nuclear weapons program…so it really has no relation to the actual generation of electricity in the world and represents a valid dichotomy in intellectual thinking .. ie. large and central vs. separate and continuous … to me diffuse power systems make a lot of sense…1. they require far fewer power lines so transmission lose is reduced and 2. there is much less of a chance of an actual power failure…then there is the cost

finland is currently the most committed nuclear power plant builder…i know that sounds very weird but it is true and they are right next door to norway the home of the first commercial thorium nuclear test reactor…(what a great segue and a return to your real question)…finland’s last nuke was projected to cost 3 billion $$$ and it came in last year (5 years late) at 8 billion $$$…now understand findland kinda models the earth towards the end of our sun’s useful life…where nukes make sense…they gots no fuel besides wood and it is colder than hell there much of the year…(plus as a political side note they got russia as a neighbor.. big yuk) still it really makes no sense…

so if you can accept the facts of large complicate expensive energy systems and find the current nuclear ones to be dangerous then thorium salt generators may seem to hold promise…i would argue that if the usa was going to go nuclear in the 1950s this is the direction we should have gone…in fact oak ridge build 2 such reactors one, a straight salts burner (remember fission is just a large fire) and 2, a burner with a “mat”….they were quickly shut down because they did not involve highly concentrated uraniun and plutonium…so from that perspective thorium reactors are much safer…generate higher temperatures and generate much “safer” waste…

again for me we got the biggest nuke that we need in the SUN…usens puny humans caint do no betters…so i say we use that until it begins to fail and then use all the stuff we could burn then…unfortunately we have burned 1/2 of it already so we better stop quick….and for the record…contrary to the science fiction models…i do not believe we are going anywhere in this solar system anytime soon so to all the capitalists that have been treating this planet as disposable i say tsck tsck tsck….the billionaires currently have a huge hard on for mars…well they have not solved the radiation, speed and food problems yet let alone the fuel problems so i say have a go at it bloke…i will stand by the side and watch…remember that voyagers 1 and 2 where launched when i was a child and they are just now leaving the solar system…thought votes are still out as to whether they have yet or not…

 

BUT THEN THERE IS SOLAR:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/07/08/germanys-solar-industry-is-imploding/?partner=yahootix

Germany’s Solar Industry Is Imploding

William Pentland, Contributor

I write about energy and environmental issues.

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The title says it all. Go there and read. More next week

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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