Energy Independence The Funny Way – A good time was had by all

Yes it is true. I am promoting a book I have never read. But you know what? I should have.

Robert Danziger: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Energy Independence – Author Interview

Humorist and alternative energy pioneer Robert Danziger was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his hilarious memoir about his life in the world of alternative energy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence.

The author finds the humor in such widely diverse places as Cal-Tech, the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), and of course in his own business ventures in the alternative energy field. A true renaissance man, the author has enjoyed more careers, and indulged in more laughter, than many people would experience in two lifetimes.

Thanks to Robert Danziger for his comprehensive and informative answers.

What was the background to writing this book A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence?

Robert Danziger: At the gym a couple of years ago a young mother was supervising her two kids, five and eight years old. We struck up a conversation and she told me that she doesn’t let her kids watch the news anymore because the energy and environmental stories had given them repeated nightmares. Partisanship and the escalation of catastrophic rhetoric threatened the sense of security and safety she wants for her children.

My career has been inventing and developing solutions. I am fundamentally optimistic about new technology and our ability to respond to crisis. Scaring people doesn’t work and breeds resentment. I don’t want to be part of scaring kids to accomplish something.

The conversation with that young mother convinced me to take a year or so to listen to people from a broad range of ages, politics, and beliefs to try to find out what people agreed on, if anything. I found three things all of them, at least in these groups, agreed on without exception: people like to laugh; like music; and want energy independence and a clean environment when they are coupled with prosperity.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Nice To Have A Nuke In The Basement – Really the article is more hype than anything

Still it is kind of interesting. I wonder why no one spilled the beans. Was it because the bulk of their workers were blind and totally dependent on Kodak. I do not know but it is an amusing tale nonetheless.

So, Kodak — about that nuclear reactor in your basement

It seems that, until 2006, Kodak had a basement that housed a nuclear reactor, complete with a cache of weapons-grade uranium. How did the company get away with that?

by May 14, 2012 11:16 AM PDT

Corporate America is a place of many layers.

Though fanciful movies made by drug-addled Hollywood directors sometimes suggest that corporations are behind wars, most believe that CEOs are just too harassed to find the time for that sort of action.

And yet, this morning Gizmodo has turned my head toward the explosive reporting of The Democrat and Chronicle, the local newspaper of the Rochester, N.Y., area — home to Kodak.

This paper reveals that between 1978 and 2006, Kodak had a nuclear reactor. No, not a picture of one. A real one — albeit a small one intended for research — housed in its basement.

Surely, you might think that there’s some exaggeration here. And yet it seems that this nuclear reactor contained three-and-a-half pounds of enriched uranium. Highly enriched uranium, indeed, which some might describe as “weapons-grade.”

I am sure that everyone in Rochester — not to mention, say, North America — will be pleased to hear that nothing ever went wrong with this reactor. No leaks. No strange explosions. It apparently bore no responsibility for Kodak’s own implosion, either.

Given that it was only dismantled in 2006, though, it is remarkable that few locals — or, indeed, Kodak employees — knew anything about this 14×24-foot bunker



Go there and read. More tomorrow.





Frugality Amounts To Paring Your Life Back – To improve the quality

I say frugality is not giving up, it is getting back to what you want. Here the poster asks what is most important too you not what do you want now.

What Do You Want Most?

by Kelly

I found this quote on a fitness website (MyFitnessPal): “The reason most people fail instead of succeed is that they trade what they want the MOST for what they want at the MOMENT.”*

I’ve often fallen into that trap. I’m hungry, so even though I want to stay on my diet, I go through the drive through. I’m feeling down, so I go shopping for a new shirt, even though I want to stay on a budget. I’m tired, so instead of doing my consulting work, I read a book on my Kindle (or maybe even buy a new book instead of reading one of the many I already have).

In fact, figuring out what I want most, I think is one of the hardest things about goal setting. I know, intellectually, that I want to do/act/be a certain way, but I often feel like I have a hard time owning that feeling in a way that will help me commit to following through on the commitment over a long period of time.

My life is in transition here, both at Almost Frugal-land and abroad. I’ve been going through some growing and moving and changing for the past few months, and it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. Things are good- no need to worry- but finding this quote today has helped me to sum things up.

I’m working on discovering what I want to happen most, not just what I want to happen in the moment.

What do you want to happen most?

*I don’t know to whom I should credit the quote- if you know, please leave the information in the comments.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Sustainablity Has To Start Somewhere – Why not with your hair

That is right. I know this is an energy conservation blog. It is an environmental blog and an energy industry blog as well. But for awhile this is going to be a frugality blog. Think about it. At one level frugality and sustainable living start by “doing for yourself”. What is more easier and immediate than cutting your own hair. This site is much more than that but it is the first article.

Reader Story: Home Haircuts Can Save Time and Money

Sunday, 26th February 2012 (by J.D. Roth)

This guest post from Shannon D is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.

My wonderful husband likes to keep his hair short and precise. He works outdoors but dislikes hats, so keeping his hair looking proper is important to him. We live in a rural area without a major chain hair cut shop. While we do have a small barber shop, their hours are very limited. This usually meant that for a monthly haircut we would drive 25 miles to the nearest mall to get his hair cut in the evenings or on weekends at a chain store.

While we usually tried to combine his trip for a haircut with other errands in town, we typically just made it into a dinner evening. So on top of the other costs, we often had an extra dinner out that we not have otherwise enjoyed.

We estimate our costs to have been the following:

  • $25 per trip in mileage
  • $18 haircut – including the tip
  • A solid two hours spent getting a haircut

With this happening once monthly, we were spending $516 per year — not including dinners — and 24 hours of time getting his hair cut.

Note: My own hair expenses are not cheap — not factoring in fuel since I get my hair cut while in town for work — and cost us about $300 per year.

We decided to try something different, not because of the money so much as the time and convenience lost making the commute just for a haircut. After my husband asking me several times, I finally got the confidence to try cutting his hair. I am no cosmetologist. My haircutting experience includes buzzing my brother’s hair — at his request — in high school and shaving my long-haired dog during the summer. And I should mention that my husband’s haircut is not a simple buzz. It made me nervous.



Go there and read as much as you can take. More tomorrow.


Rightwing Rant From A Probable Oil And Gas Stock Holder – Or is it coal

I normally would not put up a rant against alternative forms of energy which I believe are the energies of the future. But I love how they all make the same mistake. We as a society must use the CHEAPEST forms of energy. Yet we as a society get to SAY what kinds of energy are used and then it is up to businesses to get on with what they do best – steal us blind. Resources are not free to those that just dig them up and they can not be allowed to destroy the world while they are at it. This shouter and denier from Northern Wisconsin is all about preposterous side arguments that are not even true in his political wet dreams.

Renewable “Green” Energy Yields Very Poor Results


Yeah, yeah. I know. You’re tired of me telling you “I told you so,” but once again, as usual, I am right and you are not.

Why we’re even fiddling around with this green alternative energy crap is beyond me. It doesn’t work for the most part, and what does work is extremely expensive and highly inefficient.

Renewable electric energy from nonhydroelectric sources — chiefly wind and solar — contributed only 3.6 percent of total U.S. generation in 2010 — yet received 53.5 percent of all federal financial support for electric power.

And wind power alone, which provides 2.3 percent of generation, received 42 percent of all support.

Wind and solar renewable energy have failed to thrive despite government support because they face substantial “market impediments,” according to Benjamin Zycher, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

“Energy policies in the United States for decades have pursued energy sources defined in various ways as alternative, unconventional, independent, renewable, and clean in an effort to replace such conventional fuels as oil, coal, and natural gas,” Zycher states on the AEI website, and “renewable electricity receives very large direct and indirect subsidies from the federal and state governments.

“These long-standing efforts have, without exception, yielded poor outcomes.”



Go there and read the rubbish. More tomorrow.


Durban Climate Summit A Success – They get a new climate observatory

See this is what happens when you do open ended searches. I am sure that you thought I would be ranting here about what a dismal conference it was. Or maybe how everything that they agreed to was a drop in the atmospheric bucket considering how much and how many different types of toxins we spew. And I may do that tomorrow, but today South Africa is smiling because nobody was killed and they got a new observatory out of the deal. From Monaco no less. (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Climate Change Observatory for the Country

13 December 2011

A unique climate change observatory, the first of its kind in the world, focusing on bringing scientific information from around the globe to the public, is to be built in Cape Town by the International Polar Foundation.

The announcement, first reported by the SABC on Friday, was made last week at a function attended by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, who were in Durban for the UN climate change summit (COP 17).

Prince Albert is a patron of the Belgium-based International Polar Foundation (IPF), a non-profit organisation established in 2002 with the aim of “providing a novel interface between science and society”. The IPF’s last major project, completed in 2009, was the construction of a new research station – the world’s first zero-emission research station – in Antarctica.

Interface between science and society

Its next major project is the Polaris Climate Change Observatory, which will be built in the heart of Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront, on a jetty that will be specially developed, the IPF says on its website, “to offer visitors of all ages a striking experience as a path to sustainability.

“Featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions, outreach and education activities, spectacular ways of presenting climate facts and figures, highlighting new science and innovations, the Polaris Climate Change Observatory will confirm Cape Town and South Africa as world landmarks for climate action.”

According to the IPF, Cape Town is the perfect location for this “new breed of science centre”, and not only because of the city’s geographical location as a gateway to the Southern Pole.

Scheduled to open in 2014, the first Polaris Climate Change Observatory will bring together “the ingenuity of one of Africa’s premier cities with a revolutionary concept which will change the way visitors understand the world, the changing climate and ways in which humanity can take responsibility and make decisions for the future”.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


An Environmental Funny Moment – This mockumentary is pretty hilarious

I love the language here. But the site and the trailer are a little rocky. Or maybe it is my 5 year old computer. Who knows. But in all its glory here it is.

Make Friends / Make Fun / Make Trouble


More tomorrow


Gulf Of Mexico Oil Crisis Ends – The Oil Spew is over because BP is sucking on a straw.

That’s right besides the 40 million gallons of oil lurking in mats 1,500 feet above the ocean floor trapped by dispersants and getting ready to wash into the Atlantic and the continued wash of 40, 000 barrels of oil per day, the crisis is over and we here at CES are going to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day. Why? Because it is neither the day of the actual Norwegian Independence nor is it celebrated for the actual year of their Independence. We feel this is fitting.

Like Americans, Norwegians love to celebrate what is normally translated as Independence Day. Actually, though the day commemorates the events of May 17, 1814, Norway didn’t really achieve independence until 1905. In Norwegian it is sometimes called Constitution Day, which is more accurate – although there is a problem with that as well.
These confusing facts require some explanation. From 1380 to 1814, Norway was united with Denmark. However, as Denmark was an ally of Napoleon, the great powers of Europe decided that her punishment would be to lose Norway to Sweden (slippery as ever, the Swedes had joined the allies at the opportune moment). When the Norwegians were informed that they were now Swedes, they decided they didn’t like that one little bit. Rather than accepting the news, they elected a national assembly to work out a constitution for an independent Norway (at least, it was supposed to be national; the representatives from the northernmost province had such a long way to travel that they came too late to participate). On May 17, 1814 this first Norwegian parliament elected the Danish Crown Prince, Christian Frederick, as their king.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out at all. The Swedes had the support of Russia, Britain, Austria and Prussia, and no one cared much for the opinion of the Norwegian people. Long story short: the Swedes invaded, and after a short campaign Christian Frederick renounced his throne and went back to Denmark, leaving Charles XIII the new king of Norway and Sweden. That union would last until the Norwegian parliament declared independence (again) in 1905.
All this made Christian Frederick a rather unpopular man in Norway, but in time it was realized that he had actually made a pretty good deal. In return for giving up the crown, he had convinced the Swedes to accept the new Norwegian constitution which parliament had adopted (confusingly enough on May 16, which really ought to have been our national day, but never mind). That was a huge bonus. The constitution, which is still in place, was among the most democratic in Europe at that time.


So basically like the oil companies, these folks have 2 or 3 Independence Days (Yaaa we are free) every year and the first one lasts a month. It involves children with flags, students dressed in funny costumes according to their profession, and reenactors dressing up in very old clothes.

The young king and Norwegian officials tried to find international backing for their bid for Norway as a sovereign state throughout spring and early summer of 1814. After failing to secure the support of Great Britain, war with Sweden became unavoidable. The Swedish Campaign against Norway was short and decisive. However, while badly trained and equipped, the Norwegian Army put up a determined fight, holding the Swedes back at Kongsvinger and securing a tactical victory at the battle of Langnes. This enabled the King to avoid an unconditional surrender as he was forced into negotiations with the Swedes, leading to the Convention of Moss.

Putting the strategic situation and his own abdication to good use, he persuaded the Swedish crown prince Carl Johan (the former Marshal Bernadotte of France) to let the Norwegians keep their constitution. The Swedish crown prince wanted to appease the Norwegians and avoid a bloody continuation of the war. Realizing that a forced union with himself as ruler of a conquered and hostile country would be very uneasy, he accepted the Norwegian proposition. Norway then entered into a personal union with Sweden with only such amendments to its constitution as were necessary to form the Union between Sweden and Norway. On October 7, an extraordinary session of the Storting convened, and king Christian Frederik delegated his powers to the parliament and abdicated on October 10. The Storting adopted the constitutional amendments on November 4 and on the same day unanimously elected Charles XIII king of Norway, rather than acknowledging him as such, thus reinforcing the concept a King by the will of the people.

Dissolution and the second King

The union amendments were revoked after the dissolution of the ninety-one-year-old union in 1905. The question of a King was again considered, and the Storting elected to offer the throne to the 33-year-old Prince Carl of Denmark, married to Maud of Wales, the daughter of King Edward VII. By bringing in a king with British royal ties, it was hoped that Norway could court Britain’s support. Prince Carl was however well aware of a surge of republicanism in Norway and of the constitutional situation of the Norwegian throne. He insisted that he would accept the crown only if the Norwegian people expressed their will for monarchy by referendum and if the parliament then elected him king. On November 13, the Norwegian votes decided on monarchy with a 74 percent majority, and Carl was elected King by the Storting, taking the name Haakon VII of Norway.

Several other amendments have been adopted since 1814, the most recent on February 20, 2006. After World War II and the restoration of peace and constitutional rule, there was much debate on how to handle the events of the previous five years. None of this led to any changes in the constitution; it had withstood the test of hard times.


Of Course lots of drinking and eating herring also ensues. This guy gets to celebrate 4 Independence Days the US, Italy and 2 for Norway.

First, by way of background, Norway was ruled by the kings of Denmark from the 12th century until early in the 19th century (1814).

In 1814, Denmark was penalized for its support of Napoleon by giving Norway to Sweden. Before the transition was carried out, Norway declared itself independent on May 17, 1814. A degree of independence was retained even after Norway became subject to the Swedish Crown.

In 1905, on May 17, Norway declared its complete independence.

In 1914, World War I began. Norway remained neutral, but many of its ships were sunk.

In 1940-1945: when World War II began, Norway again proclaimed its neutrality. However, on April 9, 1940, Nazi forces invaded the two neutral nations of Norway and Denmark under the guise of protecting them against an “Anglo-French Occupation” and “To Protect Their Freedom and Independence.”

Oslo wired Berlin:

“We will not submit voluntarily; the struggle is already underway.”

At the time of World War II, Norway was just beginning to realize its industrial potential when Germany invaded. Five years of German occupation and a burn-and-retreat strategy in the final weeks of the war, left the nation ravaged. But, after the war, the Norwegians, known for their determination and tenacity, returned to rebuild their homes and villages. Finally the flags of freedom were again flying over Europe and Trygve Lie of Norway was elected as the first secretary general of the United Nations.

It is no surprise that Norwegians eat, drink and make merry during the month of May in celebration of this most significant month in their history.


So we say to BP. Job well done Brownie.

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