The Hottest Year Ever Recorded By Science – I was gona continue the solar meditation

And in away this is a solar earth issue, just not one that involves pollution free power generation. It has always amazed me how good a source of news Rolling Stone has become. It was the home of Hunter S. Thompson too.

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is

July 19, 2012 9:35 AM ET

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.

Not that our leaders seemed to notice. Last month the world’s nations, meeting in Rio for the 20th-anniversary reprise of a massive 1992 environmental summit, accomplished nothing. Unlike George H.W. Bush, who flew in for the first conclave, Barack Obama didn’t even attend. It was “a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago,” the British journalist George Monbiot wrote; no one paid it much attention, footsteps echoing through the halls “once thronged by multitudes.” Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I’ve spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.

Go there and read. More next week.

Building The Buildings Of The Future – No Air conditioning is a place to start

This is an old piece but it is still as true today as it was then. Air conditioning and by that I mean cooling air when it is hot is very expensive both financially and with regards to energy consumption.

Buildings Without Air Conditioners: The Latest in Energy Efficiency

Air conditioners consume an inordinate amount of power in the U.S. and they aren’t very efficiently used. To save energy, some say leave them out.

Michael Kanellos: December 22, 2008

Sometimes the most efficient air conditioning system is not having one at all.

To curb energy consumption, architects with projects in temperate cities – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco – have started to design buildings without mechanical air conditioners. These buildings will have heaters in all likelihood, but not air conditioning (see Can Greentech Make Housing Cheaper and Green Buildings No Subsidies Needed).

“There are only five days a year you need cooling in Seattle,” said Amanda Sturgeon, an architect and senior associate at the firm Perkins + Will, who recently designed a building without a mechanical conditioner.

In some cases, architects are putting in air-side economizers, i.e., computer-controlled windows that open to let in cooling breezes (see The Solar Window). The General Services Administration building in San Francisco uses openable windows on 12 of its 18 floors that let in cool breezes at night that, ideally, keep the offices cool in the daytime.  There is no mechanical cooling in the open office areas.

This shift comes courtesy of two trends. One, building developers and contractors have latched onto green buildings as an economic opportunity. Designing a building to LEED Silver or Gold standards – the environmental building standards promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council – only adds around 2 percent to the overall cost or less, according to various contractors, architects and researchers. Designing to the LEED Platinum standard can add only 6 percent if carefully planned. The trick, say Sturgeon and others, is to exploit as many passive, design-centric techniques for scoring LEED points before moving on to the potentially more expensive, equipment-centric ones like biomass boilers or new types of lighting systems.


Go here and read. More tomorrow.


What If We All Had The Energy Storage And The Efficiency Of The Astronaut’s Devices

While this post is all about cars and utility storage systems, the title for this blog is a lift from a question the author asks halfway through the article.

Power Storage Advances from Unexpected Sources: Renewable Energy Storage Kicked Into High Gear

James Cahalin | Jun 02, 2011

What do you think has a greater impact on society, a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or a Tesla Roadster? Both have spectacular performance reviews, with the Super Sport setting top speed records. Both will turn heads driving down any road or even through any parking lot in the world. Both are truly engineering marvels.

However, the engineering accomplishments behind both vehicles will be dwarfed by the advances Tesla has made with its power storage devices. Let’s take a look at a few numbers for both vehicles (see table).

These numbers are astonishing. As a “car guy,” the opportunity to drive either of these vehicles would be amazing. However, as an energy professional, these numbers are even more astonishing.

Amazing Head Output

The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport was designed and built for one purpose — to set a new speed record. It is also what I like to refer to as a “straight-line car.” What I mean by that is simple: Even with that much horsepower and amazing technological advances, there are cars (and some cost under $100,000) that can beat the Super Sport around a race track.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Fukushima Heats Up Again – Are these the reactors that refuse to go away

I have my doubts about what this actually means. A cold shutdown is considered to be 93 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So the reactor is still technically cool, and I doubt if it would mean much if it went up to even 500 degree Fahrenheit because that is a factor of three below its operating temps of 2,300 degrees or the 5,500 degrees in their operation range. Still there is an “ooga booga” factor in there somewhere.

Rising temperatures trigger concern at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant

By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo

3:28PM GMT 07 Feb 2012

Water temperatures at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have risen more than 20 degrees Celsius over the past week.

Concerns are growing in relation to conditions at the plant, in northeast Japan, which was declared in a state of cold shutdown in December last year.

Temperatures at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor have climbed to over 70 degrees Celsius, marking a rise of more than 20 degrees since the start of February.

Boric acid has been injected into the reactor by workers of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operators of the plant, in order to prevent an accidental chain reaction.

The rate of cooling water injected into the unit was also increased as part of the plant workers’ attempts to stem the surge in temperatures in the reactor.

The government declared that the power plant was in a state of cold shutdown on December 16, nine months after a major earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


2 Nuclear Power Plant failures in 2 Days – So nuclear power is still safe right

So in the Illinois case an INSULATOR fell off a transformer and shut down the plant. This is a little bit more than a missed inspection. This is more like they ignored the problem until it broke. Not very encouraging if you ask me. In the case of the California plant, it sprung a little leak. I mean really it leaks. Shouldn’t someone stick their finger in it till they get it fixed.

Illinois Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down Unit After Power Loss


Backup diesel generators are powering one of the two nuclear reactors at the Byron Station facility in northern Illinois. Unit Two came offline yesterday after it inexplicably lost power. The facility’s operator, Exelon, declared the incident an “unusual event” – the lowest of four emergency status declarations set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Fire crews were called to the site, about 25 miles outside of Rockford, as smoke was seen from the top of the facility building, according to WREX-TV. But the NRC told the Chicago Tribune the smoke was from a transformer and fire crews didn’t find a fire.


San Onofre nuclear power plant unit shut down after potential leak

January 31, 2012 |  6:54 pm


Southern California — this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

San Onofre nuclear power plant unit shut down after potential leak

January 31, 2012 |  6:54 pm
Officials at the San Onofre nuclear power plant shut down one of the facility’s two units Tuesday evening after a sensor detected a possible leak in a steam generator tube.

The potential leak was detected about 4:30 p.m., and the unit was completely shut down about an hour later, Southern California Edison said.

“The potential leak poses no imminent danger to the plant workers or the public,” utility spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre told The Times.



Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Finally Get A New Water Heater – Do yourself a big favor and go Tankless

Before I post that however let me thank:

Roger @

Ray’s TV

625 West Beecher ST

Jacksonville IL 62650  tel – 243-3051  email

He fixed my computer for next to nothing and I am here today because of it. (no boos or hisses) THANKS


While Consumer Reports does not like “on demand” water heaters, I do. Once you get used to them they are a blessing and if you have a large family the money you can save is amazing. But for me it is a mental thing. First in mind solar water heating should have been the way our society should have gone 100 or even 200 years ago. I mean it is there and we “throw it away”. But there is also something so bourgeoisie about heating up a bunch of water to sit in a tank wating for us to (what?) fain to use it. But if we don’t then a heater comes on and heats it up again. The whole mindset there is flawed.

Tankless Water Heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. In an electric Tankless Water Heater an electric element heats the water. In a gas-fired Tankless Water Heater a gas burner heats the water. As a result, Tankless Water Heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. Typically, Tankless Water Heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons (7.6 – 15.2 liters) per minute. Typically, gas-fired Tankless Water Heaters will produce higher flow rates than electric Tankless Water Heaters. Some smaller Tankless Water Heaters, however, cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a Tankless Water Heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install a “whole house” type Tankless Water Heater or install two or more Tankless Water Heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate Tankless Water Heaters for appliances—such as a clothes washer or dishwater—that use a lot of hot water in your home.

Other applications for Tankless Water Heaters include the following:

  • Remote BBQ or outdoor sink
  • Poolhouse or pool shower
  • Remote bathrooms or hot tubs
  • To serve as a booster, eliminating long pipe runs, for solar water heating systems, dishwashers and sanitation.


Go there and see all their pretty pictures and diagrams. Read the text. More next week.


Fascinating New Photos Inside Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

I can’t post these photos here because there are 67 of them and they are linked. So I will just post the text. I might add that if you skip down to photo 40 or so you will see the real damage to the power plant itself. Most of the pictures are of the temporary village that houses the workers, the drive to the power plant and and the emergency control room. This is probably because this is where the photographer spent the bulk of his time and was bored. They are real cool for the geeks like me. Thank you Denver Post.

Inside Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Station

Posted Nov 14, 2011

Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder, along with other reporters, was allowed inside the Fukushima nuclear power station to witness the devastation, for the first time, caused by Japan’s March 12th earthquake and tsunami.
Eight months later, the plant remains a shambles. Mangled trucks, flipped over by the power of the wave, still clutter its access roads. Rubble remains strewn where it fell. Pools of water cover parts of the once immaculate campus.
Tens of thousands of the plant’s former neighbors may never be able to go home. And just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki become icons of the horrors of nuclear weapons, Fukushima has become the new rallying cry of the global anti-nuclear energy movement.
Yet this picture is one of progress, Japanese officials say. It has taken this long to make the plant stable enough to allow Saturday’s tour, which included representatives of the Japanese and international media — including The Associated Press. Officials expect to complete an early but important step toward cleaning up the accident by the end of the year. (AP)


Go there and see them. More next week.


Cold Fusion In Italy – Is Rossi a scam artist

I subscribe to New Energy Times and I have talked to people about fusion before. I even met a gentleman on a train whose dad is working on the joint Spanish-French very hot plasma fusion project and we talked quite a bit about it. I have always had huge doubts about either cold or hot fusion because the cold versions have been obvious frauds and the hot versions are extremely expensive and dangerous. Still this is interesting and time will tell.

Mark Gibbs

Mark Gibbs, Contributor

10/30/2011 @ 3:18PM |55,722 views

Believing in Cold Fusion and the E-Cat

As I discussed in that posting, an inventor by the name of Andrea Rossi has developed what he claims to be a simple system for generating what would be, essentially, endless and incredibly cheap energy.

On October 28th the biggest test of Rossi’s system, which is called the E-Cat, was conducted in Italy and some results were made public which I’ll discuss in a moment.

Before that I do, let me give you a quick refresh: The E-Cat, which is short for “Energy Catalyzer”, is claimed to produce a “Low Energy Nuclear Reaction” or LENR. LENR is another name for “cold fusion” or CF (LENR is considered a more acceptable term than CF which was discredited after two world-class researchers, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, announced that they had a working cold fusion system but which, alas, no one could duplicate).

Allow me to digress for a moment to ask all of you who sent me messages in tones ranging from polite through to downright rude asserting that cold fusion has actually been successfully duplicated: If an experiment that demonstrates cold fusion has really been replicated in the real world by real scientists then why would the scientific community ignore something so profound? Everyone agrees that cold fusion would be a game changer and in itself would be a hugely important scientific discovery so why would anyone in the scientific community ignore an important,  successful, and replicable experiment?

Rossi’s E-Cat is claimed to use a secret catalyst to react hydrogen with nickel and, in the process, transmute the nickel into copper producing considerable heat. Whether this reaction works or not and if it does, exactly how it works, has been enormously contentious and the subject of numerous learned and amateur debates


I skipped his humorous lead and you can go to the site to read the rest. Point is no one knows right now but remember Ponzi was from Italy too. More tomorrow.


Worm Farms At Work – You can do it too

If your workplace has a cafeteria or a food service this is serious business and a potential money maker.

Welcome to Get Green, the Herald’s blog about making the newspaper more environmentally efficient and friendly. We offer some of our experiences about the challenges and successes of “greening” the Herald, as well as tips you can use at home. Questions? Comments? Got your own tip to share? Contact Eric Degerman via 509-582-1404 or

A posting about composting at work

By Eric Degerman,

I’m not so sure about bringing a case of worms to the office.

However, if it’s good enough for Gail Everett and the City of Richland, I’m game.

And I’ll it will serve as a test to see just how thoughtful my fellow employees at the Herald are.

Last month, I visited Gail — Richland’s environmental education coordinator — at city hall to talk about getting a compost bin started at Herald headquarters.

Lo and behold, she’s not the only one working in her small office. There are a bunch of happy worms dining on her discards of fruit.

With that inspiration, I’ll launch composting efforts at the Herald later this month. I need to acquire a suitable bin, then start creating a new home for some worms. Then, I believe Gail will be adopting out some of her “co-workers” for me to take to the Herald.

Ironically, these worms love newsprint. (Recycle your favorite newspaper joke here.)

— Eric Degerman is the Herald’s online managing editor who makes regular trips each year from Richland to Clayton-Ward in Kennewick so that he can exchange his household recyclables for money to buy beverages produced from Columbia Valley grapes and hops.


Fall gardening next week.


The Ultimate Frontier – Composting at work

Yesterday I posted about corporate recycling and how they have to have plastic containers with labels on them to actually do it. Well here is a thought. Take a felt tipped marker and cross out paper and write organics. That way you are composting at work. If you have no organics other than food scraps you may have to mix in some shredded paper or go out side and collect some leaves. You will need a a tight lid and you may need to store it outside, but everything is possible.



Composting at Work

I’ve started a composting process of the food waste at my workplace using a bin that is passively aerated. It’s kind of a prototype, as I am figuring out what kind of mix of inputs will work, how much moisture it needs, etc. During the summer, our kitchen produces a huge amount of food scraps which gets bagged up, thrown into a room, then later heaved up by staff onto our dump truck, driven into town, dumped at the refuse center, where it is then sorted and transported out of the county to a landfill 70 miles away. It’s a ridiculously inefficient process of dealing with waste that generates yet more waste.

The small bin I have currently set up will fill up within a week, so obviously it isn’t anywhere near cutting much waste out. However, once I’ve demonstrated that it works and have figured out the proper mix and all that, I’m hoping that we can expand the operation to cut out a more significant chunk of waste.

The whole science and art of composting consists of a proper ratio of carbon to nitrogen, which ideally should be around 30:1. We have a vast amount of cardboard and newspaper on-hand which I will shred to serve as bulk carbon (further reducing the transport of those materials into the recycling center in town), as well as sawdust and, every now and then, pine needles. The food waste supplies the nitrogen, as well as moisture. I will also pick up horse manure from stables down the road and mix that in there as well to provide essential microbes. It remains to be seen what kind of compost such a mixture will produce—it may be somewhat deficient on nutrients as my main sources of carbon are bland.


More tomorrow.