Going To Mars – Why it will never happen

So see if you can follow me on this. Some people see “space travel” as a way to get off this planet. But why would you want to do that? It is a perfectly good planet. I think it is because everyone knows deep down that the way we are treating this planet may ultimately cause its demise. That is why I am ultimately an environmentalist; because I do not believe we can get off this planet. So we humans better change our ways. Why do I believe there will be no space travel for humans. The radiation levels of outer space are too great, the distances too far, and the physical demands too great. Thus I believe in saving energy and creating green energy because I believe it is the only way for our planet to survive. Yet people dream.

http://phys.org/news/2015-03-breakthrough-energy-harvesting-power-life.html

Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria University, Newcastle.  The technique, which has been proven for the first time by researchers at Northumbria, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

The research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect – a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point. This effect is commonly seen in the way water appears to skitter across the surface of a hot pan, but it also applies to solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice. Blocks of dry ice are able to levitate above hot surfaces protected by a barrier of evaporated gas vapour. Northumbria’s research proposes using the vapour created by this effect to power an engine. This is the first time the Leidenfrost effect has been adapted as a way of harvesting energy.

The technique has exciting implications for working in extreme and alien environments, such as , where it could be used to make long-term exploration and colonisation sustainable by using naturally occurring solid as a resource rather than a waste product. If this could be realized, then future missions to Mars, such as those in the news recently, may not need to be ‘one-way’ after all.

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Go there and fulfill your fantasy. More next week.

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Home Energy Use Has Shifted – Appliances now take more juice

I am really shocked by this article. The idea that residential energy consumption could change so dramatically  in only 16 years is so amazing. Its like when we shifted to coal or later when we shifted to natural gas and then electricity. Only nobody is really talking about it.

 

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10271

March 7, 2013

Heating and cooling no longer majority of U.S. home energy use

For decades, space heating and cooling (space conditioning) accounted for more than half of all residential energy consumption. Estimates from the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), collected in 2010 and 2011 and released in 2011 and 2012, show that 48% of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 58% in 1993. Factors underpinning this trend are increased adoption of more efficient equipment, better insulation, more efficient windows, and population shifts to warmer climates. The shift in how energy is consumed in homes has occurred even as per-household energy consumption has steadily declined.

While energy used for space conditioning has declined, energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise. Although some appliances that are subject to federal efficiency standards, such as refrigerators and clothes washers, have become more efficient, the increased number of devices that consume energy in homes has offset these efficiency gains. Non-weather related energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting now accounts for 52% of total consumption, up from 42% in 1993. The majority of devices in the fastest growing category of residential end-uses are powered by electricity, increasing the total amount of primary energy needed to meet residential electricity demand. As described in yesterday’s Today in Energy, increased electricity use has a disproportionate effect on the amount of total primary energy required to support site-level energy use.

Other notable trends in household energy consumption include:

  • The average U.S. household consumed 11,320 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity in 2009, of which the largest portion (7,526 kWh) was for appliances, electronics, lighting, and miscellaneous uses.
  • On average, residents living in homes constructed in the 1980s consumed 77 million Btu of total energy at home. By comparison, those living in newer homes, built from 2000 to 2009, consumed 92 million Btu per household, which is 19% more.
  • Space heating accounted for 63% of natural gas consumed in U.S. homes in 2009; the remaining 37% was for water heating, cooking, and miscellaneous uses.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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There Are No Criminal Charges For The Frackers – So all they have to do is pay money

No Frackers will go to jail if they violate WHAT LAWS? IDNR might as well give away the state of Illinois to being totally trashed. Where will the Fracking start? In our State Parks?

Day 49   1/2/13

Topic:  Fines penalties, suspensions and revocations

For regulations to work, levied fines must exceed the financial benefit a company gains by violating the rules. None of the rulemaking sanctions meet this criterion. This results in the other 150 pages of rules being essentially meaningless because they will be ignored.   The draft rule sanctions place the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA)  on the road to failure before the first permit is issued.

Examples:

  1. Section 1-100(b) of the law specifies misdemeanor and felony criminal charges for a number of violations of the law.  Yet there are NO criminal charges in the rules
  2. In Section 1-60(a)1-6 of the law, there are six (6) grounds for suspension or revocation of a permit.  These are re-listed with a 7th in section 245.1100 of the rules.  But the very next  section of the Rules–245.1110–reduces the grounds for an immediate permit suspension to one: “an emergency condition posing a significant hazard to the public health, aquatic life, wildlife or the environment.” This is the most stringent requirement of the seven grounds listed in section 245.1100.  Why bother to list seven possible grounds for permit suspension or revocation in section 245.1100 if you then require the Department to identify the most stringent criteria for an immediate suspension.
  3. Section 1-60(b) of the law requires a much lower standard of proof to suspend, revoke or deny a permit than the rules (245.1110).  Under the law, the Department need only serve notice of its action (to suspend, revoke or deny), including a statement of the reasons for the action.
  4. In the law, if a well operator’s permit has been suspended, the burden of proof is on well operator to prove that the identified problem is “no significant threat to public health, aquatic life, wildlife, or the environment” [Section 1-60(d)].  In the rules, this phrase becomes something IDNR must prove before ordering a permit suspension [Rule Section 245.1100(b)3A].
  5. Sections 1-100 and 1-101 of the law have some stiff penalties that accrue on a daily basis until the reason for the fine is corrected.  These fines can go as high as $50,000 per violation and up to $10,000 per day.  These are replaced by fines so trivial ($50-$2500) that it will cost the IDNR more to impose and collect a fine than the dollar value of the fine itself.

Revisions Needed:  Return to the standards of the law with regard to fines, penalties and revocations.

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Bloomington, IL 61701
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Go there and comment. We are done with this.
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So Illinois Is Gona Protect Me From Fracking – Not the way it is going

When we got in the faces of the 5 renegade environmental groups, they claimed that IDNR would tighten up things to take in our concerns. So far that ain’t been ahappening. We will just have to see what happens after the comment period closes.
Today (Tuesday, 12/10/13)  is Day 26 of the Comment Period of IDNR.   Getting tired of making comments?  We understand.  But if we don’t fight, the industry will win because their fingerprints are all over these rules.  Fight back.  Make a comment today.
Today’s Topic:  IDNR’s Duties and Responsibilities to Protect the Citizens of Illinois
Comment:
In Section 1-130 of the regulatory statute, the legislature granted IDNR authority to adopt rules to carry out the legislature’s purposes.
There are at least two legislative purposes in the regulatory statute:
  1. To allow horizontal fracking in Illinois,
  2. To approve horizontal fracking conditionally based on the safeguarding of public health and public safety, and the protection of the environment.
This purpose is set forth explicitly in two places in the regulatory statute–Section 1-75(a)(2) and Section 1-53(a)(4).  IDNR has acknowledged 1-75 verbatim, in Section 245.800(2) of the proposed rules: “All phases of high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations shall be conducted in a manner that shall not pose a significant risk to public health, life, property, aquatic life, or wildlife.”
But IDNR has changed the legislature’s language in Section 1-53(a)(4) of the proposed rules, lowering the standard explicitly created by the legislature.  Section 1-53(a)(4) of the legislation states: “The Department shall issue a high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing permit, with any conditions the Department may find necessary, only if the record of decision demonstrates that: the proposed hydraulic fracturing operations will be conducted in a manner that will protect the public health and safety and prevent pollution or diminution of any water source.”  The key phrase there is”will be conducted”.  Clearly the intent of the statute is that fracking will only be allowed if it is conducted in a safe manner.
IDNR’s proposed Section 245.300 changes the legislative words “will be conducted” to “as proposed, are reasonably expected to be conducted”.  This lowers the standard and is inconsistent with the legislature’s stated purpose.  “Will be conducted” is a mandate; “reasonably expected to be conducted” is not.
If hydraulic fracturing outcomes in Illinois mirror effects of other states, we can “reasonably expect” that the industry will cut corners and violate standards.  There have been over 3000 violations in PA since 2009 and they are not minor violations.  They involve infractions such as:
  • 224 violations of “Failure to properly store, transport, process or dispose of residual waste.
  • 143 violations of “Discharge of pollutional material to the waters of Commonwealth.
  • 140 violations of “Pit and tanks not constructed with sufficient capacity to contain pollutional substances.
The residents of Illinois are depending on IDNR to protect their health, their safety, and the safety of their water, air, and soil.  IDNR needs to return the legislation’s intent and mandate that hydraulic fracturing operations will only be conducted in a manner that will protect the public health and safety and prevent pollution or diminution of any water source.”
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510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
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alt

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Illinois Department Of Natural Resources Is Incompetant – But we kinda knew that

This was forwarded to me by Doctor Lora and other people have pointed out that this has been going on. This is why in my first post I said go to  this website:

http://www.ilagainstfracking.org/

They will deliver a printed copy to IDNR which gets you around the whole computer/internet thing.

AND Dr. Laura is suggesting that you send your comments to JCAR who must approve the final regulations before they become law. I am not sure how effective that would be but it takes so little time it can’t hurt. But still run them through IDNR repeatedly if you have to.

If you want to echo my remarks at JCAR, I think it would be very helpful, thanks,  L

 


Urgent — After two days of complaints from many residents concerned about fracking that their comments to the IDNR on the fracking rules weren’t going through, we learned that NO COMMENTS ON RADIOACTIVITY HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH!   According to IDNR, there was a technical problem that has now been fixed, but that doesn’t address the fact that Comments from last Wednesday, yesterday and today did not get registered.
If they can’t get their website right, how are they going to get the rules right? 
Please share the comments below that were sent in by hundreds of residents with JCAR members, just in case the IDNR is trying to suppress comments about radioactivity in all fracking waste water and debris,

— General Summary of Rules on Radioactivity
Subpart H: High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing Preparations and Operations (245.800-245.870)
245.850 Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid and Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback Storage, Disposal or Recycling, Transportation and Reporting Requirements

Comment: Subsection (d)(1) of Section 245.850 provides for testing radioactivity only one time–during the early flowback stage–and only for “naturally occurring radioactive materials”. The problems with this are identified below.
Problems:
The proposed rules do not include any standards or protocols to follow if testing of flowback water shows unacceptable levels of radioactivity. 
The proposed rules do not require the testing of “produced water”, which is the water produced from a well in conjunction with oil or natural gas production. This is where radioactivity is most likely to show up. It should be noted that while these Rules have been purported to be the strongest in the nation, PA law requires the testing of produced water at two separate intervals.
The proposed rules do not require testing for added radioactive materials, like depleted uranium, which can be used in the perforation/fracturing operation.
The proposed rules do not test work areas for levels of radioactivity that would call for OSHA standards of occupational safety. 
These deficiencies, cumulatively or singly, would pose a significant risk to the public health and safety, property, aquatic life, and wildlife, in violation of section 1-75(a)(2) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act.

— Produced Water Needs to Be Tested for Radioactivity (same subpart-H, and section: 245.850)
Notably absent from this section is a requirement for the testing of “produced water”, the fluid that returns from the well later during production and is most likely to contain radioactivity. Under the proposed rules, “produced water” can be stored on site and/or can be “recycled”, yet there is no testing requirement.
Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) and technologically enhanced naturally occuring radioactive material are both found in “produced water”. See Technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials in the oil industry (TENORM), Nukleonika 2009; 54(1):3?9, and sources cited therein, especially for TENORM in produced water in the U.S., available athttp://www.nukleonika.pl/…/full/vol54_2009/v54n1p003f.pdf. See also
NORM is also found on scale in oil pipes and on fracking equipment. (See Kentucky Resources Council Proposes Comprehensive Plan For Investigating Radiological Contamination In Martha Oil Field. August 11, 2005.http://www.kyrc.org/webnewspro/112381723236086.shtml.)
IDNR’s definitions of “flowback water” and “produced water” are different. They are treated differently by both the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and by the DNR Rules. The Department knows that produced water will be in contact with the naturally occurring radioactive elements in the ground for a longer period that the flowback and that it is much more likely to be radioactive. Therefore it should require it to be tested and handled accordingly.
Problems: Failure to test produced water for radioactivity is problematic for a variety of reasons including:
The health and safety of workers on the site who will be unaware of the levels of radioactivity they are being exposed to.  The health and safety of workers transporting produced water who will also be in the dark regarding the levels of radioactivity they will be exposed to. 
The risk of storing radioactive material in tanks not created for storing radioactive materials.
The risk of “recycling” produced water—radioactivity cannot be removed by recycling.
The risk to the public in transporting radioactive materials
Argonne National Laboratory recently cautioned about radiological doses: “It is commonly accepted that efforts should be undertaken at all times to keep radiological doses ‘as low as reasonably achievable,’ which is referred to as the ALARA principle or requirement.” Overview of Radiological Dose and Risk Assessment (April 2011). DNR is failing to even adequately test for radioactivity and therefore, will not know the levels of radioactivity. How, then, can DNR adequately protect workers and the general public?
Revisions needed:
At a bare minimum, the rules should require that “produced water” be tested at two separate intervals across time for radioactivity. This is already required in Pennsylvania. The rules should also require that the requirements of the Illinois Low Level Radioactivity Waste Management Act be followed. 

— Rules need to include requirements or standards when radioactivity is found (same subpart-H and section:245.850)
The proposed rules include no follow-up requirements or standards if testing shows radioactivity levels in flowback to be high. In other words, these proposed rules treat flowback the same whether it is highly radioactive or not! DNR knows that naturally occurring radioactivity material occurs in Illinois oil and gas operations. See 62 Ill. Admin. Code secs. 240.860(e)(3), 240.861(k)(1)(C).
Revisions Needed: The rules must specify how flowback AND produced water will be treated if they test positive for radioactivity. The rules should also require that the requirements of the Illinois Low Level Radioactivity Waste Management Act be followed.
 
Sincerely, 
Frack Free Illinois
contact, Dr. Lora Chamberlain
drlora2@yahoo.com
773-486-7660

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Go there and comment. More today.

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The Hoyer Lift – A classic from my past

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 Am Fascinated With Wheelchair Lifts – I am so glad I decided to do the residential handicapped stuff

I was recounting in the last post about a “handicapped” workshop that had an amazing experiential component to it. There were 4 common ailments included that everyone got to try out: being blind (which I have described), being in a wheelchair which was kind of boring but boy has that changed since 1977, having an arm amputated and being deaf. Like I said the wheelchair experience was just rolling around in this large open space. They did not want us to take them outside because we could break them or we could be hurt ourselves. They did give each of us a cautious trip down some stairs at the door to the outside. There were three of them and it was creepy. My grandma was in a wheelchair so I did it better than most.

They had an extra attraction called being a child, which I will talk about tomorrow. So here is a wheelchair lift.

http://www.freedomliftsystems.com/WheelchairAccessibleVerticalPlatformLifts.asp?gclid=CKKJ0f_7jbMCFdEWMgodawoAjg

Wheelchair Platform Lifts

A simple and inexpensive wheelchair porch lift uses less space and is often a much more attractive and affordable solution than the alternative of installing a ramp.

These reliable vertical lifts can be installed outdoors or indoors and are designed to be completely resistant to the harshest weather conditions.

Wheelchair platform lifts for residential and commercial installations are easily installed and have a lifting range from 28″ up to as much as 12 feet (144″).

Our systems are an economical way to offer home / building accessibility.

Twenty years of manufacturing experience has resulted in the most durable and economical solution for wheelchair platform lift access in North America.

We will help you have a successful project, starting with offering four categories of wheelchair platform lifts.

Residential lifts for home use provides an attractive and practical solution for making your home accessible for a wheelchair user.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I Never Thought About Elevators Before – But for a couple thousand dollars why not

I attended a workshop on being handicapped at the University of Wisconsin, Madcity. It was maybe one of the most amazing things I have ever done. They let you experience 4 common handicaps. They also supplied a fifth experience, that of being being a small child and then insisted that we move around the campus or in the foyer of the students union a little. Everyone fought over the 3 or 4 wheelchairs that they had. I picked being “blind” instead, so they blindfolded me and gave me a stick. They led me around for a little bit and said, “lets go outside”! I mean it was amazing, the sounds and the smells and stuff. But the hardest part was for me to stop putting my hand out in front of myself. So anyway, to be “brand fair”, we will do a couple of days on home elevators. Plus some other handicapped stuff for the home.

 

http://www.garaventalift.com/en/products/home_elevators.html?gclid=COWe1Lmci7MCFdEWMgodawoAjg

In the past elevators in the home were, for the most part, only obtained by the extremely wealthy: they were more of a luxury item than an accessibility need. However, now with advancements in technology, home elevators have become ideal for accessibility, convenience, and adding unique value.

As we get older, arranging our home to suite our needs becomes more difficult. Not only because of the extra work involved, but also because adjusting to the changes that aging brings can feel uncomfortable. Home elevators allow people the ability to comfortably age in place. If an elevator is already in our home, then by the time it becomes a necessity we are already accustomed to it. Familiar surroundings are increasingly important as we enter our tender years, as we can begin to rely on more of our long term memories. Similarly, moving to a home that is more accessible can be inconvenient and disorienting. Including a home elevator in our building plans makes for a much more convenient long term solution.

Having a home elevator also makes moving items safer and more convenient. Instead of carrying a heavy or awkward load up the stairs, an elevator can be used. In turn the chances of injury are lessened, as well as the time it takes.

Building vertically as opposed to expanding a single level home can also be more cost effective. Land values are going up, making a single level expansion more expensive than adding a floor onto a home. However, with expanding vertically we have to take into account our possible accessibility needs in the future. A home elevator is a beneficial solution because it adds uniqueness and value to your home while providing all of the additional benefits of comfort, ease and convenience.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Greenpeace Is An Activist Organization – Sometimes I disagree with those actions

First on the list of actual green active organizations is Greenpeace. As with most activist organizations, I like them or I hate them based on their actions. When they challenge the whalers, I applaud. When they unroll banners from bridges over the Mississippi River or chain themselves up in trees, I must admit I become embarrassed. I have never been a member needless to say.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/

Happy whales have sanctuaries


My Greenpeace colleagues aboard the Rainbow Warrior in the Indian Ocean shared a heartwarming experience when a frolicking group of humpback and minke whales put on quite a show. It’s not a stretch to say these whales were happy and playful. Why wouldn’t they be as the entire Indian Ocean is a whale sanctuary where they can live in peace? What a contrast this is to other parts of the world where whales not only don’t have protections but face a myriad of direct threats from humans. One huge emerging threat to whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife is happening now in the coastal waters of California. Read more

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

 

 

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America 9th In The World – I am not sure whether I believe this or not

ACE3 rarely ever gets very much wrong.  But the idea that the UK was the most efficient country in the world and the USA was 9th? There is something very wrong about that.

http://www.energycircle.com/blog/2012/08/15/us-takes-9th-place-energy-efficiency-out-of-12

U.S. Takes 9th Place in Energy Efficiency! (Out of 12).

By Will – August 15th, 2012

A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked the energy efficiency of the world’s 12 largest economies. The U.S., unfortunately, ranked 9 out of 12.

So while we were out dominating at the Olympics, we were quietly slipping behind on a metric that, if improved, would yield a substantial benefit  for our country — economically as well as environmentally.

So how did we do on the specifics?

  • 9th overall in energy efficiency
  • 9th in terms of “national effort” in energy efficiency
  • 6th in industrial energy efficiency
  • 4th in building energy efficiency
  • 12th in transportation efficiency

With our penchant for gas guzzlers and the unpopularity of public transportation over here, it’s easy to see how we came in dead last in transportation.

But a shimmer of hope there is the 4th place ranking we got in building energy efficiency — our best category, and not all that shabby really. (We would have almost gotten a medal if building energy efficiency were an Olympic event.) While we’ve previously lamented our slow progress in implementing energy efficiency in buildings, and have shaken our heads as federal tax credits have been cut and legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency has stalled, it looks like we’re actually doing okay in the field of building efficiency compared to the rest of the world’s developed countries.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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