The Number 2 Polluter In The United States – Rupert Murdock

I know he is an Australian bloke but he owns the media in the US…

Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming in Tim Dickinson’s “The Climate Killers.”

The Disinformer
Rupert Murdoch
CEO, News Corporation

In 2007, when the world’s most powerful media baron announced his newfound conviction that global warming “poses clear, catastrophic threats,” it seemed as though the truth about climate change might finally get the attention it deserves. Murdoch promised that not only would News Corp. itself become carbon-neutral by 2010, but that his media outlets would explain the urgent need for a cap on carbon emissions. Climate change, he pledged, would be addressed as a sober reality across the News Corp. empire, whether as a plot element on 24 or in a story on Fox News. “I don’t think there’s any question of my conviction on this issue,” Murdoch declared. “I’ve come to feel it very strongly.”

Since then, however, Murdoch and his media operations have become the nation’s leading source of disinformation about climate change. In October, Fox Business ran an extended segment on “The Carbon Myth,” inviting a hack scientist to “make the case” that more carbon pollution is actually “good for the environment.” The Wall Street Journal has continued to lie not only about the reality of global warming but about Obama’s efforts to prevent it, denouncing climate legislation as “likely to be the biggest tax in American history.”


Read the whole article. It is pretty damning.


Oh and I can’t resist, this is the best collection of envirovideos I have ever seen.


Top Energy Stories Of 2009 – The end of the Naughties

Ok we are 14 hours away from the year 2010 so I am going to have to post several top 10 lists. It seems that everyone has to have one. Since that is the case I will use theirs. But first I have to say:


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Our First top 10 is from the Energy Tribune but actually originates with:

Posted on Dec. 28, 2009

The Top Ten Energy Stories of 2009 Ed. note: This item originally ran in Robert Rapier’s R-Squared Energy Blog.

Here are my choices for the Top 10 energy related stories of 2009. Previously I listed how I voted in Platt’s Top 10 poll, but my list is a bit different from theirs. I have a couple of stories here that they didn’t list, and I combined some topics. And don’t get too hung up on the relative rankings. You can make arguments that some stories should be higher than others, but I gave less consideration to whether 6 should be ahead of 7 (for example) than just making sure the important stories were listed.

  1. Volatility in the oil marketsMy top choice for this year is the same as my top choice from last year. While not as dramatic as last year’s action when oil prices ran from $100 to $147 and then collapsed back to $30, oil prices still more than doubled from where they began 2009. That happened without the benefit of an economic recovery, so I continue to wonder how long it will take to come out of recession when oil prices are at recession-inducing levels. Further, coming out of recession will spur demand, which will keep upward pressure on oil prices. That’s why I say we may be in The Long Recession.
  2. The year of natural gasThis could have easily been my top story, because there were so many natural gas-related stories this year. There were stories of shale gas in such abundance that it would make peak oil irrelevant, stories of shale gas skeptics, and stories of big companies making major investments into converting their fleets to natural gas.Whether the abundance ultimately pans out, the appearance of abundance is certainly helping to keep a lid on natural gas prices. By failing to keep up with rising oil prices, an unprecedented oil price/natural gas price ratio developed. If you look at prices on the NYMEX in the years ahead, the markets are anticipating that this ratio will continue to be high. And as I write this, you can pick up a natural gas contract in 2019 for under $5/MMBtu.
  3. U.S. demand for oil continues to declineAs crude oil prices skyrocketed in 2008, demand for crude oil and petroleum products fell from 20.7 million barrels per day in 2007 to 19.5 million bpd in 2008 (Source: EIA). Through September 2009, year-to-date demand is averaging 18.6 million bpd – the lowest level since 1997. Globally, demand was on a downward trend as well, but at a less dramatic pace partially due to demand growth in both China and India.


Then there is Greentech Media:

Top Ten Energy Storage of 2009

Electric vehicles boost lithium-ion batteries, DOE dollars for grid storage, ice-making air conditioners, and a smart grid to rule them all.

Energy storage – you can’t do electric vehicles without it, and it sure would make renewable solar and wind energy a lot more useful.

That’s the imperative behind 2009’s push into energy storage – from the fast-moving world of batteries for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to the slower development of a variety of technologies for storing power on the electricity grid.

1. A123, Green Tech’s First IPO of 2009: A123 Systems broke the green tech IPO drought in September, when it debuted its shares to the public markets and was immediately rewarded with a doubling of their price. But the lithium-ion battery maker has since seen shares fall to close to their initial offering price of $13.50, perhaps linked to the scaling back of electric vehicle plans by customer Chrysler. A123 is also making batteries for grid energy storage, bridging two worlds that have until now been mostly separate.

2. The Government Boosts Vehicle Batteries” Next-generation batteries wouldn’t be where they are today without the billions of stimulus dollars the federal government has aimed at the sector. In August, the Department of Energy handed out $2.4 billion to such companies as EnerG2, A123 Systems, Johnson Controls, eTec, EnerDel, Saft and Chrysler and General Motors, most of it to build battery factories in the United States – a key goal of the grants, given Asia’s dominance in battery technology and manufacturing.

3. Fuel Cells’ Waning Fortunes? What the federal government has given to batteries, it has taken away from a once-favored alternative – fuel cells. Technologies to convert hydrogen into electricity and water are clean, but they also require a massive infrastructure to deliver hydrogen – which is mostly made today by cracking natural gas – to millions of vehicles. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said he will cut back drastically on DOE funding for vehicular fuel cell research, which he described as decades away from commercial viability. In the meantime, fuel cells soldier on in the stationary power generation market, and are finding niches in forklifts and other short-range heavy vehicles, as well as in military applications.

But wait? Panasonic has started to deliver fuel cells that burn natural gas to produce heat and electricity in Japan and Bloom Energy is expected to come out of its hidey hole soon to talk about devices that pretty much do the same thing for industrial customers. By exploiting heat and power, these fuel cells can be 80 plus percent efficient.


What better way to end the new year but with the Department of Defense:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Year in Review: Top 10 DOD Energy Events of 2009

Not sure if you’ll agree, but from my vantage point, this was the first year that merits a DOD Energy top ten. Folks who’ve been at this enterprise a long time, like Tom Morehouse and Chris DiPetto at OSD (and a small handful of others in the Services), have been doing energy grunt work without a heck of a lot of support or credit (that’s my take, not theirs). Over the past decade there have been isolated wins and signs of improvement, but nothing sustained.

But this year something changed, and I have to give credit to the increasing strength of the convoy connection. It’s finally shown everyone that being smart and proactive on energy issues isn’t the domain of Birkenstock wearing, granola eating, tree hugging peace-nicks. The clear (and easy to understand and communicate) link between fuel convoys and 1) causalities, 2) costs, and 3) mission degradation.

I’m sure I’m leaving a lot out (that’s a good thing). But without further adieu, here’s the list for the year, in no particular order:

  1. Gigantic Army solar installation off the ground at Fort Irwin in California’s Mojave Desert to advance conversation beyond Nellis. Score – Fort Irwin: 500+ Megawatts, Nellis AFB: 14 Megawatts
  2. Boeing’s high tech, super efficient 787 Dreamliner finally flew. Basis for future tanker/transport?
  3. Convoy lessons brought the concept of proactive energy planning fully out of its Birkenstock phase … for everyone.
  4. Energy audits in Afghanistan commence with Marines. It’s called MEAT, for Marine Energy Assessment Team, see here and here.
  5. Like DARPA to advance US space tech post Sputnik, ARPA-E‘s mission is to turbocharge US competitiveness in energy tech (ET).
  6. 3 of the 4 Services hold major confs exclsively on energy issues. The Navy version in particular generated a huge amount of great info




What A Year For Energy And Related Fields – Cash for Clunkers, Caulk for Clunkers

Everywhere you look there are things a poppin.

The Year in Energy

Liquid batteries, giant lasers, and vast new reserves of natural gas highlight the fundamental energy advances of the past 12 months.

By Kevin Bullis

Monday, December 28, 2009

With many renewable energy companies facing hard financial times (“Weeding Out Solar Companies“), a lot of the big energy news this year was coming out of Washington, DC, with massive federal stimulus funding for batteries and renewable energy and programs such as Energy Frontier Research Centers and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“A Year of Stimulus for High Tech“).

Credit: Roy Ritchie

But there was still plenty of action outside the beltway, both in the United States and around the world. One of the most dramatic developments (“Natural Gas Changes the Energy Map“) was the rush to exploit a vast new resource; new drilling technologies have made it possible to economically recover natural gas from shale deposits scattered throughout the country, including in Texas and parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Advances in drilling technology have increased available natural gas by 39 percent, according to an estimate released in June. The relatively clean-burning fuel could cut greenhouse gas emissions by becoming a substitute for coal. Natural gas might even provide an alternative to petroleum in transportation, especially for buses and taxis–if only policymakers could take advantage of the new opportunity.

Meanwhile a number of technologies promise to cut down on emissions from coal plants. Feeding heat from the sun into coal plants could at once increase the amount of power that can be generated from a given amount of coal and reduce the cost of solar power (“Mixing Solar with Coal to Cut Costs“). And technology for capturing carbon dioxide (“Scrubbing CO2 Cheaply“) and storing it (“An Ocean Trap for Carbon Dioxide“) is finally emerging from the lab and small-scale projects into larger demonstrations at power plants, even while researchers explore potentially cheaper carbon-capture techniques (“Using Rust to Capture CO2 from Coal Plants“).


I hate to Post The Whole Thing, but it’s so good.

This year was also the year of the smart grid, as numerous test projects for improving the reliability of the grid and enabling the use of large amounts of renewable energy got underway (“Technology Overview: Intelligent Electricity“). The smart grid will be enabled by key advances, such as superconductors for high-energy transmission lines (“Superconductors to Wire a Smarter Grid“) and smart networks being developed by companies such as GE (“Q&A: Mark Little, Head of GE Global Research“).

Cellulosic ethanol–made from biomass such as grass rather than corn grain–moved closer to commercialization, with announcements of demonstration plant openings (“Commercializing Garbage to Ethanol“) and scientific breakthroughs that could make the process cheaper (“Cellulosic Ethanol on the Cheap“). But at the same time, a number of companies are moving beyond cellulosic ethanol to the production of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from biomass–fuels that can be used much more readily in existing infrastructure and in existing vehicles. Exxon-Mobil announced substantial investments in algae-based fuels (“Big Oil Turns to Algae“). Remarkably, one startup declared its process–based on synthetic genomics and algae–could allow biofuels to replace all of transportation fuels without overwhelming farmland (“A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels“).


So? It’s the end of the year – sue me…

Still, most people think biofuels will only supply a fraction of our transportation needs (“Briefing: Transportation“). To eliminate carbon emissions and drastically curtail petroleum consumption will require plug-in hybrids (“Driving the Volt“) and other electricity-powered vehicles (“Nissan’s Leaf: Charged with Information“). Advances that could double (or more) the energy capacity of batteries and lower their costs could one day make such vehicles affordable to the masses. These include new formulations such as lithium-sulfur batteries (“Revisiting Lithium-Sulfur Batteries“), metal-air batteries (“High-Energy Batteries Coming to Market“) such as lithium-air batteries (“IBM Invests in Battery Research“), and batteries that rely on nanowires and silicon (“More Energy in Batteries“). A novel concept for super-fast charge stations at bus stops could make electric buses practical (“Next Stop: Ultracapacitor Buses“).

Getting the electricity to charge these vehicles–without releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide–could be made easier by a number of advances this year. A new liquid battery could cheaply store energy from wind turbines and solar panels for use when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing (“TR10: Liquid Battery“), making it practical to rely on large amounts of renewable electricity. Vast arrays of mirrors (“Solar Thermal Heats Up“) are being assembled in the desert to convert solar heat into electricity, and photovoltaic solar farms for converting light directly into electricity (“Chasing the Sun“) are getting a boost from the federal stimulus money. And researchers are finding ways to increase the efficiency of solar cells (“More Efficient, and Cheaper, Solar Cells“) and are discovering new photovoltaic materials to make solar power cheaper (“Mining Fool’s Gold for Solar“). And although progress on nuclear power is moving slowly, some advances on the horizon could help this low-carbon source replace fossil fuels (“TR10: Traveling-Wave Reactor“). Researchers even fired up the world’s largest laser system–one that’s the size of a football stadium–for experiments that could lead to a new form of fusion (“Igniting Fusion“).

Last, and almost certainly least, researchers have decided to look beyond the conventional sources of renewable energy–solar, wind, and waves–to hamsters. Researchers at Georgia Tech fitted the rodents with zinc-oxide nanowire jackets (“Harnessing Hamster Power with a Nanogenerator“), and watched as they generated an electrical current while scratching themselves and running on a wheel. See a video of the powerful hamsters here.


Kevin Bullis is a journalistic GOD


In The Wake Of Copenhagen The Future May Be In Natural Gas – It could be a cross over to sustainable energy sources

Could it be that T. Boone Pickens was right. I mean not HIS natural gas as he presented it but the whole world’s natural gas…?

Gas could be the answer in global warming fight

An unlikely source of energy has emerged to meet international demands that the United States do more to fight global warming: It’s cleaner than coal, cheaper than oil and a 90-year supply is under our feet.

It’s natural gas, the same fossil fuel that was in such short supply a decade ago that it was deemed unreliable. It’s now being uncovered at such a rapid pace that its price is near a seven-year low. Long used to heat half the nation’s homes, it’s becoming the fuel of choice when building new power plants. Someday, it may win wider acceptance as a replacement for gasoline in our cars and trucks.

Natural gas’ abundance and low price come as governments around the world debate how to curtail carbon dioxide and other pollution that contribute to global warming. The likely outcome is a tax on companies that spew excessive greenhouse gases. Utilities and other companies see natural gas as a way to lower emissions — and their costs. Yet politicians aren’t stumping for it.

In June, President Barack Obama lumped natural gas with oil and coal as energy sources the nation must move away from. He touts alternative sources — solar, wind and biofuels derived from corn and other plants. In Congress, the energy debate has focused on finding cleaner coal and saving thousands of mining jobs from West Virginia to Wyoming.

Utilities in the U.S. aren’t waiting for Washington to jump on the gas bandwagon. Looming climate legislation has altered the calculus that they use to determine the cheapest way to deliver power. Coal may still be cheaper, but natural gas emits half as much carbon when burned to generate the same amount electricity.

Today, about 27 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions come from coal-fired power plants, which generate 44 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. Just under 25 percent of power comes from burning natural gas, more than double its share a decade ago but still with room to grow.

But the fuel has to be plentiful and its price stable — and that has not always been the case with natural gas. In the 1990s, factories that wanted to burn gas instead of coal had to install equipment that did both because the gas supply was uncertain and wild price swings were common. In some states, because of feared shortages, homebuilders were told new gas hookups were banned.

It’s a different story today. Energy experts believe that the huge volume of supply now will ease price swings and supply worries.

Gas now trades on futures markets for about $5.50 per 1,000 cubic feet. While that’s up from a recent low of $2.41 in September as the recession reduced demand and storage caverns filled to overflowing, it’s less than half what it was in the summer of 2008 when oil prices surged close to $150 a barrel.

Oil and gas prices trends have since diverged, due to the recession and the growing realization of just how much gas has been discovered in the last three years. That’s thanks to the introduction of horizontal drilling technology that has unlocked stunning amounts of gas in what were before off-limits shale formations. Estimates of total gas reserves have jumped 58 percent from 2004 to 2008, giving the U.S. a 90-year supply at the current usage rate of about 23 trillion cubic feet of year.

The only question is whether enough gas can be delivered at affordable enough prices for these trends to accelerate.

The world’s largest oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp., gave its answer last Monday when it announced a $30 billion deal to acquire XTO Energy Inc. The move will make it the country’s No. 1 producer of natural gas.

Exxon expects to be able to dramatically boost natural gas sales to electric utilities. In fact, CEO Rex Tillerson says that’s why the deal is such a smart investment.

Tillerson says he sees demand for natural gas growing 50 percent by 2030, much of it for electricity generation and running factories. Decisions being made by executives at power companies lend credence to that forecast.

Consider Progress Energy Inc., which scrapped a $2 billion plan this month to add scrubbers needed to reduce sulfur emmissions at 4 older coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. Instead, it will phase out those plants and redirect a portion of those funds toward cleaner burning gas-fired plants


For the REAL RAW raws try this sight:

Or will it?

The Future of Natural Gas Drilling

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

ProPublica Images

Tomorrow a House Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee will hold its first hearing of 2009 on controversial issues related to the burgeoning natural gas drilling industry, which ProPublica has been covering for the last year. The committee is expected to grill a handful of state regulators and industry representatives about the environmental risks of drilling for shale gas and about the use of hydraulic fracturing, a process where water and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure.

That fracturing process was exempted from federal environmental oversight in 2005 and now – amidst emerging evidence that it is damaging water resources across the country – Congress is preparing legislation that would reverse the exemptions and require the industry to identify the toxic chemicals it pumps underground. Last week ProPublica wrote in detail about that political effort.

Before the subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources could convene its quorum, the American Petroleum Institute gathered reporters for a conference call to explain why it is prepared to fight such legislation to the grave. Natural gas is the key to the country’s energy independence, representatives of the trade and lobbying group said, adding unequivocally that hydraulic fracturing is the critical process required to get those resources.

The Institute says state regulations are sufficient to keep water supplies safe, and that returning authority to the Environmental Protection Agency – which the bill being written by Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette would do – amounts to a cumbersome additional layer of regulation. The API repeatedly referenced a recent study claiming that federal oversight of the drilling process would cost the industry more than $100,000 per new well and threatened that thousands of jobs will be lost if tougher regulation is passed. It maintains that fracturing has been used reliably for over 50 years, and that is a safe technology proven not to harm water.

Asked what recent scientific studies support that notion, however, the Institute’s senior policy analyst, Richard Ranger, answered: “That’s a good question. I’m not aware of any.”

Abrahm Lustgarten is a reporter for ProPublica, America’s largest investigative newsroom.

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Related News On Huffington Post:

Pennsylvania Faces A Tainted Wastewater Onslaught Due To Natural Gas Drilling Workers at a steel mill and a power plant were the first to notice something strange about the Monongahela River last summer. The water that…


Alice In Greenland – Guest poster Jed Morey has his say

I rarely have “guest posters”, mainly because nobody asks but also because I like to run my mouth. I forget how I found Jed’s Column but it makes so much sense in such a short space that I actually ASKED Jed if I could use it. How rare is that? So far that would be 2 people Jed and Dan Piraro soooo without further ado (I always wanted to say that…damn).

Alice In Greenland

Written by Jed Morey on Dec 9th, 2009 and filed under Columns, Off The Reservation. You can follow any responses to this entry through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Want to take a trip down the environmental rabbit hole? Spark a discussion about climate change and watch human warming reach extremes far greater than any place on the globe.

To the right you have the laughable stance adopted by the conservative movement that humans are having no effect on climate and the atmosphere. At the other extreme are non-scientist policy makers and pundits holding “The End Is Near” signs on every street corner claiming that Iowa and Chad will be beachfront property by the end of next year.

Personally, I’m not qualified to discern which side is closer to representing the truth.

What I do know is that the debate should remain in scientific circles because I have yet to meet anyone qualified to entirely explain the variances in global temperatures. While world leaders are dithering in Copenhagen and arguing over hacked e-mails about tree rings versus thermometers, the public needs to close its ears to the noise produced on both sides of the global warming debate and focus on the tangible aspects of industrial pollution.

You don’t need to be an expert on carbon emissions or reference “parts per billion” to understand that we are seriously screwing up the planet. Public health has been compromised by the rise of industry. While there are several factors that contribute to the decline in public health, much of the discussion centers on energy production and sources because it’s the baseline driver of industry. So let’s look at it.

First of all, there is no such thing as clean coal. True, you can clean coal emissions, but the process of scrubbing coal to burn cleaner is just as much of an environmental disaster. There is no such thing as clean nuclear energy either, for that matter. True, the emissions are carbon neutral, but at some point every nuclear facility must dispose of the spent fuel used in production. The spent fuel must be stored somewhere and wherever that place is, it’s no place you want to be near.

Large wind farms in lakes and oceans are unrealistically expensive and remarkably inefficient. The Danes will tell you differently and espouse the virtues of wind power—just look at the marvel that is Copenhagen—but the fact remains that they are the largest manufacturers of wind turbines and have a vested economic interest in, shall we say, massaging the numbers. However, wind, solar and geothermal energy present viable options on a micro level and should be encouraged in every corner and backyard of the world. Individuals and small businesses need affordable access to clean energy solutions, not just municipalities.

Economically, there is no such thing as cheap oil anymore. Whether or not the Saudis or Venezuelans care to admit it, we have hit peak oil in the largest, most accessible oil fields around the world. Period. Are there places on Earth with large reserves of oil and natural gas? Yup. Is it easy to get to? Nope. Expensive to retrieve? Yup. Environmentally secure to extract? Nope.

As far as Cap and Trade is concerned—please. Giving large corporations and polluters the ability to buy their way out of cleaning their emissions is a lousy practice. Lisa Jackson from the EPA is on the right track by simply drawing a line in the sand and taking it out of the hands of Congress. The message from the Obama administration is clear: Clean it up. If Cap and Trade is allowed to continue one can only imagine Goldman Sachs creating a derivatives market that bundles pollution credits in with mortgages on homes with inefficient boilers and selling them to school boards in Greenland. No more government-backed securities bought by large corporations and sold on opaque markets, especially if they contain something as ethereal as carbon credits.

This is it folks. We have reached the tipping point. The only option heretofore is conservation.

If you wish to comment on “Off the Reservation,” send your message to


Can’t say it any better than that. By the way those who know me know I disagree with Jed about renewables, broadly stated, to replace fossil fuels but as he says “Cheap nope, time consuming Yup”. Thanks Jed.


Will We Live In A World Of Slime – The future of energy could be all over us

IT’S JAM BAND FRIDAY oh my caps lock got stuck


If you scan DIGG it sure seems that way:

Ships to be made with a slimy hull inspired by whale skin

Ships that exude slime from their hulls could cut fuel consumption by 20 percent and make it difficult for barnacles to attach.

WHALE SKIN: Pilot whales also ooze a gelatinous mix of enzymes from their skin, which deters barnacles and other sea parasites from attaching. (Photo: Scubaben/Flickr)

The biological world continues to inspire some of the most efficient, yet bizarre, technological innovations. Now scientists are designing ships with hulls that ooze a slippery, gelatinous slime which continually sloughs off, in an attempt to mimic the skin of pilot whales.

Related Links

Long-finned pilot whales are known for their smooth, blemish-free skin. For whales, that means being free of barnacles and other marine life forms which can taint and irritate them. But how do they do it?

It turns out that the fresh-faced fins manage to stay so smooth due to a criss-cross of nanoscale canals in their skin which are too small for any barnacle larvae to attach to the skin. In addition, the canals are filled with a gel of enzymes that destroy proteins on the surface of bacteria and algae.

That gave researcher Rahul Ganguli of Teledyne Scientific an idea, reports New Scientist. He is now working on a design for ships that similarly self-clean themselves by sweating a sticky, biosafe chemical that becomes more viscous on contact with seawater. The slimy goo, secreted by pores, would fill gaps in a specially designed metal mesh on the outer layer of the hull. As it eventually sheds, it will take with it any barnacle that managed to gain a foothold.


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From the water to the air.

Skyscraper to grow bio-fuel algae on its outer walls?

Oct 8th 2009
By Ian Fortey


A new high-rise building in Boston USA may be the future home of a bunch of green slime. Plans to turn the building into a vertical urban farm are moving ahead with the intended crop to be biofuel algae. Potatoes would be cooler, but hey, whatever works.

The project is going to be called Eco-Pod and confirms that we finally live in the future, where a bunch of detachable pods grow algae and act as incubators for scientists to study the production of biofuel. They also plan to include parks and gardens, because people like wandering through slime fields, especially if they’re modular.
Slightly crazier than the concept itself is some of the infrastructure. Since the pods will be able to move and be reshaped, the whole structure will come complete with a robot arm, powered by the biofuel, that can rearrange the pods as necessary. We can all agree a giant, robot arm that moves around slime pods is just what Boston tourism needs.

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This has got to be a teenager’s delight. But if it locks up carbon and provides energy well….what the heck.

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DARPA And The Military Seek Farout Energy Sources – But then farout is what DARPA does best

(fittingly – today is Jam Band Friday and Carlos is up –  )

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is a black agency in the sense that much of what it does is shrouded in some secrecy. Its a Think Tank at one level. It is a contractor at another. It is a black site in the sense that it has no budget. But heh, they got a webpage and a Facebook Page too. How Hip and Modern.


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Danger Room What’s Next in National Security

Darpa Seeks to Tap Water’s Power Potential



The quest for limitless energy has preoccupied military researchers for years, and Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out science arm, has often led the way. Now the agency is looking for yet another method to harness cheap and environmentally friendly energy that would be as simple as turning on the tap.

Well, sort of. Darpa is soliciting proposals for using seawater to create liquid fuel. Their hope is to harvest the abundance of carbon and hydrogen in ocean water, and somehow convert the molecules, via chemical reaction, into usable energy. Since fuel is mostly made up of hydrocarbons, the right interplay between water molecules and the carbon dioxide lurking among them would — in theory — yield fuel compounds.

Sounds good, right? Except Darpa’s not entirely sure what reaction needs to take place, or how to make it happen. That’s the first step for researchers: coming up with an efficient, effective catalyst, and one that won’t be affected by water pollutants, pH levels or the carbon dioxide concentrations of different water samples.

Of course, this isn’t the only out-there energy proposal the military’s got researchers working on. In July, the Air Force started investigating purple bacteria whose pigment could power flying drones. And Darpa’s already throwing money at another water-based energy source: last year, they spent $20 million dollars on converting algae into jet fuel. No word yet on how that worked out.


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They even have a Wikipedia Page now. You used to have to turn over rocks and stuff to find out anything about them.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Formed 1958
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia
Employees 240
Annual budget $3.2 billion
Agency executive Regina Dugan[1], Director



DARPA headquarters in the Virginia Square neighborhood of Arlington.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertext system, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.

Its original name was simply Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), but it was renamed DARPA (for Defense) during March 1972, then renamed ARPA again during February 1993, and then renamed DARPA again during March 1996.

DARPA was established during 1958 (as ARPA) in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik during 1957, with the mission of keeping U.S. military technology more sophisticated than that of the nation’s potential enemies. From DARPA’s own introduction:[2]

DARPA’s original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.

DARPA is independent from other more conventional military R&D and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has around 240 personnel (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3.2 billion budget. These figures are “on average” since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four-year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.


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Here is a little bit of the things they are working on that we know of:

Here’s a listing of the DARPA-related projects presented on the Technovelgy site:

  • Silent Talk ‘Telepathy’ For Soldiers
    ‘…allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.’
  • TASC – DARPA’s Psychohistory
    The agency is seeking whitepapers to fuel the development of a scientific approach to predicting the actions of large masses of people.
  • Guided Bullets By Exacto From DARPA
    How is it possible that a bullet could redirect its own course in mid-flight?
  • DARPA Seeks Self-Repairing Hunter-Killers?
    Tests to date have seen small aerial robots lose large chunks of themselves to hostile fire, yet carry on with their mission.
  • DARPA Gandalf Project And Philip K. Dick
    A new defense department project to locate enemies precisely, and target them, by phone.
  • EATR – DARPA’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot
    Project to develop a robotic platform able to perform long missions while refueling itself by foraging.
  • You Can’t Hide From DARPA
    Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance (HIBR).
  • Squishy SquishBot ChemBots Desired By DARPA
    ChemBots are soft, flexible robots that are able to alter their shape to squeeze through small openings and then regain their full size.
  • Fracture Putty For Compound Fractures – DARPA
    An alternative to today’s standard treatments, which often lead to further complications, and are not fully load-bearing,
  • Submersible Aircraft – DARPA’s Flying Sub?
    The minimal required airborne tactical radius of the sub-plane is 1000 nautical miles (nm).
  • MAHEM Metal Jets Like Clarke’s Stiletto Beam
    Create compressed magnetic flux generator (CMFG)-driven magneto hydrodynamically formed metal jets and self-forging penetrators (SFP).
  • Precision Urban Hopper Robot Must ‘Stick’ Landings
    Intended to give wheeled robots an additional edge; the ability to jump up onto or over obstacles up to nine meters high.
  • Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft Nano Air Vehicle
    The Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft is a coin-sized one-bladed helicopter.
  • Micro Imagers For Sensing On Nano Air Vehicles
    With the impetus toward micro-air and -ground vehicles for military applications, there is a compelling need for imaging micro-sensors compatible with these small platforms.
  • RESURRECT High-Fidelity Computer Battlefield Simulations
    Create high-fidelity computer simulations of in-theatre events for tactical, operational and strategic review
  • Aqua Sciences Water From Atmospheric Moisture
    The program focused on creating water from the atmosphere using low-energy systems.
  • Shape-Shifting Bomber In Need Of Plowsharing
    Shape-shifting supersonic bomber fans are feeling bereft this weekend.
  • :}

    for the old school

    ( )
    Oh and for another high tech energy firm across the pond try:


    Yahoo Attacks The Illinois State Fair – Well not really but my Yahoo account was attacked

    The reason this Post is so late in the day is because I opened my web browser today and it showed that I had 35 messages waiting for me. Someone had unleashed a worm on my address book and it was busy sending all my friends spam. Some of it dangerous spam. I was mortified. I spent over 2 hours checking to make sure it was originating on my computer. People sent some of it back to me so I could see what the heck was spewing out of my account. Then in consultation with my computer expert Afredo I determined that just changing my email password could halt the attack…So I did and it ended. I had to blow off lunch with David Lasley, Dave Fuchs and the Sangamon County Democrats just to get to here…Damnit.

    There were some things that I saw at the Illinois State Fair that I did not really care for. One of those things was the prominence of Biofuel in both of  Governor Pat Quinn’s tents. We all know that biofuel, especially ones made from foods, distract people from getting rid of the internal combustion engine. It also drives up food prices so this:


    and this:


    were NOT appreciated.

    Though the latest craze in biofuels is watermellons that are farm waste:

    Watermelon Juice: The New Fuel?

    Michael Reilly, Discovery News

    Fill 'er Up

    Fill ‘er Up | Discovery News Video

    Aug. 26, 2009 — A staple of backyard barbecues and summer time snacks, watermelon is also a promising new source of renewable energy.

    According to a new study, leftover watermelons from farms’ harvests could be converted into up to 9.4 million liters (2.5 million gallons) of clean, renewable ethanol fuel every year destined for your car, truck, or airplane’s gas tank.

    Agriculturally, watermelon is a peculiar fruit — each year farmers across the country leave between 20 and 40 percent of their crop to rot on the ground. These are the ugly ducklings of the lot; though perfectly fine on the inside, the misshapen or blemished melons simply won’t sell at the grocery store.

    “If a crow lands on a melon, takes two pecks at the rind, and then flies away, it’s no good,” Wayne Fish of the United States Department of Agriculture in Lane, Oklahoma said. “I had farmers telling me, ‘I’m leaving one-fifth of my melons on the land. Is there anything I can do with them?'”

    Across the United States, he estimated that 360,000 tons of watermelons spoil in fields every year.

    Some local growers wondered whether the waste melons could be turned into ethanol, the clean-burning fuel derived from plant sugars. In a series of new experiments published yesterday in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels, Fish and a team of researchers showed that they can.

    What’s more, watermelon juice may turn out to be the perfect way to optimize industrial-scale production of ethanol from corn, molasses and sugar cane.


    Then there was this. What the hell. This causes Earth Quakes in Texas yet it makes it to the State Fair?


    Fracking is Coming to Decatur. People better get ready for it:,2933,526233,00.html

    Drilling Eyed as Possible Culprit Behind Texas Earthquakes

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    CLEBURNE, Texas  —  The earth moved here on June 2. It was the first recorded earthquake in this Texas town’s 140-year history — but not the last.

    There have been four small earthquakes since, none with a magnitude greater than 2.8. The most recent ones came Tuesday night, just as the City Council was meeting in an emergency session to discuss what to do about the ground moving.

    The council’s solution was to hire a geology consultant to try to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is natural gas drilling — which began in earnest here in 2001 and has brought great prosperity to Cleburne and other towns across North Texas — causing the quakes?

    “I think John Q. Public thinks there is a correlation with drilling,” Mayor Ted Reynolds said. “We haven’t had a quake in recorded history, and all the sudden you drill and there are earthquakes.”

    At issue is a drilling practice called “fracking,” in which water is injected into the ground at high pressure to fracture the layers of shale and release natural gas trapped in the rock.

    There is no consensus among scientists about whether the practice is contributing to the quakes. But such seismic activity was once rare in Texas and seems to be increasing lately, lending support to the theory that drilling is having a destabilizing effect.

    On May 16, three small quakes shook Bedford, a suburb of Dallas and Fort Worth. Two small earthquakes hit nearby Grand Prairie and Irving on Oct. 31, and again on Nov. 1.


    Tough Decision – My mom is stupid or burning is stupid

    OK so Mom wins but let me very quickly qualify that I love my Mother and I mean that unconditionally. My Mom is a rightwing fundamentalist Christian. So really what I am saying is that I hate the ideology more than my mother. I am not talking about the social agenda either or most of it anyway. I am pro abortion. I think everyone should have one. I am pro civil rights which means I am for samesex sexuality. I think everyone has tried just one. I am for universal health care.

    I am more talking about her pro corporate business, pro rich, pro military, deregulation, anti union and anti evolution stances. Mom things that rich people and powerful people are the best. She got this from Eureka College where Ronald Reagan was big man on campus:

    Budget pro-rich, says TDP Special Correspondent

    ‘No solution shown for unemployment and agricultural crisis’

    Budget failed to specify how 1.20 crore jobs would be generated’

    ‘Promoting disinvestment in PSUs amounts to encouraging privatisation’

    KADAPA: The Union budget is pro-rich and not oriented towards poverty alleviation and ignored the cause of the middle classes, Telugu Desam Party leaders alleged.

    The budget failed to specify how 1.20 crore jobs would be generated, TDP State Secretary V.S. Ameer Babu, TNTUC president S.A. Sattar and party leaders S. Goverdhan Reddy and J. Rayappa Raju said in a statement. They deplored the government’s contention that it would attract foreign direct investment when there was global economic recession and did not specify how it would clear the foreign debt and interest.

    The budget did not show any solution to unemployment, agricultural crisis and suicides. There was no mention of unearthing the black money of Rs. 1 lakh crore, they alleged. Inflation grew from 2.8 per cent last year to 6.7 per cent this year. The Bill passed for unorganised workers was confined to paper.

    Promoting disinvestment in public sector units amounts to encouraging privatisation, the TDP leaders alleged.

    Steps were not taken to curtail the increase in petrol and diesel prices. The budget made no mention of the lakhs of workers who lost jobs in IT industry, they said.

    The TDP is opposing the budget, they asserted

    ‘Highly disappointing’ Tirupati Correspondent adds: Federation of the Farmers’ Association and various other farmers organisations have termed the general budget introduced today as highly disappointing from the farmers point of view.


    Which I think should clash with her Christian values. Lets face it, the rich just want more money at the expense of not just the poor but the environment. As long as they believe that their money can buy them clean water and clean air – even if it has to come in a bottle – well then the heck with the rest of us.


    Only after the last tree has been cut down,
    only after the last river has been poisoned,
    only after the last fish has been caught,
    only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten.
    –The Cree People

    Big Business is terrified of the environmental movement, which remains the single most popular left-wing movement in the US. The dirty secret of Big Business is that it is principally responsible for pollution and environmental degradation around the world. The majority of Americans want a safer, cleaner environment. They know that, and have taken extensive countermeasures to protect themselves from the people at large, including pouring money into bogus environmental groups designed to further industry causes while appearing to be environmentally conscious. They also launch massive PR campaigns to paint themselves green.These anti-environmental initiatives are, in essence, efforts to thwart democracy.It’s important to note that the only green behind these efforts is money, not concern for the environment. These groups are very well-financed, backed, as they are, by corporations and other capitalist interests. What they lack in public support, they make up for in resources and powerful connections.Going over the list, you can see the copious use of buzzwords by the anti-environmental movement, as they strive to create the appearance of a broad mandate and public support. However, these groups are funded and controlled by economic and political elites, with a vested (financial) interest in thwarting and reversing environmental reforms.The following is excerpted from The Greenpeace Guide to Anti-Environmental Organizations, put out by the excellent Odonian Press, Box 32375, Tucson, AZ 85751, and is part of their Real Story series


    • Greenwashing: When a company adopts marketing strategies whereby the company appears to be adopting a more environmentally-conscious stance, when really it’s simply doing its usual routine.

      1. Mobil Chemical added a small amount of starch to the plastic in Hefty trash bags and called them “biodegradable” (however, the bags would not degrade if buried in landfills, but only if left out in the sun; moreover, the bags didn’t degrade, but rather broke up into smaller plastic pieces — not the same thing!) A Mobil Chemical pitch man said, “degradability is just a marketing tool. We’re talking out of both sides of our mouth because we want to sell our bags.”
      2. Coors Brewing sponsors a greenwashing campaign called Pure Water 2000 that funds “grassroots organizations [engaged in] river cleanups, water habitat improvements, water quality monitoring, wetland protection, and pollution prevention.” In 1992, however, Coors pleaded guilty to charges that it had dumped carcinogenic chemicals into a local waterway for 18 years!
    • Astroturf organizing: These are industry-funded organizations meant to function like environment grassroots groups, except that they are heavily financed by industry and seek to manipulate public opinion by distorting facts. They seek to put environmentalists in an unfavorable light by launching personal attacks against them, charging that activists are “anti-family,” “anti-American,” and pitting jobs and the economy against environmental reform. They are termed “astroturf” because they are designed to look like they are genuine grassroots movements.
    • Physical violence: Activists are routinely harassed by the FBI, which considers any progressive movements “terrorist” in nature, justifying surveillance, break-ins, arrests, and worse. Activists find themselves the victims of assaults, sabotage, death threats, and worse.

      1. 1990: Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were nearly killed by a car bomb — incredibly, the authorities arrested them and accused them of transporting a bomb, which was later thrown out for lack of evidence. The actual perpetrators were never apprehended.
      2. 1992: Activist Stephanie McGuire of Florida was assaulted by three men for opposing a Procter & Gamble pulp mill’s practice of dumping toxins into the Fenholloway River (this mill still does this, btw). They beat her, burned her with a lit cigar, and cut her with a straight razor, while saying “now you have something to sue us over.” No one was arrested in this crime.
      3. The Center for Investigative Reporting noted 104 violent attacks on environmentalists from January 1989 to January 1993, averaging one every two weeks.
    • Government involvement: Through official government channels, whether Congress or the courts or the Executive Branch, government has been shown to regularly side with Big Business where environmental issues are concerned. The conservative 104th Congress recently showed this in its efforts to weaken endangered species laws, open up wetlands and parklands for economic exploitation, and lessening clean air, food, and water legislation. They also cut the funding for the EPA to the bone, all of which pleased industry greatly!


    Most industries will rely on a combination of the following to undermine and roll back environmental reforms, lavishly spending money on campaigns to secure their financial gain at our expense!

    • Public relations firms
    • Corporate front groups
    • Think tanks
    • Legal foundations
    • Endowments and charities
    • Wise Use and Share groups

    Of these, the misnamed “Wise Use” and “Share” groups need the most explanation. This anti-environmental movement is mostly a western phenomenon where timber, mining, ranching, chemical, and recreation companies banded together to fight the environmental movement. Ron Arnold, the movement’s founder, is a self-described reformed environmentalist, one who has “seen the light”. As he puts it: “We want to be able to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely.”

    Makes you wonder what kind of environmentalist he must have been, with an attitude like that!

    “Wise Use” and “Share” (Canadian version of “Wise Use”) act basically as stormtroopers for industry, because, according to Arnold, the “Wise Use” movement can “do things the industry can’t. It can stress the sanctity of the family, the virtue of the close-knit community. And it can turn the public against your enemies.”

    Wiseguys are recruited from the ranks of workers at company meetings (typically compulsory meetings, by the way), and through door-to-door canvassers claiming environmentalists are responsible for unemployment.

    Here you see a classic tactic of capitalists, turning the working class against itself when they should be fighting their common enemies, the capitalists themselves! News flash, folks — capitalists cause unemployment, environmentalists don’t!

    What the wiseguys want was hammered out in their 1988 conference in Reno, Nevada, where they created a 25 point platform cementing their goal to destroy the environmental movement. Below are eight of their “lofty” goals:

    • “immediate development of the petroleum resources of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska”
    • opening “all public lands, including wilderness areas and national parks” to mineral and energy exploitation and to recreational vehicles
    • exempting from the Endangered Species Act any species whose protection would interfere with resource exploitation (buzzword for “capitalist profit”, I’d say)
    • opening 70 million acres of wilderness that is currently protected by the Wilderness Act to commercial exploitation
    • logging 3.4 million acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska
    • making enviromentalists pay industry back if they lose cases in court, as well as to pay for lost industry profits (this is the classic “big guy” versus “little guy” tactic, where the industry hopes to scare off potential suits because they know that while they have the money to fight a successful court battle, environmentalists don’t — it’s not unlike a wealthy incumbent’s campaign war chest scaring off would-be challengers)
    • giving anti-environmental groups the right to sue environmentalists on behalf of the industry (this is a real gem, where industry uses these goons as dupes to do their dirty work, while the industry keeps its nose clean — ever the capitalist way!)
    • implementing free-trade agreements (e.g., NAFTA and GATT) that will grant US industry access to natural resources (e.g., raw materials) globally

    Looking at these, one wonders where the “Wise Use” comes in! Far from being populists, these wiseguys are snugly in the vest pockets of their capitalist employers. They are what you’d call “ruling class heroes,” I suppose, making the world safe for wealth, power, and privilege — and they even get paid for their effort!



    More on this later but suffice it to say that couching all of the above in a religious certainty and finding proof of that in the Bible is just plain wrong. In fact it is what all the polluters want to happen. Ready made stooges.



    Illinois Moves Ahead With Plans To Poison The Earth – Let’s inject toxins into our watershed

    That sounds like a plan doesn’t it?


    House revives Taylorville Energy Center

    OKs beginning of design work on clean-coal power plant


    Posted Jul 16, 2008 @ 11:19 PM

    Last update Jul 16, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

    A $2.5 billion clean-coal power plant proposed for Taylorville got a new lease on life Wednesday when the Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a bill developers said is crucial to the project.By an 86-5 vote, the House passed Senate Bill 1987, which will allow design work to begin on the Taylorville Energy Center. It is similar to a bill that failed by 10 votes in the House in the closing hours of the spring session.Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield, said the latest version contains “some safeguards” to mollify utility giant Commonwealth Edison, which opposed the earlier bill. That includes more oversight of the project by the Illinois Commerce Commission.“They were concerned that some of the cost might be excessive,” Hannig said. “Now the Illinois Commerce Commission will have an opportunity to say yes or no to that. We have to prove to the power companies that we can produce this in Taylorville in a clean and economically feasible way.”The Taylorville Energy Center would use coal-gasification technology and Illinois coal to produce 525 megawatts of electricity while controlling carbon dioxide emissions


    Or in their own words:


    Tenaska’s Taylorville Energy Center Selected By U.S. DOE For Loan Guarantee Program; Illinois Electric Ratepayers Could Save Up To $60 Million Per Year With $2.5 Billion Guarantee – 07/13/09

    TAYLORVILLE, Illinois – July 13, 2009 – Tenaska, managing partner for the $3.5 billion Taylorville Energy Center (TEC), announced today that, following a competitive six-month application process, it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to proceed into the term sheet negotiation phase under the DOE Loan Guarantee Program. The amount of the guarantee will be up to $2.579 billion, depending on the final project costs and capital structure.

    Upon completion of due diligence and negotiations, the Taylorville project expects to receive a federal government guarantee of its debt, which will greatly reduce financing costs. Because TEC financing costs are included in electric rates under the recently enacted Illinois Clean Coal Portfolio Standard Law, the DOE loan guarantee results in savings of between $40 and $60 million per year to Illinois consumers.

    “This is a very important step toward securing a clean coal facility in Taylorville. The federal loan guarantee would significantly reduce the cost of financing the construction of the facility,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “That’s important because cost will be a critical factor when the General Assembly reviews this project next year.”

    The DOE Loan Guarantee Program, instituted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is designed to spur technological innovation in fossil fuel energy development. It essentially gave the U.S. government the ability to back loans for advanced clean energy projects, thereby lowering financing costs.


    If you want to read a load of crap:

    Taylorville Energy Center
    Taylorville Energy Center (TEC) is a proposed 500- to 525-megawatt clean coal power plant using an advanced technology called Hybrid Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (Hybrid IGCC) to make it the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the world.

    Located a mile northeast of Taylorville in central Illinois, the plant will convert Illinois coal into clean substitute natural gas (also known as methane) to generate enough electricity to power more than 500,000 area homes.

    The benefits of TEC include:

    • • Millions saved annually on power costs
      • Economic development for a job-starved region
      • Creation of a new market for Illinois coal
      • Protection of the environment and public
      health through clean-coal technology

    Plant rendering (high-res image)

    Taylorville Energy Center is being developed by Christian County Generation, LLC, a joint venture between affiliates of Tenaska, an Omaha, Nebraska-based power development company, and MDL Holding Co. of Louisville, Kentucky.  Tenaska is managing developer of the Taylorville project.  Since its inception 21 years ago, Tenaska has built more than 9,000 megawatts of power generation.  Forbes magazine ranks Tenaska as the 24th largest private U.S. corporation, based on 2007 gross revenues.






    And if you want to listen to a load of crap:


    For 3 years they have planned, and talked, and schemed….