Friday, March 9, 2012

A plague of extreme weather upon us.

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video platform video management video solutions video player
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"We owe it to our children & grandchildren."

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday, April 4, 2011

"A Is For Atom" Redux

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The film shows that from very early on - as early as 1964 - US government officials knew that there were serious potential dangers with the design of the type of reactor that was used to build the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But that their warnings were repeatedly ignored.
The film tells the story of the rise of nuclear power in America, Britain and the Soviet Union. It shows how the way the technologies were developed was shaped by the political and business forces of the time. And how that led directly to inherent dangers in the design of the containment of many of the early plants.
Those early plants in America were the Boiling Water Reactors. And that is the very model that was used to build the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Three of them were supplied directly by General Electric.
Adam Curtis__The Medium and the Message
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How the news media is damning us all to climate purgatory.

As a reasonably well-educated and literate lay person (corporate lawyer specializing in large real estate projects) I feel compelled to observe that I, on a regular basis, depend on the news media for information as to what matters I should be concerned with (economic trends, new technologies, health risks such as seasonal flu outbreaks, new medical treatments, new scientific developments, etc.).
This information heavily influences my opinions, decision-making and voting preferences. In all of these areas, I depend very heavily on reporters to evaluate, summarize and communicate accurate information — and not to simply serve as stenographers for nitwits. Thus, while I can’t look to financial reporters to provide investment advice, I do expect them to be familiar enough with their area of supposed expertise to call out or cull out information (propaganda?) that is obviously false, misleading or incomplete in light of objective evidence.
I am dumbfounded that climate science is somehow seen as some special sort of bizzaro world where what I see as the normal expectation of news consumers (factual vetting, providing context and assessing implications based on discussions with real authorities) is thrown out the window in favor of he-said/she-said. In what universe do we expect particle physicists to be personally responsible for communicating the scientific implications of their research directly to the public, and then blame the physicists if the public doesn’t “get it”? Ditto for genetic researchers, astronomers, biologists, etc.
I came late to the party regarding AGW – until 2008, the issue was on my radar as a “century away” theoretical problem — it seemed like for every “this will be a big problem” article there was a “no problemo” article. I was accordingly floored in 2008 when I had to do due diligence research for a proposed investment in renewable energy to start reading primary materials and discovering that my media derived “understanding” was grossly in error. (And yes, in an effort to evaluate “the other side of the argument”, I did wind up visiting most of the prominent internet skeptic sites and looked at materials from Singer, Lindzen, Spencer, etc. – I concluded they were virtually useless in providing accurate information.)
I conclude that the views expressed by the moderators, Dr. Curry and others as to the lack of responsibility of journalists in this arena is directly contrary to the (apparently misplaced) assumptions and expectations that lay folk such as I bring to the table – that journalists will provide factual vetting, context and implications based on information in their respective field viewed as most authoritative. If this is the case, and if the former view is correct, media are just “filling space” with random noise and are effectively useless (or worse) in helping ordinary people assess risks, make decisions and make sense of the world.
The Press and Climate: An Anti-Testimonial
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Somebody, kick the dog.

When the planet warms a lot in a relatively short period of time, a particularly nasty condition can develop in the oceans, known as anoxia. Since the polar regions warm more than the equator, the temperature difference between latitudes decreases. As global ocean circulation is driven by this temperature difference, ocean currents weaken significantly and the water becomes relatively stagnant. Without ocean turnover, oxygen doesn’t get mixed in – and it doesn’t help that warmer water can hold less oxygen to begin with. As a result of this oxygen depletion, bacteria in the ocean begins to produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) instead. That’s what makes rotten eggs smell bad, and it’s actually poisonous in large enough quantities. So if an organism wasn’t killed off by abrupt global warming, and was able to survive without much oxygen in the ocean (or didn’t live in the ocean at all), it would probably soon be poisoned by the hydrogen sulfide being formed in the oceans and eventually released into the atmosphere. Extinction and Climate
That can't be good, can it?
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Fly ... er ... float like the wind.

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First deployment of a commercial semi-submersible floating platform
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Friday, February 4, 2011

100% renewable energy in Europe [& America] by 2050

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Now we're talkin!
Once upon a time, long ago, some people had a wonderful dream, of a Europe [& America] running on green, renewable energy. However, there seemed to be no way of doing this, so they were mostly dismissed as idealists and hippies.
However, many years later in 2011, renewable energy technologies had developed so much and become such a normal part of life that a 100% renewable energy economy was considered an economically and technologically realistic vision for Europe [& America] in 2050 [if not sooner] and supported by 200 companies.
The case for 100% renewables is plain. In July 2009, the G8 leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% before 2050. The EU countries have already unilaterally agreed to cut emissions by 80% in 2050 and by 95% if other countries sign up to similar action. Given that transport and agriculture will still produce emissions the power sector will need to be 100% carbon free.
Supporting 100% renewable energy in 2050

Past time for all patriotic red-blooded Americans to sign a Declaration of sustainable prosperity, employment & technological leadership:
The answers to today’s challenges do not lie beyond our reach – they lie in the palm of our hands. By promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, we will be able to tackle both security of energy supply and climate change, while at the same time creating a future-oriented sustainable economy with high-quality green jobs.
The availability of renewable energy sources is vast enough to meet our energy needs many times over, while respecting ecological limits and social justice. In one day, the sunlight which reaches the earth produces enough energy to meet the current global power needs for eight years.[2] Numerous studies demonstrate the technical and economic scope of the EU’s energy efficiency and renewable energy potential: 100% renewable energy is entirely feasible in 2050 if the right measures are taken today!