... TGIF has nothing to do with what I'm posting but I figured anyone who reads this would certainly agree.
"How do you get people excited about hydrogen? It's not like basketball. People don't clamor for it."
Half quick-bio, half speech, this article talks about California's "assistant secretary for hydrogen and alternative fuel policy" (a job I hope to maybe have one day), Shannon-Baxter Clemmons and her thoughts on California's Hydrogen Highway (among other subjects). It's a quick read but I love it because Shannon is the kind of person who makes me want to be a part of this industry. She seems (on paper) smart (doctorate in Chem E? hello?), down-to-earth and realistic.
Across corporations, hydrogen technology seems to have found some of the best people out there just by virtue of it being a complex technology involving some serious social and environmental issues. A technology that requires an elevated level of intelligence and awareness should have the power to root out the people it needs to succeed... if, in fact, it is destined to succeed. Which is part of the reason why I'M seeking IT out; there is a certain feeling of validation that comes from joining the ranks of a group you truly admire and are inspired by. Anyone I have met in the hydrogen fuel cell industry has been kind, ready to talk, bright and optimistic about the future. Though I have been described as "rude," "distant," "dim-witted" and "overtly negative" by some, when it comes to hydrogen, I'm all sunshine and rainbows!
That Golfer Is Furious!
Friday, May 12, 2006
... TGIF has nothing to do with what I'm posting but I figured anyone who reads this would certainly agree.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
"A recent book by Yale University titled 'Americans and Climate Change' called global warming 'the perfect problem,' meaning that it is nearly impossible to solve and is clouded with enough uncertainty to likely cause continued discussion rather than action. "
And that is exactly what we're seeing happen right now. Let's quit talking and do SOMETHING!
My mom went to the Caribbean a while ago and told me about a storm warning they had. Alarms went off, everyone evacuated the beaches and went to high ground. The "tsunami" ended up being a five-foot swell and everything was ok. The locals said this happens all the time but people still take it seriously.
If we all start being more cautious about our energy use and, in 100 years, it turns out that the "7 billion tons of carbon per year" we dump into the Earth's atmosphere annually (just try to conceptualize that amount...15,432,358,352,941 [that's trillions] pounds, 493 million new GTIs, 870,100 Eiffel Towers, 19,170 Empire State buildings... in the air... every year) means nothing then so be it. We all spent less money, drilled for less oil and became conscious about our consumption (which has positive impacts on other aspects of our lives).
But if we do nothing and this science turns out correct, we're going to look pretty foolish.
"In other words, we simply cannot continue to use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for industrial output."
Amen to that!
"Ballard Power Systems will look to hire new staff to add depth in coming years on its road to the commercial development of fuel cells for cars, CEO John Sheridan said Wednesday. "
"Ballard has committed to offering commercially viable fuel cell technology for hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010 and expects commercial production of fuel cell cars by the major automakers in the years following that. "
I could be Canadian... hey, I am already an honorary Canadian (thanks Chad!), that should make immigration much easier. I actually met a few of the folks who work for this company at a National Hydrogen Association conference in Orange County a little while ago. They had one of the bigger booths and have been around for a while (which clearly screams "SUCCESS!").
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"It is what it is. This verbal shrugging-off was examined here recently as an example of the use of repetition not for emphasis but for evasion. I called it a tautophrase, a coinage bottomed on tautology, from the Greek for 'redundant.'
"Readers are readers. Members of the Squad Squad stopped referring back to 'free gifts' long enough to challenge my facts about the current plethora of pleonasm, their mock outrage often expressed with facts are facts!"
Fun little editorticle on skillfull use of redundant phrases that create their own meaning.
geek @ <3
"Hansen says his research shows that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message."
Clearly, this man is preaching to the choir in my case.
"I find a willingness to listen only to those portions of scientific results that fit predetermined inflexible positions. This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster" (speaking about the current administration).
So why is the White House trying to censor this message to the people? I can only give my sorta-educated opinion and here it is.
It would be easy to draw the boring connection between global warming, SUVs and oil companies. Bush supports oil companies who benefit from people driving less efficient vehicles, Big Scary Oil makes more money and we all lose except the rich who, inevitably, get richer. This, however, just doesn't jive well with me.
I think, when you're in a relatively short-term position of power, you have to do a lot to make yourself credible. Four or eight years is a significant portion of someone's life but not necessarily long enough to establish that you are the best man for the job, your ideas are superior to everything before and after them and implement what you feel is necessary to realize these ideas. If you can, however, draw on your political party's success (or appearance of success or spin to look like success) in the past few decades, you're sitting in a much better position.
Climate change and global warming has been happening since dirty little human being have been burning things willy-nilly. Only recently has there been any sort of large-scale consciousness regarding what harm we might be doing. Conservatives, over the years, have told us everything from "there is no global warming" (Google "global warming is a hoax") to "it's really nothing to worry about." What would happen if they did an about-face on this particular standpoint and said "Look, we're sorry, we were wrong, we've made some bad choices we're not proud of, let's do something different tomorrow." Plain and simple, this is going to look bad.
Now, I wouldn't go so far as to think letting the Earth go to sh*t is some right-wing agenda to save face but I wonder if maybe the change in policy is happening as slowly as the climate change so as to make it seem undetectable. Maybe the information is censored to the public because there is little belief that the public will do anything different. So, given the information they have, the government takes a middle-road strategy by muting tough science but also slowly raising the EPA fuel efficiency requirements, granting money to alternative fuels and adopting greener practices within the administration itself.
"The Bush administration doesn't deny global warming or that man plays a role. The administration is spending billions of dollars on climate research. Hansen gives the White House credit for research but says what's urgent now is action"
As you can see, the government wants to know what is going on and does not admit that there is no problem. It seems like, for whatever reason, that quick and decisive action, when not in wartime, is unwanted and therefore avoided. No one likes a someone in a position of authority to quickly change their mind and then act on that new position. If a new stand is to be taken, it appears like "slow and steady wins the race."
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Great quote out of an editorial for the Washington post (posted but the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette [what?]):
"The worst kind of policy actually smothers price signals. Both President Bush and Congress are promising to rescue consumers from $3 gasoline - by investigating companies for alleged price gouging, by sending out $100 checks as though government were some kind of fairy godmother, or by suspending the tax on gasoline or shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Encouraging consumers to believe that they will be protected from high gas prices only discourages them from adapting."
Could not have said that last sentence better if I tried. Here, I'll try:
"Consumers who are led to believe that they are protected from..." See, it's just going to end up the same. Plagiarist...
"Another kind of error is to underestimate the environmental dimension of the energy crisis. In a recent speech, Bush repeated that oil purchases fill the coffers of governments that threaten U.S. interests. If this were the only danger posed by oil, then drilling in friendlier territories might address it – and oil companies are doing that. But oil is also dangerous because of global warming."
Just keep in mind that the concept of tons of CO2 and other emissions affecting the planet is a fact and not just some liberal hooey.
"Bush’s idea of action is flawed. He touts government investments in alternative energies: electric cars, hydrogen cars, ethanol that’s made from waste products or grass. This approach assumes that government knows which technologies are worth backing... It neglects the fact that government research into alternative energy is engaged in an arms race with private research into oil extraction. The president’s budget proposes $150 million next year for ethanol research, but private investment in new technology for extracting hydrocarbons comes to about $18 billion annually. To boost less carbon-intensive fuels, Bush needs to focus less on how the government spends its small research budget and more on how companies spend their enormous ones."
Great point.... never thought about it like that at all.
"Nobody is going to advocate a carbon tax that would push fuel prices higher than they are already. But it would make sense to adopt a sliding-scale tax that would kick in when oil prices fell below a certain level."
Makes sense to me... so we're all dealing with $3 gas right now (I'm dealing with $3.69 because of my picky krautrocket... low-grade is around $3.45 though), what if we had a tax that kept gas at, say, $2.50 a gallon? This is, of course, assuming that the current prices are going to fall (they are going to, right?). Each area would have a different price level and once you drop below that level, the tax kicks in. We use the tax solely to upgrade our economy and infrastructure to accept new fuel types. Start getting tough on fuel efficiency standards in the automotive industry and set lofty goals with public transportation (biodiesel, hydrogen, E85, etc).
Blech... optimism :)
Monday, May 08, 2006
GM's take on the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles:
About five years ago, I read a Wired article about fuel cells that blew my mind and set the course for the rest of my life. If I could find it I would post it, mostly because I like ot go back and read it every now and then. Regardless, after about a year+ of part-time school, I decided now was the time to act and sent my resume tout suite to General Motors. Imagine being the HR employee receiving a fairly good resume from somone with next to no education wanting to work in the most confidential and experimental department you have. Yeah right. Needless to say, according to the quarter-page letter I received, my resume is "on file." I have one of those files too!
Here's a great, detailed description on how these fuel cells work... take a look:
Note to self - listen to this again (Thanks B. Huff!)
Wow, two posts in one blog! This marks a personal record... should I celebrate?
Appropriate first article post:
OSU opens the first hydrogen filling station in Ohio state, 15th in the country. Associate professor of mechanical engineering says:
"The time is much shorter than the general public is willing to acknowledge. Transferring to new fuel and transportation technologies takes decades and we probably don't have that luxury before we'll start feeling the pinch," [Yan] Guezennec said.
Isn't it nice when officially smart people agree with you?
What I like about his quote is that, though it calls to the front a sense of urgency that is certainly needed, it does not spark the debate about running out of oil. He/she merely mentions that our time is running short - read politically, environmentally, financially, etc. I have my own feelings about an "impending oil shortage" based on common sense and the little scientific knowledge that I have. In my opinion, however, I do not feel that we need to base a a shift in energy consumption based on whether or not we can sustain what we're doing for how long. With 800+ million vehicles in the world (as per General Motors) spewing out an average of 10K pounds of material each year, we certainly will reach an air quality threshold at some point in time, do we need to wait until it is a crisis before we act? Judging by events gone past, I guess we do:
Another Josh project... something I'm certain will change my life but never gets off the ground. This marks the third attempt at a blog and certainly the most successful one (I am posting, right?).
My inspiration for the sudden jolt of self-education:
"We have carefully reviewed your records and regret that we cannot offer you admission to the University of California, San Diego. The selection process was very difficult this year as we had an excellent pool of competitive applicants. You will receive an official notification shortly. "
Meh... they don't want me but SDSU does and I know when I'm not wanted (don't cry old boy...)
Life complaints, relationship woes, traffic rants and self-esteem hurdles will not be included in this blog... that's what the last two were for and I found myself never wanting to log on and write about it (go figure).
Creating a personal storage repository for hydrogen articles, science information, book ideas and general ramblings is my intention, hence the auspicious name "hydrojosh" (after my desire to work in the hydrogen fuel industry).
Anyone who wants to know more about where my life is headed (professionally) or wants to know more about the most important technology being worked on currently is welcome to read, comment and pass the link along to anyone else who fits the description.
Onward and forward towards success and world domination... I mean world SALvation!