Thursday, June 29, 2006

More for the masses

Coincidentally, another article about Stan Ovshinsky -

*ignore the word "Scientest"

"Mrs. Ovshinsky said, 'He was so cute. President Bush said, 'I'm not a scientist, I'm a history major.' Then Stan said, 'let's make history together.' It was very positive.' "


Really want to keep this article around... names specific companies dedicated to the production of cheap, clean energy. Also puts it in a Wall Street mindframe (and we all know that $$$ is the bottom line... don't fool yourself)


So close to home! Yet another reason to visit Santa Monica -

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

GREAT general environmental article

Glad this didn't miss my radar (ie Google News Alerts),,2099-2208385,00.html

To summarize: basically, we're at a critical point with our environment (how many times can we hear that before something is done?). There are two ways of thinking: Sandal-style (biomass, wind, solar) and Nuke (technology to save us from our technology). A few great excerpts:

"We have to act soon, we have to think big and we have to work together. Humans are bad at all of those things, especially the last. And the window of opportunity is closing very quickly indeed. We probably have less than a decade to get it right. What, then, must we do?"

"Now we chuck a mountain into the air every year. If we solidified the 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide (over 6 billion tons of pure carbon) produced by humans annually, it would make a mountain a mile high and 12 miles in circumference. As a result, the Earth’s atmosphere now contains about 380 parts per million of carbon, compared with about 280 parts, which seems to have been the default setting that made our existence possible."

"Perhaps it would be even better simply to take the carbon dioxide straight out of the air. This is the idea of Klaus S Lackner of the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University in New York. He has worked out that carbon can simply be filtered out of the air with remarkable efficiency. He reckons an area of 2 square feet would be enough to capture the carbon emitted by one American in a year: about 25 tons. (The world average emission per individual is 1 ton.)"

^^^ I predict this will become more popular and far more necessary as we continue to do what we do to this planet.

"Nuclear’s reputation as a dangerous power source is also undeserved. Since Chernobyl, around the world there have been thousands of reactor-years run without a serious incident. Furthermore, new “pebble bed” reactors that use graphite instead of water to control reactions are even safer. These are now being pioneered in, among other places, China. Finally, we should have fusion power available within about 40 years. This is absolutely safe nuclear power because, as the fusion scientist Miklos Porkolab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) proudly points out, if it goes wrong it doesn’t melt down, it just quietly cools down."

“agriculture is the greatest rapist of nature”

And what happens if none of this is embraced? Last resort strategies:

"Persuading the airlines to put sodium in their fuel might have a comparable effect. It would release particles into the atmosphere that would rise to form a high-level haze that also might help to block sunlight. Some have suggested that the same effect could be achieved by blasting sodium shells into the air from naval guns or floating it into the upper atmosphere with high-level balloons."

"Even more ambitious would be stopping the sunlight before it gets here. One suggestion is that we fly a spacecraft to the Lagrangian point between the Earth and the sun. This is the point at which the gravity of the two bodies is cancelled out. An object left there simply does not move. The craft would unfurl a huge curtain of fine mesh that would block a small percentage of sunlight, not enough for us to notice but enough to offset global warming for perhaps a decade."

"Finally, if all else fails, we could construct huge nuclear weapons to be exploded inside Earth’s orbit and which would blast us further away from the sun. This has seriously been discussed, but is generally regarded as a touch risky."

How about we just shrink our carbon footprint so we don't have to blow ourselves out of orbit, ok???

And, because this is so long, I'll reward you with a picture... an 500KM/H train that rides on magnets. These are currently running in China FYI


A great start!

These little H2 trucks are great! Used in airports and other large sites, these are a great way to test and promote hydrogen energy sources. Get yourself a few of these, an electrolyzer (creates hydrogen from water... have you been paying attention) and you have a low-cost replacement for electric or diesel-powered vehicles.

"The hydrogen for all the installations is supplied by an electrolyser in a central location from renewable energy. As the refuelling solution is an EU Certified product and the employees do not have to handle the hydrogen itself. The innovative metal hydride canister design and unique filling station means the training required is minimal and operation simple."

And they're using the hydride storage which is awesome! Metal hydrides are the safest way to store hydrogen but they have not quite been perfected yet. Using them in real-world applications on a constant basis is an excellent way to test and perfect them.