Categories
energy sustainability we know nothing

Unsustainable Energy Trends

Pretty interesting article.

Unsustainable Energy Trends
By Byron King
I’ve been getting a lot of calls and e-mails from people asking about the falling prices for oil in recent weeks. The immediate explanation is that world economic activity is decelerating. Demand is falling. OPEC announced cuts in output. But the markets still believe that economic decline will trump the ability of OPEC to prop up the price of oil. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Just over the horizon, things are about to become dicey. This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) will release a new report on the future of world energy. In its World Energy Outlook, the IEA will state categorically that “Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable.”
There’s not much wiggle room in that statement. According to the IEA, despite the recent fall in oil prices, the medium- and long-term outlooks for energy supply are grim. Conventional oil output is destined to decline. Demand will still grow, however, especially in the developing world. And the twain shall only meet by prices rising to clear the market. “It is,” as our Arab friends like to say, “written.”

Categories
energy Environment Existensis fuck yes! sustainability

Renewable trees and rational thought.

Can Electricity From Trees Power Gadgets?
A new sensor system is under development that runs on electricity generated by ordinary trees! Apparently trees are capable of self-sustaining a reliable source of electricity. While a tree may not seem like much of a powerhouse, the “trickle charge” can add up, “just like a dripping faucet can fill a bucket over time,” said Shuguang Zhang, one of the researchers on the project and the associate director of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBE).
MIT researchers now believe they can power a network of sensors connected directly to trees to perform a variety of tasks.
Trees could serve as “silent sentinels” along the nation’s borders to detect potential threats such as smuggled radioactive materials—with the sensors powered by the trees themselves. They could also prevent forest fires, among other applications, by sending early reports to the authorities.
Right now, the U.S. Forest Service says that manually recharging or replacing batteries in remote automated weather stations, which usually have to be located in hard-to-reach places, makes things impractical and costly. The new sensor system would bypass this problem by tapping into trees as it’s very own self-sustaining power supply. Each sensor is equipped with an off-the-shelf battery that can be slowly recharged using electricity generated by the tree itself.
The system produces enough electricity to allow the temperature and humidity sensors to wirelessly transmit signals four times a day, or immediately if there’s a fire. Each signal hops from one sensor to another, until it reaches an existing weather station that beams the data by satellite to a forestry command center in Boise, Idaho.
Scientists have long known that trees can produce extremely small amounts of electricity. Yet no one knew exactly how the energy was produced or how to take advantage of their capacity to generate power. So, how does it work?
MIT colleagues recently reported the answer in the Public Library of Science ONE. “It’s really a fairly simple phenomenon: An imbalance in pH between a tree and the soil it grows in,” said Andreas Mershin, a postdoctoral associate at the CBE.
To solve the puzzle of where the voltage comes from, the team had to test a number of exotic theories using a slew of experiments that proved, among other things, that the electricity was not due to a simple electrochemical redox reaction (the type that powers the ‘potato batteries’ common in high school science labs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_battery). The team also ruled out the source as due to coupling to underground power lines, radio waves or other electromagnetic interference.
Testing of the wireless sensor network, which is being developed by Voltree Power (http://voltreepower.com), is slated to begin in the spring on a 10-acre plot of land provided by the Forest Service.
According to first author of the paper, Christopher J. Love, the bioenergy harvester battery charger module and sensors are ready. “We expect that we’ll need to instrument four trees per acre,” he said, noting that the system is designed for easy installation by unskilled workers.
“Right now we’re finalizing exactly how the wireless sensor network will be configured to use the minimum amount of power,” he concluded.

Categories
cash and poverty energy Existensis shananapocalypse

The New – New World Order

Suddenly the United States is becoming a socialized capitalist consumer society.

We are entering a new and unsettling phase in the relationship between government and business, one that neither sector particularly wants but cannot avoid. One result is that the line between public and private interests increasingly is being blurred so much as to become unrecognizable.
Nowhere is that more obvious that at Fannie and Freddie, two massive enterprises that combined their government-sponsored creation and backing with publicly traded stock. Fannie and Freddie were perfect fodder for the sort of mischief that privatizes gains while socializing losses.
That’s what happened at Freddie and Fannie, which used their below-market cost of credit as much to reward shareholders as to fulfill their mission in providing secondary market liquidity to encourage homeownership. Meanwhile, the companies effectively lobbied Congress to keep their capital requirements lower than they should have been.
The federal takeover of Fannie and Freddie, which combined own or guarantee roughly half of the nation’s $11 trillion in mortgages, marks the biggest government intervention in financial markets in decades — arguably since the Great Depression. The ultimate cost of bailing out Freddie and Fannie alone could easily top the roughly $125 billion spent in the late 1980s and early 1990s seizing failed savings and loans and selling off their assets.

You may ask, Is it time to murder my neighbor and steal his canned goods?
That’s probably a little premature, unless he’s wondering the same thing, and is planning on murdering you. In that case you’re probably justified in murdering him a little bit, or at least sleeping in the nook behind your bedroom door with a loaded crossbow cradled in your lap. (stolen from Cracked.com)

China has apparently been issued the first foreign oil contracts in post war Iraq. Isn’t that surprising given that the United States has spent trillions there? Not surprising when you consider that China is now the first world power on the planet.

On August 23, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Al Shahristani flew out of Iraq and headed for China. Five days later, he signed a $3b contract with the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The agreement revived an earlier deal signed in 1997 for the development of the Ahdab field, located 160 kilometres southeast of Baghdad.
Contrary to post-invasion predictions, the first foreign contract for the development of an Iraqi oil field has not gone to a western oil major. In fact, the deal with a Chinese company has signalled that Iraq might have begun to strongly resist western oil interests, seeking a free run over its mammoth energy resources. The jury is now out on whether the deal with China will set a precedent that will derail the American oil project in Iraq.

And apparently, the end of the world has been put on hold until a transformer is repaired…of course, as I mentioned before, it will not be a sudden and violent end, it is more an end to the empirical and rationalist world views of the enlightenment.
Here is a question for you, who do you think lost more
1) the folks that were primary stockholders in mortgage banks that allowed predatory lending practices to drive the value of their stocks artificially high or
2) these folks in Wai’anae

Categories
Anthropology energy Environment Existensis other worlds sustainability

Trash is cash and other stories of not wasting.

Think space exploration isn’t worthwhile? Wondering what we will use for energy when the oil is all gone? Are you disgusted by all the garbage our society produces? Check out this juxtaposition of the three seemingly unrelated ideas…

Calgary-based AlterNRG’s plasma gasification technology uses a process developed for NASA to superheat landfill garbage and convert it into a highly energized gas, which can then be used to produce electricity.
Plasma gasification can be applied to almost any waste now put in landfills, and it produces fewer carbon emissions than standard power plants that burn coal or natural gas.
The process involves plasma torches capable of producing temperatures of 5,400 degrees.
It was initially developed by Westinghouse to help NASA test spacecraft at the intense heat of atmosphere re-entry, said Alex Damnjanovic, an AlterNRG vice president.
Two commercial plants using the process are operational in Japan.

Ask yourself why this isn’t something that the presidential candidates in the U.S. are talking about? Or consider U.S. energy use:
*5 percent of the world’s population, consumes 25 percent of the world’s energy.
*Transportation sector uses 70 percent of petroleum used for fuel and emits 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.
*Buildings account for 36 percent of emissions.

“The bottom line is that the quickest way to do something about America’s use of energy is through energy efficiency,” said Burton Richter, the chairman of the study panel and a 1976 Nobel Prize winner in physics. “Energy that you don’t use is free. It’s not imported and it doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases. Most of the things we recommend don’t cost anything to the economy. The economy will save money.”
The projected growth of energy use in buildings — 30 percent by 2030 — could be cut to zero using existing technology and what’s likely to become available in the next decade at the current level of research and development.
On transportation, the key is in more federal government investment in developing cheaper and more reliable batteries for electric cars.
“If you look at magically converting the whole fleet to plug-in hybrids” that get 40 miles per charge, greenhouse gases would be reduced by 33 percent and gasoline use by 60 percent, Richter said.
That would be the equivalent of cutting oil imports by 6 million barrels a day, Richter said. That’s the amount the U.S. imports from OPEC (largely from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Nigeria), out of a total of about 13.5 million barrels imported a day from all countries.
“So if you’re looking at energy security issues, which is government’s business, if you’re looking at the overall economy, which also ought to be government’s business, to spend a bit more on research and development to hasten the day when you’re going to get all these benefits is a good thing to do,” Richter said.

Very interesting, right? As oppossed to ‘lets ease environmental standards’ or ‘lets get more oil from Iraq’, etc. What about global population?

Some 6.7 billion people live on planet Earth today and close to 3 billion more may be in the mix by 2050. Given those staggering numbers, it’s easy to assume surging human population is the real root of the world’s evils, from global warming to poverty, starvation to habitat loss. Not so fast. Three recent books by renowned experts on the subject paint a far more complex portrait of the world’s population and what it portends. It’s by turns dire and hopeful


Salon.com posted a very interesting discussion on this subject with three of the world’s foremost experts.
Of course there are other problems, but are they real? Daniel Tarker explores this phenomenon on his blog. Here is one excerpt of this excellent post:

Today we have one of the most robust ideological state apparatuses in the world with our vast web of media outlets. Turn on your television and you’ll find several hundred cable channels eager to shape how you think about the world. (I’m using the word “think” loosely here since an active brain seems to be the antithesis of what television producers want to inspire.) Yet, I won’t just pick on TV here…that would be too easy, too overdone, too, well, TV…newspapers, magazines, radio, and even the Internet are all part of this ideological apparatus.

There is certainly no denying that the rise in food prices worldwide is creating problems though.

Rising food prices are partly to blame for adding 75 million more people to the ranks of the world’s hungry in 2007 and lifting the global figure to roughly 925 million, the U.N.’s food agency said on Wednesday.

Water is also an issue in many places, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be.

Brad Lancaster is the author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.
As Lancaster explains, harvesting rainwater means to “capture the rain as close as possible to where it falls, and then to use it as close as possible to where it falls.”
The easiest method is to use the soil to capture the rainwater. “You create these bowl-like shapes in the landscape that collect water. You mulch the surface and plant them so the water quickly infiltrates, and then the plants become your living pumps.”
“So you then utilize that water in the form of a peach, a pomegranate, an apple, wildlife habitat and beauty,” Lancaster tells Renee Montagne.
A second, better-known version of rainwater harvesting is collecting rainwater from a roof in a tank, or a cistern.
The third example is harvesting wastewater, also known as graywater, from household drains, including showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks and washing machines. (Other drains — such as the toilet, kitchen sink and dishwasher — are high in organic mater, such as food or bacteria, and are not suitable for reuse.)
Household wastewater is “an excellent source of rainwater that we can reuse to passively irrigate our landscapes in times of no rain,” Lancaster says.
Lancaster says that 30 percent to 50 percent of potable water consumed by the average single-family home is used for landscaping. But nearly all of the irrigation water needs can be met just with rainwater and graywater, he says.
Rainwater harvesting can be useful even in areas that are not affected by drought, helping reduce flooding downstream, for example, Lancaster says.

Perhaps though, you are wondering where the pictures in this posting came from, here is the story from the Daily Mail:

For five happy years they enjoyed simple lives in their straw and mud huts.
Generating their own power and growing their own food, they strived for self-sufficiency and thrived in homes that looked more suited to the hobbits from The Lord of the Rings.
Then a survey plane chanced upon the ‘lost tribe’… and they were plunged into a decade-long battle with officialdom.
Yesterday that fight, backed by more modern support for green issues, ended in victory.
The eco-community in the Preseli mountains of west Wales was set up in 1993 and lived contentedly away from the rat race round a 180-acre farm bought by Julian and Emma Orbach.
In 1998, it was spotted when sunlight was seen glinting off a solar panel on the main building, which was built from straw bales, timber and recycled glass.
When the pilot reported back, officials were unable to find any records, let alone planning permission, for the mystery hillside village surrounded by trees and bushes.
They insisted the grass-covered buildings should be demolished.
The eco-community endured a decade of inquiries, court cases and planning hearings.
The 22 villagers fought planners even when they were within hours of the bulldozers moving in to demolish their eight homes.
Now, however, they can celebrate, thanks to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s ‘sustainability’ policy.
With green issues now getting a more sympathetic hearing, the commune has been given planning approval for its roundhouses along with lavatories, agricultural buildings and workshops.
Community founder Emma Orbach, a 52-year-old mother of three, said yesterday: ‘We are really excited and happy as it has been a very long battle.
‘Even when planning inquiries and court hearings went against us we were determined to fight on.
‘The villagers are pioneering a new lifestyle and are determined to prove it’s possible for people to live more simply.’
Tony Wrench, 62, who lives in the original roundhouse with his partner Jane, said: ‘We are very relieved and delighted.
‘We have been able to prove to the planners that it is possible to have a sustainable and low-impact community in the countryside.
The original 180-acre farm was divided up into the area around the farm, a section around the original roundhouse known as Tir Ysbrydol (Spirit Land) where Mrs Orbach lives, and 80 acres of pasture and woodland run by a community known as Brithdir Mawr.
Each community is independent and they co-exist as neighbours in a more traditional style.
Brithdir Mawr continues to support sustainable living based around the original farmhouse, with eight adults and four children sharing communal meals, looking after goats, horses and chickens – and also holding down part-time jobs to raise the £200 per month rent they each pay Mr Orbach, who lives in a house in nearby Newport.
The current residents now run businesses such as courses in furniture making and sustainable living for around £95 a head.


Maybe you didn’t expect this post to end on a hopeful note, but there it is. We can change our reality and it is changing all around us all the time.

Categories
energy Existensis Technology

The Casimir Effect

Are you sure you understand what makes reality real? Check this out and ask yourself again.

DARPA seeks sticky-goldenballs Casimir forcefields

Rogue Pentagon boffinry overlords have decided to weigh into a hot new crazy-science field: That of the mysterious Casimir Force, the tendency of nanoscopic, barely perceptible spacetime ripples – lapping at the edges of the “quantum vacuum” in which all matter exists – to push things together.
Casimir stickiness, at present, is so imperceptible and tiny that it can be detected only by the use of special microdetection apparatus featuring solid golden balls. Nonetheless it genuinely exists. Indeed some boffins have previously speculated that one might – by the use of a cunningly crafted sheet of nanofabbed “left-handed metamaterial” – reverse the effect, fashioning a Casimir repellor platform and so causing objects to levitate on “literally, nothing”. This would be achieved using the fabled, perhaps infinite, potentially universe-imploding “zero point energy” which has been widely speculated upon.
But the possibly goldenballs-powered hover ship – or even the more realistic unbelievably-thin-bacofoil frictionless ice-rink solution – has remained in the realm of theoretical conceit thus far, for lack of backing.
Now, however, that has changed. Legendary US bonkers-boffinry bureau DARPA* has decided to fund research into manipulating or reversing the Casimir effect. It’s possible to theorise that the DARPA chieftains’ interest has been piqued by the implicit possibilities for levitating bakeware, which would be so useful for the agency’s known nutritional requirements.
However it has come about, DARPA has issued a request for proposals, in which it is said:

The goal of this program is to develop new methods to control and manipulate attractive and repulsive forces at surfaces based on engineering of the Casimir Force. One could leverage this ability to control phenomena such as adhesion in nanodevices, drag on vehicles and many other interactions of interest…

Curiously, DARPA seem not to rate the proven goldenballs route toward generating and measuring Casimir effects. Rather, they suggest:
Possible approaches … could include the development of composite materials, engineered nanostructures, mixed-phase materials, or active elements.
Having developed the necessary nano-wrangled metamaterial tools with which to handle and shape the strange currents of the quantum vacuum and the zero point, it will be time to start serious work.
DARPA will explore the launch of a follow-on program to utilize these capabilities in one or more specific devices of practical importance.
Sadly it appears that the levitating sky-galleon or nothingness-repellor drive spaceship will not be an early application of the new technology, which seems fairly certain to work only at the nano scale to begin with. More plausibly, we might expect to see improvements in so-called Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) – nanobotic devices, to you and me.
Such machinery is expected to offer a host of benefits, not least the ability to seize control of living creatures from within, allowing soulless mechanoid intelligences to wear their hapless, cored victims like fleshy cloaks.
And that’s just one of the ways in which this sort of research could make our lives better, before we even get to the sky-blackening aerial battleship fleets or hovering dessert choices of tomorrow. Truly a day for rejoicing.
* The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency

More on Casimir Effect

Categories
Anthropology energy Environment Politics shananapocalypse

Germans invade Alaska

The implications of this story are staggering…consider these factors:
1) Northwest Passage is no longer mythical
2) National Defense especially with things heating up with Russia
3) Global Warming
4) Economic development, transportation, and new centers of importance
Okay, now read the story:

BARROW — It’s not that easy for hundreds of outsiders to suddenly sneak up on Barrow, considering how the northernmost town in the United States has neither a port nor a road to help them get here. Newcomers pretty much have to arrive on a big noisy plane.
Which is why nearly everyone in this historic Inupiat community was surprised last fall when they woke up to find about 400 German tourists walking around town. How the heck did they get here?
The answer?
They sailed from Europe to Barrow the short way — via the suddenly ice-free Canadian Arctic — after the fabled Northwest Passage opened completely last summer for the first time in recorded history.
“Yes, that was a surprise,” North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta said Thursday, standing on the Barrow airport tarmac.
But not just for the townspeople. Commanders with the U.S. Coast Guard stationed far to the south in Juneau and Kodiak were surprised as well.
“They said, ‘What Germans? What cruise ships?’ ” Itta recalled with a laugh. “And I said, ‘They’re here.’ ”
Nowadays, the Coast Guard is here too — responding to mounting evidence that the Arctic is becoming more navigable each summer by extending regular patrols into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas for the first time ever.
For now, it’s still an experimental effort, Rear Adm. Gene Brooks, the commander of Coast Guard operations in Alaska, the North Pacific and the Arctic, said to members of the media — who’d just stepped off a Coast Guard C-130 cargo transport plane in Barrow to observe the new effort firsthand.
The mission right now is to secure the coast, assist in rescue operations, inspect evidence of coastal erosion due to climate change — like the devastation at Kivalina — and track the ice pack, Brooks said.
Assisting in that effort are occasional trips by the C-130 crew, based in Kodiak, and the USCG Cutter Healy, a relatively small ice-breaker, which can interrupt its Arctic research for the National Science Foundation to respond to emergencies.
Two smaller boats are also patrolling the Arctic coast, Brooks said. And about 36 Coast Guard personnel are temporarily stationed in Barrow, including two helicopter crews.
Will a base there become permanent? It could if the Arctic ice pack continues to retreat and more foreign vessels pay surprise visits on Barrow, Brooks said — recalling the words of his boss, Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“He said, ‘You know, I’m agnostic on the science, and I’m agnostic on the politics. All I know is there is more water up here than ever. And I have to provide marine safety and marine security to that water.’ ”
“Welcome to the top of the world,” Itta said, beaming.
APPRECIATION IN THE NORTH
Later, the mayor noted that Coast Guard assistance in search and rescue operations in the Arctic will be thoroughly appreciated. Until now, the North Slope Borough could only count on itself when someone went missing north of the Brooks Range.
“We’re it,” Itta said, “and we only have one helicopter crew.”
That’s begun to change.
In just the last week, Coast Guard crews were called in to assist in two emergencies — first when a 13-year-old boy dove into stormy waters in the Beaufort Sea near Kaktovik in an effort to save his dad, who’d fallen overboard. Both father and son disappeared. The Coast Guard searched for the pair for three days, until their bodies were eventually recovered.
The Coast Guard received a second call mid-week when three seismic vessels under contract to an oil company got stuck in the shifting ice pack about 50 miles northwest of Barrow. The Healy was on its way, but the wind shifted again and the vessels were able to free themselves.
More incidents like those are probably inevitable, Itta said. And more visits by foreign eco-tourist groups from Europe and Canada are expected too, considering the Northwest Passage is due to open again this month.
“We need traffic cops here for our oceans,” Itta said. “And we’re looking at them now — the Coast Guard. We welcome their presence.”

Categories
cash and poverty energy Food and Booze other worlds space

Al Gore and Titan Gas, Guerrila Gardening, Dead Priests and Lummis, Big Mac Index, Flexitarians, and our lack of privacy

First of all, the rumours that Al Gore has placed his infant child in a rocket and sent it to space are true. Gor-al has sent his son to another world.

On a slightly more scientific note, is recent evidence that says Jupiter’s moon Titan, is covered with oceans of petroleum. Damn, I bought property on the wrong moon.
While we talk about space, look at the Monkey from Mars.

From monkeys to Guerillas…I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged here about Guerilla Gardening before. Here is a little more on it. My friends C and Hunter have started to build permaculture gardens in the wasting dirt areas of parking lots here in Hawaii.

Flower power sums it up exactly. War, like gardening, is about destruction as a means to creating a better civilization. Guerrilla gardeners fight neglected land, fight the scarcity of land and fight the pests in their way. But of course using garden tools and flowers means our approach does not draw blood. Frankly, people who see gardening as something devoid of anything warlike are not in my experience serious gardeners but whimsical dreamers, the type of people who feel guilty pulling up weeds and foolishly imagine the best kind of garden is one in which humans have an absolutely minimal role — the wilderness, for example.

And then there is poor John McCain. His wife is a large shareholder in the now Belgian owned Anheuser-Bush beer company. Turns out the company’s Belgain side has been selling beer to Cuba for a long time, will they stop to keep McCain from eating his words about a Cuban Embargo or will he change his stance so that Cindy doesn’t have to sell her beer shares? Time will tell.

McCain’s wife, Cindy, owns the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country — which means she would stand to profit by partnering with a company that is in business with the Cuban government.
McCain is a staunch advocate of the embargo, which bars most American companies from doing business in Cuba.

In the sad and bizarre death departments we have two entries today.

1.The corpse of Father Adelir Antonio de Carli was spotted by a tugboat at sea near the city of Macae, three months after he disappeared while flying a contraption buoyed by balloons over the Atlantic Ocean in a fund-raising stu
and
2. An autopsy showed that a woman who was found dead near a burning boat on a Lummi Reservation road near Bellingham, Washington was dead before the fire started.She was badly burned in the July 24 fire and the body was found by firefighters.
I used to date a Lummi girl and I hope it wasn’t her. I also used to work in a bar that was primarily filled with Lummi Indians and ex-military bikers. Fun place. I broke up 3 fights in the first night I was bartending there, after that it got better. In any event, strange things happen on the res, that is for certain.
On to economics and diet…
First, the big mac index:

Want to try to understand the complicated world of exchange rates? Look no further than burger prices.
In Malaysia, for instance, a McDonald’s Big Mac, which goes for $3.57 in the States, costs $1.70. In Norway, it costs $7.88.

Second, it seems that my online garage sale at usdebooks.com isn’t the only garage sale seeing less customers.

Although no statistics are available for garage sales, it appears that more folks are staging them to put extra change in their pockets, but fewer are actually attending them, garage sale regulars say.

As to what to eat, my advice would be to avoid the big macs completely. I’m not alone in this:
Check this out from Slate.

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Finally, in this long and meandering post, it seems that Google is not afraid to tell the truth about technology. It seems that we have finally and unequivocally lost our privacy.

Arguing that technology has ensured that “complete privacy does not exist,” Google contends that a Pennsylvania family has no legal grounds to sue the search giant for publishing photos of their home on its popular “Street View” mapping feature. Responding to an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Aaron and Christine Boring, Google has countered that the couple “live in a residential community in the twenty-first-century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass.” In a motion to dismiss the Borings’s federal complaint, Google’s six-lawyer team asserts that, “Today’s satellite-image technology means that even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist. In any event, Plaintiffs live far from the desert and are far from hermits.” An excerpt from Google’s U.S. District Court motion can be found below. The company asserts that the images of the Borings’s Pittsburgh-area residence were “unremarkable photos of the exterior of their home,” and were taken during a “brief entry upon their driveway.” In their lawsuit, the Borings charged that a Google vehicle–outfitted with a panoramic camera on its roof–drove down a private road to take images of their Oakridge Lane home. In its dismissal motion, Google noted that it intends to prove that there was “no clearly marked ‘Private Road’ sign at the beginning” of the Borings’s street.

Categories
energy Oddities other worlds we know nothing

Solar Taxi around the world, energy autarky for one village, IMF = >T.B. incidence, Fertility and the four dwarves.

Louis Palmer had a dream of creating a car that would drive around the world when he was 14 years old…the car would be solar powered…well…now this very cool Swiss guy is doing just that.

Have a look at Solartaxi.com to see more.
And in Luxembourg, Deputy-Mayor Camille Gira is aiming to make his village totally energy independent. And they are almost there.

Meanwhile back in the U.S., a New Jersey man accidentally blew up his apartment while spraying for bugs.
By the way…are these dots jumping vertically or horizontally? Or are they moving in circles?

The same thing applies to political spin and economic messages coming to us. Watch for a while and you will see a spontaneous change in the way you see them. Seriously, take two minutes to watch the dots and then think about what you think you know about the problems we face or the candidates or whatever.
For instance, a recent British study shows that the IMF loans to poor countries are linked to an increase in Tuberculosis.

Governments may be reducing funding for health services such as hospitals and clinics to meet strict IMF economic targets, the British researchers said.
Nations that received money from other institutions with less restrictive economic conditions attached had seen a nearly 8 percent drop in tuberculosis death rates, David Stuckler and colleagues at the University of Cambridge said.

The International Monetary Fund causes T.B. Are the dots moving in a circle yet?
On a related note, Pluto, as you no doubt know, is no longer a planet, it is a dwarf planet. A 4th (yest there are four) dwarf planet is now named Makemake after a polynesian fertility God. So the four dwarves are Pluto, Eris, 2003 EL61, and Makemake. Maybe someone should think about a better name for 2003 EL61 like – Grumpy or Doc.

And finally check this out from the New York Times:

After moving into virtually every occupation, women are being afflicted on a large scale by the same troubles as men: downturns, layoffs, outsourcing, stagnant wages or the discouraging prospect of an outright pay cut. And they are responding as men have, by dropping out or disappearing for a while.

Here I was hoping that women would take all the jobs and leave me an unemployed housekeeper, but no such luck. It looks like they figured out the plan fellas…

Categories
cash and poverty Crime and Punishment energy terror suspects

Carter's warning, Prices rising, and Bin Laden's driver.

If you enjoy conspiracy talk, you certainly know about the warning that Dwight Eisenhauer gave regarding the military industrial complex. A lesser known warning came from Jimmy Carter about the dangers of energy consumption.

Check this out from Drudge:

“The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.” — Jimmy Carter, July 15, 1979
History has born Carter to be dead on.
In that same speech Carter proposed a cap on foreign oil imports and an ambitious conservation plan that included a 48-mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard for cars.
If that amount of savings was going on, United States would have no need to import a drop of oil from the Middle East

In the United States, donsumer prices were 5% higher than a year ago and rose 1.1% on a monthly basis, the Labor Department said yesterday. Energy prices were the main driver of price growth, and were 6.6% higher in June as the cost of petrol, natural gas and heating oil increased. As a result, the average weekly wages, after adjusting for inflation, fell by 0.9% in June – the biggest monthly decline in 24 years.
How does that feel? At least now you know you aren’t imagining it. I didn’t have the right tool to fix a flat on my moped recently and when I took it to the mechanic today it turns out he had raised the price of labor since two weeks ago when I talked to him. Cost then, $60 to repair the flat and put a new tire and tube on the bike. Cost now, right around $80. When I asked him why the price had gone up so much he told me that his prices had gone up because his expenses have gone up. I still feel like I’m being gouged but I had just pushed the damn thing a couple of miles to get it there. For the extra $20 I would have bought the god damn tool I needed. I’ll admit it though, I didn’t want to push it all the way back home. It’s more than the cost to replace a tire on a fucking car though! At least it gets 100 mpg.

In any event, I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending that $20 on a couple of drinks or a decent bottle of wine, so I let it go…mostly. I think I’ll be investing in some tools soon though.
Have you ever heard of Hawaiian Shave Ice? Well, now you can get Martian Shave Ice. The new Nasa lander is scraping ice from the surface of the red planet. So far the only flavor is dirt.
The stock market wizards keep pulling new tricks from their hats to keep stocks above the 11,000 mark. This is a psychological move since many investors now look at a drop below 11k as indicating with certainty that we are in a recession. I have no idea how they managed to get the cost of oil to drop with these bizarre rumours that the soured economy is lessening demand. You would think people would be conserving…but really, the big spenders in energy consumption haven’t slowed all that much. It’s all smoke and mirrors and despite the disdain I feel for the magicians tricking us, I tip my hat to them for pulling it off again. How long can they hold on?
The smoke and mirrors are good, no doubt, but see how it makes you feel to read about Osama Bin Laden’s driver giving testimony. The terror suspect is accused of conspiring with al Qaeda and providing material support for terror because he served as bin Laden’s $200-a-month driver and occasional bodyguard. Conviction could carry life imprisonment.

At this point I should admit that while was driving for a limousine service, several of my charges were war criminals within the Bush administration. I was not happy about the situation but I needed the job so I shuttled them back and forth from five diamond hotels to the U.S. Pacific Command (PacCom) for meetings with other big wigs. I know, shame on me for providing material support to Bush and his cronies. Funny that with all their security they either didn’t know or didn’t care that I was even then running a blog called Terror Suspect.

Categories
cash and poverty critters energy Food and Booze in and out

Watermelon Viagra, Weight loss through sex, Dollar dysfuntion, and a sad story too.

Turns out Watermelon eaters make better lovers…here’s why…(did I mention I love watermelon?)

Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra, said scientists in Texas, one of the nation’s top producers of the seedless variety.
Found in the flesh and concentrated in the rind of watermelons, citrulline reacts with the body’s enzymes when consumed in large quantities and is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.
“Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,” said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center.


Speaking of Watermelon, I ran into my friend Wally Amos (Famous Amos of Famous Amos Cookies) the other day when I was doing an eco-tour in Kailua. Wally stopped my van and chatted with my passengers for a while. They were confused about who the friendly black man in the watermelon hat was until I told them when we left. Turns out they all love his cookies.
To bad the dollar can’t eat some watermelon…it is suffering from severe erectile dysfunction since Bush came to power. It has declined 41% against the Euro in that time. Cute, huh? The U.S. now has $9.5 trillion debt — up from $5.7 trillion when Bush took office — and this has driven down the currency. The decline was accelerated by the subprime crisis that plunged the U.S. into an economic tailspin.
Here is a cute picture with a tragic story attached and it isn’t what you would think:

In this undated photo, Ram Singh Munda, 35, rides a bicycle with his pet sloth bear Rani in Gahatagaon village, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of Bhubaneswar, India. When wildlife officials learned of Munda, who brought the orphaned bear cub home from the forests of eastern India, where it became part of the family, he was arrested and jailed for violating wildlife laws, the bear was sent to a zoo where it’s refusing to eat and his abandoned six-year-old daughter has been shipped off to a state-run boarding school.
(AP Photo)