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Posts Tagged ‘green’

GRID2.0: The Trouble with Electricity

22/04/2010 1 comment

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How could such a pervasive part of modern life still be so easily misunderstood?

Electricity is the invisible force at the very center of almost all the enabling technologies of our Modern world, and has filled this role for quite awhile now, so it might come as a surprise to many that it actually doesn’t operate anywhere near as well as it could, or should.  In fact, this incredibly powerful and pervasive amenity has actually been under increasing pressure and burden as a result of its poorly aging design concepts that are based in distribution principals set down well over a century ago, and which are now are in dire need of upgrading.

By looking at some of the ‘Smart Grid’ or Grid 2.0 concepts that have been getting renewed attention of late, we see all sorts of progressive ideas to better deliver a product that already travels to the Customer at the speed of light, but that is currently still often getting managed and brokered via analogue links and mechanical switches, along distribution systems that were never really meant to accept power, rather than distribute it…and that’s just where the shortcomings begin.

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Geo-Engineering: Laying Foundations

25/03/2010 1 comment

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Unlike BIO-Engineering, which seeks to apply pure Science via Technological processes to produce engineered results in Biological fields (from GM’d corn, to the materials of Orthpaedic hip-joint replacement hardware), GEO-Engineering seeks to take the same approach to producing engineered results for the entire Earth, in order to effect positive changes to our environment. Regrettably, the term Geo-Engineering seems to have been misappropriated and popularized as a description of Ecological or Environmental engineering applications on a global scale, even though the terms Enviro, Global, or ECO-Engineering would likely have been much more appropriate descriptors for this sort of work. Unfortunately for the real Geo-Engineers out there (who’ve been working long and hard on true Geological Engineering), the term GEO has already been co-opted by Environmentalists, adopted by the Media, and is now popularized to represent applied technological solutions to our most pressing issues around Climate Change. So thanks to prevailing trends in the Media, Geo-Engineering has effectively come to mean something else entirely to all of us who are not engineers.

Geo-Engineering has been categorical science since the Sixties (when it first became popular to believe that Technology could fix anything), and it seems to be finally coming into vogue after being brought to back to public attention by mainstream Media sources such as the New York Times. Geo-Engineering (as we currently accept the poorly named field) has become a notably complex endeavor that requires the collection, collation and application of knowledge from three VERY large areas of study:

* Scientific disciplines including Climatology, Biochemistry, Ecology, Meteorology and several subsets of Biology and Physics
* Engineering disciplines including aeronautical, naval, architectural, ballistics, propulsion, and materials Engineering.
* Regulatory/Management and other control disciplines such as business process and risk management, and realtime operational research…and of course an insanely complex and interdependent maze of International Politics, Regulations, Diplomacy, and Trade.

Before delving into these ridiculously broad categories of study, first, let’s just put away any indignant or ignorant self-righteousness about “playing God” with the environment. Instead, let’s simply admit that we’ve already been toying with our Ecology, and changing the Earths environment in countless ways for a long time now already.

Whether it’s by altering watersheds and aquifers, re-engineering entire drainage systems for irrigation or hydro power, or by clearcutting the heat and CO2 consuming capacity of entire forests, and let’s not forget the ongoing and always contentious issues behind enormous volumes of CO2 (and other more potent greenhouse gases) escaping into the atmosphere, as Humans we are already very deeply ensnared in the tricky game of Geo-Engineering. Thus the dire scenarios described as AGW, or “Anthropogenic” (man-made) Global Warming are directly attributed to Human activities, which nobody questions as being capable of changing an entire planet.

So since we’ve already been behaving like foolish Gods (or rather like some lesser being that has self-provisioned itself with Godlike dominion over nature according to some self-distorting Judeao-Christian fallacy) let’s then look at the risks of Geo-Engineering more realistically.

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THORIUM: A Tipping Point in History

02/03/2010 5 comments

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Thorium has somehow survived its early demise…

Now it stands poised to fuel a limitless Future if we can change the course of history  !

Thorium ModelThe nuclear debate continues to put forward large scale alternatives to fossil-fueled Society, but has never included a much better option, when it comes to managing the waste and risks. This tragedy is essentially the result of politics, not science, since there likely isn’t a more misunderstood and overlooked element on the Periodic Table than Thorium.

Despite its enormous potential to safely power both the developing world and our modern societies through the self-regulating energy production of the little known “Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor” (LFTR).  This long-mothballed reactor design is gaining great new attention in other parts of the world because it produces only small amounts radioactive waste (which fully decay in a few hundred years, rather than many thousands), offers no realistic potential for easy weaponization, and in fact enables the destruction of weapons grade materials. Thorium astoundingly still remains an elemental mystery to most people to this very day however. Mainly because it’s early and successful development in the U.S. was nixxed in favor of the Uranium-based weapons programs in the 50’s and 60’s.

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The True Nature of Contrails

01/03/2010 4 comments

If you’d like a clear view of what creates Jet Contrails just:

Click for Facts…

If you don’t think that jet travel could be playing a major role in either climate change, or modified atmospheric chemistry, then you probably don’t need to dive into this deeper exploration. If however you see Climate Change as an enormous combination of factors, you might find some points of interests below. There is far more at play here than even the most outrageous “Chemetrail Conspiracy” has ever even touched upon.

In our explorations of jet exhaust and ‘vapour contrails‘ and the impact of air travel on our Future Environment, we’ve made previous attempts to speculate upon why certain channels in the Mainstream Media have taken interest in a rather weak Conspiracy Theory like “Chemtrails”, rather than digging into the underlying science of Contrails (and environmental impact of jet exhaust) for a bonefide piece of investigative journalism on a possibly much deeper conspiracy.

Jet airliner chemtrails are contrailsIf there’s such a thing as covering up an actual conspiracy with weaker, more easily discredited, conspiracy theories, then it’s quite possible that the airline industry knows full well that its altering the stratosphere, and affecting the environment. That the prevalence of “Chemtrail” theories might simply be serving to throw people off the trail by simply associating any negative environmental news about airliners with more easily dismissed “conspiracy theories”. It certainly not as simple as a supposedly well-intentioned geo-engineering initiative.

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Unlimited Energy from the Past…

25/02/2010 7 comments

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At the beginning of the Cold-War era, America focused it’s nuclear programs on Breeder reactors that produced materials for weapons, as did the Soviets. When the Oil Crisis hit in ’72, all newly built reactors fell in line with this objective, and Uranium has dominated since.

As a result of this Tipping Point, the best Energy Alternatives were sidelined up until just recently. During a Nuclear Renaissance, we’re free to correct past mistakes, and re-examine Thorium as the safer, cleaner fuel of the Future !

Thorium: Fueling a Limitless Future

As we all continue to waste enormous amounts of precious time and energy on re-hashing the nuclear debate, while continuing to poison and destroy our natural (and even socio-political) environment with all the toxic byproducts of the pre-dominant methods of fossil-fueled based energy production, perhaps we could also consider some of the cleaner alternatives which ironically have been waiting in the wings since they were first discovered way back at the dawn of the Cold War Era.

To learn about the historical mistakes that caused Thorium Energy to be delayed until now…
CLICK HERE
(opens in a new page)

Just below, is quite possibly the very best, most condensed and comprehensive explanation of not only how nuclear energy is derived, but also how Thorium-based reactions are a superb alternative to Uranium based energy. This video also covers the tragic reasons why Thorium energy was buried by Uranium-based fission, and includes a complete explanation of how liquid fluoride Thorium reactors (LFTR) could in fact be the magical silver bullet that will enable a sustainable version of our highly industrialized Society! If you’re curious, then just continue reading about how and why ( a long suppressed) Thorium-nuclear based energy grid could be our best and possibly last chance for surviving the Fossil-Fuel age.

WARNING:
This material is dense, fast, and superbly comprehensive !

Are you ready to explore the Future?
Then click below for MORE…

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Creeping Green Growth Overtakes Cities!

27/01/2010 Leave a comment

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Toronto will require all new buildings over 2000 sq/ft to include Green Roofs !

The Urban Heat Island effect can be reduced in the very near Future, if actions are taken immediately to seek out all the available options, rather than balking at the most costly solutions.

The first significant signs of a cooler, more ecologically sound Future are now becoming a reality in Toronto Ontario, because as of January 31st 2010, all new building permits issued for buildings over 2000 sq.ft. will also require Green Roof construction in the building plans. (UPDATE:  See Note at bottom for a loophole that’s been discovered by some clever property developers though!). Nevertheless, however brief the Summers may be in these Northern climes, there are still all sorts of other steps that we can take to help cool our cities and reduce the enormous emissions produced by all the cooling energy that we collectively consume during hot Summer months. In fact, it’s been estimated that we could reduce the ambient temperature of our cities by as much as 3 degrees C (5degF), just by putting a few relatively simple measures into place, and reap enormous health, energy, and ecological savings immediately!

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COP15.dk is History!

20/01/2010 1 comment

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The official website for the Copenhagen Climate Conference has been taken down, and traffic is being redirected to :

“The Official Website of Denmark”

Near the end of the proceedings at last months U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, news was posted to the official Conference website (COP15.dk) that capturing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) at the source (of industrial emissions) and storing it underground is not likely to become a measure supported by the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) this year. A committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has discussed the issue, but delayed any decisions until future summits.

Please don’t bother clicking on the above-mentioned COP15.dk link though, because less than a month after the conclusion of the conference, this newslink is now unavailable, along with all the rest of the COP15.dk website! Instead, all traffic is being directed to “The Official Website of Denmark”.

What we’re left with, as a reference on this historic event less than a month later, is a mere footnote that states: “this page contains a selection of some of the most popular content from Denmark’s Host Country website for UN Climate Change Conference 2009 –  cop15.dk ”

What possible reasons could there be for taking down this official site so quickly? What benefits could possibly be derived from removing this enormous resource? Most importantly, what are the perceived repercussions of such an obviously hasty demise of what should have our greatest reference point on Climate Change at the end of 2009, if not an actual public launchpoint as we move forward through the Post-Copenhagen letdown, and proceed with all the work adn understanding that still needs to be accomplished?

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Sightings: Irony Falls Like Snow in Copenhagen

18/12/2009 Leave a comment

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The Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is getting precipitously close to it’s closing remarks, and we’re now learning what we’ve already suspected, which is that the best we should hope for from COP15 is just a few pages of a framework to be further negotiated and ratified at the NEXT COP conference…We would hope! The irony of making positive forward statements on the effects of Future climate talks, even while a disappointing cause is still unfolding, is further emphasized by the following video fragments…

As World leaders were arriving in Copenhagen on December 17th, we were treated to a decidedly inopportune time for Mother Nature to show us her hand, with a solid covering of up to 10 cm. of heavy snow falling on the city just as the world turned it’s eyes to Denmark to see how this conference can manage to produce something of value at the 11th Hour. In a time when legions of dissenters and skeptics are seizing upon every conspiracy imaginable, perhaps this is a chance for Climate Change supporters to suggest that it is the Imperialistic interests of Big Oil and Coal that have seeded this snow for maximum effect! After all…Russian officials have allegedly claimed that they can prevent snow from falling in Moscow this winter, and China has already had some seriously damaging results from it’s own efforts to seed precipitation in it’s drought stricken regions!

While we possibly consider just how far some people will go to assure an orderly progress to establishing a New World (uhm) Order….Here’s a quick roundup of some of the other bitter ironies that unfolded during this same 24 hour period:

Let’s start with a couple of serene and peaceful moments…

…before facing the ironies of fighting against Global Warming, while shoveling through any of the heavier consequences that follow:

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SR: Global Warming is just the Beginning

17/12/2009 Leave a comment

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Recent events around the uber-hyped Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen may be overshadowing the entire Green Movement, and casting a pale pallor of doubt over our entire outlook on the Future of our Environment. The faint silver lining to these looming storm clouds however, is that by now we should all have a much more realistic sense of what we can expect from the political processes and backroom shenanigans involved in addressing Climate Change via the United Nations. What we can also take away from things (after the DanishText leak, and ClimateGate scandals, right-wing Media backlash, etc..) is a more personally resolved understanding of Global Warming, that isn’t dependant on spoon-fed Media pablum for it’s vitality. We might also feel ready to resign any false expectations that we may have placed in the dubious value of Eco-Stunts, Public rallys, citizen marches, internet petitions, and other publicity hungry fabrications built upon good intentions, and amounting to little more than fodder for the Media, and some personal catharsis.

Instead we’re now better prepared to at least accept (if not undertake) an ongoing, and longer-term outlook on the real and genuine grass roots solutions that will be required, long after everyone has flown back home from Denmark and unpacked their souvenirs. Unfortunately, the road map to sustainable change is no less clear now, than it was when we embarked on what we had collectively hoped would’ve been a much more visible and direct route to the more immediate resolutions we’d all hoped for in Copenhagen.

Let’s first consider how we got here, as we re-plot our course towards a more sustainable Future. One where we don’t just wait for politically driven bureaucratic processes to come to the rescue, and somehow reduce one particular (CO2) by-product of an unhealthy civilization. Rather, let’s shelf the idea of simply delegating our environmental responsibilities to representative politicians long enough to consider what would happen if we were to personally hold established Environmental and Ecological principals as our highest standard in forging a better Future for us all

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Climate Change: Gaming the Odds

07/12/2009 1 comment

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Take a spin...

Go ahead...Take a spin...but only ONE spin

Much like the frog who will happily sit in a steadily warming pot until he boils to death, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, finds that 3/4 of Americans think that Climate Change is an important issue, but don’t perceive it as an immediate threat. This Washington D.C based think tank tasks itself with gathering data and providing correlative info behind the issues, trends that shape attitudes in the United States and thus affect the rest of world. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, it turns out that Climate Change has ranked at the very bottom of a list of 20 issues that included Terrorism and the Economy.

The Environment rated abit better in this same 2009 report, at 16 out of 20, but also saw a 15 point decline from 2008.

Of course it stands to reason that building a better future requires a solid foundation, and it’s understandable why Americans would want to get their own household affairs in order before trying to reinvent the wheels of their economy and social fabric. But before a greater vision of the future can even begin to be shared, let alone put into motion, it seems that there are basic credibility issues to be ironed out on the subject of Climate Change.

Americans seem rather divided on the whole issue of Global warming with only 49% believing that it is the result of man-made factors and activities.

36% say warming is occurring “mostly because of natural changes in the atmosphere.” About one-in-ten (11%) say “there is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer.” There’s also a strong correlation between the results and respondents political ideology, with only 21% of conservative Republicans saying the earth is warming due to human activity, compared with the nearly three-quarters (74%) of liberal Democrats who see humans as a root cause of Climate Change.

Is this a cognitive disconnect caused by a partisan political outlook? Or are there other more deeply rooted Sociological or even Psychological issues at play here? Could there be a tendency for humans to cower in denial at the prospect of issues that they feel powerless to change? Or are we just incapable of grasping the big picture long enough to see alternate possibilities, and deeper causes ?

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