Category Archives: fo’ real?

GM Virus Solar Cells?

MIT reported on Monday that researchers have a used genetically modified virus to produce structures that improve solar-cell efficiency by about one-third.

MIT researchers said they have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by using a tiny virus to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level.

Sunlight hits a light-harvesting material in a solar cell, which releases electrons that can produce an electric current.

The research of this new study is based on findings that carbon nanotubes can enhance the efficiency of electron collection from a solar cell’s surface.

.:redorbit.com->

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.

The chemicals were used by companies during a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, which involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemical additives into rock formations deep underground. The process, which is being used to tap into large reserves of natural gas around the country, opens fissures in the rock to stimulate the release of oil and gas.

Hydrofracking has attracted increased scrutiny from lawmakers and environmentalists in part because of fears that the chemicals used during the process can contaminate underground sources of drinking water.

Read the rest of the article – >  NYT

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.

Questions, additional information or related tips can be sent to urbina@nytimes.com.
Green

A blog about energy and the environment.

The chemicals were used by companies during a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, which involves the high-pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemical additives into rock formations deep underground. The process, which is being used to tap into large reserves of natural gas around the country, opens fissures in the rock to stimulate the release of oil and gas.

Hydrofracking has attracted increased scrutiny from lawmakers and environmentalists in part because of fears that the chemicals used during the process can contaminate underground sources of drinking water.

New-Age Nimbyism

History has proven that the general population wants changes, but they don’t necessarily want changes to happen to them.  “I believe in rights for all people, but not with my daughter.”  “Support the troops and be a patriot, but don’t draft my kid.” “Reduce dependence on foreign oil, but don’t build your bike lanes, wind power, etc. in my back yard!”

This next article addresses these points.  There is a quote below, but you can read it from the original source:

But some supporters of high-profile green projects like these say the problem is just plain old Nimbyism — the opposition by residents to a local development of the sort that they otherwise tend to support.

“It’s really pretty innocuous — it’s a bike lane, for goodness’ sake — their resistance has been incredibly frustrating,” said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Manhattan and an expert on sustainable transport. He lives in Brooklyn and uses the Prospect Park West bike lane to get around.

Nimbyism is nothing new. It’s even logical sometimes, perhaps not always deserving of opprobrium. After all, it is one thing to be a passionate proponent of recycling, and another to welcome a particular recycling plant — with the attendant garbage-truck traffic — on your street. General environmental principles may be at odds with convenience or even local environmental consequences.

But policymakers in the United States have been repeatedly frustrated by constituents who profess to worry about the climate and count themselves as environmentalists, but prove unwilling to adjust their lifestyles or change their behavior in any significant way.

Barefoot for a year?

If simply looking at the picture below is enough to make you smell the smell of feet, you are not alone. Arthur Jones (obviously) and English bloke who happened to live in China for a year decided that he was going to also spend a year living barefoot in one of the, from a foot’s perspective, most hectic places on earth.  You can read all about his exploits, trials, and tribulations by clicking on the link after the quote.

“I’ve always liked being barefoot from being a kid,” Jones says, explaining his yearlong experiment, which he is hoping to turn into a film. “It’s turned into something that’s made everyday life more exciting. It opens your eyes. You’re suddenly in touch with everything around. And it feels like you’re a little child discovering the world for the first time.”

Barefooters like to cite recent scientific research showing the health advantages to a barefoot lifestyle. One example is a paper earlier this year in the journal Nature by Harvard University human evolutionary biology professor Daniel E. Lieberman, which found that barefoot runners place less stress on their feet than runners wearing shoes. This happens because barefooters change the way they run, landing on the balls of their feet instead of their heels, thereby markedly reducing the “impact collision” or “heel-strike.” (Read the Rest)

I’m pretty sure this is green as hell, although I don’t recommend it.

Roseanne Barr, Organic Farmer? Cha.

Well, I think this is just great… though it’s, like, triple ironic that it’s a “nut farm.”

Remember Roseanne Barr, the sometimes outrageous comedian and former TV star? Well, now she’s a full-fledged farmer.

That’s right. Roseanne, now 58-years-old, has a 50-acre macadamia nut farm in Hawaii where she spends her days farming and writing with her life-partner, Johnny… [Read the Rest]

Drug Use Among U.S. Livestock

Um, despite the headline, our pigs have not started using cocaine.  So, recently the FDA released its first ever report detailing the amounts of antibiotics used for livestock, which are staggering.  Now, I don’t want to be alarmist, because, for all I know, livestock may require large amounts antibiotics (in order for the medicines to be effective)… but damn…

Well, federal regulators have for years ignored the question and refused to release estimates of just how much antibiotics the livestock industry burns through. But that ended yesterday, when the FDA released its first-ever report on the topic. The answer: 29 million pounds in 2009. According to ace public-health reporter Maryn McKenna, that’s a shitload. (I’m paraphrasing her.) (Source)

NASA on the Solar Shield

Since the beginning of the Space Age the total length of high-voltage power lines crisscrossing North America has increased nearly 10 fold. This has turned power grids into giant antennas for geomagnetically induced currents. With demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit—a recipe for trouble, according to the National Academy of Sciences: “The scale and speed of problems that could occur on [these modern grids] have the potential to impact the power system in ways not previously experienced.”

So, basically, ninjas, in an attempt to protect the power grid from a solar storm, NASA is developing tech that could monitor the sun and adjust the grid as necessary to let key components remain un-damaged against powerful electrical surges. Read the article below and click through to find out more!

Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet’s topsoil. The most famous such storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, actually shocked telegraph operators and set some of their offices on fire. A 2008 report by the National Academy of Sciences warns that if such a storm occurred today, we could experience widespread power blackouts with permanent damage to many key transformers.

What’s a utility operator to do?

A new NASA project called “Solar Shield” could help keep the lights on.

“Solar Shield is a new and experimental forecasting system for the North American power grid,” explains project leader Antti Pulkkinen, a Catholic University of America research associate working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We believe we can zero in on specific transformers and predict which of them are going to be hit hardest by a space weather event.” -> Continue Reading at NASA Science

Since the beginning of the Space Age the total length of high-voltage power lines crisscrossing North America has increased nearly 10 fold. This has turned power grids into giant antennas for geomagnetically induced currents. With demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit—a recipe for trouble, according to the National Academy of Sciences: “The scale and speed of problems that could occur on [these modern grids] have the potential to impact the power system in ways not previously experienced.”