From March 2014. We live on the cusp of an amazing age. It will save us all.
From March 2014. We live on the cusp of an amazing age. It will save us all.
(A monster Kelvin wave, possibly more powerful than the 1997-98 event, is now rushing toward the surface of the Eastern Pacific. Image source: NOAA/ESRL.)
We are observing an extraordinarily powerful Kelvin Wave, one that was likely intensified by factors related to human global warming, traveling across the Pacific. It appears to be an epic event in the making. One that may be hotter and stronger than even the record-shattering 1997-98 El Nino. What this means is that we may well be staring down the throat of a global warming riled monster.
Good times might be over. If this new El Nino is anything close to the one in the late 90s, temperatures could begin rising fast. That first animation is shocking.
There appears to be more heat in this water than was in the huge El Nino of 1997.It was the largest such event in the 20th century. The global temperatures due to that event increased to such hugh levels that it would be almost a decade before the world became that hot again.
This is what happened along the Washington Coast during the 1997 event: huge rises in sea levels making storms much more destructive along the coast.
Sometimes the sea level was almost half a meter higher than normal, with wave heights a full meter higher than normal. It will not be a good year to be along the West Coast.
And while it may break the drought in Texas, it could well bring huge amounts of flooding due to extreme weather events. That it, lots of frog stranglers hitting dry ground and running off instead of penetrating.
The West Coast will get little rain and be much hotter, so the food producing areas of the state will be hard hit.
The more I learn about pCell, the more interesting it sounds. It still blows my mind that such a concept can work at scale at all.
The pCell could do more than help cell phones.
WARNING— the article has equations and matrix multiplication!
I skipped them and went right to the conclusions. Wireless power transmission to single points,such as an electric car, would change everything.
Will it happen? Could be exciting.
The natural gas-rich Marcellus shale is seeing a drilling boom, part of a nationwide rush to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, techniques to extract shale gas and oil. Studies have shown that energy production, including the waste water associated with fracking — a method of injecting chemicals, sand and water deep underground to crack rock formations to release oil and natural gas — may release significant fugitive methane emissions, helping to drive climate change.
Duke researchers looked at sediment samples collected downstream of the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility in Indiana County, Penn., and found that radium levels were 200 times greater in those samples when compared to those collected upstream of the plant. The plant processes fracking flowback water — highly saline and radioactive fluid that is returned to the surface as part of the fracking process.
Researchers have long been concerned about concentration of bromide, chlorides and other contaminants being discharged from the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility. One researcher, Conrad Volz, former director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh, testified before the U.S. Senate in 2011 about the high level of contaminants in Josephine’s effluent.
The radioactive levels in sediments downstream from the treatment plant were so high that it will have to be taken to a radioactive disposal facility. ANd the levels of other contaminats were also extremely high.
Methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is one of those contaminants, along with other volatiles. And thanks to the rapid increase in fracking, there are hundreds of billions of gallons of contaminated water to deal with.
The Houston Chronicle recently spent some time with NASA legend Dr. Chris Kraft, and the man who oversaw NASA’s first steps into space didn’t have many complimentary things to say about the things NASA has done lately—or the things it has on the drawing board.
Kraft, who will be 90 next February, is directly responsible for the initial shape and structure of NASA’s flight controller hierarchy, and he sat at the flight director’s console for all of Project Mercury. In 1982, he formally retired from his position as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, but he has never been shy to speak his mind about manned space flight. Among the topics drawing fire in the Chronicle interview are NASA’s asteroid landing plans, the upcoming Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket, and the eventual goal of landing on Mars.[More]
Chris Kraft is one of the important guys in the US space program. So you have to listen to what he says.
I agree with him on a heavy launch vehicle, especially one seemingly designed to take people to Mars. We do not need it. It will be too costly and be used to seldom to be worth much.
Half the energy needs to get to Mars are simply getting out of the Earth’s gravity well to LEO. Why not work to make it cheaper,easier to get ther?
NASA does not need to do that as Space-X is working to reduce the cost to $800 a kilogram. Without the SLS system.
Now Craft denigrated landing someone on an asteroid, and I agree with him there. Sending people just to send them is not a good use of funds.
But, what would be really useful is capturing an asteroid and moving it into orbit around the Moon. Why? For the same reason I agree with Craft about mining on the moon – resources.
The moon has many of the things we need to make a lot of stuff, particularly solar arrays. There are multiple proposals to put solar arrays on the far side of the moon, where they are pretty much always in the sun. Then that energy can be beamed back to the Earth.
This could provide energy that would never get to the Earth and could never be captured on its surface. It would require robots to build all of this. But a useful telepresence for operating robots needs the lag for communications to be less than 0.5 seconds. It takes much longer than this to communicate from the Earth to the moon.
But, put a manned space station at a Lagrange point on the far side of the moon and you are well within range. And that is just what NASA wants to do.
So NASA wants to put an asteroid in orbit around the Moon, at the same place it wants to put an orbiting base for robotic telepresence of mining on the moon. It turns out that asteroids may have a lot of stuff that the moon has little of – like water, which can be broken down into oxygen and hydrogen, both needed to construct power arrays.
So, why has NASA not outlined this cohesive plan? Move needed asteroids close to the moon where humans, using robots, can mine the needed resources, along with those on the moon itself to build solar arrays to provide power for all of humanity.
All the pieces are there. They have all the studies. The costs are dropping every day. Now we just need the will.
We’ve seen two events over the last couple of days that could trigger mass (open source) protest in China.
The first is a watermelon street vendor that was beaten to death with his own scale by a city militia.
The second is a wheelchair bound man that was blew himself up (after warning people to back away), at the Beijing airport. He was crippled by an urban militia for running an informal taxi service with his scooter.
Both incidents have been accelerated by social media — blogs and a short message service like Twitter — due to widespread public disatisfaction with the militia system called Chengguan.
Chengguan militias were set up in Chinese cities in 2001 to enforce urban codes (a Chinese variant of “broken windows” in US cities). They are run by local officials with little central oversight.
It will be interesting to see if anything arises from the abuse of authority at the local level like this. Because there is this, something we have know since the Declaration of Independence was written – “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
If it doesn’t happen now, it will. Remember, China is operating on borrowed time.
It’s run by a government without any basis for legitimacy other than fast economic growth.
To maintain power, that needs to be true, and it’s not true anymore.
by Abi Skipp
An online conversation with a young energy activist turned solar entrepreneur.
Here we have a couple of entrepreneurs who are leading new approaches to financing the needs we will have for future energy.
What is interesting is both were clean energy activists who have taken to new approaches for raising capital to fund needed cleantech projects. Instead of fighting capitalism, they are bending it to their needs.
Mosaic allows people to make microinvestments (as low as $25) into clean energy projects with perhaps 4.5% interest on their investment. The projects were funded with hours. It has invested over $2 million using about $1000 in marketing expenses.
Mosaic raises money for solar projects and as the projects generate revenue, some of that revenue accrues to the investors. Those investors are regular people.
And they are doing this with just 3 employees focussed full time on origination, underwriting and servicing of loans. No Wall Street firm could ebven look at this with just 3 employees. (Mosaic actualy has 7 people working on its IT.)
Think of that – a financial services company with over twice as many people working on IT than working on the financial services.
It can work because the cost for solar panels has dropped tremendously. And crowdsourcing approaches permit them to disintermediate Wall Street brokers.
That is, ‘notes’ can be issued for projects that would not be moneymakers for Wall Street. A community project costing $100,000 would not be worthwhile to most companies because their profit would be too low. Their models require tens of million or more for it to make money for them.
Here, being able to broker many, many notes to people can work. They make it up in quantity, along with the drop in actually doing the process.
They take a small fee for administrating the note of 1% of the total interest. So the note is actually at perhaps 5.5% and they pay out 4.5%.
Read a prospectus to understand more. As with most investments, there are risks. But the ability to directly invest in local community projects that would have a very hard time selling binds is truly amazing.
It is like a whole new way to create bonds in the days of the Information Age.
Mosaic has over 10,000 people waiting to invest in the next projects.
And things will really change when the SEC publishes the rules about crowdinvesting. That will make it easier for microinvestment in corporations, altering the way stocks are sold in the same way this is changing the way bonds are created.
The other company is taking a non-profit approach to the same thing – letting people donate money rather than invest.
Both will be hugely disruptive to Wall Street, all while making capital flow more easily for small investors.
So expect the big guys to do what they can to stop it.
It’s not often Seattle can go toe-to-toe with Phoenix in the hot weather department for the crown of hottest big city in America, but Monday, the Emerald City held its own.
Seattle and Phoenix both reached 87 degrees — smashing the daily record of 79 for Seattle; a few degrees cooler than the normal 91 for Phoenix.
But at least on this particular day, no other major city in the United States could claim to be as warm.
Ten degrees hotter than Houston, where I used to live. Twenty-three degrees warmer than Boulder, where I also used to live.
It was cooler where I live, reaching only 81°F. It’s down to 55 •F right now.
Not often we are so much warmer than the rest of the country. Supposed to cool off somewhat on Tuesday.