Good Eats – NOT!

I don’t think a diet of plastic is so good for the fishes.

That is what we’re feeding them.
I bet we can find a lot of people who don’t care.

North Pacific fish are eating tens of thousands of tons of plastic debris, say researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The team found evidence of plastic waste in the stomachs of over nine percent of fish collected during their voyage to the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre – the so-called Great Garbage Patch.

Based on this, they estimate that fish in the intermediate ocean depths of the North Pacific are ingesting plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000 to 24,000 tons per year.

“These fish have an important role in the food chain because they connect plankton at the base of the food chain with higher levels,” says resewarcher Rebecca Asch.

“We have estimated the incidence at which plastic is entering the food chain and I think there are potential impacts, but what those impacts are will take more research.”

Of the 141 fishes, spanning 27 species, dissected in the study, the researchers found that 9.2 percent of the stomach contents of mid-water fishes contained plastic debris, primarily broken-down bits smaller than a human fingernail. The majority were so small their origin couldn’t be determined.

“About nine percent of examined fishes contained plastic in their stomach. That is an underestimate of the true ingestion rate because a fish may regurgitate or pass a plastic item, or even die from eating it,” says Peter Davison.

“We didn’t measure those rates, so our nine percent figure is too low by an unknown amount.”

Previous studies on fish and plastic ingestion have examined the phenomenon in nets – where the presence of platsic within the net might lead to artificially high rates of ingestion.

“This study clearly emphasizes the importance of directly sampling in the environment where the impacts may be occurring,” said James Leichter, a Scripps associate professor of biological oceanography.

“We are seeing that most of our prior predictions and expectations about potential impacts have been based on speculation rather than evidence and in many cases we have in fact underestimated the magnitude of effects.”

A Fable For……Some Time

John Haddock had been with the company for almost 25 years and at 58 very close to retirement now. He was one of the most successful design engineers they had. Graduated from Columbia Engineering School with his Masters degree and went to work for a communications firm. When the opening in his current company for an assistant design position opened up, he jumped at it.  Marshal Control Systems was just the place he wanted to be.  Helping to design the necessary power and charge control systems needed for photovoltaic and wind turbine systems. This was the future. 
Continue reading “A Fable For……Some Time”

It’s My Party And I’ll Believe What I Want To

We have all heard and asked this question. A million times or more. “How can these people still belive this stuff when all the facts prove otherwise ?” The left asks this of the right and the religious of the atheists and so on and so forth. Well there just might be a perfectly logical reason for this. What David McRaney calls The backfire Effect. Continue reading “It’s My Party And I’ll Believe What I Want To”

GOP in HOR – Renewable Energy is Anti-Energy

As usual the TeaBag GOP is going out on a limb to protect Oil, Coal, and Nuclear energy producers. NREL – the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado is on the chopping block. I did an internship while in graduate school at the Washington State Energy Office in 1993. The program I worked for was the Energy Ideas Clearing House which was funded by grants through the Department of Energy. The funding source was through the DofE’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs. NREL recieves their funding from those programs at the DoE.  Republicans in the house are seeking to have these programs eliminated in the 2012 budget. They claim of course that these programs offer nothing to the US and have by and large failed. What should be of particular interest to everyone is that Republicans seems to believe that Renewable Energy isn’t necessary to explore. Defunding these programs will essentially defund NREL, EIC, NCAT and other Alternate Renewable Energy programs in the US.

According to a report in the Denver Sun GOP lawmakers are pushing to defund the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs in the 2012 budget, because they “have failed to live up to their supposed potential.” This is an assessment they offer without supporting data, but what is most interesting is Tom McClintock from a TBag district in California, who states:

“We should not follow the president’s poor planning in increasing the funding for these anti-energy boondoggles.”

Republicans are seeking to save money by defunding these programs while continuing to subsidize Oil, Coal and Nuclear Energy industries. Of course those subsidies are much larger than any monies spend on funding these energy research programs. NREL was founded in 1978, by the Carter Administration, and that was effectively the last time the nation attempted to develop solid energy policies to move us towards the future.  According to the NREL website, it is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Backed by 33 years of achievement, NREL leads the way in helping meet the growing demand for clean energy.

So are renewable energy programs anti-energy boondoggles? Do these folks really believe wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuel research has no place in developing sound energy policy? So while progressives are out there hand-wringing about the awfulness of the biggest liar of all President Obama and how he hates the unemployed, the middle class, unions, who is also a closet Republican, is the second coming of Ronald Reagan, wants everyone to go to community college for no reason because they have already have mad skilz, Republicans in the House are getting away with destroying programs that are beneficial not just to the nation but to the world.

Until we the people are able to convince lawmakers that we would like to fund these programs the United States will never develop a coherent energy policy that can move us to a cleaner energy future, and while China is investing 54.4 billion dollars in renewable energy sources, we will cease to fund research into renewable energies, because they are deemed anti-energy by those whose political campaigns are funded by the oil, coal and nuclear industries. Until we pressure our law maker to do this we will continue to fight wars over oil.  We all know that we went to Iraq because of Oil and not for any other reason.

According to Open Secrets, Rep. Lamborn of Colorado, the guy behind eliminating the funding source of these programs, in 2010 he received the majority of his donations from:





Defense Aerospace $34,250 $0 $34,250
Oil & Gas $31,750 $1,250 $30,500
Defense Electronics $28,300 $0 $28,300
Mining $17,500 $0 $17,500
Real Estate $16,833 $9,333 $7,500

Over his lifetime as a representative Oil and Gas are among the top three of those contributing to his campaigns, so it is no surprise he wants to eliminate funding for NREL.  He received a lifetime total $191,762 total from Energy and Natural Resource Industries with $158,000 coming directly from PAC’s. We certainly know why this particular congressman is pushing to have NREL, NCAT, EIC defunded by eliminating the funding of the DOE’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs.

The Republican leadership on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development are as follows:

Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) [Chairman]

Energy and Natural Resources: about $217,000 life since 1998 of which pac’s donated $190,000

Jerry Lewis (R-CA)

Energy and Natural Resources: $469,000 since 1998 with $419,000 coming from PAC’s

Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Energy & Natural Resources:  $535,797 since 1998 with $441,445 coming from PAC’s

Dennis Rehberg (R-MT)

Energy & Natural Resources Industries:  $659,599 since 1998 with $464,750 coming from PAC’s

Rodney Alexander (R-LA)

Energy & Natural Resources:  $279,446 $167,750

Steve Womack (R-AR)

Is pretty new to congress and has received $21,000 from Energy and Natural Resource Industries

Alan Nunnelee (R-MS)

Also a new member and he received $79,200 from Energy and Natural Resource Industries

I know for a fact my congressman Norm Dicks will vote against these efforts, however your own congress-person needs to hear from you if you care about it at all. They need to know whether you for or against these efforts.  If we truly are a government by the people for the people, your participation doesn’t have to end with voting. Blogging about how you hate, hate, hate every single thing about everyone in congress, isn’t as effective as contacting your congressperson. To me this is very important. Make some noise and implore your like minded friends and neighbors to do the same, especially if you care about moving towards building a green or sustainable future for future generations. They need to know where you stand on real issues. Write them a letter, shoot them an email, and let them know you understand the issues. Do it every day if you have to, but don’t let the Republicans get away with demagoguing renewable energy programs.

Cross Posted at DAGblog

A Fast and a Fire

This entry is a forward from the Stand For The Land blogsite.  Written by aunteedahlia, it gives a brief update of where the situation stands at the sacred site Eagle Rock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and an invitation to join a 24 hour fast and fire so that “With a united effort, a consciousness can be raised for the protection of the Earth.”

Japanese Gov. suggests cover up for nuclear disaster.

I could not believe this when I first read it.

TOKYO, March 30, Kyodo

The government is considering applying new measures to prevent the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from further spreading radioactive particles, its top spokesman said Wednesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that the government and nuclear experts are discussing ”every possibility” to bring the plant under control and that some measures that have been reported by the media are included in their options.

Media reports said that the government and the experts have been studying the feasibility of new steps such as covering reactors of the plant with special cloth to reduce the amount of radioactive particles flying away from the facility and using a big tanker to collect the contaminated water.

Since the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami damaged the nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government have been battling to cool its overheating reactors.


There ya go. Throw a tarp over it and maybe people won’t notice.

Frontier House

When I read this about Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett saying that people should leave the cities and move out to the country because –

“There are a number of events that could create a situation in our cities where civil unrest could be a very high probability,” Bartlett said in the film. “And I think that those who can and those who understand need to take advantage of this opportunity when the winds of strife are not blowing to move their families out of the city.”

“It’s just plain fun when you’re looking at the challenge of what do I have to do so that I’m independent of the system,” he added.

Continue reading “Frontier House”

Electricity – Nuclear or otherwise

Electricity. We currently have three main methods of generating it. Through a chemical reaction with two dissimilar metals. Through mechanical means by spinning a coil of wire in a fixed magnetic field. And by photovoltaic action on some silicon substrate.  All three are as old as the hills.  Yes even the solar cell has a long history.

Continue reading “Electricity – Nuclear or otherwise”

Japan earthquake: Impact on US nuclear energy future?

This piece on the BBC website kind of says it all.

John Rowe, the CEO of America’s largest nuclear producer Exelon, has said his firm is reluctant to invest in new nuclear plants because they are increasingly cost prohibitive when compared to natural gas, which is relatively cheap.

“The nuclear industry was in trouble in the US long before last week’s earthquake and tsunami,” said Ellen Vancko of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Spiralling construction cost estimates, declining energy demand, low natural gas costs and the failure to put a price on carbon already spelled trouble for this industry.”

Mr Cochran of the NRDC says that by his estimate, over the years 130 proposed nuclear plants have been cancelled at some point during the planning, licensing and construction process. That’s more than the total number of plants that have ever been built in the US.

It doesn’t bode well for the future of new plants, particularly now that increased attention will be paid to nuclear safety, perhaps adding new hurdles for proposed plants.

No additional comment is really necessary. Nuclear is not an option for electric power. To many dangerous and complex hurdles to overcome.