Sunday, February 24, 2008

Emerging Energies-Some Positive Developments

An ingenious plan that uses variations in ocean temperature to boil ammonia and generate electricity

Abu Dhabi is building a primarily solar-powered, carless city in which people travel in pods along magnetic tracks

Dongtan: China’s green city, coming soon

Mexico taking the lead on environmentally friendly housing.

AFL-CIO blog: green economy could save manufacturing

A new method that uses sunlight to generate hydrogen power from sea water

Massive wind farms are regenerating rural economies in western Texas

New Arizona solar plant will power 70,000 homes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Three Solutions for Global Warming

Solution 1: a new method of capturing carbon dioxide emissions
Solution 2: using ocean-based pipes to promote algae growth
Solution 3: going solar (below)

Scientific American recently announced a grand solar-power plan that would “generate 100 percent of all US electricity and more that 90 percent of total US energy ” by 2100 at a cost of about $10 billion a year for 40 years. Here is their synopsis:
A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.

A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.

Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.

A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.

You can read the details of the plan here.

What about the cost?
Although $420 billion is substantial, the annual expense would be less than the current U.S. Farm Price Support program. It is also less than the tax subsidies that have been levied to build the country’s high-speed telecommunications infrastructure over the past 35 years. And it frees the U.S. from policy and budget issues driven by international energy conflicts.

Without subsidies, the solar grand plan is impossible. Other countries have reached similar conclusions: Japan is already building a large, subsidized solar infrastructure, and Germany has embarked on a nationwide program. Although the investment is high, it is important to remember that the energy source, sunlight, is free. There are no annual fuel or pollution-control costs like those for coal, oil or nuclear power, and only a slight cost for natural gas in compressed-air systems, although hydrogen or biofuels could displace that, too. When fuel savings are factored in, the cost of solar would be a bargain in coming decades. Link.

Recent news about solar energy developments can be found here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Marni Nixon's Greatest Hits

Marni Nixon singing “Shall We Dance” for Deborah Kerr

Marni Nixon singing “Tonight” for Natalie Wood

Marni Nixon singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” for Aubrey Hepburn

Marni Nixon interview

Extreme Soccer

An amazing display of skills:

Related: Parkour

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A car that runs on air

The main drawback seems to be that electricity is needed in order to compress the air in the first place. But what if that electricity was generated by sunlight?

More compressed-air cars here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A nifty global development presentation

Check out the use of animated graphics in this intriguing and surprisingly upbeat presentation on global development by Hans Rosling:

More from

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lost Monty Python: Birds Eye Peas

Before there was SPAM, or even a Wicker Island . . . Birds Eye Peas!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Feast of Goodies You Might Have Missed


10 signs of intelligent life on YouTube

10 positive items from the Islamic world

I Am the Very Model of a Model Libertarian

How Henrietta attained immortality

Solar-powered internet cafes (in Gambia)

Pay attention to road signs! (picture)

Chinese anchor makes unexpected comments

Lack of sewing skills (no warm undies!) might have doomed Neanderthals

The web page that could have saved the Neanderthals (scroll down for image)

Inside the Iranian government on 911

The German healthcare system

D Day on a shoestring (4-minute video)

Rush Limbaugh’s Nightmare: pink-clad “feminazis” ready to whoop ass

Why repealing the tax cuts might stimulate the economy

MBA the easy way

An insider explains Scientology

Citigroup buys bank, cancels accounts of people who pay on time (read down all the way)