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†LIVING OFF THE PLANET†
†Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:07:58 PM EST
Philippines flood deaths hit 650 | World news | guardian.co.uk

Rescuers are searching for more than 800 people missing in the southern Philippines after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 650 people.

The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on the island of Mindanao were worst hit when typhoon Washi hit shore late on Friday and early on Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said 652 people were killed in eight provinces in the southern Mindanao region, which is unused to typhoons.

"Our office was swamped with hundreds of requests to help find their missing parents, children and relatives," Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the PNRC, told reporters. "We're helping co-ordinate the search with local government, army, police and even other aid agencies."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:24:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GOP gets provision to curb ban on energy-sucking light bulbs | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Energy won't be able to enforce rules that ban energy-wasting light bulbs when new standards take effect in January, thanks to a requirement slipped into the federal spending bill.

House Republicans added the provision in response to the concerns of people who mistakenly thought that the 100-watt incandescent light bulb would be banned when new standards go into effect on Jan. 1.

"We heard the message loud and clear from Americans who don't want government standards determining how they light their homes," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh told his listeners this month that the days of the 100-watt bulb were numbered. It soon will be "illegal to buy an incandescent light bulb. ... Well, you can have them but you can't sell them but they're still gonna be gunning for you," he said, according to a transcript of a Dec. 9 program.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How the U.S. Federal Government Pushes Energy Efficiency--On Itself: Scientific American

Standing on the north roof of the James Forrestal building in Washington, D.C., Brian Costlow gestures to the black solar photovoltaic array lying flat against the cement tiles. The system generates 235 megawatt-hours of electricity annually in an effort to boost the energy efficiency of this office complex, the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Toward the south, the adjoining building takes a different tack. Framed by gray concrete, the west office's 66,000-square-foot roof is painted a stark white. The coating reflects sunlight and heat, reducing the need for air conditioning, and costs just as much as conventional roof resurfacing, said Costlow, who directs the agency's Office of Administration.

Inside, the offices are separated into color zones. Workers in different regions monitor their energy usage and compete head-to-head to improve their profiles, looking for energy losses and observing plug loads. Costlow describes their routine as "finding the alligators and draining the swamp."

The zone with the largest drop in energy consumption from the previous month gets a compact fluorescent bulb in its color in a trophy case in the building's lobby. "We had prominently displayed the daily energy consumption for each zone. We try to really kind of whoop it up a little bit," said Costlow. "We're trying to make certain that each and every employee understands that we can make a difference in the amount of energy that we consume."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Discovery of a 'dark state' could mean a brighter future for solar energy

ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2011) -- The efficiency of conventional solar cells could be significantly increased, according to new research on the mechanisms of solar energy conversion led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at The University of Texas at Austin.

Zhu and his team have discovered that it's possible to double the number of electrons harvested from one photon of sunlight using an organic plastic semiconductor material.

"Plastic semiconductor solar cell production has great advantages, one of which is low cost," said Zhu, a professor of chemistry. "Combined with the vast capabilities for molecular design and synthesis, our discovery opens the door to an exciting new approach for solar energy conversion, leading to much higher efficiencies."

Zhu and his team published their groundbreaking discovery Dec. 16 in Science.

The maximum theoretical efficiency of the silicon solar cell in use today is approximately 31 percent, because much of the sun's energy hitting the cell is too high to be turned into usable electricity. That energy, in the form of "hot electrons," is instead lost as heat. Capturing hot electrons could potentially increase the efficiency of solar-to-electric power conversion to as high as 66 percent.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Changing Climate Will Make Massive Shifts in Earth's Vegetation: Scientific American

Climate change will alter the mix of vegetation on 49 percent of Earth's land surface by the end of this century, scrambling and shifting existing ecosystems, according to a new study.

Researchers at NASA and the California Institute of Technology say the changing climate will also convert 37 percent of the world's land ecosystems from one type -- such as tundra, forest or grassland -- into another by 2100.

Those vegetation shifts are likely to affect animals and insects that have evolved to live among particular plant species and within certain temperature and precipitation ranges, said the study's lead author, independent scientist Jon Bergengren.

"Animals that are dependent on plants will either have to migrate with the plants, if the plants can successfully migrate, or hang on with plants that are struggling to survive," said Bergengren, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Either way, there are problems."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Birth of a New Earth: December 2011

In a groundbreaking study published in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry last month, glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide "Roundup," is flowing freely into the groundwater in areas where it is being applied. The researchers found that 41% of the 140 groundwater samples taken from Catalonia Spain, had levels beyond the limit of quantification - indicating that, despite manufacturer's claims, it does not break down rapidly in the environment, and is accumulating there in concerning quantities.


Why Is Groundwater Contamination An Important Finding?

Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface, that supplies aquifers, wells and springs. If a chemical like glyphosate is mobile enough to get into the groundwater and is intrinsically resistant to being biodegraded (after all, it is being used to kill/degrade living things - not the other way around), significant environmental exposures to humans using the water are inevitable.

Keep in mind that glyphosate is considered by the EPA as a Class III toxic substance, fatal to an adult at 30 grams, and has been linked to over 20 adverse health effects in the peer-reviewed, biomedical literature.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 07:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the 1%'s plan to deal with global climate change ... kill off the 99% with tainted water while they drink from private clean sources.  Gotta admit, with 99% of the world's population gone it would solve a host of problems. Don't hear any doable solutions coming from the 99% so why not.

Yes, I know, I'm part of the 99% but what the hell, can't live forever and I don't want to see Sac when it runs out of food for folks like me. Going hungry was for my parents ... look what it did to them.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 08:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I get it now. Roundup ... as in the "last roundup" from the old TV westerns ... for the world's population problem. Somebody at Monsanto had a good sense of humor ... hope he got promoted.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 09:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the article in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry:

Abstract - SpringerLink

Determination of glyphosate in groundwater samples using an ultrasensitive immunoassay and confirmation by on-line solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry

But you have to buy access and in fact even the abstract is unavailable.

Pity, because the Birth of a New Earth site that refers to it is pretty crazy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 20th, 2011 at 02:24:41 AM EST
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Another article referred to there (with abstract):

Chang - 2011 - Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - Wiley Online Library

Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere

which found glyphosate molecules present in air and rain in the American Middle West.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 20th, 2011 at 02:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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