Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good News

The push towards the electric car Contact Republican leaders
President Obama's March 19 visit to a
California electric vehicle test site is good news.

The Department of Energy tests and evaluates electric cars at the
Electric Vehicle Technical Center run by Southern California Edison.
Obama has often discussed both solar power and electric cars. Both would
help free the nation from dependence on expensive foreign energy
Republicans have a choice to follow the trail to
environmental prosperity or grind their wheels in the dust of a a trail
called "No." A do-nothing approach won't get us anywhere as a country.

Here's petition for activist Republican leaders and a chance for you to
sign on.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Redistributing Energy

Big expensive power plants, or small distribution centers.  How do we think about redesigning the grid?  Is it analogous to the mainframe computer versus the PC network again, only now we're talking about electricity instead of bits and bytes?  

This issue is one of the most formidable challenges for engineers and scientists, energy plants, legislators, and the country at large within the next few years.  Decisions taken soon will have ramifications for decades to come.

For an interesting post and excellent reader comments, see this NY Times article and reader feedback at:

Invest in new lightbulbs

Lightbulbs can save you energy and money.

Energy saving lightbulbs are available for every type of location, lamp, and use. Bulbs that are dimmable, that fit in your ceiling fan, outdoor lights, track lights, fixtures, and lamps.  

Let's take an example.

You live in Illinois, and you want to change out TWO 6-watt bulbs for compact fluorescents. Over the life of your new bulbs, you will save $44.93 in your energy bill. And you'll be doing the country a favor, because you will stop 670 pounds of greenhouse gas from going into the atmosphere.

So do it.
Where? Lots of places.

One of the country's leaders in selling and making the lightbulbs easy to find is Wal-mart. In 2006 Wal-mart put on a campaign to sell to every one of its 100 million regular customers just ONE compact fluorescent bulb. Yes, they are doing it to make money. And yes, they are doing it to save energy as well, which saved Wal-mart.  The company anticipated a $2.6 million saving from changing its refrigerator-case lightbulbs in 500 stores.

You can also buy the bulbs from Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS drugs, KMart, Target, and many other stores.

How can you help the world, too?
According to the EPA, 

"If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars."

Join the effort. You've got nothing to lose, and your own pocket to fill.

                                     If you want to calculate your savings on different kinds of bulbs, go to

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Don't see a doctor -- just ask the paper boy

George Will is losing it.  On Feb. 16,  he insisted (as usual) there's no such thing as global warming.   Even self-appointed energy "expert" Sarah Palin backed down on that assertion -- she just doesn't admit humans have anything to do with it.  

George doesn't have to worry about the electorate, so he can continue to defend Exxon or the coal lobby or whoever is supported his claims.  These behind-the-scenes supporters make George really brave.  In this case bravery descended to bravado when he made up his own science and cited the Arctic Climate Research group from the University of Illinois as backup.

Trouble is, he didn't quote them accurately. Here's what they really have to say.

Sea ice extent averaged over the Northern Hemisphere has decreased correspondingly over the past 50 years . . . . The largest change has been observed in the summer months with decreases exceeding 30%.   

----- from Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois (

George keeps making the same mistake.  When he wants to get explanations about science, he prefers the views of a political scientist like Bjorn Lomborg instead of a Nobel physicist like Steven Chu.  Interesting.  Do you suppose when he's sick, he just talks to the paper boy instead of a doctor?

Poor George.  Perhaps he's lost his capacity to read and understand.  So, since a picture is worth a thousand words, we'd like to suggest that he try NASA photos instead.  I'll bet George's paper carrier can see that there's a lot less ice in 2003 than in 1980.