Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tell Congress to get out of the way and if they don't fire them this November.

Personal transportation is important, but, the easiest way to save on fuel costs is commuting. It is simple and the culture is available to make it pleasurable. Commuting by rail also provides prep time before arriving to work to catch the latest news, sports updates or finish the project report.

Community to a single destiny is the easiest way to save money. The same train to work and home again, with healthy walking if the train is not a long distance from home. But, most modern commuter lines have large parking lots at rail side. It is silly to do it any other way and it adds to personal time, quality of life and consistency in a daily schedule. No more traffic pattern worries, accidents or frustration. 

I lived in Boston for a year and I loved it. I never took a car to that city. I flew in, took a taxi to a high rise in town and the train took me everywhere else. It was no problem and there was never a destination within the city and local burbs I could not get to without a hassle. You don't know how nice it is until you've tried it. 

The future is here, Congress needs to stop their politicking around the money pouring out of every American's budget when it comes to transportation and fuel cost.

Ten years is not that far away. Plan now. Be proud of your potential to avert disaster when the global petroleum industry fails.

May 15, 2012, 11:47 a.m. EDT

Volatile Gas Prices Point to Increased Use of Public Transportation (click here)

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Public Transit Industry Teams With Building America's Future to Call Upon Congress to Act Now and Ensure Public Transit Systems Have the Resources to Handle Added Demand
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Building America's Future (BAF) today released a study predicting that record numbers of Americans will turn to public transportation as a cost-cutting measure in the face of volatile gas prices. To meet this impending surge in demand, APTA and BAF are calling on Congress to pass a multi-year, fully funded surface transportation bill as the Senate and House begin Conference Committee negotiations.
The analysis used historical trends and independent research data to make predictions on the impact gas prices would have on public transit ridership across the nation. It showed that on average, nationwide public transportation systems will add nearly 200 million new trips this year even as gas prices fluctuate by as much as 50 cents per gallon.
For example, as gas prices approached an average of $4 a gallon nationally this year, the analysis predicted an additional 290 million passenger trips could be expected on average for the year, resulting in more than 10.7 billion trips per year. Even as gas prices drop to $3.75, the analysis predicted there would still be an additional 240 million passenger trips because of the volatile up and down nature of fuel prices. These behaviors show that Americans are looking for a long-term, sustainable alternative to driving....
Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 02/10/2011
By Luke Rosiak
Amtrak ridership has risen for 15 months in a row, and last month marked its best January ever with 2.1 million passengers. In seven of the last eight years, it has set yearly records, and carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2010.
The fast-traveling Acela Express showed a ridership increase of 9.2 percent in October through January compared to a year prior.
Officials attributed it to an improving economy, high gas prices, increased popularity of rail, and the addition of Wi-Fi internet to the Acela.
"The steady rise in ridership demonstrates a growing demand and the ongoing need for a national intercity passenger rail system," Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. "With oil approaching $100 a barrel, we expect to continue to post strong ridership numbers as more and more people choose Amtrak to meet their transportation needs."
Vice President Joe Biden joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Philadelphia this week to tout a proposed $53 billion for high-speed and intercity rail service over the next six years....

Amtrak at 110 mph in western Mich., northern Ind. (click here)

But rail crossings lack safety mechanisms planned for Illinois route

February 08, 2012|By Jon Hilkevitch, TRIBUNE REPORTER
Amtrak passenger trains sped up to 110 mph for the first time Tuesday in western Michigan and northern Indiana on two routes serving Chicago, officials announced.
But the railroad crossings lack safety mechanisms that will be installed on Illinois' high-speed corridor to prevent vehicle-train collisions.
The faster service, which is the first expansion of regional high-speed trains outside the northeastern U.S., is occurring on about 80 miles of a 97-mile stretch of Amtrak-owned track between Kalamazoo, Mich., and Porter, Ind.
Republican lead states have turned down funding for High Speed Rail. They will be sorry in the long run.
May 13, 2012
...On Amtrak's Wolverine service, (click here) which goes from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Mich., and then to Detroit and Pontiac, Mich., the train reaches speeds of up to 110 mph. It's the fastest of any U.S. train outside the Northeast Corridor. It is quite a feat, even though the train is only able to go that fast over about a 90-mile portion of the trip.
"It's got to be viewed as only the beginning," says Joe Szabo, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. He says additional track and signal improvements are underway to help speed up trains throughout the Midwest.
"So in the next two to two-and-a-half years, you're going to see almost 80 percent of Chicago-Detroit and almost 80 percent of Chicago-St. Louis at sustained speeds of 110 mph."
That would reduce travel times on those routes to fewer than four hours, making the train faster than driving and competitive with flying, says Szabo.
Both the Michigan and Illinois routes are benefiting because other states have been turning down funding for high-speed rail funds....

Amtrak High Speed Rail Study (Video at link below)

On September 28, 2010, at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Amtrak unveiled its vision for next-generation high-speed passenger rail service for the Northeast Corridor of the United States. 
To validate its vision, (click here) Amtrak engaged AECOM, a leading provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world, to conduct a comprehensive technical and economic feasibility analysis for high-speed rail service on the Northeast Corridor.
Under the study’s accelerated 12-week schedule, AECOM worked closely with Amtrak staff to deliver a concept plan for a true high-speed rail corridor extending from Washington, D.C., to Boston.  Amtrak’s report, A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor, confirmed the viability of high-speed rail service in the Northeast. Trains would operate at up to 220 miles per hour on a new, dedicated, two-track corridor with a trip time of just under three hours and 30 minutes between Washington and Boston, approximately half the current schedule. 
Upon completion in 2040, annual high-speed train ridership in the corridor would approach 18 million passengers and generate an annual operating surplus of approximately $900 million for Amtrak.  Under the “Next-Gen HSR Vision,” high-speed rail departures would increase from the current average of one per hour to four per hour in each direction, with additional service in the peak periods. Total daily high-speed rail departures would increase from 42 today to as many as 148 in 2040. In addition, full system operation in 2040 would utilize only about one third of the system’s capacity, leaving room to expand service sufficiently to accommodate up to 80 million annual high-speed rail passengers compared with 3 million in 2010.

High Speed Rail in the USA.

It is interesting Texas is planning a bullet train. Whether or not they actually build it relies on funding, private funding. There are many implications with private funding, but, this may be a financing option. The effort to make this happen should prove to be of interest.

Anyway, high speed rail is the future and the sooner the nation gets their minds around that reality, the better.

Posted Wednesday, May. 09, 2012

LEIPZIG, Germany -- They travel more than 200 mph, (click here) and during 48 years of operation in Japan, they have never been involved in a fatal crash.
They are bullet trains, a form of transportation many Texans thought they'd never see -- unless they were on vacation in Asia or Europe. But rail advocates say a proposal to build a high-speed line connecting Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston may happen a lot sooner than many residents think -- possibly by 2020.
A group led by Central Japan Railway Co. that includes notable Texans such as former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels is seeking roughly $10 billion in private investment. Officials with that group, who plan to brief the Regional Transportation Council today in Arlington, say they will not ask for federal or state funding....

Read more here:

ITV Central News- Biofuel powered Bus converted by Regenatec

There are still concerns about the ethical content of biodiesel.

The cutting edge of biodiesel belongs to Berkley, California. It is not without its own critique of the practice when the source changes from recycled vegetable oil to soybeans.

Berkeley first in Bay Area to recycle with biodiesel

Trucks from Ecology Center run on waste oil from restaurants (cick here)

(04-24) 04:00 PDT Berkeley -- The city of Berkeley, which pioneered curbside recycling, has scored another environmental first by running the trucks that pick up newspapers, bottles and cans on fuel made from recycled vegetable oil.
"It smells like doughnuts, it's pretty weird," truck driver Todd Miller said yesterday. "I'm used to it now, but for the first couple weeks it smelled like one of those all-night doughnut shops."
The fuel, known as biodiesel, is made from waste oil collected from restaurants such as McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts and KFC. Advocates say that although the fuel is more expensive than regular diesel, it burns cleaner, is an alternative to fossil fuels and can be used in any diesel engine....

Biodiesel (click here)

Saturday, February 26th, 10am to 4pm
3107 Etcheverry Hall, UC Berkeley
Number of participants: 25
This homebrew workshop is a quick-moving, hands-on class, where you will make several small batches of biodiesel, learn safety and basic lab processes, test oil and biodiesel for quality, and work with ethanol and discuss acid-base biodiesel processes.
Students will also make a full size batch of biodiesel in a homebrew reactor, we will demonstrate washing processes, demonstrate purification of glycerol and it's uses, discuss biodiesel reactors and demonstrate methanol recovery equipment, discuss solar heating for the process, discuss heat exchangers, use of vacuum for energy savings, dewatering of waste vegetable oil, safe glycerol/waste oil burners for process heat, biodiesel co-ops and production groups, and more.

We need to resolve these problems. There has to be a sustainable source of biodiesel to replace the products of the petroleum industry. I am confident there are hybrid forms of soybeans that can be grown in hydroponics in greenhouses the size of a warehouse to solve this. Rapid growing and high yielding specifically for biodiesel. If California can build the Cyrstal Cathedral it can build a greenhouse large enough to supply biodiesel for its commuter needs.

Bloom is off the biodiesel rose: Berkeley says "no" to soy biofuel (click here)

January 9, 2009
Often in the lead in progressive causes, the City of Berkeley started using biodiesel in more than 100 city vehicles six years ago. For a while, the biofuel came from recycled waste grease and everyone was happy. The source shifted to crop soybeans when not enough grease could be found but, due to new concerns about growing crops for fuel, the city has now decided that enough is enough. The City Council took delivery of its last shipment of biodiesel made from soy last month and will discuss formalizing its biodiesel policy this fall, taking land impacts around the world into account. The city had been burning biodiesel in trucks and other heavy machinery. Deputy Public Works Director Andrew Clough told Inside Bay Area that, "What seemed like a really good idea maybe isn't such a good idea as we thought because of all the considerations."

Berkley is sincere about biodiesel. It has dedicated a great deal of effort to the investigation of the fuel and all the pitfalls along the way. We need different synthetic gaskets, too. The problems are not huge and can build more economy than one realizes.

Usage Of Biodiesel Fuel (click here)

Biodiesel fuel usage can be done in pure form or it may be blended with petroleum diesel at any concentration, as in most injection pump diesel engines. Let us study the usage of biodiesel fuel on this page.
New common rail engines with extreme high pressure have stern factory limits of using biodiesel fuel, B5 or B20 depending on manufacturer. As Biodiesel fuel has different solvent properties than petrodiesel, it can degrade natural rubber gaskets and hoses in vehicles. Plus Biodiesel has been known to break down deposits of residue in the fuel lines, so as a result, fuel filters may get clogged with particulates if there has been a fast transition to pure biodiesel fuel. Therefore, when using biodiesel fuel, it is suggested to change the fuel filters on engines and heaters in a while after first switching to a biodiesel blend.
Manufacturer acceptance and vehicular usage of biodiesel fuel began in 2005, when Chrysler released the Jeep Liberty CRD diesels into the American market with 5% biodiesel blends. This was an indication of at least partial acceptance of biodiesel fuel usage. 2004 saw the the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia updating its bus system to allow the fleet of city buses to run completely on a fish-oil based biodiesel fuel. In 2007, McDonalds in UK announced that it would start producing biodiesel from the wasteoil of its restaurants and use biodiesel fuel to run its fleet...

The solar industry was sincerely impacted by the global recession.

Posted on Thursday, 05.17.12


The Obama administration ordered tariffs of 31 percent and higher on solar panels imported from China, escalating a simmering trade dispute with China over a case that has sharply divided American interests in the growing clean-energy industry.
The Commerce Department announced the stiff duties Thursday after making a preliminary finding that Chinese solar panel manufacturers "dumped" their goods - that is, sold them at below fair-market value.
The widely anticipated ruling, if affirmed by U.S. trade officials this fall, is expected to have significant implications for both the global production of solar cells, now largely in China, and the growth of the solar energy industry in the U.S., which employs about 100,000 people in manufacturing, installation and services.
More than 60 Chinese firms, including Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world's largest solar panel maker, and Trina Solar Ltd., face a 31 percent duty on their exports to the U.S., retroactive to shipments made in February. All other Chinese exporters of solar cells will be hit with a tariff of 250 percent....
In Connecticut, however, there is a lot of incentive for residents to LEASE solar panels from their energy company. It save money.
Demands for solar panels feel when the global recession hit Europe. European countries found their austerity cut government incentives to encourage the use of alternative energies, simply because they are new infrastructure projects. The price of solar panels fell because they were not in high demand and the Chinese labor market could turn them out far less then labor anywhere else in The West. But, the scenery is changing and USA manufacturer of quality products and their use in local economies are proving to bring back the demand.

Conn. subsidies seen spurring home solar power (click here)

By Stephen Singer
AP Business Writer / May 20, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn.—Dmitri Donskoy figures he'll save only $20 a month on his electricity bill after solar panels are installed on the roof of his home under a state-subsidized program. But he shrugs it off because the green energy appeals to his environmental concerns.
Donskoy, a software developer in Prospect, said he was motivated to go solar after Connecticut officials killed a wind turbine proposed for the town last year.
"It was partly sparked by my annoyance of the cancellation of the windmill project," he said. "There must be a way for us to contribute."
Installing solar panels could cost, on average, $35,000, according to a state energy agency spokesman. Donskoy says he's leasing because he doesn't have thousands of dollars to spend, instead paying a solar company $58 a month for his electricity.
"The savings didn't motivate me. It's really the environmental aspects," Donskoy said.
Solar energy is seen as one way to save in Connecticut, where residential electricity costs were the third highest in the United States in 2010, exceeded only by Hawaii and New York, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Solar represents a fraction of the state's overall energy supply, but backers hope it will grow....

Read more here:

Congress needs to get out of the way of progress.

Northwest Bucks National Wind Power Becalming (click here)

...The American Wind Energy Association tracks wind farm construction.  The association's Elizabeth Salerno says the economy has taken a toll on her industry. 
She figures a bigger reason for the slowdown is Congress stalling on extension of a tax credit for wind developers.  But Salerno says wind farm expansion continues at a brisk pace in the Northwest.
Elizabeth Salerno: "It's an active region and the reason for that is both Washington and Oregon get it in terms of policy.  Strong renewable portfolio standards have been put in place in both states really sending a signal to all the different companies active in wind that the region is open for business."
Salerno says in 2010's third quarter Oregon added more new wind generation than any other state including perennial chart leader Texas....
Hydroelectric supported by wind power, now that is a green solution.

BPA orders NW wind farms to curtail production (click here)

The Bonneville Power Administration twice ordered Pacific Northwest wind farms to cut production in recent days because it has a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams.
Associated Press
The Bonneville Power Administration twice ordered Pacific Northwest wind farms to cut production in recent days because it has a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams.
The agency, which manages much of the power grid in the Northwest, confirmed it issued the orders during the early morning hours of Sunday and Monday, when demand is low.
The action rekindles a dispute from last year, when the agency curtailed wind turbines because the water from a large mountain snowpack left the region with more hydropower than the electrical grid could handle.
Michael Milstein, a BPA spokesman, said spring runoff has picked up in the past month or two. "Originally it wasn't looking like that wet of a year, but that has changed," he said....

There are coastal areas everywhere in the world receiving the wrath of human induced global warming.

Delaivadra Village foreshore (looking south) showing the proximity of dwellings to the shoreline and the
elevation of the sandy strip where the houses are built (around 0.5m above high water). The recently built
(last 18 months) groynes can be seen crossing the active beach (at the time of study long shore transport
was towards the camera [northwards]).

These people are very worried about their lost Mangroves. 
They are trees that do very well in salt water. And they 
are being destroyed by sea level rise, so the people are 
attempting to build groines to plant seedlings in hope 
the Mangrove forests will again thrive.

Why are Mangrove Forests important? Because there are 
entire ecosystems that live among their roots, including, fish
for dinner.

Climate change in Labasa (click here)

Osea Sokomuri
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Jotame Ratabua, a 73-year-old villager in Yadua Island in Bua, and Tevita Rokuta, 74 of Salevukoso Village in Druadrua Island, Macuata do not need scientific reports to tell them that the sea is rising and affecting their islands.
The beaches of their childhood are disappearing.
In Druadrua, an old village shop was no more, washed away by the rise in sea level; the two houses that are closer to the beach are on the verge of being washed away. Both the islands are under threat as evidence has shown coastal erosion taking place, claiming the beach forefront. Left behind on the beach where the coastal erosion has taken place are visible foundations of tree trunks.
Global Warming or Climate Change is the measurable increases in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and landmasses....

The study supplying these images can be found if you click here.

Coastal areas will receive strong tides with these storms due to sea level rise.

Horse lovers grow up reading about the free-roaming ponies of Assateague Island.

May 19, 2012, 4:54 PM

Wild Ponies and Wild Weather

...It took decades (click here) for the delicate coastal ecosystems to recover, the cities and towns to rebuild, and the wild ponies to regain their numbers. In one way the storm was lucky for the ponies. Assateague was being developed as an island resort, but after the roads and structures were washed away, developers abandoned the idea, and the island joined the National Park Service instead. Only the fittest and smartest ponies survived, and their genes live on in the current herd, which is vigorous, canny and well adapted to the rigors of a maritime landscape....

"Alberto" the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

May 20, 2012
UNISYS Enhanced Infrared Southeast USA (click here for 12 hour loop)

It has been more than interesting to witness first hand how a 'near shore hurricane' forms. I was in Wilmington, North Carolina for a few days and will probably return there before much longer to observe "Alberto" more closely.

It is the 'sea spray' you see. The sun goes down, but, the tide never stops. While the air is cool along the coast the sea mist consolidates into clouds above the ocean. After the initial beginning the clouds then take on a very odd characteristic during the day as the moisture from the repeating sea spray is carried to higher altitudes to begin to spin and form a heat vortex.

May 20, 2012
UNISYS Water Vapor USA (click here for 12 hour loop)

There are two front boundaries moving toward each other. The hurricane is noted off Georgia/South Carolina. Interestingly though, the two boundaries are defining themselves along another moisture source, the Mississippi River.

May 20, 2012
UNISYS Water Vapor of North and West Hemisphere (click here for 12 hour loop)

But the accumulation for the Alberto isn't all from near shore sea spray, there is also a very dense water vapor trail immediately to the east of it.

From The Boston Globe:

...Alberto (click here) is this years first tropical storm and radar is already picking up some rain off the southeast coast. Alberto is expected to stay off the coast and not make landfall. Some moisture from Alberto could get pulled into our area Monday and enhance our showers just a bit. Anytime you get a tropical system involved with another low pressure area, the rainfall from the non-tropical storm can be higher. Most of the heaviest rain should stay off the coast Monday night.

It was interesting to watch this hurricane develop and all the weather persons be wrong. They were predicting a movement out to sea and a good weekend. By Friday evening they finally realized this system wasn't going anywhere. I was waiting for someone to say this is looking like the first storm of the season, but, I guess they are still expecting them to come from Africa. The air next to Earth is very dry and very hot. Where air evaporates in large quantities it will accumulate and form a turbulent system. There is too much heat for it to simply move offshore.

The Age of Fossil Fuel is Over.

Peak Oil occurred in 2005. When the Oil Embargo of 1973 should have been a turning point in the USA to perfect and change the methodology of energy to the domestic need. That turning point never occurred in the face of scientists stating is was vital to make the coarse correction.

In ten years or less, there is a very strong probability the fossil fuels will double in cost and the global economy will tank unless that coarse correction is made NOW.

Oh, yeah. This is a report by the International Monetary Fund. I take it this is news to you. It didn't exactly make front page headlines in the USA since Republicans are demanding the XL Pipeline is their bottom line to energy dependence from Canada.

Interesting, isn't it? 

World Oil Price to Double by 2022 – IMF Report

MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti)
World oil prices may double (click here) in the next decade with a disastrous effect on the global economy according to a report commissioned by the IMF, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday .
Global oil prices are currently hovering at historically high levels of $110 per barrel but a combination of rising demand and constrained supply could have major consequences for the global economy, the paper said.
"Our prediction of small further increases in world oil production comes at the expense of a near doubling, permanently, of real oil prices over the coming decade," the paper quoted the report's authors as saying.
"This is uncharted territory for the world economy, which has never experienced such prices for more than a few months."
Persistently high oil prices are already threatening the global economic recovery, International Energy Agency Director Maria van der Hoeven said.
Although prices have eased somewhat in recent weeks, the threat of heightened political tension over Iran, limited spare production capacity and unplanned supply outages remain, she said....

It's Sunday Night

Donna Summer - She Works Hard For The Money ( HQ )

Donna Summer (click here)

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

Onetta there in the corner stand
and wonders where she is and
it's strange to her
some people seem to have everything

Nine a.m. on the hour hand
and she's waiting for the bell
and she's looking real pretty
just wait for her clientele

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

Twenty five years have
come and gone
and she' seen a lot of tears
of the ones who come in
they really seem to need her there

It's a sacrifice working day to day
for little money just tips for pay
But it's worth it all
just to hear them say that they care

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

She already knows
she's seen her bad times
she already knows
these are the good times

She'll never sell out
she never will
not for a dollar bill
she works hard

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money
so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money
so you better treat her right