Wednesday, May 16

solar at half the cost

A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in the next few years. Initial systems, which can be made at half the cost of conventional solar panels, are set to start shipping later this year, says Brad Hines, CTO and founder of Soliant Energy, a startup based in Pasadena, CA, that has developed the new modules.

Concentrating sunlight with mirrors or lenses on a small area cuts the costs of solar power in part by reducing the amount of expensive photovoltaic material needed. But while concentrated solar photovoltaic systems are attractive for large-scale, ground-based solar farms for utilities, conventional designs are difficult to mount on rooftops, where most residential and commercial customers have space for solar panels. The systems are typically large and heavy, and they're mounted on posts so that they can move to track the sun, which makes them more vulnerable to gusts of wind than ordinary flat solar panels are.


Tuesday, May 15

the Elephant in the Room

The author of the following piece describes himself as follows:

I am a Canadian activist who is concerned about interlocking environmental issues.

My environmental interests began as a skeptic (I describe myself as a "Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Bjorn Lomborg School of "Don't Worry, Be Happy"), but I've become alarmed by the number of interconnected resource, environmental and social crises that seem to be converging on humanity all at the same time. My primary focus is on the interactions of Peak Oil, Global Warming and food security within the context of a human population in ecological overshoot.

In my opinion, Peak Oil is the near-term precipitating factor that will destabilize other human systems including the global economy and food production and distribution. Oil depletion will also greatly constrain our ability to solve other problems such as climate change, alternative energy development, pollution abatement and species extinctions.

Here is an introduction to this well considered article.

Peak Oil, Carrying Capacity and Overshoot:
Population, the Elephant in the Room

Paul Chefurka

May 13, 2007

At the root of all the converging crises of the World Problematique is the issue of human overpopulation. Each of the global problems we face today is the result of too many people using too much of our planet's finite, non-renewable resources and filling its waste repositories of land, water and air to overflowing. The true danger posed by our exploding population is not our absolute numbers but the inability of our environment to cope with so many of us doing what we do.

It is becoming clearer every day, as crises like global warming, water, soil and food depletion, biodiversity loss and the degradation of our oceans constantly worsen, that the human situation is not sustainable. Bringing about a sustainable balance between ourselves and the planet we depend on will require us, in very short order, to reduce our population, our level of activity, or both. One of the questions that comes up repeatedly in discussions of population is, "What level of human population is sustainable?" In this article I will give my analysis of that question, and offer a look at the human road map from our current situation to that level.

Read on...

Friday, May 4

US presidential candidate Mike Gravel

Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska won Best of Show at the Presidential Debate in South Carolina. To quote Richard Moore, "How rare to hear real sense from a politician in the mainstream media."

Thursday, May 3

just remember...

Here are visuals with the original soundtrack - very uplifting . . .

Whenever life get you down, Mrs. Brown

And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you've had quite enu-hu-hu-huuuuff

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour
That's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way

Our galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
It's 100,000 light-years side-to-side
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light-years thick
But out by us it's just 3000 light-years wide
We're 30,000 light-years from galactic central point
We go round every 200 million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whiz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth

Europe in Spring heatwave

PARIS, April 26, 2007 (AFP)

Much of western Europe is seeing record temperatures for April which has led to a growing drought threat in many countries. With temperatures in northern France well into the upper 20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit), the average is more than 10 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal for April, according to Meteo France, the national weather office. Belgium is having its hottest April since 1830, Germany is having record amounts of sunshine for April and the British Met Office said the first 23 days of the month were the warmest since 1945.


building 7 on Italian TV

Darn it - this one just wont go away. The official story is being shot full of holes. The world must wake up soon, or dive deeper into denial - what a hard choice. The trouble with waking up is that it comes with responsibility for doing something about what we learn.

Ignorance or denial are easier - carry on, no need to change or confront things we don't want to believe.

Sorry to have to do this to you, but I can't let you sleep...