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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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If nuclear power is such a good idea, why does it need financial help from U.S. taxpayers?

Why is the Obama administration using taxpayer money to back a nuclear plant that’s already being built?
BY STEVEN MUFSON
February 21 at 12:30 pm

If nuclear power is such a good idea, why does it need financial help from U.S. taxpayers?

This week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that the Obama administration would extend a $6.5 billion federal loan guarantee to cover part of the cost of building two new reactors at Southern Co.’s Alvin W. Vogtle site. Thursday he went to Waynesboro, Ga. to finalize the deal. Another $1.8 billion in guarantees could come soon.

The impact: Southern’s Georgia Power subsidiary, which owns 46 percent of the project, will save $225 million to $250 million because the loan guarantee will reduce interest costs. Instead of borrowing from a commercial bank, Southern can now borrow at rock bottom rates from the government’s Federal Financing Bank. And you, gentle reader, the taxpayer, take on all the risk if the project goes bust. Does the name Solyndra ring a bell?

If that’s not enough, Southern is also getting help from the federal production tax credit and other federal incentives that will ultimately save the company an additional $2 billion or so, Southern’s chief executive Tom Fanning said on a Jan. 29 conference call about earnings.

“This is a deeply subsidized project that will cost the taxpayers a lot,” said Ken Glozer, a former Office of Management and Budget senior official ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/21/why-is-the-obama-administration-using-taxpayer-money-to-back-a-nuclear-plant-thats-already-being-built/

FYI Wiki wants comments TOU Amendment: Paid contribution disclosure

Contents
1 TOU Amendment: Paid contribution disclosure
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Proposed amendment
2 FAQ on disclosure of paid contributions
2.1 Why is this disclosure provision necessary?
2.2 What is the "applicable law" for paid contributions on Wikipedia? Are undisclosed paid contributions potentially illegal?
2.3 Are there other possible negative effects of paid contributions?
2.4 What do you mean by “compensation”?
2.5 What does the phrase “employer, client, and affiliation” mean?
2.6 Are paid editing disclosures required only when editing Wikipedia articles?
2.7 Does this provision mean that paid contributions are always allowed as long as I make the disclosure?
2.8 Does this mean that Wikimedia Projects must change their policies?
2.9 How should I disclose paid contributions in my user page?
2.10 How should I disclose paid contributions in my edit summary?
2.11 References

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment

Wired Mag. finds Star Trek Logo in NASA Mars Landscape photos - dial-up warning

?itok=GAMRUzpZ


Alerted to the miraculous proof of ET by the Wired article I located the direct link at the NASA photo of the day gallery.
http://digitaljournal.com/tech/science/mars-orbiter-spots-star-trek-logo-in-dunes-on-mars/article/372161

American Physical Society validates Amory Lovins' multi-decade focus on energy efficiency

Founded in 1899, the American Physical Society (APS) is the largest organization of professional physicists in the United States. Its 46,000 members are drawn from universities, industry and national laboratories. The APS is one of the premier publishers of international physics research, maintaining print and on-line publications, as well as electronically searchable archives dating back to 1893.
For more than forty years, APS has also devoted resources and expertise to a number of public policy areas, including education, energy, innovation and competitiveness, national security and science research programs. As part of its policy work, APS periodically prepares technical analyses on subjects of significant public interest. This report follows in the tradition of past APS studies and represents a fresh look at the subject of energy efficiency, which the Society first examined in 1975.


HOW AMERICA CAN LOOK WITHIN TO ACHIEVE ENERGY SECURITY AND REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
September 2008 http://www.aps.org/energyefficiencyreport/

Introduction
Whether you want the United States to achieve greater energy security by weaning itself off foreign oil, sustain strong economic growth in the face of worldwide competition or reduce global warming by decreasing carbon emissions, energy efficiency is where you need to start. Thirty-five years ago the U.S. adopted national strategies, implemented policies and developed technol- ogies that significantly improved energy efficiency. More than three decades have passed since then, and science and technology have progressed considerably, but U.S. energy policy has not. It is time to revisit the issue.
In this report we examine the scientific and technological oppor- tunities and policy actions that can make the United States more energy efficient, increase its security and reduce its impact on global warming. We believe the findings and recommendations will help Congress and the next administration to realize these goals. Our focus is on the transportation and buildings sectors of the economy. The opportunities are huge and the costs are small.

http://www.aps.org/energyefficiencyreport/report/aps-energyreport.pdf

From their website:
Energy = Future
Think Efficiency

A Different Kind of Energy Efficiency Report
Scientific and Technological Emphasis


Energy Future: Think Efficiency differs from other energy efficiency reports in its emphasis on scientific and technological options and analysis. Developed by a panel of leading experts in energy policy with backgrounds in physics, engineering, economics, and policy, Energy Future: Think Efficiency examines what works, what can work soon, and what is feasible for the future. Based on emerging technologies, this report targets which research and development gives America the best return for its dollars.


The News is Good
Key Energy Efficiency Conclusions


After scientifically evaluating a wide variety of energy-saving ideas and alternative energy sources, such as hybrid cars, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, solar power, and wind power, the report recommends many short term and long term goals. The good news is that the news is good.

Improving energy efficiency is relatively easy and inexpensive.
Numerous technologies already exist to increase energy efficiency and save consumers money.

Buildings and Transportation
Highlighting Highest Consumption


Focusing on transportation and buildings, two areas that consume two-thirds of our energy, Energy Future: Think Efficiency specifically outlines priorities for the next administration’s energy policies—for the immediate future and decades ahead.

http://www.aps.org/energyefficiencyreport/index.cfm

Hyperbole Hurts: The Surprising Truth About Methamphetamine

Hyperbole Hurts: The Surprising Truth About Methamphetamine

Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush’s attorney general, called it “the most dangerous drug in America.” A physician quoted by The New York Times described it as “the most malignant, addictive drug known to mankind.” A police captain told the Times it “makes crack look like child’s play, both in terms of what it does to the body and how hard it is to get off.”

Meanwhile, doctors routinely prescribe this drug and others very similar to it for conditions such as narcolepsy, obesity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If these drugs are as dangerous as Gonzales et al. claim, how can millions of Americans—including schoolchildren—safely consume them on a regular basis?

Columbia neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart explores that puzzle in a new report that aims to separate fact from fiction on the subject of methamphetamine. Hart and his two co-authors—University of North Carolina at Wilmington philosopher Don Habibi and Joanne Csete, deputy director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program—argue that hyping the hazards posed by meth fosters a punitive and counterproductive overreaction similar to the one triggered by the crack cocaine panic of the 1980s, the consequences of which still afflict our criminal justice system. “The data show that many of the immediate and long-term harmful effects caused by methamphetamine use have been greatly exaggerated,” Hart et al. write, “just as the dangers of crack cocaine were overstated nearly three decades ago.”

The report, published by the Open Society Foundations, begins by considering the addictive potential of methamphetamine. Despite all the talk of a “meth epidemic,” the drug has never been very popular. “At the height of methamphetamine’s popularity,” Hart et al. write, “there were never more than a million current users of the drug in the United States. This number is considerably lower than the 2.5 million cocaine users, the 4.4 million illegal prescription opioid users, or the 15 million marijuana smokers during the same period.” Furthermore, illicit methamphetamine use had been waning for years at the point when Newsweek identified “The Meth Epidemic” as “America’s New Drug Crisis.”

Although methamphetamine is ....

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/02/20/hyperbole-hurts-the-surprising-truth-about-methamphetamine/

The Hypocritical Whining of the Nuclear Industry

Why The Economics Don't Favor Nuclear Power In America

This guest article is by Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment.

2/20/2014

From 2011 through 2013, as the overwhelming majority of the new reactors that had been proposed as part of the “Nuclear Renaissance” were abandoned or delayed, the industry blamed low natural gas prices. In 2013, when five old reactors were retired early, and today with many old reactors being considered for early retirement, the industry blames low wholesale prices that result from a market that is distorted by the entry of subsidized wind power.

The irony in these complaints is that for fifty years the selection of generating capacity has been rigged in favor of nuclear power with socialized accident insurance and waste management costs, forced purchase of overpriced power, and advanced recovery of construction costs. Nuclear advocates complaining about policies that balance things out a bit to give other generation resources a decent chance of delivering electricity would be laughably hypocritical, if it weren’t so important. In fact, if the playing field were actually level, nuclear would be in even more trouble than it is.

The nuclear hypocrisy does not stop with complaints about subsidies. The nuclear utilities continue to complain about the challenges of the safety and licensing requirements imposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even after they convinced Congress to streamline and reform the process in the 2005. Yet, these challenges are matched by the obstacles utilities put in the path of alternatives at the public utility commissions, with hostile interconnection requirements, unfair contract conditions and uneconomic tariffs.

The fifty year failure of nuclear power to be economically competitive compels nuclear advocates to label every pro-consumer analysis as anti-nuclear. The anti-nuclear label is used to avoid the inconvenient truth about nuclear: it is and has been unable to compete economically with the alternatives available. More importantly, it is not likely to be able to compete for the foreseeable future.

The economic reality is that efficiency...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2014/02/20/why-the-economics-dont-favor-nuclear-power-in-america/

Plan to divide California into 6 states advances

Source: AP

LOS ANGELES — California has reached the breaking point, says Tim Draper. The Silicon Valley venture capitalist is pushing a proposal to crack the nation’s most populous state into smaller pieces — six of them.

California has grown so big, so inefficient, it’s essentially ungovernable, according to a ballot initiative that could reach voters as early as November.

...“Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government,” according to Draper’s plan, which cleared a key government hurdle this week, part of the process to qualify for the ballot. California residents “would be better served by six smaller state governments.”

In an interview Thursday, Draper said he has seen a state once regarded as a model slide into decline — many public schools are troubled, transportation, water and other infrastructure systems are overmatched and outdated, spending on prisons has soared.

A group of ...

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/plan-to-divide-california-into-6-states-advances/2014/02/20/2d46fc70-9a90-11e3-9900-dd917233cf9c_story.html



Even if you don't wish to read the rest of the article do yourself a favor and click through to read what just might be the most intriguing solution to prison overcrowding ever.
Look for BubbaNicholson's comment.

Hydraulic seafloor carpet could harness the energy of ocean waves

Hydraulic seafloor carpet could harness the energy of ocean waves

Derek Markham
Technology / Clean Technology
February 18, 2014

In the quest for another renewable energy source that can potentially provide a constant source of carbon-free power, researchers at UC Berkeley are working on extracting the energy of ocean waves, and looking to use a hydraulic seafloor 'carpet' to harvest and convert it to usable energy. After all, the sun goes down, and the winds die, but the waves just keep coming, so ocean energy could be a feasible option for clean renewable energy in areas near the coast.

Reza Alam, an assistant professor at UC Berkely and an expert in wave mechanics, is working on a wave-to-energy 'carpet' that uses a thin sheet of rubber on the seafloor, sitting on top of a system of hydraulic actuators, which are then pumped by using the motion of the carpet in the waves. The resulting hydraulic pressure is piped to shore for conversion to usable energy, allowing for the harvesting of power from the ocean with minimal visual and physical impact on both sea life and boats on the surface.

"There is a vast amount of untapped energy in the oceans, and with increasing worldwide demand for power, the need to find cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels is critical. We are also seeing greater population growth along coastal cities, so the ocean-based system we are developing would produce electricity in a carbon-neutral way right where it is needed.” - Alam


Alam says he got his idea for a seafloor carpet from the mechanics of muddy seabeds, which naturally dampen the energy from surface waves, and that this system could take advantage of areas which are normally not usable for recreation or fishing. The team is looking to locate the system in shallow coastal waters, about 60 feet deep, and is investigating the use of nearshore dead zones for a pilot project.

According to Berkeley, early wave tank experiments with the seafloor carpet system found that it was able to absorb over 90% of the incoming wave energy, and that not only was the system able to operate successfully in stormy conditions, but was found to be "even more efficient when ocean waves are stronger."

Currently...

http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/harnessing-energy-ocean-waves-hydraulic-seafloor-carpet.html


The press release from UC Berkeley with video
http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/01/28/seafloor-carpet-catches-waves-to-harness-energy/

As Obama Vows to Act on Climate Change, Justices Weigh His Approach

As Obama Vows to Act on Climate Change, Justices Weigh His Approach
By ADAM LIPTAKFEB. 19, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama in recent days has been announcing muscular executive actions to address climate change, making good on his promise to act on pressing problems “with or without Congress.” On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider the limits of that approach, in a case on greenhouse gas emissions.

The justices are poised to decide whether the Obama administration went too far in trying to regulate emissions from stationary sources like power plants. In the process, they are likely to weigh in on a central Republican critique of Mr. Obama: that he is misusing his executive authority.

....President Obama announced the development of tough new fuel standards for heavy-duty trucks while in Maryland on Tuesday.Obama Orders New Efficiency for Big TrucksFEB. 18, 2014
“It is far more important as a matter of optics than of actual legal consequences,” she said. If the government loses, she said, “it would be painted as another situation in which the Obama administration has overreached against the public will.”

Briefs filed in the Supreme Court by business groups and Republican lawmakers pressed that theme, one that hewed closely to criticism of the administration’s delays in carrying out the Affordable Care Act, its decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and its tolerance of state marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.

A brief from Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and other House Republicans said ...


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/us/politics/in-emissions-case-supreme-court-to-consider-the-limits-of-obamas-authority.html

“Saving Our Economic Ass”

“Saving Our Economic Ass” by Bruce Boyers of Organic Connections
Posted on September 27, 2013
Published in Organic Connections
September-October 2013

When capitalism hit the fan in 2008, it left a lot of us thinking that there must be a better way—one that takes into account not only financial success but human values that benefit and safeguard our communities and the environment. What you may not know is that this better way is already here.

Author, economist, professor and attorney Hunter Lovins has been practicing and advocating a more harmonious version of capitalism for decades. “I think I helped invent the field,” Lovins told Organic Connections when asked how she got into sustainable economics. “The word sustainability entered the English language the year I graduated college. I had planted a tree two years before for the first Earth Day and had been working on these issues, starting in the fifties with fair housing, and the sixties with civil rights and the environmental movement. I worked with Dave Brower [first executive director of the Sierra Club and founder of Earth Island Institute] in 1968. So this is not something that I’ve just come to.”

<snip>

The Cornerstones of Sustainable Management

Lovins’ proposed cornerstones of sustainable business management are somewhat simple, yet vastly profound in their implications.

“The first is efficiency,” Lovins explained. “This means that any resources taken from the earth or borrowed from the future are used far, far more efficiently. But all this does is buy time to implement more sustainable measures.

“Then we’re going to redesign how we make and deliver all products and services, using approaches like biomimicry and Walter Stahel’s cradle-to-cradle strategy, which eliminates the concept of waste; and the circular economy, now being adopted by the Chinese as the basis of their industrial policy.” This program implements the reuse and service-life extension of goods for the prevention of waste, creation of regional jobs, and resource efficiency.

“Third, manage all institutions to be restorative of human and natural capital,” Lovins continued. This of course means that enterprises not only put back that which might be taken from the environment but contribute to and enhance the forms of capital our current system is liquidating.

....


http://natcapsolutions.org/2013/09/27/saving-our-economic-ass-by-bruce-boyers-of-organic-connections/#more-3887

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