Tuesday, August 14, 2012

State defends safety of ‘fracking’ waste disposal
Environmental advocates say the state’s refusal to conduct regular, comprehensive tests for toxic chemicals in the millions of gallons of “fracking” wastes sent down Ohio disposal wells puts the public in jeopardy.

“Folks have a right to know what’s being injected into the ground, both during the fracking process and during disposal,” said Cheryl Johncox, the director of the Buckeye Forest Council.
GM backed battery company may have breakthrough that boosts range of ...

DETROIT — A small battery company backed by General Motors is working on breakthrough technology that could power an electric car 100 (160 kilometres) or even 200 miles (320 kilometres) on a single charge in the next two-to-four years, GM's CEO said ...
Delta: Housing prices return to bubble era
Washington Post

The Washington area's housing market appears to be in full recovery. The inventory of homes for sale is very low and the number of days homes are on the market remains below the region's long-term average. The average price of a Washington area home ...

Burmese python carrying 87 eggs sets state record at 17 feet, 7 inch Palm Beach Post

Video: Indestructible Military Inchworm-Bot Survives Attack By Bootheels and Hammers PopSci  

Team deciphers retina’s neural code for brain communication to create novel prosthetic retinal device for blind ScienceFreaks

Germany warns it could veto Greek aid The Australian

NBC’s war for fun and profit Glenn Greenwald

Collapsing the line between documentary and fiction Columbia Journalism Review

What Democrats can learn from Romney-Ryanonomics Dean Baker, Guardian (John M)

Texas shooting began with eviction notice Christian Science Monitor

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chevron — the Northern California-based oil and gas company — has been quietly acquiring rights to drill for natural gas in Eastern Europe using "fracking" technology — a controversial technique. However, grassroots opposition in Bulgaria and ...

While the debate around hydrofracking has focused on its potential for groundwater contamination and the disposal of waste “fracking fluid,” the loss of rogue methane gas is another serious concern. One molecule of methane is more than 20 times more ...

The process for obtaining natural gas is called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and has been practiced for years. In the past it involved drilling a deep hole and applying water pressure at its base that cracked shale rock to release gas or oil ...

Audi R8 e-tron Electric Car Gets Fancy Digital Rearview Mirror
EarthTechling Because Audi's luxury electric vehicle, when it is released, will sport a new digital rear view one instead. The digital rear view mirror in the Audi R8 e-tron, according to the automaker, is a color monitor with a 7.7-inch display diagonal mounted in ...

Hybrid car sales not as dependent on gas prices
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sales of hybrid electric cars have followed a consistent pattern, surging when gas prices spike and then sliding when gas prices fall. Until this year, that is. A strong supply, expanded lineup and a sense that high-cost energy is here to stay combined ...

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Monday, I posted that representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation were presenting environmental groups with aspects of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to begin shale gas development in New York. I have since learned more about the plan from sources who have been briefed on it. These details were presented as conditions “on the table” to allow permitting of initial wells, with the final outcome still a work in progress. It’s worth keeping in mind that the Cuomo administration briefed environmental groups on these points in the wake of criticism that the DEC was working too closely with industry to develop the plans. It’s also worth noting that these ideas have been presented to environmental groups verbally but not in writing, according to my sources.

The rumors are beginning to build about the expected release of the Governor’s/DEC’s plan for fracking in NYS.  Recently, it was reported that “environmental groups” were being briefed on plans– in response to a hubbub that ensued when FOILED documents indicated that the DEC had been meeting with industry groups in advance of releasing its draft SGEIS, but not environmental groups.  Fred LeBrun, a reporter for the Albany Times Union, purported to have some leaked information, from said environmental groups, which he published under the headline “End of the Anti-frack World Near.”

A petition for an anti-fracking ballot issue, filed July 20 by the group "Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont," has enough signatures to go before voters in November, City Clerk Valeria Skitt announced Tuesday night. The petition needed 5,704 valid signatures to qualify; Skitt said at least 6,609 of its signatures had been validated.

The rate of new foreclosure filings in Maryland far exceeded any other state's this spring, a spike caused in large part by the national robo-signing legal settlement that unleashed a flood of new cases.
Almost 20 in every 1,000 home loans in Maryland — twice the national average — were drawn into the foreclosure process during April, May and June, according to survey data released Thursday by the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association.

"If you look at what's going on in foreclosure starts, Maryland now has exceeded Florida, has exceeded Georgia — some of the states that have been up there at the top in terms of the percent of loans on which foreclosure actions have started," said Jay Brinkmann, the trade group's chief economist.


Many of the world’s best-known fish and whales are in danger of extinction Financial Times

August 9, 2012 – Fires in Sicily NASA

The Wall Street Journal: Dismissing Environmental Threats Since 1976 Media

Demand for water outstrips supply Nature

Ex-Goldman programmer faces new charges Financial Times.

Obama, Not Reid, Should Be Taking on Mitt Romney’s Tax Record Matt Taibbi

Neil Barofsky on ‘Foaming the Landing’ for Banks PBS Newshour

JPMorgan revises down capital levels Financial Times

Charts of the Day: Trading Volume Slump Continues WSJ Marketbeat

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2013 Ford Focus Electric Test Drive
Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington
When I heard that Ford was bringing their
2013 Ford Focus Electric to offer test drives at the Maryland Volt/EV Meetup, I was eager to see if the car had improved from when I drove it several years ago when it was still in development. After a spin around FedExField in the new Focus EV, I think Ford has definitely upped their game.

I had test driven a very early pre-production version of the Ford Focus Electric when they brought it to the Newseum in Washington, DC in October, 2010. I didn’t have a very high opinion of the car back then. It was very sluggish and unresponsive to the accelerator. That early vehicle also had bad handling due to the odd weight distribution of the battery pack. The power steering, or lack thereof, made it hard to turn. The performance of the pre-production Focus Electric just didn’t live up to my expectations. EVs should have great acceleration and torque but that early development vehicle just didn’t have it.

Military adding more electric vehicles to fleet
Stars and Stripes
Some of the Micro-Vett Edyone electric vehicles assigned to Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, are plugged in to charge outside of the public works department at the Capodichino Navy base. Sandra Jontz/Stars and Stripes. By Seth Robson. Stars and ...

Guardian Energy Management Solutions Launches New Green Community ...
Virtual-Strategy Magazine
Created by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the act was the result of the active and nation-leading sustainability efforts within Massachusetts. Since its initiation in 2008, 103 cities and towns have been designated Green ...


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Future of Solar Energy
Concentrating Solar Thermal Power- a first generation technology, but now with the ability to concentrate solar power using parabolic trough plates unrestricted by scarce material availability, with rare earths and silvered mirrors replaced by common commodities such as stainless steel, aluminium and glass.

The Director of the Future Planet Research Centre- David Hunter Tow predicts that recent advances in solar technology may be sufficient to shift the balance from fossil to renewable energy just in time to save humanity from a likely heat death.

Solar technology is about to take off and may finally be on the threshold of displacing a large chunk of fossil fuel dependancy.

This is very good news indeed- for humans, life on Earth and possibly the Universe at large if we are the only super intelligent life form that calls it home.

Water use another strike against fracking
Oneonta Daily Star
And for that reason, as drought conditions are prevalent in more than 60 percent of the counties in the United States, everybody should take a deep breath and consider whether fracking is such a good idea for our area. We didn't get much snow this past ...

Wind Energy is preferred by Republicans-who knew?
Earlier in the week, a Romney campaign spokesman said that Mr. Romney would end the subsidy. “Mitt Romney believes it is time for a new approach to ensure our nation’s energy independence,” the spokesman, Shawn McCoy, told The Des Moines Register. “He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”

However, red states generally disagree. Wind turbines are more common in Republican legislative districts than Democratic ones, with over 81 percent of the nation's installed wind capacity in Congressional districts represented by Republicans, according to the American Wind Energy Association.