Press Conference on the Batteries and Energy Storage Hub Announcement: November 30, 2012
A technique that combines two novel forms of renewable energy — one relying on bacteria and the other on salt water — generates more electricity than either one alone and cleans waste water at the same time. The work is published today in Science
Cosmic Civilizations: The Kardashev Scale
A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet — has approximately 1016 or 1017 Watts available. Earth specifically has an available power of 1.74 ×1017 W (174 peta watts, see Earth’s energy budget). Kardashev’s original definition was 4 ×1012 W — a “technological level close to the level presently attained on earth” (“presently” meaning 1964).
A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star, approximately 4 ×1026 W. Again, this figure is variable; the Sun outputs approximately 3.86 ×1026 W. Kardashev’s original definition was also 4 ×1026 W.
A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy, approximately 4 ×1037 W. This figure is extremely variable, since galaxies vary widely in size; the stated figure is the approximate power output of the Milky Way. Kardashev’s original definition was also 4 ×1037 W.
A civilization that has harnessed the power of its supercluster, or “the largest gravitationally bound structure it originated in.” For the Local Supercluster, this would be approximately 1042 W. Dr. Michio Kaku has discussed a type IV civilization, which could harness “extragalactic” energy sources such as dark energy, in his book Parallel Worlds.
A civilization that uses the entire resources of its respective universe.
“We had no equals. We controlled the fundamental forces of the entire universe. Nothing could communicate with us on our level.”
Robert Redford: Join the Nov. 6 Keystone XL Protest
Join us at the White House on November 6 for a major protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Please watch this, especially those of you who support Obama. Seeing how he recently gave the go-ahead on the construction of the pipeline despite mass public disapproval due to its environmental implications.
What the Frack is Going on?
Today in News That Should Be Of No Surprise News:
Climate change deniers like to point out that they have scientists on their side, too. But an analysis of more than 900 papers supporting climate skepticism showed that about 20 percent of those papers came from the same 10 scientists, and nine of them, according to The Carbon Brief, have ties to ExxonMobil.
Interest groups should not be providing our educational materials, unless they are approved from a non-partisian group. Especially those that mislead children… get ‘em while their young I guess.
Three advocacy groups have started a letter-writing campaign asking Scholastic Inc. to stop distributing the fourth-grade curriculum materials that the American Coal Foundation paid the company to develop.
The three groups — Rethinking Schools, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Friends of the Earth — say that Scholastic’s “United States of Energy” package gives children a one-sided view of coal, failing to mention its negative effects on the environment and human health.
Kyle Good, Scholastic’s vice president for corporate communications, was traveling for much of Wednesday and said she could not comment until she had all the “United States of Energy” materials in hand.
Others at the company said Ms. Good was the only one who could discuss the matter. The company would not comment on how much it was paid for its partnership with the coal foundation.
Scholastic’s InSchool Marketing division, which produced the coal curriculum in partnership with the coal foundation, often works with groups like the American Society of Hematology, the Federal Trade Commission and the Census Bureau to create curriculum materials.
The division’s programs are “designed to promote client objectives and meet the needs of target teachers, students, and parents” and “make a difference by influencing attitudes and behaviors,” according to the company Web site.
“Promoting ‘client objectives’ to a captive student audience isn’t education,” Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement. “It’s predatory marketing. By selling its privileged access to children to the coal industry, Scholastic is commercializing classrooms and undermining education.”
The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, a tiny group in Boston, has often been at odds with Scholastic, a $2 billion company whose books and other educational materials are in 9 of 10 American classrooms. Last year, the group criticized the company for its “SunnyD Book Spree,” featured in Scholastic’s Parent and Child magazine, in which teachers were encouraged to have classroom parties with, and collect labels from, Sunny Delight, a sugary juice beverage, to win free books. The campaign has also objected to Scholastic’s promotion of Children’s Claritin in materials it distributed on spring allergies.
And in 2005, the campaign tangled with the company over its “Tickle U” curriculum for the Cartoon Network, in which posters of cartoon characters were sent to preschools and promoted as helping young children develop a sense of humor.
None of the previous episodes led to any specific action.
The coal controversy seems to be the first time the campaign and its allies have challenged Scholastic lesson plans.
“ ‘The United States of Energy’ is designed to paste a smiley face on the dirtiest form of energy in the world,” said Bill Bigelow, an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine. “These materials teach children only the story the coal industry has paid Scholastic to tell.”
The Scholastic materials say that coal is produced in half of the 50 states, that America has 27 percent of the world’s coal resources, and that it is the source of half the electricity produced in the nation, with about 600 coal-powered plants operating around the clock to provide electricity.
What they do not mention are the negative effects of mining and burning coal: the removal of Appalachian mountaintops; the release of sulfur dioxide, mercury and arsenic; the toxic wastes; the mining accidents; the lung disease.
“The curriculum pretends that it’s going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different energy choices, to align with national learning standards, but it doesn’t,” Mr. Bigelow said.
“The fact that coal is the major source of greenhouse gases in the United States is entirely left out,” he said. “There’s no hint that coal has any disadvantages.”
In a statement, Ben Schreiber, a climate and energy tax analyst at Friends of the Earth, called the curriculum “the worst kind of corporate brainwashing.”
According to an article by Alma Hale Paty, the executive director of the American Coal Foundation, and posted on Coalblog, “The United States of Energy” went to 66,000 fourth-grade teachers in 2009.
There was no answer at the foundation Wednesday, and Ms. Paty did not return calls