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Messages - AGelbert

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Renewables / Japan's Fukushima Commits to 100% Renewable Energy
« on: February 07, 2014, 03:05:35 am »
02/05/2014 12:39 PM     

Japan's Fukushima Commits to 100% Renewable Energy

SustainableBusiness.com News

by Rona Fried

Three years after Japan's nuclear meltdown, Fukushima Prefecture announced it will transition to 100% renewable energy by 2040.

The region, which has a population of about two million people, doesn't want to return to nuclear power even as the national government remains committed to getting the reactors back online. A recent survey shows that 53% of Japan's citizens want nuclear power phased out and 23% want it shut down now.

Currently, Fukushima gets 22% of its energy from renewable sources. One of Japan's biggest solar projects could be located there, but residents also want to bring back small farming communities.

 Called "Solar Sharing," farmers are growing crops underneath solar panels. They are growing crops like canola - which absorbs radiation - in an effort to decontaminate their farmland and their abandoned livelihoods. Solar panels are designed on a pergola-type structure that lets in enough sun to grow crops below.

 They are also planning 1 GW of offshore wind off Fukushima's coast by 2020, where a $226 million floating offshore wind farm project is already in motion. 

Nagano, the Japanese prefecture which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998, has pledged to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

The nuclear disaster has changed the way people think about energy, Tetsunari Iida, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Japan, told Responding to Climate Change (RTCC).  On the other hand, community power development offers a sense of "local ownership and participation." 

In Germany, 74 regions and municipalities have already reached 100% renewable energy, according to the newly established Global 100% Renewable Energy Campaign.

At the Warsaw Climate Summit last November, delegates were stunned when the Japanese national government rolled back its long-held target of cutting emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. The new target is 3.8% below 2005 levels by 2020.

Japan's Growing Pains

After implementing the world's most generous feed-in tariff two years ago, Japan is now the world's second-largest solar PV market, installing 7 gigawatts in 2013 (the country has 10.5 GW installed in total). Developers turned more to solar than wind or geothermal because it's cheaper and quicker to develop.   

The government target for solar is 28 GW by 2020 - and 40% renewable energy by 2030 - and corporations from Softbank to First Solar have been rushing to fulfill it, with 22.4 GW already approved.

Japan Solar

 But developers are running into a raft of barriers, most notably limits to grid capacity, but also finding available land, waiting lists for components and a shortage of qualified technicians.

 For example, Softbank's 180-plus GW solar project - three large projects on the  island of Hokkaido - has been put on hold because the utility hasn't decided which projects will be able to connect to the grid.

 About a quarter of all solar projects are being built on Hokkaido, Japan's second largest island, because it's one of few areas with  relatively large pieces of inexpensive land. But the grid can't handle all those projects. About 20% are being denied access to the grid altogether and 37% have been told they will have limited access, according to survey by the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation.

 To deal with that, the government is building the world's largest battery bank in Hokkaido (the northern part of Japan) and another, much smaller, 2 MW bank in Okinawa (the southern part) to stabilize the flow of solar energy. It will invest $33 billion on grid modernization and development over the next 10 years, particularly to spur growth of wind energy.

 Meanwhile, Panasonic's work around to the situation is to focus on small rooftop solar. "Rooftops don't require the purchase of land, and there are transmission lines already available nearby. "Rooftops are going to be more popular," Kazuhiro Yoshida, who heads the solar division, told Bloomberg.

Kyocera is supplying solar panels for installations that spread across 80 farms in Japan.

Learn more about the Global 100% Renewable Energy Campaign:

Website: www.go100re.net


Climate Change / Re: Global Warming is WITH US
« on: February 06, 2014, 11:26:47 pm »

Exploring CRUTEM4 with Google Earth

Filed under: Climate Science Instrumental Record — group @

4 February 2014 -

 See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/02/exploring-crutem4-with-google-earth/#sthash.KazZ5CWj.dpuf

General Discussion / C.S. Lewis on materialistic thoughts
« on: February 06, 2014, 08:09:57 pm »
C.S. Lewis on materialistic thoughts

‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true?

I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’

C.S. Lewis (1898–1963), The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.

Climate Change / Roundup is Ruining our health
« on: February 04, 2014, 07:47:23 pm »

New Research Fuels Roundup Weedkiller Toxicity Concerns    :P  >:(

February 04, 2014

•Increases in reactive oxygen species 
•Increases in nitrotyrosine formation 
•Increases in superoxide dismutase activity 
•Increases in glutathione levels


Geopolitics / Corporate America Recognizes Eroding Middle Class
« on: February 04, 2014, 06:35:10 pm »
Feb 03, 2014 at 08:00 AM PST.

Corporate America Recognizes Eroding Middle Class

TomPFollow .
The world of business is admitting what working people have been living: the middle class is dying:

In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.

As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.


“As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” Mr. Maxwell said. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”

Although data on consumption is less readily available than figures that show a comparable split in income gains, new research by the economists Steven Fazzari, of Washington University in St. Louis, and Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, backs up what is already apparent in the marketplace.

In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.

NY Times: The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World.
What this may mean is more and more bubbles, as the wealthy chase higher returns that can not be created by an economy without middle class demand.  Meanwhile, the increasing impoverishment and proletarianization of the former middle class could lead to a greater class consciousness and acts against the wealthy.  It might.  There's no inevitability. 

The income and wealth inequality in our nation is immoral and bad for business. 

Update I: From bobswern in the comments:

Elizabeth Warren Dec. 4th, 2009... (2+ / 0-)
 This was in 2009...back when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate...
America Without a Middle Class -- It's Not Far Away As You Might Think
 America today has plenty of rich and super-rich. But it has far more families who did all the right things, but who still have no real security.

Elizabeth Warren
 December 4, 2009
Can you imagine an America without a strong middle class? If you can, would it still be America as we know it?

Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can't make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.

Families have survived the ups and downs of economic booms and busts for a long time, but the fall-behind during the busts has gotten worse while the surge-ahead during the booms has stalled out. In the boom of the 1960s, for example, median family income jumped by 33% (adjusted for inflation). But the boom of the 2000s resulted in an almost-imperceptible 1.6% increase for the typical family. While Wall Street executives and others who owned lots of stock celebrated how good the recovery was for them, middle class families were left empty-handed.

The crisis facing the middle class started more than a generation ago. Even as productivity rose, the wages of the average fully-employed male have been flat since the 1970s…
"I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham by bobswern on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 10:35:43 AM CST


Nuke Puke / Re: Nuclear Insecurity Today
« on: February 04, 2014, 12:36:56 am »
John William Gofman is professor emeritus of Medical Physics at UC Berkeley, and lecturer for the Department of Medicine, UCSF. While getting As PhD in physics at Berkeley in the 1940s, Gofman proved the slow and fast neutron fissionability of uranium-233.

At the request of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Gofman helped produce plutonium (not even a quarter-milligram existed at the time) for the Manhattan Project.

He got his MD from UCSF in 1946 (winning the Gold-Headed Cane Award, presented to the senior who most fully personifies a "true physician") and began his research on coronary heart disease.

In 1963 the Atomic Energy Commission asked him to establish a Biomedical Research Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to evaluate the health effects of all types of nuclear radiation. By 1969, however, the AEC and the "radiation community" were downplaying his warnings about the risks of radiation . Gofman returned to full-time teaching at Berkeley, switching to emeritus status in 1973.

When gamma rays or x-rays set electrons in motion, the electrons are traveling at a lower speed than the electrons coming out of Cesium-137. And as a result, when they're traveling at a lower speed, they interact much more with each micrometer of path they travel.

Therefore the local harm is much greater.
So medical x-rays set in motion electrons that are traveling at a lower speed and hence producing about twice the linear energy transfer, and hence twice the biological effect.

That's why alpha particles from radium or plutonium are so much more devastating
than beta rays set in motion from x-rays. The alpha particles, with their heavy mass and plus-2 charge, just rip through tissue so strenuously that they don't go very far.

A deception of the crassest sort are the lectures by pro-nuclear people showing a plutonium or radium source and putting up a piece of paper and showing that the alpha-particle radiation on the other side is zero. "You see, a piece of paper will stop those alpha particles, folks, there's no problem with plutonium." Except when that alpha particle is lodged next to an endosteal cell in the bone and producing a horrendous amount of interaction. Or that alpha particle is lodging on the surface of the bronchi — that's why we've got an epidemic of lung cancer among the uranium miners! The fact that they don't travel far is because they interact like hell!



Nuke Puke / Re: Nuclear Insecurity Today
« on: February 02, 2014, 01:11:52 am »

Advances in Health Care / Light Lowers Blood Pressure
« on: February 02, 2014, 12:34:42 am »
Light Lowers Blood Pressure

UVA exposure reduces human blood pressure by releasing nitric oxide metabolites from storage in the skin.

By Tracy Vence | January 20, 2014

For years, researchers have reported predictable seasonal variations in human blood pressure. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure tend to be greatest during the winter months and lowest in the summer. Many have attributed this variation to changes in temperature, but according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology today (January 20), variations in sun exposure may be the answer.

“This study . . . provides suggestive evidence that skin-derived NO metabolites may have a role in modulation of blood pressure upon UV exposure,” Thomas Michel, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the work, told The Scientist in an e-mail.

The University of Southampton’s Martin Feelisch and his colleagues first began to suspect that sunlight could affect blood pressure nearly two decades ago. At that time, the researchers were investigating the vasodilative effects of nitric oxide (NO), a signaling molecule that circulates in the bloodstream at low concentrations, typically by hitching a ride on proteins, like albumin or hemoglobin.

It was more than 10 years ago that Feelisch and his team first exposed healthy individuals to short periods of high-intensity sunlight, and observed subsequent decreases in circulating nitrate and increases in nitrite, both metabolites of NO. The researchers also recorded significant reductions in blood pressure. At that time, “metabolites of NO were long considered to be biologically inert,” said Feelisch. “We started to look at the possibility to bioactivate this molecule.”

Meanwhile, other groups were reporting reductions in blood pressure as a result of dietary nitrate supplementation, which Feelisch and his colleagues had not controlled for. Temperature was another potential confounding variable. Were the effects Feelisch and his colleagues observed due to light exposure or elevated temperatures? How might dietary nitrate come into play?

In 2009, a team led by the University of Edinburgh’s Richard Weller showed that human skin and the dermal vasculature contain significant stores of NO—much more than can be found circulating in the blood—and that these stores could be mobilized by UVA (long-wave UV) irradiation.

For the present study, Feelisch, Weller, and their colleagues investigated the effects of UVA exposure—equivalent to 30 minutes of sun exposure at noon on a clear day in Southern Europe—on 24 healthy volunteers, controlling for both temperature and dietary nitrate. The researchers found plasma nitrate and nitrite changes, as well as reductions in blood pressure, that were consistent with the release of NO from skin storage. “These observations support a mechanism for the modulation of systemic NO bioactivity and a possible role of the skin in cardiovascular homeostasis,” he and his colleagues wrote.

“The strength of this study is the methodology,” said the Karolinska Institutet’s Eddie Weitzberg, a professor of physiology and pharmacology who was not involved in the work. “It is well-performed with adequate control experiments.”

One lingering question is the source of the cutaneous NO stores. Another is how, exactly, NO metabolites are released into the bloodstream. “From a mechanistic angle, it’s important to understand what contributes to determining the concentration of this storage material in the skin, and whether there is anything [else] that would facilitate translocation from the skin to the circulation,” said Feelisch. “It’s a complete black box at the moment.”

Clinically speaking, tests to evaluate blood pressure response to repeated UVA exposure with respect the age, gender, and disease states—such as hypertension—are needed. But if the blood pressure-reducing effects of UVA light hold up in larger trials, Feelisch suggested that a reevaluation of the risks and benefits associated with sun exposure might be in order. “Avoidance of sunlight may be a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease that’s never been on the map,” he said.

Still, this work is early-stage. For now, Michel said, “I certainly wouldn’t take these findings as any mitigation against the well-founded recommendation by dermatologists to avoid excessive sun exposure.”

D. Liu et al., “UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase,” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.27, 2014.


Climate Change / Re: Global Warming is WITH US
« on: January 30, 2014, 02:24:03 pm »
Psalm 27

7  Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice:
have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8  When thou saidst, Seek ye my face;         
my heart said unto thee,
Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
9  Hide not thy face far from me;       
put not thy servant away in anger:
thou hast been my help;
leave me not, neither forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10  When my father and my mother forsake me,         
then the LORD will take me up.
11  Teach me thy way, O LORD,         
and lead me in a plain path,
because of mine enemies.
12  Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies:     
for false witnesses are risen up against me,
and such as breathe out cruelty.

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