The United States Department of Energy estimates that the solar energy resource in a 100-square-mile (259-square-kilometer) area of Nevada could supply the United States with all its electricity.
We’re talking 800 gigawatts of power, and that’s using modestly efficient commercial PV modules. Break all that down and each state would only need to devote 17 x 17 miles (27 x 27 kilometers) of solar cells.
The estimated 5 million acres (2.02 million hectares) of abandoned industrial sites in the country on their own could supply 90 percent of U.S. electrical consumption.
- Plastic use increases, appearance in the environment decreases – [Economist]
- Correlation (not causation) with climate change and bee pollenation – [CBC]
- After loads of data, the verdict on Bisphenol-A is still out – [NYT]
- Opinion: If the world is going to hell, why are humans doing so well? – [Scientific American]
- Oilsands water toxins natural, monitor says – [CBC]
- Bjorn Lomborg – climate change is a problem after all - [New Scientist]
- $300 oil in a decade? – [Jim Harris National Post]
- Europe’s brisk energy transition – [NYT]
- Why you should be skeptical of food riots - [ChrisBlattman]
- At a dumpster diver’s feast in Brooklyn – [NYT]
- New technology needed to feed the world in 2050 – [CBC]
- Money can buy you happiness, up to $75,000 – [New Scientist]
- How pandhandlers spend money – [Star]
- Filling up prisons without fighting crime – [BoingBoing]
- What is it about 20 somethings and why are they taking so long to grow up? – [NYT]
This took me forever, so you better read. Read it good.
Toronto Bixi rumours – first it was a go, now there are rumours that Toronto may be cooling off on bike sharing.
Whole Foods x more – Whole Foods expands to Mississauga and North York over the next few years.
Torontonian urban farmers fight for their poultry pets – The move towards cities incorporating urban agriculture into policy, and not pissing people off in the process.
Toronto’s R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant – I love water treatment plants. I love things we drive by but don’t see. See the beautiful architecture of one of Toronto’s finest, thanks to the lovelies at Spacing.
A caring God did not create DNA – It’s New Scientist [meh], but an interesting article featuring a new book rejecting the case for intelligent design.
Radiation exposure at Bruce nuclear plant – damn nuclear, why do you have to be so expensive and occasionally unsafe? I want you to be good.
More on wireless electricity – throw some coils in your walls and you’re done.
Stephen Hawking actually coming now – Waterlooians, you know this, but you still need to strut.
How to land that killer opening gig – the power of the booking agent in the music industry.
Cape Wind – an offshore wind energy project could save New England billions of dollars over 25 years.
Arctic warming will cost us billions – a Pew study says it will cost us over a billion, just in 2010. Gorsh. By choice or by consequence?
Bill Gates likes geoengineering – governments will throw money at it, and that money will be mostly wasted.
Why water is so weird – the universal solvent is the strangest liquid.
Political battles on suburbia – We’re all becoming more city focused, and so should our politics?
Denmark’s clean coal – see how their dirtiness works doubletime.
Algae isn’t all roses, maybe – some heat on the algae energy industry, although this article has been under scientific scrutiny.
University student gourmets – more students are getting into cooking, and YouTube has helped bring their recipes to the world.
Digital food – MIT geeks create the ASCII Food Printer. AKA Cornucopia, it combines basic flavours, changes the temperature and extrudes a flavour. Yep.
The rise of the butcher – the newest and bloodiest of the culinary rockstars.
More Prince Edward County wine buzz – the wine is getting better, babies.
Cooking for the Mayor – see what Corey Mintz (Toronto food critic and culinarian) cooks for David Miller.
DIY Butchery Trends – now in Toronto. Bring your knife steel.
Google Street View goes national – Thank goodness, thanks Google.
The new Heinz ketchup packet – It was certainly time. I used to push out ketchup harder than my toothpaste tube. Nothin like a good ol fashioned dip n squeeze.
How curiosity works – If I had to impart one thing to my potential children, the first would be compassion. The close second would be curiosity. It is my fuel.
- What cheap American food is doing – and Canadian food too, really. Now we have proof we’re just as fat as they are.
- Monsanto’s corn and those lab rodents – this is pablum, just for us. GMOs may just be needed to feed the growing population, but the ones in charge of the seeds have put their businesses through the shaky grinders of intellectual property law. On the other side is forcing farmers to buy seeds every year, and saying you’re feeding the world but not doing anything significant to actually feed people that need it most. You’re not responsible for feeding everyone for free, you just can’t say you’re feeding the world like you’re humanitarians. So far, you’ve hurt way more people than you’ve helped.
- The Whole Foods CEO is the extremeist me – John Mackey is both an Ayn Rand disciple and a frolf enthusiast – that’s just too extreeeeeeeeme. A bit nuts but exotic organic nuts.
- A year without plastic – entitled “Plastic Manners”, a traditional but great idea for a blog (the “project” blog [cough Julie and Julia]). Hope she gets a book out of it. I’ll be reading, I’d like some good alternatives.
- Hybrid cars don’t save much (any) oil – Not really as green as you expect when you even just consider “full cost accounting” – sourcing parts from all over the world doesn’t make it that ecogoodnstuff.
- Why drivers need to support transit investment, and not whine – because it makes commuting way way smoother. Reduced road rage is worth its weight plus much more.
- A primer in Environmental Assessments (EA) – leave it to Spacing to cover a necessary but possibly dry topic in environmental policy. Luckily they tackle a fascinating case study – the Gardiner Expressway.
- How nuclear power works – from our friends at HowStuffWorks, it’s about time we actually knew some details on nuclear power.
- Feed-In-Tariff 2.0. – How Ontarians in the know of current energy policy are trying to truly capitalize on a subsidized energy gold rush.
- U.S. drinking water widely contaminated – loaded term, and quel surprise – gas stations, industry, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sewage, cosmetics, cigarettes, dead animals, road salt, and whatever else you can think of. And you think bottled water is that much better.
- How birth order affects your personality – one of my favourite topics of conversation, but the results may not be what you think.
- Curing those ringing ears – maybe there’s hope for us dummies that listen too loudly. It just feels better, mmkay.
- Let’s face it, science is boring – New Scientist discusses some of the less sexy parts of science, and there is plenty to choose from.
- The problem with a “public” interest in science – perhaps because politicizing science goes against its very principles.
- Where does the universe end? – Exploring the Hubble-fueled view of the ever-expanding universe.
- More Waterworlds – nearby stars could be hosting water based planets too. Luckily no webbed-footed Kevin Costners.
- Toronto’s arts scene coverage gets a boost – some coverage on new/small/emerging galleries, musicians, and artists around the city. And with an attractive, bearded, Urban Outfitted plaid shirted gentleman. Kudos to Late Night in the Bedroom, now sponsored by big blogTO.
- Toronto Chinese food > New York’s Chinese food – And the WSJ says so.
Hellooooo. Here are some more of those links on a white webpage, just for you. It’s been a little while, but I trust this will tide you over. Just insert those witty comments you already have in your cultured, educated grey matters.
- How tone deafness works – this has always fascinated me because it’s something we get or we don’t get. Most of us are lucky. Plus watch a video on the science of singing. I still sing way too much. I’m like the fifth member of Here Comes Treble.
- I am more of a man than you – Turns out testosterone does not lead to aggression and risk taking, but rather could lead to qualities like fairness.
- The psychology of social status – and why it continues to be the largest motivator of human behaviour.
- Taking bets on the God particle – LHC scientists are betting on when they discover the infamous Higgs boson particle.
- Ask a physicist about time – interesting questions about that crazy dimension.
- Electricity from space – California gives the green light to beam solar power from space. It’s a bit unsane that unsane news comes from our typing boxes every single week.
- Environmental assessment virtuosos rejoice – Amongst environmental moustache tweakers, the Mackenzie Delta pipeline has been a monumental case study for environmental assessment. Looks like things will not be moving forward any time soon, if at all.
- Tar sands pollution worse than expected – water pollution equivalent to a big oil spill, every year.
- Gategate – scientists responds to those climate emails. THOSE. The press needs to stop using two words – crisis, and gate.
- Oregono – Oregon advances use of wave power off their coastline.
- 100% renewables by 2030 – California professors say it can and could be done.
- Google ready to be a phone maker – the next cool step is when they let you talk on Voice over IP for free. That means no more cell phone minutes, just a device that can connect to the internet so you can talk on your phone via Skype for free. I’m worried and excited.
- Stephen Harper – nation builder of the decade ? – For some the answer is yes.
- This is going to be my market – on St. Clair West, a retrofitted heritage building, local seasonal food. Hello to you, Wychwood Barns.
- Lord Kitchener, made entirely of meat – for the K/Wers and the mustard fans.
- The local food debate – more proof that local food isn’t always better for the environment. It’s always grey kids, je me souviens.
- Q&A with the yoda - top American chef Thomas Keller stops in to chat about his new book in Toronto
- The lists are in. Oh they’re in – Rolling Stone outlines their favourite albums and songs of the decade. I WUV WOO RS! The crowning of Kid A across the board makes me so incredibly giddy. Because I get it, and so do millions of others, and that is something to celebrate.
- The renaissance of Kids in the Hall – they’re baaaaaaaack and they look funny! Kids in the Hall – Death Comes to Town.
- Jason Reitman – an independent voice that Canada can claim as 50% their own. Maybe.
- The Yellow Bird project – thanks to friends, you can check buy tshirts designed by your favourite musicians, and proceeds go to charity.
I had my first day of work. It was swell. Some of this, some of this, some of this. P.S. I’m going to be one of those guys. Those guys that had too much free time to post links and big photos on a white web page and offer slightly idiosyncratic liberalized commentaries. Who will try to post a lot but won’t as much because now he gets paid for his brain time and his real time.
Here is my Google profile starred items summary, aka your news.
- Good news for (any type of) Rogers customers – you get free (selected free) television program right here. [Torontoist]
- Killer or Krusty? – Whassa deal with Michael Ignatieff – One of the world’s most notable intellectuals or oddly annoying jabberwatt? That word sounds like a dumb person from a Star Wars planet (ie. Wookie planet, Ewok planet. When you see Wookie and Ewok together, you feel like George Lucas got a bit lazy in his writing because it looks like he’s just re-arranging letters). [Globe]
- God believes in me – “God may have created man in his image, but it seems we return the favour. Believers subconsciously endow God with their own beliefs on controversial issues.” [New Scientist]
- How Torontoist and other city sites are elevating local news – they are amazing, a true progression in civic issues and involvement. [National Post]
- Harper is !!!!! – Making creepy lonely faces at Commonwealth parties. [Globe]
- David Chang does Montreal – NY Chef buzzbuzz David Chang hangs out at Atwater mainstays Joe Beef / Liverpool House / McKiernan last weekend, and duh loves Montreal. [National Post]
- Boobs now cheaper than wings (!!) – And you can thank the concept of division. [Star]
- THE skeptical environmentalist – interview with statistician Bjorn Lomborg. [Globe]
- How the Greens could win it all – if all of Canada was meeeeeeee! [Globe]
- Solar power 50% less expensive this year – ummmm…. hi? [Scientific American]
- Your skin is deaf – people hear with their skin as well as their ears. [Scientific American]
- Crunchy men unite! – Scientists prove a dirty child is a healthy child, just like we all thought. The guilt is melting off.
- No more corporate or union campaign donations in Toronto?!? – this is the best news that’s happened to politics in a long time! Why aren’t we dancing… yeah?
Only 70 starred items to choose from this week.
- Jim Prentice questions the purpose of Copenhagen – What a cop out. Evidently Copenhagen is to find “common ground” and not to table an international agreement. Common ground means they will agree that coffee in the morning is delicious and Kelly Clarkson only had one good song.
- Ontario gets first full time Green Party Leader – Mike Schreiner has been crowned Green Party leader of Ontario. Watch a video of him here talk about food secruity/sustainability. This guy is speaking my language.
- Harmonized Sales Tax getting tabled at Queen’s Park – Controversial bill arrives, gets hilarious opposition from tax-heavy NDP leader Andrea Horwath.
- Being a gay politician in Canada is juuust fine – more research is showing that people like George Smitherman have nothing to worry about – Canadians are showing maturity and tolerance towards their politicians. We win.
- The media does NOT have a liberal bias – the fine art of punditry.
- LocalTVMatters vs. StopTheTVTax – the battle over local TV.
- Some more insight into the mass dinosaur extinction – More evidence showing that asteroids in India (not Mexico) may have played the largest role in this mass extinction period.
- Can academics be entrepreneurial? – New York Times blog looks at how academics can unleash small business to help innovate.
- Musicians great for party socializing – research showing that musicians are better at repeating a sentence heard in the presence of background noise.
- Why can humans speak and chimps can’t? – finding the gene exclusively for speech and language.
- We’re aurally screwed – New Scientist shows how even quieter sounds can still cause ear damage.
- Water purification failing in developing countries – easy water treatment for the poor remains a difficult process.
- Dwindling water in Australia – learn how a developing country is dealing with stressing water management issues.
- Skyscraper farming – A more indepth look at vertical (urban) farming. Stretch those Malthusian philosophies, you guyyyys.
- Global tuna stocks in worrisome supply – sushi cravings causing major concern in global tuna stocks as fishermen are catching triple the limit
- Is solar energy competitively priced ? – with Smart Grid additions, found to be cheaper than coal.
- Putting a price tag on nature – Brtish economist part of the UNEP is trying to associate costs with our waters, trees, and air. Good f’ing luck to you trying to put something completely unboxable into a box. Way to go economists, good luck with that.
- Combining heat and power for a one two energy punch – it’s efficient, simple, and doable. A closer look into CHP plants and how they’ll help our energy problems.
- Mustard Tigers ! – Trailer Park Boys back with a new show, The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour.
Mark my words. I really think algae has potential to be THE fuel of the future. Or at least one of them.
[via Scientific American] :
Backers of algae-based biofuels tout the simplicity of their feedstock. Sunlight and water are all that’s needed to convert carbon dioxide into fuel. Now, some scientists are testing the notion that sunlight might be optional. Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are planning to grow algae for fuel in abandoned mines using light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.
Turns out that algae grows best under red and blue light specifically. Instead of regular light (ROYGBIV yaaaay) they could grow even more efficiently under low-energy LEDs and focused light. Me loves my science.
- Two vastly different states, two paths to clean energy – Describing how regulation rich California and free market Texas can achieve the same objective. Left or right, clean energy is irrefutable. [New York Times]
- Windy Iowa – Iowa has become the second-largest producer of wind power in the U.S., and some credit an aggressive and supportive role played by local government. [Wall Street Journal]
- Clean coal = dirty water – A community in Pennsylvania is worried about their water supply, as the pollutants which normally escaped into the air are now being dissolved in water from “clean coal” technology. They’re either breathing it or drinking it. [New York Times]
- Liberals pass on NDP climate change bill – Not sure if it’s to intelligently wait and see what other parts of the world do or if it’s lobby-influenced cockblocking. [CBC]
- In the pursuit of cost effective desalination – public, potable water from the oceans – so… no more water problems ?
- Smart grid conservation/efficiency project cuts electricity usage by 20% – just some Googly software to reduce use by 1/5th
- Moving ahead on electronics efficiency rules – towards reducing wasted electricity from “always on” electronics
All from the New York Times Green Inc. blog. That photo reminds me of the chemical plant that Superman saved in Superman III.
Infographics, so pretty. Just some food for thought. And remember, it’s safer than you think, especially with new reactor technology coming in in the next 20 years or so. Read a Wall Street Journal article on nuclear here, it’s good for you. Not always New York Times or Daily Beast, mmkay?
Yay Exxon Mobil? Yes. One of the few oil companies actually investing in renewables (to the tune of $600M) in this economic climate. And in my opinion, the most promising of biofuels – algae. People that knock biofuels are only looking at corn. I am all in support of biofuels, but we can make much better biofuels from waste, not food. Wood waste from the forestry industry, and algae from your scummy pond.
Want a fun stat? Corn produces 18 gallons per acre per year of fuel. Algae produces 20,000 gallons per acre per year of fuel. And no rise in food costs and turning waste and pollution into an incredibly diverse fuel. Genomics has done some amazing things lately, definitely an exciting part of microbiology these days. They are able to harness various species of algae and other microbes to produce fuel that’s suitable for gasoline, a separate one for diesel, another one for jet fuel, the list goes on. Once algae grows it produces lipids (fats), that is more or less a high grade vegetable oil. No playing god, just playing science. I hate that phrase.
Algae sequesters more carbon than any other plant, and grows faster than any other plant. What’s more, algae is the most common end-impacts of agricultural pollution. Nitrogen rich fertilizer gets applied to fields, phosphorus rich detergents get released into water systems. Add sunlight and CO2 and you have the magic recipe for intense algae production. This is what happened in Lake Erie 40 years ago. Nitrogen + phosphorus in the lake, creating algae, as algae decompose they consume oxygen, low oxygen in lakes kill fish. Anyway, imagine reducing a global pollution problem and at the same time turn this pollution into a futurefuel?
Sounds like magic. Algaculture companies are starting up big time these days and have had run into some design problems, but I feel these are issues that can be rectified in a matter of years. Excitement! Promise! Hope for our brains!
[via Toronto Star]
Ontario is indefinitely postponing its much-touted plan to build new nuclear reactors at Darlington in part because the cost is “billions” of dollars too high, Energy Minister George Smitherman announced this morning.
I can completely understand how nuclear would not be a government’s first choice, especially in times of economic difficulty. It has the most expensive startup costs of any source of energy and the public is forced to pay for insurance as well. I just really take issue with some environmentalists hailing this as a major victory. To me that’s plain old narrow minded thinking. If environmentalists are serious about climate change and feel it’s a much graver issue than a few nuclear plants, then you simply can’t have it both ways. As much as I would go crazy over it, I don’t believe it’s possible to run a growing country on renewables, hydro, and conservation quite yet. The culture of consumption may change in the west over time, but don’t ever expect or think that emerging countries will behave in the same way. Improving energy grid systems and incorporating new renewables (especially biomass like algae and wood waste) would be my first investment as Dalton McGuinty has $26B more to play with.
I’m still pro nuclear if all remains the same, given government finances are in a good state to support a nuclear energy program. With new (Canadian borne) technologies, wastes are reduced even further and can provide a more flexible and reliable source of electricity. I’m trying my best to be an optimist, but I really feel like we’re going to need everything to make real changes in the energy world. Smart grid, renewables, nuclear for major carbon reductions, and a need for even better technologies for coal and other hydrocarbons. As much as I boil from the thought of (barf) “clean coal” (barf), we’ll need this along with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to increase efficiency and reduce emissions from existing plants. We may even need Carbon Capture and Storage technologies if predictions are true.