Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Clean energy innovations boost economy: Google

Reuters, by Ayesha Rascoe, WASHINGTON | Tue Jun 28, 2011

A power plug is removed from an electric-powered vehicle in Newark,
Delaware, March 25, 2010. (
Credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer)

(Reuters) - Breakthroughs in clean energy technology could boost the U.S. economy by more than $155 billion a year and create more than 1.1 million new jobs by 2030, Google said in a report on Tuesday.

The study by the internet search giant's philanthropic arm examined the possible benefits of aggressive innovations in clean power generation, grid-storage, electric vehicle and natural gas technologies.

"This project's analysis suggests that breakthroughs in clean energy technologies could meaningfully improve the quality of our lives," the report said.

In addition to improving the economy, development of new energy technology would reduce U.S. household energy costs by $942 a year, lower oil consumption by more than 1.1 billion barrels a year and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2030.

The analysis did not consider the best ways to drive innovation or attempt to predict what technologies would be developed. Breakthrough levels in the report were also highly ambitious and "would be challenging to reach even with a much more concerted push on innovation than at present."

Google has pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in solar, wind and geothermal technologies to help make renewables cost competitive with coal.

In its report, Google found that the impact of clean energy breakthroughs would be enhanced if coupled with government policies such as a clean energy standard and increased EPA regulations on coal or with a $30 a ton fee on carbon emitted by the power-sector.

Clean energy policies combined with technological breakthroughs would increase GDP by $244 billion a year and create 1.9 million jobs by 2030.

"Breakthroughs in clean energy technology can reduce the cost associated with implementing policies such as Clean Energy Standards or carbon prices -- growing the economy while de-carbonizing our energy use," the report said.

At the same time, the report said government policies can magnify the benefits of technology breakthroughs by promoting cleaner energy sources over those with high emissions.

Earlier this month, Google said it would finance a $280 million residential solar power project with SolarCity.

Google, along with several other companies, is also backing a $5 billion transmission line that would transport electricity from wind farms off the Atlantic.

(Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Air conditioning for troops costs more than NASA, 27 June, 2011

If you think your electricity bill is a joke, get a load of this. The United States spends more than $20 billion per year on air conditioning for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. As NPR reports, that’s more than the entire operating budget for NASA.

News flash: the desert is hot.

Image from
This comes at a time when not only are Americans increasingly opposed to overseas military operations, but NASA’s 30-year-old space shuttle program has been retired due to, among other things, pricey bills.

And with the space shuttle program officially grounded, it looks like the only thing sky rocketing these days is the cost of keeping the troops cool.

To National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program, retired logistician Steven Anderson says that every inch of the way is costing Americans a pretty penny to keep the climate under control for men and women fighting abroad. "When you consider the cost to deliver the fuel to some of the most isolated places in the world — escorting, command and control, medevac support — when you throw all that infrastructure in, we're talking over $20 billion," he says. "You've got risks that are associated with moving the fuel almost every mile of the way."

It turns out that “every mile of the way” is more than one might expect, too. There are 800 miles of “improved goat trails” between Karachi (where fuel is initially dropped) to Afghanistan, a trip that costs over two weeks of travel.

Anderson adds that more than 1,000 troops have died while transporting fuel alone.

On top of that, Anderson says energy use could be cut by 92 percent in Iraq if the military switches to polyurethane foam insulation for tents, a switch that would also take around 11,000 gas-guzzling fuel trucks off the roads — or should I say goat trails?

"A simple policy signed by the secretary of defense — a one- or two-page memo, saying we will no longer build anything other than energy-efficient structures in Iraq and Afghanistan — would have a profound impact,” says Anderson. In the meantime, however, it doesn’t look like any generals are gung-ho on going green.

In comparison, that $20 billion annually is more than BP has paid to help repair damages from the Gulf oil spill, and even more than the G-8 pledged to help bring democracy to Egypt and Tunisia.

Maybe democracy isn’t the answer. Perhaps all the Middle East needs is a little central air?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Energy-efficient stoves clear Pakistan’s air

RNW, 24 June 2011, by Johan van Slooten

(Photo by AKPBS)

Families in northern Pakistan’s Hindu Kush mountains – subjected to long, harsh winters – have found a better way to heat their homes and cook their meals: A new, simple but efficient cooking stove. It rids the homes of deadly fumes, reduces respiratory illness and even cuts deforestation.

It wasn't long ago that the people in the region were heating their homes with simple wood fires, filling the homes with almost permanent clouds of smoke.

“Later they began to use simple stoves, but they weren’t very efficient either,” says Hadi Hosseini of Pakistan’s Aga Khan Planning and Building Service (AKPBS), a division of the Aga Khan Development Network which aims to improve the lives of people in rural Pakistan.


“You simply couldn’t see across the room because of the smoke. People just didn’t know how to channel the smoke out. This lead to many respiratory illnesses among villagers, especially children, including cancer and asthma. Something had to be done.”

After seeing similar situations in Nepal, the AKPBS designed a new cooking stove. It contains two main elements – one to cook meals on and one to heat the room. It can also be connected to a water tank to heat and cook water faster than was previously possible.

Cold winters

“Women used to go down to the rivers to do their laundry,” says AKPBS’s Qayum Ali Shah, who comes from the region. “Especially during the cold winters, this was particularly dangerous, as they had to bring their young children with them."

"You can imagine what it was like to do your laundry in ice cold circumstances with a baby in tow. The women don’t have to do that anymore. They can now simply wash their clothes at home, using the heated water.”

The improvements also included a heat-efficient chimney and an opening in the roof which can be opened or closed to control airflow.


While the design and the benefits of the cooking stove seem obvious, it took AKPBS a while to convince the people to actually use it. “This is a very traditional population,” says Mr Hosseini. “Traditions, even domestic ones, go back centuries. To change them, you have to convince people that the new techniques will improve their lives.”

Mr Hosseini and Mr Shah achieved that by simply travelling around the region, demonstrating the stoves' benefits.

“We’ve engaged the women, we’re working with local entrepreneurs, and we’ve been at roadshows. And the people that we managed to convince have subsequently come along with us to tell others. It’s been a word of mouth promotion.”


The benefits of the project go beyond the domestic improvements in people’s homes, Mr Hosseini notes.

“People use wood as fuel. Communities were gathering wood three to four times a week, which lead to massive deforestation in the region, which ultimately leads to a high risk of flooding. Using our stove, people have reduced their fuel wood consumption by 50 to 60 percent. So this simple stove is helping to improve their lives AND the environment.”

It’s this element that was noticed by the prestigious Ashden Awards in the UK, which gives an annual award to small scale sustainable energy projects. The AKPBS received an award earlier this month for improving homes and cutting the use of wood for fuel.


“It’s good to get this recognition,” says Mr Hosseini. “We go in with a multi-input program: health, education, rural development. The people there are getting a whole package of improvements. That's not delivered by many stand-alone organizations who only focus on one thing. I think that’s our benefit.”

“We’re offering simple and effective solutions which could also be used elsewhere, even in Western homes. Why not take a step back in our electronic and manufactured approach of cooking? People everywhere could learn a lot from these things.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Biofuel to power KLM flights

RNW, 22 June 2011

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Beginning in September, KLM flights between Amsterdam and Paris will run on used cooking oil. The move is an important new step towards aviation sustainability, the airline announced Wednesday.

“KLM has again shown it is stimulating the development of biokerosene,” said Managing Director Camiel Eurlings. “The route to 100 percent sustainable energy is enormously challenging. We need to move forward together to attain continuous access to sustainable fuel.”

More than 200 KLM flights will operate on biokerosene, biofuel derived from used frying oil and tested to meet the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene.

The move is part of the airline's efforts to secure a positive recommendation from the Dutch Sustainability Board. It is also an expression of support for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) research suggesting alternative fuels from biomass are the only replacement for fossil fuels used in the airline industry.

Related Article:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Google Update: Investing another $102 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center

Google Blog, 6/22/11

Today, we’re increasing our investment in the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) in Tehachapi, Calif. by providing another $102 million to finance the 168 MW Alta V Project. This adds to the $55 million we invested last month for the 102 MW Alta IV project. Citibank is joining us again to invest in Alta V.

We are particularly excited about AWEC because it will be one of the largest wind energy centers in the world, with over 1 GW of production scheduled to be on line by the end of the year and 1,550 MW when fully completed. It’ll deliver that energy using the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP), one of the first and largest transmission projects developed specifically for clean energy.

My colleague Arielle Bertman on a turbine at AWEC

As we noted before, the energy produced at AWEC will be sold to Southern California Edison under a power purchase agreement signed with the developer, Terra-Gen Power, in 2006. So we won’t be purchasing any of the energy produced at Alta V. Rather, we’re investors and will be using the same innovative leveraged lease financial structure we used for Alta IV, meaning Google and Citibank will own Alta V and lease it back to Terra-Gen, who will manage and operate both projects under long-term agreements. It’s a financial structure that we hope will encourage new types of investors to consider investing in wind.

With these two projects, we’ve now invested $157 million in 270 MW of clean, wind energy generation at AWEC. That brings our total invested to more than $780 million, with approximately $700 million invested this year alone -- all in projects that not only provide us attractive financial returns but also help to accelerate the deployment of over 1.7 GWs of clean renewable energy.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations

AAA Will Offer Roadside Charging Service For Stranded Electric Vehicles

POPSCI, by Rebecca Boyle, 06.22.2011

Needs Roadside Assistance / Pat Hawks via Flickr

One of the biggest obstacles facing electric vehicles is their range — the best models on the market can only drive about 100 miles on the highway on a single charge, which is pretty limiting in a world with very few EV charging stations. But AAA, the biggest roadside assistance service in the country, plans to offer a solution that has helped many a stranded motorist who runs out of fuel: An emergency supply of juice.


The automobile club plans to deploy mobile charging units for battery-electric vehicles starting this summer, according to a report initially posted by AAA already has at least one working unit and plans to post additional vehicles in California, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington, Edmunds said.

Roadside assistance trucks will have Level 2 and Level 3 chargers, offering 240 volts and 500 volts of alternating current, respectively. The auto club plans to unveil its first mobile charging unit at an electric vehicle conference in Raleigh, N.C., next month. The first trucks will start operating in August, Edmunds reported.

Nissan, maker of the Leaf battery-powered car, is reportedly working with a company to offer the same service in Japan, and AAA’s announcement came on the heels of Nissan’s news last week.

Using a 240-volt charging dock, the Leaf's 24 kilowatt-hour battery fully charges in four to eight hours, so it's not exactly speedy. But a few minutes' charging time could be enough to get a stranded car back home or to a charging station. Cars with 500-volt ports would recharge even more quickly.

As electric vehicles increasingly make their way onto roadways, auto service suppliers will have to keep up with changing demands. The Department of Energy is already working to install Level 2 chargers at filling stations in 19 states, for instance, and other entrepreneurs are offering solutions like towable extra batteries.

The ability to call AAA for a quick recharge, just as easily as one could call for a tow truck or a few gallons of gas, could be one more option to put electric vehicle drivers’ minds at ease.

Now if the cars would just come down in price...

Related Article:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

China to boost offshore wind power to 30 gigawatts by 2020

People's Daily Online, by Ye Xin, China, June 22, 2011

In the next five years, China will boost its offshore wind power installed capacity to 5 gigawatts and form a complete technology and industrial chain. Afterward, China's offshore wind power will enter into a phase of large-scale development and is estimated to reach 30 gigawatts in 2020, according to the energy plan and renewable energy plan during the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The National Energy Bureau (NEB) will launch preparation work for the second public bidding on offshore wind power concession projects in the second half year of 2011 and is scheduled to complete the bidding in the first half year of 2012. The total construction scale will be between 1.5 gigawatts and 2 gigawatts, according to news from a symposium on offshore wind power held in Nantong City of east China's Jiangsu Province on June 22.

Offshore wind power is the frontier of the development of global wind power. China's enterprises must reach the international advanced level in offshore wind power, said Liu Qi, deputy director of the NEB.

In June 2010, the first stage project of East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm went into operation in Shanghai. Totaling 102 megawatts, it is China's first large-scale offshore wind farm and is located on the east side of the Shanghai East Sea Bridge. It comprises 34 units of 3-megawatt Sinovel turbines.

In addition, China Longyuan Electic Power Group Corp. built the world's first experimental offshore wind farm in 2010 and the follow-up project started on June 21, 2011.

G20 agriculture ministers to confront food crisis

Deutsche Welle, 21 June 2011

More food than ever will be needed to
feed the world
Demand for food is outpacing supply, driving up prices and eating into reserves. Agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 nations will meet in Paris this week to discuss how to combat food shortage and soaring prices.

While the G20 nations agree the world needs more affordable food, they are divided on how to achieve this goal: whether to tame prices through regulation or increase agriculture production - or both.

Agriculture ministers meeting in Paris hope to iron out their differences amid surging demand for food and biofuels that is putting upwards pressure on farm prices expected to remain high for years to come.

Their meeting is seen as a preparation for the November summit at which G20 leaders hope to agree to concrete steps to reduce food price volatility in agricultural commodities.

Calls for tighter regulation

Agreement is expected on the launch of an agricultural market information system to share key data on global stocks and production. The initiative comes as the world economy battles a food price shock due to production shortfalls, strong demand and speculators pushing prices higher.

Many speculators are laughing all the
way to the bank
But France wants far more to come out of the meeting than just an agreement on a food stock database. The country has made tighter regulation of commodity markets a top priority of its G20 leadership, which ends with the November summit. French President Nicolas Sarkozy blames speculators for the food price inflation, which, among other things, has caused unrest in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The French proposal envisions putting a lid on how much of a market an investor can buy into or imposing a minimum cash deposit for commodity derivative transactions. It also calls for greater transparency of who is making the transactions.

Even some commodities experts, like Frank Neidig at Bankhaus-Lampe in Düsseldorf, admit to a problem with speculators. Neidig notes that while crop growers prefer to lock into fixed prices and play it safe, other stakeholders like to gamble and haul in the profits. Markets, he said, are becoming increasing crowded with speculators "who are the least bit interested in real grain deliveries."

French idea

The French idea, however, has yet to win the support of the United States, the United Kingdom and several other countries that believe speculation isn't the cause for the high food prices. Many of them argue against regulation in favour of measures to increase agricultural output through investments and the use of new technologies.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy
wants to clamp down on
Ralf Südhoff, director of the Berlin office of the United Nations World Food Program, argues that " a little bit of everything" is needed to avoid a food crisis. "We need to establish greater transparency and larger reserves," he told Deutsche Welle. "And we need to dramatically increase production in developing countries in a sustainable way and get speculators under control to calm markets and avoid price swings."

Südhoff said G20 agricultural ministers will discuss the establishment of regional reserve centers to respond to food needs in emergency cases and ways to increase food production in developing countries. But whether France, he added, can garner support for its proposal to curb speculation remains to be seen.

The clock is ticking. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization projects that the world will need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed its population and that food prices already this decade will be 30 percent higher than in the previous decade.

The need for more affordable food is real. That's a fact G20 leaders will need to swallow fast.

Author: John Blau
Editor: Thomas Kohlmann

Monday, June 20, 2011

The X-Conference: Hidden Truth - Forbidden Knowledge - Steven Greer, MD - LIVE


Steven M. Greer, MD is the Founder and Director of the Disclosure Project. Dr. Greer is an emergency physician and former chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Caldwell Memorial Hospital in North Carolina. In addition to heading the Disclosure Project, he has also been supervising a world-wide search for alternative energy sources, specifically those known as zero-point or over-unity devices with the plan to identify and develop systems which will eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

Dr. Greer is the author of several books including "Hidden Truth -- Forbidden Knowledge," in which he relates his own personal experiences with extraterrestrial peoples and the unfolding of cosmic awareness since his childhood - from his sighting of a UFO at an early age, to his amazing near-death experience at age 17, to his unraveling of the secret cabal running the illegal transnational energy and UFO -- related projects, to his meetings with a CIA Director, US Senators, heads of state and royalty.

As Director of The Disclosure Project, Dr. Greer presided over The Disclosure Project Press Conference from the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Over 20 military, government, intelligence, and corporate witnesses presented compelling testimony regarding the existence of extraterrestrial life forms visiting the planet, and the reverse engineering of the energy and propulsion systems of these craft. Over 1 billion people heard of the press conference through webcast and subsequent media coverage on BBC, CNN, CNN Worldwide, Voice of America, Pravda, Chinese media, and media outlets throughout Latin America. The webcast had 250,000 people waiting online - the largest webcast in the history of the National Press Club.

Dr. Greer has met with and provided briefings for senior members of government, military, and intelligence operations in the United States and around the world, including senior CIA officials, Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House staff, senior members of Congress and congressional committees, senior United Nations leadership, and diplomats and senior military officials in the United Kingdom and Europe. He has been seen and heard by millions worldwide on the Larry King Show, CBS, the BBC, NTV in Japan and has made dozens of radio and television appearances.

The X-Conference is pleased to welcome Investigative Reporter Dr. Steven Greer

The X-Conference is produced by X-PPAC (Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee) and The Paradigm Research Group, who's mission is to educate Congress, the Press and the Public about the Government imposed "Truth Embargo" and to bring about formal acknowledgment by the U. S. Government of an Extraterrestrial presence engaging the Human Race - Full Disclosure. UFOTV is pleased to present all of the presentations that were given by all the invited speakers at each of the X-Conference events over the years.

We apologize for the commercials during this online presentation. As stated on our main channel page, the advertising revenue from this program helps to cover the heavy production costs of putting on the yearly X-Conference event.

DVDs from this historic and ongoing X-Conference event are available from UFOTV: Go to Keyword - "X-Conference"

Related Articles:

"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nuclear power is out, time for the Sahara

RNW, 16 June 2011, by Maike Winters

(Photo: Siemens)

It’s not only environmental activists who have been cheered up by Germany, Switzerland and Italy’s recent decisions to abandon nuclear power in future. The sustainable energy sector is also excited by the possibilities.

It’s a shot in the arm for a massive project like Desertec, for instance, which involves using solar and wind power in the Sahara and the Middle East to generate electricity which can then be transported to households in Europe. Providing the Arab Spring doesn't throw a spanner in the works.

The figures and the ambitions are huge. They’re talking about an investment of around 400 billion euros to build huge solar panels, mirrors and windmills in the desert. The aim is to meet 15 percent of Europe’s energy needs by 2050.

Perfectly feasible

Paul van Son, Dutch CEO of the - originally German - Desertec Industrial Initiative, is enthusiastic about the nuclear climb-down:
“These decisions are good news for Desertec since they will result in an increased demand for sustainable energy. In the long-term sustainable energy will be all there is. Nuclear energy is unacceptable and fossil fuels will be exhausted. All the indications are unmistakable: the future will be about sustainable energy.“

EU-MENA supergridgraphic: Desertec
Energy expert Wim Turkenburg of the University of Utrecht agrees:
“It’s an interesting idea and an ambitious plan. Technically it’s perfectly feasible but an awful lot will have to be done before it can go ahead. It calls for a really huge investment. Apart from investing in the desert, special high voltage networks will have to be constructed. The price of the energy it will be able to provide is going to be very high, initially.”


The costs are not the only obstacle. The political situation in the Arab countries Desertec will rely on for the realisation of the project is far from stable. Paul van Son comments:
“Well, we obviously can’t do business with Libya right now, since it doesn’t have a functional government yet. Once it has we’ll be one of the first in line. We’re not particularly worried about Morocco or Tunisia. The energy minister in Tunisia is still the same person, so we haven’t really been affected.”

Wim Turkenburg sees more snags:
“There’s an intrinsic risk in projects involving these countries. It’s politically unstable. A sensitive field like electricity generation could be used against you. If, for example, NATO were to send troops to one of these countries, the authorities there could easily retaliate by turning off the power supply.”

500 megawatt

The way to make Desertec less vulnerable to political circumstances is to spread the risk, according to Turkenburg:
“The best approach would be a combination of projects. You could invest in wind and wave energy from the North Sea region, for example, so you’re not dependent on North Africa alone. Or better still, a global project involving all the countries of the world.” In a dreamy voice he adds: “But that’s something for the future!”

A number of Arab countries already have solar power installations. Desertec aims to expand these projects and link them together. After that, they can be connected to the European grid. Desertec is currently involved in a large-scale 500 megawatt project in Morocco, in collaboration with the Moroccan government and a local agency. For purposes of comparison: the project will generate more electricity than Borssele, the Netherlands’ only nuclear power plant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dogs likely born with 'Canine Telepathy'

Discovery News, Analysis by Jennifer Viegas, Thu Jun 9, 2011

(Image: Monique Udell)

Dogs are so in tune with us that they can read our minds, according to a new Learning & Behavior study that also determined canines are probably born with the ability.

Practice makes perfect, however, so the more a dog hangs around humans, the better he or she becomes at "canine telepathy," which actually relies upon hyperawareness of the senses.

Those of us who have owned or been around dogs for any period of time know how well they often "get" us, sensing tiredness, depression, headaches or other maladies before we consciously exhibit any major outward signs of distress. Dogs can even detect when a person has cancer. They also seem to sense our joy and good health.

Monique Udell and her team from the University of Florida wondered why dogs are so clever at reading us, and how they accomplish this feat. Are dogs born with the ability to sense our mental states, or do canines learn from experience?

To explore these questions and more, Udell and her team carried out two experiments involving both wolves and dogs. In the experiments, the two sets of animals were given the opportunity to beg for food, either from an attentive person or from a person unable to see the potential begger.

The researchers showed for the first time that wolves, like domestic dogs, are capable of begging successfully for food by approaching the attentive human. This demonstrates that both species - domesticated and non-domesticated - have the capacity to behave in accordance with a human's attentional state. They are therefore likely born with the ability, since wolves would not have had much practice, which the typical pet dog gains by begging for treats during dinner and at other times.

Some dogs were better at reading people than others were, however. Shelter dogs were not nearly as good as pampered house pooches, demonstrating that exposure to humans allows dogs to hone their natural people-reading skills more.

According to the researchers, "These results suggest that dogs' ability to follow human actions stems from a willingness to accept humans as social companions, combined with conditioning to follow the limbs and actions of humans to acquire reinforcement. The type of attentional cues, the context in which the command is presented, and previous experience are all important."

A child enjoys the view at the Batang Dolphin Center in
Cisarua Safari Park in Central Java, Indonesia.The center also offers
special therapy sessions for autistic children. Interacting with the seagoing
mammals is believed to aid with development. (JG Photo/Ali Lutfi)

Antwerp-Amsterdam rail line gets solar power

RNW, 14 June 2011

Europe’s first solar panelled train tunnel
Europe’s first solar panelled train tunnel opened in June, bringing green energy to trains on the high-speed line between Antwerp and Amsterdam. The 16,000 solar panels on the roof of Antwerp Central Station will also power railway infrastructure and trains using the Belgian rail network.

The project, known as Solar Tunnel, is expected to generate 3.3 megawatts of energy – the equivalent of the average annual electricity consumption of about 1,000 homes. According to a press release from project partners Enfinity, the tunnel will decrease CO2 emissions by 2,400 tons a year.

The tunnel is hailed as the first ever railway infrastructure to be used to generate green energy. “It is the perfect way to cut the carbon footprint because the spaces used have no other economic value,” Bart van Renterghem, Enfinity’s UK head told The Daily Mail.

Among those collaborating on the tunnel were Belgian rail operator Infrabel and solar construction company Solar Power Systems.

Related Article: