Book of the Month

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Green Stuff


 
I found a blog called Triple Pundit - People, Planet, Profit - which purports to discuss sustainable business practices. As a reflection of the difficulty of practicing both sustainability and profitability, some articles impress me and some depress me.
 
After attending a presentation by BMW’s Manuel Sattig at Opportunity Green 2011, a guest author rethinks some reservations TriplePundit has expressed about other EVs in The BMW i3: Advancing Automotive Sustainability [Read more]

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Fuel me twice


 
In 2007, Time Magazine dubbed the Prius design team, Heroes of the Environment. By contrast, I recently posted a Mother Jones news item about the dirty secret that making hybrids, EVs and a lot of other gizmos requires rare earths that are about as nasty to refine as tar sands. 
 
Over at TTAC, Bertel Schmitt first interviewed the leader of that team, Toyota Chief Engineer Ogiso Satoshi (in the center, above) about the effort that led to the Prius: 
 
“Look, when we started the Prius project in 1993, we did not even think of a hybrid system for the Prius. We did not set out to build a hybrid. We studied what was needed for the 21st century, and two things were certain: The need to protect the environment, and the need to bring consumption down. That’s all we knew, and you did not need to be a clairvoyant to know it.”
 [Read more]
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Peak Fuhgeddaboutit

The Post Carbon Institute's Energy Bulletin has reposted an Oil Drum wrapup of ASPO Day One, my ASPO article and a reassuring article from PRNewsWire:

Ricardo Study Suggests Global Oil Demand May Peak Before 2020

Ricardo today announced the results of a landmark multi-client research study conducted by Ricardo Strategic Consulting in association with Kevin J. Lindemer LLC, and involved participation of some of the world's leading energy and technology companies and organizations. The research challenged the concept that "Peak Oil" will be a supply side phenomenon and predicts that the demand for oil may well peak before 2020 and then fall back to levels significantly below 2010 demand by 2035.

IOW, we needn't worry about fuel prices because we're going to need and want less and less of the nasty stuff anyway. If why that will be true isn't obvious to you, read on. [Read more]

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ASPO Conference: Adapting to future scenarios

I just attended the Saturday session of the 2011 ASPO USA conference. I had been hoping to take a few personal days and attend Thursday and Friday as well, but it is hard to predict the future. I had to get some drawings out on Thursday, and had to do a code study for a Monday meeting. At least commuting was easy on Saturday. I took Metro to Union Station, walked out past Bike Station and about three blocks to the Hyatt Regency.
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There were four morning sessions listed: Investor's Roundtable featured Robert Rapier, whose R-Squared blog I read a bit, Community Adaptation and the Post-Peak Economy with ArchDruid John Michael Greer and Kollapsnik Dmitry Orlov, each of whom I follow a lot, Bringing Peak Oil into the National Policy Debate, and Innovative Communications, Writing a New American Story with Farmer/Author Sharon Astyk, who I also follow a lot. I chose Community Adaptation and sat in the front row. A woman sat next to me and we started chatting about the horrid traffic in DC. They had driven in from Ohio. Her husband brought the latest NY Times and Wall Street Journal. Then a familiar-looking young woman stopped in and gave her a hug. "Was that Megan Quinn Bachman?" I asked. Bachman was moderating the panel, and I had seen her picture on The Oil Drum many years ago when she had co-produced The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.
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Solar Decathlon: Wrapping It Up

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On our way back from PA, and no internet access, the wife and I stopped in for the final day of the Solar Decathlon. The shuttle dropped us close to the media trailer, and Charlotte filled us in as to who had won. As I expected, the University of Maryland maintained their lead from Friday and WaterShed (above) was declared the overall winner. Purdue's INhome surprised me by finishing second, New Zealand's First Light closed to third and Middlebury's Self-Reliance took fourth.
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Solar Decathlon: Affordability



An unexpected deadline foiled my plans to attend the Solar Decathlon last weekend, and I'm not sure I'm going to make it back. But DOE has posted a photo gallery of interior shots for each entry, which are certainly better than any picture I could have snapped among a crowd of observers. To the left is Team Canada's master bedroom.


 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Lash or the Pipeline



In, Saudi woman's lashing drives home differences in oil, a Calgary Herald writer supports the mining of tar sands to produce synthetic oil by leveraging sympathy for the powerlessness of Saudi women. [Read more]

... Sheima Jastaniah was sentenced by a Saudi court to 10 lashes for driving her car in July. In Saudi Arabia, it is against the law for women to drive, or to leave their homes without the permission of their husbands or other male relatives. What's really sad about Jastaniah's story, besides the obvious fact that she is a woman living in Saudi Arabia, is that she took part in a similar act of civil disobedience in, get this . . . 1990! A full 21 years have passed and not a thing has changed for her or any other female in that woman's maximum security prison called Saudi Arabia.
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Visiting the Solar Decathlon in progress

The Solar Decathlon felt like a small Olympic village today as team members from Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, China and the US hustled to finish their houses by Tuesday evening. Wearing Red Wing boots, I trudged the 1.3 miles from the Smithsonian Metro station to West Potomac Park. Because the nineteen small structures are still under construction, visitors were required to wear hard-soled boots, long trousers, a shirt with sleeves, safety glasses and a hardhat.
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Oil Springs Eternal

Writing The Prize (1991) , and winning a Pulitzer for it, brought Daniel Yergin automatic creds in the energy industry. Through Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), he has consistently maintained a cornucopian viewpoint about the future availability and price of oil, to the point that the energy depletion community has defined a Yergin unit as the $38 per barrel that in 2005, Yergin predicted would be the steady price of oil. Oil reached two Yergins in 2006, spiked to 3.6 Yergins in 2008, and currently Brent crude is trading at 3 Yergins.  [Read more]

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Solar Decathlon under assembly

Solar Decathlon: A sneak peek at the houses from Mother Nature Network offers a quick look at each entry. Assembly started yesterday, and the event is open to the public starting September 23rd through October 2nd at the National Mall's West Potomac Park, near the FDR memorial, and not too far from the MLK memorial. [Read more]

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'Big Oil' Firms Peaking




In, Has Peak Oil Come To The Non-Opec World? Maybe., Forbes advises investors that the traditional Western Big Oil firms have peaked, and to look elsewhere for profits from new production:
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"True" Cost of 2011 Cars

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Edmunds has released their lowest true cost to own (TCO) list for 2011:
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Skyscrapers

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Birds, Bats and Wind



We were driving "down the mountain" from Cresson to Altoona last weekend, when I saw over a dozen idle wind turbines on a ridge to the North, towards Buckhorn Mountain, or as they say in Altoona, "the Buckhorn." I knew about the two Allegheny Ridge wind turbine arrays to the South, shown above, but I hadn't heard about anything to the North. Neither had my Altoid in-laws. According to Pop City, the Chestnut Flats array of turbines was a go in 2010: [Read more]

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Recycled Water and Car-Free



The image above is a webcam of Watershed, the University of Maryland's entry in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. The Baltimore Sun reports:
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For and Against Rail

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I am in favor of a better, more extensive rail system, but I wonder if high-speed rail is cost effective and what we really need. As if to read my mind, The Infrastructurist features a four part series, For and Against High-Speed Rail, each with a con and pro position. 
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2012 Prius Plug In Prototype

Alex from TTAC in a very informative video about a plugin Prius with very impressive fuel efficiency.

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EVs on the Grid

When I flew to Los Angeles for the 1999 AEC Systems show, in which vendors showed all the latest and greatest cad and other software products to architects, engineers and contractors, my high school buddy Jim picked me up at the airport in his EV-1. It was an impressive vehicle, very sleek and stylish compared to the EVs I had seen before or had imagined from Popular Mechanics covers.   [Read more]

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Free Energy

Americans select dilithium crystals to power the next generation
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In a Gallup poll released today, Americans chose dilithium crystals as the top choice of fuel to run both cars and power plants, with 84% of Americans choosing the crystals over other options including nuclear, hydrogen, corn ethanol, shale gas, and photovoltaic solar panels.
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The Last Mountain

Miller-McCune profiles a new documentary about destroying the environment to get coal.

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