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The World's Dirtiest Oil

TransCanada is moving ahead with the Southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil, and synthetic oil from tar sands, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the refineries and ports near the Gulf of Mexico. A White House press release stated:

The President welcomes today's news that TransCanada plans to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico. As the President made clear in January, we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.
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The Bricked Battery Affair

I watched a brief video on Motley Fool last weekend to the effect that Tesla Motors is a good investment while Zipcar has probably grown to its upper limit within walkable urban cities. But I'd be concerned about the bricked Roadster battery reports, which are getting fierce on both sides. A dogpile search shows dozens of stories like "Tesla Downplays Danger of Bricked Battery" and some that ridicule anyone that wouldn't already know that batteries will discharge. Meanwhile, self-proclaimed experts on Slashdot swear that LIon batteries couldn't possibly be fully discharged because they found an old cell phone once and recharged it.

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Cold Fusion Believers and Homecoming Queens

 

As we've seen in the comments to my last two posts, cold fusion, or LENR, has many skeptics and some firm believers. Scientific American describes a film, The Believers:

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Prince Neymor vs the Defensives

Prince Neymor was frustrated. He was expending a lot of energy—using almost all his powers—against his former teammates. But 'teammates' was hardly the proper word for the odd group he faced.

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It's Going To Be Complicated


Gasoline is expensive, getting more expensive, and that threatens our wide-ranging American way of life, y'all. The conservative solution seems to be drill, baby, drill and frack, baby, frack and pipeline, baby, pipeline. Others are looking for the big technological breakthrough—the dilithium crystals that will keep the Starship America on its continuing mission.

In his latest Technological Update, Tom Whipple feels that there are two possible sources of energy that might replace fossil fuels. The bad news is that one is hydrogen. The worse news is that the other is cold fusion. Whipple is being cautious in his writing, but he still gives LENR more credence than do most of us:

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Fracking, Drilling OK in Theory


In UT: No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing, Rigzone lets fracking off the hook:
 

No direct connection has been found between hydraulic fracturing and reports of groundwater contamination, according to a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas of Austin.

The study found that many of the problems linked to hydraulic fracturing are related to common oil and gas drilling operations such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.

Researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground split or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than hydraulic fracturing per se, said Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project.

"These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing," Groat said in a statement.
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Longtails to Long Tailpipes

My massage therapist now rides a big black Yuba Mundo cargo bike, or longtail, like the one in the video above. While I was on the table he raved about the financial advantages of ditching his car, skipping the bus and cycling around town. He had even let his Zipcar membership lapse. He likes riding in an upright posture, because it takes stress off his arms, which are his tools. He's been riding all winter, which has been mild, but I do see people riding in the snow. I haven't been willing to try that, even though Dmitry Orlov says it is common enough elsewhere:

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Hofmeister-Patzek Debate

The video above efficiently trims the discussion to one hour. The debate proceeded as I expected.

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Rick Santorum and the Evil Invention

Thanking God—the one, true Catholic God—for another glorious morning, Rick drove up to the gleaming Santorum Headquarters. Despite his devoted staff, the operation had barely turned a profit in recent years, especially after the profound misunderstanding over his house in Penn Hills. But private consulting had been lucrative and the boyishly handsome conservative icon remained confident that recent efforts to expand his base would bear fruit.

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Donal is now posting on a wordpress blog called simply, Donal.

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