Day 4 -Power Source Week: Solar Power

Rosie Promos Solar Power
Rosie Promotes Solar Power

 

Ahhh- the delicious sun!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Using the power of the sun to heat your water is one of the simplest ways that you can make your home more energy efficient. Heating water usually accounts for 40 percent of an average family’s monthly energy costs. Converting to inexpensive solar thermal water heating is a great first step that will not only allow us to utilize a much more clean, affordable and sustainable source of energy, it will also create jobs and help our nation to become more energy independent.”  by Rhonda Winter  Whole article

Fun info about Solar Power, Electricity and Energy.

Da Vinci predicted a solar industrialization as far back as 1447.

A world record was set in 1990 when a solar powered aircraft flew 4060km across the USA, using no fuel.

Accounting for only 5 percent of the world’s population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world’s energy.

About 2 billion people in the world are currently without electricity.

About 30% of our total energy consumption is used to heat water.

Electric ovens consume the most amount of electricity, followed by microwaves and central air conditioning.  (info from Facts-about-Solar-energy.com)

Solar Energy Articles – list from Facts-about-Solar-energy.com

A Dream for a Future with Alternative Energy
by Robert S. Leonard

Peak Oil: The End of Cheap Oil
by Gordon Owen

Shedding Light on Cheaper Solar Energy
by Brenda Townsend Hall

Solar Powered Homes Are Becoming More Popular
by Dave Moore

The flow of energy
by Lance Winslow

The Simple Truth
by Wayne Lowe

The Truth About Crude Oil, Pricing and The Stock Market
by Craig Dahl

Help for Japan:
Donate to the Red Cross http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main
Donate to Doctors without Boarders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/overview.cfm

Day 3-Whimsy Windy Wednesday and Wind Power

“Large-scale wind farms are connected to the electric power transmission network; smaller facilities are used to provide electricity to isolated locations. Utility companies increasingly buy back surplus electricity produced by small domestic turbines. Wind energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. However, the construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed because of their visual impact but any effects on the environment are generally among the least problematic of any power source.” Definition from wikipedia

Portsmouth Company Blows Away its Electricity Bill

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI staff — “PORTSMOUTH — With an electric bill fast approaching $100,000 a year, the U.S. Department of Energy predicting that fossil-fuel energy costs will increase 5.3 percent annually for the rest of time and federal stimulus money available for renewable-energy projects, Rick Hodges did the math. It added up to a 225-kilowatt Vestas wind turbine.

With the installation of the nearly 100-foot-high turbine expected before the end of the year, the president of the Hodges Badge Co. anticipates Rhode Island wind soon will produce nearly all of the 45,000-square-foot facility’s electricity.

Last year, the family-owned and operated business used 451,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Hodges said he expects the soon-to-be-installed wind turbine to produce 450,000 kilowatt-hours of power a year.” … whole article  http://eco-ri.squarespace.com/green-business/

More in New England –

Mass Megawatts Wind Power, Inc. (OTCBB: MMMW) is a leader in the development of a revolutionary wind power technology, bringing a product to the renewable energy marketplace capable of producing electricity at a cost 30% lower than other wind power equipment. Designed on a paradigm that ‘lower height, lower wind speeds and lower costs equal higher profits’, this technology puts MAT electricity generation on a competitive footing with fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas.” http://www.massmegawatts.com/

and… from points further away …
As Japan’s nuclear crisis unfolds, Europe takes a fresh look at wind

“In the search for ways of changing how the French obtain their electricity, Mr Sarkozy has turned to a source of energy that is free and in plentiful supply: wind.

Soon after being elected president in 2007, he set himself the target of changing the balance of supply so that renewable energy would provide for 23 per cent of France’s needs by 2020, with 8 per cent coming from wind turbines on land and at sea.” The whole article

Help for Japan:
Donate to the Red Cross http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main

Donate to Doctors without Boarders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/overview.cfm


Day 2- Power Source week: Hydro Power

The views expressed do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of BB&B.
It is a food for thought week!

Help for Japan:
Donate to the Red Cross – http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main
Donate to Doctors without Boarders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/overview.cfm

What we are going to “chat” about today is LOW IMPACT HYDRO POWER.

It’s World Water Day!

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. This site started in 2001 as a community space and repository where people can upload their WWD event activities and reports. The theme changes every year.    http://www.worldwaterday.org/ &  http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about.html

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“Hydropower is energy obtained from flowing water. Hydroelectric power supplies about 19 percent of the world’s electricity and an estimated 10 percent of electric generating capacity in the United States via dams and turbines. Hydropower is normally applied to peak-load demand because it is so readily stopped and started.

Thousands of hydropower dams throughout the U.S. are located on many rivers and streams. These dams can create pollution-free energy, but they can also produce adverse impacts on fish, wildlife and other resources.”  To read whole article http://www.greenpoweremc.com/lowimpacthydro.aspx

Image from Green Power EMC (in Georgia)
How Hydro Power Works -Image from Green Power EMC (in Georgia)

However, according to a Vermont Trout Unlimited Chapter President Clark Amadon ” New Hydro Power in the US is dead… because all the viable eco sites have been developed already.”  Through Mr Amadon The Botanicals have learned about  The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI), based in Portland Maine.  On their website they state “LIHI’s mission is to reduce the impacts of hydropower dams through market incentives. LIHI does this through its Hydropower Certification Program, a voluntary certification program designed to help identify and reward hydropower dams that are minimizing their environmental impacts. Just as an organic label can help consumers choose the foods and farming practices they want to support, the LIHI certification program can help energy consumers choose the energy and hydropower practices they want to support.

In order to be certified by the Institute, a hydropower facility must meet criteria in the following eight areas:

  1. river flows,
  2. water quality,
  3. fish passage and protection,
  4. watershed protection
  5. threatened and endangered species protection,
  6. cultural resource protection,
  7. recreation, and
  8. facilities recommended for removal.”

Pretty cool stuff!

Now we all know that like all power sources, Hydro Power has some good things about it like these dams can create pollution-free energy …but that it also but… the dams can also produce significant adverse impacts on fish and wildlife and other resources.

and here is a news bite form Australia on the topic …from Geoff Strong is a  Senior writer at The Age Article is from The Sydney Morning Herald. (smh.com.au)

“Last week, Australian scientist Lee Furlong, who has worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said of the Japanese crisis that part of the problem was that the industry there was entirely private. By contrast, in France, which gets 80 per cent of its power from nuclear, there is a high level of government control.

”The French are not frightened of government regulation – I think they still have the guillotine,” Furlong quipped.

To the free-market high priests of today, any suggestion of government regulation is a step backwards. As for the rest of us, keen to maintain an economy in which we have jobs and can afford to keep the lights on, we might need to step backwards in order to step forwards.” Read the whole article.

Power source week–Around the world (a bit)

The views expressed do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of BBB. It is a food for thought week!

Help for Japan:
Donate to the Red Cross – http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main
Donate to Doctors without Boarders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/overview.cfm

By the way – Happy Spring! (March 20 at exactly 7:44 AM. ET) Yahoo!!!!!!

Boggie and Beubo discuss possibilities for power options.

(Illustration at Posts end) Given the state of the world – the Beauties and the Beasties thought they ought to look into various power/energy sources and learn a bit more. Since Boggie is Chief Energy Office for the local power company Natural Renewable Resources Power Inc. and Boubolicious (Boubo) is Ambassador of Wisdom they will be leading the discussions for the week.

Today they will be thinking about Nuclear since that is on everyone mind. There are pros and cons. The cons are obvious these days. However, there are Pros as well – here are some interesting stats and a noteworthy article about France and Nuclear power – a country that basically runs on nuclear and its residents by in large are fine with that.

  • France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. This is due to a long-standing policy based on energy security.
  • France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over EUR 3 billion per year from this.
  • France has been very active in developing nuclear technology. Reactors and fuel products and services are a major export.
  • It is building its first Generation III reactor and planning a second.

About 17% of France’s electricity is from recycled nuclear fuel.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf40.html

“France’s decision to launch a large nuclear program dates back to 1973 and the events in the Middle East that they refer to as the “oil shock.” The quadrupling of the price of oil by OPEC nations was indeed a shock for France because at that time most of its electricity came from oil burning plants. France had and still has very few natural energy resources. It has no oil, no gas and her coal resources are very poor and virtually exhausted.”  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html

FYI here in the USA – “Vermont gets more of its power from nuclear energy than any other state: 72 percent. Other top nuclear-generating states include New Jersey (four plants), Connecticut and South Carolina (seven plants), which all get more than half of their power from nuclear facilities. Illinois is right behind them at 48 percent (11 plants). California has four major nuclear facilities that generate about 15 percent of the state’s electricity. Officials say those plants are protected from any potential tsunami threat in the Pacific Ocean.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/42071742/France_Is_World_s_Biggest_Nuclear_Power_Producer

I bet you can't regulate your body temp by your nose – a Toucan can!

FUN FACTS FRIDAY!

Since Mimi is a parrot – our fact this week is about Toco Toucan! Yes, I know a Toucan not a parrot – but hey they look sort of alike!

“A toucan is not a parrot. Toucans, or ramphastids are a family of birds in the order piciformes. Woodpeckers, and barbets are also in the order piciformes. Parrot actually refers to an entire order of birds, the psitticiformes, and since toucans are piciformes rather than psitticiformes they are not a parrot.” from Answers.com

http://www.animalfactguide.com/animalfacts/toco-toucan/

Photo from Animal Fact Guide

Toco Toucan

Ramphastos toco

Measuring 63.5 cm (25 in.) in length, the toco toucan is the largest of all toucans. Its black body and white throat are overshadowed by its most recognizable trait: a large colorful beak.

The bright orange beak is about 19 cm (8 in.) long – one third of the bird’s total length. But despite its substantial size, the beak weighs less than you may think. Composed of the protein keratin, the structure of beak incorporates many air pockets allowing for a very low mass.

Furthermore, recent research has concluded that toucans regulate body temperature by adjusting the flow of blood to their beak. More blood flow means more heat is released. When toucans sleep, they tuck their beak under their feathers to keep them warm.

Toco toucans also use their beaks to pluck and peel fruit, their main source of food. In addition, the beak houses a flat tongue of the same length, which helps the toucan catch insects, frogs, and reptiles. Toco toucans also occasionally eat the eggs of other birds.

Although they spend much of their time in trees, they are not very good at flying. Toucans mainly travel among trees by hopping. When they do take flight, they flap their wings vigorously and glide, traveling only short distances.

Toucans nest in the hollows of trees. They often move into cavities created and abandoned by woodpeckers. Several toucans live together in a single hollow.

It is in these hollows that they lay their eggs, generally two to four a year. Both parents incubate the eggs for 16-20 days. Once the chicks hatch, both parents continue to care for the young. Baby toucans are not born with an excessively large beak; the beak grows as the birds develop.

Native to South America, toco toucans inhabit a range of habitats including tropical forests, savannas, and shrubland.

Conservation Status

Because toco toucans can live in a variety of habitats, they are not as susceptible to rainforest destruction as other species. Their population has not been determined, but it is thought to be large due to the frequency of sightings within their range. As such, the toco toucan is listed by theIUCN as being of least concern, and there are no specific efforts to protect the species.

What You Can Do to Help

Although toco toucans are not considered threatened, you can still help protect their habitat. Avoid buying products made from rainforest wood and help raise funds to help protect the rainforests of South America.

Native to South America, toco toucans inhabit a range of habitats including tropical forests, savannas, and shrubland.

Fun Fact Friday – actually a fun story this week! A giant ice castle. (i.e. Frozen Water)

Incredible Ice Castles Grown by a Minnesota Man Using Geothermal Heating Systemthis year the giant ice castle is a tall, long wall measuring 65 feet at its height and 85 feet long with multiple tiers of ice layers. This year’s project began in November when Hanson set the poles and started growing the initial layers the first week of December. Now that it’s February, the ice castle will start to melt and eventually disintegrate around the end of April.

http://inhabitat.com/art/

Read more and see more photos: Incredible Ice Castles Grown by a Minnesota Man Using Geothermal Heating System Minnesota Winter Wonderland – Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

 

Some pretty deep holes

Moe put on his glasses to read this article.

“We’ve managed water, and often not managed water, in ways that have landed us in some pretty deep holes. Groundwater levels are declining in many parts of the state faster than they can be replenished, threatening the communities, industry and streams that depend upon that water.”

This article is about Washington Sate – but the facts seem global to Moe.

“Fact #1: Our past cannot be our future.
Fact #2: Water management is hard, but it will get harder.
Fact #3: Our water resources are finite.

It’s time to modernize water management, and agree that all interests are essential to the future we want.”

http://bit.ly/eVH3pB
By Ted Sturdevant
Director
Washington Department of Ecology

Whimsy Wednesday and Liquid precipitation.

Zoie got caught tin the rain today… but she doesn’t really mind.  She is happy  that it is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet! So Hurrah for the rain – may it melt the snow and bring on the spring flowers.  She has read that rain drops range in size from oblate, pancake-like shapes for larger drops, to small spheres for smaller drops.Who would have thought that?

Zoie did a little research and found out that  ” Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the planet.
The globally-averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimeters (39 in)…
Antarctica is the Earth’s driest continent…
Rain is also known or suspected on other worlds, composed of methane, iron, neon, and sulfuric acid rather than water.”     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain

I never knew- Thanks Zoie!

To learn more about Zoie. (Her physique is of a Magnolia Bud.)

International Women’s Day-Women and Water

From The Nature Conservancy http://www.nature.org/initiatives/freshwater/features/art33145.html

Women & Water: Do women have the power to heal the world’s waters?

“And this March — from International Women’s Day on the 8th to World Water Day on the 22nd — is a great time to recognize and celebrate the positive impact women can make for water.  Through my work as a Conservancy freshwater scientist, I’ve learned that water isn’t just a world crisis, it’s a women’s crisis. In many societies, women and girls spend much of each day collecting and preparing water for cooking, cleaning, drinking and maintaining sanitation. ….. “Everyone has a role to play, but making a difference for water involves bringing people together and tackling complex issues — two things women are particularly good at,” says Silk. “Women can be a force for steering sustainable use and conservation in households, classrooms, farms, governments and businesses around the world.”  –Kate Frazer is a senior writer for The Nature Conservancy based in Boston, MA. Read the whole article at  http://www.nature.org/initiatives/freshwater/features/art33145.html

Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water!” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Moe Says- “Woman, Water, how great is that. What a great way to teach water awareness.”  http://bit.ly/gLSJ2R

Stay tuned — Tomorrow will Zoie will be making an appearance.

"Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it." Lao Tzu

Guess what?  It’s Water Week in Botaniumus!

“ We know the worth of water when the well is dry.” -Ben Franklin

Since it is Water Week – It is Moes turn to shine – or in this case shimmer in the water!

Moe-Minister of Clean Water
Moe-Minister of Clean Water

He has water-breathing gills and can travel in the seas for as long as needed. He and his family can adapt to sea or land as needed. Moe’s job as Minister of Clean Water is a natural fit for him. While swimming he preforms water tests as well as notes underwater spots of beauty. Part of his job also includes marking problem areas. Unfortunately these areas are more common than he would like. Botaniumus citizens are used to clean azure water and areas that are not pristine make them all very sad.

Moe will be chatting about water, water conservation and any other water issues he feels like this week!

Even though it is not Fun Fact Friday – here are two cool tidbits of water info.
– “More than 99% of our living planet is ocean.” Edith Widder #TED
– The largest height variation between the highest mountain and the deepest point in the bottom of the ocean is about 12 miles.

FYI: Moe is made from Hydrangea, moss, peony. To learn more about Moe and the gang.

The sun rose two days early – what!?!???

Wessie wants you all think about this oddity…  Breaking the Horizon – Two Days Early

Greenland-By Flickr user kaet44

 

“Several weeks ago, the sun rose two days earlier than normal in Greenland. This news spread fast around the world. While some people cried out that this was a foreshadowing of a 2012 disaster, others blamed global warming or optical illusions.

You may be thinking “the sun rises every day, why is this a news story”, but in Greenland the sun doesn’t rise every day. Days are dark for several months in the winter because of the country’s location and the sun is never high enough to break the horizon.

Residents of Ilulissat, Greenland, a small town on the western coast, see the sun every year on 13 January. However, this year the sun actually rose two days early on 11  January around 1pm.”  Read more  at  http://www.organicbugblog.com/

Wessie asks -” Is it becoming too warm? What are your thoughts on this story? Is global warming the cause or do you believe another theory?” Let him know in a comment.