Science & Technology

Shine, Baby, Shine - JR goes solar

I’d put my money on solar energy. What a source of power!
I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
I wish I had more years left.

Thomas Alva Edison
February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931 (aged 84)

That second part, the bolded comment got me thinking that Edison, recognizing the potential of the sun to meet our energy needs and knowing that fossil fuels were a finite resource, towards the end of his life wanted very much to be around to see this remarkable resource harnessed and developed into something sustainable.

A Question for Geologists (and other scientists) Regarding the Deepwater Horizon Gusher, Well Pressure and EarthQuakes

Question for folks, particularly science-types:

The pressure from the Deepwater Horizon well, which forced the blowout, and the steady stream of escaping oil...is that pressure solely from the weight of the many atmospheres of water above it? ...or could some of it be from internal pressures?

Regardless, does anyone know whether releasing all that pressure will lead to settling of the surrounding crust/mantle, leading to possible shifts in pressure in plates and affecting/effecting earthquakes?

When Google Goes Bad...

Remember years ago when the concept of "Customer Service" didn't exist and if you had a problem with a product and called the company, you got nowhere? Perhaps some of you have worked with products or services that came "as-is" and offered no additional feedback, and only token support -- no actual support, but a suggestion for "where to go" if you had a problem...and the alternate meaning for "where to go" was more likely the intent, as the actual "where to go" was nothing more than a relatively barren wasteland populated only by others searching for solutions to similar problems?

That's what I'm dealing with at this moment. The product is one that is well-known for ~not~ being officially supported. Problem is, the support forum that users are directed to appears to be wholly void of any Google-ish help beyond the basic FAQ information (at least for this problem).

The product? GMail...specifically, when a GMail account has been shut off for a "violation of TOS" when it's highly unlikely that any such violation occurred, and affected account is a one set up for a professional non-profit organization's headquarters.

Are Concurrent Disasters Fueling Debate For Safer Alternatives?

And we shouldn't forget the deja-vu inducing Ixtoc I disaster from June 3, 1979 or the Exxon Valdez incident off the coast of Alaska from March 24, 1989.

There are others, but these help illustrate some of the primary factors -- and unwelcome, unexpected and unplanned costs -- that fossil fuel dependency incurs.

There are other options. There are significant changes we can make in policies and procedures that impact energy, transportation, manufacturing and construction that would drastically alter our dependency on fossil fuels while strengthening our economy and reducing waste. Before we can make these adjustments, however, we must accept that we are accountable for the decisions that we make and the policies we pursue, not only as individuals but as a nation and as a civilization.

The question is, are we mature enough as a species to make the commitment to growing up and making the difficult adjustments required to review, alter and adjust our current consumption and utilization toward sustainable alternatives?

And if not now, then when?

How much damage do we need to do, how scared or large the negative impact must we witness before we decide that there are options we must explore, develop and adopt?

Open Thread - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

From RSA Animate:

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. www.theRSA.org

Will this video drive you to be motivated enough to leave your mark in an Open Thread?

Site Maintenance

Doing some site maintenance this weekend. Site will at times be unavailable for short periods of time as we update the database. Thank you for your patience. :)

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UPDATE 1

The login box has moved from the top right (just below the menu) to the top of the left column.

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UPDATE 2

From the Mailbag: Facebook & Online Privacy

Email from MoveOn regarding Facebook Privacy issues.  They are asking for action on the part of  Facebook users to,

Facebook should stop sharing my personal info with outside companies without my permission. If you agree, set this as your status today and join this group: http://bit.ly/d1ZB6h

I have heavily curtailed my facebook activities since the last invasion (heh ... not that I spent a whole lot of time there anyway). 

Science and Technology