Tags >> energy
Nov 10
2008

Antimatter

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , speaker , Science , Ideas , energy

Bruce Robinson
Physicists know that anti-matter is the electrical opposite of the elements we know and use; but they don't know why there is more matter than anti-matter.

 

Dr. Helen Quinn is a researcher and professor of physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where her studies have focused in particle interations and the behaviors of quarks.

 

Even though we may tend to think of the universe as being mostly vast expanses of empty space, Quinn says that's not really true, so there's no place any extra antimatter could be hiding.

 

Looping eruptions on the Sun, like this one (right)  on July 24, 1999, create antimatter. Earth is shown for size comparison.

 

Science fiction has long speculated about the possibility of using some kind of matter-antimatter reactor as a means of propulsion for spacecraft. Quinn says for that to become a reality, there is one huge problem that would have to be overcome first.

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center developed the sketch (below) of a hypothetical antimatter rocket of the future. 

 

Nov 05
2008

War Without End

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , resources , politics , policy , peace , news , media , justice , history , government , events , energy , economy , author

Bruce Robinson
The emerging lesson of the war in Iraq, says critic Michael Schwartz, is that foreign policy and energy policy cannot be separated.

In this analysis, commentator Michael Schwartz demolishes the myths used to sell the U.S. public the idea of an endless "war on terror" centered in Iraq, and shows how the real U.S. interests in Iraq have been rooted in the geopolitics of oil and the expansion of a neoliberal economic model in the Middle East.

Michael Schwartz, Professor of Sociology and Faculty Director of the Undergraduate College of Global Studies at Stony Brook University has written extensively on the war in Iraq at sites including TomDispatch, ZNet; Asia Times and Mother Jones, and in many print outlets, including Contexts, Against the Current, and Z Magazine.   

 

 The dynamics of the debate  and speculation over the war in Iraq changed during the past year, as defenders of the administration pointed to what they called the success of the "surge," the boost in troop levels in 2007, in damping down the levels of violence there. Schwartz says that comparative quiet was a byproduct of widespread factional cleansing that was actually enabled by the military surge.

 The election of Barack Obama as America's next president has boosted hope that he will take actions to expediently wind down the Iraq war. Schwartz cautions, however, that  as a candidate, Obama's position papers did not show a marked break from the polices that got us into the war.

 

 

Nov 03
2008

Smart Infill

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , Ideas , housing , government , environment , energy , construction , community

Bruce Robinson
The antidote to urban sprawl, says Greenbelt Alliance, is taller buildings and higher population densities within established urban core areas.

Greenbelt Alliance's recently published Smart Infill: A practical guide to creating vibrant places throughout the Bay Area  was written to inform decision makers about the benefits of these policies, and cite examples where they have been successfully employed. One of them, says Daisy Pistey-Lyhne, is the Town of Windsor.

 

Sonoma County has been a leader in adopting community separators or Urban Growth Boundaries for its cities. Those are a key first step in redirecting growth away from sprawl patterns back into urban infill.

 

 

For more information about the Sonoma County branch of Greenbelt Alliance, click here .

Greenbelt Alliance also regularly hosts hikes throughout the BayArea. You'll find a list of upcoming events here.

 

 

Oct 27
2008

Energy Propositions (7 & 10)

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Science , resources , politics , policy , government , environment , energy , economy , climate change , business

Bruce Robinson

 

California voters will decide the fate of two ballot measures that say they would promote alternative energy production in the state. But a long-time solar advocate says for both issues, appearances can be misleading.

Gary Gerber, President and CEO of Sun Light & Power, has been a life long advocate for solar power. But he is opposed to Proposition 7 on next week's California ballot.

 

Proposition 7 sets a statewide goal of making California 50% energy efficient by 2025. However, it is opposed by a wide range of  stakeholders , from PG&E to the Sierra Club. Proposition 7  is mainly supported by Peter Sperling who has donated over $7 million dollars, becoming the biggest contributor. To read the complete proposition, click here.

Proposition 10 is another measure about alternative energy. To view the website that supports Prop 10, click here.

Opposition to Prop 10 says the new law would cost Californians heavily, but not decrease the use of fuel.