eldavojohn writes: Just like the many stories surrounding alleged "wifi sickness" research is now showing that windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth instead of applying universally to windfarms. Areas that had never had any noise or health complaints were suddenly experiencing them after 2009 when anti-wind groups targeted populations surrounding windfarms. From the article, 'Eighteen reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health published since 2003 had all reached the broad conclusion that there was very little evidence they were directly harmful to health.' While there's unfortunately no way to prove that someone is lying about how they feel, it's likely a mixture of confirmation bias, psychosomatic response, hypochondria, greed and hatred of seeing windmills on the horizon that drives this phenomenon.
eldavojohn writes: More problems have surfaced as people attempt to bring soil pollution problems to light in China. From the article, 'When Pan sued the Hebei Department of Environmental Protection in 2011, he was given access to the environmental impact assessment that the environment ministry claimed it had done in the village. Pan discovered that the assessment, carried out by the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, had names of people who had left the village two decades previously and even a person who had been dead for two years — all "expressing favor" for the project. Pan surveyed 100 people in his village, showing them the purported environmental impact study. The majority of them gave him written statements that declared: "I've never seen this form," according to documents seen by Reuters.' Reuters has also discovered that China uses "state secrets" labels to hide environmental studies and pollution numbers as well as using strong arm tactics to silence residents attempting to do their own studies.
eldavojohn writes: A recent peer reviewed paper and survey by Cliff Frohlich, of the University of Texas' Institute for Geophysics, reveals a correlation between an increase in earthquakes and the emergence of fracking sites in the Barnett Shale, Texas. To clarify, it is not the actual act of hydrofracking that induces earthquakes but more likely the final process of injecting wastewater into the site according to Oliver Boyd, a USGS seismologist. Boyd said, "Most, if not all, geophysicists expect induced earthquakes to be more likely from wastewater injection rather than hydrofracking. This is because the wastewater injection tends to occur at greater depth where earthquakes are more likely to nucleate. I also agree [with Frohlich] that induced earthquakes are likely to persist for some time (months to years) after wastewater injection has ceased." Frohlich added, "Faults are everywhere. A lot of them are stuck, but if you pump water in there, it reduces friction and the fault slips a little. I can't prove that that's what happened, but it's a plausible explanation." In the US alone this correlation has been notedseveral times.
eldavojohn writes: As the political rhetoric heats up, there's something puzzling about drilling inside the United States. Essentially, it doesn't reduce what we pay at the pump. From the article, 'A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.' If the promises that politicians made when they opened US drilling were true, then we should be paying about $2 a gallon now. Instead it's $4 a gallon. Minnesota Public Radio pulls some choice quotes from both parties and wonders why this decades old empirical observation goes seemingly completely unnoticed.
eldavojohn writes: In the ongoing BP debacle, the Obama administration thought the best action they could take would be a six month moratorium on offshore drilling and a halt to 33 exploratory wells going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Well, a federal judge (in New Orleans, no less) is unsatisfied with their reasons for this and stated, "An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country." The state governor seems to agree on the grounds that any blocking of drilling will cost the state thousands of lucrative jobs.
eldavojohn writes: People in mainland Louisiana are seeing the beginnings of the oil's full effects on wildlife in the area. Sticky rust colored oil covers the reeds like a latex paint indicating that the efforts to lay miles of floating booms to keep it away from the fragile marshes are useless. They are experiencing what the Plaquemines (mouth of Mississippi River) saw last week and it now appears that their defenses were inadequate. Only time will tell how much more worse it can get as BP still scrambles for a solution. NPR also ran a story critical of Obama's 'scientific approach' that he promised to use in office and how well it's being applied and holding up during this crisis. He promised an official policy document that opens the science behind government decisions — like that of how to handle this oil spill — and this document is now a year overdue from his administration at a time when it could reassure the hysteric American people with rational thought behind tackling this impending disaster.
eldavojohn writes: NASA has announcd the plan to use the OMEGA system which 'consists of algae grown in flexible plastic bags floating offshore, where cities typically dump their wastewater. Oil-producing freshwater algae would naturally clean the wastewater by feeding on nutrients in the sewage. The cleansed freshwater could then release into the ocean through forward-osmosis membranes in the sides of the plastic bags.' Jonathan Trent, a bioengineer at NASA Ames Research Center, came up with the idea of using the ocean currents to mix the algae and have a forward osmosis membrane to keep salt water out of the fresh water algae bags. The NASA fuel technology has already been licensed by a company called Algae Systems of Carson City back in May.