Friday, April 8, 2011

54% of energy generated in the U.S. from Burning Dirty Coal, Petroleum, and Gas is lost.

We drill and spill and burn and pollute to get the energy and don't even use half of the energy that was generated.  

Charts of Energy and Consumption:

In addition,  the US currently uses about 19.7 million barrels of oil a day, 71% of which goes to transportation via cars, trucks, buses, airplanes. So, the longer we rely on the internal-combustion engine to fuel vehicles rather than electric cars, bikes and public transportation, the longer we stay dependent on drilling for those rapidly diminishing fossil fuels, which means more risky wells in deep water areas of the ocean and the inevitable occurrence of another disaster like the BP Deepwater Horizon spill.

Our government spends $30 million a year for anti-cuba propaganda radio and TV broadcasts?

Which are blocked by the Cuban government so are heard by few people.  And yet they want to cut funds for CPB and thus NPR.

More info on Radio and TV Marti:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deciphering Date codes

I don't know what's wrong with simply using a common date formula, but most manufacturers have to put some code and few offer any explaination. The codes usually involve a Julian day of the year and one digit for the year i.e. 9 for 2009.  But not always. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason, so I'm going to gather what few I figure out.

Tires manufactured since 2000:  (You usually don't want tires older than 6 years)
Since 2000, the week and year the tire was produced has been provided by the last four digits of the Tire Identification Number with the 2 digits being used to identify the week immediately preceding the 2 digits used to identify the year.


DOT U2LL LMLR 5107 Manufactured during the 51st week of the year of 2007

Ocean Beauty, canner of many brands of canned salmon and other fish, actually explain their 2-line code on their website in an easily found place. On the other hand, they use several different code formats for canned and pouched seafood. The canned doesn't involve a Julian date while the 3 different formats for pouches do. I found some canned Sockeye salmon at Big Lots for a very cheap price but wanted to make sure it was good. 

The third digit in the first line designates the year that the product was canned. The first three digits of the bottom line designate the month and day it was packaged. For example: if the top line of a code is 265CR - the third digit (#5) means 2005; With 908A for the second line, the first 3 digits (#'s 908) mean September 8th; So here the production date is 9/08/05, making the shelf-life best through 9/08/11. 

The below is for Fruit of the Earth Aloe vera gel which I spotted at a dollar store.  I searched for a bit on their website with no luck, then wrote customer service for an explanation.  They also make aloe vera juice for which they use a completely different type of code.


123-this is our batch number.
023-this is the day of the year the product was manufactured –we use a Julian Calendar(January 23rd)
9-this is the year the product was manufactured (2009)

Our products have a three year shelf life. If you add three year to the manufacture date of January 23, 2009 then the product would expire on January 23, 2012.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Letter to John Cornyn

Head Start and Pell Grants aren't spending. They are investments.

You say we can't afford Head Start, Pell Grants, or to invest in Green energy and infrastructure, in other words, the future. But we can afford subsidies to corporations, big oil, grain farmers and to keep a military that's larger than what, the next 17 largest in the world combined?  Most of which are our allies!

The Republican way is destroying the middle class which will turn us into a third world country. It does not trickle down. It trickles up. We can't consume all the goods and services required to keep our phony economy afloat without either getting a bigger share of the income, or by living beyond our means as we have been doing for the past few decades. And which we can't do anymore.

If the wealthiest create jobs with this couple of percent less income tax they aren't paying then were are those jobs?  We had them under Clinton!

There is now far more upward mobility in most of the socialist countries in Europe. The American Dream is dead and we are becoming an economic dustbowl. And you did that. You, Reagan, and every administration and congress since Reagan.  Not Obama. Not liberals. Not socialist programs.

The rate of upward mobility is 3x greater in Denmark.  Denmark!  Where they've been pretty much doing the opposite of what we do here. That's what works.

I you aren't going to do anything about the wage disparity, then the least you could do is pay for our education and health care.


Head Start and Pell Grants aren't spending. They are investments.

The Republican way is destroying the middle class which will turn us into a third world country.

 We can't afford Head Start, Pell Grants, to invest in Green energy and infrastucture, in other words, the future. But we can afford subsidies to corporations, big oil, grain farmers and to keep a military that's larger than what, the next 17 largest in the world combined?  Most of which are our allies!

It doesn't trickle down. It trickles up. We can't consume all the goods and services required to keep our phony economy afloat without either getting a bigger share of the income, or by living beyond our means. Which we can't do anymore.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Fine Print for the Progressive Snapshot program

Things to know before you sign up.

It seems to be mostly about hard braking as well as how much you drive in the medium risk times of rush hours and high risk of midnight to 4am

Since I don't brake hard, have a rush hour commute or drive late at night, I expected a great discount. Imagine my shock when I looked online for my log and discovered I had 15 'hard brakes' the first day.

When they say 'hard brake' they seem to pretty much mean, using your brakes.  It is defined as 'as any time you slow down by seven or more miles per hour in one second.'  Apparently that's easy to do with normal, conservative driving. Either that or the devise doesn't work right.

I have been advised that in order to avoid hard brakes, I should avoid:
• Following too closely
• Passing frequently
• Accelerating rapidly

But I do none of those things.  I did none of those things the day I was logged as having 15 'hard brakes.'  I drive to conserve gasoline.  I coast to most stops. My brake pads last forever.

The device is supposed to emit an audible beep to let you know when you've committed a 'hard brake.' But it wasn't activated on mine.  Supposedly it will be in 24-48 hours. And we'll see if that helps figure out what they consider to be too 'hard.' 

The online log records trips defined as from the time the engine starts to when it's turned off, duration and mileage of the trips, and hard brakes. I combine trips a lot. But they tell me this is not a negative. They look at the mileage and time of day.

The Medium Risk period is another thing they don't clearly tell you, but from their graphs of all my 'hard braking', it looks to be from 7 to 9 am and 3 to 6 pm.  High risk is Midnight to 4am.

This program might not be beneficial for anyone living and driving in an urban area with a lot of stop signs.  Even if you hardly go anywhere on a regular basis, just driving through your neighborhood to drop off and pick up kids from school during the medium risk hours with all that braking...

Edit: So the audible signal was on by the time I took the car out that day.  But even with driving carefully, I've had 1 so called hard brake each day.  I really think there's something wrong.  This was almost all urban and residential driving with no traffic.  I was rarely driving more than 35 and usually slower.  And other than one exit from a freeway with a short distance to the first red light which it recorded as a hard brake, I don't see how, without slamming on brakes, I ever reduced speed faster than 7mph per second.

Voice of America for the Middle East

Does Voice of America not broadcast into Libya and other places where the military is attacking civilians?  They could be providing the truth to the people to counter the lies the government tells them in their news broadcasts.  And perhaps convince soldiers to not fight civilians.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter to Obama on fuel standards and reducing our dependency on oil.

These are my embellishments to a form letter written by Union of Concerned Scientists Action Center to be sent to Obama at a click of a button.  You are always supposed to customize them so they hopefully get more attention.  The 3rd and 4th paragraphs are theirs.

More than 20 years ago, I took a photo of graffiti on a wall in Spain that said basically, 'Americans are vampires of petroleum.'  And we've gotten even worse since then. 

I also recently saw an issue of Popular Mechanics from the '50s. The cover story was about the best cars with the best mileage. The artwork involved a graph showing the models and their mpg.  And guess what?  It was about the same as today!  There's been no improvement in 60 years!.  We've used the internal combustion engine for over 100 years with little innovation.

We cannot be held hostage any longer to America's addiction to oil. When we talk about the high price of gasoline, today's gas prices are the most visible, but certainly not the only price we pay. We pay in pollution. We pay in endangering our security. We pay in falling behind in the jobs that can come from a clean energy economy.

You have the ability to empower U.S. industry and U.S. drivers to be the solution to this problem once and for all. Raising fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards to the equivalent of 60 mpg by model year 2025 would save the average U.S. driver nearly $9,000 over the life of the vehicle at $4 gas prices, even after paying for cleaner car technology. That's like cutting the gas price from $4 to less than $2.75 a gallon, all while cutting global warming emissions and creating jobs right here in the United States! 

Personally, I don't mind the higher gas prices. It's seems to be the only way to get Americans to conserve or change their lifestyles. I know it will be painful in the short term, but the changes we have to make will be amongst the best things that ever happened to the planet. 

A few additional details that need to be addressed:

-We need better home building methods (which exist but builders keep building things the same old way), solar and wind turbines on our roof tops, more walkable cities, and more fuel efficient transportation methods.

-Why didn't you make the automakers convert factories to produce mass transit equipment rather than close them down as part of the bailout?  We have to buy these things from overseas.  Manufacturing needs to be more local. Perhaps the government can help interested businesses purchase these factories by guaranteeing them the contracts for the equipment?

-Also, why do we not require methane gas to be captured to keep it out of the atmosphere and to be used as fuel.  They just vent it into the atmosphere where it's the worst of the greenhouse gases at coal mines, oil and gas wells, land fills, etc.  Why are we so wasteful? In other countries, they have generators that produce electricity directly from this. It could be used to power equipment at the mine, well, landfill or neighborhoods that surround the landfill. 

Along that note, any nuclear power plant should have a turbine that keeps turning producing power to circulate cooling water and run equipment as long as there is heat coming from the reactor.  Simple solution to what has happened in Japan.
-Please stop subsidizing corn! For any purpose, but especially for ethanol! It is a low yield per acre crop that requires tons of harmful fertilizer.  It wastes more energy to grow and produce the ethanol than we get from the ethanol.  And the products they make from it are bad for our health. It's also a lousy food for livestock.  It makes them unhealthy.    Instead subsidize small farmers that grow  vegetables and humanely raise livestock for sale locally.

Invest in the future. Oil and gas, is not the future.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why isn't a turbine turning to provide power to pump the water in the reactors?

Another example of how we ignore simple solutions and waste available energy.

So, they build these plants to produce electricity, but then they have diesel and batteries for backup power? If it's producing heat, it's producing steam, which means it can turn a turbine. Even with the reactor shut down, as long as there's heat, there should always be a turbine turning to provide the energy to pump the water and run equipment. Why would you do anything else? This way there would always power to operate the plant in an emergency.

This is worse than the coal mines just venting out the methane from the mines rather than capturing it or using it to power equipment in the mine, because it could prevent a disaster.