Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alternative and Sustainable Energy Technologies and Examples That Actually Work

A couple days ago I posted on Solar and Wind energy alternatives to the conventional corporate run Coal-Fired or Nuclear Electrical Energy Power Plant systems which shackles the average consumer to a Grid Network of complicated unappealing eye sore infrastructure. A system over which the consumer is at the mercy of these corporations whose industry is quite often not only challenged for finding newer sources of raw materials and must pass on the extra expense to it's customer base, also responsible for some of the habitat destruction for acquiring these resources. Unfortunately this antiquated system ALSO needs to change because they are also a global industry that is directly or even indirectly responsible for some of the present climate change. Some champion alternative energy ideas which are termed Eco-Solutions. Yet all too often even these are mere marketing ploys and not real viable answers. (See: Green Grabs: The Dark Side of the Green Economy ) Here is the post from two days ago below:
Today however I want to focus on a REAL success story of sorts. This is one I saw and watched over here in Sweden on CNN Europe a few days back. It's the success story of a Physicist, Innovator, co-founder, chairman and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute  and private Colorado Home Owner, Amory Lovins who was a guest on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" show on October 21, 2012. This was a great show and one that not only addresses some of the ideas and concepts of an individual who claims to be an expert on the subject, but one who actually practices what he preaches by his own personal home habitat. Many of the ideas are so simple and logical that anyone could accomplish such things even on a much smaller scale. Take a look here at some photos of his home.

Photo & Text by C/NET
"The Snowmass, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in three main areas: energy, transportation, and buildings At about 8,000 feet, RMI founder Amory Lovins' house, which is the nonprofit's original headquarters, serves as a showcase for the kind of ultra-efficient housing that is possible today. Though it was built years ago, it has recently been renovated and now includes a new, large set of solar panels - on top of a set of panels it already had . that allow the building to produce more energy than it uses. The house is filled with a series of systems designed to get the most out of the building and to make the place as livable as possible. As Lovins is apparently fond of saying, people who live in energy efficient houses need not skimp on hot showers or cold beer!"
Remoldeling of Amory Lovins Home, by Yahoo News

photo by Judy Hill Lovins
I actually found this part of the home intriguing. He lives at 8,000 feet elevation and harvest 28 Banana Crops of Bananas. In the interview with CNN, he joked about sitting in his living room in the frigid dead of winter and not ever turning his heater on and sitting among his tropical plants. It is his combined home and work space which is equipped with insulated walls, solar panels, wood burning stove and a green house that gathers all the heat collected to be the power of the entire house and excess stored for future use.
Credit by Solaripedia
Here is Amory Lovins watering his tropical plants in a Hot House that serves as a natural furnace for his home-office in Old Snowmass, Colorado where again the sub-freezing temperatures are common throughout the winter. I suppose if you are going to test your idea and theory, then di it in an extreme climate.
Here's the home in Wintertime. 

While this is impressive, here is a video of
Amory Explaining how the home works in
Amory Lovins: Tour the "Greenest House" on Earth!
Anyway I just thought this was an interesting add on to my post a few days ago. Many of these things are so logical even for folks in a frigid climate. Such energy efficient concepts could inspire even warm crop production and environmental space where such climate in northern hemispheres prevents such a pleasant lifestyle. I certainly live in such an environment here in Sweden and often I long for such an indoor concept to become a reality. I often wonder why Sweden doesn't create an indoor mall where such an environment could be recreated to allow it's citizens a measure of winter enjoyment while all the frigid temperatures and darkness remain on the outside. I have been in Stockholm once to an indoor setting which had a number of large Palm Trees and other tropical plants. In making large scale application in an agricultural setting, many things would no longer have to be imported from 1000s of miles away. In an area where there is much talk of localizing everything we consume, it makes perfect $€N$€!!!

Rocky Mountain Institute Website & Blog

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cheaper Alternatives &/or Compliments to Solar & Wind Technology

The above cartoon is a common scene this year of one Political Ideology looking for excuses to demonize and denounce another Political Ideology's perceived failings. Of course the other side does likewise to it's opponent.  In this philosophical climate in the battle of the wills, one has to wonder why either side would celebrate and applaud such failure. Either way it's the average person who seems to get the shaft so to speak. When one ponders the use of public monies to fund ecological technologies it should be hoped that such investment would become a success, not only in terms of jobs, economy, etc, but also a win for the environment which is our own planet Earth. Yes it appears a lot of money has been lost, but people need to realize that this world's leadership is far from perfect. Entrusting such imperfect leadership to do the right thing is always a gamble no matter what the Ideology. No one knows the secret deals that go on behind the scenes of such Politico-Economic schemes if they were well thought out and considered or merely for public relations bonus points. Too often there seems to be bad consequences of taking ideas into the mainstream before they are truly ready. Each Researcher, Engineer or other any other Technician has good intentions to be sure, but the reality and side effects aren't often considered when Politicians and their Lobbying Constituents get involved.
There are far to many people writing & focusing on the failures now days about the land destruction taking place on pristine wilderness lands where industrial Solar and Wind Energy Factory Farms are being created and I'd rather not go there with this post. To be honest, these technologies in their present form do not appear to be sustainable answers either. Many of these Farms are & will be owned and operated by the same historical energy firms which have from the beginning of energy creation and distribution been at the monopoly game forefront and have no intention of giving any of  the monopoly share up any time soon, even to Do-It-Your-Selfers! Yet I believe energy independence would truly be a desirable thing.  Not only would it be a win win for the private individual on Earth, but also a win win for the environment whose acreage isn't destroyed by an ever increasing (not less) industrial infra-structure. You can Google all the other Green Blogs and Enviro Activism sites out there for a further in depth viewpoint on this subject. I'd rather focus here with my post on some simple inexpensive things I've done and others can do and at incredibly very little if any cost. 

First and foremost I think the construction and creation of an energy efficient home and the actual materials used in creating them are the first defense in energy usage reduction. That's why I love ideas on techniques on  straw bale construction , dual & triple pane insulated windows with  low emissivity glass  , etc. Of course folks with houses who have older technology construction cannot start from scratch, so what can they do ? Coming from a sunnier warmer part of the world, here is what I have done. Clearly where I'm from strategic Landscaping is a huge game changer as far as choices go. I first and foremost like to start with low maintenance choices such as native plants incorporated into an area which along with their host specific mycorrhizal fungal symbiotic root associations which will aid not ONLY in hydrating the plant, but also feeding the tree will add a measure of energy savings as well as esthetics. This can almost eliminate almost entirely water supplementing during drier times(which cuts costs) but also TOTALLY eliminates feeding by means of industrially created fertilizers which are NOT necessary IF you do it right and know what you are doing. Create that healthy landscape and chemicals against pests are eliminated as well. Believe it or not this is how things actually work out in nature. Selection and correct establishment in the right location are of prime importance. In hot environments shade is of concern. In frigid climates living vegetative evergreen screen barriers against freezing energy sucking winds is of prime importance.

This is where I think costs of Solar Panels can be kept to a minimum if the Landscape is done right. I've posted a photo of my mum's place where in six tears time she has 30 to 40 foot high trees which shade the southwestern exposure of the house which eliminates the need for this powerful industrial sized commercial air-conditioner which she and my dad mounted on top of the roof in the back in the 1990s. Of course she also had those older 1954 Ranch Styled crank windows replaced with heavy duty dual pane windows which also made a huge difference. Looking at the photo here to the left, the California Sycamore Trees are much larger in crown and taller in height than when this shot was taken. The trees were 6 inches in height from one gallon containers and heavily inoculated with varietal mix of several kinds of beneficial bacteria and several different species of beneficial endo-mycorrhizal fungi. The rapid growth was aided by drip irrigation watering as a head start & was tapered off in favour of a Deep Pipe Irrigation later on. Presently little or no water is added other than the local seasonal rainfall averages. The area's temperatures are quite often in the 90-100 Fahrenheit range (30 to 40 Celsius) and by the time they peak, the shade is already doing it's work. At least everyone gets the idea of the strategy here.
Common Midwest Evergreen Windbreaks used to block northern and westerly cold high winds which sap the home of it's warmth and energy efficiency.
Industrial Grade
Green House Shade Fabric
Another strategy I used in Anza California where I lived for almost 24 years was not only the shade of trees, but also the use of industrial Greenhouse shade cloth which is extremely long lasting and durable. I had an older technology Mobile Home on the property that we purchased. While there were a measure of extra add-ons ordered for the home by the previous owner like dual pane windows and heavier snow load roof, they were still lacking in quality and upgrading certain components around the home not only improved warmth and coolness in what is both a very warm and very cold dry climate, but also the aesthetics or eye appeal of the place as well. Take the picture of the Green House Shade Cloth above. Now who would have thought to put that over picture windows on the western or southern exposure side of a house ? I already new the potential of such a material in the Seed Germination and Plant Nursery industry, so why not in some type of home based application. Take a look at the front of my old home which I photographed last year and notice that the cloth is as strong as it was when I originally installed it in the late 1980s.

photo: Mine

The shade cloth you should notice here in the above photo has a wooden frame around it which blends in with the actual window frames which themselves were replaced when I installed newer siding by Weyerhaeuser Corp product which anyone can pick up an any Home Depot or Lowes Home Improvement Store.  In all the cloth and wood for frames were no more than $20 back then.

Here's the way the interior temperature was before. The sun shining through those open exposed windows even with closed curtains super heated the front of the house on that western exposure so much that it would often on warm or hot days be in the 90s F or 35 Celsius on the inside of the entire home front to back. We actually had a large ground foundation air conditioner on the south side of the house which could keep things rather cool inside. It was connected to the central heating natural gas or propane heating system which could be used for either heating or cooling with the simple flip of a switch. But running such a device is expensive to operate. Plus it's not exactly aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately we had no Low-E windows which would have prevented the sun's rays from heating up all objects and surfaces on the interior to high temperatures which effected the whole interior. So the Green House shade material was a smart and very cheap option. I actually measured the frame around the window and came up with an identical window screen frame for both with the same exacting measurements. Then I stretched and stapled the shade mesh screen onto the back of the frame and trimmed it to fit. I then proceeded to drill holes and using brass screws mounted them on top of the existing outer wooden frame. These screens worked perfectly from the start and had eye appeal. The noticeable effect was instantaneous. The front of the home (Living Room and Dining Room) temps where lowered by 15 degrees or more which didn't require the air conditioner to be on in late afternoon. And we had a continual westerly wind for which open windows controlled on the inside would allow a cool breeze to do it's work properly.

Of course I see nothing wrong with installing a Solar or smaller Wind energy program, but doing so on a not so conspicuous level. I hate to see homes which reflect an ugly commercial industry eye sore visual. Making home improvements that I've only barely touched on goes a long way into factoring how much of the solar or Wind energy program you DON'T need had you not done anything. I like a warm cozy eye appealing home. I admit it. There is a type of atmosphere I want to surround myself with in living and enjoying life in my home. 

Where I presently reside in Sweden, most Scandinavian Architecture as a general rule NEVER takes into account estheitc or artistic eye appeal in a living environment. Everything is industrial and institutional for Secular Societal Futuristic Living. I could care less. Yes as a kid I was entertained by the "Jetsons" Cartoon characters, but I never wanted such a life to become my reality. Yet I am over here in a Svensk version of Utopian Living. One of the ways around the Solar Industrial look are some of the technologies introducing Solar Shingles which blend in and become part pf the home and don't offend the eye with an industrial grade add on that doesn't fit.

Mother Jones
Seriously, who wants this on a beautiful home ? Do many of the extra things I mentioned and you won't need such Industrial Applications to be ecogreen

Image -

New solar panels along Bellair Avenue in Fair Lawn.
Public Service Electric and Gas Co. is installing
180,000 such panels statewide.

Junk like this down a street doesn't work for me either. I'd rather live in a Mongolian Yurt in a Barren Wilderness! I seriously love the idea and would delight in the fact of Green Technologies as being the rule, but only if they truly work and could indeed account for much of our energy. But when you add the power-trips and  politics for which big business lobbyists who push for less than eco-green technologies, the whole thing eventually gets exposed to the money making scam it is and then it's difficult to convince the average person of it's ecological importance. As all of the blogs and Activism sites out there have pointed out, there are huge disconnects between promise and performance for which Green Technologies have promoted themselves as sustainable and Eco-green. It clearly emblematic of how easy it is for ideology to subvert what could and should otherwise be good science. Not long ago I reported on some of the common phony Eco Propagandizing being done in an article entitled: 
Green Grabs: The Dark Side of the Green Economy

But there are some plus points in that aesthetics direction, take a look.
Look at this. Perfect, it doesn't offend and it attempts at an aesthetic eye appeal design. No holes drilled into existing older technology roofs with industrial apparatus which otherwise looks like it belongs in an Electric company's sub-station transformer somewhere in the neighbourhood infrastructure network grid.

In closing and addressing the original cartoon at the top of this post. I truly hope and wish such ideas or strategies would succeed. I could care less who comes up with the idea or gets credits in the accomplishing of such a plan. But clearly there should never be a rush in putting just anything out there in the interests of profiteering, satisfying shareholders or making Brownie Points with Politicians of either side. Nature could care less about Ideology and neither should people. Motive is everything. Doing the right thing the right way will always count. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why So Many Hurricanes This Year? Blame the El Niño 2012 'No Show'

So El Niño 2012 'no show' caused this ?  - (Source:)
Before the beginning of this hurricane season, back in May, forecasters thought this year would be an average one. Come august, when the season typically peaks, forecasters notched up their outlook, saying the season would in fact be busier than average.
Now it's October and it's been and it's been one of the busiest seasons on record,  with 19 named storms so far this year, 10 of which became hurricanes, including Hurricane Sandy, which has the potential to strike the east coast.
That puts the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season in rarified company. Only seven seasons since 1851 (as far back as hurricane records reach) have seen 19 or more named storms. Three of these have been within the last decade: 2010 and 2011 seasons had 19 storms, the most on record, including Hurricane Katrina. 

Originally the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there would be nine to 15 storms this year. Then, in August, it upped it's prediction to 12 to 17 named storms, with five to eight of those becoming hurricanes. (Storms are named once the attain tropical storm status - defined as a rotating, organized storm with maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph [119 kph] )
It's relatively unusual to have more storms than forecast, said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. So why has this hurricane season been busier than expected ?
The underestimate can be blamed on El Niño, Bell told OurAmazingPlanet.  Or rather the lack of El Niño. Forecasters predicted that this climate pattern, characterized by warm surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, would have developed by now and stymied hurricane formation by it's influence on the atmosphere. But it hasn't. 
Blame it on El Nino 
Bell said the hurricane forecast represents how many storms there are likely to be, within a 70 percent probability. In recent years their forecasts have been 95 percent accurate, he said.
This year, cyclone activity has continued longer than expected in the Atlantic, unperturbed by El Niño, which spawns high-level winds that stream eastward and can disrupt the swirling motion that gives developing storm it's power, Bell said.
"There was a strong indication that El Niño would form in time to suppress the peak of the hurricane season and El Niño just hasn't formed yet," he said. 
Other climate factors also played a part in this year's season, as well as some of the other busy seasons.
The main reason for the recent abundance of cyclones si that since 1995, the Atlantic Ocean basin has been in the warm phase of a cyclical climate pattern called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, with hotter-than average surface temperatures throughout the tropics and subtropics, Bell said. This pattern lasts for about 25-40 years, and comes with more hurricanes than it's "cool" phase, he said. Warm water helps hurricanes form and fuels their strength.

 In addition, in the past few years there has been a strong West African Monsoon, which creates disturbances in the eastern Atlantic that can turn into cyclones (the generic name for hurricanes and tropical storms), Bell said. There's also been relatively weak wind shear in the tropical Atlantic where cyclones form. Wind shear is a difference in wind speed or direction between high and low atmosphere, which tears apart developing storms. Wind shear is the main reason El Niño hampers cyclone formation.
One thing that is likely isn't to blame for the increase in hurricanes in recent years is the global warming, Bell said. Many climate models suggest that increased temperatures could actually lead to fewer, but stronger, hurricanes worldwide, he said.
It's Been An Unusual Season Indeed!
In other News, X-Files Conspiracies Theories are on the rise about Hurricane Sandy and the November Presidential Elections - Who do the people behind HAARP really want elected- oh brother !!!
YAHOO NEWS: "Hurricane Sandy as the October Election Surprise"

cartoon by

Could Hurricane Sandy be Weather Modification at Work?
Hmmmmm, here's what I think is really going to happen based on the official weather news on station  WTVR - CBS 6 in Richmond Virginia, weatherman Aaron Justus provides the last weather forecast you will ever need. In order to get the full flavour of the report, make sure your Aluminum Tin Foil Hat is firmly affixed to your thick skullcap.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Swedish Taco Night Fridays: Tequila Chicken

Well here are the ingredients for Sweden
Obviously the chicken is the most important. The are a couple of brand names here. Clearly Bröstfile (breast file) are the most sought after and expensive of the chicken parts. You can purchase high end priced Guldfågeln as seen in the photo above right.
Or you can go for the cheapy brand label called Euro-Shopper which is sort of a spooky looking generic brand from the mainland continent I assume. And who knows what or where it comes from. I get a feeling of  Industrial Ag when I see it. Oh well, the Tequila marinate corrects any of the Industrial Ag health issues anyway right ? Just kidding! - *smile*

Next there is the Tequila for the main marinate. We had friends bring over this past July for us a bottle of Tequila. What we didn't expect was two bottles of X-Large El Jimador 100% Puro Agave. This is the sipping Tequila for those special occasions. Like slamming down shots followed by Budweiser ? Kidding! But seriously, the reason the pure 100% Agave is so expensive is that there is only so much actually agave growing plantations in all the world. Hence the cheaper versions which are watered down with common grain alcohol. I'm guessing something like Vodka is neutral.
But I'd rather use Jose Quervo or another cheaper brand and quality as opposed to the expensive. Even though most Tequila brands are not 100% Agave but have a large measure of tasteless grain alcohol added to make the flavour go farther, it nevertheless has the Tequila taste and it's for a marinate anyway. If you've never been to an American Mexican Restaurant or even one in Mexico and had real Tequila marinate and grilled chicken, then you don't have a clue as to what you've been missing. 
Limes are also important as these components and flavours in combination will not only compliment one another but kill potentially any bacterial problem associated with our modern industrial Ag-Farm Industries. Besides, if you also want Margaritas, you can also make your own mix here as Margarita mix imported to Sweden is insanely priced at about $13.00 a bottle. Seriously, that's Svenskland!  
Cilantro - (Koriander) 
Okay here a new rule. As long as you Swedes are going to make Mexican Food on Fridays or any other night, start calling one of the primo herb ingredients to Mexican food - Cilantro & not Coriander. Coriander is a Mediterranean herb for Mediterranean food dishes. The common packaging for Cilantro here are the cute little Santa Maria live herb packages you see above located in every produce section. There truly is nothing like fresh cilantro. Sorry, Coriander. Start getting use to the Spanish word/term is you really want to get into the mood of Mexican cooking.
We often get these at ICA MAXI or Hemköp, but because I use so much in my cooking I quite often go over to the local Middle Eastern Immigrant Produce Store and purchase the much larger bunches of Cilantro as seen above and store it for a week in our fridge's produce bin. It's cheaper, more quantity and has generally a darker richer green colour than the usual Green House grown brands. I have no idea where they get it, but the Arab/Persian store owners have inside tracks outside of Sweden for getting better quality produce. Trust me, people who come from warmer climates know better when it comes to quality produce, what we like and are use to. Still though, the other brands are good, but - Just Say'n . . ! Okay here's one last word on Cilantro. Watch this video from Taco Bell (for you Euros this is a long time Mexican Fast Food chain started way back in the 1964 in the U.S.) But this video of theirs illustrates and educates the importance of Cilantro to Mexican Food. 

The Spices - Santa Maria
Okay no big secret here. I like the Santa Maria spice collection. It's true many recipes call for just the right measured individual ingredients and you can go the route. However I want quick and fast and they have actually done a terrific job with their various blends. The most popular one I use is indeed their original Taco Spice, but the Habanero is a often used flavourite for me. I don't know what it is about Habanero, but it seems to have a slight smokiness to it, without actually being smoked over wood fire. It's also inexplicably addictive. Seriously your mouth is on fire, you lay off the Habanero Salsa till the mouth cools off, but finally you find yourself craving more. Go figure!
The Recipe:
1/2 cup Gold Tequila
1 Lime
3 garlic cloves crushed in a handpress
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Canola Oil (for Euros - Rapseed) 
2 tablespoons reg Butter (Bregott)
2/3 packet of flavourite Santa Maria Spice
one small bunch (about 8 stems) Cilantro
3 Chicken Breasts (Kyckling Bröstfile)
Mixing and Marinate 
I like to do things quickly, but the marinating should be given enough time to do it's work of getting that main ingredient for which the dish is named after - Tequila - to do it's work of infusing that particular flavour into the chicken.  I like to slice the breast files length wise into long slender strips. Although if I choose to Bar-B-Q, I leave them whole. This recipe is one I did very quick last night. You can mix the ingredients into a plastic bag and marinate for an hour or so before cooking, but I like to put all the strips into an oval glass ovenware dish, add the Tequila all over the top of the chicken, squeezing one lime on top of that and then adding the Sea Salt & my choice of Santa Maria Taco Spice over the top of the chicken, then turning them over and doing the same to the other side. Cover dish and let it set at room temperature for an hour and then placing in a hot frying pan where the Canola Oil & butter already are. I first however mix in the finely pressed garlic gloves in the hot oil and often I'll throw in some sliced yellow onions for a change, but not always. My main purpose is for that Tequila flavour to win out above everything else. You can actually go too far with other ingredients and mask that flavour. The Cilantro I rinse with water and finely mince or chop on a cutting board and sprinkle evenly over the top of the chicken in the frying pan. I also have added prior to cooking in the marinate and so can you. Next cover with a lid and allow to slowly cook on low heat. Chicken like fish cooks very fast and cooking to fast can make it tough. The way I do it the chicken comes out delicate & tender which has the effect of melting in your mouth when you bite in. 

BAR-B-Q Files
There are of course countless ways to cook, bake, broil or you can BAR-B-Q this chicken marinate, but this is the quick-easy approach for me. You can serve it with a rice dish or even beans. I have to admit as far as Mexican Cooking here in Sweden, Frijoles (W/ Pinto Beans) has not exactly caught on here. But we're working on that as I've done them from scratch before when I've had guests over for a meal. Okay, this was simple, not complicated. Anyone can do this. Wow, when I did it last night and took the cover off the pan mid-way through the cooking, the aroma was killer. Just remember one thing - It's called Cilantro, not Koriander!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Salton Buttes Volcanoes: Not as Old as Once Thought & Still Active ?

photo by Cliechtenstein (Crawling Around Geology)
Salton Buttes Volcano field at the southern end of Salton Sea and northern reach of agricultural fields.
Image - L.A. Times
Note the location of the Salton Buttes Volcanic Fields. Also take note of the recent pattern of Earthquake incidents this past summer as numerous swarms of quakes shook the area this past summer. In fact it was heavily reported on back in August of 2012 this past summer as this L.A. Times article reveals
L.A. Times: "Earthquake swarm 'classic' activity for Brawley area, USGS says"
In some ways this is exciting. I've been to Salton Buttes Volcanic Field and the hissing bubbling hot mud pots and mini volcano mud domes fields. It's a really kool area. But it appears that geologists today are taking a fresh look & newer viewpoint on the actual age of this field as much younger than they first thought. It was once thought that this field was attributed to seismic activity along large well known San Andreas Fault Zones. They once thought the area last erupted about 30,000 years ago, but new information has come to light that has last eruptions as early as between 940 & 0 BC. That's less than yesterday in geologic time. The interesting thing about the alarm being given is that Scientists are now monitoring several potential live active volcanic fields and Salton Buttes is on that live active list. The seismic activity epicenters on that map back in August did not exhibit the typical main initial shock and aftershocks patterns which it would be were it on the tectonic faults. Note that the swarms of quakes are actually away from the Fault lines marked in red lines on the map. This is why they are taking a more serious monitoring approach to this area. Below is the full article from Live Science:
(Articles Source)
Salton Sea Volcano Mystery Solved

Further Food for thought and discussion. does anyone remember the great Indonesian Mud Volcano disaster and who and what caused it's existence ? Seriously, Fracking and Energy Well Drilling. And what exists and continues to be explored down in this region of the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley ? Geo-Thermal Exploration. could these activities even slightly be responsible for recent earthquake swarms in the area ?

Indonesian Mud Volcano Was Man-Made, New Evidence Confirms

Just Something to Ponder

Donna the Deer Lady Finally Gets It

Wow, maybe Donna the Deer Lady really did reveal how stupid all the Transportation Departments in the northern states are when they put those signs in all the wrong places - Kidding - Actually Donna finally gets it, so we can all give her a break now!
This is an update from yesterday's post:
 Please Move the Deer Crossing signs
But apparently Donna now gets what everybody else already knew. Originally she just wanted to alert people to the problem. The Radio Host at the end of that interview promised to spread the word which apparently has happened since the recorded call  has now hit close to 6.5 million Youtube views.
There has been a follow up interview posted last Wednesday (Oct 17, 2012) . Donna who has now been dubbed "Donna the Deer Lady" has thanked the Y94 Radio Host for being kind to her on that original first interview.

"I never really thought about it enough to realize that I was kind of being ridiculous"
There has been however and follow up interview with Donna who said she has been teased by Family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers. She said children in the neighbourhood have shoved print outs of Deer Crossings in her mailbox.  They woke up one morning and someone put a plastic life-sized Deer on their front lawn. Below is the updated follow up interview.
"I mean, criminy Christ people, I get it now!"

It will be interesting to see if at some future point this really was a hoax of sorts. Conspiracy Theories are already being speculated about. Back in 2011 a similar incident caught attention of many readers. An individual named Tim Abbott from Crown Point sent a letter to his local paper in 

Letters to the Editor: "Move the Deer Crossing to Where There's Less Traffic"
Wow, maybe Donna the Deer Lady really did reveal how stupid all the Transportation Departments in the northern states are when they put those signs in all the wrong places - Kidding - Actually Donna finally gets it, so we can all give her a break now!
Tim Abbott, Crown Point 
Hmmmmmm  ????? Then there was a later update to that "Letters to the Editor" posting on June 13, 2012. Seriously ?
  Deer crossing letter read 'round the world

Hmmmm, wonder who 'Donna the Deer Lady' could really be ?  Perhaps Ms Donna Abbott ?

And on Yahoo News today:

On an informative serious note however comes this fact based News item on Car accidents involving Deer being on an increase. Or in Sweden Moose accidents.
Deer vs. car crashes on the rise as wildlife hits the road 
The article said that the report from State Farm Insurance says that most Deer vrs Car road collisions have in November which appears to be a peak month. Unfortunately there are no guarantees you won't hit a deer even if you drive with High beams on, watch for Deer Crossing Signs or even mount those deer whistles on your front bumpers to scare them off. The only sure guarantee they said for avoiding these Deer collisions is to move to Hawaii.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Please Move the Deer Crossing Signs

This was a funny stumble upon. I don't think this woman was truly thinking about what she was complaining about and how it sounded to listeners on a call in radio talk show in Fargo North Dakota.  When you first listen to her call it sounds legit, but then you realize this woman not only has no clue about what she is saying, but she's truly serious. The call is to the Y94 Playhouse Radio Station and Donna is moaning about why she cannot get any action over her complaint about the Roadside Deer Crossing signs.

Radio Caller Donna Believes Deer Can Read Road Signs

I stumbled across this on YouTube and it has already received almost six and a half million hits from viewers. 6,457,565 hits to be exact as of this post. 

She calls in and identifies herself as "Donna" and wishes to complain that she is getting no satisfaction from authorities about something that has bothered her for a "really long time". She says she has contacted all the newspapers and TV Stations but everyone just blows her off.

As you listen to the show, you take note that the Radio Host asks Donna in a serious concerned voice what the problem is and that's where everything unravels. The woman explains to the Host and audience that over the past few years she has experienced three car accidents and all of them having occurred after seeing a Deer Crossing sign. She demands to know why the Minnesota and North Dakota Department of Transportation "allows these deer crossings to be in such high traffic areas ?"

Donna says in an outraged tone of voice, "I've seen them (the signs) on the Interstate. Why are we encouraging Deer to cross at the Interstate ?"

This whole time you can hear the Radio Host and his assistant trying to contain themselves, but you can still here the background snickerings. 

"It seems to me that it's irresponsible of us to allow these Deer crossings to be in an area where these Deer are more likely to be struck by oncoming traffic. Wouldn't you agree ?" At this point the Host can only respond with "Uh . . "  "Errr . . " and all the while trying to contain his constant snickering. When he finally gets composure he attempts to explain to the woman that the signs are not there to direct Deer to cross here or there, but to warn oncoming motorists of the potential for risk of hitting Deer and to proceed and drive more cautiously,  the woman still doesn't have a clue.

The woman later offers her own genius plan for correcting the problem and that is moving the signs to safer areas for the Deer to cross and when the Deer see the sign, they will know to cross there. Seriously that's what she said and believes.

Yeeeah, you betchah! (just a little Minnesota lingo there)

This road accident with Deer, Elk and/or Moose are certainly nothing new here to Sweden. Mostly we have a Moose Crossing problem. Wonder if Moose here read Swedish ? Oh wait, it's just a picture sign, so they don'y have to. 

This is a favourite Souvenir of many a German Tourist
who visit
Sweden in the Summertime. And you thought those Gerries carried tools like wrenches with them because they
all are naturally engineering experts!

Careful Donna, Moose only read Swedish, even in Minnesota!

Who Speaks
Swedish anyway ?

Certainly not Franck!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Leisure Boating Polluting Swedish Waters ?

So said Gothenburg University here yesterday when explaining the problems of pollution surrounding the west coast's archipelago in an article titled,
"Leisure Boats Threaten the Swedish West Coast Archipelago"
This is not what Sweden's Waterways look like, is it ?
This is an area in central Gothenburg called Bunnsparken
No of course they don't, but the pollution by abundant leisure boating crafts are apparently a real threat. I know from experience here in Gothenburg that in the central city canal system where long narrow tourist boats glide tourists along a canal system where it makes a loop out into the Harbour and back through the second canal that as the boat passes underneath a bridge, that all manner of human filth as in rubbish are churned up by the boat's propeller and the stench can be almost unbearable. Seriously, at the very bridge seen in the photo above this is common. In winter time when that canal is frozen over solid you can see the reason for the garbage on the bottom of the canal. Everything from beer and soda bottles to Mac Donalds lunch bags and even  bicycles or shopping Carts will be thrown into the mix by unruly young people on their usual weekend Drinking Binges which have become a normal cultural activity here.  It all lays there for four or five months until Spring thaw sometime in late April after which it to sinks to the bottom of the Canal. The creepy thing is the Fishing derby they have with all the long pole fishermen. Who would eat anything out of there anyways ? All of this of course makes it's way eventually to the Sea via the polluted Harbour and eventually the surrounding archipelago islands. 

The typical idyllic scenery imagined by most tourists is like the photo here to the left. And there still are many islands with quaint seaside ports or small fishing villages all surrounded by a Gingerbread housing neighbourhood. Our favourite one is called Brännö Island where no cars are allowed and walking is the only means of getting around or bicycle. Actually there is one Taxi. There is a little Cafe in the very center of the island and many tourists go there in summertime. Many German Tourists even have homes there. But the place does get packed out and the boat traffic is at it's greatest in summertime. Even the multiple Ferries no doubt add to the pollutants in the water. Here is the basic content of the article two days ago.
GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- 
Pollution tied to a rise in the number of leisure boats on Sweden's west coast is threatening the most sensitive fjords and archipelagos, scientists say. Increases in both the number of boats and in boat traffic in recent decades have brought negative consequences for the environment, researchers at the University of Gothenburg reported. 
"The toxic, anti-fouling hull paints on the boats release both heavy metals and toxic substances to prevent growth on the boats," earth science professor Kjell Nordberg said.
"Motor boats also emit large amounts of noxious hydrocarbons and acidifying substances into the water through their exhaust fumes, which have increased as boats have become greater in number and are fitted with more powerful engines that also consume more fuel." 
Various sediment samples in one fjord showed not only high levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals but also a lack of oxygen during late summer and autumn, he said. 
"You could tell from the occasionally black sediments, laminations and bacterial mats that this has been going on since the 1990s," Nordberg said. 
"There's not much alive here in the summer." 

Swedish Word of the Day - Segelbåt
(pronounced 'Say - Gal - Boat') = Sailboat
Don't kid yourself about these types of boats being clean because they have a Sail. They are all motorized and used more often than the Sail. Only during the peak of summer do folks actually sail on the winds. Most of the time cruising is done with the motor. Often Sail & Motor are used together.