Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Sunday, August 21, 2011

ConocoPhillips admits discovery of nine new oil spill sources   2011-08-21

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of the U.S-based oil company ConocoPhillips, admitted Saturday that nine new oil spill sources have been found from its Penglai 19-3 oilfield Platform C.

The company reported to the North China Sea branch of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) that it has discovered nine new oil spill sources from the areas within 15 meters north of the Platform C in China's Bohai Bay.

The SOA has asked the company to make a thorough investigation of the cause of oil spills to prevent similar cases.

The oil giant on Friday extended an apology for conduct that led to oil leaks in the Bohai Bay, pledging to accelerate its clean-up efforts and take measures to ensure that similar accidents will not happen in the future.

The company reported to authorities two oil spills in its Penglai 19-3oilfield in June. It admitted another two oil leaks earlier this month, with one from Platform C and the other from Platform B.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
Related Article:

Friday, August 19, 2011

German 'guzzler' sets new record for electric cars

Deutsche Welle, 18 Aug 2011                                                   

The "Schluckspecht" has set a new
 record for distance on a single charge
As Germany drives forward on electric car promotion, one vehicle developed by German researchers has set a new world record for distance traveled on single battery charge.

In Germany, the new experimental car, "Schluckspecht," broke previous world records earlier this month when it traveled 1,631.5 kilometers (994 miles) on a single battery charge.

Developed by researchers at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, the drive took just more than 36 hours, with four drivers taking shifts and traveling at about 45 kph.

Schluckspecht is a slang word meaning "guzzler," or "heavy drinker" in German.

"The first car we built was really a heavy drinker, we ran out of fuel before the finish line," Ulrich Hochberg, one of the project's leaders, told Deutsche Welle.

Shattering distance records

The electric car set a record in
South Africa in 2010
The team had considered changing the name – but after setting several world records, including by traveling 626.6 km on public roads in South Africa last year, "it's really become now a brand name," Hochberg chuckled.

The Offenburg team has been working on the "guzzler" since 1998.

The previous record for electric car travel on a single charge, on a circuit track, was 1,003 kilometers, set by the Japan Electric Vehicle Club in May last year.

The Schluckspecht record was made at the German industrial company Bosch's circuit track in Boxberg, southwestern Germany.

In October 2010, a German team drove an Audi A2 from Munich to Berlin on a single charge, setting a new long-distance record on actual roads.

Promoting electrical cars

The new electrical vehicle distance record comes at a time when the German government is pouring billions of euros into research and considering tax breaks for electrical car owners.

In May 2011, at a summit hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin announced that it was aiming for one million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020, and would be doubling government spending on electric vehicle research to a total of 2 billion euros ($2.87 billion) by 2013. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has
 been pushing for more research into
electric cars
With this new distance record, it seems possible that overcoming one of the major hurdles to widespread adoption of electric cars – their small range of 200-300 kilometers – may now attract Germans who are used to driving great distances on the autobahn at high speed before filling up again.

Earlier this year, both BMW and Volkswagen announced that they intend to sell their first electric cars in 2013. Meanwhile, eight regions around Germany are working on building 2,500 charging stations to support the 2,800 test vehicles.

Mass production

Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, an automobile economist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, told Deutsche Welle that he doesn't see the new world record as a great breakthrough.

"These are individual items, prototypes," he said of such research projects. "What we need is mass production, economies of scale," Dudenhöffer said, adding that big steps have been made in this regard, including by companies such as Nissan and Mitsubishi.

However, despite what he sees as the limited usefulness of such research projects, he thinks they could act as a stimulus.

Environmentalists criticize electric cars as still requiring a charge from energy sources that may involve the burning of fossil fuels.

Liquid fuel will always give a longer ride than a battery-powered car, Hochberg explains, since it takes oxygen from the air for combustion, returning it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

To him, "the only sense is to use energy from renewable fuel sources" if Germany wants to fulfil its goal of putting one million electric cars on the road by 2020.

"This is a political figure, used to promote investment," he added.

Super light and aerodynamic

The Schluckspecht chassis is based
on the bowstring concept
The Schluckspecht's success largely lies in its ultralight chassis, which replaces a base plate with a frame based on the bowstring concept, developed with the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg.

The vehicle, with a regular car seat for one driver, has motors integrated into the wheels. Without the need for an engine or transmission, the researchers were able to develop a particularly slim and aerodynamic shape.

There's even a little extra room for equipment, or as Hochberg put it: "You can put a case of beer into it."

Author: Sonya Angelica Diehn
Editor: Cyrus Farivar

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building a healthier, greener Google

Google Blog, 8/17/2011

(Cross-posted on the Green blog)

When it comes to greening our office buildings, we apply the same focus that we use for any of our products: put the user first. We want to create the healthiest work environments possible where Googlers can thrive and innovate. From concept through design, construction and operations, we create buildings that function like living and breathing systems by optimizing access to nature, clean air and daylight.

Since I arrived at Google in 2006, I’ve been part of a team working to create life-sustaining buildings that support the health and productivity of Googlers. We avoid materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other known toxins that may harm human health, so Googlers don’t have to worry about the air they’re breathing or the toxicity of the furniture, carpet or other materials in their workspaces. We also use dual stage air filtration systems to eliminate particulates and remaining VOCs, which further improves indoor air quality.

Since building materials don’t have ingredient labels, we’re pushing the industry to adopt product transparency practices that will lead to real market transformation. In North America, we purchase materials free of the Living Building Challenge Red List Materials and EPA Chemicals of Concern, and through the Pharos Project we ask our suppliers to meet strict transparency requirements.

We also strive to shrink our environmental footprint by investing in the most efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems. Throughout many of our offices, we’ve performed energy and water audits and implemented conservation measures to develop best practices that are applied to our offices worldwide. To the extent possible, we seek out renewable sources for the energy that we do use. One of the earliest projects I worked on at Google involved installing the first solar panels on campus back in 2007. They have the capacity to produce 1.6 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity for us, which supplies about 30 percent of our peak energy use on the buildings they cover.

With a little healthy competition, we’ve gotten Google’s offices around the world involved in greening our operations. Our internal Sustainable Pursuit program allows teams to earn points based on their office’s green performance—whether it’s through green cleaning programs, water efficiency or innovative waste management strategies. We use Google Apps to help us track progress toward our goals—which meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards—and share what we’ve learned among our global facilities teams.

We’re proud of our latest LEED Platinum achievement for the interior renovation of an office building at the Googleplex. While we have other LEED Platinum buildings in our portfolio, it’s a first for our headquarters and a first for the City of Mountain View. The interior renovation was designed by Boora Architects and built by XL Construction, using healthy building materials and practices. In fact, we now have more than 4.5 million square feet of building space around the world on deck to earn LEED Certification.

Looking ahead, our team will have many more opportunities to redefine how we green our buildings and workspaces. It’s a win for Googlers, our business and the environment.

Posted by Anthony Ravitz, Green Team Lead, Real Estate & Workplace Services

Related Article:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White House launches initiative to boost biofuel industry   2011-08-17

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The White House announced Tuesday that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to 510 million U.S. dollars in partnership with the private sector to facilitate the country's biofuel industry development.

"Biofuels are an important part of reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs here at home," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a White House statement.

The initiative is a response to a directive from Obama issued in March as part of the Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the administration's framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil.

"But supporting biofuels cannot be the role of government alone. That's why we're partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation biofuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country," Obama added.

The joint plan calls for the three departments to invest up to 510 million dollars in the next three years, which will require substantial cost share from private industry, in a bid to reduce U. S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs at home.

"By building a national biofuels industry, we are creating construction jobs, refinery jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

White House figures revealed that the world's largest economy spends more than 300 billion dollars on imported crude oil every year.

With a slackening economic recovery and the government's approval rate at a record low level, the Obama administration is rolling out a string of measures in recent days to accelerate economic growth and job creation.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shell fights North Sea oil spill

BBC News, 12 August 2011

Oil giant Shell is battling an oil leak in a North Sea pipeline off
the British coast (AFP/File, Shaun Curry)

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has said it is working to stop a leak at one of its North Sea oil platforms.

The company would not say how much oil may have been spilt from the Gannet Alpha platform though it said it had "stemmed the leak significantly".

One of the wells at the Gannet oilfield has been closed, but the company would not say if production was reduced.

Royal Dutch Shell is working to repair
a leak on a North Sea oil platform
The company says it has sent a clean-up vessel to the location and has a plane monitoring the surface.

The leak was found in a flow line connecting an oil well to the platform.

"We can confirm we are managing an oil leak in a flow line that serves the Shell-operated Gannet Alpha platform. We deployed a remote-operated vehicle to check for a subsea leak after a light sheen was noticed in the area," said a Shell spokesman.

"We have stemmed the leak significantly and we are taking further measures to isolate it. The subsea well has been shut in, and the flow line is being de-pressurised," he added.

'Finite amount'

The company confirmed the leak was continuing but said it was being significantly reduced.

A spokesperson for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We are aware of the incident and we are contact with Shell and we investigating it in the usual way but what we understand from Shell, the spill is limited.

"There is a finite amount of oil that can be released."

The entire Gannet field reportedly produced around 13,500 barrels of oil between January and April of this year.

The field is co-owned by US oil firm Exxon.

The impact of an oil spill near Ikarama in the Niger delta.
Photograph: Amnesty International UK

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shell accepts liability for two oil spills in Nigeria

Oil giant faces a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars following class action suit brought on behalf of communities in Bodo, Ogoniland, John Vidal in Bodo, Wednesday 3 August 2011

The impact of an oil spill near Ikarama in the Niger delta.
Photograph: Amnesty International UK

Shell faces a bill of hundreds of millions of dollars after accepting full liability for two massive oil spills that devastated a Nigerian community of 69,000 people and may take at least 20 years to clean up.

Experts who studied video footage of the spills at Bodo in Ogoniland say they could together be as large as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, when 10m gallons of oil destroyed the remote coastline.

Until now, Shell has claimed that less than 40,000 gallons were spilt in Nigeria.

Papers seen by the Guardian show that following a class action suit in London over the past four months, the company has accepted responsibility for the 2008 double rupture of the Bodo-Bonny trans-Niger pipeline that pumps 120,000 barrels of oil a day though the community.

Ogoniland is a small region of the Niger delta which threw out Shell in 1994 for its pollution but then saw eight of its leaders, including the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, executed by the government.

The crude oil that gushed unchecked from the two Bodo spills, which occurred within months of each other, in 2008 has clearly devastated the 20 sq km network of creeks and inlets on which Bodo and as many as 30 other smaller settlements depend for food, water and fuel.

No attempt has been made to clean up the oil, which has collected on the creek sides, washes in and out on the tides and has seeped deep into the water table and farmland.

According to the communities in Bodo, in two years the company has only offered £3,500 together with 50 bags of rice, 50 bags of beans and a few cartons of sugar, tomatoes and groundnut oil. The offers were rejected as "insulting, provocative and beggarly" by the chiefs of Bodo, but later accepted on legal advice.

Shell's acceptance of full liability for the spills follows a class action suit bought on behalf of communities by London law firm Leigh Day and Co, which represented the Ivory Coast community that suffered health damage following the dumping of toxic waste by a ship leased to multinational oil company Trafigura in 2006.

Many other impoverished communities in the delta are now expected to seek damages for oil pollution against Shell in the British courts. On average, there are three oil spills a day by Shell and other companies working in the delta. Shell consistently blames the spills on local youths who, they argue, sabotage their network of pipelines.

"The news that Shell has accepted liability in Britain will be greeted with joy in the delta. The British courts may now be inundated with legitimate complaints," said Patrick Naagbartonm, coordinator for the Centre of Environment and Human Rights in Port Harcourt.

Later this week the company will be heavily implicated by the UN for the environmental disaster in the Niger delta which has seen more than 7,000 oil spills in the low lying swamps and farmland since 1989. Shell first discovered oil in the Niger delta in 1956. According to Amnesty International, more than 13m barrels of oil have been spilt in the delta, twice as much as by BP in last year's Gulf of Mexico spill.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, funded by Shell, will be presented to president Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday and is expected to be released on Friday in London.

UNEP's report, the first peer-reviewed scientific study of more than 60 spills, is expected to say that oil pollution in Ogoniland is much worse than previously believed, having sunk deep into the water table. Many spills have not been cleared up since 1970 and the effects on the local economy, health and development have been severe. The report will not apportion blame for individual spills.

International oil spill assessment experts who have seen the Bodo spill believe that it could cost the company more than $100m to clean up properly and restore the devastated mangrove forests that used to line the creeks and rivers but which have been killed by the oil.

Proceedings against Royal Dutch Shell and Shell petroleum development company (SPDC) Nigeria began in the high court on 6 April 2011. Last week Shell Nigeria said: "SPDC accepts responsibility under the Oil Pipelines Act for the two oil spills both of which were due to equipment failure. SPDC acknowledges that it is liable to pay compensation - to those who are entitled to receive such compensation."