Water In Huge Quantities Required for Renewable Energy

September 30, 2009

Worth a read in today’s NY Times … nothing is for free despite what some folks think.

Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable energy: It can sometimes demand a huge amount of water. Many of the proposed solutions to the nation’s energy problems, from certain types of solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal plants, could consume billions of gallons of water every year.

We have a lot of water, but we have a growing population who continually need more water, more energy, more food.

Trouble Should Brew with Tree Ring Data at Heart of IPCC’s Case

September 28, 2009

Steve McIntyre at “Climate Audit” (linked above) last week managed to gain access, via Freedom of Information request, to the raw data used by Briffa et. al. which used tree ring data samples collected from locations in the Arctic to look for evidence of climate change. Briffa’s work has been central to the IPCC and their temperature reconstructions which suggest that recent climate change has been unprecedented. Many other investigators have used Briffa’s data to support the concept of anthropogenetic climate change.

McIntyre’s work since last week, reported on his web site, indicates that Briffa’s work only chose tree ring data which supported their hypothesis of unprecedented climate change. They excluded tree ring data that did not tell the story they wanted told. The IPPC’s case for anthropogenetic climaate change rests firmly on this hypothesis.

If this were science, the hypothesis would be declared “not proven”.

I hope this will cause widespread debate in the world. Trouble should be brewing. I fear it isn’t.

Hat-tip to my friend the professor on this!

Update 1 Oct: See the well-written article at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/29/yamal_scandal/print.html.

Go Green with China

September 28, 2009

It really does not matter if climate change is “our fault” or not. It really does not matter if the climate is or is not going to change. Because the climate has changed for as long as there has been a climate, we can safely say that the climate will change and it’s not productive to blame ourselves or others.

Because people exist and want to continue to exist, people need energy. People cannot exist without energy. Energy makes the world go round. We need to create ways to get that energy that do not kill.

China is on getting with this.

As Tom Friedman points out in this article, China’s leaders are mostly engineers. Yes, they are politicians, but they area also engineers. Compare that to the West’s leaders in government, media, and education. Much of our world has strong forces discouraging science and technology–at just the point we all need more.

The new energy infrastructure requires innovation, invention, design, investment, manufacture, marketing, and sales. Let’s get on with it too.

The World is Starting to Get a Little More Understandable

September 26, 2009

Michel Totten writes in “Commentary Magazine”:

It’s hard for most of us in the West to believe that some people prefer war to peace when they could have either, but they do.

Now beginning to understand; yet I don’t.

Viewing a Project on a Mobile Phone

September 21, 2009

On a recent posting on the Microsoft Project Newsgroup (microsoft.public.project), Daniel Howden asked about the availability of a Project viewer program for WM6 (Windows Mobile 6). So far nobody on the newsgroup has reported such a best.

Jim Askel replied that it it would be possible to prepare a PDF to display on the mobile phone, or publishing to a SharePoint Site. I contributed that I’ve satisfied some executives who were using iPhone to view projects this way. I thought I would show here the some screen shots of my demo project published in SharePoint. I like this approach much better than a “project viewer” because it is not raw data. Even better would be a summary of project status to for reading on the SharePoint site.

Unintended Consequences Yet Again

September 20, 2009

As reported in today’s New York Times, “Egypt Discovers the Flaws in Killing all its Pigs” is a story about unintended consequences happening on managing risk.

“When the government killed all the pigs in Egypt this spring — in what public health experts said was a misguided attempt to combat swine flu — it was warned the city would be overwhelmed with trash.
The pigs used to eat tons of organic waste. Now the pigs are gone and the rotting food piles up on the streets of middle-class neighborhoods like Heliopolis and in the poor streets of communities like Imbaba.”
Concern about “swine flu”, which despite the name apparently has nothing really to do with swines, is the result of flaw risk and controls management.
“What started out as an impulsive response to the swine flu threat has turned into a social, environmental and political problem for the Arab world’s most populous nation.
It has exposed the failings of a government where the power is concentrated at the top, where decisions are often carried out with little consideration for their consequences and where follow-up is often nonexistent, according to social commentators and government officials.”
This article should be required reading for all decision-making executives and managers.

Found a Bug in Snow Leopard which Apple Acknowledges

September 11, 2009

I apparently am the first person in the world (!) to report this real bug to Apple regarding their newest version of OS/X (Snow Leopard): cannot drag and drop photo into Address Book.

I noticed it when trying to drag and drop from iPhoto, but it also doesn’t work when doing it from the Desktop. Apple didn’t promise to fix it, but I suspect they will.
Meantime, the work-around is to drag the photo out of iPhoto (if there) onto the Desktop. Then in Address Book, double click on the space for the photo and go through the buttons presented to “choose” the file from the desktop copy.
Update 11 Nov 2009: Apple’s update to OS X Version 10.6.2 fixes this problem.

Strange BBC Headine

September 11, 2009

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC)–you know, the one based in the UK–has a headline on their web site “Obama tackles UK PM on Lockerbie”.

Why not say:
“US President tackles UK PM on Lockerbie”?
“Obama tackles Brown on Lockerbie”?
“US President Obama tackles UK Prim Minister Brown” on Lockerbie?

Snow Leopard Upgrade

September 6, 2009

Reports on the internet were clear: it’s ok to upgrade to Snow Leopard. Further, it’s a “great” upgrade that really makes a difference, they said.

Upgrade went as expected. The computer asked me a few questions and then took about 40 minutes or so of chugging away. I frankly could not tell if the performance was any better and everything pretty much looked the same to me. I did get back about 7 gb of disk space which I suppose is ok. Despite rumours to contrary, Office works just fine as far as I can tell.
The upgrade did kill my installation of MySQL database server and Django–both of which are required for some work I’m doing with further automation of the things I do to run the Scottish Oil Club. I guess this was caused when the upgrade over-wrote the symbolic links in /usr/local and included an upgrade to Python 2.6. Following easy instructions at the links below got MySQL and Django back in operation.
MySQL: http://cd34.com/blog/programming/python/mysql-python-and-snow-leopard/

Django: http://breakthesystem.org/2009/django-on-snow-leopard