Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend Reading Assignment

Government agencies are what we make them be. Anyone who watched the Tennessee State combined hearing on the TVA ash-valanche would have been astounded to see the main line of questioning from our elected officials: "Why didn't TDEC regulations prevent this?"

TDEC is a state agency charged with enforcing the regulations passed by the State Legislature using the budget that the state Legislature gives it. You want Tennessee's environment to be healthy? Tell Dennis Ferguson and Ken Yager...Well, Ferguson anyway. Ken is bought and paid for.

This same situation holds true at the Federal level. We get the EPA that we demand...

Reading assignment

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Devil's Beating his Wife

That's what we used to hear when it was sunny and raining at the same time. For the next two months the sun will set directly up Whites Creek gorge in order to make up for dipping behind the far ridge at 4 in the afternoon in the winter. This gives us a nice side light for late afternoon showers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Honor those who Serve

I am touched by the respect and honor shown by these photos. They were banned by the Bush administration. We weren't supposed to see them. 

As it is, you and I must come to terms with the realization that we failed these fallen warriors by allowing ourselves to be mislead into an unjust war. That we failed them, however, does not diminish their valor. May we accept their gift to their country and consecrate their sacrifice with renewed vows to heal our world and protect it from the misuse of our own power. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

TVA Ash update

TVA skyline taken from Swan Pond Road...

Not having much luck out there...

Remember Swan Pond?

Everything is going great. Fish are even returning to Swan Pond. Here is a nice carp feeding in the crystal clear waters of a drainage ditch alongside Swan Pond Road. (Taken while the nice TVA officer was telling me I couldn't do that. I'm not exactly interested in talking to a TVA officer when I'm walking along a Roane County road, when he has his cruiser parked in the middle of it and telling me I'm blocking traffic. )

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Funnies

A figurine found in the Danube valley in Germany may be the oldest representational art  found to date. It proves that 35,000 years ago humans, at least one of them anyway, had a thing for....
 Boobies. What else?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Industrial Solar?

This is a good thing and a bad idea, all at the same time. 

Governor Bredesen has announced a 5 Megawatt solar farm to be operated in conjunction with TVA and UT Knoxville, and will be funded by $30 million of stimulus money. 

The good part? It's a strong move into solar power production. 

The bad part? It's a continuation of the wrong kind of thinking where energy is concerned...Centralized production and distribution over a grid controlled by energy conglomerates. 

Half of the electricity produced in big facilities is lost before it gets to its end use point. What other countries have gone to is end point generation. Call it roof top solar. An efficient house can run quite well on 4 kilowatts of electricity. That takes a 240 square foot panel array (10 feet by 24 feet) which easily fits on most roofs. The excess is fed into the power grid and the power grid feeds the house in the traditional way when the sun isn't shining. A big solar farm means more power lines, more transformers, and more wasted electricity. 

So the purpose of the stimulus money is to generate dollar flow in our economy. Ask yourself is that purpose is best served by giving the money to a big corporation to build a generating plant so they can sell you electricity? Why wouldn't using the money to subsidize residential solar installations be the best of both worlds? Jobs would be created for installers and the suppliers of residential solar. The need for more giant powerlines would be averted. And frankly, a lot more electricity will be delivered to the end user with a decentralized generating array. 

We are seeing the bubbling to the surface of the struggle of big centralized power generating companies against residential wind and solar electricity generation. Remember in all this that efficiency, conservation, and protecting the environment are the enemy from the viewpoint of power companies. 

I'm with the enemy!



Monday, May 04, 2009

Swine Catch Human Flu

The Canadian pork industry may be devastated by pigs that caught swine flu from a human...