Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mid-size coffee serving at Starbucks

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Grande It’s Thursday

We are not talking about the Rio Grande but the mid-size coffee serving at Starbucks. Yes Starbucks has Short, Tall, Grande and Venti sizes for their coffee and lattes.

The Grande is a 16 oz size

The quicksilver link helps you speak Starbuck Jargon. I was recently in the local Starbuck when I overheard the patron in front of me ask for a 140 degree latte. Being a thermo expert I of course had to ask the Barista what this meant. The barista replied that the milk in the 140 degree is warmed less than the normal 160 degrees. Of course my mind started doing mental arithmetic as to how much energy Starbucks could save if all patrons became green and asked for the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped. Yes there are over 15,000 Starbucks stores and Starbucks has yearly revenues of nearly ten billion dollars. They must sell something like 3 billion grande equivalent drinks a year. Twenty degrees difference on a drink that weighs a pound using a specific heat of 1.0 means 60 billion BTUs could be saved. Each of the Starbuck espresso machines is power by electricity. There are 3412 BTUs in a kilowatt hour. The added warmth of the drinks therefore equals 19.096 million kilowatt hours. The average heat rate of a coal fired power plant, the most common form of power plant in the world is about 10,000 BTU per kilowatt hour. This means about 1.25 pounds of coal needs to be burned to generate a kilowatt hour, so the 19 million kilowatt hours required 23.870 million pounds of coal. Coal is about 50% carbon the rest is ash and moisture with a little hydrogen. Therefore 11,935,000 pounds of carbon are emitted each year to increase the temperature of the grande cups of Strabucks from 140 degrees to 160 degrees. This is almost 6,000 tons of carbon. Expressed as carbon dioxide we have to multiply the amount of carbon by 3.67 and we have that Strabucks is emitting and additional 21,881 tons a year of carbon dioxide simple because the average patron did not request the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped option. This is about the same amount of carbon dioxide that 4,000 cars emit in a year. Of course just driving to starbucks to get the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped drink causes an untold amount of carbon emissions

There is much debate about whether electricity can be generated from coal without the CO2 emissions. It is beginning to feel like Christmas and if you believe in Santa you will believe this nonsense of coal gasification and CO2 sequestration

Now that Vietnam is embracing a market economy and people have more money there to spend on Starbucks they are also buying lots of motorcycles and having lots of crashes. It was reported this week that Vietnam has instituted a Helmet Law for motorcyclists Amazingly the number of motorcycles in Vietnam has increased form 500,000 in 1990 to over 22 million currently. With this type of statistic perhaps we can all understand how the earth is headed toward a very warm perhaps 140 degree future in places like Death Valley.

Good news from Washington is that president Bush will sign into law the new higher efficiency standards To celebrate this momentous event the eggnog will only be heated to 140 degrees.

This is the last TT for this year as I will be on vacation through January 7 sipping my morning soy latte from Starbucks which I must confess will be only heated to 140 degrees because soy milk actually “burns” if it is heated any higher. Wishing you all seasons greeting and a happy, healthy, and energy efficient 2008

The word of the day is tocsin or ringing the bell for the purpose of alarm. Well I have been a pretty ardent bell ringer that we are simply adding toxins to the environment. With this let’s all sing Jingle Bells and do better next year

Word of the DayThursday December 20, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
tocsin \TOCK-sin\, noun:1. An alarm bell, or the ringing of a bell for the purpose of alarm.2. A warning.
Some of the allegations put round are so frenzied, however, that some caution should be exercised before the tocsin is rung too loudly.-- "New President of the NUS",
Times (London), April 10, 1969
The first atomic bomb fell and its radioactive cloud became a tocsin for mankind.-- Herbert Mitgang, "The Bomb as Horror and Warning",
New York Times, August 1, 1990
But Mr. Beckett is wise in choosing the form of the myth in which to sound his tocsin on the condition of human society.-- Brooks Atkinson, "Beckett's 'Endgame'",
New York Times, January 29, 1958
Tocsin derives from Medieval French touquesain, from Old Proven├žal tocasenh, from tocar, "to touch, to strike, to ring a bell" + senh, "church bell," ultimately from Latin signum, "sign, signal."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Government Interest in Thermo

Green Thursday – TGIT - Thank Government It’s Thursday

Yeah today with tongue in cheek we thank our Government for their new found interest in Thermo. Today the Senate will not take up a vote on the energy bill as it stands with added taxes on oil companies. The end to the filibuster was one vote short

The thermodynamic genii will take up the vote minus the added taxes provision. Hopefully the part on increased efficiency in energy use will remain intact.

While Congress was debating our energy future a global meeting was held in Bali and the US remained the sole holdout on the Kyoto Protocol

I had suggested the Gangrene Award for politicians and celebrities who pretend to be green while spewing more than average amounts of carbon dioxide. Steve Malloy of Junk Science must be a reader of TT. He blogged about the Greenest Hypocrites of 2007. He listed old Alfalfa as his numero uno pick. His number ten pick is the California Hypocritenator,2933,315721,00.html

Enough about cold hearted politicians who pretend photosynthesis was intended to propel 800 million vehicles that weigh on average 3,000 pounds. Talking about cold Oklahoma got nailed with an ice storm of epic proportions. Can you see the truck that is hidden in the ice covered tree in the photo below?

For precipitation to occur as ice a warm front actually has to traverse over and above a cold front and then thermo takes over and it rains water in a solid form.,2933,316271,00.html

I am glad to inform the TT readership that Smell Oil is getting into the Algae to BioDiesel game. I hove opined that algae to BioDiesel is a far better thermodynamic and social idea than using corn to produce BioEthanol. A lot of the research is being performed in Hawaii so I may just have to take a trip out there to investigate. I am asking TT readers to donate their frequent flier miles so I don’t use my personal Lear JET and increase my carbon Bigfootprint. The US DOE reports as follows:

Shell and HR Biopetroleum to Grow Algae for Biofuels
A researcher examines algae cultures at the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority. See a larger version of this photo.Credit: Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc announced yesterday that it will work with HR Biopetroleum to build a pilot facility for growing algae as a source of biofuels. The facility will cultivate algae in seawater ponds, then harvest the algae and extract oil from them for conversion into fuels such as biodiesel. Construction of the facility will begin immediately on a parcel of land leased from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), which is located on the shore of the Hawaiian island of Kona. The NELHA site is ideal for the project because it pipes in a constant supply of clean, fresh ocean water. NELHA was originally built to support a DOE project for ocean thermal energy conversion, and it continues to employ the project's seawater supply pipes to support a variety of research projects and commercial enterprises, including facilities that currently grow and harvest algae for pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. Shell and HR Biopetroleum have formed a joint venture company, called Cellana, to develop the biofuels project.
Algae grow rapidly and can have a high percentage of lipids, or oils. They can double their mass several times a day and produce at least 15 times more oil per acre than alternatives such as rapeseed, palms, soybeans, or jatropha. Moreover, algae-growing facilities can be built on coastal land unsuitable for conventional agriculture. The Cellana facility will grow only non-genetically modified, marine microalgae species in open-air ponds using proprietary technology. It will also use bottled carbon dioxide to test the algae's ability to capture carbon. To support the facility, academic research programs at the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Canada's Dalhousie University will screen natural microalgae species to find the strains that produce the highest yields and the most oil. See the
Shell press release and the NELHA Web site.
Shell isn't the only oil company that's exploring the potential of algae. In late October, Chevron Corporation and DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that they had entered into a collaborative research and development agreement to produce biofuels from algae. Under the agreement, Chevron and NREL scientists will collaborate to identify and develop algae strains that can be economically harvested and processed into transportation fuels such as jet fuel. See the
NREL press release.

The word of the day is cacophony. This is the sound of the phonies in Congress disagreeing on how much to tax the poor oil companies. Interestingly the opposite of cacophony is euphony I guess the European Union (EU) had something to do with this definition

cacophony \kuh-KAH-fuh-nee\, noun:1. Harsh or discordant sound; dissonance.2. The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition.
New York was then a cacophony of sounds -- a dozen accents ricocheting off surrounding buildings as immigrant mothers called their children home for supper, noon whistles blowing, vendors hawking their wares on the streets, children shouting, horses whinnying, and people yelling.-- Herbert G. Goldman,
Banjo Eyes
The mammoth central station towered over the platforms, and with the cacophony from whooshing steam, shrill whistles, shouts and the heaving of hand and horse carts, not only was it the biggest, noisiest, most confusing experience any of them had ever encountered, but the city was almost unimaginable.-- Christopher Ogden, Legacy: A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg
Cacophony comes from Greek kakophonia, from kakophonos, from kakos, "bad" + phone, "sound." The adjective form is cacophonous. The opposite of cacophony is euphony.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Anniversary of the invention of the first transistor

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Gates It’s Thursday

This is not about Billy the Billionaire but about gates that allow electrons to flow. It is the sixtieth anniversary of the invention of the first transistor . A transistor is a gate that allows electrons to flow or can stop electrons from flowing depending whether the gate is open or closed;jsessionid=AJUDVGU2Q0WAGQSNDLPSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=204300928

The boys at Bell Labs came up with the transistor in 1947. This solid state device replaced the vacuum tube old Tommy Edison had invented back in the 19th century.

Eighteen years after the first working transistor Gordon Moore wrote a paper that became Moore’s Law in which he postulated that going forward from 1965 every two years manufacturers of solid state integrated circuits would be able to double the number of transistors in their devices. This has held true for the past 42 years and now we have memory and logic chips with over five hundred million transistors in each chip

With all these transistors on a single device the big hurdle to overcome is the dissipation of the heat generated within the circuit and therefore Thermo is again the subject of much research.

Intel intends to produce a tri-gate or three dimensional based chip that will use less energy and therefore dissipate less heat. Intel is claiming they can obey Moore’s Law for at least another decade

I am happy to report American motorists are getting smarter and the Smart car should sell well when it is introduced to the USA next year

Everything is slimming down in the USA. We are now eating smaller plates of food. Glad to see bottled water is non longer on the top twenty hot items.

Talking about smarts a five year chimp had better short term memory that a team of college kids in Japan. Perhaps we should all have a chimp as a pet so we can find our keys to our smart car

All this touching of screens reminds me of the new technology termed “energy harvesting” . Light switch that are wireless that get to emit a radio frequency signal by merely pressing on the switch are coming to market. Theses switches do not need batteries and are not wired into the wall. Just the pressure of touching them charges them to send a radio signal to the light in a room to turn on or off. A new 57 story skyscraper in Madrid spain will be equipped with the energy harvesting light switches. This will allow walls to be moved without have to deal with relocating wiring.;jsessionid=QGXC1ZWBKI13WQSNDLRSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=204600613

The word of the day is deracinate or to uproot. We will soon deracinate the humble light switch

Word of the DayThursday December 6, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
deracinate \dee-RAS-uh-nayt\, transitive verb:1. To pluck up by the roots; to uproot.2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.
In the People's Republic, communism's utilitarian bent first poisoned the culinary arts and then, in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, tried to deracinate what were regarded as the insidious strains of China's former culture.-- Benjamin and Christina Schwarz, "Going All Out for Chinese",
The Atlantic, January 1999
He was a Jew who was never given a chance to belong anywhere, a deracinated intellectual.-- David Cesarani,
Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind
Deracinate comes from Middle French desraciner, from des-, "from" (from Latin de-) + racine, "root" (from Late Latin radicina, from Latin radix, radic-). The noun form is deracination.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey Meat and Gravlox

TGIT – Thank Gravlox It’s Thursday

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I have discovered that turkey meat is really not the largest source of triptophan. It has been shown that gram for gram cheddar cheese actually contains more triptophan than turkey meat. This why after eating a double double animal style at In and Out Burger I go to sleep for a week. For those of you who do not have a local In and Out Burger a double double has two slices of processed cheddar cheese

Now what does Gravlox have to do with this?

Fish oil that is prevalent in salmon can be fed to cows to lower their emissions of methane.
I know by now some of you are chuckling that cows emit methane from their behinds but once again you have the wrong side of the argument. Cows burp out methane. In fact burped methane from cows and other animals is a significant fraction of the methane emissions on planet earth. The EPA reported that Enteric Fermentation, polite way of saying Greps (the Yiddish word for burp) emits about the same quantity of methane as Landfills. For us all these cows burping and causing the planet to warm is The Greps of Wrath. Remember from a previous TT that one pound of methane has the same greenhouse effect as 21 pounds of carbon dioxide.

On a positive note the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center in NYC will be lit by some 30,000 LED lights this year and this will save 2,213 kilowatthours every night the tree is lit.

The word of the day is hirsute to be hippylike. This makes sense to me it means you have a suit made or hair from the Latin hirsutis

hirsute \HUR-soot; HIR-soot; hur-SOOT; hir-SOOT\, adjective:Covered with hair; set with bristles; shaggy; hairy.
The Bear . . . makes the rounds of the clubs "disguised" in trench coat and broad-brimmed hat, hoping (successfully, it seems) to be mistaken for a rather hirsute human.-- Richard M. Sudhalter, "The Bear Comes Home': Composing the Words That Might Capture Jazz",
New York Times, August 29, 1999
First of all, your nose is nearly covered with your bloody moustache and your beard, Mr Gogarty replied. Mr Allen apologised for his "hirsute" appearance.-- Paul Cullen, "No ambush sprung on returning Gogarty",
Irish Times, March 23, 1999
He was incredibly hirsute: there was even a thick pelt of hair on the back of his hands.-- Tama Janowitz,
By the Shores of Gitchee Gumee
Hirsute comes from Latin hirsutus, "covered with hair, rough, shaggy, prickly."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Genentech’s GRide program

Green Thursday TGIT - Thank GRide It’s Thursday

Today is the first anniversary of Genentech’s GRide program where employees are rewarded for not bringing a car to the campus. I have opined on the brilliance of this program and Andrew Tobias a TT subscriber as well as a very well known finance and political person carried the Carpooligans blog that I wrote a few months back

The Marin County Carpooligans can be proud. Collectively over the past 365 days we have 515 times that GRide has rewarded us with a $4 reward. We have therefore received $2,060 collectively for the past year. Assuming each round trip would have consumed 2 gallons of gasoline we reduced the gasoline consumption of the US by 1,030 gallons. Each gallon of gasoline equates to 22 pounds of CO2 emissions so the Carpooligans have collectively reduced CO2 emissions by 22,660 pounds over the past year. We have also reduced the GDP quite considerably by an amount of $8,240 as we estimate that each trip not taken saves approximately $16 dollars.

While the Marin crowd who frolic in hot tubs (according to Bush Senior) when not carpooling have been saving money and the air the US government continues to waste money on ethanol. Ethanol production is way up this year. We will likely produce over 6 billion gallons of ethanol in the US this year. Over $3 billion has been wasted on direct subsidies of the ethanol fuel and a similar amount was given to the farmers to produce the corn that feeds these ethanol plants. We chuckle about the Russians being a bunch of vodka drinking drunkards. Russia only produced 178 million gallons of ethanol last year primarily for drinking and their ethanol production is on the decline. The USA has overtaken Brazil on the ethanol binge. My data come from the ethanol trade group Renewable Fuels Association

All this talk of booze is making my head spin. I am excited by the recent discovery of gamma ray bursts This phenomenal amount of energy release occurs when hypernova stars collapse into black holes. I can’t wait for the shares of Exxon Mobil to do likewise when all of America join the Carpooligan Gang. I remember reading the play The Effect Of Gamma Rays on Man In The Moon Marigolds back in high school.

Forbes had an article on Fast Cars;_ylt=AuHDzdjsFY.sJXAK911n2ZK7YWsA

100,000 American’s with a collective IQ of three below plankton were interviewed to yield the result that fuel economy is ranked eighth in most important feature for buying a car. Perhaps the firm that produced the survey J D Power biased the results toward horsepower so that they could become an even more powerful force in the survey world. Had a firm named J D Fuel Economy produced the survey the results would have certainly been different.

I hope you all enjoyed Halloween last night. I am happy to report that some of the world’s sugar still goes into its intended use of giving us the pleasure of eating sweets rather than being wasted on bio-fuels.

The word of the day is forcible. must have been one of the J D Power survey respondents as there was all this discussion about the use of force required to have power packed cars. More next week

Word of the DayThursday November 1, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
forcible \FOR-suh-buhl\, adjective:1. Using force against opposition or resistance; effected or accomplished by force; as, "forcible entry or abduction."2. Characterized by force, efficiency, or energy; powerful.
Robbery, the forcible taking of property from the person of the victim, is the crime most likely to be committed by a stranger; 75 percent of victims are robbed by strangers.-- Adam Walinsky, "The Crisis of Public Order",
The Atlantic, July 1995
The separation of religion from the state does not mean the establishment of irreligion by the state, still less the forcible imposition of an anti-religious philosophy.-- Bernard Lewis, "The Roots of Muslim Rage",
The Atlantic, September 1990
Mr. Wilson replied to Mr. Evarts in a forcible argument, wasting no words, and showing clearly that there was no precedent in any impeachment case tried by the Senate for granting so much delay at this stage of the proceedings.-- "President Johnson's Answer to the Charges and Specifications",
New York Times, March 23, 1868
It was a masterpiece, the Cincinnati Daily Gazette declared, "the most pointed and most forcible political letter ever written."-- "Thomas Jefferson: Radical and Racist",
The Atlantic, October 1996
Forcible ultimately derives from Latin fortis, "strong."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Geeks It’s Thursday

A TT subscriber Mark McBride is the owner and host of a website called OmniNerd. Mark will post each TT to the site and that way nerds, geeks, or just plain thermodynamicists will be able to enjoy thermo Thursday.

I had promised an analysis of the Toyota Prius versus a Corolla but an Omninerd beet me to the punch with a very good analysis of the Prius I was going to blog about a person who carpools and whether a Corolla is then better than a Prius. My belief is that it is obviously better to own a Corolla and carpool than own a Prius and not carpool. The effective fuel economy on a Corolla with two people alternating their driving is higher than the one person in a Prius. The cost of ownership of a Corolla is lower, and the added benefit of lessening the amount of cars on the road for all other motorists is also considerable. I once opined that more than 2 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted in traffic jams in the USA in addition to the more than 4 billion hours of wasted time of the motorists stuck in traffic. If we had 2/3 of the cars filled with 2 people instead of 1 person we would eliminate 1/3 of the vehicles from the road and this would free up traffic flow considerably. My crystal ball says we would better than halve the wasted time and gasoline eaten up by traffic jams. On this basis over 1 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved by not sitting in traffic. On top of this if we had one third fewer cars on the road (about 70 million vehicles) each not using 2 gallons a day for the five work days a week this carpooling effort would directly save 35 billion gallons of gasoline a year. On this basis oil prices would drop back to $2 a gallon and America would be saved. I carpool and us Carpooligans are the Paul Reveres of the 21st century.

Our science department has noticed some interesting research into nano diamonds. These diamonds are simply carbon crystals that that of the order of a nanometer in diameter. These diamonds can deliver chemotherapy to their target DeBeers is investigation the pharmacokinetics data to find out if a nano diamond is forever

Mayor Dilly Dally of Chicago who should have read a TT from over six months ago has woken up and acted to limit bottled water in the windy city with a tax on the plastic bottle He must have called his friend Gavel Newsome for some advice and finally this distant relative of Richard the Third has brought down the gavel on Dasiai Dasani has responded with an add campaign title make our mouth water. But Dilly Dally has an ace up his sleeve and will respond with his magnum 38 saying maybe your mouth will water, but I can make you breath through your skin

All this talk of violence makes me shake. There is a new breed of chips that can generate electricity by capturing or harvesting energy from light, vibrations or even temperature difference.;jsessionid=TYSMWQLQJVLMGQSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=202400930 I think we will be able to power wrist watches (quartz drive) from body heat. We also may be able to power an Ipod from walking.

The appendix may have a useful purpose after all as a reservoir of beneficial bacteria to aid digestion. Kind of like natural yogurt

It is kind of scary that Craig Venter is about to unleash a new form of life in the form a genetically modified bacterium,2933,299857,00.html I kind of prefer the inhabitants of my appendix over the bacteria being synthesized in Rockville MD, even if Venter claims they will chew up global warming gases

The word of the day is stentorian. As this blog is rated G for TGIT I will not make a play on words about stentorian gases but these load voices could provide the vibrations to power the new breed of energy harvesting chips

stentorian \sten-TOR-ee-uhn\, adjective:Extremely loud.
Around his family, Sergeant Charles Mingus Sr. was easily angered and often violent and closemouthed the rest of the time, except when he gave orders in a stentorian voice that carried the assumption of command.-- Gene Santoro,
Myself When I Am Real
He broke the tradition of stentorian tenors, whose big voices and melodramatic high notes were needed to fill the concert halls and vaudeville houses.-- Richard Corliss, "The Book on Bing Crosby", Time, May 17, 2001
Then a stentorian voice blared an all-points bulletin: "Calling the G-men! Calling all Americans to war on the underworld!"-- Strobe Talbott, "Resisting the Gangbusters Option",
Time, October 15, 1990
The bearded, often curmudgeonly Knoller can be found in the press filing center on most every presidential trip, his stentorian voice booming out 35-second takes for radio -- as many as 20 a day -- and shaping the day's news for dozens of journalists who can't help but hear him.-- Dana Milbank, "Bush by the Numbers, as Told by a Diligent Scorekeeper",
Washington Post, September 3, 2002
Stentorian comes from Stentor, a Greek herald in the Trojan War. According to Homer's Iliad, his voice was as loud as that of fifty men combined.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mass and Grams

TGIT – Thank Grams It’s Thursday Today we will discuss mass and grams are a unit of measure of mass

First a thank you to Ajay for his blog on how Brother Gibb had an oldie disco hit song titled “How deep is your love of thermo”

The EPA has reported the mileage cars sold in 2007 can expect.

Interestingly the average mass of vehicles sold in the USA has increased significantly since 1987 from 3,221 pounds to 4,144 pounds or 1,873,088 grams. The average horsepower of a vehicle has almost doubled since 1987 from 118 to 223 horsepower. The heaviest horse in history had a mass of 3,360 pounds or about the mass of the average vehicle sold in the USA in 1987. The acceleration of the average vehicle measured in the time taken to get from zero to sixty MPH has decreased from 13.1 seconds to 9.6 seconds in the past twenty years. The fuel economy of the average vehicle has decreased from 22.0 mpg to 20.2 mpg because of the change in mass, horsepower and the proliferation of trucks (SUVs included) from only 28% of vehicles sold in 1987 to 49% of the vehicles to be sold in 2007.

Going back further than Brother Gibb to Brother Newton and his second law of motion we all know that the force that is needed to be applied to an object to yield a set acceleration is directly proportional to the mass ( F=MA ). In accelerating cars from zero to sixty there are some other forces (resistance) to be overcome such as wind resistance and rolling resistance but for the moment will simply deal with old Isaac’s second law. The mass of the vehicles has increased in the past twenty years by 29%. Acceleration increased by 36% so accounting for increased mass and increased acceleration one would have expected the required force from the engine to have increased by 75% which is in line with the added horsepower in the 2007 models. So how did we only get a 8% reduction in fuel efficiency? This can be answered by the improved efficiency of the later model engines. Primarily as a result of fuel injection, multi valve engines, and variable valve timing that were not available back in the old days. These improvements all relate to how the fuel is burned in the engine.

Below is a cut out of a fuel injector

Below is a cut out of Honda’s variable valve timing engine

Going forward we will have higher compression engines, direct fuel injection and of course smaller and lighter vehicles. We can thank the Governator for the proliferation of SUVs as his movie Kindergarten Cop started the Hummer rage My prediction is that within a decade the average mass of a vehicle will drop to value we had in 1987 and the average fuel efficiency will be close to 30 mpg. Also within a decade we will have long forgotten Arnie.

Here is some good news from Michigan and it is not about the heavy metal vehicles they produce there. The city of Ann Arbor will convert 1,400 street lights to LEDs,4670,TechBitCityapossBrightIdea,00.html Raleigh and Toronto have also begun to use LEDs. Maybe Hollywood will be next.

All this talk about weapons of mass combustion brings me to my final point of the week. Raytheon a defense contractor has developed a heat ray weapon;jsessionid=UASDYV2WZ3VAOQSNDLSCKHA?articleID=202400400

This is the ultimate terrible misuse of thermo! Imagine the government spent $40 million to develop a ray gun that heats the top 1/64” of your skin to 130 degrees F. This goes beyond tasers and will be marketed as the Blaser.

The word of the day is abscond. If a cop was pointing the heat ray gun at me I would certainly abscond

Word of the DayThursday October 18, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
abscond \ab-SKOND\, intransitive verb:To depart secretly; to steal away and hide oneself -- used especially of persons who withdraw to avoid arrest or prosecution.
The criminal is not concerned with influencing or affecting public opinion: he simply wants to abscond with his money or accomplish his mercenary task in the quickest and easiest way possible so that he may reap his reward and enjoy the fruits of his labours.-- Bruce Hoffman,
Inside Terrorism
Pearl, now an orphan (her father having absconded shortly after her conception), has been taken to live with her great-aunt Margaret in the north of England.-- Zoe Heller, Everything You Know
Abscond comes from Latin abscondere, "to conceal," from ab-, abs-, "away" + condere, "to put, to place."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Space Exploration

TGIT - Thank Gagarin It’s Thursday

Yes we have to thank the Reds (not Cincinnati) for today’s episode of TT. It is exactly 50 years ago today that space exploration began. The USSR launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957.,2933,298728,00.html This 180 pound payload sat atop a R7 Rocket. Sputnik did nothing except send some radio noise back to earth

For the non baby boomers who never looked at the sky in October 1957 to view the flight path of Sputnik, Gagarin was the first person to go into space Gagarin was selected because of his small stature. He was only 5 foot 2 inches tall.

Actually the object that was visible in the night sky that Hunting for Red October was not Sputnik (it was simply too small) but was the second stage of the rocket that launched Sputnik.


How much fuel was used to place the little noise maker in orbit? The Russian website lists the specification of 253 metric tons of propellant. The propellant was kerosene the same fuel used by jets. A pound of kerosene has a fuel value of approximately 19,000 BTUs. Therefore approximately 10.5 billion BTUS were needed to set the space race in motion. This amount of energy is equivalent to 92,000 gallons of gasoline or enough gasoline for the average US motorist to drive for over 125 years.

We continue the space race and have launched many more satellites that now clutter the near space around earth. But Sputnik was the first and that is why we remember it.

Talking about space and time, we have a report on how much time commuters waste in traffic. Los Angeles leads the US in wasting time in traffic jams with each motorist wasting 72 hours each year. San Francisco is not far behind. Gagarin only spent one hour and 48 minutes in space so we all should get the medal of the soviet empire for the long time we spend cooped up in our capsules. In total we Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic wasting 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline crawling bumper to bumper. This amount of wasted gasoline could have launched over 31,500 sputniks. I therefore suggest a solution to this waste of time, money and precious BTUs. Let’s carpool! If we halve the number of vehicles on the road in rush hour we will not waste 3 days a year stuck on the freeways in the city of angels. Next week I will discuss how it is better for the earth and your pocketbook to buy a Corolla and carpool than buying a Prius and driving on your own to work.

The word of the day is redoubtable. I do believe that the accomplishment of Yuri Gagarin remains redoubtable.

redoubtable \rih-DOW-tuh-buhl\, adjective:1. Arousing fear or alarm; formidable.2. Illustrious; eminent; worthy of respect or honor.
He had been particularly involved in and articulate over policy toward East Asia, stressing the threat from China after the Communists won power there in 1949, and had made dramatic impressions of competence and coolness on two occasions -- under the physical threat of a crowd in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1958, and in a dramatic kitchen debate in the Soviet Union in 1959 with the redoubtable Nikita Khrushchev.-- William Bundy,
A Tangled Web
The prospect was daunting, not least because Evelyn was still a redoubtable figure on campus whom I saw almost every day and to whom I went for advice almost as regularly.-- Keith Stewart Thomson, The Common But Less Frequent Loon and Other Essays
At the head of the table, as committee chair, sat the redoubtable Howard Mumford Jones—a teacher famed even at Harvard for his fierce authority, his wide-ranging erudition, and his intolerant exacting preciseness.-- Nicholas Delbanco, The Lost Suitcase
Redoubtable derives from Old French redouter, "to dread," from Medieval Latin redubitare, "to fear," literally "to doubt back at," from Latin re- + dubitare, "to doubt."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who the heck is Galvin?

TGIT – Thank Galvin It’s Thursday

You all may ask who the heck is Galvin? Well he was the CEO of Motorola and has started an initiative to improve the electrical supply system in the USA
There is much debate about plug in hybrids and purely electric cars. No matter what the electrical power system is need of an upgrade. Next month Tesla Motors will start selling their Lotus built roadster that uses lithium ion batteries as the energy source.

This car will sell for $98,000 and not too many will be produced. The batteries have just over 54 kilowatt hours of stored energy and the battery pack will have a mass of some 900 pounds. The rest of the car (frame, body and motor) will weigh another 1,000 pounds. These batteries are good for 500 cycles of charge discharge and the range of the vehicle is 200 miles so the battery pack should be good for 100,000 miles. Tesla is more practical than the ultracapacitor we discussed last week as charging is accomplished in a little more than 3 hours so the service needed from the electric company is only 150 amps at 110 volts. Tesla however will remain unaffordable until lithium ion batteries are less expensive.

Last week there were many new efficient prototype vehicles displayed at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Mercedes will introduce hybrids in the next couple of years. The car has not been named but the Re-Volt could be a winner.

Frankfurt Auto Show Features Hybrids, Fuel Cells, and Minis
European automakers demonstrated a new interest in hybrid and electric vehicles at last week's Frankfurt Auto Show, while automakers of all nationalities showed a strong interest in small cars. For example, Mercedes-Benz arrived at the show with seven hybrids, including a luxury sedan concept vehicle called the F 700, a 17-foot-long car that achieves a fuel economy of 44.4 miles per gallon (mpg). The research vehicle features a homogenous charge compression ignition engine, a technology that produces the high fuel economy of a diesel engine from a clean-burning gasoline engine. Mercedes has also mated its clean-diesel engine to an electric motor, creating the Bluetec hybrid. The company plans to introduce a gasoline-fueled hybrid SUV and sedan in 2009, followed by two Bluetec hybrids in 2010, one of which will achieve 51 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. The company also plans to start the limited production of its first fuel-cell vehicle in 2010. In addition, the Mercedes Car Group exhibited its smart car in three new incarnations: an electric-only vehicle and both diesel and gasoline versions with "micro hybrid drive," a belt-driven starter and alternator that allows the engine to shut off at stops. See the DaimlerChrysler press releases about the
auto show and the F700.
The Ford Verve concept may indicate the company's future direction for small cars. Credit: Ford Motor Company
Opel, a division of General Motors Corporation, exhibited the Flextreme, a plug-in hybrid that can travel 34 miles on its lithium-ion battery before a small diesel engine starts charging the battery. Opel also exhibited the Corsa Hybrid Concept, a coupe that combines a belt-driven starter and alternator with a lithium-ion battery. Volvo Cars, a division of Ford Motor Company, exhibited a plug-in hybrid with motors in each of the wheels. The Volvo ReCharge Concept can travel about 60 miles on battery power alone, using a lithium-polymer battery pack that can be recharged in a standard outlet. Ford also exhibited the Ford Verve Concept, a stylish small car billed as "the first sign of what the future may hold." See GM press releases about the
Corsa Hybrid and the Opel Flextreme and the press releases from Volvo and Ford.
Asian automakers were also present at the show, and even unveiled some world premieres. Hyundai unveiled its third-generation fuel-cell vehicle, the i-Blue crossover vehicle. And Toyota introduced the iQ concept, a vehicle that looks much like a smart car, but seats three adults "in comfort." The company also exhibited two new models of its Yaris subcompact. See the press releases from
Hyundai and Toyota.

Not to be left out China is also going green if only for a day. This Saturday China has declared this Saturday a “No-Car Day”. My suspicion is that the Hasidic Orthodox Jewish community in China who follow the strict observance of the Sabbath convinced the Ministry of Construction of the wisdom of a car sick out

As proof I am not a crank I offer these recent articles on the virtues of LEDs;jsessionid=S4BOSDHS1GHYAQSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=201805563
and the non-virtues of biofuels I had inside knowledge that the OECD would issue a statement condemning bio-fuels as one of the subscribers to TT attended the OECD session a few months back.

I had opined several months ago that if each citizen of the US shed 10 pounds of fat this would propel our cars for half a day in the form of bio-diesel. CNN recently reported that airlines are spending nearly $300 million a year in extra fuel cost to carry the extra fat now common in the population

The hundred dollar laptop to help poor kids around the world gain access to the internet goes into production in November. Unfortunately the $100 price target could not be met and the actual cost will be $188.;jsessionid=WZP5VHYUQEUNYQSNDLPCKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=201806663

The word of the day is recreant a word we never use to describe TT readers.

Word of the DayThursday September 20, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
recreant \REK-ree-uhnt\, adjective:1. Cowardly; craven.2. Unfaithful; disloyal.
noun:1. A coward.2. An unfaithful or disloyal person.
His recreant companion disappears around the fence, but he remains, smiling affably.-- Eric J. Segal, "Norman Rockwell and the fashioning of American masculinity",
Art Bulletin, December 1, 1996
To any man there may come at times a consciousness that there blows, through all the articulations of his body, the wind of a spirit not wholly his; that his mind rebels; that another girds him and carries him whither he would not. . . . The open door was closed in his recreant face.-- Genie Babb, "Where the bodies are buried",
Narrative, October 1, 2002
Wordsworth compares himself to a truant, a false steward, a recreant, when he does not write poetry, when poetic numbers fail to come spontaneously, when his harp is defrauded and the singer ends in silence.-- J. Douglas Kneale, "Majestic Indolence: English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art",
Criticism, September 22, 1996
And it appears in the way the review essay was set up: Aronson versus Miliband, the recreant versus the faithful one.-- Ronald Aronson, "Response to Victor Wallis",
Monthly Review, October 1, 1996
But was it worth surrendering your religion, hence your honor, and becoming a recreant?-- Eugen Weber, "The Ups and Downs of Honor",
American Scholar, January 1, 1999
Recreant comes from Old French, from the present participle of recroire, "to yield in a trial by battle," from re-, "re-" + croire, "to believe," from Latin credere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

About the universe

TGIT – Thank Galaxies It’s Thursday

I was watching a TV show about the universe on the history channel and how from the time of Newton we have used mathematics to model the physical world and in particular motion and gravity. Einstein developed the notion of space time surfaces that warp in the presence mass. Einstein did not ascribe to the notion of an expanding universe even though his math supported this. In order for the big bang theory to hold there is this initial state where all the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear forces, and weak nuclear forces) were all combined in a single force. When the big bang happened the gravitational force was the first to break away and soon afterwards the three other forces split. An observation that led to the unified force theory and the initial inflation after the big bang is that most of the outer universe is at the same temperature and this can only be explained in that the initial inflation (Guth’s theory) occurred at a speed faster than the speed of light

All this physics is fine but we still have the basic inflation problem on planet earth of high energy prices. Physicists and chemists are trying to invent nanosystems to store more electrical energy so we can use less gasoline. This company in Texas called EEstor claims to have an ultracapcitor that can store enough electricity to travel 500 miles. All of this energy is placed into the ultra capacitor in five minutes. The rate at which electricity is transferred exceeds 1 MW so don’t rush to buy one of these gizmos as you will need 10,000 amp service in your home at 110 volts. The typical home has 100 to 200 amps of service. If the ultra capacitor short circuits we could reenact the Big Bang.

John sent me a picture taken in South Africa of airmen who fly in formation and let their wheels skim the water to simulate water skiing please note the lead airman is a distant cousin “Numb Scully Levin”

Early morning anglers are treated to the spectacle of four T6 Harvards from the Flying Lions Aerobatic team water skiing across the Klipdrift Dam near Johannesburg, South Africa.Led by Scully Levin, with wingmen Arnie Meneghelli, Stewart Lithgow, and Ellis Levin - this renowned airshow display team rehearse a sequence for the newly launched "Aviation Action" television program on SuperSport TV. Arnie Meneghelli from Academy Brushware, owner of the aircraft, has this to say, "What we did today I believe is a world first".K This unusual act, approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and supported by Castrol Aviation, was meticulously planned and took place under the watchful eye of divers and paramedics that were on site.

Time magazine has published their Fifty Worst Autos in the history of travel you all may want to page through these and see just how many dumb ideas have been tried in the past for autos.,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html?cnn=yes

I also found an interesting site on auto history

My guess is the ultra capacitor will make it into the updates of these sites in ten years time.

The word of the day is impassible not to be confused with impossible which best describes my review of the ultra capacitor technology

Word of the DayWednesday September 12, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
impassible \im-PASS-uh-buhl\, adjective:1. Incapable of suffering; not subject to harm or pain.2. Unfeeling or not showing feeling.
Body is flux and frustration, a locus of pain and process. If it becomes impassible and incorruptible, how is it still body?-- Jeffrey Burton Russell,
A History of Heaven
As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it-- Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs
Impassible is from Late Latin impassibilis, from Latin in-, "not" + Late Latin passibilis, "passible; capable of feeling or suffering" from Latin passus, past participle of pati, "to suffer." It is related to passion, which originally meant "suffering" but came to apply to any strong feeling or emotion. Entry and Pronunciation for impassible

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Geometry can count

TGIT Thank Geometry it’s Thursday

Today I am sending Thermo Thursday a day early.

Yes geometry can count in saving BTUS. There is a coefficient of drag (CD) that is used in aerodynamics to calculate the amount of drag in fluid flow Note this has nothing to do with the costume design at Beach Blanket Babylon.

The shape of a vehicle can improve the fuel efficiency if the coefficient of drag is reduced. The energy required to propel a vehicle through the air is proportional to the coefficient of drag. In a TT of about a year ago I wrote about the bio-car that is shaped like a box fish that only has a CD of 0.19. The Prius has a CD of 0.29 and the Hummer has one greater than 0.5.

Below are some photos of some new aerodynamic tractor trailers that will possibly be manufactured in the future

I have opined of the great harm being caused by biofuels. Steve sent me a link he found in which a very large UK bus operator will no longer use Biodiesel in their fleet because of these very same concerns This is good news and more of this type of news will be coming from Europe over the next several months.

The US DOE (Department of Entropy) and its head Gangrene Bodman continue to waste the planet’s resources and our money on the futile effort of Biofuels. Since the cost to society of biofuels is the tripling of the cost of tortillas I suggest the EPA change its “SmartWay Grow and Go” program to the “Help Global Starvation and Misery” program. Volvo who take pride in their engines running on seven renewable fuels should remember Josephs interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream of the seven lean years.

EPA Recognizes 48 Companies for Promoting Renewable Fuels in Trucks
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged 48 companies in late August that have joined its "SmartWay Grow & Go" program, which encourages the use of renewable fuels in tractor-trailer trucks. The EPA program, launched in October 2006, is an offshoot of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership, which encourages the development and use of efficient trucks. The new program aims to convince one-quarter of the EPA's SmartWay Transport partners to start using renewable fuels by 2012, raising that to one-half of the partners by 2020. EPA is currently working with about 600 SmartWay Transport partners, including major truck and rail carriers as well as shipping and logistics companies, so the agency still has a way to go before reaching its goal. But one partner, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), is certainly doing its part, providing mapping software that helps truckers find biodiesel pumps. See the NBB press release.
The EPA recognized its partners at the Great American Trucking Show, where it also displayed the first SmartWay-certified tractors and trailers, a lineup of the cleanest, most fuel-efficient heavy-duty trucks available on the market. The six new models of SmartWay tractors and trailers are equipped with a series of advanced aerodynamic features, idle-reduction options, and low-rolling-resistance tires that together can serve as a model for improving the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks by up to 20%. To date, SmartWay partners have saved more than 350 million gallons of diesel fuel and eliminated nearly 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, primarily through the adoption of fuel-saving technologies and strategies, according to the EPA. See the
EPA press release and the list of partners on the SmartWay Grow & Go Web site.
While most people would think of biodiesel when talking about renewable fuels in trucks, the Volvo Group recently demonstrated that its trucks can be modified to run on up to seven different renewable fuels. Volvo ran its trucks on biodiesel; biogas (methane); a mix of biodiesel and liquefied biogas; dimethyl ether, or DME, produced by gasifying biomass; a blend of ethanol and methanol; synthetic diesel produced from gasified biomass; and a mix of hydrogen and biogas. As the CEO of Volvo put it, "With these vehicles, we have shown that Volvo is ready, that we possess the technology and the resources for carbon-dioxide-free transport ... " See the
Volvo press release.

The word of the day is antiquarian In the next century antiquarians will study Volvos

antiquarian \an-tuh-KWAIR-ee-uhn\, noun:1. One who collects, studies, or deals in objects or relics from the past.
adjective:1. Of or pertaining to antiquarians or objects or relics from the past.2. Dealing in or concerned with old or rare books.
From the depositions filed with the Loyalist Claims Commission after the Revolution, from a handful of letters gathered by an antiquarian at the beginning of the twentieth century, and from scattered court papers in scattered archives, it is possible to piece together some of the family's history.-- Linda K. Kerber,
No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies
Except to antiquarians and preservationists, silent cinema has little presence on the cultural radar screen, its landmark films unrented on video, its iconic images spotted only as fodder for video collage on MTV.-- Thomas Doherty, Pre-Code Hollywood
Indeed, the evident attention to detail and studied historicism bore the impress of Truefitt's years with the antiquarian Cottingham.-- Francis R. Kowsky, Country, Park & City
A friend of mine, the manager of an antiquarian bookshop in Leningrad in the 1960s, told me that he remembered well the twice-monthly visits of a matronly lady from the censorship bureau, who spent hours rifling through the thousands of books on his shelves, checking them against her latest copy of the Summary List (which was always being updated).-- David King, The Commissar Vanishes
Antiquarian is from Latin antiquarius, "pertaining to antiquity," from antiquus, "ancient." Entry and Pronunciation for antiquarian

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Lindsay Leveen, "The Green Machine", has worked with and consulted to major corporations in areas of energy deregulation, fuel cells, biotech, telecommunication, alternate fuels, power generation, transmission and distribution, as well as a variety of other process based technologies. Lindsay has held executive position in strategic planning and sustainable development at Fortune 500 companies. Andrew Tobias has called Lindsay "Frighteningly Bright". Lindsay has lectured at leading universities and numerous industry conferences. Lindsay also writes for the Ark Newspaper in Tiburon California. Lindsay has a knack to simplify and explain thermodynamics in everyday terms. Lindsay studied thermodynamics for his graduate thesis in Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University. Lindsay likes to misquote Warren Buffett by saying "be green when all are fearful and be fearful when all are green." Read his blogs on Green Explored and you too will be able discern Green from Gangrene.

Elizabeth James is a green consumerista and blogger. Look for her posts on green trends in fashion and other consumer items. Once, in the third grade, she read that balloon launches were harmful to the environment. And so when her school was planning a launch, she successfully campaigned to have it replaced with a less-impactful means of celebration. Today she continues her crusade with her wallet, buying green and informing consumers on how to do the same.

Patricia Ewanski, MS, MBA, LEED AP, PMP is the founder of re-HOME™, a local green building consultancy whose focus is to help reduce unnecessary resource and energy consumption in homes. Prior to starting re-HOME, Patricia consulted in the commercial green building sphere, and was involved in projects such as completing research and writing for a NAIOP report concerning green building incentives and an analysis of U.S. green building legislation at the state level. Patricia is a Governing Council Member of the Southern AZ Branch of the USGBC and has served on various committees including the Technical Committee and the Communications Committee. Patricia holds the AZ state-level USGBC position of Residential Green Building Advocate and heads the state-wide Residential Green Building Committee. Patricia comes to us today with a strong background and knowledge of retrofitting and business and can assist others in navigating new opportunities in retrofitting, sustainable building, and sustainable business.

Mark Bremer is a green family man, teaching his two children to have minimal impact on the earth. Mark is a Lecturer of Biology at SUNYIT Utica/Rome and is a member of their Sustainability Task Force. Mark recently earned a Professional Certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership from the University of Vermont and is coordinating a Green Campus Initiative at SUNYIT. For his graduate work in Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University, Mark studied the effects of acid rain on microbial forest soil communities throughout the Northeastern U.S. Other research he has conducted includes ecological field studies for the Smithsonian in Virginia and Scarlet Macaw nesting behavior with the National University of Costa Rica. Mark is also an avid hiker and nature photographer, with extensive experience in the Colorado Rockies, Denali Park, and Adirondacks Mountains.

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Mission Statement

There are numerous opinions and claims about sustainable and green products. However, many of these opinions and claims are supported by neither science nor fact. Green Explored provides the reader with a humorous primer on green and sustainability that is easily understood by the layperson. Spurious claims are shot down while honesty is applauded. Those who break the laws of thermodynamics are punished with the Gangrene Award.