Archive for November 17th, 2010

Oil rises above $81 on Asian stocks, weaker dollar
Benchmark oil for December delivery was up 74 cents to $81.18 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.90 to settle at $80.44 on Wednesday.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Asia stock markets rebound after string of losses
Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.8 percent to 9,986.45 as shares of insurance companies led gains. The sector benefited from a Nikkei report that said MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. will sell a total of 300 billion yen ($3.6 billion) in shareholdings.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Tar Heels run past Robert Morris

Tar Heels run past Robert Morris
Now that the braces are off, the sophomore wing forward for No. 14 North Carolina looks like she’s ready for big things.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Toyota to sell plug-in hybrid in US, Europe, Japan
Toyota Motor Corp. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said Thursday that Toyota is also planning to sell an electric vehicle in 2012 and not just in the U.S. as it had said before, but in Japan and Europe too. Sales in China are also being considered, he told reporters.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Analyst Sees "Glut of Solar Panels" in 2011

Interesting “Chart of The Day” at regarding the supply/demand for solar panels 

Axiom Capital Management’s solar power stock analyst Gordon Johnson sees 2011 as a difficult year for solar panel manufacturers. His reading of the manufacturing data suggests that supply for photovoltaic panels in 2011 may triple the level of demand. Creating a glut of panels in the wake of governments cutting subsidies for rooftop installations because of financial troubles.

A record number of number of solar panels was sold this year as companies go after sales before rates are cut. This cutting back of support for the solar panel industry will be especially hard felt in Germany, a country that is the world’s largest solar panel market.

This year manufacturers charged $1.80 per watt but with supply overriding demand the price they can charge may drop to as low as $1.10 per watt.

Solar panel supply and demand charted at Bloomberg.

Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Climate Change Chatbot: For When You’re Tired of Explaining Climate Science to Climate Deniers…

There are many reasons to promote clean energy — it creates more jobs than dirty energy, it improves national security, it improves our health, AND, it helps prevent or minimize the effects of global warming.

Of course, one of the more well-known reasons is this latter one (that clean energy helps address global warming), but the problem is, there are still a ton of people who don’t understand climate science and don’t realize there isn’t any doubt that global warming is happening and it’s caused by humans. (Of course, where is the surprise? 20% of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth, about the same percentage think Obama is a Muslim, and 26% of us don’t seem to know who we got our independence from.)

Well, one informed person tired of debating conclusive climate science with climate change deniers decided to put the responsibility into someone else’s hands, a Twitter chatbot’s (@AI_AGW).

Software developer Nigel Leck created this climate-science-informed chatbot, which can go on for days arguing with climate deniers on Twitter.

How Does the Chatbot Work?

Christopher Mims of Technology Review writes:

Every five minutes, it searches twitter for several hundred set phrases that tend to correspond to any of the usual tired arguments about how global warming isn’t happening or humans aren’t responsible for it.

It then spits back at the twitterer who made that argument a canned response culled from a database of hundreds. The responses are matched to the argument in question — tweets about how Neptune is warming just like the earth, for example, are met with the appropriate links to scientific sources explaining why that hardly constitutes evidence that the source of global warming on earth is a warming sun.

The chatbot is apparently smart enough to not repeat the same response in a conversation, even if its counterpart uses the same argument again. (The truth is, there are normally numerous scientific articles refuting climate denier claims.)

Unfortunately, the one weakness of this chatbot is an inability to detect sarcasm, so it also replies to those who understand climate science but are making a sarcastic comment like “2010 hottest year on record so far,.. clearly, global warming is a myth.” But Leck keeps up with the comments, apologizes when such a thing happens, and whitelists these accounts.

Additionally, it has a little difficulty when people essentially give up on the science and make general, religious claims. “If [the chatbot] actually argues them into a corner, it tends to be two crowds out there,” says Leck. “There’s the guns and God crowd, and their parting shot will be ‘God created it that way’ or something like that. I don’t know how you answer that.” (The second crowd are just completely unwavering climate science skeptics,.. maybe some of the same folks who think the Sun revolves around the Earth.)

Leck has more plans for @Al_AGW on the way. He wants the chatbot to develop an ability to learn more about climate science (or, more accurately, how to argue anti-climate science) on its own.

“In the future, Leck would like to expand AI_AGW by giving it the ability to learn new arguments from the twitter feeds of others who debate climate skeptics – allowing it to argue into the ground an ever expanding array of anti-science tweeters who are unwilling or unable to look up the proper scientific literature themselves.”

Looks like a good way to save yourself some energy, time, and unnecessary frustration.

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Photo Credit: à voir etc… via flickr (CC license)

Visit the original post at: Energy News

Oprah & Sarah Palin, Time to Make Solar Mainstream

One Block Off the Grid (our former owner) has a great post this week on “Why Solar Can’t Go Mainstream Without Sarah Palin.” While I don’t agree with every specific point in the article, I think the general points are very important and it is an excellent overall piece.

The general points are:

  1. Solar energy is primarily associated with certain people, benefits, or terms that pigeonhole it (i.e. climate change, Al Gore, Obama, the environment, hippies, rich greenies).
  2. Solar needs to be associated more with topics that are more broadly or deeply important to people (i.e. saving money, national security, financial investment, independence, Conservatives, job creation).
  3. Key figures in the mainstream media and popular society need to pick up the topic more in order for this shift to happen (i.e. Sarah Palin, Oprah, Donal Trump, Jim Cramer, or Glenn Beck).

As with many things in this world, people are more influenced by people they can relate to and know well (or think they know well) than statistics or impersonal information.

In the case of solar, if you live on the same block as someone who has it, 1BOG has found that you are 222% more likely to go solar.

So, of course, as more people go solar, it should have a sort of snowball effect. But how do you get the initial neighborhood leaders to go solar? One key way would be to get the celebrities they trust, relate to, and whose advice they follow to go solar or encourage their supporters to go solar.

While people like Al Gore, President Obama, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio might have some effect in this arena, they won’t have as strong an effect as people coming from an “environmental protection and climate change aren’t important” perspective or people like Oprah who greatly influence people’s actions.

1BOG came up with this little graphic below to show the theoretical difference visually. Clever.

Great piece by 1BOG and excellent graphics to go with it.

Now, if we could only get Oprah to read it…

Image Credits: 1BOG

Visit the original post at: Energy News

South Korea Planning Massive Off Shore Wind Farm
South Korea Planning Massive Off Shore Wind Farm

Wind energy currently meets a mere 1.5% of global electricity generation. But scientists foresee a lot of potential in this alternative energy source. Asian countries are also trying to embrace clean and green energy. South Korea is going for an ambitious off-shore wind farm amounting to $8.3 billion. This project will be executed at [...]
Posted in: Industry, Wind Farms, Wind Power

Visit the original post at: Energy News

G-20 Reaffirms Commitment to Cut Fossil Fuel Subsidies
The finance ministers and central bank governors of the
world’s 20 largest industrialized and developing economies,
known as the G-20, aim to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by
2020, and steps are already being taken by China, India,
Mexico, and Russia.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

USDA Boosts more than 500 Rural Clean Energy Projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing more
than $30 million in loans and grants to 516 recipients for rural
renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

Electric Vehicles Attractive for Fleets: Study
The Electrification Coalition, a year-old nonprofit group of
business leaders, has released an analysis of the business
case for U.S. fleets to adopt electric-drive technology. As
many as 200,000 of the vehicles could be on the road by

Visit the original post at: Energy News

DOE-Backed Public EV Charging Program Expands to Washington, D.C.
The first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station in
Washington, D.C., was unveiled by ChargePoint America,
with construction supported in part by a $15 million DOE
Recovery Act grant.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

Interior Department OKs Second Large Solar Project on Nevada Public Lands
The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the second
large-scale solar energy project on U.S. public lands in
Nevada, a 500-megawatt concentrating solar power facility.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

Icelandic Backlash Weighing on Magma Energy
When Magma Energy Corp. CEO Ross Beaty first looked into acquiring the mostly-government owned Icelandic geothermal energy company HS Orka, he had no idea how politically volatile that decision would be.
Visit the original post at: Renewable Energy News –

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