Archive for the ‘Energy’ category

The Day The Gas Ran Out….

May 15, 2009

Former president Jimmy Carter sat before Congress recently complaining that things haven’t changed much since he was president with regard to dependence on oil.

And he warned the problems we faced back then when the gas ran out are bound to happen again.

The gas stopped flowing late in 1973, when the oil producing countries of the Middle East decided to teach the world a lesson..

On October 17, 1973 OPEC, the oil cartel voted to stop shipping petroleum to countries that were supporting Israel in a war with two of its Arab neighbors.

That conflict began when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kipper.

The effect of the embargo was swift and dramatic.

Gas prices jumped from about 25 cents a gallon to nearly a dollar—if you could get gas.

Service stations ran out of fuel.

People waited in lines for two or three hours to buy gas—which service station operators voluntarily rationed to stretch their supply as much as possible.

A nationwide speed limit of 55mph was imposed to save fuel—and the Department of Energy was formed to create a cohesive energy policy…

On March 17, 1974 OPEC voted to end the embargo—but the United States was wary–and was looking at conservation….

In 1977, in a speech that was rife with conservation symbolism, newly inaugurated President Jimmy Carter sat next to a lit fireplace, in a sweater—talking about creating a long range energy policy for our country.

But in 1979—the gas ran out AGAIN.

This time the precipitating cause was the Ayatollah Khomenini’s Iranian revolution that forced the dictatorial Shah of Iran from the country.

Once again— shortages created gas lines…

Service stations shut down several days a week—and gas was available either on odd or even days—depending on the whether the last number of your license plate was odd or even..

The situation got so bad—the government printed gas rationing coupons—but they were never issued…

People lowered heating thermostats to 65 degrees—and tried other ways to conserve petroleum…

Eventually the shortages abated..

Now, more than 30 years later, many of the initiatives proposed in the 70’s under Jimmy Carter have gone unheeded.

Had we worked toward energy independence THEN— we might not be in the situation we’re in now.

After a brief respite—gas prices are on the march upward again. And as they burn more and more of our disposable income, are we going to let another 30 years slide by before we do anything— or are we going to demand our leaders begin crash programs now to help mitigate our energy problems today?

The choice is yours.

Don’t let them fuel us again.


My Zimbio

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The Road Less Traveled…

May 7, 2009

While the American  automotive industry begs for bailout cash and threatens us with dark tales of bankruptcy and economic turmoil—-

—-there are folks out there who are trying to innovate and improve the automotive industry…

Check ’em out….


A California based company has come up with a concept that’ll make any car cool—while getting rid of the standard door.

Jatech uses what it calls a rotary drop door to allow easier access into and out of any automobile.

It turns your ride into an elegant coach.

As you can see in this video— the door just disappears under the car—sliding away in a matter of seconds.

As the company’s website shows, the disappearing door can be outfitted any ANY kind of vehicle—and has the approval of major automakers.


How’d you like to have a car that’s not only Biodegradable—but runs on Chocolate?

Well, a team of British researchers from the University of Warwick have developed just such a vehicle.

World First Racing’s Formula 3 race car runs on Bio-diesel that’s made from vegetable oils and waste from chocolate  factories.

Not only that—but the major components  of this little beauty are made from various organic substances.

  • * The steering wheel  is constructed from carrot fibers
  • * The foam in the seats is from soybeans
  • * The rear view mirrors and body panels are made from potato starch
  • * The brake pads are made from cashew shells.

95% of the vehicle is Biodegradable, as you can read on World First Racing’s website here.

Researchers think that’s the way to go with ALL cars in the future.

Of course, with all those parts made from food, EYE suppose you could always serve your old car for dinner instead of trading it in for a new model.


With the government moving closer and closer to taking over the U.S. auto industry, we really ought o give this some thought.

The following video gives us a taste of what could happen if the folks who brought you FEMA decide they’ll start selling us cars too.


My Zimbio

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Points To Ponder….

March 3, 2009

The classic Warner Brothers animated cartoon series Pinky and the Brain always featured the same catch-line.

The genius mouse named Brain would always ask
his dim-witted partner Pinky if he “was pondering what I’m pondering?” before launching off on another silly attempt to take over the world.

Although not as smart as that cartoon mouse, EYE too sometimes wonder if other folks are pondering what EYE sometimes ponder..

Let’s see.


If electricity was invented today—would we allow it or its delivery?

Imagine scientists telling us they’ve discovered this great energy source—but you’ve gotta be careful with it—cause if you don’t handle it right it could kill you…

You can’t get it wet, touch it with your bare hands, or use too much of it through too small a distribution source like an extension cord…If you do, bad things will happen—and you WILL DIE or be seriously hurt.

And think of the outcry over the way it’ll be distributed… Over wires held aloft by poles.

You want to cut down how many MILLIONS OF TREES to make POLES???

Ugly poles every 50 feet with unsightly wires overhead..

Wires made of how many billion tons of copper???

The environmental impact statements alone would probably take decades to complete.


Why is it that heath care costs are different if you have insurance or if you don’t?

You’ll often see a bill for a medical procedure that lists one price—and then lists a lower price for the “provider discount”.

Let’s say EYE needs to have my  Gallbladder taken out. The hospital will charge me $4,000 for the procedure IF EYE pay for it by myself—but if  EYE has insurance the same procedure is only $2,500 under the “provider discount.”

What’s the difference in terms of care?

Does the doctor’s ability change depending on whether one has insurance? Maybe the doc uses better tools when YOU pay for it as opposed to when the insurance company ponies up?

And if the procedure can be done for the lesser amount—why not just charge that lower price?


How come the so-called “environmentally friendly” light bulb may actually do more damage to the environment than the old kind?

Like a lot of folks, EYE was in a rush to convert all my incandescent lights to compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) to cut energy use and save a few bucks on the old electric bill…

But, come to find out—- the CFL’s are made with small amounts of mercury inside of them, unlike the vacuum tube of an incandescent.

Now, Mercury is a heavy metal, known to cause brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver damage. Once it’s in the environment—it will not break down easily and it can contaminate groundwater if the CFL’s are broken and buried in a landfill.

Do you think the average person is going to recycle those CFL’s properly—or are they gonna just toss ’em in the trash where they’ll end up in landfills contaminating things?

By the way—if coal is used to generate the power for the CFL’s— Mercury is also released into the air via that process.

Although steps are being taken to reduce Mercury emissions—it seems like a double environmental whammy.

And WHAT are you pondering these days?


My Zimbio

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Plugging Into Electric Avenue….

January 20, 2009

As drivers rush down the highway of ever increasing gas prices—more and more of us are looking at the possibility of driving a hybrid vehicle..

There are sound reasons for buying them which included reduced fuel and maintenance bills..

But there are also a few caveats:


Emergency responders are getting worried about the increasing numbers of hybrids on the road..

They’re worried about accidents…

One of the most common ways of extricating people from wrecks is to use an hydraulic cutting device known as the Hurst Tool, or Jaws Of Life.

As you can see here—their cutting power is dramatic. Vodpod videos no longer available.

Although hybrid cars are designed to have their electrical systems shut down in the case of emergencies—first responders are concerned that safety mechanisms might fail and they’ll cut through a “hot” cable, or other energized portion of the car that could hurt or kill them.

As you can read here rescuers have a variety of concerns with hybrids because the automakers can’t assure them the safety systems are fail-safe…

And with each company designing their cars a bit differently— there are multiple “shock zones” that have to be avoided during a “cut and peel” rescue operation.


Because hybrids generally operate on battery power at slower speeds—they tend to be in that mode more when they’re in congested urban areas..

And urban areas are where you are more likely to find pedestrians.

But for blind pedestrians, the silent hybrids are literally an accident waiting to happen, as you can read here.

As a result, the U.S.  government is considering requiring hybrids to make some kind of noise to warn blind pedestrians..

However—the solution for automakers isn’t so simple— because the hybrid’s noise will have to distinguish itself from the other “outside noises” already on the street.


One of the big problems with hybrids right now is small amount of miles they get on a charge.

Toyota is trying to extend that by putting solar panels on its higher end Prius models starting in 2009.

The solar panels will be used to run things like the air conditioner and other energy sapping devices in the car.


The problem of low mileage in an electric car has been solved by a small, California based car company.

Tesla Motors has come up with a car that’ll run about 220 miles on a SINGLE charge…

That’s the equivalent of getting 135 miles to the gallon!

Because it’s ALL electric, the Tesla Roadster also doesn’t need oil, filters, coolants, clutches, spark plugs a PCV valve, oxygen sensors, a timing belt, a fan belt, a water pump and hoses, a catalytic converter, or a muffler.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You can check it out here on the company’s website….

The drawback: the Tesla Roadster sells for about $109,000.

The company is working on a model that’ll sell for about $60,000 that should be ready by about 2010..

And beyond that, they’d like to have $30,000 vehicle ready soon thereafter….


My Zimbio

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Let’s Waste Our Fuel Supply…

October 15, 2008

With the turmoil in the markets recently, we’ve seen the price of a barrel of oil drop dramatically—

—yet, we’re still paying extremely high prices at the pump…

And while many are advocating that we drill now— it’ll take nearly a decade to get that petroleum into the system to refill our empty tanks. ..

But now—we may be able to short circuit that process and get a whole lot more gas into our supply without having to wait so darn long…

A Georgia based company says it can churn out millions of gallons of petroleum from virtually any waste product—and do it with-in a year or two.

And THAT has made some government agencies very, very interested.

The U-S military is so intrigued by the process that its already contracted with Bell Bio-Energy to build 7 test production plants with the next 60 days. Full production should be available with-in a year.

The technique is old—the process is new.

Bell Bio-Energy will use the tried and true technique of converting organic waste like grass clippings, leaves, and the like to create the fuel.

What’s revolutionary is HOW it will be done

The technique uses bacteria.

As you can read here, the inventor of the process got his idea while standing downwind from his cattle.

When they eat organics their stomachs create methane as a by-product.

He figured out which bacteria create the gas–and applied the technique to creating something that’ll fuel our engines.

Unlike Ethanol production—which is wasting our food supply and is highly inefficient—as we pointed out in this post last March— the bacteria used in this process will convert stuff that’s been left to rot.

Bell Bio-Energy estimates there’s enough organic waste on the planet to create up to 5-Billion barrels of oil a year.

And that’s NO waste !


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