All Energy Is Solar Energy

August 25, 2012 at 11:06 am (Alternative Energy, Cool Tech, Entertainment, The Economy) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Long time since the last post, I know. This has been another busy year. So I’ll try to make this interesting.

I was visiting my father recently, and having a nice chat, as we often do. We got to discussing cars, and then electric cars. It’s an open secret that I’d like to build one someday. (After all, gasoline is not going to get any cheaper, now is it?) I mentioned that an actor – Robert Llewellyn – who had a role in one of my favorite TV shows ever (“Red Dwarf”) now has a very cool show on YouTube, called Fully Charged. In this series, he reviews electric cars, and discusses other issues & events related to electric vehicles and energy in general. Fun and funny. Here’s a recent episode, as an example:
 

Mr. Llewellyn does a marvelous job of covering some of the details and advances that are under-reported in the American main-stream media. In short, there is a lot more going on these days than you might think, especially in Europe, where energy costs have historically been much higher than in the USA.

But back to the discussion I was having with my dad. I pointed out to him that ultimately, all energy is solar energy. This caused dad to give me that look. The one that I remember from my youth. (You may know that look too!) The one that says, “What the hell are you talking about, kid?” So I explained what I meant.

I began by asking where the oil and coal came from. Of course, they are composed of old plant and animal material that got buried and transformed into coal or petroleum. And what caused those plants to grow? Sunlight. Solar energy.

And what about nuclear? Where does the uranium come from? Yes, out of the ground. But before that? In fact, where do all the elements come from, that make up our planet Earth? From other suns! Yup. All elements, aside from hydrogen, were fused together in the hearts of ancient suns – suns which eventually used up their hydrogen, and exploded, scattering their star-stuff throughout the galaxy. That stuff re-condensed into our Earth, our moon, and the rest of our solar system. And here we are – we’re made of stardust.

Any other energy you care to mention – wind, tidal, even geothermal – all of it can be traced back to the energy from our sun, or from ancient suns which burned billions of years ago. Think it through. It’s another inconvenient truth. And it’s why I like renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and so on. It cuts out the middleman.

Feel free to refute me, below. More soon, fellow Netizens!

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United States Welcomes Barack Obama

January 20, 2009 at 12:17 am (Alternative Energy, Politics, The Economy, The Environment) (, , , , , , , )

…and bids a long overdue farewell to George W. Bush. Boy, it’s good to say goodbye to that smirking chimpanzee. I was hoping to have done that four years ago.

Anyhow, in the spirit of the Presidential Inauguration, now mere hours away, I’m going to post a little video, for your enjoyment.

(In the interest of disclosure, this video was created by XPLANE, a client of RichContent, for whom I work. But it’s still pretty cool, and that’s why I included it here.)

Now as you may know, I’m cautiously optimistic about the incoming Obama administration, even though he’s facing an uphill battle of epic proportions. A lot of campaign promises got made. Alternative energy, get us out of Iraq, create more jobs, revive the economy – the list is long, and the money is short.

Solar Photovoltaic PanelsChange is going to take some time to achieve, and patience is to be counseled. And I really do hope that America can add new jobs, such as installing solar panels, converting vehicles to electricity or natural gas, or upgrading structures to be more energy-efficient. These are all useful, cool things that could really help our economy.

But will these things get done? Too soon to tell, kids. Too soon to tell. Eight years ago this week, supporters of W were whooping it up like someone had invented a replacement for sliced bread. And we can see what we actually got. Something much less appetizing than a ham sandwich.

The hoopla over Barack Obama is “Reaganesque”, in the words of local radio producer, Kristen Bowie. She got that very, very right. And that’s what scares me, just a little. I remember the Reagan years, all too well.

Charisma is no substitute for real leadership. But it can lead troops into Poland, France, Austria…

And Obama has buckets – nay, boxcars – of charisma. Check this clip from The Daily Show, starting at about 3:45. Jon Stewart asks Obama to “hope up” some common phrases.

Tell me what you think.

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Attention, Alternative Energy Enthusiasts!

July 13, 2008 at 9:56 pm (Alternative Energy, Cars & Trucks, Cool Tech, General, Media, Politics, The Economy, The Environment) (, , , , )

Friends, neighbors, and fellow geeks – this is the most exciting news I’ve heard all year. The legendary oil man T. Boone Pickens has started an online effort to help get America off imported oil, and onto renewable domestic energy. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Quite a small one, in fact. Here’s a video that explains why the plan is needed:

So – go right now to his web site – it’s free to join. It’s a social / Web 2.0 sort of site, with all sorts of options for participation. I’ve only had time to explore a small part of the site, but I was so impressed and excited, I had to get to blogging about it.

Not to toot my own horn, but he’s saying some of the same things I have been trying to communicate for years. That there is no way to drill our way out of this mess. That we need to move on to other energy sources, and lose the petroleum habit.

National Geographic cover - Peak Oil

Pickens has also acknowledged that the peak of world oil production (known as peak oil) occurred in 2005, and from here on, it’s going to be more expensive and more scarce. For more information on peak oil, and the petroleum crisis, check out a film called Crude Impact. Ask me, and I can loan you my copy. It’s an important documentary, and extremely serious. I want as many people as possible to see it.

It’s kind of nice to be vindicated, to be sure. But it’s truly exciting to know that there are some smart, well-regarded people willing to stand up and put their names & fortunes on the line for a future where America isn’t sending all its money out of the country, impoverishing ourselves for no good reason.

Now – let’s do this. The stakes are too high to just sit back and wait for the hammer to fall, because when it does, it’s going to fall hard.

View my page on PickensPlan

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