Category Archives: Oil

Haiku of earth sea and sky

This a magic place
No Witch, Wizard, Genie, Jin,
Just Technology

Yet a dark side here
From burning the rocks and tar
Poisons gas and heat

Nunuck bear home floats
Bed of ice on open sea
Melts nanuck to die

North Pacific Gyre
Toxic plastic looks like food
Bags we use but once

Turtle sees plastic
Floats like jelly but not food
Turtle eats to die

Death food in the sea
Dumb animals eat plastic bags
Why it look like food

We burn coal and oil
Mercury hot gas carbon
We burn rocks for heat

We strive for more stuff
Nuclear is still claimed safe
Safe if you are dead

Chesapeake near death
Algae grow on chicken waste
Oxygen all gone

Baby Orca dies
Endocrine system failure
PCB’s in food

We kill for more stuff
Won’t never have enough
We must kill for stuff

Iceberg floats submerged
Waters dance from ice to sea
Deep, Cold, Wild and True

Still waters run deep
Tuna Burgers Water Song
Breathe feel ride the waves

Children of the west
To live sustain the garden
Must learn harmony

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Filed under Chesapeake, Coal, Nuclear Power, Oil, Orca, Pacific Garbage Patch, Plastic

Negawatts and Eco-Watts or Killer-Watts

Back in the late ‘1970’s Amory Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute coined the term “NegaWatts” to describe the energy that could be saved with conservation and efficiency. “The cheapest energy,” he said, “and the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”

Lovins’ associate, Marvin Resnikoff, PhD, then teaching physics and environmental thinking at SUNY University of Buffalo and Rachel Carson College, used the term “nuclear constipation” to describe the nuclear waste problem. It’s an apt metaphor – the waste doesn’t go away.

We struggling not only with nuclear constipation, but carbon constipation. We burn carbon, liberate the energy in chemical bonds, to get from place to place, to heat and cool our homes, but the carbon doesn’t go away. It goes into the air from under the ground. To paraphrase Al Gore,

We are borrowing from China to buy oil from the middle east and rip coal out of the ground to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. But enough wind blows through the midwest corridor in a day, enough sunlight falls on the earth in FORTY MINUTES to provide the power we need for a year.

Harnessing the wind, the sun, and the earth eliminates these problems. Rather than burning a fuel; wind, solar, geothermal harness a process. The sun shines whether or not we use solar panels to capture some photons. The wind blows regardless of our decision to use a few particles to spin a turbine. We are hitchin’ a ride on a moving train.

This is the choice: Wind and Solar or Coal and Nuclear. “Negawatts and clean pure Eco-Watts or Deadly-Watts, Morta-Watts, Killer-Watts.


Negawatt – unit of energy you don’t use.
Ecowatt – unit of energy generated in a clean sustainable way, such as via solar power or wind power.
Killer-watt – unit of energy generated by burning or consuming fuel such as coal, oil, gas, or radioactive material.

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Filed under Clean Energy, Coal, Fossil Fuels, Framing, Nuclear Power, Oil, Solar Power, Wind Power

State of Duh Union

L. J. “Gonzo” Furman.

Washington. President Bush found his stride. He has a terrific career ahead of him on late night cable tv news, or Comedy Central. He may not have the physical presence of Will Ferrell, or the ‘kick them when they’re down’, ‘laughing at you not with you’ sensibility of Steven Colbert or David Letterman, but his timing and deadpan style rivals Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Jay Leno and the other great news anchors of late night television. His ‘State of Duh Union‘ was brilliant. Bush, with his zany sidekicks, Dick ‘I-Shot-The-Lawyer’ Cheney and Karl ‘I-Don’t-Care-If-It’s-A-Felony, I’m-Not-Quitting’ Rove should star in ‘The Compassionate Conservative’ on cable with ‘The Daily Show and ‘The Colbert Report’.

With energy policy Bush started by playing it straight: ‘Energy policy is a matter of national security.’ Solar energy and wind power produce electricity without pollution, and at lower cost. But this is boring so Bush didn’t talk about this. He did say that we should double the amount of petroleum the government stores in reserve and drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge. Some say the petroleum reserves are a government handout to the oil industry. Because the government buys oil, and then locks it up never to use it, until an emergency. And in an emergency, we need more than we have in reserve, so the government buys more, usually at higher prices. Does this sound like a good deal for the taxpayers or a handout to the oil industry?

Now Bush wants to double the reserves, and drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge. We can combine these goals by using the Arctic Oil as the Reserves. Normally, to create the reserves we take oil out of the ground, ship it, refine it, spill some, then put it in tanks, never to use it.

So why not keep the oil up in the Artic Refuge for the reserves and just leave it in the ground, without the drilling, refining, spilling and storage steps. The government should just pay the oil companies to leave the oil in the ground. Of course the oil companies are supposed to be paying the government royalties on the oil they extract, but the accountants can sort out the details. The important thing is to have the oil in reserve and increase return on investment for the oil companies.

Then there’s health care. The President wants health insurance premiums to be tax deductible. So wealthy people who pay more for health care, because they can, can write off the cost of their insurance. This is fair to wealthy people. Poor people, who are poor because they have no money, don’t need to write off the cost of their health insurance premium. They don’t pay for health insurance. (They don’t have it, but that’s beside the point.) They don’t pay income tax. President Bush is only trying to give wealthy people the same advantages that poor people have.

The President also wants to tax health care benefits. This sounds great. If I am hospitalized, then I will pay income tax on the money the insurance company paid the doctors and the hospital. If I am making about $65,000 per year, and my wife has a baby, and the hospital charges about $35,000, then I’ll be taxed as if I made $100,000. When my kid goes to the doctor I’ll pay more taxes. Who needs a raise? I can just go to the doctor. Then when I feel like a million bucks the government will feel like I’m worth a million bucks too.

The President wants to reduce the number of uninsured by shifting federal money away from hospitals. I see how this will reduce the number of uninsured – they will die.

The President wants to let poor children transfer to private schools. Private schools charge tuition. I thought that poor children are poor because they have no money. I must be missing something.

Bush wants to give his plan for Iraq a chance. I admire that. When I want a game of chance I go to Atlantic City or Vegas. I lose, but what the hell. When Bush wants a game of chance he goes to war. That’s tough. And he calls himself a compassionate conservative.

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Filed under Arctic Reserves, Emergency Reserve, Health Care, Oil, state of the union.