Category Archives: Uncategorized

What type of coolant should you use for your solar system?

I just came across an interesting item describing the three most common types of coolant for solar hot water systems and some of their properties. The article seems to be written by the manufacturer so there may be a bit of bias, but it does highlight the issues inherent in coolant selection. It is short and easy to read.

Selecting a Glycol for Solar Thermal Applications

CA Prop 37 The Right To Know

Environmental A World For All

In case you don’t know California has Prop 37 on the ballot in this upcoming election.

Prop 37 will:

  • Require labeling on raw or processed food offered to consumers if it is genetically modified or uses genetically modified food
  • Prohibits labeling of food that is genetically modified as natural

If you want to know more on why I think GMOs should be labeled look at my previous post here

Even if you are okay with GMO foods why not give everyone the right to choose whether to consume it or not?

The campaign against Prop 37 is funded by Monsanto, the largest GMO producing company and has received additional funding by companies who use their product. Agribusiness has spent $35 million in campaigning against Prop 37

Prop 37 was created by the people and is supported  by organic leaders and from small companies amounting to $4,065,135

You will not have…

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Women in the RCMP

Everyone Is Equal

Perhaps you have seen it in the news, perhaps you dismissed this issue without a thought. The RCMP is discriminating against women and nothing is happening to change it. Here are the facts; there have been hundreds of reported harassments and sexual assaults from former and current female RCMP officers, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that EVERYBODY is an equal, a few main values in the RCMP are responsibility, professionalism, respect and  integrity and finally, the RCMP have failed at solving the crimes against aboriginal women.

Has anyone else noticed that the RCMP was instructed to hire 30% more women, then cut the amount of people they were hiring? After that the cases about murdered and missing aboriginal women were not solved? And now there are HUNDREDS of judiciary cases concerning male officers assaulting their female colleagues! Do you see the pattern? Is our NATIONAL police force sexist?! it sure…

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The Right of Free Speech

So glad to see young people getting involved in human rights.

Everyone Is Equal

In Canada, Freedom of Speech is nearly total, excluding only hateful and obscene matter, such making bullying etc. not included in your rights. That  said I can say, write, blog anything I want, as long as it is based on facts or is solely my opinion. Unfortunately this is not the case in many places across the world, such as Saudi Arabia, where you cannot say anything disrespectful towards Islam or against the royal family. In Saudi Arabia Raif Badiwi is in prison and sentenced to flogging (whipping/beating) for insulting Islam  and debating over politics through blog.

If I said right here that I don’t believe in  the conservative party NOTHING would happen to me but if Canada followed the same rules as Saudi Arabia I would probably be sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in jail on top of being forbidden to travel and post on the internet for ten years after being released. Okay? No, not okay.

Learn more about Raif and sign the petition to free…

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The Other Side Of Gender Equality

Everyone Is Equal

Women deserve to be treated equally. No, EVERYBODY deserves to be treated equally. I would like to bring to your attention the male side of gender equality, why today neither genders have an equal place in society, and how we have to change so anyone can be who they really are.

Women have been fighting for their rights for a very long time, majorly since the 1st World War when they got to start working because all the able men were in Europe as soldiers. After the war, the men expected the women to quietly go back to caring for children, cooking and cleaning. The girls stood up, rejected the boys nonsense and thus the beginning of women’s rights.

Legally genders are equal. In society, not at all. You’ve already heard about the women, having muscles is gross, all girls are dumb, overly sentimental, rash and our lives revolve around boys. Of course that’s…

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400 ppm Scary say NASA scientists. #Auspol #ClimateChange #Science 

jpratt27

The global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the primary driver of recent climate change – has reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in recorded history, according to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Since 1958, the Mauna Loa Observatory has been gathering data on how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has increased by about 24 percent since the beginning of this record. (Source: NOAA)

We rounded up a few scientists here at NASA and asked them what passing 400 ppm means to them.

Passing the 400 mark reminds me that we are on an inexorable march to 450 ppm and much higher levels. These were the targets for ‘stabilization’ suggested not too long ago. The world is quickening the rate of accumulation of CO2, and has shown no signs of slowing this down. It should…

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Climate Crisis: this changes everything.

jpratt27

Yes, the threat of war seemed immediate and concrete but so too is the threat posed by the climate crisis that has already likely been a substantial contributor to massive disasters in some of the world’s major cities. Still, we’ve gone soft since those days of wartime sacrifice, haven’t we? Contemporary humans are too self-centered, too addicted to gratification to live without the full freedom to satisfy our every whim – or so our culture tells us every day. And yet the truth is that we continue to make collective sacrifices in the name of an abstract greater good all the time. We sacrifice our pensions, our hard-won labour rights, our arts and after-school programmes. We accept that we have to pay dramatically more for the destructive energy sources that power our transportation and our lives. We accept that bus and subway fares go up and up while service fails…

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Solar Impulse Live. #RTW 

Now THIS IS COOL!!!!

jpratt27

Solar Impulse will takeoff for its first flight from Abu Dhabi (Al Bateen Executive Airport, AZI/OMAD) in the United Arab Emirates, to Muscat (Muscat International Airport, MCT/OOMS) in the Sultanate of Oman. André Borschbergwill fly the zero-fuel airplane on about 400km (215NM) for an estimated time of 12 hours. Masdar, Host Partner for the round-the-world, hosted Solar Impulse during the reassembly of Si2 and the final flight preparations. Masdar City is an example of the shared vision for the use of renewable energy and clean technologies.

Press link for live coverage:Solar impulse.com

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Measles Is Serious (A History Lesson from My Grandmother)

The Science of Mom

Measles is back. The outbreak of this highly contagious viral illness that started at Disneyland in December has spread across the country and shows no signs of slowing. As of February 6, the CDC reported 121 cases in 17 states in this year alone, most linked to Disneyland. In 2014, we had 644 cases of measles in the U.S. This is a striking increase compared to the last 15 years, when we usually saw less than 100 cases in an entire year.

measles 2015 CDCI’m sorry that so many people have been sickened in this outbreak and hope that it is reined in soon. This is no easy task given our mobile society and the fact that we like to congregate in places like Disneyland, schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, airplanes, and shopping malls. Add to that the pockets of unvaccinated people where measles can easily spread, and we have a recipe…

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Can Japan recapture its solar power? — MIT Technology Review

Imagine what we could do in Canada with the same type of leadership. I only hope it doesn’t require a core meltdown for our leaders to step up to the plate and address this issue in Canada too.

Japan Safety : Nuclear Energy Updates

” It’s 38 °C on the Atsumi Peninsula southwest of Tokyo: a deadly heat wave has been gripping much of Japan late this summer. Inside the offices of a newly built power plant operated by the plastics company Mitsui Chemicals, the AC is blasting. Outside, 215,000 solar panels are converting the blistering sunlight into 50 megawatts of electricity for the local grid. Three 118-meter-high wind turbines erected at the site add six megawatts of generation capacity to back up the solar panels during the winter.

Mitsui’s plant is just one of thousands of renewable-power installations under way as Japan confronts its third summer in a row without use of the nuclear reactors that had delivered almost 30 percent of its electricity. In Japan people refer to the earthquake and nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, as “Three-Eleven.” Radioactive contamination forced…

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A molecular approach to solar power (MIT News)

This is another example of excellent innovation from MIT and Harvard. This one is for energy storage and it is quite similar to one I just recently posted on the “bionic leaf”. With better solar energy conversion and more efficient energy storage the idea of moving away from fossil fuels and nuclear power begins to look possible.

Open Matters

Diagram of molecules going through solar-induced charge-discharge cycle, with heat released. The working cycle of a solar thermal fuel, using azobenzene as an example. (Courtesy of Jeff Grossman.)

A molecular approach to solar power
Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
April 13, 2014

It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine.

Now a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with an ingenious workaround — a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.

This solution is no solar-energy panacea: While it could produce electricity, it would be inefficient at doing so. But for applications where heat is the desired output — whether for heating buildings, cooking, or powering heat-based industrial processes — this could…

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10 Lessons I learned Living in a Tiny House #6-10

Item #6 below is an interesting example of the “reduce” from the “reduce, reuse and recycle” strategy for sustainability. In essence, the author reminds us that changing our behaviour to want less “things” and to do more for ourselves is more sustainable than simply generating the our energy more efficiently and consuming the same amount we always have. It is something to always keep in mind…Do I really need this new thing?

21 Days on the Road

#6- Change it Up

You must be willing to change how you live. This is a mistake I sometimes see people make, especially those who switch to living off the grid, where their living system has changed but their expectations of life didn’t. A great example is with power (I know this is a bit redundant from #3, but since energy consumption and production are such important issues these days I figure what the heck.). I know folks who built lovely off the grid houses only to drop a small fortune on solar power and solar hot water arrays and batteries. Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, solar power is arguably a shade more environmentally friendly than other forms of power production, but it does take a lot of resources and energy to produce solar power equipment and those products don’t last forever. I’m not

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Solar Panels Too Ugly? Check out Solar Shingles

Love to see this technology get higher penetration in the market, but would also like to see some details on how effective the shingles are in northern climates where snow is an issue. Do they “shed” snow or are they basically off during the winter. Also, how well do the stand up to high winds. Thanks for a really interesting article.

RE Projects

Despite their undeniable environmental and economic merits, rooftop solar panels are sometimes dismissed simply because the homeowner is afraid of ruining the appearance of their home. While I do not share the same view (I think solar panels are downright beautiful), companies like Dow Solar have recognized this and developed more aesthetically pleasing Solar Shingles.

Solar Shingles are becoming more and more efficient, with continued breakthroughs in thin-film solar panels (like Copper Indium Gallium Selenide), which have increased in efficiency since 2008 from 10% to about 20% (solar efficiency expectations are much more forgiving that school grades). Additionally, the price of solar shingles has been falling rapidly, now on par with traditionally solar panel systems with similar efficiency in many regions.

Another major difference is while solar panels typically bolt on top of an existing roof, solar shingles become a part of it. Instead of being installed in addition to the singles they simply replace them. They are designed…

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