Month of April, 2008

Majoring in Renewable Energy

April 01, 2008 - 01:36:31 PM


3/26/2008 The New York Times Company

AS business and industry are taking more interest in renewable energy, academia is not far behind. Anticipating increased demand for new technical and design skills, colleges and universities across the nation are offering degree programs in the field.

The Oregon Institute of Technology has developed the country’s first four-year undergraduate degree program in renewable-energy systems. This year the program is training 50 students and will graduate its first class.

The institute’s degree requires basic knowledge in engineering, electrical circuits, motors and generators, thermodynamics, heat transfer and the language of computers. Then come specialized courses in photovoltaics (solar energy research and technology), wind, biomass (the recycling of biological material), hydropower and geothermal energy development.

Robert Bass, 33, the assistant professor who directs the program, said his students would be applying their new bachelor of science degrees in a range of design, engineering, installation, auditing and programming careers in the region’s expanding green-power sector.

“We’re constantly getting phone calls from renewable-energy companies who advertise jobs,” said Dr. Bass, adding that two of his graduating students were already employed full time. “A student graduating from this program has a range of choices about where they want to start their careers. And starting salaries are very good.”  READ MORE »

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Website Aids Reuse of Construction Materials

April 01, 2008 - 02:23:24 PM claims to be the world's first global website that connects buyers and sellers of reused and reclaimed construction materials and equipment.

The site, launched March 17th, caters to contractors, architects and the homeowner community, allowing users to purchase products online that might otherwise be sent to landfills. Diverting materials from landfills is the driving force behind, according to the company's CEO, Brad Hardin.

"The background for PlanetReuse was that I was amazed how difficult it was finding resources to achieve LEED-MR credits and noticed the need to develop a material reclamation platform that would allow buyers and sellers of reused materials to connect and save more virgin materials from entering the waste stream and further polluting our planet," he said.

Sellers can create free listings with photos on the site for reused, reclaimed and excess building materials. Buyers can search the site for items in their area or other areas of the world.

Via Rona Fried -

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2007 Global Temperatures Tied for 2nd Warmest

April 08, 2008 - 01:40:01 PM

"The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. 2007 tied 1998, which had leapt a remarkable 0.2°C above the prior record with the help of the "El Niño of the century". The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean is in the cool phase of its natural El Niño-La Niña cycle."

"The Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle have significant effects on year-to-year global temperature change. Because both of these natural effects were in their cool phases in 2007, the unusual warmth of 2007 is all the more notable. It is apparent that there is no letup in the steep global warming trend of the past 30 years."

"Global warming stopped in 1998," has become a recent mantra of those who wish to deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the "El Niño of the century" coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying warming trend."


Source:NASA Surface Temperature Analysis

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Light, Compatible, Free Online 3D Globe

April 13, 2008 - 10:07:36 PM

Reviewed By Brady Forrest at O'Reilly Radar

Poly9 has released a new free 3D globe called Free Earth. It uses Flash, but requires no other download and cross-browser. That spinning blue marble is really sweet looking.

Using their Javascript API you can add placemarks (as you can see below with the tarsier marking the O'Reilly offices), video, and control the globe's movement.
Right now there is no zoom, but they are in the process of getting satellite imagery. According to CEO Greg Sadetsky, "The plan is to have a licensable product for commercial use, and a free product for everybody."

Poly9 is a group of hackers in Quebec City.  READ MORE »

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Climate Alive!

April 16, 2008 - 09:21:12 PM


CLIMATE ALIVE ! An *excellent* seven-minute film about Asheville North Carolina's role in understanding climate change.

"The need has never been greater for accurate and understandable information about climate change and its impacts.

The Centers for Environmental and Climatic Interaction (CECI) is a non-profit partnership among government, academia and industry that provides trusted climate change information and analysis to policymakers, business leaders and the public.

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, home of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, CECI provides innovative education strategies, natural resource impact analysis, visualization technologies and other tools for making crucial decisions.

Leading edge visualization tools, including geodomes designed and produced by the Asheville-based company, The Elumenati , are a key component of the city’s climate services skill set.  READ MORE »

Sustaining Life - How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity

April 30, 2008 - 12:54:02 PM

This amazing book should be a part of every course on biology in every high school! ja

The Earth's biodiversity—the rich variety of life on our planet—is disappearing at an alarming rate. And while many books have focused on the expected ecological consequences, or on the aesthetic, ethical, sociological, or economic dimensions of this loss, Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, to be published in May, 2008 by Oxford University Press, is the first to examine the full range of potential threats that a loss of biodiversity poses to human health.  READ MORE »

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