Friday, March 5, 2010

Dirty Business

Clean Coal?

Hobet mine in Boone County, West Virginia 1984.

In 1984, the mining operation is limited to a relatively small area west of the Coal River.

By 2009, it is has expanded across more than 10,000 acres (15.6 square miles) to the south and west, according to a statement from NASA.

Hobet mine in Boone County, West Virginia 2009.

Most of the mine lies within the upper watershed of the Mud River, which flows northwest through the area. Coal companies dispose of mining waste rock by building rock and earth dams called valley fills in hollows, gullies, and streams. The longest valley fill at this mine appears to have been the near-complete filling of Connelly Branch from its source to its mouth at the Mud River.

According to a 1998 report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly 40 percent of the year-round and seasonal streams in the Mud River watershed upstream of and including Connelly Branch had been filled or approved for filling.

I couldn't resist looking up the owner(s) of this mine. It was owned by Peabody Energy, which now is a conglomerate called Patriot Coal. Variously controlled by Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, Valero, Conoco, Hanson Industries, and other energy corporations, these are the companies, like Koch Industries, that have been avoiding emissions controls since they successfully blocked the clean air act of 1970. These are the guys behind the anti-global warming propaganda machine.

Clean Sweeper

Roomba lady bug costume.

A lot of you wrote about how much you enjoyed the Roomba Cleaner Cat video, so I thought you might also enjoy the RoomBud iRobot Costume website, HERE.

people are naming their Roomba's and dressing them up, as well has putting kittens on them to go for a ride, HERE.

French maid Roomba costume.

Viola Corpus

John trims the overhang. 3/4/10

Now, with the top and bottom attached, John trims the overhang in preparation for carving the edges. This part of the viola is called the corpus, a Latin word meaning, "body".

The Violin

The newest violin hangs with it's siblings.

The finish on the newest violin is exquisite. Depending on the light and angle, each photograph I take reveals different hues of brown, red, and gold that are part of the wood from which it was made. It took months for John to create this, "simple", varnish that is similar to that used by Antonio Stradivarius. I can now add Alchemy to the list of qualifications required of a master violin maker.


An electron microscope shows the multiwalled carbon nanotube "buckypaper" used in the new thermocells.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes
in large thermocells could eventually produce power at a cost of about $2.76 per watt from freely available waste energy, compared with a cost of $4.31 per watt for , which can only be used when the sun is shining.

These are confusing times where ignorance and anger are considered to be a constitutional right, and education and science are demonized as elitist. But I find hope in the tiny world of the nano, (Cue the Fullerene Song), and the manufacturing material of the future; Fullerenes.

Most scientific development and research today, is being conducted by other countries, but the corporations are going to need something to replace petrodollars when we run out of oil. In the meantime we are still number one at manufacturing wars and wasting the planets resources. Yippee!

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
The Best Is Yet To Come - Barbara McNair

Keep Smiling

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