Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:19:24 AM.

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daily link  Saturday, December 06, 2003

Austin going solar in a big way: " In a near-complete turnaround from its public position just a week ago, Austin Energy has announced plans to adopt specific, highly ambitious, and undeniably expensive goals for adding solar energy to the Austin electric and economic mix. At a town hall meeting held Tuesday night to discuss the AE plan -- also the subject of a public hearing at City Council today (Thursday) -- AE's Roger Duncan announced the utility's commitment to develop 15 megawatts of solar generating capacity by 2007, escalating to 100 megawatts by 2020. The AE plan also calls for a study of the "comprehensive value" of solar power -- putting a dollar amount on the economic and environmental benefits ..

Brewster McCracken -- the emcee of the town hall meeting -- and Mayor Will Wynn were both in attendance to reiterate their support for making Austin the "home of the international clean-energy industry" (in McCracken's words) -- a goal toward which, advocates feel, AE's solar commitment is a giant first step. ..

"We will try to meet 100 percent of new load growth" -- that is, customer demand -- "with conservation and renewables if at all possible," said Duncan. "We're trying to get off natural gas entirely." "

  11:49:22 PM  permalink  

Dirty Bomb Rockets Vanish: Long and vivid story in the Washington Post:  "In the ethnic conflicts that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union, fighters in several countries seized upon an unlikely new weapon: a small, thin rocket known as the Alazan. Originally built for weather experiments, the Alazan was transformed into a terror weapon, packed with explosives and lobbed into cities. Military records show that at least 38 Alazan warheads were modified to carry radioactive material, effectively creating the world's first surface-to-surface dirty bomb [with an 8-mile range]. The warheads are not known to have been used. But now, according to experts and officials, they have disappeared.

[There are] 50 cases in which the [Alazan] rockets were used in clashes, by both guerrilla fighters and government forces. In most incidents, Alazans were fired indiscriminately at civilian targets, often crowded urban centers. .. One document described an inventory of 38 "isotopic radioactive warheads of missiles of the Alazan type," including 24 that were attached to rocket. In the two other documents, the commander requested technical help in dealing with radiation exposure related to storage of the warheads. .. the last known location of the weapons was a military airfield north of Tiraspol, but what happened to them after the 1990s remains a mystery.

When the Soviet army withdrew from this corner of Eastern Europe, the weapons were deposited into an arsenal of stupefying proportions. In fortified bunkers are stored 50,000 tons of aging artillery shells, mines and rockets, enough to fill 2,500 boxcars. Conventional arms originating in Transdniester have been turning up for years in conflict zones from the Caucasus to Central Africa.. "For terrorists, this is the best market you could imagine: cheap, efficient and forgotten by the whole world," said Vladimir Orlov, founding director of the Center for Policy Studies in Moscow, a group that studies proliferation issues. . Organized crime figures and reputed terrorists flit in and out of the region ..

Moldova has pressed Russia to remove the munitions [stockpile] and the 2,800 Russian troops who guard them [600 miles from the Russian border]. But over the years, both Russia and Transdniester have used a variety of excuses to block or delay their departure." " Instances of traffic in antiaircraft missles are mentioned, inlcuding one well-documented in 1999.

"Once the industrial heartland of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Transdniester has a long history as a production center for arms and weapons, including machine guns and rockets. Today, the tradition continues in at least six sprawling factories. .. Among the weapons in production are Grad and Duga multiple-rocket launchers, antitank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and multiple lines of small arms.."

  11:00:37 PM  permalink  

There They Go Again: Dean's many weaknesses as a nominee.  "If the Democrats are serious about governing, they should remember the words of one of their nominees, Adlai Stevenson. After one of his typically brilliant campaign speeches, someone shouted out to Stevenson from the crowd that he had the votes of all thinking Americans. Stevenson shouted back, saying that wasn't enough: "I need a majority!" "  7:06:24 AM  permalink  

Clean Edge solar report: "What will it take to transform solar energy from a niche resource into a competitive, mainstream technology - and beyond, to serve society with solar's full promise? This Solar Opportunities Assessment Report, or SOAR, attempts to answer that simple but complex question and offer some possible pathways forward. It focuses on three pathways for solar's future over the next quarter-century: Current Growth, Accelerated Growth, and Hypergrowth, and describes the challenges and opportunities within each. ..  We propose one potential vision, which we've dubbed the SHINE -- Solar High-Impact National Energy -- Project. The SHINE Project calls for 290 gigawatts of cumulative installed PV in the U.S. by 2025, providing 10% of total U.S. electricity consumption."  6:53:31 AM  permalink  

E7 Renewables reports: "The e7, an organization of nine leading electricity companies, has released two new reports that share the companies knowledge in understanding and helping to remove barriers to the diffusion of renewable energy technologies and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The first report, Renewable Energy Technology Diffusion, .. presents guidelines to help individual stakeholders execute the focused, committed actions necessary to address microbarriers, and recommendations to guide the broad, coordinated initiatives that are appropriate to address macrobarriers.

The second publication is The e7 Guide to Implementing Projects Under the Clean Development Mechanism. .. Since its formation in 1992, the e7 has assembled a wealth of experience related to electricity sector projects in developing countries. This experience underlies the new e7 CDM Guide. "

  6:39:38 AM  permalink  

Imagine Islands Entirely Powered by Renewable Energy: "Software company Artificial Life has unveiled its first educational online game called Eco Champ which specifically aims to educate and entertain with renewable energy as the focus. .. The company said they are targeting young Asian students aged between 12 and 18 years and secondary schools in Greater China and Asia. .. A player has to maintain the power level of a virtual island by installing renewable energy sources of six different kinds: wind, solar, wave and tidal, hydro, geothermal and biogas in the appropriate locations by taking into account the most relevant factors for the efficient use of these resources in the corresponding locations such as wind, temperature patterns and elevation level. "EcoChamp Home PageScreen-Shots

  6:35:24 AM  permalink  

Socialtext -- Enterprise Social Software: "The service runs on Socialtext's own Kwiki implementation of the wiki standard. Each Socialtext account gets 1GB of storage per member and has no bandwidth limit... You can assign one or more categories to each page and view all the pages in a category as a blog. Members can e-mail new pages to the wiki, optionally specifying categories. By the time you read this, each Socialtext account should able to launch as many different wikis as needed and invite the appropriate team members. " $30/mo per user.  6:27:26 AM  permalink  

The End Of The Laptop?: "Home servers and smartphones will eventually replace notebook computers for most users." Ends with nice summary of Treo tools, noting they still require too much user customization.  12:40:28 AM  permalink  


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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:19:24 AM.