Archive for May, 2007

The Air Car is More Than Just Full of Hot Air!

Posted in alternative fuel, transportation on May 31, 2007 by theseep


MDI, or Motour Developpment Internacional, has been getting more and more notice lately as they tout the development of their Air Car, a piston-type engine that is powered by compressed air rather than combustion.
They don’t have much technical data, but they have integrated the technology into “dual-fuel” vehicles that run on regular fuels but use compressed air to increase efficiency and decrease emissions. There are drawings of two compressed-air vehicles, the Citycat and the Minicat that are supposed to be only compressed air. There is also mention of an on-board compressor and and alternator with regenerative braking it seems to recharge batteries for longer trips. The Citycat has specs listed at 68mph and has a range of around 93 miles.
They seem to have been plugging along since 2002 or so, but in February they signed an agreement with India’s largest car company, Tata Motors, so we may see some progress on this interesting technology with hopefully something brought to market within the next few years. The improvement of compressed air over electric cars with current batter technology is that you can simply fill-up with more air within minutes rather than waiting for a charge. That is, until we get some supercapcitors to market, solving the distance issues with current all-electric vehicles.
via Dr. Victor Argueta

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DIY Hollow Wood Surfboards from Grainsurfboards.com

Posted in ethical consumerism on May 20, 2007 by theseep


Living on the central CA coast, it’s hard not to get into surfing. The scenery is amazing, the waves are good, and the experience is spiritual. Surfers come in a few stereotypical forms, one of which is the ocean-loving, Jack Johnson-listening, sandal-wearing treehugger like myself. The modern tools of the surfer’s trade, however, are far from environmentally friendly or treehuggeresqe. Traditional surfboards are made from toxic polyurethane or EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam then coated with fiberglass or epoxy resin. The process of making and them is fairly toxic, especially the traditional polyurethane boards, and a surfboard may only make it through a season or two before breaking, not to mention that most surfers have multiple boards in their “quiver.”
I previously reported on Homeblown’s ecofriendly surfboard blanks but neighbor and surfer extradorinaire, Stefan, pointed out a company from Maine called Grain Surfboards that sells kits to build your own beautiful wooden surfboard!
Solid balsa boards are generally prohibitively expensive, and solid boards from the age of Duke Kahanamoku are now more massively heavy wall art than waveriders. Grain has taken the rib and strip method from DIY wooden kayaks to surfboards, crafting incredible looking, environmentally-friendly surfboards. Internal ribs are joined by a stringer, then covered with sustainably harvested Northern White Cedar (with some Western Red Cedar thrown in for color), then glassed over for a classic, refined, and stylish ride that will turn heads, get you into that barrel, and minimally impact the environment.
Nice work Grain!

New Scientist’s "Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed

Posted in sustainability on May 20, 2007 by theseep


The New Scientist.com has just published a guide to educate those of us who would like more detail about the myriad of processes leading to global warming and the scientific evidence that supports current theories. What makes it most fun is that it is set up to provide you with answers to all the nay-sayers and non-believers’ arguments! The article includes 26 of the most common climate myths and misconceptions and to its credit, also includes links through to original research and reports as well as a guide to “assessing the evidence.” This last portion will become more and more important as politics and money come to bear in the climate change machine, making sources questionable and reports exaggerated, distorted, and sensationalized. For the whole world to unite against man-made climate change and the humanitarian catastrophes that will follow it, we need to maintain scientific integrity and continue to seek out unadulterated and untainted truth.
Read on and convert the oblivious, the non-believers, and a few oil tycoons!

via Treehugger

O’Reilly and Fox News call conspiracy theories and 29% of Americans "INSANE"

Posted in politics on May 11, 2007 by theseep


This week while in Mexico for my cousin’s wedding, I was flipping through the channels and settled on one of the few english-speaking ones, which happened to be Fox News with Bill O’Reilly. I never watch Fox News, as it is well documented that they lean to the extreme right and receive “talking points” memos from the White House, which makes it impossible for them to present a fair and unbiased view of political and world events.

I was surprised to see that a section of the show was actually called “Talking Points”, which I took to mean that they now recognize that they are spinning the news for the Bush Administration, or they are trying to show contempt for the allegations regarding their loyalties.

The segment was about the increasing credibility of certain conspiracy theories, namely the well supported theory that the Bush administration knew that the tragedy of 9/11 was going to happen and that the did nothing to stop it. The show really disturbed me for a number of reasons. Rather than looking into the theory or any of the evidence that has been presented, O’Reilly simply called 29% of the country “crazy” and “insane” for believing it. The lone Democratic representative held her own and O’Reilly did actually concede that Bush has lost credibility in his dealing with Iraq, especially when confronted with the statistic that greater than 70% of Americans are against the conflict.
What concerns me so much is that this is not only extraordinarily biased reporting, but it is also surprisingly poor journalism for a major news network and amounts to nothing more than right-wing propaganda. With almost 3/4 of Americans against the Iraq war and even after the careful manipulation of media coverage and limiting subsequent investigations, over 1/4 of Americans still believing that our current administration had prior knowledge of the attacks, what would public opinion be if we actually had all of the facts and a proper investigation?
There is more than enough information and evidence to warrant further investigation and the implications of this type of deception by our government is staggering. There have been dozens of articles and books written about this, yet no action has been made and both the Bush Administration and their media lackeys continue to brush off such accusations as “insanity” or “political power plays” without any factual support or explanation. They have played many cards, however, to deflect these types of questions – patriotism, guilt from “not supporting the troops if you don’t support the war”, name-calling, distraction (i.e.: still no WMDs, no connection between Saddam and 9/11 or OBL, McCain’s incredulous “bomb, bomb Iran”), and any other childish, diversionary tactics to avoid actually taking any responsibility for the real-life horrors that they have caused in the name of money, power, and American imperialism.

 

We must impeach Cheney, impeach Bush, bring our troops home after we have opened diplomatic channels with surrounding nations, asked the help of the U.N. and arranged a cease-fire predicated upon us leaving the region, recognizing that our very presence is a great deal of what is continuing the violence. Iraq, a country whose borders were artificially drawn after WWII, needs to be redefined into separate states where peace can at least have a chance. Instead of paying for bombs and troops, we need to pay for the reconstruction of schools, sanitation, housing, and infrastructure that we destroyed in our quest for oil security.
Truthfully, how can Fox News and our current regime cry that a call for impeachment for lying to and misleading an entire country about a war that has killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands and Iraqi civilians is a political power play? It seems that not too long ago they cried for Clinton’s impeachment for lying about a sexual favor – that didn’t cost any American lives, did it?

Hypocrisy at it’s finest and most deadly.Check out the book “A New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11“, one of many well-researched sources of information regarding these issues. This book was included as one of the texts for the 9/11 commission as well.