Archive for June, 2010

There has been a lot of talk lately about how going green will not only save the planet it will save our economy. In fact President Bush stated the future of America was going to be developing and advancing green technologies. And that much will most likely be true, as we are the greatest innovators and inventors. But how can we sustain a mass labor force, unless we have a manufacturing base to mass produce and distribute this green technology. Without a massive industrial complex to manufacture products here, we as a nation will continue to face massive unemployment rates which in turn will only lead to more and more people living at or below the poverty level. . And the reason Green tech wont save our economy, is because it was never meant to. It was just spin the Bush Administration used to deflect concerns about where we were going to recover 10 million jobs. Its this simple, our labor force is much too large, and not all of us are scientists or Engineers. In fact a overwhelming majority of those currently unemployed are not scientists or engineers, and seem to have been left out of this whole equation. However if each city addressed its own needs and goals, and employed locally it would create jobs and be a boost for local economies. But unless a green industry can support over 10 million American workers, there is little chance it can succeed as a economic stabilizer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no different that most of you, I see the images and video of that oil spewing into the gulf and I’m mad as hell. But in times of great anger we all do and say things that though well meaning don’t always go as intended. The boycott of BP one such mistake. Meant to be seen as a message to BP corporate officials, the only thing the boycott is doing is hurting the private station owners. These owners bought into the BP franchise, but BP is not heavily vested in these privately owned stations. In order for the boycott to succeed in its goals, it would first have to put all these privately owned franchises out of business, and even then the profits lost wouldn’t hardly be worth mentioning. So my advice to all of you is please if you must buy gasoline, don’t punish some hard working guy who is just trying to put food on his families table. They supply BP products, but thats about as far as the responsibility goes. So please America reconsider this Boycott before we put more hard working gainfully employed Americans on the streets with no hope insight.

So just how much oil has spewed into the Gulf So far? the equivalent of 15 Exxon Valdez’s. And its still coming. And Americans are still using more and more oil. Even with the available technologies and alternatives we will continue to follow this road, even when we all know where this road is going to lead us. We are on a course of Self Inflicting genocide and Big Oil is driving the Bus. We want to get off but the bus just wont stop and we’re all forced to ride it out. Of course we can jump off the bus, but that would hurt, and hurt a lot. But if we don’t jump we’re gone, and thats as simple as it gets. So I jumped off the bus. I remember one time an My old History teacher Mr. Buehl said, everyone has a contribution to make. It was our job to figure out what that contribution was. Mine is converting a Ford Probe GT into an all-electric car. But “Electra” isn’t going to be just an EV. Electra is going to push the boundaries of the electric car. I have touched on this on another post. Running Dual Alternators on My EV. But For people to fully comprehend this concept and see that it works I will go into more detail. For those that have no idea how the electric car works I will be try to be precise and simple. Once we have removed the gasoline engine gas tank, exhaust, and everything else having to do with the internal combustion engine. The hardest part of the whole process is the removal of the old stuff and making the adapter plate to mount the transmission to the electric motor. A controller is installed to control the amount of current to the motor, which is controlled by this thing we call a gas pedal. It’s now a Watt Pedal. Once that is all done all that is left is to install the battery packs series them together install and wire the charging unit and your car is ready to roll. The concept is simple if you have the mechanical ability to put it all together. It’s just a matter of time and cost. I have the time, it’s the cost that’s hanging me up. The planned conversion will cost just under $6,000 from start to finish. But just converting a car over and getting typical results that others before had achieved does little in advancing the technologies. And Electra will do that through a simple concept of converting mechanical force into electricity, and use that electricity to recharge the batteries while the car is in operation. there are a few factors involved here, one is that the batteries have to be separated into 2 independent battery packs, one pack supplying the motor at a time, as you can not charge a battery while its pulling a load. This has to employ a switching plate mechanism that will pull the load off one battery pack and put it on the second. When this is done the first battery pack is ready to be charged. The alternator will then send current back to the battery pack through the cars internal charging system. The most important thing is not to charge the batteries so fast as to over heat them. If the charge is too slow and it won’t work. But by using the cars internal charging system we will be able to adjust the rate of charge. This is not a self-sustaining system, as with all-electric motors you will consume more energy than you produce, so you will still at some point need to recharge completely. But what I hope it will do is solve the electric car paradox. And that is to achieve more range and power you need more batteries, which adds more weight and therefore requiring more energy to move it. If I can get the same range or better with 12 batteries as I can with 24 batteries, right there I have shaved over $1k on the conversion cost. And the car weighs less and takes less energy to push it. And smaller battery packs means more effective charging rates.So if we can bring down the conversion costs while making the car as efficient or more than it will all be worth while. Now only if I could get Kevin Costner to donate some of his chemical free batteries and about $6,000 to build my car I can show people how it works instead of just talking about it.

Its been going on for 3 months and still no end in sight. But there is hope. Actor Kevin Costner teamed up with his scientist brother Dan, and formed Costner industries. Inspired by the Exxon Valdez The Costner’s developed Ocean Therapy, a powerful Centrifugal devise which takes in contaminated water and spins it so fast that 97% of the impurities are separated from the clean water, the oil and impurities stay in the tank while the clean water is returned. When explained how this all worked some journalists actually laughed at him. Thats OK, these guys spent more time in a cubicle than a machine shop. Having been a machinist most of my working career, I can tell you the worst part of the job was cleaning out the coolant tank and changing the coolant. In the old days when I first I was a young pup just starting out, we did this by getting a shop vac and sucking all the coolant out. Then with a scrapper you had to scrape all the mud out,(steel dust, and congealed coolant) Then you had to fill the tank back up with water and add your concentrated coolant. And we had to do this about every 2 weeks, less if the machine was running more than 12 hrs a day. Then sometime in 1993 1994 my boss bought a centrifuge coolant separator. And here is who this works, We suck the tank mud and all directly into the unit. when its full you turn it on, it spins the coolant and sends the clean water into a containment tank. Then you fill the machines back up from the containment tank. The mud is hard pressed into a dry mud cake, that gets recycled as it is now more that 97% steel dust. And that meant we only had to change to new coolant once a year. And not to mention all the money we got back in recycling tons of steel dust. But As great a contribution the Costner’s have made, it is each and every one of our responsibility to make damn sure this never happens again.

After the very controversial ruling to lift the 6 month moratorium on deep water drilling Judge Martin Feldman has been lambasted as a Big Oil puppet. And now some people are asking the question did Feldman have a conflict of interest? Most news agencies immediately began calling attention to Feldman’s financial earning reported in 2008. According to Feldman in 2008 had holdings in BlackRock ($12000- $36000); Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500); NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500); Quicksilver Resources ($5000 – $15000); Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500); Provident Energy; Peabody Energy; PenGrowth Energy; RPC Inc; Atlas Energy Resources; Parker Drilling; TXCO Resources; EV Energy Partners; Rowan Companies; BPZ Resources; El Paso Corp; KBR Inc; Chesapeake Energy and ATP Oil & Gas. However also according to Feldman had sold these holding long before he ruled.
this was quoted on the site in defense of Judge Feldman. “The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deep-water Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.

“If Feldman held financial interests in any of companies involved in the lawsuit or the Deep-water Horizon rig, he would not have been allowed the take the case. The 5th District Court uses a sophisticated computer system to check whether judges have a conflict of interest in any legal proceeding. This system automatically determines whether a judge needs to be rescued from a particular case. In this lawsuit, Feldman was allowed to take the case because he did not own any stock related to the parties involved.”
So we may not know exactly when he sold his stock in these companies if he truly did. Nor may we never know how much his ruling will have affect his near future investments. But even if Feldman is on the up and up, that does not get him get him off the hook for making such a terrible misguided ruling. We expect our judges and elected officials to be of reasonable intelligence. Its that simple. So either Feldman had something personal to gain or he’s incompetent either are grounds for an impeachment. In the judges own words “If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy handed and rather overbearing”. Feldman tried to use logic and failed miserably. Deep Water Horizon wasn’t felled by lightening or other forces of nature, it wasn’t an engineering design flaw. It was years of neglect and oversight abuses. Within the Government and BP and Transocean. We all know that BP’s entire environmental impact and emergency contingency plans were all fabricated. If one of them did it and got away with it for years, how can we be sure others haven’t done the same? Not to mention as BP has demonstrated and Exxon, Texaco and any other oil company that testified to congress has no plan or proven method of dealing with a deep water blow out. We now the risk is low, but we know its not zero, and we know the cost should another one occur. Feldmans logic sends those people back to work, but they are going back to work in the exact same environment that caused this mess in the first place. So should Feldman be impeached?

As the Gulf Coast disaster goes beyond its second month and has spewed an estimated 80million up to 256million gallons of crude every day. And its expected to keep gushing until some time in August when a relief well can be drilled. And to top off the growing frustration most Americans are feeling right now, we had one Republican Senator actually apologize to BP for what he amounted to was a $20billion dollar government shakedown. Then we have a Federal Judge over turn the Obama administration’s 6 month ban on deep water drilling. It was disclosed at the time that Barton, the ranking republican on the energy committee had received 1.4 million dollars in campaign donations Oil industry lobbyists since 1999. Judge Martin Feldman also owned stock in 8 different oil companies including Transocean. The ruling is seen by many as a conflict of interest and the judge should not have been allowed to rule in the first place. And the anger and frustration we as Americans feel is justified. But some of that anger and frustration is part being trapped and part feeling guilty. We are trapped no question about it. We are trapped and conditioned to think we can not function without oil. We feel guilty because we all know what we are doing to ourselves and our planet. We feel guilty because we know the oil we use was bought and paid for with blood, and a lot of that blood was American Kids fresh out of high school with a whole life to live. And if we really knew what our consumption costs to the people of Niger we would be feeling guilt over that as well. Currently 40% of all the crude coming into the US comes from the Niger Delta. The human cost of that oil is unconscionable. Most of the oil pipeline through out Nigeria are over 40 years old and almost as much crude into the environment as it sends to the storage tanks. The Niger delta Pipeline spews more oil each year than the Oil spewing into the Gulf. And Niger has been dealing with these catastrophes for a decade. One line maintained by Shell started spewing a few years ago near the tribal village of the Otuegwe. Shell responded to the rupture 6 months later, and that was only when the line was losing more oil than it was delivering. That was two years ago and most of the Otuegwe’s land is an oily swamp. And when the affected peoples of these disasters are turned away and ignored they become frustrated, here we protest. there they protest. The difference there is the Oil companies security teams will beat you down in the streets. The simple matter is BP only agreed to the $20billion dollar fund because our government was strong enough to exact payment. If our government had nothing to threaten them with, they wouldn’t have responded at all. They would have cut their loses and left it all for the locals to fix and clean up. Just as they do in Nigeria. And I wonder with this would have anything to do with the average life expectancy in Niger dropping to just over 40 within two generations? So for those of you who believe that the oil companies are capable of policing themselves you are sadly mistaken, They have never done the right thing by anyone, unless it was profitable or forced upon them to do so. Those governments that aren’t strong enough to force them get nothing. Because they simply don’t have to.

President Obama today ousted top US Commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal. Saying his scathing public remarks published in Rolling Stone undermines civilian control of our military. President Obama named General David Petraeus to take over McChrystal’s duties. President Obama was gracious in his praise of McChrystal’s service to the nation, but concluded that the job in Afghanistan can not be done under McChrystal’s leadership. Though Obama is taking some serious heat from the right, (when doesn’t he) and as much as I respect McChrystal as a Man who stands on his principles and says whats on his mind, I have to side with the President on this one.
1 We are at war. 2 Our military has always been a civilian controlled military and 3 there can not be any dissension in the leadership ranks especially in a time of war. Sun Tzu was very clear on this matter. And this goes beyond free speech. It is a fundamental component of warfare. McChrystal knows and understands this better than any of us ever could.

On the heels of yesterdays news of U.S. Federal Judge Martin Feldman’s lifting of the 6 month deep water ban, comes even more bad news from the beleaguered Gulf Coast states. Yesterday a robotic submersible bumped the containment cap, resulting in having to remove the cap for physical inspection, of course it increased the flow of oil into the Gulf waters. Coast Guard Thad Allen said “There’s more coming up than there had been, but it’s not a totally unconstrained discharge.” The spill which has spewed an estimated 67million to 127million gallons of crude into the Gulf will continue until august or later. Yesterday Federal Judge Martin Feldman stroked the flames of the issue by lifting the 6 month deep water drilling moratorium imposed by president Obama. Feldman reasoned the government simply assumed that because one rig exploded, the others pose an imminent danger, too. Failing to address the procedural and criminal conduct that go back for years that greatly contributed to the disaster in the first place have yet been addressed and rectified. Neither has a proven method of containing and cleaning up a blow out like this. Its not that the chances of this happening again are very low, its that it is not zero, and we can not deal with the one we have going now. Allowing drilling in deep water to continue before all these issues have been addressed and satisfied is irresponsible. And as a judge we expect you to be of reasonable intelligence. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking, but you should be able to see past your own feeble argument and ruled with reasonable intelligence.

By now anyone following the Gulf Coast disaster had heard that U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman lifted the 6 month moratorium on off shore drilling. Feldman appointed by President Reagan is vested directly to and through funds that invested in 8 petroleum companies included Transocean. Feldman defended his decision by saying “If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing.” OK on the surface that’s a reasonable argument, but it’s severely flawed. The first problem is the break down at the government level that allowed an unsafe rig operate has not been corrected, and these rigs in deep water Feldman wants to see working again, have not all been thoroughly inspected. But hey why not, whats the chances of a repeat performance right? It’s obvious that Feldman ruled with is pocket-book instead of his common sense. And if Mr Feldman was so concerned about American Jobs then why didn’t he come up with some ruling that would have blocked Bush from signing free trade with China. It’s infuriating to me when people talk about saving the 1.5 million jobs in the oil industry, but none of these people said a peep when Manufacturing lost 10 million jobs in 2 years, where was a judge’s ruling to save those jobs? The biggest problem with this whole situation is that Feldman should have never been allowed to rule in the first place. He is invested with the same people who caused this Disaster, and that’s a severe conflict of interest. And yet he will allow drilling to continue without any assurances this can not happen again. First of all they still don’t know all the details that went into making this disaster. They still do not have a plan to quickly and safely cap and close another blow out. This gusher is going to carry on long into the fall and they are still testing options. So to be perfectly clear on one thing, The Deep water Horizon did not explode due to a force of nature or unforeseen events that are out of our control. The rig exploded because The government, BP, and Transocean were all complacent. Events were set in motion years before this accident happened. These issues need to be addressed before drilling can continue. And there is absolutely no way the companies or the government has had the time needed to make sure every one of these rigs are in compliance. There needs to be a solid operating procedure in place to quickly cap and clean up any future blow outs. And if drilling is being done where it’s virtually impossible to cap, then don’t drill, period. Again Feldman should have excused himself from ruling in the first place. But the fact that his ruling sides with his investments just leads us to question Martin’s integrity.

Collective Amnesia

It seems just like yesterday I would turn on the TV and be inundated with news of the oil spill, I remember all the angry disillusioned people demanding to know what happened. I remember all the boycott signs, and all the finger-pointing. I remember promises of getting to the bottom of this matter to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. That was 1989 and the Exxon Valdez disaster and that was only 10.8 million gallons. I remember do you? How many of you said then exactly what you’re saying now? It’s no wonder that we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s impossible to learn from our mistakes when we forget them so easily. And that’s my fear will happen with this situation. The longer the spill continues the more empathic we will become with the situation, until it’s not even a foot note on the nightly news. And a few years down the road, after our collective amnesia has set in, we will have another environmental catastrophe and we will once again take up our verbal arms and keyboard ammo and rage against the powers to be. We will do this simply because we know no better. Lately the gusher has unfolded into a new trend, us blaming us, I don’t mean people blaming our government or corporations, I mean laying blame with the consumer and not the company. I admit it I too pointed a finger once or twice. But I had put a lot of thought into our oil dependency and addiction, and now I am thinking along a different path. We are not so much as addicted to oil, as much as we don’t seem to have any viable options. Check out my other posts and find out how you can convert your current car into an electric car for pennies on the dollar of what a new car costs.