Going Green Without Thinking: Helium balloons with turbines generate electricity and Wi-Fi

Radical environmentalists need to get a grip:

Think of these floating turbines as the wind farms of the future and you won’t be that far off. Developed by Altaeros energies, the floating turbines are designed to take advantage of the powerful prevailing winds that exist 2,000 feet above our heads. Once they’ve been inflated and deployed, these floating power plants can generate twice the output of a ground-based turbine. The tethers that keep the turbine anchored in place also send that energy ground-ward.

While in the air, the turbines can also serve as Wi-Fi, cell service hubs, and weather monitoring stations. Furthermore, the turbine’s helium-inflated housing is durable enough for deployment in either the blazing sun or freezing snow. Basically, anywhere you install one of these suckers, you instantly get data coverage, electricity and local weather data, even if your previous system involved a sun dial and carrier pigeons.

Looks “high tech” enough…

balloon mounted wind turbines

Except for one small problem… Obtaining helium requires fracking for natural gas and extracting it ‘naturally’ from the ground:

Helium is generated underground by the radioactive decay of heavy elements such as uranium and thorium. Part of the radiation from these elements consists of alpha particles, which form the nuclei of helium atoms. Some of this helium finds its way to the surface and enters the atmosphere, where it quickly rises and escapes into space. The rest becomes trapped under impermeable layers of rock and mixes with the natural gases that form there. The amount of helium found in various natural gas deposits varies from almost zero to as high as 4% by volume. Only about one-tenth of the working natural gas fields have economically viable concentrations of helium greater than 0.4%.

Or, most likely, refining helium from natural gas which is a very energy intensive process:

Helium is usually produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing. Natural gas contains methane and other hydrocarbons, which are the principal sources of heat energy when natural gas is burned. Most natural gas deposits also contain smaller quantities of nitrogen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, helium, and other non-combustible materials, which lower the potential heat energy of the gas. In order to produce natural gas with an acceptable level of heat energy, these impurities must be removed. This process is called upgrading.

There are several methods used to upgrade natural gas. When the gas contains more than about 0.4% helium by volume, a cryogenic distillation method is often used in order to recover the helium content. Once the helium has been separated from the natural gas, it undergoes further refining to bring it to 99.99+% purity for commercial use.

Why not simply cut to the chase, and use the natural gas to generate electricity in the first place?

Video: First Test of 2014 Camaro Z28

2014 Camaro z28 -2

2014 Camaro z28 -1

If you have an extra $77K laying around, and you want to watch a TreeHugging Prius driver’s head explode, this might be the ride for you…

Gushing torque accompanied a glorious, bellowing note from an adjustable exhaust as we blasted from 0-60 in 4.0 flat and through the quarter in 12.3 seconds at 117.2 mph, out-muscling the 1LE M/T tested (4.3 and 12.7 at 111.8, respectively). The rewarding chassis inspired some real North Georgia haul-ass. Huge grip: 1.06 g lateral! The Torsen diff is mostly open at corner entry, helping those 305s aim the big Z for the apex, but hooks up on power. Watch out: The 481 lb-ft of peak torque is realized at 4800, so the rears can break loose way out toward the exit. The six-stick is hefty, slick, and willing, and as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help thinking cars like this won’t be around much longer. The brakes bite right now, evidenced by a 60-0 stopping distance of only 97 feet. And thank you, lord, the ABS programming is also track-ready, and far superior to the iffy Mustang’s. The Multimatics hit the bulls-eye sweet spot between mush and punish, and it’s fine on the street, too — for a racer, at least. A back-to-back with the 1LE model revealed eye-opening power and braking advantages to the Z/28. But I love that bargain-brute, too — so friendly at the limit. Part of that is in the tires. The 1LE’s Goodyear F1s were so predictable; the extreme-grip Trofeo Rs a bit sudden when they slid.

Here’s the video:

MCT response to lib critic regarding Detroit Public Schools plan to construct urban farm

Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:

Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.

The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.

The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.

As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Via MCT Twitter Feed:

“Education should proceed snark.” Really?

How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?

In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).

DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).

Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.

So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?

The Freep and AAA are catching up to MCT: EV’s don’t hold a charge in cold weather

If you read the Detroit Free Press (Detroit’s more liberal paper) you would read about AAA’s report finding that Electric Vehicles really don’t hold a charge in really cold weather:

The AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California found that the average range of an electric car dropped 57% in very cold weather — at 20 degrees Fahrenheit — and by 33% in extreme heat, a temperature of 95 degrees.

“We expected degradation in the range of vehicles in both cold and hot climates, but we did not expect the degradation we saw,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering.

Brannon said two of the vehicles, the Mitsubishi and the Ford, were equipped with dedicated management of the battery temperature. “We were expecting that difference would yield differences in the optimal range of the vehicles in extreme temperatures,” he said. “It did not.”

By the way, 20 degrees F is not exactly extreme cold in places like… Oh I don’t know… Metro Detroit.

As pointed out multiple times here at MCT, there is no getting around physics. Via MCT February 13th, 2013:

An electric car’s range being cut short in cold weather, now who could’ve seen that one coming?

Complain all you want Elon, batteries produce less charge in cold weather. Add to that running the heater and blower motor to keep the windscreen clear chews up a lot of battery power.

There is no getting around physics.

Eco-fanatics can hyp electric vehicles all they want, but they still aren’t ready for primetime and won’t be for a long time.

It seems Vladimir Putin forgot that Obama has “restored America’s standing in the world”

Remember when Obama declared that he has “restored America’s standing in the world?”

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It seems Vladimir Putin has forgotten this little tidbit…

DRUDGE REPORT 2014 putin calls obama pranksterAnd before you say “there goes Matt Drudge again” here’s the pertinent quote from ABC News:

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

I thought Obama & co. threatened “full-scale” sanctions. If these are “full-scale” what would regular sanctions would look like; billions of dollars in foreign aid subsidies?

MIT Tech Review finally catching up to MCT: Wealthy cities are more “green” than poor cites

MCT is ahead of the curve… Again…

Self loathing lib’s at MIT technology review are perplexed. They have discovered actual data contradicting their deep-seated belief that capitalism is bad for the environment:

That raises all kinds of questions about other aspects of city life. A particularly important one is whether big cities are greener than small ones, whether big cities emit more carbon dioxide per capita than small ones.

Today, we get an answer of sorts from Diego Rybski at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and a few pals. These guys give an interesting twist to the debate. They say that big cities in rich countries are greener than small ones but big cities in poor ones are the opposite. And the transition occurs when the GDP per capita climbs above $10,000 per head.

Our self loathing libs can’t seem to wrap their heads around this new data.

The results imply that large cities in rich countries are more efficient than those in poor countries. But just why this should be is something of a puzzle. One possibility is that cities in the developed world are more focused on producing services whereas in the developing world, cities have more industry and so produce more carbon dioxode.

Uh no, it’s not because developed countries focus on “providing services” rather than manufacturing things. It has to do with the fact, that only wealthy countries and, by extension, wealthy cities can afford to worry about the environment.

third world children

As pointed out nearly four years ago here at MCT:

The truth is, if these guys truly cared about the environment, they would be working to protect our economy. Because only wealthy nations can afford to care about the environment. Poor countries can’t.

And that’s a fact.

If the sanctimonious lib’s at MIT Technology Review would bother leaving their ivory tower in Massachusetts and travel to the poor areas of Mexico, Eastern Europe or Asia they would understand that people there are more interested in living day-to-day than how much CO2 their activities are emitting into the atmosphere.

If radical environmentalist truly care about the environment, they would be hard-core free market capitalists. Of course we all know there not. Because it is abundantly clear  that the green movement’s true end-game is implementing socialism.

Shock Poll: Only 47% of Americans Say Tax Cuts Help The Economy

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

Mark Twain


Despite news that President Obama is proposing $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes in 2015, slightly fewer voters expect their own personal taxes to up during the remainder of his presidency. Most continue to believe increased spending hurts the economy, but for the first time, fewer than half of voters believe tax cuts help the economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters expect their own personal taxes to go up under the Obama administration. That’s down eight points from December and is the lowest level measured since November 2012. Still, just eight percent (8%) expect their taxes to go down under Obama, while 43% expect them to remain about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Milton has a nice perspective about how increased spending is, in reality, is a tax increase:.

Therefore, every year as government spending increases, our true taxes increase. Is it any wonder that as more and more money and productivity are siphoned off to fund government spending, our economic growth stagnates.

Milton Friedman must become required reading / viewing because this poll result is completely crazy.

Sounds a lot like overpromising: EV’s don’t need maintenance; they are basically a big battery

Uhhh… O.K.:

The ability to repair a car via software is especially important when the vehicle itself consists of so much new technology that traditional mechanics don’t know how to fix. The flip side is that without an internal combustion engine, there’s not as much to fix. I’ve written before that a Tesla without its outer shell looks like a cell phone on wheels. It’s basically just a big battery. That means no spark plugs, no air filters, no fuel pumps, no timing belts. In short, Teslas don’t have any of the parts that force you to take your car in for “regularly scheduled maintenance” — services that can cost dearly at the dealer. But it’s hard to charge for an oil change when there’s no oil to be changed.

Say’s the guy who obviously knows very little about cars.

According to cheerleaders like our wired writer EV’s don’t have things like wheel speed sensors and other control electronics that might fail or electric motors with their own inherent problems and that are subject to wear. Heck, listening to our Wired friend even the tires and brakes will never need replacement (although I wouldn’t go to a dealership for tires or brakes).

And if an electric vehicle is really a cell phone on wheels then do not,under any circumstance, drop, forget to charge, or get your electric vehicle wet.

If your EV is basically a cell phone on wheels, I wonder if there is an OtterBox for electric vehicles…

**** h/t Insty for the Wired link****