google-site-verification=ZLzj_Lg3aSmGPzKnJOQpMKM0LFeOixBs96kC16xXArs

Global Warming for Dummies

Global Warming for Dummies

This was written by a commentor on an article from Facebook. All of this particular content is original and unique to their beliefs, and I do not claim and credit for the content. I just want to share a very well written discourse on how and why Global Warming effects us, what we are doing to cause it, and how we can minimise our impact on our home planet!

Seeing the Night Sky the Way it was Meant to be

Energy efficiency and light pollution

So here’s a fantastic topic that gets absolutely no discussion in politics, budgeting, or societal structures: Light Pollution. Many of you have heard of this and have a pretty good grasp of what this means, but how many can honestly say they know why it happens, or how to lessen it? To be perfectly honest I had no clue what caused it or why it happened other than it made sense that this was an issue in densely populated areas as opposed to sparsely populated ones.

So what is light pollution, what causes it and what are the effects? Light pollution is any time light effects the environment in an unnatural manner. The scientific definitions are:

  • Degradation of photic habitat by artificial light.[1]
  • Alteration of natural light levels in the outdoor environment owing to artificial light sources.[2]
  • Light pollution is the alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment (from those present naturally) due to man-made sources of light. Indoor light pollution is such alteration of light levels in the indoor environment due to sources of light, which compromises human health.[3]
  • Light pollution is the introduction by humans, directly or indirectly, of artificial light into the environment.[4]

The point being is that this is something we, and we alone are responsible for creating and thus we can effect it by eliminating it or reducing it to much more acceptable levels.

But Mr. Candidate why the hell should I care that this is a thing if nobody else in politics gives a damn? Well that’s an excellent question, here’s your answer. Light pollution by definition is waste, and in this case, especially with the way we generate electricity at the moment, it’s a huge waste and percentage of total power consumption in the United States. Here are some of the numbers to put that into perspective. First and foremost it must be understood that the US primarily uses petroleum to generate electricity not renewable energy sources, which means all energy generated causes some sort of environmental backlash. So now that the obligatory tree hugging statement is out of the way back to the numbers.

The US uses about 18.8 million barrels of petroleum per day. Of that 18.8 million barrels of petroleum per day 3.6-7.5 million barrels are used commercially, and residential use is anywhere from 1.8-5.4 million. So anywhere from 5.4-12.9 million barrels a day are used for energy purposes, which makes about 4-5 million of those for light alone. That’s a lot of numbers thrown out at once but I’m a nice person so ill simplify it further: 1/3 to ¼ of all energy use in America regardless of source or reason is to turn on a light. That should be a huge concern for every American citizen and organization since it’s your money that’s being used to power all of this.

The worst part of that isn’t that we use that much light, because let’s face it light is important, and we can’t afford to close up shop just because it’s dark outside, the issue is the waste and inefficiency. The US Department of energy estimates that 30-60% of lighting is excessive or unneeded. That means 1-3 million of barrels of petroleum are being used every single day that would otherwise be unnecessary and we’re not getting any more benefits out of them, their availability is slowly shrinking while costs are slowly rising.

This leads to a couple topics of discussion the first being cost, and the second being availability or output/efficiency. Renewable energy has the wonderful capacity to be absolutely 110% free for everyone and every organization since it uses sources that are naturally reoccurring and have no danger of disappearing ie. Solar energy. But we live in America where free means Socialism and Communism and you know what fine ill play along with that idea as well. Somebody has to make their money somehow right? So let’s convert current power plants to solar, or clean energy equivalents and after initial cost spikes, everything should or would regulate back to normal levels. It’s the same buildings, same people, different color.

Well wait a minute you’re thinking, if it’s that easy why aren’t we doing it now, and why wouldn’t someone be trying to cash in on this already? That’s also a great question. First the answer is big oil and the current administration coupled by the dependence on these fossil fuels currently set in place. The other part has to do with the relative “expensive” costs for these technologies that are only so high due to the influence and bullying of the current status quo. Another aspect has to do with newer technologies less interested market, and other boring made up economic hogwash that you, I and everyone else don’t understand or care about. The reality is fossil fuels used to be the new kid on the block and they out performed steam power immediately, then nuclear power out performed coal, and so on ... so why the big hang up with renewables?

Again the answer is big oil and industries currently dependent on it plus the initial investment and cost of implementation. Fine its going to cost a lot of money', a few hundred billion to a couple trillion to turn it over in one fiscal year, or over the period of 5-10. Fair enough that’s a lot of money upfront. Now take into consideration that 30-60% of all light production is unneeded, and that it costs 1-3 million barrels of petroleum a day how much money could be saved annually from eliminating the waste, be it from regulation or technology? As of 12/1/2014 one barrel costs 87.34 bright green crisp American dollars. Multiply that by 1-3 million, then multiply it again by 365 days in a year and you get some pretty big numbers! To the tune of $31.879 Billion dollars in savings from that alone. Woah that’s a lot of money but nowhere close to the hundreds of billions or even couple trillion I mentioned before?

Let’s look at that a bit further first shall we? $31.879 billion is what’s used in excess on the low end triple that on the high end, so lets say for the sake of argument we made electricity free by having installed clean energy all over the place by simply replacing current nonrenewable with renewable and absolutely nothing else, we’d save $599.327 Billion a year in energy costs. Do I have everyone’s attention now? By just up an saying all energy is free we save that much money, subtract the cost of building these factories at possibly half that, we still save a net of $299 Billion. $299 Billion of your dollars and corporate dollars that can be spent elsewhere. That’s 10% of the national budget to compare the savings to something we can all understand. Even taking into account maintenance and operation costs of the facilities themselves we’re only talking an additional 143 Billion (comparing the size of the DoD to the private energy sector which is way far and above what it’d actually cost). Which by the way still saves $156 Billion a year by going green, and making electricity an American guarantee, not an amenity!

 

The Future of Education

The growing influence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is going to change the face of education. The age of classrooms and lecture halls are numbered, and the days of web based learning are swiftly approaching. Classes with a definitive answer based curriculum validate this upcoming change. In this paper the subject of focus will be mathematics. The class format of MOOCs suite math based curriculums best as they are easier to grade, organize, and deliver than course that depend on writing, or original responses. In order to reach a large population of students, the logistics and organization of the class have to align with the course content. As the demand for a technology friendly education platform rises, the appearance of MOOCs in the education system will increase. The success of implementing this kind of change, relies on the professors that greet innovative change with confidence.

            There have been many recent examples of MOOCs using different approaches and methods of analyzing the success they have had with the students participating in them. One example of a recent MOOC was a calculus course. The calculus MOOC offered new and profound insights with varying degrees of success. Robert Ghrist, a professor at Andrea Mitchell University, taught a MOOC that incorporated creative methods of teaching calculus. Using his own hand drawn images and animated video lectures, Ghrist was able to visually engage his students in a unique way. “Many find it fun, an adjective not normally applied to calculus texts.” (Robert Ghrist, 1277). With the improvement of technology, teachers are able to educate and encourage a larger number of people. “The rise of low-cost platforms for putting our courses online is a liberation from the publishing bureaucracy that has made the calculus education of today look almost identical to that of the 1980’s and earlier (in every respect save price) (Robert Ghrist, 1277).” He illustrates the underlying theme; the worry of many educators, what will happen to the teachers, professionals, and experts if MOOCs become the standard? His response was that: so long as there are people who make it their purpose to show the worth of a subject, and to keep it alive, it will. In time someone will come along and make changes that will alter the way people think resulting in a great loss for many people.          

Technology also serves a different purpose, using technology to obtain analytical data from MOOCs in order to research the success of MOOC implementation. By using a data set of 1,493 individuals, and a cluster analysis comprising of demographic data in the registration process, and compared to age and motivation, the analysts were able to come up with some staggering numbers. Over 81% of all the students took the class for either education/job growth, or general interest (MOOC Research, p2). That means on average 81% of all individuals who take a MOOC, actually wanted to enroll in the MOOC. These results tend to be misleading in comparison to the rates of student completion. The interesting thing is that, students who complete the course in full, show significant improvement within each module and then continue to experience success in mathematical concepts as seen by the results of student pre and post testing. The average for all participants on their pre-test was a 53.54, and the post-test was an outstanding 71.10 which is a 17.56 point improvement. If nothing else, the results indicate that people can learn, and develop an understanding of a subject by using MOOCs, which implies that MOOCs are a viable educational avenue. (MOOC Research, p3). Suffice to say that MOOCs are encouraging more students to at least attempt higher level education, and that is significant in itself!

            MOOCs have hit the ground running and despite their relative inexperience on the higher education stage, many have made a recognizable impact in the education world. Whether it be a comic book interpretation of calculus theory, or entry level mathematics divided into free reign modules, MOOCs are achieving reassuring success rates. Education has the ability and resources to become accessible and cost effective without losing any traditional instructional value. MOOCs open the door that online education had already knocked on: self-paced learning that can be completed at the convenience of the student and for the reasons the student chooses. Choosing a class based on degree requirements will become a thought of the past. Thousands of subjects can be accessed out of interest or continuing education for career seeking students. Education is flexible and can be altered to cater to the needs and demands of students. Education is handing the reigns over to the student, and it’s up to the student to take over and make the most of their ride. 

References:

Robert Ghrist, Notices of the AMS, MOOCs and the Future of Mathematics, 1277.

Retrieved from http://www.moocresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/C9134_HOAR_MathMOOCResearchReport-NoBud-2.pdf

 

Robert, Hoar, MOOC research Initiative Final Report, UW System College Readiness Math MOOC Study, 1-4. Retrieved from http://www.ams.org/notices/201310/rnoti-p1277.pdf

Clean Energy

We live in an era, that for the first time in the entirety of human civilization we can have unlimited, free, renewable energy. What’s more all of this energy is environmentally safe and naturally occurring. It has been present in our world for millennia and will never dissipate no matter how much we use. Does that sound like science fiction to you? What if I told you that bright light in the sky and the wet stuff that falls occasionally from the sky and forms into vast bodies we call oceans, is all we need and ever have needed to achieve unlimited, free renewable energy and fuel for every Citizen, and human being? Whatever you have heard, whatever you have been lead to believe, let me disabuse of one notion: Oil, and natural gas is not sustainable, it is not clean, and it will never bring us a better future. Solar energy and refinement processes involving water, and carbon dioxide are naturally occurring phenomenon all around us and virtually limitless. They are also cyclical and potentially self-sustaining once initiated, but for now are at the very least within our grasp to harness, store, and implement.

The sun has shone in our solar system for around 4.5 billion years in that time its energy and light have never once wavered, and it will not waver for many billions of years from now. Water is comprised of the most abundant element in the universe: Hydrogen, and Oxygen. Every plant on our planet produces oxygen from CO2 regardless of where that CO2 came from. Our vast oceans absorb CO2 as well but unfortunately act more as a filter rather than a recycler. All that to say this: we barely begin to scrape the surface of this planet, we human beings barely can control the forces around us, and haven’t even begun to utilize the nature around us for our benefit. We have 75% of this planet covered in ocean that absorbs more CO2 than it can handle, and we have the technology to not only syphon the CO2 out from the oceans, but to refine it and use it as a fuel source. Furthermore we also have the technological capacity to make every single vehicle, and fuel powered device run purely on batteries and electricity. What that means is we can clean our oceans, lower their acidity, clean the atmosphere, and bring carbon emissions back to natural levels, while using all of that CO2 to power our vehicles and devices. Not only that the single largest power source in our Solar System, will not stop functioning for billions of years and we can harness its energy now, for the cost of maintaining the solar panels, and infrastructure.

Ladies and gentlemen that is an unprecedented and awe-inspiring fact of our time. We can have free limitless energy, and it be available to the general public at no cost, and all of the infrastructure required to harness this energy will pay for itself almost immediately. We have over 4million miles of road 2.65million of which are paved which means that if we replaced every ounce of paved road with solar road panels, and integrated that energy network into the current electricity grid across the nation, we could power the entire nation through our roads alone. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that a network of roads that span 2.65 million miles (not necessarily the square mileage) isn’t enough to power every building, and structure in America, that still leave plenty of room and opportunity to implement solar panels on roofs, and in hub areas. In short there’s no reason not switch to solar power, or an excuse as to how it isn’t feasible.

The sheer amount of jobs this undertaking would create is astounding. Conservative estimates put the job creation in the millions, with a long term employment at about 50-75% of the initial requirement. Just like with the national interstate system, which already generates $6 for every $1 spent it’s not unthinkable to imagine an additional $6 per mile of roadway in profit as a minimum. The fact that it’ll generate more power, more consistently, with less environmental damage, infinite sustainability, no chance of rising cost, or falling supply means we’re acting in our self-interests while helping our planet last a bit longer and giving it a chance to undo the harm we have caused during our Industrial revolution.

I’m not sure how much more I can talk about this before I literally start repeating myself or you start throwing rotten vegetables at me, but I hope I’ve gotten the point across. Big Oil and the automotive industry want to keep us dependent on oil and gas, to maintain their profit rather than following the natural evolution of our technologies and simply switching over to the new capabilities. But that is not the case, we can make the change now, we can make it without going further into debt, and in fact it would generate more jobs, and revenue then if we redoubled our efforts with drilling and oil refinement. But as I’ve said before this change will not happen unless we act together, and replace these incompetents in office, and do what needs to be done for our country, our families, and our future!