Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Won't Yahoo! Let Employees Work From Home? - Businessweek

Why Won't Yahoo! Let Employees Work From Home? - Businessweek:

Oh boy, Mayer is gonna cause a lot of shake up  here with her everyone-has-to-travel-to-work policy.

Apparently (Today Show) she now as a nursery set up next door to her office for her new convenience. That helps new parents, maybe, but not the ones with kids in school or those people who live a longer way from the office.

But Mayer is shaking it up.

There has long been the debate about the down side of work-at-home (WAH). And a tech leader like Yahoo  might just be a place to face-to-face interaction that is lost from WAH.

But, I fear that making everyone drive to work is a major setback to telecommuting efforts that are so very beneficial to the efforts of sustainability.

Studies show that the true costs of telecommuting are far closer to $40,000 per year than to the $5,000 cost of gas. Most of that savings goes to the employer. Closer to $45,000 if you want to include the less-tangible costs of externalities such as infrastructure and greenhouse gases (GHGs).

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Should Monsanto own patent rights on the elements of life? - Los Angeles Times

Should Monsanto own patent rights on the elements of life? - Los Angeles Times:

Few people realize how patent intensive the food industry has become.

The top 10 seed companies account for 2/3 of all seeds sold.

A huge % of the seed sold are patented. Wow!

"Over an 11-year period, the cost per acre of planting soybeans has risen a dramatic 325%." Ouch!...
BUT if the yield is improved, then the added cost to sow is well justified.

Remember that genetically modified  (GMO) can/possibly be patented, organic not.

But owning a gene and the patent on all activity to monitor/manage/tread based on that gene has interesting implications.  You can expect the pharma industry to watch this law suit in plants very closely.

Keywords: GMO, organic, plant patents, Monsanto, seeds, farming, law suit,  genes,

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Taking a fresh look at solar energy's benefits | Highlands Today

Taking a fresh look at solar energy's benefits | Highlands Today:

Local article to Central Florida. It is good to see some movement on solar.

Great. We all need to be more sustainable. Glad to see Coronado Solar getting out there and making it happen.

Couple areas that aren't precise. Probably lost something in the translation. Payback on solar hot water is usually 2 to 4 years. Really good ROI for pools (unless you like to polar-bear it in the winter). Payback for solar is usually 6 to 9 years; that's probably the 6.5 years mentioned in the article.

CO2e saved per home is about 6.68 metric tons per year based on 11.3MW per year with typical US electric power. (

That would be about 155 trees planted from seedlings for 10 year (not 20+ years life of the solar array). (

It is always hard to visualize our carbon foot print. Each person in the US produces 5 metric tons of CO2 (or equivalent). Figure 2 people per household. And an acre of trees/forest takes out about 2 MTons per year (until about 30 years, then only 1MTon). So a household of 2 needs to plant at least 5 acres of new forest today to cover all of their burning of ancient forest (coal and oil) for the next 20-30 years.

Oh well, energy-ize your house and save 15%-25% of your utilities for the change in your pocket. Get solar water heaters and save 5-15% and plan to go solar completely within the next few years. Maybe start the array and get the meter so it can easily be expanded in the future. Prices continue to drop and efficiency improve:-)

Visit: to calculate your own carbon footprint, individual or business.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Iris From Lowes. PowerMeter from Google


Setting up a smart home gets a whole lot easier. This helps to monitor the home energy use as a kind of side benefit.

One of the advantages of doing this security and home management stuff yourself (DIY) is that the likelihood of actually utilizing it, and utilizing it well increases.

The cost is about $10 per month for more services and longer record times, however?

This probably can't replace the home monitoring system like ADT. They live-monitor and use the telephone line (not the INet); The Homeowner's Insurance company likes that type of monitoring for home and fire.

Consider using power monitoring with such visual monitoring tools as those provided free from Google's PowerMeter:

Simply monitoring power is the key. Two studies reviewed by Google show that a community that engaged in power monitoring had a 71% residential engagement. In a pilot study in Dubuque, Iowa with IBM showed a community realized 11% energy savings simply from monitoring and metering their power usage using SmartMeters... Well, and usage/behavioral changes in usage, of course.

Just thinking, a little energy savings now could save us all a bundle of money this year and every year thereafter. And, oh, by the way, it would save a lot of impact on the environment. Smart Meters sound smarter and smarter.

The greenest kilowatt is the one never used at the meter, never distributed down the transmission lines, never generated in the powerplant and the full source never mined or pumped.

Just thinking.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How much should a hip replacement cost? CBS News

How much should a hip replacement cost? Study raises more questions than answers - CBS News:

Paying cash for a procedure can get wild in terms of the prices. (They did this for a similar ailment and got similar results.)

Offering to pay cash, and pay up front will result in serious discounts, say 70%.

But this is still a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad world of medicine.

What's missing is transparency. If you can't figure out how much something is going to cost, how can you plan for it.

Oh, and here is a case in point on the Hip-to-be-squared problem. If hip is a pre-exiting condition, then you have to pay out-of-pocket. But, if you let your insurance laps, then you can not be denied... BUT in next year, 2014, more of Obamacare will kick in and then it's no worries (maybe?).

This whole area of healthcare is fuzzy and morphing, so it really is not sane to try to make rational decisions.

Maybe the best idea is to go an medical tourism vacation. Trip it up to Canada, down to Costa Rica or drink it up in Spain. It seems that the pain before and after surgery, just might, kinda put a damper on the whole vacation thing though. But the $50-100,000 would be a nice incentive to enjoy the trip.

It's going to be hard to bring healthcare costs under control when the mess in pricing and the lack of transparency is out of control.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of medicine.

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Pres Obama steps out to wave down the run-a-way climate train!

It was a little bit of a surprise that Obama stepped up as forcefully about taking on climate change as he did.

Check out this post by Peterman at Huffington:

Many environmentalists are going to complain that this is not enough, but it really is better to start late than even much much later.

As Peterman shows, it looks like we are aiming for 6+ degrees C, not the 2+C that many people were hoping to achieve. At that rate, sea-level rise would be measured in yards, not feet.

Not much on details. Federal government can take some action for government buildings and transportation,

Reduce energy consumption by 50% in 20 years should be, surprisingly, far easier than most people think. 25-30% could be achieved in buildings within a couple years, with a payback of months... And a gigantic Return on investment.

Easier said then done, though.

But to continue doing "business as usual" would be, well, irresponsible.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clean Coal Might Really Be a Possibility!!! WOW!

Energy | Homeland Security News Wire:

Clean Coal Might Really Be a Possibility!!! WOW!

It may take me years to take back all the trash talk I have had about Coal.

Dirty, Dirtier, Dirtiest Coal... But no such think as Clean.

Dr. Fan at Ohio State has pioneered the technology called Coal-Direct Chemical Looping (CDCL). This lab project has contained 99% of the carbon dioxide from coal. 

Well maybe. This will bear some watching as it moves forward out of the labs and into the power plant.

Coal, of course, is still not a renewable resource (unless you count charcoal -- good for my Kamado grill, but not so much so for mainstream energy production!-)

Wow, if we could find a cure for coal, that would put us 30-40 years ahead. Of course, it would have to be cheap, or we (China, US and India) wouldn't use it. And then we'd be back in the same dirty boat, right up to our coal ash.:-(

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