Monday, August 18, 2014

Unintended Consequences: solar plants scorch birds in mid-air

No matter how often you point it out, no matter how hard you try to beat them over the head with it, they just won't see the unseen. Crusaders, one and all, are blind, deaf, and stupid. One can only wish they were dumb too, but unfortunately not. When the consequences they never saw before they started on their pet projects finally arrive, they're shocked, shocked I tell you!

IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. – Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.  
Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.  
The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.  
The deaths are "alarming. It's hard to say whether that's the location or the technology," said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. "There needs to be some caution."  
The bird kills mark the latest instance in which the quest for clean energy sometimes has inadvertent environmental harm. Solar farms have been criticized for their impacts on desert tortoises, and wind farms have killed birds, including numerous raptors.
Federal wildlife officials said Ivanpah might act as a "mega-trap" for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays. 
Federal and state biologists call the number of deaths significant, based on sightings of birds getting singed and falling, and on retrieval of carcasses with feathers charred too severely for flight. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The separation of church and state?

Some statements are so clearly correct you just have to repeat them, and spread them as far and wide as you can.  GeekWithA.45 lays down god's honest truth, that the separation of church and state is just more smoke and mirrors when the state is their church! via The Smallest Minority: Quote of the Day - GeekWithA.45 Edition

The separation of church and state is an awesome idea... 
until you meet folks whose church IS the state.  
With high minds, noble virtues and the very best of intentions, they dance around their altars like neolithic savages, gathering followers to help them implore their $DEITY to accept their sacrifice and to provide for them; to organize their economies, to calm their storms, to heal their sick, to teach their children, to pave their streets, to collect their trash, and above all, to punish their enemies.  
The saddest thing is that most of these folks deem themselves to be evolved, and recognize no part of their atavism.  
Yep, separation of church and state is an awesome idea until you meet the folks whose church is the state.  
Then it's irrelevant.