Geothermal mapping confirms coast-to-coast clean energy source

New research from SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory, funded by a grant from Google.org, documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power – 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.

Sophisticated mapping produced from the research, viewable via Google Earth at http://www.google.org/egs, demonstrates that vast reserves of this green, renewable source of power generated from the Earth’s heat are realistically accessible using current technology.

The results of the new research – from SMU Professor David Blackwell and Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria Richards – confirm and refine locations for resources capable of supporting large-scale commercial geothermal energy production under a wide range of geologic conditions, including significant areas in the eastern two-thirds of the United States. The estimated amounts and locations of heat stored in the Earth’s crust included in this study are based on nearly 35,000 data sites – approximately twice the number used for Blackwell and Richards’ 2004 Geothermal Map of North America, leading to improved detail and contouring at a regional level…

This assessment of geothermal potential will only improve with time,” said Blackwell. “Our study assumes that we tap only a small fraction of the available stored heat in the Earth’s crust, and our capabilities to capture that heat are expected to grow substantially as we improve upon the energy conversion and exploitation factors through technological advances and improved techniques.”

RTFA. Wonderful potential, realizable in real political time in any nation willing to make a commitment to clean energy sources.

Download the link to Google Earth to view what exists in your own neck of the prairie [If you’re in the United States].

Woman sues banks for laundering money from her son’s frauds

An Australian woman is suing the nation’s top four banks for their alleged role in laundering money from her teenage son’s $200,000 eBay scam that afforded him a $6,000-a-day playboy lifestyle.

Australian media reported that in 2007, the then 14 year old boy was making so much money selling non-existent laptops, mobile phones and watches on eBay he could afford to book a $4300-a-night penthouses overlooking Sydney Harbour, fly friends interstate for lavish parties and hire limousines to take him to the beach…

Reports said she was seeking an apology from the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB for ”unconscionable conduct” after allegedly allowing her son to open numerous bank accounts with debit cards “without reasonable scrutiny”.

She claims the banks ignored her or refused to discuss the matter for privacy reasons when she warned them they had issued accounts that were being used by a minor to bank illegal funds, reports said.

”He was an intelligent boy who worked out how to cheat the system and play it for all it was worth,” she told Australia’s Sun Herald newspaper. ”As his parent and legal guardian, I begged the banks to stop giving him accounts and debit cards but each time I got nowhere because of the Privacy Act…”

Police eventually arrested the boy at school after many of the frauds were linked to an IP address attached to a classroom computer.

Reports said that during the past four years, she had reluctantly handed her son to the police 15 times.

Sounds like banks in Oz would have been happy to help out Bernie Madoff given half a chance.

Go for it, Mom. Make them own up for their scandalous lack of standards.

12% of US funds for Iraqi police actually gets to policing


Directing traffic in Baghdad

A US government watchdog has criticised a programme to train Iraqi police, saying it could become a “bottomless pit” for American money.

The report said only some 12% of the money spent in 2011 would be spent directly helping Iraq’s police. It also pointed out that the programme had yet to gain the support of the Iraqi government…

The programme for police training is run by the Department of State, which took over the role from the Department of Defense this month.

The report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said the Department of State had failed to put a plan in place for assessing the current and future capabilities of the Iraqi police…

“What tangible benefit will Iraqis see from this police training program? With most of the money spent on lodging, security, support, all the MOI [Iraqi Ministry of the Interior] gets is a little expertise, and that is if the program materialises,” Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi was cited as telling the report’s authors…

SIGIR’s inspector general said the state department did not fully co-operate with the report… Har!

According to the SIGIR report [.pdf], the US has spent about $8 billion on training Iraq’s police force since the US-led invasion in 2003, which by 2010 included 412,000 officers.

There was a great quote on Tom Keene’s mid-day TV show, today, when an economics professor was asked [in a different context] about changes in governance between George W. Bush and Barack Obama: “We were promised change and what we got was continuity.”

The incompetence and inefficiencies of outsourcing military tasks to mercenaries is consistent throughout post-invasion responsibilities in Iraq. Crap building of infrastructure is matched by crap governance, crap security and policing.

Coppers nab 87-year-old with 228 lbs of cocaine in his pickup


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

An 87-year-old Indiana man was arraigned on drug charges in federal court in Detroit on Monday after police found 228 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $2.9 million in his pickup following a routine traffic stop.

A state trooper patrolling Interstate 94 near Ann Arbor pulled over Leo Earl Sharp on Friday for following too closely and executing an improper lane change, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

When the trooper asked Sharp if he could search the truck, the octogenarian refused. So the trooper requested a backup unit with a dog trained to detect bombs and illegal drugs.

…During a subsequent search of the truck bed, troopers found 104 bricks of cocaine stashed in five bags…

Sharp was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, he faces at least 10 years in prison.

This is beginning to give me an idea. Just as young punks often score a break on being convicted of a crime – “Don’t saddle this poor child with a lifetime of shame because of his first mistake” – I wonder if grayhead gangsters might start looking for special dispensation because of age?

“Judge – do you want this senior citizen to die in prison for just a little mistake?” I can hear it, now.

BTW – no mention of how a couple hundred pounds of blow got all the way up to Indiana? And only $10,000 bail for a dude trucking around almost $3,000,000 in drugs?

4 pulled alive from rubble after victim calls for help on mobile


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Four people were pulled out alive Monday from the rubble of the Turkey earthquake after one managed to call for help with his mobile phone…

Dozens of people were trapped in mounds of concrete, twisted steel and construction debris after hundreds of buildings in two cities and mud-brick homes in nearby villages pancaked or partially collapsed in Sunday’s earthquake.

Worst-hit was Ercis – an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border that lies in one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones – where about 80 multistory buildings collapsed.

Yalcin Akay was dug out from a collapsed six-story building with a leg injury after he called a police emergency line on his phone and described his location, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. Three others, including two children, were also rescued from the same building in Ercis 20 hours after the quake struck, officials said…

As over 200 aftershocks rocked the area, rescuers searched mounds of debris for the missing and tearful families members waited anxiously nearby. Cranes and other heavy equipment lifted slabs of concrete, allowing residents to dig for the missing with shovels. Generator-powered floodlights ran all night so the rescues could continue.

Aid groups scrambled to set up tents, field hospitals and kitchens to help the thousands left homeless or too afraid to re-enter their homes. Many exhausted residents spent the night outside, lighting fires to keep warm…

The bustling, larger city of Van, about 55 miles (90 kilometres) south of Ercis, also sustained substantial damage, but Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said search efforts there were winding down. Mr Sahin expected the death toll in Ercis to rise, but not as much as initially feared. He told reporters rescue teams were searching for survivors in the ruins of 47 buildings where dozens could be trapped, including a cafe…

More than 2,000 teams with a dozen sniffer dogs were involved in search-and-rescue and aid efforts.

Several countries offered assistance but Mr Erdogan said Turkey was able to cope for the time being. Azerbaijan, Iran and Bulgaria still sent aid, he said.

I decided a long time ago that life was tough enough without adding earthquakes to the potential of forces completely out of your control that could affect your life.