Big-hearted oil company hands out pizza gift certificates after deadly explosion

The Chevron Corp. donation of free pizzas to Greene County, Pa., residents affected by a gas well explosion last week is not going over well, residents say.

Chevron is dispensing 100 gift certificates for pizza and soft drinks to those in the area of the southwestern Pennsylvania county where a gas well exploded Feb. 11. The incident killed a worker, injured another and sparked a fire that burned for four days…

Chevron’s attempted outreach was the topic of a Twitter user, who wrote Tuesday, “Worst apology ever. Sorry our fracking well exploded, here’s a free pizza.”

Another unidentified resident said he found the gift certificate when he returned home Sunday, and noted it was the first and last time Chevron contacted him about the incident…

BTW, Chevron says…the situation at the well “remains serious, and teams are working around the clock to safely approach and shut the well.”

Golly gee. They’re sticking around for a spell to clean up their mess. How thoughtful.

Used Nissan Leaf batteries part of solar energy system

The spiritual among us will view Sumitomo and Nissan’s installation of its first-ever used-electric-vehicle-battery storage as a bit of divine reincarnation. But the idea is quite logical and practical. The two companies formed the 4R Energy Corporation in late 2010 and have now installed what they call the world’s first “large-scale power storage system” using exclusively used batteries from battery-electric vehicles in Osaka, Japan.

The system uses 16 electric-vehicle batteries to create what’s called a “smoothing effect” on the power output of a nearby solar farm by storing excess energy generated by the panels during sunnier times, then sending it back to the system when it is sun-constrained. Yes, that’s a fancy word for dark.

Spurred by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, Sumitomo and Nissan announced the collaboration, whose four Rs stand for “Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle,” in 2009 and launched it a year later. Nissan, which was obviously trying to boost resale value for its battery-electric Leaf at the time by finding a money-generating home for its used-up battery packs, estimated at the time that sales of the Leaf battery-electric would generate 50,000 battery packs available for the secondary market by 2020…

Toyota is also investing time and money towards similar low-carbon, recycling targets – from two different directions: selling disused Prius batteries for low-cost electricity storage and solar backup to their car dealers and a much grander project at Toyota City’s EcoFul Town in Japan. The latter a holistic solution involving home-building, transportation and solar-generated electricity.

Neither of which takes anything away from the Nissan-Sumitomo project.

Octopus hates paparazzi

The 56-year-old Warren Murray was diving off Bluefish Cove in Carmel, Calif., earlier this month, with his friend David Malvestuto, 34, when he apparently got a bit too close to an eight-foot-long octopus. The two divers were just trying to capture some of the coast’s remarkable underwater sea creatures on film, but this octopus didn’t appreciate the attention.

The octopus swam quickly toward Murray and latched onto his camera. But when the Redwood City resident started snapping pictures and the flash went off the tentacled creature quickly scooted away. Luckily, his diving partner Malvestutu captured the brief skirmish on video.

I can imagine the octopus complaining about gentrification of the neighborhood – what with fancy cameras and all.