Million$ in fuel stolen from pipeline running under British official residence

Chevening House Estate

Thieves have siphoned millions of pounds of fuel from a pipeline which runs under Deputy PM Nick Clegg’s official country residence in Kent.

Esso’s South East pipeline runs from Fawley Refinery, in Hampshire, to Purfleet Fuel Terminal, in Essex.

The company said it discovered a section at Chevening, near Sevenoaks, had been tampered with.

The Sun reported 30,000 litres of fuel a day were stolen over seven months, with a value of £8.3m at the pumps.

Kent Police said thieves had used “highly specialist techniques” to siphon the fuel.

Chevening House Estate is shared by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond…

An Esso spokesman said…”We strongly condemn the highly dangerous criminal action by those involved and are working closely with the police in their criminal investigations.”

Har! Can you imagine any gang in paranoid America even succeeding in splicing into Joe Biden’s cable TV at Observatory Circle?

That’s just under $14 million in fuel stolen from ExxonMobil. Half the members of the Texas delegation to Congress would go into cardiac arrest if that happened here.

NASA releases HD footage of Mars landing system

The US space agency released a spectacular video detailing the testing of an interplanetary landing system, which is designed to place more massive payloads on the surface of Mars, as it hurtled toward Earth.

In the cosmic quest to explore the surface of Mars, NASA is attempting to devise technologies that will allow it to deliver heavy payloads to the mysterious red planet. In June, NASA engineers, with the help of a massive balloon, lifted the 7,000-pound saucer-shaped test vehicle to an altitude of 190,000 feet before it was released.

The strenuous trial, which tested the so-called Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), was designed to create conditions similar to that of a Mars landing.

At this point, with rockets firing to keep the vehicle stabilized, video from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory showed the ‘flying saucer’ traveling at a speed of Mach 4.3 – or more than four times the speed of sound. Engineers then released an inflatable, life-preserver shaped device around the perimeter of the vehicle, officially known as a Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or SIAD, which slowed the craft to Mach 2.

However, while the inflatable device proved tough enough to endure the rigors of such intense force, the 100-foot-wide parachute proved less successful, and nearly disintegrated as it attempted to slow the bulky, fast moving object on its descent toward Earth…

Project manager Mark Adler said that the videos will help his team as they continue to study how to improve the LDSD’s performance for a mission to Mars.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth about a million,” Adler said…

Gotcha!

I have to thank Ursarodinia for early prompts about this test – which didn’t have this level of video available. Thanks, Mike, for catching this new release.

China provinces on track to meet 2015 energy/pollution reduction goals


Pilot project in carbon capture and storage technology at this facility in Inner Mongolia

Most of China’s provinces are ahead of schedule or on track to meet 2015 energy savings targets, the government said on Friday, with Beijing and Shanghai among the frontrunners as the world’s No.2 economy seeks to reduce its impact on the environment.

China has pledged to reduce its energy intensity – the amount of energy it uses to add a dollar to its gross domestic product – to 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015.

Beijing’s intention in setting the targets was to slow emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases and cut expensive fuel imports, but they have won new relevance with the pollution crisis that has enveloped the nation the past two years.

Data released by China’s top economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) showed that 26 of 30 regions had achieved more than 60 percent of their targets by the end of last year…

Yang Fuqiang, an environmental expert with U.S.-based non-government agency Natural Resources Defense Council, said China would meet its 2015 target.

“But for the (following) five-year period, there is not much that can be done to improve end users’ efficiency, other than clean up the entire energy mix,” he said.

I guess he’s not as much of a news junkie as I am. Beijing is planning to ban all coal-fired electric generation by 2020 – converting to natural gas and syngas. The national government plans to have 50 coal gasification plants on stream around the Northwest and Central cities in the next few years.

SynGas is what we used in the United States until natural gas was available in economic quantities. I remember the changeover. And natural gas, either recovered domestically or brought in as LNG will enable further reduction of coal dependency.

The “last mile” of this solution is as critical in China as it was in the UK after World War 2. Probably half of the air pollution in northern and eastern China comes from coal fires used for home cooking and heating.

Details in the article – including regions ahead of schedule.

We don’t have to worry about being on time or ahead of schedule in the United States. Our Do-Nothing Congress won’t OK a schedule or fund an energy program that acknowledges either science or the need to reduce pollution.

Gorilla Reunion

After raising a Gorilla in an English zoo, Damian Aspinall ventured out to the jungle where it was released to try to catch a glimpse of him, five years later. Not expecting the Gorilla, “Kwibi”, to recognize him, he was in for a major shock when they crossed paths.

What happened next was an amazing display of affection and shows that love can transcend boundaries, whether it be size, shape, race, or even species. If it put a smile on your face, as it did to me, share this amazing reunion between father and “child”.

Thanks, Ursarodinia