Congress Clown Show actually snuck some good into that clunky Omnibus Bill

The legislation passed by the US Senate Monday was downright frankensteinian: a pile of unrelated bills stitched together. Apart from the pandemic relief measures, it contained thousands of pages of government funding and tax credit extensions, like a semester’s worth of homework stapled to the final exam.

But in the end, it includes the most significant federal energy and climate policy in years, setting the agenda for Department of Energy research programs and authorizing higher funding levels for clean energy priorities…

The legislation also includes the Energy Act of 2020, which lays out a lengthy to-do list for the Department of Energy and others. There is far too much in the act to detail it all, but [the article features] some highlights.

There are lots of if’s in the coming year. It will take a Herculean effort to clear the knee-deep shit overlaying many useful agencies. Criminal corporate flunkies musr be flushed down the same toilet of history that awaits Trumpublicans and hisself. Then, the need to rebuild and, of course, better than before.

I’m not certain if the Biden crowd and the Dems as currently constituted are capable of much [or all] of that. Reforming the Democratic Party into a progressive political party never made me salivate in the past…and still doesn’t. But, we all try our best, eh?

Trump in his natural habitat

Here are the brief notes about this coming cover/issue of the New Yorker.

Trump in the sewer where he belongs. He shows his lying scumbag self to the world a half-dozen times a day. When he emerges from the racist political sewer he and his cohort inhabit.

6000 gallons of Scotch accidentally flushed down the drain

The night shift at a Chivas Brothers distillery screwed up this week and accidentally flushed about 6,000 gallons of Scotch whisky down the drain…

The 80-proof goof happened early Tuesday at a bottling plant in Dumbarton, where workers were cleaning equipment. Instead of purging the wastewater, they instead expelled 18,000 liters of bulk whisky into the local sewage system…

No one at Chivas noticed until 11 a.m., but local sewage crews had gotten a good whiff of the scotch-and-water problem and were attempting to identify the source long before the distiller reported what had happened.

“Discharging large volumes of alcohol into the sewer network can have an adverse impact on wastewater treatment processes, particularly during dry, cold weather,” Scottish Water said in a statement, the BBC reported. “We are continuing to closely monitor our Dumbarton wastewater treatment works to ensure treatment has not been compromised…”

The company said it was investigating.

Someone managed to pull off a double OOPS! They flushed $750,000 worth of decent booze down the drain – and probably poisoned a chunk of the sewer treatment plant, as well.

Phew.

“Termite gang” tunnels into 3rd French bank

Would-be robbers armed with a pneumatic drill dug a tunnel from a Paris subway station into the basement of a bank in the early hours of Sunday but failed to seize any cash or valuables, police said.

The attempted robbery of BNP Paribas is the third time this year so-called “termite gangs” have tried to rob a bank by digging a tunnel into the building.

It is not known whether the three incidents are related.

Well, duh. Are there that many copy-cat tunnelers in Paris?

The gang dug into the bank’s basement, possibly via the sewage system. They failed to enter the safety deposit room and nothing was taken, a BNP spokeswoman said.

They aborted the attempt and started a fire to cover their tracks, which set off alarms and alerted police. Digging equipment, including a pneumatic drill, was found at the scene…

Next we’ll probably hear about someone making off with gold bullion in Cooper Minis!

Carbonated Oceans aren’t fizzy – or funny


CO2 sensors deployed south of Point Conception

The loading of carbon dioxide into oceans is a consequence of fossil fuel use that has only begun to be widely recognized as problematic in the past decade. Its subsequent effects on seawater chemistry have the potential to spread ecological disaster to a variety of industries dependent on the seas.

To understand what the world might expect, several Scripps research teams are drawing on the institution’s expertise in long-term climate data collection and on new technologies that will help them understand when, where, and how ocean chemistry changes when the seas are overwhelmed by increasing infusions of carbon dioxide. They are joining a growing number of international scientists who are turning their attention to the issue. Their collective hope is to understand whether the oceans are approaching a tipping point of widespread damage and to see what can be done to prevent it…

As humans burn oil and coal, carbon dioxide is released and accumulates in the atmosphere. A little less than half of it stays in the sky and about a third enters the oceans, dissolving into seawater at the ocean surface.

When ocean water absorbs CO2, the two react to form carbonic acid. The acid reacts with carbonate ions, making the ions less available in ocean waters to shell-forming organisms. Robbed of sufficient quantities of a main ingredient for their shells, these organisms may become less hardy and less able to replenish their numbers.

Continue reading

Sewer plant – glorified

This started life as a sewer plant. That’s what everyone called it.

Then, it became a Municipal Wastewater treatment Plant. Bureaucrats seem to inflate their importance – while mainstreaming whatever niche their lives are dedicated to.

sewerplant

This is what they’ve recently grown to add.

Marine Debris continues to accumulate into the 21st Century


Dead sea bird – stomach full of plastic

Current measures to prevent and reduce marine debris are inadequate, and the problem will likely worsen, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council.

The United States and the international maritime community should adopt a goal of “zero discharge” of waste into the marine environment, and a system to assess the effectiveness of existing and future marine debris prevention and reduction actions should be implemented. In addition, better leadership, coordination, and integration of mandates and resources are needed, as responsibilities for preventing and mitigating marine debris are scattered across federal organizations and management regimes.

“The committee found that despite all the regulations and limitations over the last 20 years, there are still large quantities of waste and litter in the oceans,” said Keith Criddle, chair of the committee that wrote the report… “We concluded that the United States must take the lead and coordinate with other coastal countries, as well as with local and state governments, to better manage marine debris and try to achieve zero discharge.”

All nicely said, expressing appropriate sentiments. Why should we expect the fumble-fingered bureaucrats in charge to have improved during the Bush years? If anything incompetence became a new national sport.

A new administration will probably have to go back to the beginning just to re-establish a civil service that lives up to the definition. And Marine “Law” is hardly worthy of the term.