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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 4,293

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

TransCanada Has Already Had To Fix 125 Dents And Sags In Southern Keystone Pipeline


Synthetic crude oil hasn’t yet entered the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, but a report released Tuesday by non-profit consumer rights group Public Citizen says the pipes are already bending, sagging and peeling to the point of a possible spill or leakage of toxic tar sands.

Drawing on the accounts of landowners, citizens and former workers of TransCanada, the report documents alleged construction problems and engineering code violations along the Texas portion of the pipeline, proved by what the group says is a staggering amount of excavations to correct dents and patch holes. Public Citizen is calling on the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration to review TransCanada’s construction quality assurance records for possible federal violations, and perform a complete re-testing of the pipeline to see if the repairs work.

“The government should investigate, and shouldn’t let crude flow until that is done,” Public Citizen’s Texas office director Tom Smith said in a statement. “Given the stakes — the potential for a catastrophic spill of hazardous crude along a pipeline that traverses hundreds of streams and rivers and comes within a few miles of some towns and cities — it would be irresponsible to allow the pipeline to start operating.”

One of the landowners cited in the study is David Whitley, a self-described “go-along guy” who owns an 80-acre plot of land in Texas which the pipeline crosses.

Chinese Facility using LanzaTech technology makes ethanol from steel mill CO2 emissions

"Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. has earned RSB's sustainability certification for the joint venture's facility that converts waste steel mill gases to sustainable biofuels."


... Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. has earned RSB's sustainability certification for the joint venture's facility that converts waste steel mill gases to sustainable biofuels. The RSB is a global sustainability standard and certification system for biofuels and biomaterials production. The facility, which utilizes LanzaTech technology, is the first RSB-certified biofuel plant in China, and the first of its kind anywhere to receive this key certification for industrial carbon capture and utilization.

"The joint venture uses a process that creates a sustainable biofuel and does so by efficiently reusing greenhouse gases that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere," said Peter Ryus, RSB Services' CEO. "This solution, which does not impact the food chain or land use, meets the RSB principles and practices and serves as an example of how continued innovation in the industry will lead to sustainable biofuels in the future. We are honored to be working with LanzaTech and their joint venture partners on greenhouse gas reduction and global sustainability improvements."

RSB certification shows the joint venture's commitment to environmental improvements through a novel biological approach that converts waste carbon emissions from steelmaking into biofuels and chemicals. Using the RSB methodology and assumptions based on commercial production, it is estimated that ethanol from the process may reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent compared to petroleum fuels.

In addition, the joint venture partners anticipate that the process will improve local air quality by materially reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions. The technology has the potential of making a significant global impact by reusing up to 150 million tonnes of CO2 from the global steel industry alone.

Charlie Rose has been chanting more GOP horseshit again (yeah, so what else is new?)

... since the ACA website has had such problems getting started, Rose has been reciting with untempered glee, "I guess this shows the Government can't do big complex tasks," -- implying the private sector can.

Well, gee charlie you mean big complex tasks like, ohhhhh sending a man to the moon (and doing it in LESS than 10 yrs from concept to accomplished fact?, or something like ohhhh, the manhatten project???

Of course, private industry is tops at handling complex tasks like, oh say the Financial Collapse of 2008 (OH I FORGOT THE GOVERNMENT PREVENTED A TOTAL COLLAPSE FROM HAPPENING BY BAILING OUT THE BANKS ASSES!). Yeah, those banksters were SOOOOO MASTERFUL IN HANDLING CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. So masterful they needed the Government to come in and catch them before they caused a worldwide economic disaster.

Of course you might say I am picking on banks and mentioning a rare event as evidence.... ah, but bank crises are not that rare and that is why Franklin Roosevelt set up the Federal Reserve, because it was clear to any rational person (that leaves out Mr. Magoo - Alan Greenspan and M. Friedman) that businessmen (incl. bankers) can not be trusted to control themselves when handling other people's money.

Bank Crises - Wkipedia

Panic of 1819, a U.S. recession with bank failures; culmination of U.S.'s first boom-to-bust economic cycle
Panic of 1825, a pervasive British recession in which many banks failed, nearly including the Bank of England
Panic of 1837, a U.S. recession with bank failures, followed by a 5-year depression
Panic of 1847, United Kingdom
Panic of 1857, a U.S. recession with bank failures
Panic of 1866, Europe
Panic of 1873, a U.S. recession with bank failures, followed by a 4-year depression
Panic of 1884, United States and Europe
Panic of 1890, mainly affecting the United Kingdom and Argentina
Panic of 1893, a U.S. recession with bank failures
Australian banking crisis of 1893

20th century
Panic of 1907 a U.S. economic recession with bank failures
Great Depression, the worst systemic banking crisis of the 20th century
Savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S.
1998 collapse of Long-Term Capital Management

Oh and Charlie, please knock the dust off your knees and clean yourself up, when you come out of script meetings with your GOP handlers, would you.


The Real Story Behind the Phony Canceled Health Insurance Scandal - MotherJones

Insurance companies ripped off Americans for years with lousy health plans. Obamacare was designed to fix that.

Over the past few weeks, insurers have been sending out hundreds of thousands of notices alerting customers that their current plans won't comply with the ACA as of January 1 and that the owners of these plans need to find alternatives. Republicans and conservatives pointed to the development as evidence that Obama lied. Several prominent right-wingers who were covered under these plans, including Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, have helped fuel this outcry. When Malkin got her cancelation notice, she went on the Twitter warpath. She later wrote a piece for the National Review slugged, "Obama lied. My health plan died." Malkin had a high-deductible plan from Anthem Blue Cross that doesn't meet the minimum coverage requirements created by the ACA. So she has to get a new plan on the state health exchange. Malkin blamed Obamacare for destroying the individual insurance market.

The media have covered these complaints with gusto, as if the cancelations are a genuine crisis and indication of a failure of Obama's health care law. The ACA was designed specifically to prevent insurance companies from peddling lousy insurance plans and to force these firms to replace these subpar products with affordable plans providing better and effective coverage. The plans being canceled are ending because they offered insufficient coverage—and only a few years ago both Rs and Ds were upset about these kinds of plans. But there's been collective amnesia about the shoddy plans that GOPers have happily exploited in recent days. Perhaps Obama should have said, "Those of you who obtain insurance on the individual market can keep your plans unless it’s the sort of rip-off plan the ACA will forbid. Otherwise, you will be offered new options that actually give you decent coverage at a decent price."

Here's what led to the current situation: In the early aughts, the number of people with employer-based coverage declined dramatically. That left an increasing number of Americans uninsured and about 30 million adults underinsured and at serious financial risk. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that between 2003 and 2010, the number of underinsured Americans nearly doubled.

The fastest growing group of underinsured was people in households around the national median income, the $40,000 to $50,000 annual income range—folks who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but who don't have employer-sponsored plans or who can't afford the ones they're offered. Insurance companies jumped into the void with a lot of products Consumer Reports dubbed "junk insurance." These were plans that barely qualified as insurance because they had very low caps on coverage or weren't even really insurance at all. Many were merely medical discount programs that didn't protect against health-related financial calamity. Insurance companies, including many of the biggest, marketed these products aggressively and often misleadingly—which was made easier by the lack of disclosure requirements in the sale of health insurance. Regulators struggled to protect consumers because so many of the junk plans were perfectly legal.

Why Obamacare Isn’t Losing Popularity Even After A Month Of Really Bad Press


A new poll released on Wednesday finds that uninsured Americans are increasingly interested in Obamacare, despite the ongoing technological problems plaguing the websites that allow them to sign up for health insurance plans. The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 42 percent of Americans who currently lack insurance intend to enroll in a plan under Obamacare — a slight uptick from last month, when 37 percent of that population indicated they wanted to enroll. Overall public support for the health reform law also rose from 44 percent to 47 percent.

And that’s just the latest poll to find that Obamacare isn’t losing ground among the public, despite a month of headlines that have bemoaned its exchanges as a total disaster and warned Americans that it may cause them to get booted from their current insurance plan. At the end of last month, a Gallup poll found that Americans were “slightly more positive” about the health reform law after three weeks of its rocky roll-out than they were right before the exchanges launched. Around the same time, both a Washington Post poll and a Pew Research Center poll found that public opinion about Obamacare hadn’t taken a nosedive despite the frustrating issues with the website glitches.

In all of that polling, respondents tend to agree that it’s been a bad roll-out. So why isn’t support for the law completely tanking?

One of the Ipsos pollsters, Chris Jackson, offered up a plausible theory: Americans are finally having a personal experience with health reform. “The launch of the exchanges, that’s the first real world event for a lot of people,” he told Reuters. “There’s been this sense that once people got familiar with it, public opinion would start to move in its direction.”


How To Spot A Fake Obamacare Horror Story


Since insurers have begun informing beneficiaries that their health care plans do not meet the new federal requirements of Obamacare, and will be either cancelled or significantly altered, the media has profiled countless middle class Americans who claim that the new health care law will force them to pay more for coverage.

Deborah Cavallaro, for instance, a real estate agent from Los Angeles, was enrolled in an individual plan that cost her just $293 per month. Under Obamacare, Cavallaro says she’ll have to pay over $400 for coverage she doesn’t need or want. But a higher premium doesn’t tell the whole story: while Cavallaro may spend more each month, she’ll be buying more comprehensive insurance with fewer out-of-pocket costs, better benefits that will cover more and cost her less if she actually falls ill, and much more robust consumer protections.

So before you buy into the sticker shock hysteria, here are four questions you should ask:

1. What does the old plan actually cover? ...(more)

2. Did this person go to the exchanges? ...(more)

3. Yes, the premium is low, but what are the co-pays and deductibles? This coverage often forces individuals who do use care to meet high deductibles — the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in — pay high co-pays and co-insurance or limit the number of doctor visits that are allowed. Cavallaro, for instance, must meet a deductible of $5,000 a year and has an out-of-pocket cap of $8,500 a year. The plan covers just two doctors’ visits and each include a $40 co-pay.

4. Does this person qualify for subsidies? ..(more)

many of these stories involve people who had been paying for 'budget plans' (like buying a car with holes in the floor so your feet can reach the pavement so you can provide the motive power for the car --- i.e. by pushing with your feet) because they could not afford real insurance. In these cases often the people will qualify for subsidies.

The Cancer Patient From The Wall Street Journal Will Likely Save Thousands Under Obamacare


Edie Sundby, a Stage-4 gallbladder cancer patient who is losing her individual health care policy in California, could pay less for comprehensive insurance in Obamacare’s health care exchanges.

Sundby’s story first gained national attention after she penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, arguing that Obamacare would cost her more and force her to abandon her cancer doctors. Her high deductible individual health care policy from United Healthcare (called PacifiCare in California) had paid $1.2 million to keep her alive and “never once questioned any treatment or procedure” until earlier this year. In May, the company announced that it would be canceling insurance policies for its 8,000 enrollees and leaving the California market altogether. “Over the years, it has become more difficult to administer these plans in a cost-effective way for our members,” UnitedHealth spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph explained, suggesting that the company had long struggled to compete with insurers like Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente, who control more than 80 percent of the individual market.

Its exit left Sundby in a lurch. During an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, she described her old catastrophic policy as “fabulous” and “fantastic,” in part because it paid for treatment by both Stanford and UC San Diego doctors. But the policy also came at a high cost. The AARP reported last year in a profile of Sundby’s fight against cancer that the family spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on treatment beyond the cost of coverage. “The results, financially, were ‘traumatic,’” AARP quotes her husband Dale as saying. “But we are, as a family, willing to go to the end, to spend whatever it takes. That’s what vows and commitments are all about.”

And so when ThinkProgress estimated the cost of a high-deductible policy offered by PacifiCare and then compared that plan to a policy in the California exchange, we found that the family would pay slightly less and benefit from a whole host of new consumer protections.


Ultra-High Efficiency Methanol Engines w Advncd Exhaust Energy Recovry: 50% Efficiency gain over ICE

... using gasoline only.

presentation by Leslie Bromberg, Kevin Cedrone, Daniel R. Cohn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at the
20th International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels (ISAF), March 26, 2013

They are proposing an engine with direct injection and onboard reforming of methanol yielding up 50% efficiency gains over PFI ICE. Marginal cost of $1,500 to $2,500. Annual savings $600 to $1,000 from efficiency gain alone (without considering cost savings on alcohol fuel vs gasoline)



–Most efficient, economical liquid fuel to produce from coal and natural gas

–Physical and chemical properties enable ultra-high efficiency engines

• Up to 50% higher efficiency than standard gasoline engine in cars
• 20 - 25% higher efficiency than diesel engine in trucks


–Can be made from natural gas and coal
–Provides similar but lower production and efficiency advantages
–Accepted in US, distribution infrastructure already exists

Ethanol, methanol are liquid fuels produced from biomass/waste most efficiently

Reformer Enhanced Alcohol Engines

Internal Combustion Engine

Due to high RON and evaporative properties, alcohol fuels facilitate higher engine efficiency

• Higher compression ratio
• Downsize, turbocharge, direct injection
• Heavy EGR/lean + H2-rich reformate gas

Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC)

Alcohol fuels as ORC working fluid, 2 options:

• No-condenser option
  • Fuel injected after turbine

• No-condenser, no-turbine option
  • Fuel reformed to H2-rich gas, injected to engine, no turbine


Supreme Court Dismisses Major Attack On Abortion Rights


In an important, if likely temporary, victory for abortion rights, the Supreme Court took a major abortion case off its docket on Monday. The Court’s brief order does not explain the justices’ reason for doing so — it simply provides that “he writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted. Nevertheless, it is likely that the justices decided that a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision muddied the issues presented by the case to such an extent that it made sense to wait to decide an important question regarding the ability of states to restrict the use of medication abortions.

Though the Supreme Court agreed to hear Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice earlier this year, it also asked Oklahoma’s highest court to resolve two questions regarding the scope of an Oklahoma law banning certain forms of non-surgical abortions induced by medication. Last Tuesday, Oklahoma’s justices answered these questions by explaining that the state law at issue in Cline outlaws all medication abortions — including methods of terminating a pregnancy that were specifically approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Thus, if the U.S. Supreme Court were to rule on Cline they would have to answer the much larger question of whether an abortion procedure that’s specifically been approved by the federal government can be banned by a state, rather than considering a narrower question of whether specific methods of abortion lacking FDA sanction can be targeted by states.

In the short term, Monday’s order means that a conservative Supreme Court that’s shown considerable eagerness to restrict abortion rights in the past will not decide a major abortion case. In the medium term, however, the question of medication abortions is likely to be in front of the justices again very soon. Texas recently enacted a law that, among other things, includes restrictions on medication abortions that are narrower than the restrictions in Oklahoma. A challenge to the Texas law is barreling towards the Supreme Court, and would likely present the justices with the opportunity to decide a medication abortion case if they choose to do so.

Nevertheless, the fact that the justices turned aside an opportunity to uphold the very broad Oklahoma law may offer a small ray of hope to supporters of abortion rights. For the moment, the justices seem uninterested in endorsing an expansive ban on medication abortions, even if there may be five votes to uphold a narrower ban like the one in Texas.

Why is broadband (so much) more expensive in the US?


Home broadband in the US costs far more than elsewhere. At high speeds, it costs nearly three times as much as in the UK and France, and more than five times as much as in South Korea. Why?

Men's haircuts, loaves of bread... it is surprising how much more expensive some things are in the US than the UK. Now home broadband can be added to that list.

The price of basic broadband, TV and phone packages - or bundles as they are known - is much higher in American cities than elsewhere, suggests the New America Foundation think tank, which compared hundreds of available packages worldwide.

Looking at some of the cheaper ones available in certain cities, at lower to mid download speeds, San Francisco ($99/£61), New York ($70) and Washington DC ($68) dwarf London ($38), Paris ($35) and Seoul ($15).

Cost of broadband around the world:

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