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Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust

John Doerr was crying. The billionaire venture capitalist had come to the end of his now-famous March 8, 2007, TED talk on climate change and renewable energy, and his emotions were getting the better of him. Doerr had begun by describing how his teenage daughter told him that it was up to his generation to fix global warming, since they had caused it. After detailing how the public and private sectors had so far failed at this, Doerr, who made his fortune investing early in companies that became some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names—Netscape, Amazon.com, and Google, among others—exhorted the audience and his peers (largely one and the same) to band together and transform the nation’s energy supply. “I really, really hope we multiply all of our energy, all of our talent, and all of our influence to solve this problem,” he said, falling silent as he fought back tears. “Because if we do, I can look forward to the conversation I’m going to have with my daughter in 20 years.”

As usual, Doerr’s timing was perfect. Just weeks earlier, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth had won an Oscar for best documentary. (Gore is now a partner in Doerr’s green tech team at the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.) Interest in climate change had never been higher. And as the economy recovered from the dual shocks of the Internet bubble and 9/11, Doerr’s fellow Silicon Valley VCs were already looking to clean technology as the next big thing. What followed was yet another Silicon Valley gold rush, as the firms on Sand Hill Road were pulled along by the promise of new fortunes and the hope that they would be the ones to wean America off of fossil fuels. The entrepreneurs and tech investors who had transformed media and communications were ready to make Silicon Valley the Saudi Arabia of clean energy.

Never mind the fact that green technology had been struggling to achieve critical mass for decades. “You had folks who came in with the hubris to say, ‘I know these guys have been working on this for 50 years,’” says Andrew Beebe, chief commercial officer for Suntech, the Chinese solar manufacturer. “‘But I’ve got $50 million and I can blow the doors off this thing.’”

In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom.



Satellite Sees "Giant White Spike" of Clouds Bringing U.S. Severe Weather

Severe weather is expected to impact the southeastern U.S. today, and the GOES-13 satellite captured an image of a line of clouds associated with the strong cold front that looks like a giant white spike.

This same frontal system brought heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes to Texas yesterday, January 25. Severe weather occurred from San Antonio to Dallas and Fort Worth as the strong cold front pushed through. Dallas reported flooding up to three feet high in some areas. Wind gusts were reported as high as 50 mph.

More severe weather is expected east of the Lone Star State today, January 26, as the line of clouds associated with a strong cold front pushes east. The front is now pushing through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and western Florida triggering more severe weather warnings and watches.

NOAA's geostationary operational environmental satellite, GOES-13, serves the eastern half of the U.S. providing continuous weather imagery. There is also GOES-15 that covers the western half of the U.S. Both GOES satellites are not only used for weather applications, but also track space weather, oceanographic changes, forest fires and other hazards and provide scientific data collection and information for search and rescue operations. NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from the GOES satellites. The image from today, January 26 was captured at 1331 UTC (8:31 a.m. EST). The line of thunderstorms associated with that cold front looks like a giant solid white spike moving through the southern U.S.

States that may experience severe weather today, January 26, 2012, including tornadoes include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle. Severe weather is possible today from New Orleans, La. to Jackson, Miss. west to Birmingham, Ala., south to Mobile, Ala. and east to Pensacola, Fla., and into south and central Georgia.

Toon: What the "Shining City on the Hill" has become...

Toon: What Obama And Brewer really talked about....

Gov. Deval Patrick on Bruins goalie Tim Thomas: It seems like we’re losing ‘basic courtesy and grace

By Noah Bierman and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Governor Deval Patrick struck a disappointed tone today as he commented on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’s decision not to attend a White House event earlier this week honoring the Stanley Cup champions.

“He’s a phenomenal hockey player and he’s entitled to his views, but it just feels to me like we’re losing in this country basic courtesy and grace,” Patrick said.

“I didn’t think much of President Bush’s policies – two wars on a credit card, prescription drug benefit that we couldn’t afford, deficit out of control – but I always referred to him as ‘Mr. President.’ I stood when he came in the room,” Patrick said in his monthly appearance on the “Ask the Governor” segment on WTKK-FM.

“There are rules to live by so I don’t want to make more of this than is deserving. I guess I’d prefer to pay more attention and offer more commentary when there are acts of grace as opposed to the reverse,” he said, moving onto the next topic.



Barney Frank to wed long-time partner

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff

US Representative Barney Frank, one of the first openly gay politicians in national office, confirmed today through a spokesman that he is planning to wed his long-time partner, Jim Ready.

Frank’s spokesman, Harry Gural, said he could not yet provide further details on the wedding, including the date and exact location. But the marriage will take place in Frank’s home state of Massachusetts, the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that same-sex marriage is a right under the state’s Constitution.

Frank, a Newton Democrat, plans to leave Congress when his term expires in January. He chose not to seek reelection after his district was redrawn this year.


Good for them! Hope they have a great wedding and married life together.

State of the Union reminds GOP about the real Barack Obama

By David Horsey
January 25, 2012, 5:30 a.m.
Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech was a reminder that the real Obama is not the same as the imaginary Obama being attacked day after day by the Republican candidates for president.

The stump speeches of Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum all share a theme: Obama is a man who does not believe in traditional American values. He is a president who wants to take money from the worthy wealthy and give it to a growing dependent class. This election, they say, is the last chance to save constitutional government from the radical in the Oval Office.

This ominous rhetoric reinforces all the xenophobic fictions that have been spread across the blogosphere, talk radio and the darker recesses of American politics since the 2008 campaign. During that election season, Obama was variously called a Muslim, a terrorist sympathizer, a leftist radical, a Kenyan-born alien, even the anti-Christ. Four years later, a large share of Republican voters continue to believe at least some of those things. During a recent Florida campaign event, one woman asked Rick Santorum why this Muslim non-citizen cannot be immediately driven from the White House. Shamefully, Santorum did not correct the woman’s paranoid delusions the way John McCain did in a similar situation in 2008. Instead, Santorum cravenly offered himself as the guy who could evict Obama.

Apparently, Republicans think this is a winning campaign theme and, in the primaries, it may be. But, if the eventual nominee continues on this track in the fall campaign, he might run up against a hard reality: Barack Obama does not look like an anti-American crazy man to the majority of Americans. What he looks like is the guy who gave a speech before Congress on Tuesday night in which he celebrated the virtues of America’s armed forces and declared that “the United States is the one indispensable nation in world affairs," pledging that, as long as he is president, he intends to keep it that way.



I'm amazed she has lived this long

Hooked on chicken nuggets: Girl, 17, who has eaten nothing else since age TWO rushed to hospital after collapsing

Stacey Irvine has breathing problems and anaemia
Only other food she eats regularly are fries
But despite warnings cannot resist McDonald's treats

Last updated at 3:26 PM on 26th January 2012

A teenage girl who has eaten almost nothing else apart from chicken nuggets for 15 years has been warned by doctors that the junk food is killing her.

Stacey Irvine, 17, has been hooked on the treats since her mother bought her some at a McDonald’s restaurant when she was two.

Shocked doctors learned of her habit when the factory worker, from Castle Vale, Birmingham, collapsed and was taken to hospital after struggling to breathe.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2092071/Stacey-Irvine-17-collapses-eating-McDonalds-chicken-nuggets-age-2.html

Penguin defecates on Kentucky Senate floor

By Jack Brammer — [email protected]

Posted: 7:52pm on Jan 24, 2012; Modified: 10:33am on Jan 26, 2012
A penguin pooped Tuesday on the Senate floor near the desk of Senate President David Williams.

The penguin, from Newport Aquarium, was in the chamber as Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, presented Senate Resolution 92, a measure to honor the aquarium for its contributions to the "aquatic world in general through its stewardship of sea life and penguins."

Williams, presiding over the chamber, interrupted Stine to inform her that the penguin "just defecated on the floor." An aquarium employee placed the penguin on the upper part of Williams' desk after it did its official business and while Stine finished with her resolution.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/24/2041716/penguin-defecates-near-kentucky.html

Good Girl!

TOM THE DANCING BUG:Featuring Hollingsworth Hound, Who Must Decide Where to Send His Money

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