Those Amazing Penguins
The movie, The March of the Penguins, has raised a great amount of interest in penguins. One never imagined penguins to be so driven. Here's an overview of the amazing penguins.
Known as the little tuxedos, penguins have always seemed a bit odd as animals go. All of that changed, however, with The March of the Penguins, a movie about Emperor Penguins. The movie focuses on the incredible hardships these penguins undergo to be parents. If you haven't seen the movie, rent it now. It will make you laugh, cry and develop a healthy respect for these majestic animals.
Penguins live in a fairly limited area. They're primary home is Antarctica. Penguins can also be found in the cold costal areas of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. There are no penguins in the Arctic. This is the opposite of polar bears which are not found in Antarctica.
There are seventeen species of penguins. The smallest are Rockhoppers, which average roughly twelve inches in height. On the other end of the spectrum are the Emperor Penguins, which average nearly 48 inches in height.
Penguins feed in the water, not on the ice of Antarctica. A typical meal consists of fish, squid or krill. Penguins can hold their breath underwater for six minutes, six times the average human. They are extremely strong swimmers, but can't swim backwards.
As March of the Penguins revealed, penguins have a unique breading cycle. They only breed once a year and in protected areas called rookeries. Much like salmon, penguins return to the same rookeries each year. Depending on ice flow conditions, they may travel up to 70 miles to reach the rookeries.
Once at the rookeries, penguins will flirt with each other until they find the perfect mate. The female will lay only one egg. She will push the egg to the male who holds it on the top of his feet with his stomach fat hanging over it to keep it warm. He will do this for nine straight weeks and go without food. While he loses up to fifty percent of his body weight, the mother will head back to the ocean to feed as much as she can. She will then return to the rookeries just as the egg hatches and feed the baby from her mouth. The male, in turn, will head off to the ocean to eat and recover his body weight.
When you see penguins in a zoo or water park, you should feel sorry for them. Because they are natives of Antarctica, the natural defense systems in their body are not tailored to germs found outside of the frozen continent. As a result, large numbers die from diseases caused by germs they have no defense to.
Most people, me included, never have given a second thought to penguins. That is too bad since they are truly amazing creatures.
A Really Intimate Look At Wind Turbines And Deciding What You Might Opt For
Most regions understand that the timing of these actions is speedily sneaking away from us; we see now that we are at the "we need to get it done now stage". Sooner rather than later, the timing will quickly start to be; we had better get this done and then we wish we had gotten our energy usage under command.
In most respects, the entire problem can be intimidating and to a certain degree dejecting. Luckily, there are solutions to the world's power issues if they are simply applied and developed to their fullest and most efficient possibility. Solar power is beginning to make excellent headway in technology and execution as are other alternative energy solutions. One of these alternatives is wind turbine energy, a source of uninterrupted clean energy that is actually making great strides in reducing coal power energy point source where it is being utilized.
What is a wind turbine?
A wind turbine used for producing electrical energy is not all that difficult a thing to comprehend. It is almost exactly like the water wheels that centuries of people have used to make their flour. The only difference is that instead of using water to turn the water wheel wind is used. The wind makes the blades of the wheel turn which; with the help of some gears, magnets and resistance creates electricity which turns a motor to send the electricity along power lines. Unfortunately, at the moment the energy generated from the turbine cannot be stored in batteries so there is a need for back-up systems but, for the most part, it is a fairly efficient system.
Location, location, location
This last point about not being able to store the generated energy in batteries for later use puts quite a bit of emphasis on where the wind turbines are placed. Since the energy that is generated needs to be sent along the power lines and used right away, the turbines need to be located in a place where the wind is always blowing. One might think, well that shouldn't be that difficult. Well"¦ yes and no. The turbine needs to be located where there is a constant and steady wind most of the time, but it also needs to be located in a place where quite a few turbines can be located.
The current issue is that one turbine generates quite a bit of energy, but not enough energy to make it economically feasible. Several hundred turbines need to be in place to make this happen. There are many places around the world where this is possible, but the overall concept is regional in nature. In other words, the power made in Vegas, stays in Vegas. The power generated in West Texas, stays in west Texas. This is not generally a bad thing since larger cities in Texas are deriving a nice chunk of their power from the wind turbines which lessens the need to use coal power needed for other places like Los Angeles.
Not in my back yard
The particular problem of people not wanting to look up at or listen to wind turbines all day every day has become a bit of an issue. At the larger more rural sites in West Texas there is a bit of an undercurrent about the wind turbines, the sound they make (constantly) and their future when they are outdated and need to be removed, but since the entire concept is so new the legislature is in a bit of a learning curve. Where the issue is likely to be resolved is in more urban areas where the use of wind turbines is just beginning to creep in. As vocal suburbanites hear about proposed "turbine farms" they all-of-a-sudden decide they are fine with wind power but don't want to look at 100 turbines within their sight on a mountain top, coastal sound or back yard.
People may become vocal about not wanting to see or hear wind turbines on a daily basis but they may need to better understand that alternative power sources are coming. They had better think about the need and how they are going to deal with the issue on a personal basis. Power up with solar, wind, water of nuclear because choosing a source sooner rather the later may be the best way to keep; not in my backyard, not in my back yard.
Uses Of Wind Turbines
Wind is a powerful source of energy that has been harnessed for different uses for centuries. More and more scientists and researchers feel that wind can be used effectively as a renewable energy source and this can be done only when power within the moving air can be harnessed properly.
The Wind Energy Industry has grown rapidly since the 1990's and is considered as one of the fastest growing sectors in the power generation industry. Some of the European countries have even installed wind turbines that have been in operation for almost 20 years now and this entire operation has been extremely successful as well. Using wind turbines to harness wind power to create energy have brought down the production costs and are viable option for the coal fired power stations.
According to a study, the UK has the largest potential wind energy resource in the entire Europe and hence wind is being regarded their most promising future source of renewable energy technologies. As of today the wind turbines in the UK are producing electricity that is being delivered to almost 390,000 households and reaching around 1 million people. A salient point of the use of wind energy is that it has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by almost 1.46 million tones per annum.
The question is how can wind be converted into energy? The answer is: by using a wind turbine. The wind turbine is basically a type of rotating device just like a huge fan that can convert the kinetic energy present in the wind into mechanical energy. When this mechanical energy is used by any type of machinery like a pump then such a machine is known as a windmill. If the same mechanical energy is converted to electricity then the machine that does the conversion is called a wind generator or a wind turbine. It is also known as a wind energy converter (WEC) or a wind power unit (WPU).
Surprisingly the first use of the wind machines was for grinding grains as early as 200 B.C in Persia. It was also introduced in the prosperous and powerful Roman Empire in 250 A.D. The year 1900 saw the maximum number of windmills being used in Denmark. Almost 2500 windmills were installed to provide the much needed mechanical load to pumps and gave a peak power of 30MW.
Why Wind Turbines should be used?
Wind turbines can effectively help in creating mechanical energy, which can be used for multiple purposes including assisting in the generation of power and electricity. Some of the other uses include:
* One of the salient points is that there is only a one time installation cost after which the electricity that is produced using a wind turbine will be free.
* It is a source of clean renewable energy that will not generate any greenhouse gases or emit carbon dioxide or even produce any dangerous wastes.
* Each unit of electricity produced by a wind turbine displaces one from every conventional power station. Wind turbines have been commissioned in the UK and have been extremely successful in prevent the emission of almost one and a three-quarter millions tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
* Wind is a reliable and abundant source. UK being the windiest country in Europe has abundance of wind energy that can be used for making electricity.
* Wind power contributes significantly to the overall energy generation in any country. Denmark is one of the countries that gets almost 20% of its electricity from wind power
* Wind turbines use an extremely robust technology that is designed for operation locally as well as remotely and requires only periodic maintenance.
Energy What You Need To Know About Bio Fuels
Agro fuel commonly as bio fuel is derived from a biomass. It can be a solid, liquid or gas fuel. Bio fuel is now a common means of decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions and is now used as fossil fuel alternative. It is eyed to replace fossil fuels in the near future. However, it was researched that though bio fuel reduces the greenhouse effect, the release of Nitrous Oxide from commonly used bio fuel contributes much to global warming.
Bio fuels are now used in many countries and are now extensively expanding in big continents such as Europe, Asia and America. The production of bio fuels is derived from any carbon source particularly plants. According to studies, it is environmentally safe to produce bio fuels because the sources are easily replenished.
The most common use of bio fuels is for the automotive and transportation industries.
Bio fuels are made in three generations. The first generation bio fuels are made from crop goods such as sugar and starch, vegetable oil and animal fats. With the help of conventional technology, these components are used to manufacture some sorts of bio fuels. In countries with warm climate, bio fuels made from vegetable oil are now being used as fuel for automobiles with diesel engine. Because vegetable oil has a low quality for fuel, it has to be mixed with the conventional diesel fuel. Bio diesel is a common first generation bio fuel. It is similar to a mineral diesel. Bio diesel is made from vegetable oil mixed with sodium hydroxide and methanol. Like the vegetable oil, bio diesel is now used in diesel engines but has to be mixed with mineral diesel.
Another type of first generation bio fuel is the bio alcohol. It is produced biologically with ethanol, butanol and propanol. It is done through fermentation. Of all the three, butanol is the only liquid and the only bio alcohol that can actually produce high energy. An automobile should be first modified before using butanol. Otherwise, it can cause the engine to burn when mixed directly with existing gasoline engines. Ethanol fuel is used worldwide. Sugar is fermented to create enzymatic digestion. It is now considered as a replacement for gasoline and it is safe to mix it with gasoline at any percentage. Methanol is produced from natural gas which is a kind of fossil fuel. Hydrogen economy has long been used by many countries but is now being replaced by methanol. Bio gas is very effective product of bio fuels. It is produced from biodegradable waste materials through the process of anaerobic digestion. Solid bio fuels are made from wood, charcoal and dried excrement.
The second generation of bio fuels is produced using the biomass to liquid technology that extracts bio fuels from non food crops. Bio hydrogen is one common type of the second generation fuel. It is now used in fuel cells to produce electricity. DMF is manufactured from fructose, glucose using the biomass to liquid process. DMF is now widely used in compression ignition engine.
Biomethanol, almost the same as methanol is now being used in automobiles and can mix with petrol with up to 20% without any significant changes. FT diesel or Fischer-Tropsch diesel is not used with fossil diesel without any relevant effect. Wood diesel, another type of the second generation bio fuels is extracted from wood chips. The oil produced is mixed with unmodified diesel engines and the charcoal byproduct is used as a fertilizer.
The third generation bio fuel is from algae. In some countries, algae' farming is now a growing industry to suffice the need for cheaper oil.
The industry for bio fuel is now growing in some countries. Resources for bio mass are continuously being discovered as the demand for bio fuels increases. Other uses of bio fuel are also continuously being discovered. In some countries where oil is expensive, bio fuels have been applied for cooking indoors. However, it was noted that it is also one of the sources of health problems in these places.
A number of benefits are noted upon the use of bio fuels. Reduction of greenhouse effect, fossil fuel use, increase in energy security, increase in rural development and poverty reduction are some of them. With industrialization widely being embraced by many countries, the need for fuel is increasing. With the high cost of current fuels being used, some countries cannot accommodate competition with rich countries. But with the bio fuel, it is now possible.
However, the use of bio fuel is not unlimited. It has limitations like other sources of energy. Manufactures and producers of bio fuels should know well that the resources should be replaced or replenished rapidly. Otherwise, a more negative effect will come into the picture. Though some negative effects were mentioned with the use of bio fuels, the advantages are still greater.
With proper knowledge and understanding of bio fuel, everyone worldwide will surely benefit from bio fuels.
Environmental Benefits Of Led Lighting
LED lights are a wonderful invention that has changed the way the world is lit. Not only are they long lasting, they have many environmental benefits. LED lights are four times more efficient than a regular incandescent light bulb and last 10 times as long. LED lights also use between 50 and 80 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb.
LED lights are considerably less expensive to operate, however are a little more expensive to purchase. LED home lighting requires only one third of the energy that an incandescent bulb will use. A single 18-watt LED light can replace a 75-watt incandescent and in the lifetime of the LED light, will save 570 kWh of energy. At a basic eight cents per kilowatt rate, that equals $45 dollars in energy bill savings.
By switching to low energy LED home lighting in your home, even one bulb will keep one half of a ton of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through the lifetime of the bulb instead of using incandescent bulbs. Switching also keeps sulfur oxide and nuclear waste out of the atmosphere as well, leading to a cleaner world and one that will last much longer. By simply switching, our environment could easily revitalize itself without having to deal with the excess carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide and nuclear waste emissions that are currently being released into the atmosphere every day. Even changing one lonely bulb in every home to LED home lighting would make a significant impact on the environment.
If every home in the United States were to switch to LED home lighting, 90 power plants could be retired, a potentially powerful impact to the long-term health of the environment. Being energy efficient and environmentally conscious doesn't have to disrupt your entire life. The switch is as difficult as changing one light bulb in your home, the results of which would save you money on your electricity bill each month. Just one home lighting fixture, one light bulb can be a positive step forward for your household. Take a look around your home and count how many bulbs you use and consider how often you change them. Say, for example that you change a bulb every two months. Now, consider that by changing them all to LED lighting for your home, you could leave them and not have to replace them for 20 months. The slightly higher upfront costs of LED lights make sense.
LED lighting is finding its way into many niche markets. You can get a LED flashlight that also uses less battery energy, ensuring that the next time the power goes out in your home, you can be confident that your batteries will last. There are also LED lanterns that you can choose from that are ideal for camping or hunting. They last for considerably longer than other lanterns because they use 10 times less energy to run than standard incandescent bulbs and even less energy than a kerosene lantern.
For LED home lighting, there are many options available other than just bulbs. You can find LED light fixtures for your home, indoor and out, that will provide low energy, environmentally-friendly lighting that can save you money on your energy bill.
We all are challenged to do our part to conserve energy. By making small adjustments to the way we live, we can begin to make an impact on our world. One small change we all can make is to switch our home and outdoor light fixtures to LED light options. There are a large number of options for LED home lighting and LED camping and hunting outdoor equipment available on the market, all of which provide the energy efficiency benefits inherent in LED products. The benefits can become apparent very quickly as we begin to see our energy bill costs reduce over a period of a few months.
Trash Talk Your Way To A Better World
North Americans account for less than 10% of the world's population, yet we produce 50% of the world's garbage and consume more than 33% of it's resources. If everyone consumed like the average North American, we would require three Earths!
Authors Dave and Lillian Brummet offer an upbeat, proactive look at waste and resource management with their inspiring new book Trash Talk. They explain that every one of us can do something to help our world - starting right where we are, right now. Trash Talk is not a quick fix solution - it is about changing consumer's mind-sets by providing ideas that inspire participation from the ground level. Not everyone can afford to donate cash or time to a cause but by implementing the concept of Trash Talk, the average person can make small alterations in their lives that affect positive changes for the Earth.
Canadian writers Dave and Lillian Brummet reside in the southwest region of British Columbia. Their work has appeared in a variety of Canadian publications. In addition, the Brummets also wear many other hats - as gardeners, seed savers, cooks, photographers, business owners and outdoor enthusiasts. Ultimately, it is a love of nature and healthy living that is the major driving force and inspiration for their many projects.
Their website (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit) has a page of links to like-minded organizations where one can learn modern waste management techniques. The upcoming Tip of the Month page will provide readers with insightful reduction and reuse ideas.
"...An effective well-researched book... embraces waste as a resource that creates jobs and new products... head-and-shoulders above other environmental texts. " ~ Sherry Russell, Midwest Book Review (USA)
"Trash Talk is easy to read...a positive approach to managing waste...a valuable guide for anyone concerned about their impact on the environment." ~ Georgina Bloomfield, Waste and Resources Campaigner, Friends of the Earth (UK)
"...This is something that should be in every household...a good reference on providing reducing and reusing tips without being preachy" ~ Tim A Dueck, Public Education Coordinator, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (Canada)
"I was recently expressing concern to a friend about the environmental state of our planet....how I feel as though I can't make a difference. Well, now I have access to the information you are sharing and know that I can. Thank you!" ~ Yvonne Caldwell, Library Cataloguer, Okanagan University
Saving Sea Turtles From Extinction Turtle Friendly Outdoor Lighting Solutions
Improper outdoor lighting is one of the greatest issues affecting sea turtles - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Let's face it... light pollution and sea turtles just don't go together. Many species are on the verge of extinction... and improper outdoor lighting is a major cause. Not quite sure how this can be? Let's look into this a little further...
Female turtles return to the same area to nest each year. If they return and find bright outdoor lighting, one of two things happens.
1) The female will simply swim on by... essentially removing herself from the breeding population.
2) She lays her eggs, and then several weeks later the hatchlings emerge under cover of darkness and begin their journey to the sea. They've evolved through millions of years to seek out the brightest horizon. This is generally the ocean... with crashing surf and moon and star light reflecting on the water. Unfortunately, if bright lights were installed along with some recent development, the hatchlings emerge and crawl towards the bright lights... and away from the ocean and a chance at survival. These then get run over by cars as they cross streets, wander till exhausted and are eaten by predators or simply roast in their own shells in the heat of the sun. In excess of 80% of hatchlings can die on light polluted beaches.
Many communities have enacted outdoor lighting regulations designed to come to the aid of declining sea turtle populations. These generally require the use of full cutoff fixtures. Full cutoff fixtures simply control the output of light... forcing it down towards the ground where its needed... and preventing it from shining up into the night sky... or horizontally when it can cross property lines... and illuminate turtle nesting beaches.
Starry Night Lights has a greatly expanded selection of turtle friendly outdoor lighting solutions. Working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, they've combined the largest selection of full cutoff outdoor lights with "monochromatic" turtle safe lights to offer a number of solutions to communities that border sea turtle nesting areas. They offer bollards, wall packs and pole mounted solutions for businesses and municipalities as well as a huge selection of fixtures for homeowners and condo associations. The combination of full cutoff fixtures and monochromatic lights has been found to be least disruptive to sea turtle hatchlings.
Wind Farm Efficiency
Wind power is an incredibly clean renewable power source. To capture the energy in wind, wind farms are used. So, how about wind farm efficiency?
Wind Farm Efficiency
Wind power is the process by which wind is used to generate power or electricity. The power of the wind is actually a form of solar power - wind change and variability is caused by uneven heating of the ground by the sun. In order to fully use the power that the wind is capable of generating, many countries have set up wind farms. In a wind farm, many different wind turbines (a structure that uses a propeller-like blade to take in the wind's power) are set up in an area. With all the wind turbines working at the same time, it's thought that these farms are a great way to produce large amounts of electricity.
To determine the efficiency of wind farms, you need to know how a wind farm works. The wind turbines collect the power of the wind in two steps: the propeller blades are turned by the gusts of wind, and the propeller then turns a shaft. This turning shaft is connected to a generator. The spinning action cranks the generator, which then produces electricity. The process is exactly like hydropower, but with wind acting as the energy source instead of flowing water. Just one wind turbine set up in an area will not produce very much electricity, and is not very good for powering large areas - these small turbines are usually used to power just one farm or house or occasionally to pump water.
Wind farms, on the other hand, are more powerful because there is a large grouping of the wind turbines in one area, all working in unison to produce electricity. The energy can then be run to whole communities through existing utility grids or stored in battery-like storage cells. Wind turbines can be set up to face the wind or face away from the wind. Modern wind turbines can also turn to catch the wind as it gusts from different angles, a factor which makes them far more efficient than before. The larger the turbine's blades and the taller the turbine's height will increase the efficiency as well.
The exact efficiency of wind farms is nearly impossible to pinpoint. The problem is found in the factors that go into the analysis. The terrain, amount of wind, size of turbines and so on varies from wind farm to farm. There is no constant, which makes it difficult to nail down general efficiency ratings. In general, a single wind turbine will convert about 20 percent of the energy in wind to electricity. The most efficient production occurs between five and 20 miles an hour of wind speed. This general 20 percent efficiency rating is roughly seven to five percent more efficient than solar power, but sunlight is constant whereas wind is not.
While wind technology has not yet progressed to a point where no energy is lost while harnessing it, it is fair to say that the platform is favorable compared to other renewable sources. It may take a while for the whole world to catch on to using the power of the wind, but it's definitely fast becoming an important alternative energy source. Countries such as Germany are certainly investing a lot into the platform.
Natural Environmentally Friendly Household Cleaners
Many people use a vast array of chemical-laden household cleaners and products around the home on a daily basis.
What they may not be aware of is the fact that many of these chemicals can be damaging to their health when inhaled. Apart from the inhalation aspect, skin irritations often occur when coming into contact with many chemical cleaners.
Many disinfectants contain phenol ( aka carbolic acid ) or cresol. These can attack the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas.
How can adding a load of chemicals to your home environment be good for your health and cleanliness. They may kill off the germs, sure, but human beings are gradually going to kill themselves off too, if they continue in this way. Many people aim to keep their homes a germ-free environment, but if our homes are kept so germ-free that our immune systems no longer have to work as hard, we run the risk of weakening our immune systems.
Another chemical-laden ( and one of the most dangerously toxic of all ) household product is oven cleaner. I have never personally used the stuff, as I remember the fumes when my mother used it when I was a child, and that alone was enough to put me off for life! How right I was. Many oven cleaners release fumes which may affect the respiratory system, and contain ammonia and lye, which eat the skin. I prefer to use baking soda and water, sprinkled inside the oven and left overnight. In the morning a good scrub finishes it off a treat. It does a wonderful job. Also you don't get any chemical residue odour the next time you use the oven.
Many artificial air fresheners release nerve-deadening agents, which can interfere with your sense of smell. Natural aromatherapy oils would be a much safer bet.
In a time when respiratory illnesses such as asthma are at an all-time high, we should be looking to a more natural and gentle way of keeping our homes clean.
Using all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products around the home is the best defence against dirt and grime, while keeping our bodies healthy, being kind to the environment, and not tested on animals. Everyone's a winner.
Many companies claim their products are 'natural' but it's best to check the labels, as they may only contain a few natural ingredients while still being laden with chemicals.
Buying from a well-known ethical, cruelty-free company is the best way to go. Then, not only should their products be natural, safe and non-toxic, they should also be environmentally-friendly and not tested on animals.
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