Radioactive ocean currents reach Southern California

Radioactive particles released in the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami were detected in giant kelp along the California coast, according to a recently published study.

Radioactive iodine was found in samples collected from beds of kelp in locations along the coast from Laguna Beach to as far north as Santa Cruz about a month after the explosion, according to the study by two marine biologists at Cal State Long Beach.

The levels, while most likely not harmful to humans, were significantly higher than measurements prior to the explosion and comparable to those found in British Columbia, Canada, and northern Washington state following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, according to the study published in March in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The highest levels were found in Corona del Mar.

via LA Times

Gas prices have peaked – $3.70+ is the new normal

This year’s surge in gasoline prices appears over, falling short of the record highs some had feared heading into peak summer driving season.

Prices have held at a national average of $3.92 a gallon the past week, below 2011’s $3.99 high and July 2008’s record $4.11.

“By the behavior of the market, things are just running out of steam,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for price tracker gasbuddy.com. “Barring any major event — refinery problems, Iran — I think prices have peaked.”

DeHaan said the national average could dip to $3.70 a gallon by early May.

via USA Today

 

High in national average each year.

World record for the tightest parallel parking – 10 inches (video)

The tightest parallel parking measured 26 cm (10.24 in) and was achieved by Ronny Wechselberger a.k.a. “Ronny C-Rock” (Germany) on the set of Guinness World Records – Wir holen den Rekord nach Deutschland in Berlin, Germany on 2 April 2011.

Neuer Weltrekord!!

 

Here is an older record, a 33 centimeter parallel park.

Top 20 Graphic Novels of 2011

  1. Walking Dead Vol. 1
  2. Walking Dead Vol. 14
  3. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III Century
  4. Walking Dead Vol. 15
  5. Walking Dead Vol. 2
  6. Fables Vol. 15
  7. Batman Noel Deluxe Edition (hardcover)
  8. Walking Dead Vol. 3
  9. Walking Dead Vol. 13
  10. Morning Glories Vol. 1
  11.  

  12. Batman Dark Knight Returns
  13. Batman Hush Complete
  14. Walking Dead Vol. 4
  15. Holy Terror (hardcover)
  16. Walking Dead Vol. 5
  17. Fables Vol. 16
  18. Walking Dead Vol. 9
  19. Chew Vol. 1
  20. Batman Year One Deluxe (softcover)
  21. Blackest Night

 

All Trade Paperbacks and Graphic Novels sold to comics shops down 5.01%

 

* Data represents books sold to North American comics shops as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors

Before, after, and a year later – satellite images of the devastation from the Japanese tsunami

On the 1-year anniversary of the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan, Google Maps updated its imagery all along the coast. This included side-by-side shots of two specific regions, the Shiogama Port and the Sanriku Bridge.

The photos are: years before, days after, one month after, and a year after.

The devastation is incredible, but so is the recovery.

 

Shiogama Port, Miyagi

 

Bridge of Minami Sanriku Town, Miyagi

Gasoline use drops to 2001 levels – recent data shows

The following chart shows U.S. petroleum and gasoline usage for the same three-month period (Dec-Feb) going back to 1992.

Note that petroleum usage is back to 1995 levels, and gasoline usage is back to 2001.

Chart via Global Economic Analysis – (thx to Steven Witt for the tip)

 

This graph highlights a continuing U.S. trend where oil imports have also dropped to 13 year lows, and we are importing less than half of our oil.

Top 20 Comic Books of 2011

  1. Justice League #1
  2. Batman #1
  3. Action Comics (Superman) #1
  4. Justice League #2
  5. Batman #2
  6. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160
  7. Green Lantern #1
  8. Justice League #3
  9. Action Comics #2
  10. Detective Comics (Batman) #1
  11. Batman #3
  12. Flash #1
  13. Fantastic Four #587
  14. Fear Itself #1
  15. Superman #1
  16. Green Lantern #2
  17. Justice League #4
  18. Amazing Spider-Man #666
  19. Action Comics #3
  20. Batman #4

 

Overall sales for Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines for 2011:

$417 million (down less than 1% year-over-year)

 

* Data represents books sold to North American comics shops as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors

U.S. imported less than 50% of the oil consumed in 2010 – first time in 13 years

In 2010, we imported less than 50 percent of the oil our nation consumed—the first time that’s happened in 13 years—and the trend continued in 2011.

via WhiteHouse.gov

Technology-themed comic book – The Zen of Steve Jobs

Kobun was a Zen Buddhist priest who emigrated to the U.S. from Japan in the early 1970s. He was an innovator, lacked appreciation for rules and was passionate about art and design. Kobun was to Buddhism as Jobs was to the computer business: a renegade and maverick. It wasn’t long before the two became friends–a relationship that was not built to last.

This graphic book is a reimagining of that friendship.

The Zen of Steve Jobs

The story moves back and forward in time, from the 1970s to 2011, but centers on the period after Jobs’ exile from Apple in 1985 when he took up intensive study with Kobun. Their time together was integral to the big leaps that Apple took later on with its product design and business strategy.

Find more art at JESS3

11 awesome achievements by the Department of Energy in 2011

Energy Secretary, Steven Chu
January 10, 2012
Re: Year in Review

 

Dear Colleagues,

As we enter the New Year and move forward with our efforts…(it’s) important to take a moment to reflect on the progress we have made.

Across the complex, our workforce is reducing nuclear dangers, expanding the boundaries of science and innovation, and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.

We’re working together like never before to seize the technological lead in everything from batteries to biofuels to solar energy.

I thought I would share a few of the things we have accomplished together:

 

  • Our investments in wind and solar power have put the country on track to double renewable energy generation from 2008 to 2012.
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  • Overhauled and re-launched our website, Energy.Gov, to better communicate with the public.  Just recently, GovLoop named the new Energy.gov the top Federal website of 2011.  The Department’s website reform efforts are expected to save more than $10 million annually.
  •  

  • We also started Powerpedia, a Department of Energy wiki-like site, that facilitates information sharing among employees.
  • Continue reading 11 awesome achievements by the Department of Energy in 2011