2011 was a great year for solar power with an increase of 73.3% in generating power – the fastest growth since reporting began. Germany and Italy led that charge by installing 57.1% of the new power. Worldwide there is now 63.4 gigwatts (GW) of solar power – of which 29.3 GW were brought online in 2011.
In graphical terms that is exponential growth:
Of course, Europe is leading the charge into solar having recently passed the 50GW milestone. Which makes the United States look tiny in comparison, having only recently surpassed the 4GW mark. We are just as far behind in wind power with Europe having 100GW and the United States at 50GW.
The good news is that both are rapidly constructing new installations – both solar and wind – and growing at an exponential pace.
Pinch yourself. Much that could have gone wrong in the euro zone suddenly seems to be going right. Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe has given the go-ahead for a new rescue fund. A banking union is taking shape…this builds on a recent pledge from the European Central Bank (ECB) to act to stop the break-up of the currency. Even angry talk of expelling the Greeks from the euro has died down.
And Europe is moving to becoming a federalist nation, at least for monetary purposes. With many more leaders calling for political federalism too.
Should we break out the Federalist Papers from John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton in 1787?
Here is a promo from my favorite historian, Dan Carlin. He does a show called Hardcore History and the name fits. So be warned that this is real, no punches are pulled.
The topic for this show, called “Ghosts of the Osfront”, is the battle between Germany and Russia in World War II. He starts with the brutality and effectiveness of the Germans as they start the war. Then, moves into the bloody Russian counterattack that eventually leads them to invade-back Germany. Millions of lives are lost, atrocities are committed, and more you don’t even want to know about.
Or do you?
If so, then this show is for you. Listen to this promo to find out if this fits your style.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Britain on the first leg of a week-long foreign tour that includes stops in Israel and Poland.
He is to meet political leaders and attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in the next three days.
The former governor of Massachusetts is not expected to make any policy announcements in London, but correspondents say the visit will give him the chance to show himself to the US electorate in the international arena.
…Critics have accused him of having a weak background in foreign policy, the same claim made about Mr Obama, who was a first-term senator during his 2008 White House campaign when he made a high-profile trip to the Middle East and Europe.
That tour culminated with a speech to hundreds of thousands of people outside the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.
Back in 2010 we added biking directions for users of Google Maps in the US and Canada. Helping cyclists navigate the bike trails throughout those countries proved hugely popular, so we’re wheelie excited to announce that starting today, we’ve also added extensive biking data to Google Maps for Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In many of these countries we are also enabling biking directions in beta mode.
We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.
If you’re keen to start riding into work, or maybe just do your bit for the environment by swapping your car for a bike a couple of days a week, biking directions can help you find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.
“Over the last century, you’ve seen a reduction from very long working hours – nearly 3,000 a year at the beginning of the 1900s – to the turn of the 21st Century when most developing countries were under 1,800 hours,” says Messenger. “And indeed some of the most productive countries were even lower than that.”
A look at the average annual hours worked per person in selected countries puts South Korea top with a whopping 2,193 hours, followed by Chile on 2,068.
British workers clock up 1,647 hours and Germans 1,408 – putting them at the bottom of the table, above only the Netherlands.
**The United States is at 1,695.
Greek workers have had a bad press recently but, as we reported in February, they work longer hours than any other Europeans. Their average of 2,017 hours a year puts them third in the international ranking, based on figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“…the US is the only developed country that has no legal or contractual or collective requirement to provide any minimum amount of annual leave,” he says.
The UK, in contrast, is subject to the European working time directive, which requires at least four weeks of paid annual leave for every employee.
Here’s how they did it, and how we can too
This is what can happen when citizens and government agree that it’s worth spending a bit more for clean, carbon-free power:
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said … Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation’s midday electricity needs.
That’s right—half of all of Germany was powered by electricity generated by solar plants. That’s incredible. It was also world record-breaking. Germany is pretty much singlehandedly proving that solar can be a major, reliable source of power—even in countries that aren’t all that sunny.
Among the usual questions about attitudes to the euro and the European Union, people in eight nations (Britain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) were asked which country in the European Union is the hardest-working.
The Greeks ignored the obvious answer (Germany) and instead nominated themselves. (The other seven nations all plumped for Germany, as the table shows.) Yet Greek perception is not quite as misaligned with reality as it seems. Greece does actually work the longest hours in Europe…However, as any economist will tell you, working longer does not equate with higher productivity, and Greece’s productivity is relatively low.