Tag Archives: state

American wind power reaches 50-gigawatt milestone

From the AWEA press release:

The 50 gigawatts (GW) online today means that U.S. wind turbines now power the equivalent of nearly 13 million American homes, or as many as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined. In addition, 50 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity:

  • Represents the generating power of 44 coal-fired power plants, or 11 nuclear power plants.
  • Avoids emitting as much carbon dioxide as taking 14 million cars off the road.
  • Conserves 30 billion gallons of water a year compared to thermal electric generation, since wind energy uses virtually no water.

 

To put this into perspective, it is estimated that the United States used 3.9 million gigawatts in 2011.

Now back to the good news, projects recently connected to the grid:

  • Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley wind farm, 30 miles east of Ely, Nevada (151.8 megawatts, or MW)
  • Enel Green Power North America’s Rocky Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma (148.8 MW)
  • enXco’s Pacific Wind project in Kern County, California (140 MW)
  • Utah Associated Municipal Power’s Horse Butte project in Idaho (57.6 MW)
  • First Wind’s Kaheawa Wind II wind farm in Hawaii (21 MW)
50,000 megawatts = 50 gigawatts

 

It took us a long time to hit 10 MW in 2006, then much less to hit 25 MW in 2008, and now, in 2012, we are at 50 MW. The ramp-up continues all over the country as 39 states now have wind power feeding their grids. There is even good news on the “Made in USA” front with 60% of the sourcing coming from home, compared to 25% in 2005.

 

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Reforms in foster care showing good results – children in foster care drops for 6th straight year

The number of U.S. children in foster care has dropped for the sixth straight year, falling to about 400,000 compared to more than 520,000 a decade ago, according to new federal figures demonstrating the staying power of reforms even amid economic turbulence.

The drop results primarily from a shift in the policies and practices of state and county child welfare agencies. Many have shortened stays in foster care, expedited adoptions and expanded preventive support for troubled families so more children avoid being removed from home in the first place.

The average length of stay in foster care has been reduced by more than 10 percent since 2002, according to the report. The mean stay is now 23.7 months.

Of the children in foster care as of Sept. 30, 52 percent were boys. Twenty-one percent were Hispanic, 27 percent black and 41 percent white; 104,236 of them were available for adoption.

 

Source: The Washington Post - Number of children in foster care drops for 6th straight year, to 400,000, despite hard times

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Ai WeiWei reviews London’s opening ceremony for 2012 Olympics – criticizes Beijing’s

Brilliant. It was very, very well done. This was about Great Britain; it didn’t pretend it was trying to have global appeal. Because Great Britain has self-confidence, it doesn’t need a monumental Olympics. But for China that was the only imaginable kind of international event. Beijing’s Olympics were very grand – they were trying to throw a party for the world, but the hosts didn’t enjoy it. The government didn’t care about people’s feelings because it was trying to create an image.

In London, they really turned the ceremony into a party – they are proud of themselves and respect where they come from, from the industrial revolution to now. I never saw an event before that had such a density of information about events and stories and literature and music; about folktales and movies.

At the beginning it dealt with historical events – about the land and machinery and women’s rights – epically and poetically. The director really did a superb job in moving between those periods of history and today, and between reality and the movies. The section on the welfare state showed an achievement to be truly proud of. It clearly told you what the nation is about: children, nurses and a dream. A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.

 

Keep reading: The Guardian - Olympic opening ceremony: Ai Weiwei’s review

 

 

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Apple Campus II – 3,600 jobs and the big push into Austin, Texas

Pushing ahead with plans to invest $304 million in Austin, Texas, Apple has secured a deal for three large patches of land adjacent to its existing campus, which — when developed — will expand its presence in the area and result in the creation of more than 3,600 jobs.

The State of Texas offered Apple an investment of $21 million over ten years via its Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), followed by an $8.6 million grant investment from the City of Austin.

As part of its City deal, Apple would need to invest $56.5 million in new facilities and equipment by the end of 2015, with an additional $226 million investment coming by the end of 2021.

 

Source: The Next Web - Apple closes deal to expand Austin campus, moves ahead with $304 million Texas investment

 

 

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Sea levels to rise 3 feet on the West Coast, according to new report

Sea levels off most of California are expected to rise by about three feet over the next century, according to projections released Friday by the National Research Council.

The study is arguably the most comprehensive report of its kind for the West Coast, and its conclusions fall into the range offered by other estimates in recent years. They reinforce predictions that coastal areas will face increased damage from storms and big waves — what the research council called one of the most visible effects of large-scale climatic changes.

“Following a few thousand years of relative stability, global sea level has been rising since the late 19th or early 20th century, when global temperatures began to increase,” said the peer-reviewed report, co-authored by Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

“Sea-level rise will send reverberations throughout local and state economies.”

 

Keep readingReport: sea level rise will be about three feet

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America’s Best High Schools 2012

 

This year, our ranking highlights the best 1,000 public high schools in the nation—the ones that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads.

The list is based on six components provided by school administrators:

  • Graduation rate (25 percent)
  • College matriculation rate (25 percent)
  • AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent)
  • Average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent)
  • Average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent)
  • AP courses offered  per student(5 percent).

 

Search for your own school or find the best in your area:

America’s Best High Schools 2012

 

The top 10 schools:

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The most popular media outlets by state – where is Fox News/NPR popular?

Forbes and Bitly pulled together a data set highlighting the most read newspapers by state. In some places certain media is read more than others. Can you guess where NPR is the most popular, or where Fox News is read the most?

 

The Media Map: Who’s reading what and where

News sources read and shared at above-average levels by state: 

  • NPR – Oregon
  • Fox News – Montana, Texas, Mississippi
  • The Onion – New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin
  • MSNBC – Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Iowa
  • Huffington Post – KS, OK, LA, TN, WV, PA, DE
  • USA Today – NV, UT, AZ, CO, WY, MI, OH, MO, NC, SC, AL, GA, FL

 

I’ve always wondered why USA Today was so popular, well, 13 states have it as their favorite, above all other sources like N.Y. Times, NPR, & Fox.

After that, The Huffington Post is the second most loved.

 

Screenshot below, or view the interactive map on Forbes.

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California creates a science-based series of underwater parks

You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around.  But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.

California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.

“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”

Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans.  According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.

via Designing Healthy Communities

 

The Story of California’s MLPA’s

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California wants 15% of all cars to be electric by 2025

Less than a year after everyone seemed to agree that 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025 was a properly attainable goal, the California Air Resources Board has decided to change things up a bit.

In addition to CAFE requirements of a 54.5-mpg fleet average, at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker doing business in California will have to be either fully electric, a plug-in hybrid or be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell by 2025.

According to Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, 15.4 percent is “actually a relatively modest goal, but that’s all that we’re mandating.”

Most automakers are on board, says Nichols. “Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry… Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”

At least 10 more states are likely to follow California’s lead, reports Automotive News.

via Patrick Roanhouse

Why nobody knows how to prevent obesity

The 2011 obesity report from the Trust for America’s Health just came out and the news is as bad as ever. Every state has a minimum obesity rate of 20% and not one saw a decrease, while 16 saw an increase.

“Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent.  Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25 percent, and just one has a rate lower than 20 percent (Colorado at 19.8%).”

“Since 1995, when data was available for every state, obesity rates have doubled in seven states and increased by at least 90 percent in 10 others.”

Now, those numbers are bad and so are the corresponding increases in diabetes (rate has doubled) and hypertension (20%+ in every state). But, the number that I consider telling is found on page 11 of the full report (pdf):

“More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans are either overweight or obese”

Or, spin it the other way and it tells you only 32% of America is fit.

Which makes this issue so tough. No one seems to understand the problem, solution, or even the struggles every individual faces.

The report itself provides little in the way of recommendations only asking for the government to fund research and education.

Here is the problem, as I see it.

Food is the foundation. If we are eating good food then all should be well, after all our species survived for 10,000 years as fit world dominators.

Which means that we are eating bad food, and so what is bad food?

Before we get to that it’s important to point out all the discussion around nutrition, physical activity, cooking and what have you. That is where all the focus is and I think it’s absolutely useless.

I compare it to flying a plane without gas. You can check the wings, throw a pilot in there, and even get clearance from the tower, but if you don’t put in gas (the right gas) none of that matters.

Bad Food = everything in the grocery store.

I know this sounds crazy, but the facts are there. Everyone in America relies on grocery stores for food and it’s causing 2/3 of them health problems.

How many more need to become overweight before we start to question the very fundamentals of our grocery store lifestyle?