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Energy - Feb 7

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.


Arthur E. Berman, Petroleum Geologist: Magical Thinking and Fracking

James Howard Kunstler, KunstlerCast
James Howard Kunstler speaks by phone with Arthur E. Berman, who is a petroleum geologist and consultant to the energy sector; editorial board member of The Oil Drum; associate editor of the AAPG Bulletin; director of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil. Berman has published more than 100 articles on petroleum geology and technology and has made more than 50 presentations in the last year to professional societies, investment conferences and companies. He speaks to Jim tonight about the history of shale gas “fracking” and a lot of the “magical thinking” surrounding the prospects of America becoming “energy dependent” through fracking.
(2 February 2012)


In The Know: Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

The Onion
Panelists debate whether the U.S. is doing enough to heed the warnings of coal industry scientists who say turbines could blow the Earth right into the sun.

Also: Official Poster For 'Terminal Gust'
The new anti-wind power documentary Terminal Gust describes a small town being poisoned with wind.
(June 2011 ? )
Video at original. Note: this is satire! Suggested by Simone of Post Carbon Institute.


Energy.gov: Where information goes to die

Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
We live in an Information Age. Never before have we had so much data at our fingertips, thanks to digitization and the Internet. But information is only useful if it is accessible, searchable, and intelligible.

Last August, the US Energy Department proudly announced a "comprehensive website reform, making Energy.gov a cutting-edge, interactive information platform and saving taxpayers more than $10 million annually." In short, the government eliminated 12 separate department program sites and merged them into one (with plans to add many more), upgraded the content-management system, and streamlined information into the cloud PDF. In theory, Energy.gov is now the "cutting-edge" go-to site for information on everything from home weatherization to nuclear research. In practice, however, it's more often a black hole.

For example, when I tried to find the Energy Department's site-suitability evaluation for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, a pivotal document issued in 2002 by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, here's what happened: I typed "Yucca Mountain" into the site's search engine and received a list of 22 results, along with a question: "Did you mean: yucca maintain?" Huh? Thanks, but no.

Wait a minute -- 22 results? For a decades-long research effort that cost $10 billion and generated more than three million documents exploring one of the most contentious issues of our time?

... Editor's Note: After this column was published on January 25, Energy.gov responded to Stover's concerns.:

... One of the biggest challenges for federal websites – including Energy.gov -- is managing the millions of PDFs the government has online. That challenge existed before our redesign and still exists today. The problem is that unless older PDFs are correctly metatagged with relevant keywords, they may not show up in search results. The Energy.gov of today, however, is much better than what was offered before. And it’s getting better every day as we migrate additional documents and Departmental office websites to the new platform.

Within a couple days of the concern being raised, we were able to quickly elevate additional Yucca Mountain documents, update their metadata and make them more findable. These documents were always available — and with improved metadata and a dedicated landing page for context, they are now more search friendly.

(25 January 2012)

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