More Bad News About Solar Cells

The journal “Mother Jones” is running a story exposing the toxic nature of most solar panels.  Some of the highlights from the 14 companies that responded:

  • 6 companies reported their panels contained lead.  The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates solar panels containing 2 million pounds of lead and 600,000 pounds of cadmium (a carcinogen) will need to be recycled in the coming years–in California alone.
  • 3 companies had cells containing cadmium.
  • 1 company uses nitrogen trifluoride in their manufacture.  Nitrogen trifluoride is a greenhouse gas UP TO 17,200 TIMES MORE POTENT THAN CO2!  So much for the claims panels would be “carbon neutral”.
  • And only seven companies provided recycling of their panels free of charge.

Compounding these problems is the fact that most solar panels are grossly inefficient energy producers.  In 2007, while researching the viability of putting a 10k array on the high school, I discovered the time needed to achieve Return On Investment (ROI) was 106 years.  The system at the time would have costed $73,000, and to save that sum in utility bills at the current rate would take far longer than the life of the cells themselves.  Additionally, most people do not know that the cells must be maintained, and can lose from 5-25% of their productive capacity each year unless cleaned of dust, tree sap, etc.

There has been some hope that breakthroughs in production could cut the cost of solar film by a factor of 10 (from $3.33 per panel to .33 for the same output film).  The problem is that type of film incorporates cyanide.  Not exactly something you want to put on schools, homes, or public buildings.

Solar is at present no real hope for the world.  It’s advocates have demonstrated little actual knowledge of science or engineering, and/or have blatantly lied about it’s true carbon imprint.  Sadly, I’ve seen it often enough from overly-emotional “environmentalists” to expect such ignorance.   More proof that the “Road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

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Within My Darkest Night…

I stood at the precipice today, balanced by a thread between faith and atheism.  Unsure of who I am, and what (if anything) can be trusted.

The day has been spent in prayer, and spiritual battle, desperately seeking a Face I was beginning to doubt even existed.  He does not disappoint:

“Within our darkest night,
You kindle the fire that never dies away,
That never dies away…”

How the soul can be brought from such turmoil and agony to peace is one of the great mysteries, and a welcome one at that.

I am thoroughly exhausted, but praise be to the Lord most high!

Healthcare Reform: Bait and Switch…Round II

In case you hadn’t heard, Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration are going to try forcing through the Healthcare Reform Bill by Saturday (March 20th).  This is the same bill they decided to sneak past the American people during a Christmas Eve vote in 2009, while the attention of most was elsewhere.  This time, they seek to circumvent the long-established procedures of the House by invoking the “Slaughter Rule”.

In brief, this scheme would seek to pass the less controversial items in the Senate bill and then claim the entire bill had passed.   One of the considerable risks of passing the bill this way is that it forces a “reconciliation period”, when any number of absurd amendments could be added to distort the original.  Think of it like a variable rate mortgage.  When you sat down and borrowed for your house, the interest rate might have been 5%, but you had no way of knowing if it would be raised 22 points in the future.  One needs only look around the housing market today to see the devastation such risk-taking and blind trust wrought.  We can ill afford to extend such trust to a measure impacting a sixth of our entire economy.

Though several law professors have pointed out using the “Slaughter rule” may very well be unconstitutional, Speaker Pelosi hopes it will give enough plausible deniability to save wavering Democrats from consequences at the polls.  After all, Rasmussen polls show only 42% support the bill (and only 23% do so “Strongly”), while 53% of Americans oppose it (46% “Strongly”).

Of even greater concern are the measures written into the existing bill.  The US Council of Catholic Bishops has pointed out that the current bill provides funding for abortions, fails to secure conscience clauses to protect healthcare workers who are asked to act contrary to their beliefs, and even favors particular states and ethnic groups over others.

Then there is the price-tag and lack of cost controls in a time of economic hardship.  Perhaps you heard the USA’s credit rating is about to be downgraded?

*Sarcasm* What’s not to like?

No wonder they want to slip this by the American people before we can examine the 1000+ page monstrosity and raise our objections.

So much for the will of the people.

So much for “transparency” and the Constitution…

Stand up and make your voice heard.  To the left in my Blogroll you’ll see a link that helps you find and contact your “Elected Officials”.  Use your power, before they trample on it.  Make sure the needed reforms are effected carefully and properly, rather than in the current ineffective and wasteful manner.

Theological Thursdays: There’s an App for That!

Today’s foray into all things theological, I thought I’d review an application (app) I downloaded last week for my iPod Touch.  “Divine Office” costs $9.99, and is well worth every penny.  Now instead of fumbling through a print version of the Divine Office (a Catholic prayer tradition originating with the early monastics), it’s all there on your screen, and exceedingly portable.

The app can be set to automatically download the prayers for the day, five days worth at a time.  Better still, with the touch of a button you can enable the audio feature, providing you with recordings of men and women praying segments of the Office with you.  It is broken into Invitatory, Morning, Midday, Evening, and Night Prayer, though the audio support is  provided for everything but Midday Prayer (text is provided for all of them).   For nearly ten years I’ve prayed the Office, first in the print pocket edition (Magnificat), then with the clunkier “traditional” tome. It was a great comfort and blessing to have the Office, and I credit it with saving my life and sanity (well, most of it) during a particularly dark time of undergrad.

Having the audio option not only provides you with hymns beautifully sung and performed by true artists, but makes present the tangible comfort of the Church.  There have been times, whether during travel or the still hours of late night or early morning, that one can feel profoundly alone.  To hear a human voice praying with you can be a great balm to the wound of loneliness.

Other quirky features include a map that will show you the locations of others praying the Office at the same time  (you must be on-line for this feature to work properly), and occasional supplemental reflections are provided.  I highly recommend this app from Surgeworks.

Say Hello to My Little Friend…

The world just got a little more dangerous:

I support the Second Amendment, but inventions like this submachinegun make me nervous.