Here’s another reason why oil refineries (literally) suck

Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

What do almonds, golf, fracking, and Kim Kardashian’s lawn have in common? They’ve all been publicly shamed for their outsized water use during California’s ongoing drought.

But you likely haven’t heard as much about one of the state’s major water sucks: oil refineries, which are estimated to be the second biggest water user of non-ag businesses in the state (after golf).

The plants process more than 80 million gallons of oil per day, turning it into products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each gallon of oil takes between 1 and 2.5 gallons of water to refine, most of which is either dumped into the ocean after it’s used and treated or evaporated as steam. Once in the ocean, the water is…

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Meet Nigerian woman who has no formal education but lectures at Harvard, other top varsities

Welcome to Barbrah Musamba Chama Mumba's Blog

Not many in her homeland appear to know about her unique story. But in other lands, especially Europe and America, she is a ‘goddess’ whose works are cherished by kings and presidents.

Without a doubt, the story of Nike Okundaye, the face behind the huge success story of Nike Arts Gallery, located in Lagos, Abuja and Osogbo, is as compelling as it is inspiring.

At a time when young Nigerians are in desperate need of a role model and inspiration in what self-belief and hard work can achieve, Nike’s rise from the status of an unknown village girl born into a seeming insignificant family in a rustic village to a globally celebrated icon would make an A-list inspirational novel.

Born in her native village of Ogidi, Ijumu Local Government Area, Kogi State, young Nike had high dreams about what type of future she wanted for herself. But her dreams were…

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Google’s self-driving cars will hit California streets this summer

Grist

Get ready, Mountain View, Calif.: Your city is about to become the testing grounds for Google’s fleet of self-driving cars! The prototypes, which look a little like The Jetsonsinspired kid’s pedal cars, will make their debut on public roads in just a couple short months.

Although many Mountain View residents aren’t exactly stoked that Google has taken over their city, the cars were designed to decongest traffic and make parking less of a nightmare, which is pretty sweet. The electric vehicles (or EVs, as the cool kids call them) are also supposedly safer for bicyclists than human-driven vehicles. These prototypes will come with removable steering wheels, accelerator pedals, and brake pedals, which are not currently in Google’s final vision for the cars, reports The Verge.

Google says that the fleet has logged almost a million miles on the road, or what [project manager Chris] Urmson characterizes as “about…

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The world is finally buying less Keurig Krap

Grist

Keurig Green Mountain — maker of throwaway coffee pods in myriad tempting flavors — is in the middle of a sales crisis. What was once a seemingly unstoppable single-serve coffee trend due to its ease (just pop in the pod!) and its cleanliness (no messy grounds!) is now wavering. And, honestly, we’re pretty stoked.

Sales are down — negative publicity couldn’t have helped — and Keurig’s new chilled drink machine, the Keurig Kold, hasn’t exactly been a hit, delightful alliteration notwithstanding. Now, Quartz reports, company stocks are down 30 percent from last year’s high. Here’s more from Quartz:

The “Keurig Kold” will cost around $300 or $369 dollars, depending on the retailer—more than expected and much pricier than even the highest-end product from its rival Sodastream, which costs $199.99. 

Even at that price, Keurig will be subsidizing the product and losing money on every machine, hoping to make it back with pod sales.

The death of an empire…

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Texans are freaking out over this natural gas pipeline — with good reason

Grist

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Earlier this year, a couple of billionaires landed a nearly $770 million contract to run a 143-mile-long natural gas pipeline through Texas’s pristine Big Bend region. As of May 11, rail shipments of pipe had begun to arrive in Big Bend’s Fort Stockton area. This recent progress on the pipeline project is fueling pushback from locals who’ve been concerned about this project since it was announced in November 2014. Big Bend is one of Texas’ last unspoiled wilderness areas and one of few remaining holdouts in a state riddled with energy transmission pipelines and large-scale oil and gas activity. Fearing potential land grabs, increased traffic, and environmental desecration, locals have been mobilizing through town hall meetings and launching activist campaigns to oppose it.

A lone pipeline supporter speaks to local officials and citizens at a county commissioners meeting in Marfa, Texas, on Tuesday.A lone pipeline supporter speaks to local officials…

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Seattle’s tunneling megamachine is more effed than we thought

Grist

Ah, Bertha. Here in Seattle, your tunneling project is one of our favorite things to talk about. But not always for the best of reasons because, well, it’s been one helluva fustercluck. You’re tunneling beneath downtown to create a subterranean re-route for State Highway 99, which stands on stilts and could fall down the next time the earth shakes. So clearly, you have an incredibly important job.

We were promised you’d be finished this August, but you’ve had quite a few breakdowns. And we get it, we do! Machines malfunction all the time and usually it’s no big deal. But the state has already sunk about $1 billion into making sure you can tunnel underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct, so people are, understandably, a little upset.

Also, we don’t mean to kick you while you’re down, but you have only drilled 1,083 ft. of your 9,270 ft. route. And all these new repairs pushed your drilling restart…

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The developing world is beating the U.S. at clean energy

Grist

This story is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

China is by far the world’s biggest investor in clean energy technologies like solar and wind. Last year, its clean energy spending hit a record $83 billion, a 39 percent jump from the year before, and more than twice what is spent in the United States.

Although America and most other G20 nations are moving toward a clean energy overhaul, its the developing world where you’ll find the most explosive growth: When you add in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and South Africa, clean energy investment in developing countries totaled $131 billion in 2014, only 6 percent less than the combined total for developed countries. It’s the closest that gap has ever been, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF):

Screen-Shot-2015-05-18-at-2.51.03-PMBNEF

That gap will soon close, and then start growing in the other direction, according to a 

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4 Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Distribution ERP Software

Inventory & Accounting ERP Software

time-to-upgrade

As a small business owner it is inevitable that some of your time will be spent putting out fires, and dealing with issues as they arise on a daily basis.  For wholesale distribution companies this may include: time spent searching through various systems and files to find information on specific orders, doing physical inventory counts to determine actual inventory volume and calculating different price levels for customers when vendors change their costs.  Although the flexibility to do this is often seen as a benefit of being a small business, it is important to not let it get in the way of executing other projects and achieving your strategic goals. As a business owner, you should try to avoid becoming so overwhelmed dealing with everyday tasks, and putting out fires, that you’re unable to focus on the core success factors of your business.  One solution is to begin looking for a more robust distribution ERP…

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This wind turbine has no blades — and that’s why it’s better

Grist

What do you get if you take the blades off a wind turbine? A better wind turbine.

That sounds like a joke, but that’s actually more or less the model of a new wind turbine prototype. Instead of blades that turn in the breeze, the turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string when the wind thrums by.

The Spanish engineers who founded Vortex Bladeless in 2010 said they were inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster (maybe not the best pitch for clean energy to a disaster-wary public, but I’ll leave that to their marketing department). Here’s how it actually works, from Wired:

Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of…

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Can cities, businesses, and other new climate actors help bridge the emissions gap?

Grist

As the international community continues to struggle to advance a global climate change agenda, new kinds of climate actors are increasingly working to pick up the slack. Hopes are high that cities, regional coalitions, and businesses — or non-state and sub-national actors, in wonk-speak — can make up for lost ground, and lead countries toward more ambitious action.

One early indication of what a hybrid approach that includes multiple actors might look like came last September, at U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit in New York City (hereby referred to as the “Summit”). On Sept. 23, 2014, the Summit convened Fortune 500 CEOs, indigenous communities, and more than 350 civil society leaders, alongside 125 heads of state. Together, they produced 29 collaborative, multi-stakeholder action statements and plans to fight climate change.

These plans are powerful symbols of the climate movement’s broadening base, and the groundswell of pioneering solutions to climate change. But…

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