Category Archives: Renewables

Rooftop solar about to slap your utility silly?

According to a recent piece in Computerworld, your utility company’s biggest fear is rooftop solar panels.

OK, it might not be, but it should.

“Rooftop solar panel installations could cut utility profits by 15% or more over the next eight years,” Computerworld says, quoting a federally funded report.

I’m not too sure about US prices and profits, but if this was the UK, that would leave utilities floundering with meagre profit margins of 60 to 70 percent….

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Climate scientists speak out in favour of nuclear energy

Some of the world’s most prominent scientists have written an open letter calling for the development of nuclear energy.

James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley wrote:

“As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems. We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.”

In an email interview with rediff.com, Hansen further explained:

“We should compare alternatives for the future. The air pollution from fossil fuels kills far more people than the worst nuclear technology of the past, the most weakly regulated nuclear technology,” he said.

Now for someone who for a long time has been a supporter of nuclear energy, this makes a lot of sense. However, it’s going to have a lot of people up in arms….luckily the arms won’t be nuclear….

Special specimen set to reveal colour of certain dinosaurs

The Canadian Light Source (CLS) – the country’s national synchotron research facility – is about to (sorry) shed light of a question that has had scientists stumped for many years.

Scientists at the fascility are in the early stages of testing a unique piece of 70 million year old dinosaur skin, that might reveal what colour the dinosaur originally was.

Most dinosaurs are usually portrayed as grey or green, but no-one can really say for certain what colour they were.

“If we are able to observe the melanosomes and their shape, it will be the first time pigments have been identified in the skin of a dinosaur,” Mauricio Barbi from CLS said.

“We have no real idea what the skin looks like. Is it green, blue, orange…There has been research that proved the colour of some dinosaur feathers, but never skin.”

The skin sample is from a hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), and is one of the very few preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found.

“As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary – this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited and we started discussing research projects right away,” Mauricio Barbi said.