According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.
When oil prices last touched record highs - actually, after adjusting for inflation we're not there yet, but given the effects of Hurricane Katrina, we probably will be soon - politicians' response was more hype than hope. Oil shale in Colorado! Tar sands in Alberta! OPEC be damned!
Remember the Carter-era Synfuels Corp. debacle? It was a response to the '70s energy shortages, closed down in 1985 after accomplishing essentially nothing at great expense, which is pretty much a description of what usually happens when the government tries to take over something that the private sector can do better. Private actors are, after all, spending their own money.
Since 1981, Shell researchers at the company's division of "unconventional resources" have been spending their own money trying to figure out how to get usable energy out of oil shale. Judging by the presentation the Rocky Mountain News heard this week, they think they've got it.
Shell's method, which it calls "in situ conversion," is simplicity itself in concept but exquisitely ingenious in execution. Terry O'Connor, a vice president for external and regulatory affairs at Shell Exploration and Production, explained how it's done (and they have done it, in several test projects):
Drill shafts into the oil-bearing rock. Drop heaters down the shaft. Cook the rock until the hydrocarbons boil off, the lightest and most desirable first. Collect them.
Please note, you don't have to go looking for oil fields when you're brewing your own.
On one small test plot about 20 feet by 35 feet, on land Shell owns, they started heating the rock in early 2004. "Product" - about one-third natural gas, two-thirds light crude - began to appear in September 2004. They turned the heaters off about a month ago, after harvesting about 1,500 barrels of oil.
While we were trying to do the math, O'Connor told us the answers. Upwards of a million barrels an acre, a billion barrels a square mile. And the oil shale formation in the Green River Basin, most of which is in Colorado, covers more than a thousand square miles - the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world.
They don't need subsidies; the process should be commercially feasible with world oil prices at $30 a barrel. The energy balance is favorable; under a conservative life-cycle analysis, it should yield 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit used in production. The process recovers about 10 times as much oil as mining the rock and crushing and cooking it at the surface, and it's a more desirable grade. Reclamation is easier because the only thing that comes to the surface is the oil you want.
And we've hardly gotten to the really ingenious part yet. While the rock is cooking, at about 650 or 750 degrees Fahrenheit, how do you keep the hydrocarbons from contaminating ground water? Why, you build an ice wall around the whole thing. As O'Connor said, it's counterintuitive.
But ice is impermeable to water. So around the perimeter of the productive site, you drill lots more shafts, only 8 to 12 feet apart, put in piping, and pump refrigerants through it. The water in the ground around the shafts freezes, and eventually forms a 20- to 30-foot ice barrier around the site.
Next you take the water out of the ground inside the ice wall, turn up the heat, and then sit back and harvest the oil until it stops coming in useful quantities. When production drops, it falls off rather quickly.
That's an advantage over ordinary wells, which very gradually get less productive as they age.
Then you pump the water back in. (Well, not necessarily the same water, which has moved on to other uses.) It's hot down there so the water flashes into steam, picking up loose chemicals in the process. Collect the steam, strip the gunk out of it, repeat until the water comes out clean. Then you can turn off the heaters and the chillers and move on to the next plot (even saving one or two of the sides of the ice wall, if you want to be thrifty about it).
Most of the best territory for this astonishing process is on land under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Shell has applied for a research and development lease on 160 acres of BLM land, which could be approved by February. That project would be on a large enough scale so design of a commercial facility could begin.
The 2005 energy bill altered some provisions of the 1920 Minerals Leasing Act that were a deterrent to large-scale development, and also laid out a 30-month timetable for establishing federal regulations governing commercial leasing.
Shell has been deliberately low-key about their R&D, wanting to avoid the hype, and the disappointment, that surrounded the last oil-shale boom. But O'Connor said the results have been sufficiently encouraging they are gradually getting more open. Starting next week, they will be holding public hearings in northwest Colorado.
I'll say it again. Wow.
In other words: come back in 2012, then we will talk about it. But until then, maybe you should just start working on new models.
Changes to the Iran Nonproliferation Act to allow NASA to buy Russian space goods and services could see legislative action starting next week.
A House Science Committee spokesman told The DAILY that the congressional version of a Bush Administration proposal should be pushed through the House by the House Judiciary Committee in September, as part of a yet-identified bill. House and Senate science authorizers also plan to add the provision to their bill during a House-Senate conference on the fiscal 2006 NASA authorization.
The spokesman said there were no major disagreements over the Bush Administration's proposal from earlier this summer, but it did not arrive in time to include in the Science committee's version of the NASA bill.
Passed in 2000, the INA prohibits the U.S. from buying Soyuz vehicles to dissuade Russia from helping Iran with its missile programs. The final Soyuz launch under the old barter agreement is scheduled for Sept. 27. Once that Soyuz returns to Earth in April 2006, NASA astronauts won't be able to stay on the International Space Station when space shuttles aren't present, unless the law is amended.
There is some concern that the approach favored by the Bush Administration is a little too open-ended, both in the scope of purchases possible and the length of time they would be permitted, DAILY affiliate Aviation Week & Space Technology has reported. The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which hailed the act's passage in 2000, has proposed sunsetting any NASA amendment in 2012.
TEL AVIV, Aug. 29 (JTA) — “You wouldn’t leave behind your kids, would you?" asks Merav Barlev, director of Hakol Chai, an animal-rescue group in Tel Aviv.Good lord. Read on after the jump...
Barlev is coordinating the relocation of pets left behind after the evacuation of the Gaza Strip, her emergency mobile unit racing against the clock to rescue any animals left behind — abandoned, escaped or stray — before the Israel Defense Forces locks the gates to empty Jewish settlements.
Equipped with operating facilities and medicine, the mobile unit first was on the scene Aug. 19 as the dust began to settle from the evacuation of homes in the Morag settlement.
Calls from the Agriculture Ministry and Israel Defense Forces came to Hakol Chai and Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim — the Israeli equivalent of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ISPCA — urging the groups to help collect frightened pets left behind.
In no time, a small caravan of animal crusaders, led by the mobile unit carrying volunteers, veterinarians and animal workers, were combing settlements like Gan-Or, Kfar Darom and Neveh Dekalim. They found dogs inside homes about to be demolished, as though waiting for their owners to return; pets found tied to trees with notes; and pets left without food and water, caged in the sweltering heat.
What Is Noah's Wish?
Noah's Wish is a not-for-profit, animal welfare organization, with a straightforward mission. We exist to keep animals alive during disasters. That's it.
We are not involved in any other animal welfare issues. It's not that we are not concerned about all the ways animals are abused and exploited. Noah's Wish would like nothing more than to see all suffering stop. Fortunately, there are a multitude of national and local animal welfare organizations who are tackling the issues that adversely affect animals. No other organization has made the commitment though to just focus on disaster relief work for animals. That's the void we are filling.
Noah's Wish came into existence in March 2002, not to duplicate existing efforts to help animals during earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, but rather to expand on what's already in place. Too often, efforts to help animals during these life threatening situations have been gravely inadequate. It would be unacceptable if relief efforts for people were as fragmented.
Noah's Wish recognizes that animals need and deserve an organized, consistent, and professionally managed national disaster relief program. Otherwise, they will continue to pay for human indifference with their lives. What will raise the standards for how animals are managed during disasters is to implement well thought out, field tested, policies and procedures that are practiced in all disasters. Relief efforts for people are managed this way and we feel they should be for animals too.
Noah's Wish wants animals to survive disasters by getting the services they need, therefore, we have taken on the challenge to raise the standards. What we have set out to do, no other organization has successfully done. There have been countless attempts made, but the efforts have not gone far enough. Noah's Wish has a great deal of work ahead of us, but we're confident in our ability and determination to get the job done. What other choice do we have?
To learn specifically what Noah's Wish does to help animals during disasters, click on Services.
A general brochure that talks about Noah's Wish can be found by clicking on, Brochure.
►► What Makes Us Unique?
Having just one focus, Noah's Wish is able to direct all of our resources - financial, equipment, staff, and volunteers, to end the needless suffering and death of animals when disasters strike. Over 75% of all donations made to Noah's Wish go directly towards helping animals. We know you want your money to benefit animals and not pay inflated salaries or rent on elaborate office space. As a Noah's Wish Preparedness Partner your mailbox will not be overloaded with appeal letters from us with heart wrenching photographs and sad stories intended to make you feel compelled to donate. Whenever possible we will use e-mail to communicate with you, a huge savings over stationery, printing, and postage. When we do contact you in this way the information will be immediate and not weeks or months old.
We will be doing a magazine just once a year called, This Year's Journey. It will include articles and pictures that volunteers submit from disasters, along with the organization's achievements. The pages will present an honest, fresh, and comforting look at disaster relief work. During the year, Noah's Wish will not lure you to support us by sending you such things as return address labels, watches, generic note cards, or pocket calendars. Instead, we believe it'll be the consistent dedication and hard work of our Disaster Response Team, as well as always making animals, not money, the number one priority of Noah's Wish, that will convince you to become a Preparedness Partner.
To obtain a copy of our most recent 990, which is the annual form Noah's Wish files with the Internal Revenue Service, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
►► Disaster Response Team
Noah's Wish has a full-time staff of two and one part-time person, which makes us the only organization in the United States to recognize the need for this many people to be ready at all times to respond to a disaster. The Noah's Wish staff includes:
Terri Crisp - Founder and Director
Jennifer McKim - Administrative Assistant
Sheri Thompson - Training Manager
Our Director, Terri Crisp, has been involved in managing animals during disasters since 1983. It's the experience and knowledge that she has gained during 66 disasters that has provided Noah's Wish with a solid foundation on which to develop and grow. In addition to the staff, Noah's Wish has twenty-nine coordinators with combined experience in over 100 disasters. The coordinators work with staff to monitor developing disasters and respond when needed within the United States and Canada. An ever growing nationwide network of trained volunteers completes the team of people dedicated to the mission of Noah's Wish. In addition, we have trained volunteers in Canada.
Noah's Wish Staff and Coordinators
To become acquainted with out Disaster Response Team click on, Staff or Coordinator profiles. Also posted on the Coordinator profile pages are photographs of our volunteers taken at past trainings they have attended.
To see a list of which disasters Noah's Wish Staff and Coordinators have participated in click on, Disaster Experience.
►► Volunteer In-Field Training
To prepare volunteers to work with Noah's Wish during a disaster, they complete our unique 3 day training which is designed to give the participants an experience similar to what they would encounter in an actual disaster, while preparing them for the physical and emotional challenges of doing disaster relief work. The trainings are conducted in locations similar to where we might set up a temporary evacuation shelter during a disaster, such as a fairgrounds, empty warehouse, or vacant field. During parts of the training, animals from local shelters and rescue groups are on-site to give volunteers hands on experience. After a volunteer completes their initial training they return annually for retraining, at which time they are able to brush up on skills they already have in addition to learning new ones.
For more information about our Volunteer In-Field Training, click on Training Information.
►► Regional Structure
For training and mobilization purposes, Noah's Wish has divided the United States into eight regions. In addition to covering all of the United States, Noah's Wish also trains volunteers and responds to disasters in Canada, with plans to expands to other countries in the near future.
To see a list of the Noah's Wish regions, click on Regions.
►► Community Outreach
Preparing animal shelters and individuals to take care of the animals they are responsible for once a disaster has struck is challenging. Procrastination and denial are the two biggest obstacles Noah's Wish faces when we talk to people about the importance of disaster preparedness. In-spite of this, we keep talking and making available information on our web site in addition to printed materials that guide animal care-givers through the process of creating their own disaster plan. Whenever possible, Staff, coordinators, and volunteers set up educational booths in their communities as part of our Community Outreach program.
To find out how you can develop a disaster plan, click on Being Prepared.
If you are looking for a speaker to talk about animals and how they are impacted by disasters, click on Speaker Information.
For reference letters sent to Noah's Wish by organizations we have worked with during training and disasters, click on Reference Letters.
►► Resource For Emergency Response Agencies
Recognized as experts in the field of managing animals during disasters, Noah's Wish is frequently approached by people in emergency management to assist them in creating an animal component in their community disaster plan. This is a service we gladly make available, as each community that we work with prior to a disaster occurring increases the chances that more animals will survive when something does happen. Noah's Wish is also available to participate in city, county, state, and federal mock disaster drills.
During disasters Noah's Wish can provide emergency management with a professional, trained, and experienced management team. Our team can provide supervision of convergent volunteers and oversee the day-to-day operation of a temporary animal evacuation shelter. We are prepared to do this 24 hours a days, seven days a week, for up to one month. If necessary we can also coordinate the in-field rescues of abandoned, lost, and stranded animals.
So often, local animal organizations cannot adequately respond to a disaster on their own so that is why the services of Noah's Wish are needed. This is not because these groups do not want to help. In most cases they do, but more often then not it is just not possible for them to do it on their own. The biggest challenge they face is an insufficient number of staff and volunteers to run a relief operation that may last for weeks. Unfortunately, there is not an animal shelter in this country that has an over abundance of staff and during a disaster these numbers may decrease because staff may personally be impacted by the disaster and unable to do their job.
In addition, if a community has never experienced a major disaster or it has been a long time since one has occurred, then naturally shelter staff will not have the experience necessary to successfully manage the disaster. There are a lot of similarities to managing animals on an everyday basis and during a disaster, but there are also a lot of things that make the two experiences different. Expecting a team of inexperienced individuals to manage a disaster relief effort is not fair to them and it is not fair to the animals. If disasters are used as training exercises then it is the animals that pay with their lives when mistakes are made and that is not acceptable.
The other limitation that shelters face is not having enough space to house evacuated animals. At any given time almost every animal shelter in this country is full. If you start to bring in animals that have been evacuated, there ends up being no place to put them. That is why Noah's Wish is prepared to set up temporary animal evacuation shelters. It is our feeling that it is not fair to euthanize animals that were in a shelter prior to a disaster to make room for evacuees. Noah's Wish can prevent this, and the subsequent negative publicity, by housing pre-disaster animals at another location, freeing up space in the permanent shelter for evacuees.
The cost for the services of Noah's Wish are free. How we fund our operation is through donations we receive during disasters and support from our members as well as grants from corporations and foundations.
For emergency management personnel interested in learning how we can assist you with your animal needs, please give us a call or send us an e-mail.
Noah's Wish: Who We Are