US Fracking Bringing America Back into the Golden Age

With all of the recent press on alternative energy sources fracking and oil shale seem to have been put off to the side. While research of renewable energy sources is important currently oil shale is the most widely used energy source in America with the United Sates being the top oil producer. For a happy, healthy America we need to utilize the tools that we presently have which will enable us to move into a bright future. EIA estimates total U.S. gas production from 2012 to 2040 will increase 56 percent, with natural gas from shale the leading contributor.

Hydraulic fracturing is a combination of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, commonly referred to a “fracking”. After the well is drilled a mixture of water, sand, and trace additives are pumped into the well, the sand creates small fractures that leak out the oil. This is a method used to retrieve oil from deep within shale and other mineral deposits. This method is used to create new oil wells and to stimulate old wells to produce more oil.

Fracking has benefits to the United States such as increased trade leverage and monetary gains. We’re also seeing a hoard of benefits to the common wealth of America. Most states have been seeing great savings at the gas pump, a notable improvement from the all-time highs of 2012 and 2013. The most surprising benefit, gas bills have been dropping $13 billion per year in recent years. That’s an average of 200 dollars per American household. In some regions families are only saving 181 dollars, however some regions are gaining savings in excess of 432 dollars per person, per household. The money saved on gas goes into other areas of spending and re-stimulates the economy.

Incredibly, fracking has brought 2.1 million jobs to the United States to date. A final thought on fracking, horizontal drilling along with proper well construction and fracking water recycling can all help to minimize the environmental impact of fracking. With this industry booming America should take advantage of the boost its giving the economy and our pockets, meanwhile research and development of alternative energy resources will only increase the potential of our great country and aid to the effectiveness of our country as a whole.

Home-Grown Bean to Bar Chocolate Making Is Going Strong

Bean to Bar Chocolate differs from other kinds of chocolate as the bean to bar chocolate makers are involved in the whole chocolate making process from roasting to packaging, and the chocolate is made in small batches. Other chocolatiers may buy chocolate that has already been made or formed and then mold it into bars. The bean to bar chocolate making movement is basically a movement to make chocolate from scratch to provide a better chocolate experience for people to enjoy. The process of making chocolate normally starts with roasting top-quality cacao beans. Once they’re roasted, they are cracked and winnowed and then ground into chocolate liquor. By starting the chocolate-making process this way, these “chocolate artists” have much more control in the development of flavor in the chocolate bar. This is why bean to bar chocolate is known to have a much deeper, richer, and nuanced flavor than other kinds of chocolate.

After it is made into chocolate liquor, the chocolate is conched, meaning it is blended with other ingredients to sweeten it like sugar, flavor it like vanilla, or milk is added for milk chocolate. The chocolate is then refined for things like texture and then mixed and melted (or “conched”) at high temperatures. The chocolate is then tempered which is a process of cooling, warming, and then cooling it off again before other final ingredients are added (like nuts for example) and poured into molds and then cooled until it becomes solid.

The American Bean to Bar Chocolate movement is in full swing. It is not that different from what happened with wine making in America in the mid-twentieth century; a growing interest took hold on wines from the U.S. and California when wine-making techniques were improved. Today in New York, there are many great, home-grown bean to bar chocolate makers. The Mast Bothers are the most famous bean to bar chocolate makers from New York. Rick and Michael Mast began making chocolate in Brooklyn in 2007 and are considered pioneers in the bean to bar chocolate movement and symbols of success for artisanal chocolate in the Brooklyn food scene. Jacques Torres Chocolate in NYC now has five locations, and even with its success and recent growth their chocolates are still artisan-made. It was founded by master pastry chef Jacques Torres who grew up in France and in addition to selling bean-to-bar chocolate also sells champagne truffles, drinking chocolate, and other chocolate delights. Raaka chocolate in Red Hook, Brooklyn NY is also a great bean-to bar chocolate maker and makes chocolate by hand in micro-batches from virgin chocolate. Unlike bean to bar chocolate that is made from roasted cacao beans, Raaka’s chocolate instead takes high-quality cacao beans through the winnowing, grinding, milling and tempering stages without roasting them first. Cocoa Prieto and Sol Cacao are also well-known bean to bar chocolate makers based in New York.

Is Space Travel to Mars in the UAE’s Future?

In 2009, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its first fully government-owned satellite into space. Five years late, the UAE Space program was launched as well. This agency directs national space programs, creates space policy and regulation, and support the development of engineers and scientists. The UAE Space Agency recently joined as a member of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, the UAE now being the first Arab country to partake.

The program has joined many partners over the years, including it has been working with the National Space Program to encourage youth to become involved in space studies and to create opportunities for research on the International Space Station.

Recently, the UAE unveiled a new concept for a space program with plans to launch a new satellite. In addition to the satellite, it plans to send the first Arab unmanned probe to Mars. The plans are projected to be achieved by 2021. The probe that is expected to be launched on Mars by 2021 by the agency is named “Hope”. “Hope” is planned to circle Mars to collect data on the red planet’s atmosphere and surface features, including volcanoes and deserts.

Currently, approximately 75 Emirati engineers are assigned to the probe project. The agency is projecting twice as many to be working on the “Hope” project by 2020. Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s Ambassador to the United States, likens this project to American historic moments, stating “This is the Arab world’s version of president Kennedy’s Moon shot – it’s a vision for the future that can engage and excite a new generation of Emirati and Arab youth.” His words capture very well the essence of the atmosphere.

Such rapid growth in this space program is making the UAE quickly the Middle East’s leading nation in space. A recent partnership with France’s CNES space agency, and networking with NASA, are both supporting that theory. Looking at the timeline of space exploration in the Middle East, from the first satellite launches for telecommunication occurring in 2000, it is clear that the Middle East is growing rapidly in this area.

In particular, “Hope” brings just that to the UAE – hope, and a vision for a very advanced program in a relatively short amount of growth years. There is no doubt that space travel to Mars, with advanced space plans like the ones described, are in the UAE’s near future.

Special Concrete Could Melt Mounds of Snow

 Here’s a sight that will melt the heart of any post-blizzard commuter: Pavement that stays clear even as snow descends.

A special concrete mix, studded with electricity-conducting ingredients, could help airports and other places run on time during inclement weather — such as the weekend blizzard that paralyzed the U.S. Northeast.

So the Federal Aviation Administration is funding research to make this costly  conductive concrete more affordable.

The new formula being tested at University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses byproducts from the coal and steel industries to reduce costs 60 percent compared to earlier trials, according to professor of civil engineering Chris Tuan. The 200-square-foot patch has embedded steel rods attached to electrodes, he says, that connect to a 120-volt AC power source. The conductivity comes from “coke breeze,” a carbon byproduct of coal mining, and steel shavings that are considered industrial waste.

“We keep it barely above freezing … somewhere around 40 degrees,” Tuan says, noting it doesn’t take much heat to make the slab impervious to snow. “It doesn’t get hot at all.”

Some heated driveways and roads use a system of underground coils, or radiant heat, but Tuan says they provide uneven warming, with cold spots in-between the tubes.

“When you use conducting concrete, the entire concrete heats up,” he says. “There is no cold area.” He adds that his system is virtually maintenance-free, and takes only about 13 watts of energy per square foot.

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No More NYC Foam Ban: Good Riddance!

There has been a long standing debate on the use of foam products for all sorts of uses, in just about every city around the country, and a ton of them have actually gone as far as to ban the use of foam completely. New York City was one of the cities that went for an all-out ban on the use of such products, which caused a lot of debate, but there is great news, as the ban has officially been over turned.

This had caused a lot of problems for all sorts of people around the city, as many businesses use these types of products each and every day, which is great, as they are so cheap to purchase. When the New York foam ban went into effect, these businesses had no choice but to use alternative products, which ended up costing a lot more money. This was not good for anyone in the city, which is why it is so great that the ban has been reversed.

The other side of this ban was the fact that a lot of environmentalists complained that this type of foam was not able to be recycled and that the bulk of the products were winding up in landfills. The reason that this was such a huge problem, as a great deal of them argued, was the fact that polypropylene products do not break down for over five hundred years, meaning that the landfills were going to stay that way for a very long time.

However, foam absolutely can be recycled and in fact, there are all sorts of cities around the country that are focusing a great deal of their efforts on streamlining a process of recycling foam. Reversing the ban in New York City is great for the people in the city, as well as the environment and is a very promising decision that has a lot of people excited around the country.

There are still certain areas around the United States that have foam banned, but hopefully this decision will make other cities around the country think about reversing their bans on all sorts of foam products. The reality is that the use of foam is a great thing for all sorts of companies and industries out there, which is why it is such a positive thing that New York City has gone ahead and reversed their decision.

Oil Leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deep Ocean is Helping Marine Life Thrive

Oil in the ocean doesn’t sound like a good thing-especially after something like the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, though, researchers have found that life thrives above natural oil seeps in the form of phytoplankton.

The oil itself doesn’t seem to be helping the plankton. However, the low concentration of oil found above natural seeps isn’t kill them, either. In addition, it seems as if the turbulence from the rising oil and gas bubbles from below brings deep-water nutrients that the phytoplankton need to grow.

“This is the beginning of evidence that some microbes in the Gulf may be preconditioned to survive with oil, at least at lower concentrations,” said Ajit Subramaniam, one of the researchers, in a news release. “In this case, we clearly see these phytoplankton are not negatively affected at low concentrations of oil, and there is an accompanying process that helps them thrive. This does not mean that exposure to oil at all concentrations for prolonged lengths of time is good for phytoplankton.”

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Source: Science World Report

Recycle, Don’t Ban: Why Polystyrene Foam is the Future

The polystyrene foam used in many industrial processes is going to help make a difference in many different productions, but the foam is falling out of favor all over the world today. People want to ban polystyrene foam state by state, like a Montana foam ban that has been discussed, but it can be used for better things when it is recycled the right way. Recycling of the foam is simple, and it can be turned back into something that is going to be useful to future generations. Recycling is easy to do for many products, and the polystyrene can be recycled in centers made just for it.

The centers that are made to recycle the foam will take in the foam from any trash processing center, and the foam can be sold off to a company that is in need of the foam for its own production. This is going to help people who are in need of new raw materials, and the raw materials can be sold at a profit to the recycling center. This helps the people who are looking for ways to get the foam out of their communities, and it will provide a profit for the people who are putting together recycling plans for their communities.

Banning the foam from communities makes it very hard for these communities to do the right thing with their own environments, and the way that the recycling centers work helps to keep the foam off the streets and out of landfills. The foam is going to be used whether people want it to be or not, and recycling makes more sense for the environment overall.

The recycling centers are going to take up more of the foam because the foam is not going to landfills, and the landfills are going to biodegrade more quickly. This is a very important part of the process for taking care of the planet, and the people that want to ban the foam will be able to get past the foam. This is something that is going to help communities that want to make difference, and the recycling centers are going to help people when they need to put more jobs into the community.

Polystyrene foam is a big thing for people who want to take care of the planet, but the people that are trying to get better results need to get it off the streets using the recycling centers that can start up today.

Science – A Layman’s Overview

science workshops image

When you heard the word science what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It is a difficult subject in grade school and high school where you get an F. Kidding aside. You will remember dissecting a frog, burning a leaf using a magnifying glass directed at the sunlight, mixing chemicals, and many more. But what is it? How does it apply to a real life situation? Well, this my friend, can be mind boggling.

Let me explain it to you this way. For purposes of discussion, we will be talking about corn. The term hybrid has been long used way back over one and a half centuries ago in the 1930s when the country was tube_holder imagein the Depression. Hybrid corn was then marketed so extensively. Until now, corn has been considered as the most important crop to be grown in the U.S.

Scientists began to notice that when they start crossing two different inbreeds, the hybrid plant was even stronger compared to its parents. Let’s say, two inbreed parents – A and B is being crossed and another inbreed parents – C and D is also cursed. It will result to two hybrids, namely: AB and CD. Then, these two are going to be crossed in order produce one hybrid “ABCD”. This is called double crossing hybrids.

Today, approximately 99% of all the corn in the US came from a seed that is hybrid. The same thing is being used when it comes to other crops like soybeans, cotton, wheat, and peanuts among others.

Video of the Hybrid Corn Miracle

If you may have notice scientists did discover hybrid corn or crop over 150 years ago and why until now we are enjoying the benefits of it. We are able to have crops that are vigorous and can be harvested at a much shorter time. Even until today, scientists continue to find the answer in making crops grow much healthier without having pests lurking in them. Thanks to the use of biotechnology techniques. It has been used in order to find the means to make a crop resist pests.

What’s with science got to do with a corn? Well, for one, science has improved the development and production of corn in the country. For without the discovery of hybrid corn we will not be enjoying the pleasure of eating delicious corn today. It would be also difficult to grow and harvest this crop.