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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


More than a year ago I wrote an article for the Huffington Post on The Future of Sustainable Aviation.  All commercial and military aircraft today burn some form of jetfuel, refined from petroleum.  Experimental flights have used biodiesel, and the speculation is that biofuel from algae looks the most promising.  More recently, the Defense Advanced Projects Agency had wonderful things to say about jetfuel from algae.

But for the next few decades we appear to be stuck with conventional air travel, where the two primary commercial jetliner manufacturers are Boeing, #1, and #2 Airbus.  The largest airliner is the Airbus 380:
The plane holds more than 500 passengers.  Several airline companies now fly this behemoth.  Watch a clip on You Tube.

Embraer from Brazil is #3, with smaller planes.  Russia produces Ilyushin and Tupolev models used by "their" partners.  All other companies only are involved with smaller aircraft

However, both China and Japan have entered the picture.  China hopes to produce 2000 of the 3000 commercial planes they plan to buy over the next two decades.  More so, they have an expressed vision to break the Boeing/Airbus duopoly.  Two weeks ago China unveiled a mock-up of a 160 passenger C919 to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has begun making parts for a regional jet, challenging Bombardier and Embraer.  Mitsubishi has received 125 orders for delivery beginning in 2012.  Mitsubishi already builds the carbon-fiber wings for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which is yet another nightmare for the American company.  Japan's ANA ordered 50 Dreamliners (below) in 2004.  Now, actual delivery could be delayed to as late as 2012.

Now, about that hydrogen jetliner I've been trying to stimulate for more than 30 years when I drafted that first hydrogen bill for Senator Spark Matsunaga, apparently, there is European interest (above) in a Mach 5 version.  But in the USA, maybe a black military scramjet program, at best, which means commercialization is generations away.  A few years after the Matsunaga hydrogen bill was introduced, there was a 1983 television movie, Starflight:  The Plane That Couldn't Land, featuring a hypersonic jetliner capable of a two hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney getting stuck in orbit and saved by a NASA space shuttle.  The American hydrogen scramjet:

Then, there is Rinaldo Brutoco's hydrogen dirigible.  The Hawaiian Hydrogen Clipper is capable of traveling at speeds up to, and maybe exceeding, 350 MPH.  A recent, and slow, entrant, is Seymourpowell's Hydrogen Clipper:

Every few months some small company or visionary floats a new air concept, but I do worry about Hawaii because we are the canary in the coal mine, for if oil shoots up to $200/barrel, and stays there, we will be first to go into a prolonged economic depression, as tourism is our only real industry.  Planning began with the Matsunaga Hydrogen Act a third of a century ago, and certainly must start again today to find either a replacement for jetfuel or develop a commercial hydrogen aircraft.  I fear the worst.

The Dow Jones fell another 46 to 11,006, with world markets also dropping, Japan almost minus 2% to 9,937.  Gold surged up $20/toz to $1386 and petroleum is just under $84/barrel.  I've noticed recently that the price of oil and Japan yen to dollar numbers have been similar.  They are exactly the same today.


Monday, November 29, 2010


Every so often I just provide a few quick facts you can use at cocktail receptions or over dinner.  Here are a few:

1.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) declared that Peak Oil will occur in 2035, a quarter century in the future.  They say oil should cost $100/barrel in 2015.  (The Chicago Mercantile Index has oil at $90/barrel in December of 2015.)  What is particularly interesting about this 2035 date is that Wikipedia indicates that the IEA said Peak Oil (for conventional oil) was reached in 2006. 

2.  M. King Hubbert in 1956 predicted that the U.S. would reach peak oil in a decade.  He was right. He also speculated that the world would reach this point between 1995 and 2000.   "Expert" prognostications range from "we have already reached Peak Oil" to 2035 and beyond.

2.  According to the IEA, China overtook the U.S. last year as the largest energy consumer, and in 2035 will use about twice the amount as the U.S.  Doesn't this scare you?

3.  Saudi Arabia has the largest petroleum reserve.  Canada is #2 with their tar sands.  The U.S. imports more oil from Canada than any other country.  Two to three times the carbon dioxide is emitted from the use of tar sand oil compared to standard petroleum.  This should scare you even more.

4.  Gasoline is really cheap in Qatar:  less than a buck a gallon.  However, the price in the U.S. is also quite low because of the relatively low tax we pay (from the 23September2010 Economist):
If you were wondering how the Mexican tax can be negative, the country subsidizes gasoline prices.  What confuses me is that the price of gasoline today in Mexico is around $3/gallon, around the same as the USA. (Click on state symbol in the "Gasoline Prices" box on the right to get the U.S. average.)

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 40 to 11,052, with world markets also all down.  Shanghai dropped an additional 3%.  Gold dropped $7/toz to $1366 and oil is at $85/barrel.


Sunday, November 28, 2010


This is a Sunday, so let me just groove into nostalgia and present the #1 song of 1960.  The problem is that the list depends on the compiler.  There is no consistency.  You can click on the top ten for each site below and/or on the You Tube performance:

1.  The Theme From "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith  (Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee from the movie.  Contrary to rumors, Troy was not gay.)

1. Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin  (with wife Sandra Dee)

Here is a definite shock, though.  Remember how many of you scan the top ten of today and don't even know one song?  Well, if you're old enough, that is usually the case.  This week, though, Billboard has the top three albums as:

1.  The Gift - Susan Boyle (remember the #2 from Britain's Got Talent?)

2.  O Holy Night - Jackie Evancho (#2 from America's Got Talent)

3.  Loud - Rihanna (remember her beating by Chris Brown?)

But those are albums.  As to songs of today:

1.  Only Girl (in the World) - Rihana

2.  Raise Your Glass - Pink

3.  Like a G6 - Far*East Movement (first Asian group to make Billboard Top Ten)

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Saturday, November 27, 2010


One thing an around the world trip does is provide an opportunity to think about what I might want to do for the rest of my life.  About a decade ago I retired from the University of Hawaii, allowing me to publish three books (Book 1Book 2Book 3), write more than 80 articles for the Huffington Post and start a daily blog, all with a purpose to save Planet Earth and Humanity.

However, I'm wondering if I'm doing more harm than good by trying to save anything.  Perhaps I should be spending my precious few years left on something else more enjoyable and, maybe, even profitable.  Thus, I present a thought piece for your comments:

I first referred to Carnac the Magnificent in my HuffPo entitled, Evolution, Global Warming, Doomsday and the Afterlife. So again I turn to this sometime seer, say, around the Year 2012 with, "Sin, Religion, Natural Disasters and Cloning," which will of course puzzle Carnac, for there seems no connection on initial analysis.  
What I'm leading to is that I'm at a crossroad on what to do with the rest of my life. What dismays me is that all my pontifications on renewable energy and global warming have not made a difference. No, it's even worse, for I'm having a negative effect. Coal remains the fastest increasing energy source and initial installations of wind power in 2010 will drop.  
In the U.S., global warming concerns are actually decreasing. With the Republicans now controlling the House, it can only get worse. My earlier HuffPo on this subject garnered 40 comments, and what I've since observed has only reinforced my views. Thus, the Planet Earth portion of my efforts has failed, and miserably. Unfortunately, the Humanity part is no better. I've now posted four peace messages and the most recent one published a month ago drew all of 2 comments, and one was me. And, yes, world defense expenditures are increasing. If you add all this war spending of countries #2 through #18, this total would just about equal that of the USA, at $663 billion last year.  
The Cold War is over. North Korea and Iran will not provoke a world war. There is only a scattered rag-tag bunch of dangerous terrorists irritating us. A few billion well placed dollars should be able to sufficiently neutralize them. Just imagine the resultant $1.5 trillion/year instead applied by the new sustainable industrial complex toward wind turbines, solar power systems and next generation biofuels?  
Yes, foolish thinking, of course, further proof about why I'm wasting my time convincing no one of any importance. I might as well gain readers and make some money by maximizing readership. I've found, for example, that my recent blog excursions into sex and drugs doubled my pings. It has been documented that sex sells best. So, let me combine sex and drugs and call them SIN.  
Like Ying and Yang, SIN relates to RELIGION. Have you noticed some of these religious HuffPostings? They sometimes draw thousands of comments. Fire, brimstone, God, Sodom, Gomorrah...people flock. I'm initiating this personal review from the Netherlands, a country doing everything possible to stimulate a fatwa or invoke the ire of the Pope.  
Almost nine months ago I was in Amsterdam when I got an email request from the HUFFINGTON POST, asking me to submit an article on the tsunami coming to Hawaii. This was February 27 when that 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile. Interestingly enough, CNN constantly showed two live views of Waikiki Beach and Hilo Bay in Europe, so I could track what was happening in Hawaii. Many of my friends back home couldn't because they were forced to head for the hills. A few reading my HuffPo linked to my daily blog, and that day, the fewer than 100 readers I usually get daily jumped to more than 3,000. Yes, NATURAL DISASTERS draw people.  
But relevant to this posting, remember Sodom and Gomorrah above? Call it Mother Nature, or the will of God, but natural disasters are means by which He responds, I hear. Wonder what Chile and Haiti did to spite Him? If there is any reality to this line of thinking, Amsterdam and San out, you could be next.  
Finally, for good reason, my HuffPo article on cloning elicited 224 comments. To many, this is like playing God, thus there most definitely is a religious linkage, a subject matter that seems to weave through the most inflammatory of issues. So, to maximize interest, I should add CLONING to the topic areas.  
As renewable energy, climate change and peace are too, too boring, I wonder if I change my blog title from PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY to THE SIN, RELIGION, NATURAL DISASTERS AND CLONING POST, there will be an uptick in readership? To maximize clicks and minimize any potential for personal backlash, I can elicit pro bono contributions from provocative personalities. Hmm....  
Of course, there is a punchline. Carnac regains control, ponders, and asks: "What virtual newspaper has surpassed THE HUFFINGTON POST as the #1 web site? Yes, for my final decade of life I really should pursue something like The Sin, Religion, Natural Disasters and Cloning Post. Then gain, maybe not.

Any comments????


Friday, November 26, 2010


I'm home, and all is well.  Here are a few interesting photos in chronological order (click on the description to link to the posting of that photo):

Maria on Hokkaido and Sapporo ramen

My best lunch in the Orient at Bizbaz, Seoul, Korea

 Zhang Fengxi (worth a click on her performance), Shanghai, China

Jinping and Liyuan Xi, the next president of China and next first lady (of course, you need to also read about my Huffington Post article message to Xi)

Bratwurst and beer in Zurich

Kilimanjaro Beer, Tanzania (the mountain is behind the tree and clouds)

Eye of the Giraffe, Nairobi, Kenya

I'm standing on the Equator, surrounded by Masai Warriors, Kenya

I participated in a gathering to consider the future of Qatar.  My Huffington Post article suggests that Qatar can show the way towards sustainability.

Smart Shop in Amsterdam (guess what they sell???)

Last NORTCO Supper, Potomac, Maryland

Dinner with the Laings, Austin, Texas