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Saturday, January 5, 2013

HYDROGEN, HAWAII, MALALA, ELEPHANTS AND TUNA

In case anyone was wondering what happened to my renewable energy review series, it will continue next week.  Today, I will provide insights into recent news, starting with the future of aviation, Hawaii's greatest  need:


1.  A 20-ton lifting capacity Aeroscraft rigid airship was tested, with funds primarily from the Department of Defense.  The ultimate 500-ton ship lifted by helium should fly at speeds up to 140 MPH.  My Huffington Post article on The Future of Sustainable Aviation touched on this form of transport.  Unfortunately, the fuel for this craft will continue to be fossil liquids.

However, there is also Rinaldo Brutoco's (right) H2 Clipper (I like to think the H2 also stands for Hawaii Hydrogen, as shown below), capable someday for bringing tourists to Hawaii from the West Coast.  Here are some details.  Peter Hoffmann of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter reported on the H2 Clipper in October of this year.  Because this craft will fly up to 350 MPH, the flight would only take eight hours.  You say, isn't hydrogen dangerous?  Well, there was the Hindenburg.  On the other hand, recent studies have shown that, not hydrogen, but certain design features which can be overcome, were responsible.  Further, this gas would power the fast dirigible and also transport hydrogen produced by our geothermal energy fields, wind energy farms and ocean thermal energy conversion plantships to the mainland.  Thus, someday we might become an energy exporting state.

As Hawaii is so dependent on tourism, we absolutely need to find a replacement for the jetliner because when oil prices shoot past $150/barrel someday, we will be screwed, and enter into a prolonged economic depression.  Brutoco's concept (left) is our best hope for long-term progress.  Now that Senator Dan Inouye is no longer around, though, I fear Hawaii becoming a bit player in this development, at best.


2.  The Honolulu Star Advertiser featured headline on the front page today said:


I got news for you.  No one is on the Appropriations Committee in either house.  That's terrible.  Energy, Commerce, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Indian Affairs are all authorization committees.  They are close to useless.  You need to be on the Appropriations Committee to insure that your chairman inserts your pork into the final report.  Not only has Hawaii lost seniority, we are on the wrong committees.  The most disappointing of all is Brian Schatz, our senior senator, not replacing Senator Dan Inouye on that committee.  In a word, Hawaii could well be double-screwed.

3.  Malala Yousufzai was released from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.  She miraculously survived that assassination attempt by the Pakistan Taliban, and at the age of 15, could well gain the Novel Prize later this year.  She needs to return for, get this, cranial reconstruction, so all is not yet well.  While she was in the hospital, the only request she had of her father was to bring to the hospital her textbooks.  The Pakistanian government gave him a job as an attaché in their United Kingdom embassy, so she should be safer there than at home.

4.  Was this a landslide?  The final Electoral College tally showed an Obama victory over Romney of  332-206.  I suspect our tax money is being used to pay for this useless formality, and should be discarded.  I'll have a posting soon on a proposed National Constitutional Convention, so we can fashion a mid-course correction for our government.  Items like the second amendment and term limits on Congress should also be re-addressed.  A lot has changed in more than two centuries.  Oh, by the way, the 2008 Obama's campaign just got fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for irregularities.  Why did it take so long>  Recall??  I wonder how much the hit will be in 2012?  That's our President in home state Hawaii this week with his obligatory Hawaii shave ice.

5.  Remember my October posting on Ivory Hunters?  Hong Kong just seized 2,900 pounds of ivory, said to come from 800 dead elephants.  40 tons were re-captured in 2011 alone, representing 22,000 dead elephants.  Just think about those tusks that passed through the system, and the elephants that had to be massacred.  And, no, these assassins cannot tranquilize and just cut off the tusks like Florida stone crabs (where the claws are taken off and the crustacean tossed back into sea because there is limb regrowth), for they are needed for survival.  There are now around half a million elephants in Africa and a tenth that in Asia.


6.  Kiyoshi Kimura (in photo with the whole fish) paid $1.76 million for a 489 pound blue fin  tuna.  That's $3600/pound.  I thought I was extravagant when I bought a pound of chu-toro (same fish, which, arghh, is a threatened species) for all of $32, less than one-hundredth that of Kimura's.  Here are a couple more shots of this vulgarism:


It takes an ounce of flesh to make one sushi.  Thus, just these two must be sold for more than $450 for him to make a profit.  My whole Jiro lunch "only" cost $350...for twenty sushi and sake, with half a musk melon at the end.
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