Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

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Technology and Words Changing First Nations – Right or Wrong?

25/08/2012

I was offered the opportunity to participate in an Ontario Power Authority initiative  – Giibimidowing Gidakiiminaan – Keeping, Respecting & Caring For Our Land Treaty #3 Conference – August 21 – 23, 2012 in Kenora, Ontario at which I jumped readily.  It was my opportunity to motivate, encourage & talk about possibilities – in renewables, but even beyond.

My dealings with First Nations, in the past, have taught me that I am but a stranger, an outsider to them.  How would I know anything about who they are or how they live?  Perception & reality are significantly different in my books.  However, I always make it a point to speak from the heart and this opportunity was no exception.

So off I flew to Thunder Bay where I met some of the other speakers and together we set off by car to Kenora, Ontario.

Trees, grass, water.  Clean air. True blue skies.  Not like the haze many have grown to become accustomed to in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sunset in Kenora, Ontario – beautiful, priceless

However, this area is not without its environmental – economical – technological – societal problems, quite the contrary.  Another type of unhealthy haze has been inflicted, and it is one that separates us huge concentration of southerners from the realities & truths of those living in the true north (which people in Kenora laugh and say they consider themselves in the south of the the north!).

Kenora, Ontario, some 5 hours drive from Thunder Bay – 3 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba, lies in Treaty #3 First Nations area.  Unfamiliar with Treaty #3 and its’ important historical significance in Canada?

“Treaty 3 was an agreement entered into on October 3, 1873, by the Ojibway Nation and Queen Victoria. The treaty ceded a vast tract of Ojibway territory, including large parts of what is now northwestern Ontario and a small part of eastern Manitoba, to the Government of Canada. Treaty 3 also provided for rights for the Métis and other Ojibway, through a series of adhesions signed over the next year.

It was the third in a series of eleven numbered treaties between the Crown and North American First Nations. Despite being the third of these treaties it is in fact more historically significant in that its text and terms served as the model for the remainder of the numbered treaties. Treaties 1 and 2 covered an area about the same size and in fact had to be amended to reflect some of the developments arising out of the negotiation of Treaty 3. At the time that it was negotiated it was anticipated that the terms of Treaty 3 would serve as a model for future treaties and would require the amendment of Treaties 1 and 2 [Letter from Minister of the Interior Campbell to Lieutenant-Governor Morris, 5 August 1873, Public Archives of Canada (“PAC”), RG10, vol. 1904].

Treaty 3 has particular historical significance because of the litigation that ensued between the Crown in Right of Ontario and the Crown in Right of Canada over the significance of the treaty and the respective roles of Canada and the provinces in relation to aboriginal peoples. The first of these cases is the St. Catharines Milling v. The Queen [(1888), 14 App. Cas. 65 (P.C.)] which dealt with the question of the ownership of lands subject to a treaty (a question that was decided in favour of the Province). The second, A.G. (Canada) v. A.G. (Ontario), [(1910) A.C. (P.C.)], dealt with the question of whether or not Ontario had to indemnify Canada for the expenses incurred in negotiating the treaty and the ongoing costs of fulfilling the treaty obligations. Canada lost this case as well with the Supreme Court of Canada and the Privy Council holding that Canada was responsible for Indian affairs and the welfare of Indians and that the treaty had been negotiated to achieve broad national purposes (such as the building of the transcontinental railway) rather than to benefit Ontario. The significance of these decisions is still a matter of discussion in the Canadian courts.

Treaty 3 is also significant as there exists a written record of the native peoples understanding of the treaty. This is known as the Paypom document. It is a series of notes that were written for Chief Powassin during the treaty negotiations, and documents the promises that were made to the First Nations people. The promises in the Paypom document differ in a number of ways from the printed version available from the Canadian government.” – wikipedia

As a result, First Nations has no trust in outsiders and their talk about this and about that.  Not just with this treaty, but with a number of ‘agreements’ and/or ‘contracts’ and/or ‘initiatives’, many First Nations takes the stance that others don’t live up to their end of the ‘bargains’.  This is not to say there are no First Nations people who develop trust or ally themselves with others, however, they do with much caution.  In either case, I don’t blame them.

Making a long story short, I spoke my presentation from the heart and managed to connect with many, like Willy – a 74 year old elder, who has been attending all kinds of meetings and gatherings about the community, “… since 1981.” he said.

“I’m not afraid of progress. But.  There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it.” he almost whispered at me, as his aged wise eyes looked at me, the breeze blowing about his straw coloured, long hair.

Willy, an Elder from Treaty #3 has been attending community meetings since 1981.

First Nations Treaty #3 has a number of issues that are affecting their communities, and in no small manner.

3 hydro electric dams stand at the centre of much controversy.  First Nations describe how the frogs have disappeared.  No longer do the sturgeon grow.  In September of 2011, Grand Council Treaty #3 filed an application for judicial review. Respondents are the Province of Ontario as represented by the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).  The main issue at the centre of this review is the Respondents failure to perform their “duty to consult” in good faith with First Nations.

“… the Ontario Energy Minister’s direction to the OPA to develop the Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI) without Aboriginal consultation. In question is the OPA’s development and implementation of the  HCI, the decision by OPA to enter into an HCI contract for existing hydroelectric generating facilities (Calm Lake, Sturgeon Falls, Fort Frances, Kenora, and Norman) in Treaty 3 territory with ACH Limited Partnership (ACH). As of May 2011, these dams are owned by Calgary based BluEarth Renewables Inc.” – GCT3  (Please read here for full text)

Sounds as though, once again, people are not living up to their ends of ‘bargains’ … and so the cycle continues.

How about the proposed ‘solution’ of dumping toxic nuclear waste into the communities up there?  (Click here for full text of story.)  Nuclear Waste Management was on the agenda for the discussions as well.  Their displays, which likely cost thousands and thousands of dollars, took a whole day to put up, I watched it.  They were complicated, showed large pictures of business people and were overwhelming, even for me.

In no way is this an effective way of communicating to First Nations … and again, the cycle continues.

There’s more.

In December of 2011, Treaty #3 launched an education lawsuit against the federal government – the reason? ” … a breach of their treaty right to education.”

Inexperienced teachers & disintegrating schools.  Yes, it’s real and not fixed, even if Mike Holmes has drawn attention to the appalling living conditions, as he did in his December 2011 CBC article entitled, “Stop building junk on reserves.”

And if that doesn’t get you, let’s just go deeper down the rabbit hole and talk about how shocking Pikangikum truly is.

If you have never heard of this place, you need to.

In 2000, this First Nation was given the horrible and terribly sad title of, “Highest Suicide Rate in the WORLD” (I used wikipedia as a reference, but that info is not complete & certainly paints a picture leaning toward female inhalant abuse. It’s way more than that, affecting all.)  And, it hasn’t stopped.

In fact, this area is especially worse than ever.

I met a local from the area who shall remain nameless, due to the sensitivity of this information.

In March of 2012, MacLean’s published a story called, “Living and dying in Pikangikum.”  While it does speak to the horrors of life up in the area, it surely isn’t giving up the whole picture.

Picture a home, barely a structure, empty. No beds, no appliances, nothing.  A First Nations woman, standing in the middle of it, with utter desperation in her eyes.

Where to get another $500.00 together for just one more tab of Oxycontin.

Yes, comfortable ladies and gentlemen, reading this online, having encountered this sad article somehow through the internet because you are able to.

One tab of Oxy goes for $500.00, usually split into 4 – so 1/4 tab per person at $125.00.

How about a mickey?  A mickey of alcohol is $250.00.

Who controls all this?  I won’t write it out loud, but they surely are not angels.

We should all be ashamed of ourselves, allowing such injustices to continue to First Nations.  In fact, one of the Elders, a ‘Grandma’ said,

“First it was smallpox.  Now this.  Why not just give them smallpox and be done with it.”

It is not right to have our eyes shut for us to this, or for us to shut our eyes to it ourselves.

So, if you didn’t know about all this, dig deep.

Go even deeper and talk to First Nations.  What?  You can’t or don’t know how to? That’s bull. Keeping us separate is an excellent way to keep the cycle of abuse going.  I have and no, I don’t always believe everything … whether it’s from the government or from First Nations.  But I have observed this now myself having been there and there is no denying that while technology can most definitely be used to improve the quality of all of our lives, it has also become apparent that it can also create great problems that cannot be swept under the rug: it’s as simple as having the power to transport in drugs and alcohol to remote locations and turn viable people into zombies walking around ghost towns, as some really evil people are capitalizing on the genocide of a people.

But don’t believe me.  As I said, go find out for yourself.  And if you do not find this sad, shocking, angering, then perhaps all is lost and we live in a soul-less, money loving people filled country.

I hope that some of you reading this can connect even more dots in between with the mind-bending and twisted way some of our communities are merely being given perceptions, words & stories that makes the “jobs & prosperity” buzz over resources & technologies sound so great.

If we have such wonderful communication technologies, how come we seem to have difficulty in communicating, educating, negotiating & consulting with First Nations?  If guns kill people, spoons are making Harper fat.

It is also my hope that heartfull, responsible people will step-up and champion the introduction of new ways that are right, to the benefit of our communities and the children of our future.

But what do I know?

OPA Conference for Treaty #3 – Youth & Elders Forum

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Wind Power Without Blades: Images of New Technology

22/09/2011

Wind Power Without Blades: Images of New Technology

22/09/11 via Discovery News – Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze. New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks. Resembling thin cattails, the Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving. The designers came up with the idea for the planned city Masdar, a 2.3-square-mile, automobile-free area being built outside of Abu Dhabi. Atelier DNA’s “Windstalk” project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition a contest sponsored by Madsar to identify the best work of art that generates renewable energy from a pool of international submissions.

The proposed design calls for 1,203 “stalks,” each 180-feet high with concrete bases that are between about 33- and 66-feet wide. The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.
“The idea came from trying to find kinetic models in nature that could be tapped to produce energy,” explained Atelier DNA founding partner Darío Núñez-Ameni.
In the proposal for Masdar, the Windstalk wind farm spans 280,000 square feet. Based on rough estimates, said Núñez-Ameni the output would be comparable to that of a conventional wind farm covering the same area.
“Our system is very efficient in that there is no friction loss associated with more mechanical systems such as conventional wind turbines,” he said.

Each base is slightly different, and is sloped so that rain will funnel into the areas between the concrete to help plants grow wild. These bases form a sort of public park space and serve a technological purpose. Each one contains a torque generator that converts the kinetic energy from the stalk into energy using shock absorber cylinders similar to the kind being developed by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Levant Power .
Wind isn’t constant, though, so Núñez-Ameni says two large chambers below the whole site will work like a battery to store energy. The idea is based on existing hydroelectric pumped storage systems. Water in the upper chamber will flow through turbines to the lower chamber, releasing stored energy until the wind starts up again.

The top of each tall stalk has an LED lamp that glows when the wind is blowing — more intensely during strong winds and not all when the air is still. The firm anticipates that the stalks will behave naturally, vibrating and fluttering in the air.

“Windstalk is completely silent, and the image associated with them is something we’re already used to seeing in a field of wheat or reeds in a marsh. Our hope is that people living close to them will like to walk through the field — especially at night — under their own, private sky of swarming stars,” said Núñez-Ameni.

After completion, a Windstalk should be able to produce as much electricity as a single wind turbine, with the advantage that output could be increased with a denser array of stalks. Density is not possible with conventional turbines, which need to be spaced about three times the rotor’s diameter in order to avoid air turbulence. But Windstalks work on chaos and turbulence so they can be installed much closer together, said Núñez-Ameni.

Núñez-Ameni also reports that the firm is currently working on taking the Windstalk idea underwater. Called Wavestalk, the whole system would be inverted to harness energy from the flow of ocean currents and waves. The firm’s long-term goal is to build a large system in the United States, either on land or in the water.

source: Discovery News, Alyssa Dangelis

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Extra Energy Can Have a Big Effect on Earth – Secret Lives of Solar Flares

19/09/2011

Sept. 19, 2011 via NASAScience: One hundred and fifty two years ago, a man in England named Richard Carrington discovered solar flares.

Secret Lives (sunspots, 200px)

Sunspots sketched by
R. Carrington on Sept. 1, 1859.
© R. Astronomical Society.

[more]

It happened at 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1st, 1859. Just as usual on every sunny day, the 33-year-old solar astronomer was busy in his private observatory, projecting an image of the sun onto a screen and sketching what he saw. On that particular morning, he traced the outlines of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of white light appeared over the sunspots; they were so bright he could barely stand to look at the screen.

Carrington cried out, but by the time a witness arrived minutes later, the first solar flare anyone had ever seen was fading away.

It would not be the last. Since then, astronomers have recorded thousands of strong flares using instruments ranging from the simplest telescopes in backyard observatories to the most complex spectrometers on advanced spacecraft.  Possibly no other phenomenon in astronomy has been studied as much.

After all that scrutiny, you might suppose that everything about solar flares would be known.  Far from it.  Researchers recently announced that solar flares have been keeping a secret.

“We’ve just learned that some flares are many times stronger than previously thought,” says University of Colorado physicist Tom Woods who led the research team. “Solar flares were already the biggest explosions in the solar system—and this discovery makes them even bigger.”

Secret Lives (splash, 558px)

Click to view a ScienceCast video about the late phase of solar flares. [Youtube]

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched in February 2010, made the finding:  About 1 in 7 flares experience an “aftershock.”  About ninety minutes after the flare dies down, it springs to life again, producing an extra surge of extreme ultraviolet radiation.

“We call it the ‘late phase flare,’” says Woods.   “The energy in the late phase can exceed the energy of the primary flare by as much as a factor of four.”

What causes the late phase? Solar flares happen when the magnetic fields of sunspots erupt—a process called “magnetic reconnection.”  The late phase is thought to result when some of the sunspot’s magnetic loops re-form.  A diagram prepared by team member Rachel Hock of the University of Colorado shows how it works.

The extra energy from the late phase can have a big effect on Earth.  Extreme ultraviolet wavelengths are particularly good at heating and ionizing Earth’s upper atmosphere.  When our planet’s atmosphere is heated by extreme UV radiation, it puffs up, accelerating the decay of low-orbiting satellites.  Furthermore, the ionizing action of extreme UV can bend radio signals and disrupt the normal operation of GPS.

SDO was able to make the discovery because of its unique ability to monitor the sun’s extreme UV output in high resolution nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  With that kind of scrutiny, it’s tough to keep a secret–even one as old as this.

The original research of Woods et al may be found in the Oct. 1, 2011, issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

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Vintage Hydro Electric Power Generation Video – Queenston Niagara Falls 1915

10/08/2011

Time travel into Ontario’s energy past as you get a glimpse of workers building the Queenston power house at the turn of the 20th Century. Vintage video from around 1915-1922. Amazing.

But what do I know?

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100 Years Ago: Media, Climate Change & Electricity

12/07/2011

How our earth has always and how it ‘lives’ in its own natural processes is something I cannot help pondering as I read this Washington Post article published in 1922.  Apparently the Arctic had “a radical change in climatic condition and hitherto un-heard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.” The seals were disappearing, fish disappeared (although others seemed to replace them), flora & fauna dramatically changed.

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/changing-artic_monthly_wx_review.png

I am reading practically the same today, almost 100 years later.  Nunavut, a territory of Canada, seems to have changed its flora & fauna now as well, as discussed in this article from CBC, July 11, 2011 => “Exotic Species Comes North to Nunavut” which to me, indicates insects are adapting as well as plants to earth changes.  As has similarly happened in all earth’s past history.

NOTHING EVER STAYS THE SAME.

I am not saying that humans are NOT responsible for climate change, however, it may not be exactly the way we think it is.  I was amazed to see this headline pop up, which is clearly indicative of people in power playing with climate change on a global scale almost one hundred years ago:

Man Deliberately Wants to Change Nature

And if that doesn’t grab you, how about experiments on children with high frequency electrical currents way back in 1912, with an introduction that praises how these children will improve mentally and physically.

High Frequency Electrical Currents to Improve Children Mentally & Physically

There are other countless articles that show how solar power, wind power, electromagnetic energy (thanks to little know GENIUS Tesla), fuelless engines (the Hendershot)  and other technologies were either lost, disrespected by patent offices or other.  That there have been many experiments on humans, climate & so much more.  The underlying feeling of these old writings demonstrates an eerily similar feeling to many articles of today. Only these have rebranded, renamed, regurgitated, regenerated to suit our present times.

It is my real belief that the technology we are permitted to use & see is well behind that what really exists in our world. Corporations & profit mongers in business & banking look for the bottom line, period.  JP Morgan took his funding away from Tesla because Tesla wanted free wireless energy for everyone. There was no profit in that during their period of time.  No profit off sun or wind. But wires made profit, coal, oil, gas …

There now exist solar, wind & other old technologies made new – along with a slew of political & economic policies across the world that have been geared for what is always the bottom line – profit.

It is my hope that the real people of the world, the ones who struggle, who work everyday just to make ends meet (90% of the population) might take the time to discover & educate themselves about the real possibilities of a cleaner world that serves the better interest of the global community as opposed to the self-serving interests of ‘greenwashing’ corporations, politicians, governments and the maddeningly manipulative & exploiting media.

But what do I know?

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