Gas prices may be plunging right now, but that hasn't stopped the carmakers at the 2015 North American International Auto Show from competing to show off their new hybrid and all-electric cars. The auto show expects more than one million people to come to Detroit, Michigan to see the 45 new vehicles on display from Jan. 12-25.
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com
And many of those new vehicles are hybrid and electric. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors, doesn't feel threatened by the competition, according to CBS, because the trend is toward electric. Musk said, "the price of gasoline at any one time is irrelevant." Electric vehicles are the future.
Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, said yesterday on Marketplace, "It's almost inevitable that the car of the future is going to be electric, and it's going to drive itself." As more and more states follow California's lead in mandating that a certain percentage of their vehicles are electric, electric vehicles will really take off. And "One of the benefits of electric vehicles is that electricity can be made out of any energy source," so, as we transition more and more to renewables, electric vehicles will come from cleaner energy sources.
Here's a list of 10 top electric cars from the Detroit Auto Show:
1. Volkswagen e-Golf
Volkswagen's new electric car goes up to 83 miles for less than $3 with zero-tailpipe emissions. And it's making waves in the auto industry: it won the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
2. Honda FCV
The FCV is a fuel cell electric vehicle. This zero-emission hydrogen powered car has a 300+ mile range and can recharge in under five minutes. It's expected to launch in the U.S. following a projected March 2016 introduction in Japan.
3. Tesla S
The Tesla S has had some production delays and runs just over $70,000, but Musk is confident the price will go down once it's mass-produced. Tesla has only sold 30,000 Model S cars this year, but Musk hopes to sell 500,000 annually of this all-electric sedan by 2020. Tesla announced in September that it's planning to build a giant “gigafactory” outside of Reno, Nevada to manufacture the batteries that power the cars. Tesla is planning to release the Model III in 2017, which will offer a more affordable $35,000 price tag.
4. Smart Electric Car
With a convertible option, this tiny car has an impressive government MPGe rating (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) of 122 miles in the city and 93 on the highway.
5. BMW i8
The car was first introduced as a plug-in hybrid sports car. Now the 2015 model is electric with a range of 15-23 miles and a MPGe rating of 76. Deliveries to U.S. customers began in August 2014.
6. Chevy Bolt
General Motors wants to build on the success of its Chevy Volt hybrid with this new all-electric car. The carmker estimates it will go 200 miles on a single charge and cost $30,000. The Bolt is still a concept car, but it's debuting a 2016 update to the Volt hybrid.
7. GAC Group's Witstar
Chinese auto maker GAC Group's Witstar is a concept car that will be autonomous (able to drive itself) and electric. The makers say it will have a Chevy-Volt like setup with a total electric range of 62 miles or more.
8. Audi A3 e-tron
The 2015 Audi A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles on electricity alone or cover 550 miles with gas.
9. Mercedes-Benz F015
This carmaker known for its luxury sports cars is going electric. It's prototpye, dubbed Luxury in Motion, is electric and autonomous. Since the car drives itself, it has a "variable seating system with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration." Mercedes is also showcasing its C350 plug-in hybrid, which is expected to go on sale in March this year.
10. Volvo XC-90 hybrid plug-in
The Swedish automaker offers an SUV hybrid with a MPGe of 59. Volvo says it will go up to 25 miles on electric and can charge in two and a half to six hours.
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A supervisor at the Department of Energy's Office of International Climate and Clean Energy told staff to stop using the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" and "Paris agreement" in any official written communications, according to POLITICO's sources.
Senior officials apparently told DOE climate office staff that the climate-related words would cause a "visceral reaction" with Energy Sec. Rick Perry, his immediate staff and the department's White House advisers.
While a department spokeswoman denied any official language ban in the climate office or in the department as a whole, POLITICO's sources said that there is a general sense among DOE employees that such hot-button terms should be avoided in favor of words like "jobs" and "infrastructure" in light of the Trump administration's anti-environmental agenda.
Environmental groups have balked at POLITICO's report. The Sierra Club noted that the DOE only just emerged from a storm of controversy regarding climate change after its staff purge during the transition period.
"What exactly is this office supposed to call itself now? The international C****** office?" Sierra Club Climate policy director Liz Perera said. "Ignoring the climate crisis will not make it go away, will not create jobs in the booming clean energy economy, and will not make our country great."
"Rick Perry lied to Congress about climate science to get a job at an agency he wanted to eliminate, and he has started things off with a blatant dereliction of duty. The only place the climate is not changing is in the minds of those in the Trump administration," Perera added.
The former Texas governor told Congress during his confirmation hearing that "science tells us that the climate is changing, and that human activity, in some manner, impacts that change." In a 2011 presidential debate, Perry famously forgot the name of the agency he would abolish.
"I went vegan after watching documentaries like 'Before the Flood' and 'Cowspiracy,'" Erin said, but she questioned conflicting reports on the amount of global emissions caused by animal agriculture.
Nye explained that it can be difficult to peg the exact amount of greenhouse gases that come from cows, sheep and goats. However, he said that as the human population has surged along with the number of animals raised for food, "it's very reasonable that we're creating a tremendous amount of extra methane that wouldn't otherwise be there in the atmosphere, and that is causing global warming and climate change to happen more rapidly than [it] would otherwise."
Nye said that his diet "is becoming increasingly vegetarian," and might soon be following her lead.
No one thought that Lamar "my career has been funded by fossil fuels" Smith was going to put on an unbiased hearing on climate science. After all, the minority Democrats on Smith's House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology published a report this month, Much Ado About Nothing, which details Smith's "crusade to attempt to undermine and invalidate" Tom Karl's pause-buster study. (Yet Smith still can't get NOAA's name right)!
Although little was said about Karl, Wednesday's House Science Committee hearing with Drs. Michael Mann, John Christy, Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr. was a quite a circus. Which is exactly why someone who's been through Smith's nonsense, Dr. David Titley, wrote for the Washington Post that scientists should boycott these biased hearings.
That would be nice, if that meant that Smith would stop holding them. But since he shows no sign of slowing his inquisition, someone needs to show up to set the record straight and push back on all the denial packed into the hearing like so many clowns in a tiny car.
And that's exactly what Dr. Mann did, successfully walking the tight-rope between correcting other witnesses and coming off as a jerk. Most notably and most clearly getting under Smith's skin, Mann cited a recent Science Magazine article describing Smith's comments at the Heartland conference. Mann read the killer quote about how Smith "acknowledged that the committee is now a tool to advance his political agenda rather than a forum to examine important issues facing the U.S. research community."
In response, Lamar Smith, the esteemed media critic who cited the Daily Mail's bogus Bates story, who has written for Breitbart and said that people should get their news directly from Trump, claimed that Science Magazine is "not known as an objective magazine." As Emily Atkin of the New Republic aptly put it, "The fact that the chairman of the House Science committee doesn't consider that source 'objective' is ACTUALLY MIND BLOWING."
Smith, with pie on his face, also demonstrated his media savvy by citing the never-correct editorial page of the Wall Street Journal on heat records. This opinion is about as solid as cotton candy and has been contradicted by the paper's own reporting.
Speaking of dumb Wall Street Journal opinions, Mann also did a nice job of calling out Pielke's hypocrisy for whining in the Journal about being harassed, after sending threatening letters to Mann and Kevin Trenberth's bosses when they criticized his awful FiveThirtyEight piece that needed correction.
Also needing correction was John Christy, who trotted out his error-laden graph of models and observations. Again, Mann highlighted the foolishness of his fellow witnesses by pointing out how others have corrected Christy many times on the satellite record vs. the thermometer record. And more importantly, he cited the recent research that totally debunks Christy's false contention that models overestimate warming.
And then there's Judith Curry who, true to form, was there to talk about uncertainty (inappropriately). Again Mann was prepared, pointing out that uncertainty is actually a reason to take stronger action sooner. Uncertainty cuts both ways: while Curry and the GOP would have you believe maybe warming won't be so bad, it could actually be much worse than we fear.
Curry also bristled at being referred to as a "climate science denier" in Mann's written testimony. That's silly: She's teamed up with the Kochs, questioned the validity of the endangerment finding and said in her opening statement that it's time to "make the debate about climate change great again." So it is safe to say that "Judith Curry is absolutely a climate denier."
And she proved it in the hearing, denying the science and claiming we don't know how much is human versus natural. In 2014, NASA's Gavin Schmidt laid out the case for Curry that our best estimate is that humans are causing 110 percent of warming. (It's more than 100 percent because natural forces and particulate pollution cause cooling, which CO2 is overcoming to cause warming).
Other odds and ends that made an appearance include the 1998 documents showing Big Oil's plan to inject uncertainty into the climate debate, the long-debunked 70s cooling myth and Smith's tired denial of the consensus.
So like any good circus, there were plenty of clowns, people lion, tired grr-causing myths and bear-ly believable statements.
Here's the full hearing:
A major natural gas leak caused parts of Providence, Rhode Island to shut down Wednesday night.
The leak, which shut down Interstate 195 and city streets for several hours, was caused by a ruptured high-pressure gas line near a National Grid take station plant at Franklin Square around 8:15 p.m.
Local witnesses reported "a loud sound of rushing air" and "a faint smell of natural gas" coming from the Allens Ave. plant.
According to The Providence Journal, a dramatic scene unfolded in the area:
"The break in the underground pipe caused havoc for a large portion of Wednesday night. Frustrated motorists were forced to take detours off a jammed Route 195 and National Grid workers scrambled to shut down the gas, which was escaping with such force that witnesses said it sounded like a jet engine. The roar continued for several hours."
Emergency vehicles swarmed the scene and nearby businesses had to evacuate.
Providence Public Commissioner Steven Pare described the leak as "highly explosive" and said "we have to keep any ignition source away from this leak" at around 9:35 p.m.
There were no reported injuries and the leak has been contained. Interstate 195 reopened around 11 p.m. and the affected streets reopened around 5 a.m. Thursday.
Officials said during a news conference that mechanical equipment failure lead to the leak.
Danielle Williamson, a spokeswoman for National Grid, told Rhode Island Public Radio that roughly 50 customers lost service and technicians have been fixing the leak since early Thursday morning.
Williamson explained that restoring gas takes longer than restoring electricity because "technicians have to go to from home to home, business to business and relight appliances that go into the homes or businesses."
National Grid is trying to determine what exactly caused the leak, Williamson added.
Scientists have been seeing mysterious green ice spread across the Arctic floor since 2011. Upon further inspection, they realized it was blooming phytoplankton, a very rare occurrence in this harsh environment.
It was thought that this region was too dark for phytoplankton to bloom. The ice is usually so thick that it reflects incoming rays, starving out any possible photosynthesis. But, a team of researchers from Harvard University found that rising temperatures due to climate change are causing the ice to wear so thin that phytoplankton are thriving and majorly disrupting the food web.
"What we found was that we went from a state where there wasn't any potential for plankton blooms to massive regions of the Arctic being susceptible to these types of growth," Chris Horvat, lead author of the study and Harvard graduate student, said.
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, concluded that as ice retreats, the sun is able to beat down on the open water, spawning huge phytoplankton blooms. The plumes attract fish, and the fish attract mammals, which ultimately attract indigenous hunters.
"The meter decline in sea ice thickness in the Arctic in the past 30 years has dramatically changed the ecology in that area," Horvat said. "All of a sudden, our entire idea about how this ecosystem works is different. The foundation of the Arctic food web is now growing at a different time and in places that are less accessible to animals that need oxygen."
Just 20 years ago, the ice was still thick enough that only 3 to 4 percent of it was susceptible to blooms. But, now, a staggering 30 percent of the ice is melting off in the summer months. This doesn't just affect phytoplankton, but larger mammals who need oxygen to survive. Habitat destruction at this level is unbeknownst to scientists and it will take further observations to monitor and measure the true impact on the ecosystem.
"The decision is a major blow to Exxon's efforts to distract from the valid investigations into whether the company lied to the public and its investors about the dangers of global warming," Jamie Henn, 350.org strategic communications director, said.
"Instead of coming up with more bogus legal maneuvers, Exxon should comply with the Attorneys General requests, including handing over Tillerson's secret 'Wayne Tracker' emails."
In an effort to distract from the Attorneys General investigation into if the company lied to its shareholders and the public about its knowledge of global warming, ExxonMobil had filed a complaint asserting that the investigation against it was a politically motivated conspiracy designed to "silence" it.
Despite his obvious sympathy to the oil giant, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade was forced to admit in a decision this afternoon that Exxon's complaints against the Attorneys General should be transferred out of Texas to the Southern District of New York because "a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred" in New York City.
As part of its complaint, ExxonMobil had issued a subpoena to 350.org in December in an attempt to gain access to the organization's emails. 350.org promptly filed a motion to quash the subpoena and issued a statement asserting our First Amendment rights to speak out and advocate for the public interest. That motion is currently pending in the Southern District.
Wednesday's decision is a blow for Exxon, who had obviously hoped to fight the Attorneys General on their home turf in Texas rather than comply with the investigation. The announcement comes just days after the embarrassing revelation that while CEO of the company Rex Tillerson used a secret email alias "Wayne Tracker" to discuss climate change and other sensitive issues.
"The public deserves the truth about what Exxon Knew," Henn said. "The company is arguing we want to silence them, but it's just the opposite: We want them to speak clearly and honestly about their track record of climate denial so we can get to work solving the problem. Instead of continuing to follow the Big Tobacco playbook of deceit and deception, Exxon should come clean and own up to the damage it's caused."
350.org will keep up pressure on ExxonMobil to comply with the existing investigations, as well as advocate for more Attorneys General to launch their own inquiries into what Exxon knew.
"With Rex Tillerson now guiding our international climate policy as Secretary of State, this case is more important than ever," Henn continued. "If Tillerson used a secret email to discuss Exxon's climate coverup, that would turn out to be an absolute bombshell. We could be on the verge of seeing an acting Secretary of State getting pulled into a fraud investigation. And this isn't just any old fraud: Exxon's crimes are on a planetary scale."
Drinking wine is like a U-shaped curve. A little bit is ok; a little more is bad news. For women, wine can be especially damaging. Why? Increased alcohol load means your liver can't metabolize estrogen well. Increased estrogen in the body can lead to breast cancer. Drinking just one glass of wine a day increases your breast cancer risk by 40 percent.
So, What is the Verdict?
Occasionally enjoying a glass of wine can be part of a healthy diet but only in moderation. Red wine, for example, contains resveratrol, which naturally protects and improves your body's mitochondrial function through its effects on special master aging genes. But make sure you enjoy only the best quality wine out there. I recommend Dry Farm Wines for the best quality and highest integrity wines.
Remember … mitochondria are the part of your cells that create energy. So, supporting healthy development and sustaining them is super important. But as stated above, increased consumption can tax your liver, leading to negative side effects.
For a less harmful and more effective way to support healthy mitochondria, I recommend sticking to these tactics:
- Exercise regularly and incorporate a mix of different types of exercise. Interval training increases the efficiency and function of mitochondria, while strength training increases the number of mitochondria.
- Eat whole, real, colorful plant foods which are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect mitochondria. Include 8 to 12 servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds every day.
- Supplement with nutrients that protect mitochondria and boost energy—such as: acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl-cysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol and magnesium aspartate.
- Increase omega-3 fats. These help to build your mitochondrial membranes.
The final word here is that we need to think of alcohol as a recreational treat. If you drink alcohol, I suggest you limit consumption to one glass, up to three times a week. Remember: One drink equals 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer. And again, quality makes all the difference. For the best quality organic wines check out Dry Farm Wines.
The conservative and libertarian think tank has sent out 25,000 copies of the organization's book, Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, and an accompanying 10-minute DVD to 25,000 science teachers this month, according to a Frontline report. The book argues that climate change is not settled science.
Katie Worth, who authored the Frontline report, called the effort a "massive propaganda campaign by the nation's leading climate change skeptical think tank."
The Heartland Institute, which has received funding from polluting industries such as Exxon and the Koch family, rejects the scientific community's widespread consensus that human activity causes climate change.
The organization plans to send the materials to another 25,000 teachers every two weeks until every public-school science teacher in the nation has a copy, Heartland president and CEO Joseph Bast said.
This means the book and DVD could end up in the mailboxes of more than 200,000 K-12 science teachers in the country. The campaign began in mid-March.
Frontline also published a cover letter of the materials from Lennie Jarratt, project manager of Heartland's Center for Transforming Education, who asks that the teacher "consider the possibility" that climate science is not settled.
The 2015 book is coauthored by Drs. Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter and S. Fred Singer, who have been heavily involved in the "debate" over global warming.
Here are some tidbits about the authors:
- According to DeSmog, Idso believes that "CO2 is not a pollutant" and is the chairman and former resident of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, which has a mission is to "separate reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change."
- Carter, who passed away last year, was an Australian marine geologist and a paid climate change denier, SourceWatch noted. He once asserted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has not found evidence that global warming was caused by human activity.
- Singer, a former space scientist and government scientific administrator, founded the Science & Environmental Policy Project in 1990, a 501(c)(3) "educational group" focusing on global warming denial, according to DeSmog. Idso and Singer helped develop the Heartland Institute's "Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. Singer said in Jan. 2016 that "the real threat to humanity comes not from any (trivial) greenhouse warming but from cooling periods creating food shortages and famines."
The letter directs teachers to visit Izzit.org to access an online guide to using the DVD. Izzit.org is a "right-wing advocacy organization" that provides free educational videos to U.S. educators and homeschoolers.
The National Center for Science Education, an Oakland, California nonprofit that monitors climate change education in classrooms criticized the mailing campaign.
"It's not science, but it's dressed up to look like science," NCSE executive director Ann Reid told Frontline. "It's clearly intended to confuse teachers."
Climatologist Michael Mann also tweeted that the Heartland Institute is trying to "indoctrinate children with climate denial propaganda."
Bast, Heartland's president, said that some teachers have appreciated the information and even asked for a Heartland speaker to visit a class.
However, many science teachers have not welcomed the campaign.
As Frontline wrote:
Lori Baker, a sixth-grade science teacher at North Putnam Middle School in Roachdale, Indiana, found the package in her school mailbox and was dismayed by its contents. "I read quite a bit of the book, actually, and it was extremely frustrating. It's an attempt to sound science literate, but there's very little actual data," she said.
Baker pointed to the first paragraph of the foreword, written by Marita Noon, executive director of Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy, a nonprofit and lobbying group that advocates for the use of fossil fuels. In it, Noon writes that Obama's description of climate change as the greatest threat facing mankind is "laughable" at a time when "ISIS is beheading innocent people."
"That as a foreword to something claiming to be scientific is pretty shocking," said Baker.
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