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OPOC and other good news

I've posted about OPOC engines over on peakoil_prep . They are a step in the right direction for making the fuel last, and making very light weight diesel engines. One respondent stated that they needed a diesel motorcycle to use their farm diesel otherwise the collapse of road maintenance would strand them completely, and its close to that now. Typically, diesel engines have a narrow power band, which makes them heavy because they need extra gears to make use of what they've got, and thus makes them more constant speed engines rather than variable as you require in a small vehicle. If the OPOC performs as claimed this may change things for diesel, but we'll have to see once there's a running model and its into actual vehicles where unbiased reviewers can describe it properly. In the scale of things, the OPOC, if it works and gets built everywhere, will reverse around 10% of the doom. Unlike the CEM, which few are bothering to make, the OPOC is coming at it from a "replace all the clunkers by bolting me to the engine mounts" model rather than "fantastic and new but buy my expensive software instead of an actual engine". If its not practical, its not a solution.

The other good news is that the summer on the West coast has been cooler than the last decade and resembles what I grew up with, including fog and cool ocean breezes. Combined with plenty of rain last winter, odds are good the drought here is over. I do hope that's the case.

To continue the anti-doomed mantra "Things are better than we thought", there is still no nuclear war going on, even with crazy people possessing nukes. The world we live in is still almost the same as it was in 2006, only with a higher unemployment rate, and a lot of unemployed people thinking about starting a small business instead of working for some multinational sleaze. There's still food on the shelves, and we don't have gasoline rationing yet. Probably in the future, but the changes are slower than most of us thought they'd be. So good for us.

Can Do!

It can be said that humans are the most adaptive species on earth. Even cockroaches are afraid of sunlight. We build tools to do the things we can't do with hand and feet. The Doomsters posted on Energybulletin just go ON AND ON about how we're all going to die off and they're full of dookie. Lots of smelly dookie. I encourage them to off themselves and personally verify if there's any truth to religion or not. Since they're so selfish they want the rest of us to die with them its probably for the best they go first. Or only. Ahem.

As for the rest of us, those more realistic about change and not so afraid, I have good news. Its a big world. Its getting bigger all the time. The prospect of advances in biofuels, particularly scaling up biodiesel producing algae is very exciting. The same with using crop waste for bioethanol. I think its pretty clear we'll have a dual-fuel future: biodiesel and ethanol. We'll also see more electric cars. A friend at work bought one a week ago. He loves it and is using it for his commutes. Hell of a thing for a college graduate from Colombia. The almost total lack of development of electric trams is disappointing but that just won't be paid for until AFTER there's no fuel. And you still have to deal with armpit stink in a land where water is pumped over mountain ranges (California). I happen to think the Motorcycle is going to be the next big thing. The Anti-SUV. It goes everywhere an SUV can go and gets 70 mpg doing it. And carries, typically, the same number of passengers: 1, its driver. Most SUVs end up as the commuter vehicle, the daily driver with a fuel to weight ratio of 30 gal./week per single passenger (the commuter). Compare to a motorcycle with the same commute distance and you're looking at around 2-3 gallons, a 10:1 improvement in efficiency. No stereo, though that can be retrofitted, and the air conditioning is the more traditional kind (wind), but if 50% of commuter drivers went to motorcycles instead of SUVs, we wouldn't have to import oil anymore. Consider that. Given enough time, they will. Not because they're forced or mandated, but because it will first be a way to give The Man(tm) the finger, and later because its more fun, and later still because its Practical. And practical is very important. Its practical because its easy to convert a motorcycle engine to run on E100 or E85, since you can lift the engine out with your two arms instead of needing a garage and $120/hr labor. You can do the conversion on top of your work bench or a couple blocks on the garage floor. Its not rocket science anymore. Things change, and its not the end of the world anymore, just another transition, one so slow we don't even notice we're changing from nervous SUV-paranoids to thrifty small car drivers. We pity the SUV driver now, thinking of fuel costs, and admire the small car driver instead of the other way around. The Doomers said this would never happen. They said there would be riots and Mutant Zombie Bikers and the Golden Horde surging out of the cities looking for plunder, crying "Avast me hearties! Thar be plunder in them thar suburbs!". Not so much.

I wonder how hard it will be to pass some kind of law denying imposition or enforcement of highway safety standards on special experimental vehicles, and then setting up the permits for those for $1 at the DMV with a minimum inspection to include running lights for night-time use and an emergency brake? I want to see hobbyists making cars with welders in their garages, going up against the stupid American motor companies, now bankrupt and fading, so we have some direction forward. There's also the matter of converting homes to better insulation, smaller windows that lose less heat, and use of natural heating and cooling (like heat pumps or just opening windows after a hot day to let the house cool down) instead of compressor driven air conditioning. In some locations that won't work but in many it will help a lot. In the long run we'll just adapt to the heat and learn not to let it bother us. I find the sort of people who say they'd happily go mad with a rifle rather than give up their SUV, their air conditioning, and their TV shows to be suicides we shouldn't stop.

Can you adapt to the present? You already have. Can you adapt to the future? You'll get there without paying too much attention. Only those who cling to the past have no hope for the future. The cheap oil is gone. We'll get by on what's left. Buy a motorcycle. Learn to ride. Give The Man(tm) the Finger!

Upsides to Collapsing EU

Here's the situation in the EU.

Greece is bankrupt. They need a bailout. If they get bailed out, it will destroy the EU due to the cost of bailing out them and the other half dozen failed nations who did the same thing but hid the problem a little longer. If they don't bail out Greece, they have to kick them out of the EU. Either way, Greece is facing high unemployment and high inflation, like Weimar Republic level collapse, and that gave us Hitler last time around. The Greek students have been rioting since they are getting completely screwed in this deal. They get the unemployment and the hyperinflation and the debts while their parents, who caused them, retire. Is this how parents show their contempt love, today? I'm starting to wonder. An Iraqi expat in Athens said "straight out of Iraq. It reminds me of all the shit we saw in Kirkuk." The protesters are angry. How far are we from actual civil war there? Who knows.

The serious problem here is the EU is either losing Greece (and probably the other nations that screwed up) or its going to try and bail them out and bankrupt the strong countries like Germany and STILL fall apart. Either way, the EU is over. See what happens when you can't manage to control your spending? Greece needs a Spartan in charge of their govt. Better at controlling their impulses. Sadly, with a socialist govt, you can't do anything but pander. I wonder if the USA will notice this?

The world is already reacting to the end of the European Union, the largely unstated but understood reality. The dollar has strengthened to $1.28/Euro. Remember when it was $1.60ish? A few years ago, 2008. Oil responded to the stronger dollar by dropping in price $6/barrel in the last two days. How does the end of the EU make things better?

Well, it diverts attention from the USA who hasn't solved its derivatives problem so much as monetized its debt by printing more and more paper currency and inventing money with a computer (that's literal, btw) to sell around the world since everyone is nervous about the end of the EU and the Euro. I continue to wait for the Other Shoe(tm) to drop but it seems to have a great deal of hang time. And there's a little fact that's underappreciated. If you run a con long enough people will turn their denial into fact, into religion. Nobody wants to admit the emperor has no clothes because they're all wearing the same outfit. "I'm Not Stupid" is a key factor in human psychology. When taken to the national level we get Deficit Spending and Monetized Debt and Stagflation and HyperInflation. Isn't that fun?

So the upside to the EU collapse is it makes the USA look that much more stable and composed and with our food production and green technology advances, it gives us the edge in the world market. Weak nations will keep buying USA's debt and we won't see our collapse for that much longer, if at all. We may end up continuing our pattern of high unemployment and inflation at 12% (real world terms) while Iran falls apart and its its ruling parties, Greece turns to Civil War, and Portugal discovers the Third World, First Hand(tm), along with Spain. But hey. Better them than us, right?

Biochar: A Blink to MEGO?

kmo had another great podcast over at the C-Realm the other day, interviewing long-time guest Albert K. Bates. This time Bates talked about something of which I've heard not even a peep: Biochar.

From one of his blog posts on the topic, Bates describes biochar as a charcoal formed from inactive, crystalized carbon. The end result of the biochar process produces a fractal structure with amazing longevity and pourosity: "One gram of biochar has a surface area of 1000 square meters." Once amended to the soil, this surface area provides the dirt with great advantages for growing plants, including crops:

In the soil, biochar’s cavities fill up with nutrient foodstocks for microbes, much like a kitchen pantry. The microbes move in, and pretty soon hyphae of fungi appear. The hyphae are a fast road for nutrients and moisture – a trade exchange route to plant and tree roots. Examination of biochar-amended soils a few months after treatment found that vigorous fungal colonization was common.

If you can imagine the char as providing a coral reef-like structure, full of tiny polyps and crevices, it attracts all manner of soil organisms to it. If the pantry is empty, then those microbes will go to work to stock it, which is why biochar denitrifies over-fertilized, burned out farmland and replaces it with slow-release fertility . . . .

Bates quoted this article on the topic, which notes the almost enigmatic discovery of this ancient agricultural practice. Biochar was produced and introduced to the soil thousands of years ago producing "Terra Preta:"

Terra Preta ("black earth") was discovered by Dutch soil scientist Wim Sombroek in the 1950's, when he discovered pockets of rich, fertile soil amidst the Amazon rainforest (otherwise known for its poor, thin soils), which he documented in a 1966 book "Amazon Soils". Similar pockets have since been found in other sites in Ecuador and Peru, and also in Western Africa (Benin and Liberia) and the Savannas of South Africa. Carbon dating has shown them to date back between 1,780 and 2,260 years.

Terra preta is found only where people lived - it is an artificial, human-made soil, which originated before the arrival of Europeans in South America. The soil is rich in minerals including phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and manganese - however its most important ingredient is charcoal, the source of terra preta's color.

Terra preta's promised improvement to soils seems almost too good to be true:

This year food shortages, caused in part by the diminishing quantity and quality of the world's soil, have led to riots in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By 2030, when today's toddlers have toddlers of their own, 8.3 billion people will walk the Earth; to feed them, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, farmers will have to grow almost 30 percent more grain than they do now. Connoisseurs of human fecklessness will appreciate that even as humankind is ratchetting up its demands on soil, we are destroying it faster than ever before. "Taking the long view, we are running out of dirt," says David R. Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Journalists sometimes describe unsexy subjects as MEGO: My eyes glaze over. Alas, soil degradation is the essence of MEGO.

Another topic that induces this MEGO phenomenon: Global climate change. And here terra preta steps in and offers an intriguing possibility; low-tech carbon sequestration. After all, these carbon crystals survived for thousands of years in Amazonian and Australian soil. What if this burying of charcoal were revived not only to revive crashing farm yields, but to simply remove carbon from the atmosphere? Bates quotes Tim Flannery:

Professor Tim Flannery told the gathering that even if we shut down every coal plant and stop all emissions of greenhouse gases from industry worldwide, the dangerous warming of our planet would continue for centuries. “That is the point at which you realize that biochar is really, really important,” he said.

Flannery suggested that 8 percent of CO2 is currently going into terrestrial vegetation, but if we could double that, we could buy ourselves time to work on moving away from coal and oil. Flannery said that we have to be mindful of the historic debt incurred by the one billion people whose ancestors made the industrial revolution. “That carbon debt to the other 6 billion could be repaid at 5 percent per year with biochar,” he said. (Emphasis mine.)

And that, as Bates told kmo on the C-Realm, could reverse atmospheric carbon concentrations to pre-industrial levels in a matter of decades, not centuries. And at a fraction of the cost of some proposed schemes.

I'll be reading Bates' new book on the subject as soon as it is available. Fascinating stuff.

Arable Land, Water, and Food

There is a terribly stupid and ignorant meme floating around, thanks to Al Gore and his ilk, that the arable land, that capable of raising crops, is being lost to erosion and rain forest destruction.

Some facts:
1. Rain forest is cut down. It also grows back quite quickly. The concern is certain, limited region, soil types are damaged by drying out and chemically change from a weak soil when soggy into a hard impermeable brick once dried out one time due to calcification and the high iron oxide content. This is mostly a problem in Brazil but not all of Brazil. Everywhere else, the trees come back within 5 years of a field being abandoned following the typical 3 year slash and burn cycle. This is good news. So, while rain forest is cut down and used for agriculture, it doesn't stay that way. Al Gore and his ilk DO NOT report the millions of acres which regrow every year. The loss of biodiversity is more serious, but balancing that against human lives and the fact that you really have no right to tell a bunch of poor people in another country to starve to death so you can enjoy a leaf or mosquito for generations to come. Be reasonable and you'll find others will too. If the loss is so terrible, find a way to preserve specimens for future study, and raise funds to pay for it. If you can't convince liberal rich people your bug is worth $1M research and preservation grant then it really isn't.

2. Old Growth redwoods in Northern California exist, but they are the minority. Most of the big trees in the state are second growth, most growing after the massive harvest following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, used to rebuild lots of houses. Spotted owls have been photographed by zoologists and ornithologists living in various trees, not just old growth redwoods so they're a lot less endangered than originally claimed by Berkeley hippy zealots on summer vacation to terrorize the poor loggers and their families with spiked trees and lawsuits. I am from that region. I don't like hippies. They killed poor people to indulge in selfish violence under the excuse of "saving the Earth".

3. New soil can be made. It has been. The Polderlands of the Netherlands were once salty sandy sea bottom with zero fertility. Human effort gradually changed that within a few generations into the most fertile soil on earth. No, I am not kidding. Physical effort can restore marginal lands back into agricultural production. The reason they are fallow is the world economy has made it uneconomic to bother, and diesel fuel to run the tractors is not free. Electric tractors charged by solar power on a barn would help, since then you'd be reducing costs to wear on the machines which till the earth and labor for the farmer to operate them but that is a reasonable goal for the future.

4. Turning millions of useless SUVs into combines and electric tractors is a good goal for America, particularly since America's main productivity is in agriculture (food), movies, as a release valve for the rest of the world, thus preventing a lot of wars by allowing the discontent to come here and make something of themselves instead of civil wars for the next Boss/Dictator back in their home countries. Without America, there would be a lot more wars, I think.

5. I personally dislike public transit, especially buses. They are needed, however, and I prefer the option of choosing the bus or the motorcycle/scooter/bicycle based on the distance travelled and the weather. Tiny cheap cars are also a valid option, though less efficient and more expensive, they are more convenient too. A small car is 4 times the efficiency of an SUV based on the weight of passengers moved vs weight of the vehicle ratio. Public transit has its perks. For those prone to intoxication they're very nice since there's no DUI for riding the tram, so you can have a nice evening out with friends and stagger home drunk without legal consequence. The pub crawl is made for Tram and bus use. This is just another way to practice freedom in any developed country. It is time to expand public transit, hopefully before significant rise in the price of fuel. Discoveries of oil supplies have turned out to be mostly hot air and bids to increase stock values (Petrobras, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum), attempts which were effective. However, the economics and the claims become more obvious with time as new product fails to appear and fails to deliver any meaningful impact on the oil market itself. The supplies are falling. As voters are prone to ostrich thinking, waiting for someone else to solve the problem, I believe that only sneaky efforts buried in the planning offices of counties across the country will have any real impact on preparation for the day fuel is under mandatory rationing. That day will almost certainly come within the next five years. That is the good news. It could have come in 2008 during the superspike. We got lucky, and the oil companies got cynical in an election year. Next time this happens the price will probably stay high. I encourage everyone reading this to own a bicycle, to have access to a bus schedule (online is fine) and have thought out the time requirements to keep their jobs should rationing suddenly be imposed. Carpooling is a middle step, not an end, btw. It will help a lot when things get tight. Might make the bridge to all electric transit, which is the end of the current Internal Combustion regime.

6. News of a new method for storing electricity in a more formable type of ultracapacitor based on iron and carbon nanotubes means a scalable electric storage method (like a battery but cheaper) is now possible without requiring rare earth elements. Scalable is king, if we have any hope of offering an upgrade path to the third world. They want what we have. If we can figure out a way to sell it to them, at a modest profit, then everybody gains and we won't see wars of retaliation over it against our grandkids. A month ago there was no known solution and civil war over dwindling resources and rare earth elements seemed inevitable... dare I say it? Doomed to happen. However, the game has changed. Provided sufficient charge can be stored and the legal process required to fuse various methods of Photovoltaic solar power can be combined, a viable cheap solar power and battery solution will conquer the main problems to expanding electric power to anyone who wants it, and thus fully develop the world into civilization and have a Taco Bell and Starbucks on every corner.... Or not.

7. World population can be controlled one of two ways: by couples practicing birth control or by killing people. We've mostly been doing the second option because the first is so recently discovered and not yet universally practiced. We CAN increase the carrying capacity of the planet, and provide the needed elbow room to reduce the crowding that causes violence by terraforming unused lands into useful spaces. That requires water. 1% of the earth's land area is city, and those cities contain the great majority of our population, as a species. We can build new cities and develop new farms in new contryside, if we have the food and water to support life presend. Eventually water projects are going to need to be involved with small terraforming of our deserts since they contain valuable soils (no I am not kidding) using careful irrigation. Having spent the last three years reading about the ice age I can tell you that deserts expand and contract and we can artificially expand them like gardens and get them to offer a more reliable food supply, which will reduce the competition for resources by people living on their edges and within them. It won't fix religious differences, but those are a matter for maturity and genocide to resolve, which is not our concern here. In places like the USA and Mexico, deserts are significant landscapes but the fighting over them is absent. Water used carefully has resulted in astounding agriculture, but also pointed out economic and chemical limitations not anticipated during development. We know those things now. More will probably come up too. At some point we're going to be going "Toilet To Tap" and use aggressive desalination of sea water, probably using the vaccuum pump evaporation method at the large scale to provide coastal water, since 90% of the Earth's population lives within 90 miles of the shore. This will increase the salinity of the oceans, however I must point out that during the ice age, with most of the fresh water tied up as ice, salinity must have been much higher then than now and there are still plants and animals swimming around so it will not prove destructive. The salt brine will sink to the ocean basins and probably end up running around. I suspect this is one of the 32 known feedback loops which control the earth's climate. I don't remember them all at the moment. The important thing is we do not have to limit ourselves to natural rainfall as the only way to get water. We have other options. LA will probably be the first BIG city to get water by vacuum desalination. Might make them pay more attention to water pollution too. Desalination at the coastlines with a bit extra for water injection wells to drive the salt incursions back out to sea (which would restore wells along the coast, a major problem these days), combined with irrigation inland would nearly double arable land within 20 years and offer a lot more settlement options for additional population. And nobody would have to be murdered for it either.

8. Open Ocean fish farming offers direct motivation to protect and conserve and manage popular fisheries and species that the world likes to eat instead of stealing off the coasts of poor or undefended nations. Japan can raise its own tuna for its sushi market. Britain can raise its own cod off of Iceland and the Grand Banks in specialized barges running fish feeding and containment setups. It is also an easy way to offer fish protein to the masses, since the yield is high. This is Win-Win, and provides motive to the farmers to extract the plastics from the ocean so they won't contaminate the fish and ruin their value, thus Win-Win-Win over time. The greatest polluters are also the biggest consumers of the fish, again providing motive. No Al Gore babbling necessary.

These are the kinds of realities we face and are already finding solutions to. Even if far too many of our species are twits, the solutions exist, are scalable and a new way of solving problems, where both sides benefit, is starting to bare fruit.

Yes, You Can

For those who think: I can't take a fun vacation on a dinky motorcycle: yes, you can.

Art Education Student rides a 250cc bike through the Appalachians for her summer vacation, many photos.

The site has many interesting rides documented with photos and stories, tips, and tricks. I recommend people interested in independent, affordable, alternative transportation to get educated on motorcycles, particularly the small displacement ones which provide good fuel economy (125-250cc) yet can keep up with traffic and deal with increasingly bad roads we're all starting to become familiar with.

Rechargeable Battery Update

There hasn't been much good news to report, so I haven't posted. Rather than report on non-existent news I'll instead suggest a path to recovery. So here it is.

The oil is going away. We need to be able to pursue and practice business, provide goods and services, without using more oil and without discarding all our existing infrastructure. Mr. Kunstler wants us to throw it away and gleefully demands we do so without offering any actual solutions and completely ignoring retasking of existing structures despite claiming to be a huge fan of such places in Europe. This makes him, I think, an idiot.

If we want to live close to what we have now we require transit options. We like cars, but they use oil or alcohol or biodiesel to run, and we haven't shown real expertise or interest in retrofitting 200,000,000 cars from gasoline engines to other engines. Its expensive, and building a new fleet only to see that resource used up... well, that would suck. Electric gives us the most flexibility for variable fuels and IF a battery solution is found, we can make that work in the long term. Right now, there's only enough Lithium ON EARTH for around 2 million cars. There are 6.8 billion people, which means only the very rich will have lithium powered cars. This is unacceptable. So, we need a different battery option to have viable electric cars. The lithium ion battery is the current leader for rechargeable battery technology, as batteries require metals to work, and Lithium is the lightest metal. Recent advances using Iron Phosphate (FePO4) particles 100nm diameter has greatly improved efficiency but we are still physically limited by the amount of lithium available. Even if they double the efficiency of Lithium, that still only leaves us with 4 million cars instead of 2 million, and neither is enough to make a real difference to saving our economy and culture.

We have to work within our means. This is true for everything, but especially if we want our solution to last, have any hope of justice, and to be scalable to all people. Here is a listing of the common to rare earth elements. And a better chart. The second is sortable, but is displayed as percentage of the earth's crust. Note that Lithium isn't even listed by percentage. Most of the earth's remaining lithium is in the salt flats in Bolivia, high in the Andes. The Bolivians know it is valuable and know they'll get more money for it the longer they wait. So they aren't mining it. Not yet. They're going to screw us and hard. They learned from OPEC. It is in our best interest, and the world's interest, to find another battery system which does NOT use Lithium but is still light and durable enough to make an electric car viable.

If we can't figure out electric cars our options are the following:
1. electric trains and streetcars. We'll have these anyway because the overhead wiring, mostly aluminum, is renewable and efficient, and free trams make cars unnecessary for daily shopping and commuting within a city. They use this in Portland (Fareless Square) and it really makes the difference between an unworkable city with narrow streets and no parking and a quaint walkable city which is still viable for commerce. I consider trams to be the only way forward if we seriously want to tell the arabs with the oil where they can stick it.

2. Scooters and motorcycles. It seems obvious to me that conservation is necessary. We NEED to tell the arab zealots to go fsk themselves and we can't do that if we're buying their oil and funding their jihads. If we carpool and ration and minimize the energy required to move our human bodies to our jobs and back, we win. Cars are heavy. SUV's are heavy. They require lots of energy to move from Point A to Point B. Scooters and motorcycles are a couple to three hundred pounds. They are fuel efficient because they are light weight. They are also relatively cheap, which means no financing is necessary to own one. They take little space on the road and little space to park. This changes the rules on traffic jams, parking regulations, and other nonsense. Portland filled with scooters able to climb Forest Park Drive/Expressway or cross the bridge to Vancouver (WA) would change everything. Not fun in the frequent rain, however climate change has given Portland San Francisco's weather. If you liked SF in the 70's, move to Portland and get the same effect without the Fog. Scooters are not perfect, but they solve the independence demands for those who hate the train system. We have to build the trains and change the traffic laws, but between the two, it solves 90% of commuter needs, right there.

3. Why do we own cars? We tell ourselves we need all those seats because we have children we must carry around or friends to bring with us, but mostly our vehicles are empty. When fuel rationing is imposed by our govt and we have only a few gallons a week to make our commutes and keep our jobs we will either have to combine rations and get along with others in our temporary sanctum of the car's cabin or take the train or ride a motorcycle. Yes, a terrible tragedy giving up the personal concert hall. Whatever shall we do? Until a rechargeable battery for electric cars is invented and implemented, we have to make do with minimal fuel use. That's the situation if we really want to stop fighting and funding the arab terrorists. Can you give up your SUV if it means you get to keep your relatives from being murdered by suicide bombers crying for the greatness of Allah the merciless?

So yeah, our options, our choices, what must be done. Remember to vote for trains and to suggest trams and carless main streets, and remember that big parking lots are great places for swap meets or future building sites for commercial villages. Imagine walmart buildings full of skylights and booths selling local handcrafted goods. Not so terrible. Mr. Kunstler wants death and blood and fire, according to all his writings. Well, suicide is always an option, ya know. Don't let us stop you, Bill.

This is the sort of engineering approach we need in order to solve real world problems. In the real world, stuff breaks. Stuff breaks in horrible ways. In unexpected ways. A smart engineer designs stuff so that even the unexpected failure is accounted for too.

Sea Level Rise Flooding Maps

This sea level rise flood map is pretty nifty. I found it linked on squidboi's blog. It shows what areas would be flooded by sea level rise. I don't know just how accurate the info is, since judging levees is tricky, thanks to ground saturation, max strength, blowout, leakage, all effect when they fail and flood everything behind them. I think this map is mostly ignoring the levees and assuming the ground level behind them instead.

Of course, having read the math behind these calculations, if all the ice melted real sea level would rise... wait for it... wait for it.... 40.... centimeters. That's 15 inches, btw. While that would flood Florida pretty badly, and cause real trouble in Bangladesh, it wouldn't do much here in California. Its a pity this map doesn't have a 10, 20, and 40 centimeter setting, since the 40 cm is expected to take most of a century to rise. We'll all be long dead by then. It's even possible that people may even raise their levees or, dare I say it, move to higher ground. Shocking, I know, but I just wanted to put it out there.

Few non-geologists bother with mapping sea level fall in these scenarios since free water on the Arctic Ocean is also available for being evaporated and picked up by storms and thus deposit rain down on the continental dry areas of central Russia, Canada, and even, shockingly enough, the Great Plains, where drought and human idiocy have emptied the Ogallalla Aquifer and thus ceased lots of valuable grain growing. A return of rain could both refill the Aquifer AND increase grain production to feed the world. Sea Level Fall caused by global warming is only taken seriously by geologists because we're all just a bunch of weirdoes who study climatology on the really long timescale rather than limiting ourselves to the Anno Domini, or perhaps just the Iron Age. I find the idea of limiting climate study to ice cores and tree rings to be less than scientifically rigorous and would get one laughed out of a conference by SERIOUS scientists. Then again, people love religion, so that's all the rigor they get. They'll love 2012. I'll have better things to do. The map of flooding is fun though. Entertaining to picture Gondolas in Houston, don't you think? Will they sing Cowboy songs as they paddle and pole their way down the flooded streets?

Making Wine

How to make wine, cheaply, from store bought fruit juice. Takes 5 minutes to prep it. No really.

This guy also explains how to make beer in other demos.