Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Work on methane before Co2 for climate repair



The collaboration has proved fruitful. In data gathered over the first two years of Tropomi's operations, scientists discovered major leaks of methane in the oil and gas fields of Turkmenistan, most of which were completely preventable.

Oil and gas fields must build flare installations that prevent methane from leaking into the atmosphere, and Aben said that these leaks suggest those installations are not being used properly.

"These emissions actually relate to flare installations that are not being flared in the oil and gas industry," said Aben. "Flaring is meant to get rid of the methane gases by burning them. It would obviously be better to capture the gas, but they are not even burning it. It's just methane pouring out, and that is not normal operations."

The Tropomi measurements revealed thousands of kilograms (in some cases even tens of thousands of kilograms) of methane leaking from 29 plants every hour. 

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There is a way now to find such leaks and fix them.  This is more important than Co2 as methane is a greater danger to the environment.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

small town grocery stores try innovating



Main Street Market is not Amazon Go by any stretch. But it follows the same principles of offering convenient access and self-service.

The lower-tech approach is also much less costly to operate. Instead of computer-vision cameras, the store lets shoppers scan items and pay with their phones, or use a self-checkout terminal. Main Street Market offers a selection of mostly conventional goods, including soda, frozen pizza, cold cuts, snacks and sports drinks.  

One obvious potential problem is theft. The store has security cameras in place to monitor the aisles, but owner Alex Ostenson said the business mostly relies on the honor system to ensure customers pay for all the items they select. He said he has the ability to disable an account from his phone at any time.

“If people buy a year membership for $75, would they really risk losing it by stealing?” he told the Enterprise. “We know who is coming and going as each person has a unique access code.”

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 I was just in North Dakota and listened to public radio discuss another new concept in the northeast part of the state.  It would not be a store per se but a storage locker for individual orders that are brought in all at once.  Each order would be put in a storage locker for the purchaser to pick up at their convenience.  The only town name I remember is Hoople, but I think it was 3 towns in that area planning to try this.

It's impossible at some population point for a town to have a profitable grocery store, so these innovative ideas will be worth watching to help out our rural areas.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

Where can you pee in public during a pandemic?



As with so many other aspects of American life, Covid-19 exposed and exacerbated the American bathroom gap: While the affluent purchased increasingly ornate fixtures for their homes, delivery drivers and other essential workers struggled with ever-more-limited options. In cities with high rates of homelessness, efforts to install temporary hygiene facilities during lockdowns often met resistance from community members and city officials, even as frustrated local businesses locked their restrooms to prevent use from unhoused individuals.


Toilet co-editor Harvey Molotch, an emeritus professor of social and cultural analysis and sociology at New York University, also sees the pandemic as an opportunity to reconsider how public restrooms are built — particular with regards to airflow. Modern heating and ventilation systems and electric lighting made this less of a priority in 20th century public restroom design, which was typically windowless; Molotch hopes to see a reversal of that trend, by adding windows, skylights and other openings. 


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I noticed this during the pandemic, that all the public restrooms in my city were locked and marked closed due to potential virus spreading.  But people still have to pee.  Homeless people have no place to choose from.  It's very strange that the US seems to ignore this issue.