World Energy Production

Figure 1. World electricity production by fuel type. Renewables (solar-, geothermal-, wind-, and biomass-generated electricity, but not hydroelectricity) are 2.7% of the total electricity use. Data from National Geographic 

Figure 2. World energy consumption by source.  “Renewables” are solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass. Note that the traditional use of firewood for cooking is not included.

From WattsUpWithThat


Climate Silliness – or your research funds at work!

Results of a study published this week in the journal Science show how fast animal and plant populations would need to move to keep up with recent climate change effects in the ocean and on land.

The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and performed in part through the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Compressed Air Motorcycle – file under another silly idea!

Aussie-designed compressed air motorcycle offers an alternative to pump and plug.

An Australian-designed motorcycle that runs purely on air has just been revealed.

The “O2 Pursuit” compressed air-powered motorbike has been designed by RMIT industrial design student Dean Benstead. Instead of a regular petrol powered engine, the O2 Pursuit uses an Australian-designed compressed air engine developed by EngineAir Australia.

The bike is about the size of a regular 250cc moto-cross two-wheeler, and uses a number of body components donated by Yamaha Australia.

Benstead says the concept offers motorbike riders some fuel for thought when it comes to filling up their rides.

“I wanted to explore the viability of compressed air as an alternative fuel, and my childhood experiences riding dirt bikes led me to design the motocross bike based around the Engineair engine,” Benstead says.

He says his next model would likely take a different form, and would also use more high-tech lightweight parts to keep the weight down so it’s “comparable to a heavy-duty mountain bike”.

from The Age

Car Trouble!

There are four engineers traveling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a
chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer. The car
breaks down.

"Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized.  We'll have to strip down the
engine before we can get the car working again", says the mechanical

"Well", says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might
be contaminated.  I think we should clear out the fuel system."

"I thought it might be an grounding problem", says the electrical engineer,
"or maybe a faulty plug lead."

They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say: "Well,
what do you think?"

"Ummm - perhaps if we all get out of the car and get back in again?"