Over Half of Energy in the U.S. is Wasted

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This flow chart shows the amount of energy (in quads) that is produced by different energy sources and consumed by different sectors.

This flow chart of the estimated US energy use in 2009, assembled by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), paints a pretty sobering picture of our energy situation. To begin with, it shows that more than half (58%) of the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, such as waste heat from power plants, vehicles, and light bulbs. In other words, the US has an energy efficiency of 42%. And, despite the numerous reports of progress in solar, wind, and geothermal energy, those three energy sources combined provide just 1.2% of our total energy production. The vast majority of our energy still comes from petroleum (37%), natural gas (25%), and coal (21%).

 

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China’s Economy Overtook the U.S. in 2010 to Become Number One

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China’s economy overtook the U.S. in 2010.

Some time in 2010, the Chinese economy overtook that of the United States.  In purchasing power parity (PPP) terms – that is, adjusting for the different costs of living in the two countries – the size of China’s economy was $14.8 trillion in 2010, compared to the US economy’s $14.6 trillion.

 

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Hexavalent Chromium, the Carcinogen Made Famous by Erin Brockovich, Found in Cities Across U.S.

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Julia Roberts played Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name.

The domestic tap water of 31 out of 35 United States cities surveyed contains hexavalent chromium, the probable carcinogen made famous by the film Erin Brockovich, according to an environmental report.

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Climate Change Could Increase Mexico-U.S. Migration: Study

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The study says climate change may drive up to 6.7m Mexicans across the border into the US by 2080

A warming climate could see millions of adult Mexicans migrate to the US as rising temperatures cause a drop in crop yields, according to a study by researchers at Princeton University.  For every 10% of lost crop yields in Mexico, another 2% of Mexicans are likely to leave their country, the study says.

 

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U.S. Passport a Powerful Lure for Pregnant Chinese Women

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Expectant Chinese mothers travel to the United States to give birth.

What can $1,475 buy you in modern China? Not a Tiffany diamond or a mini-sedan, say Robert Zhou and Daisy Chao. But for that price, they guarantee you something more lasting, with unquestioned future benefits: a U.S. passport and citizenship for your new baby.

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Chinese Government-Backed Group Says U.S. Uses Facebook to Spur Political Unrest

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Chinese government routinely bans sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A Chinese government-backed think tank has accused the U.S. and other Western governments of using social networking sites like Facebook to spur political unrest and called for stepped-up scrutiny of the wildly popular sites.

 

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World Cup Referees Study English Swears Words for England-United States Match

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Brazilian referees are studying English obscenities for the Englad-U.S. World Cup Match.

Brazilian referees for this weekend’s England-United States match at the World Cup in South Africa are studying English-language obscenities so that players can’t get away with abuse, the Associated Press reports.

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Could the U.S. Suddenly Collapse?

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U.S. economic collapse

For centuries, historians, political theorists, anthropologists and the public have tended to think about the political process in seasonal, cyclical terms. From Polybius to Paul Kennedy, from ancient Rome to imperial Britain, we discern a rhythm to history. Great powers, like great men, are born, rise, reign and then gradually wane. No matter whether civilizations decline culturally, economically or ecologically, their downfalls are protracted.

 

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Six Cultural Trends Not Saving The Planet

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India: fast food nation

Live and let live, right? We’ve all heard the phrase a million times, and it connotes that true-blue American sentiment of accomodation and freedom of choice. But what about when our choices are trashing the earth? Then it seems the only remedy is pointing out our own foibles again and again until we realize how damaging and destructive they are. Scanning the globe for recent trends we find a lot that seems to be going in the opposite direction of environmental protection. (Pics)

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