Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Do I Find That Post On "Mike Thinks" Blog Site? An Index of Blog Posts

I have written a few posts over the last year and a half.  Trying to navigate the many blog posts might be confusing depending on the type of device (iPad, Smart Phone, Kindle, etc.) you are using to access various blog posts.  Therefore, I have put together a list with categories of the posts written thus far.  As I continue to write, I will update this page and use it as "an index of blog posts" for you to refer to in the future to access and explore each blog post.

In the list below, you will find a range of topics covered.  The first section are the blog posts which involve calculations using 'dimensional analysis' to understand large numbers which are reported in the news.  If you scroll down to the next section, you will find articles which deal with 'science and politics.'  Enjoy!

Dimensional Analysis:  Exploration of large numbers!

Note: From recent to oldest

How Much Water Is Contained In All Oceans Around The Globe?

 Wasteful Water Use Tied To 'Education and Poverty' - Really?

 How Much Water Is Under A "Dry Lake"?

 New Chemistry Could Reduce Plastic Waste In Landfills

 How Many Trees Have Been Cut Down Since 1990?

 How Many Seats Could Be Filled With Nearly 3.6 Million Tons Of Plastic Produced Each Year?

 How Much Water Is In 44 Feet Of Snow?

 Storm Raises Water Level In Lake Cachuma By 31 feet, How Much Water Is That?

 How Much Dirt Would It Take To Fill The Rose Bowl Stadium?

 How To Make Sense Of Water Flowing At 100,000 Cubic Feet Per Second

 Can 11 Trillion Gallons Of Water Fill 14,000 Dallas Cowboys Stadiums?

 How Many Bombs Were Dropped Per Hour In Combat In 2016?

 How Long Would It Take To Travel Around Earth Going 4 Miles Per Second?

 How Much Water Is 55 Billion Gallons Of Rainfall?

 How Much Would The Sun Weigh If Filled With Water?

 Does Oil Demand Restrict The Amount Of Safety Regulation On Big Oil Companies?

 What Technology Is Being Installed By 'Energy Transfer' To Prevent An Oil Spill?

 How Deep Is One Of The World's Largest Wave Tanks?

 How Much Rain Did The East Coast Receive From Hurricane Matthew?

 How Much Rain Did Haiti Really Receive?

 Why Is There Another Oil Spill?

Why Is Elon Musk Powering A Freight Ship With A Rocket Engine?

 How Much Weight Can The Average Freight Ship Carry?

 How Does The Weight Of A Floating Oil Rig Compare To The Eiffel Tower?

 How Much Rainfall Has Dropped On Louisiana?

 How Big Was The "Water Bomb" Of Rainfall In Macedonia?

 How Much Rain Did Huauchinango (Mexico) receive?

 How Many Square Feet Would Be Required To House All Homeless Residents in Los Angeles County?

 How Much Rain Did Elliot City (Maryland) Really Receive?

 Can A Broken Sewer Line 20 Miles Away Close The Beach?

 How Much Weight Can 54 Billion Cubic Feet Of Helium Lift?

 Why Do "Units of Measure" Matter?

 Iraq Has Enough Oil To Support The World For 4 Years -- What?

 1,600 Cattle Consume Equivalent Amount Of Water As A Bel Air Resident Per Day?

 Is 94 Million Barrels Of Oil A Large Amount? That Is The Global Daily Demand!

 A California Dream Spoiled By Big Oil

 Are The Elements Hydrogen And Helium "Of This World"?

 Los Angeles Was Built On Top Of Oil?

 Flint Michigan Rations Water, What About Astronauts?

 How Much Force Is 13 Kilotons Of Force?

 What Was The Daily Magnitude Of Methane (That Leaked) Out Of Aliso Canyon?

 Who Sells Sea Water? Who Buys Sea Water?

 How Much Paint Is Required To Cover A 'Movie Screen' In A Theater?

 More Gas Is Stored At Aliso Canyon (Porter Ranch) Than Previously Thought?

 If The Mosul Dam Breaks, The City Of Mosul Would Be Under 65 Feet Of Water?

 How Much Gas Is Stored In The Aliso Canyon Storage Facility Near Porter Ranch?

 Different Water Use Within The Same Geographic Region? How?

 How much nicotine is in a bottle of e-liquid? Is the level toxic?

 What is the volume of water in a few inches of rain?

 How much energy is contained within a 'kiloton' of energy? i.e. a small nuclear weapon?

 Volume of Waste in the Mine Spill (in Brazil) Equivalent to 78 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spills

Science & Politics: Why Is The Research Important Now?

Note: Posts are from recent to oldest

Future Outlook By New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman

Risks To The World By Activist Ralph Nader

Who Is In Charge Of The Department Of Energy?

There Is No Climate Debate -- Scientific Facts Have Settled The Issue?

Why Not List Adverse Effects On Drug Labels?

Activist Ralph Nader Calls To Each Pillar Of Society - A Call To Action.

A Good Start: Republicans Accept Climate Change As Real

How Did The U.S. Benefit From The G20 Summit in Hamburg Germany?

What Is Going To Be Discussed At The G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany?

President Trump's Understanding of the Paris Agreement

Stand Up Comedy Takes Practice to Perfect - Seriously.

Reduce Ignorance, Increase Intelligence...Its That Simple Graduates!

Judge Suggests Revisiting Environmental Concerns Of The Dakota Access Pipeline

Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?

Trump Goes Right On Paris Agreement, Part Of U.S. And World Head Left

T.G.I.F., Anti-Aging Skin Care, Bicycle Riding, and more.

World Goes Left, While Trump Leads Right - On Climate - Why?

Happy Memorial Day!! Here Are A Few Statistics To Consider...

Is This Behavior Presidential - President Trump?

Paris Climate Agreement Is A Start Toward The Renewable Energy Future

Why Is The Science March Important?

Congress Is Not Being Honest With The Public By Passing The HONEST Act?

Chemists Learn To Build Up Nanoparticles -- One Atom At A Time!

What Molecules Make Up Your Lifestyle Fingerprint?

Why Would A President Choose To Deregulate The Environmental Protection Agency?

Undergraduate Institution Leads The Change In Publications -- Yeah!

What Does America Drinking Water Look Like With Little-to-No Regulation?

President Trump's Immigration Rhetoric Damages International Science Student Enrollment

Monday, June 19, 2017

Reduce Ignorance, Increase Intelligence...Its That Simple Graduates!

Not everyone is born to be a naturally gifted student.  Each of us have our own rate of learning (i.e. rate of retention).  Therefore, each of us as students should learn a simple mathematical statement of "intelligence" which we can carry with us throughout life and access at any point in a struggle when conquering a new challenge in life.  Each of us are unique.

The spring time ends with commencement ceremonies at various universities around the world.  During this time of celebration, there is a realization in every graduate's mind: fear of the unknown looking into the future.  Questions might arise that parallel the following:

1) Am I really ready to go out into the professional world?

2) Did I really learn everything I need to in college which will bring me success?

3) Should I stay and earn a second degree to ensure my success later in life?

These are natural questions or thoughts by graduating students.   Additionally, these are natural thoughts of every students at each point in their academic journey.  Rest assured students (and graduates), your learning has just begun.  I am drawn to the recent remarks of the famous actor Robert De Niro's graduation commencement speech at New York University:

"...Did you get straight A's in school?...if so, good for you..congratulations! But in the real world you will never get straight A's again."

This thought is extremely important for each of us.  Life is not about a "grade."  Life is about the struggle of each journey.  The degree of difficulty in each journey is defined by a variety of parameters.  Typically, the most feared parameter is that which is defined by ourselves -- i.e. our own self confidence.  Success is difficult to attain when confronted with challenges.

Life Is Full Of Challenges

Challenges come in a variety of flavors.  99% of the flavors (or types) of challenges are out of our own control.  Meaning that the best we can do is work hard and keep moving forward.

What about the 1%?

How does a person utilize the 1% (i.e. confidence) to overcome 99% of the challenges?

As I mentioned in the introduction, there is a simple mathematical relationship that is available to each of us -- which we can carry and access at any moment in the future when feeling challenged.  The equation is not complex in any respect.  There are two parameters (words) in the equation which are related by the law of proportionality.  Two words, an equal symbol, and a division line.  Simple right?

Here is the relation between "intelligence" and "ignorance" which I came up with many years ago shown below:

The interpretation of the above equation is quite straightforward (and simple): As I reduce the ignorance on any given subject, I become more intelligent on the subject matter.  Simple right? 

The formal interpretation can be found on the "Wikipedia" page for "proportionality" as shown below:

In mathematics, two variables are proportional if a change in one is always accompanied by a change in the other, and if the changes are always related by use of a constant multiplier. The constant is called the coefficient of proportionality or proportionality constant.
If one variable is always the product of the other and a constant, the two are said to be directly proportional. x and y are directly proportional if the ratio y/x is constant.
If the product of the two variables is always a constant, the two are said to be inversely proportional. x and y are inversely proportional if the product xy is constant.

I have shared this equation with people over the years.  Some have responded positively toward me while others have responded negatively.  The negative comments are mostly centered around the response: Ignorant? What? I am ignorant?  This reaction is perceived as normal when first confronted with the parameters of the above equation.  Although, if the following two words -- "ignorance definition" -- are typed into a search engine such as 'Google' the following definition appears shown below:

The result indicates that the definition of "ignorance" is: "lack of knowledge or information".  Instead of taking offense, just realize that if a person lacks knowledge on a given subject -- then technically, they are "ignorant" on the subject matter.  This might sound harsh at first.   Therefore, lets take a step back into and briefly explore how I cam up with the equation for intelligence above.

Intelligence Is Greater Than Knowledge Learned In School

When I entered college, I learned that in the university environment was filled with extremely intelligent people.  At first the range was limited to the students (graduate and undergraduate) and faculty.  Later that range would expand to include all members of the university setting (students, faculty, and staff) for the reasons below.

During my undergraduate education I dropped out due to unexpected circumstances.  This break would last for four and half years.  I decided to join to United States Air Force and work on fighter jets -- the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  As I discuss in a previous blog, my time spent in the military was not without a scientific influence.  Chemistry influenced a major portion of my work while repairing F-16 Nickel-Cadmium batteries.

The reason why I mention my service in the military is due to the soldiers with whom I got to associate (work) with.  When I first joined the military, I was labeled a "smart" person because I entered with a few years of college behind me.  I would often get asked the question: Why did you not just stay in school and complete a B.S. in Chemistry and then join the military as an officer?

Had I stayed in school, I might not ever entered the military at all.  Furthermore, I take the position that I learned about the broader range of intelligence by serving with my fellow enlisted soldiers.  I was able to see a world that is not accessible to the 'officers' of the military.  The enlisted soldiers of the military make up the cross section of the United States with varying degrees of education.  Some like me have a couple of years, while others join the military right out of high school.

The overarching lesson that I ascertained from the military and working with fellow soldiers on the electrical and environmental systems of the F-16 was that intelligence has little to do with formal education.  Not to say that formal education does not make a person more intelligent.  During my time working toward solutions of various components on the fighter jets, I learned that the military has some of the most creative and ingenious people on earth.

At times, I would find myself thinking toward a solution in a linear fashion and no sooner would a fellow soldier with no college experience come up with a solution from thinking in a "complete" or "conceptual" framework to the problem at hand.  I was taught very quickly to look at the whole system as a "complete system" and troubleshoot from that starting point.  This type of thinking can go against the typical model of thinking (linear) that is taught in military training school.  Although, this type of thinking can help a soldier arrive at a solution much sooner in certain circumstances.

With this in mind, I had to come up with an expression to fit the intelligence that emerged from these soldiers with little to none educational experience.  The only way that I could quantify the intelligence was to equate that intelligence with basic information.  Which is to say, as a person becomes more "informed" - i.e. gains knowledge -- about a system, they become more "intelligent."


Out of this analysis which took a two years out of a four year stint in the U.S. military, the equation shown above for intelligence arrived.  I was really tired of being called "intelligent" or "smart" just because I had a few years of college behind me.  The same soldiers would call label me with these titles and then find a solution to a hard problem on a fighter jet in no time at all -- i.e. they were intelligent and fast thinking toward a solution.

What I came home with was an operational definition of "intelligence" which fits any person on this earth.  Each of us have varying degrees of intelligence due to the fact that each of us have varying degrees of knowledge on a given subject.  The satisfying realization of the equation above is that each of can be "intelligent" in any given subject -- given that we immerse ourselves in the process of becoming "less ignorant" on that subject.

Graduates, as you go out into the world and become useful to the professional workforce remember that the process of becoming more intelligent involves your ability to become less ignorant on a given subject or task.  Your effort will define your intelligence.  Go out and learn something to increase your intelligence.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Judge Suggests Revisiting Environmental Concerns Of The Dakota Access Pipeline

Late last week, upon opening a daily newsletter I receive the daily news round ups from the political news website "Politico" - two of which are shown below:

By Anthony Adragna | 06/15/2017 10:00 AM EDT

With help from Esther Whieldon, Darius Dixon, Eric Wolff and Alex Guillén

THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM! Opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline received a major legal victory late Wednesday as a federal judge ruled the government's environmental review of the project was inadequate and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must redo its analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. In his 91-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said the government "did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline's effects are likely to be highly controversial."
But he stopped short of immediately ceasing the pipeline's operation, calling that a "separate question" subject to additional briefing to be discussed at a status conference next week. Tribal opponents of the pipeline, which began operating this month, had failed twice before in legal challenges seeking to block its completion. But they hailed Wednesday's decision: "We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately," Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement.
In a statement, the Grow America's Infrastructure Now coalition said the outstanding claims in the case "do nothing to impact the ongoing operation of the pipeline" and expressed confidence the Corps would allay the judge's concerns. "While we have little doubt that the Corps will ultimately be successful in satisfying the Court's concerns, tonight's decision continues the public saga of the project and jeopardizes ongoing infrastructure investment," Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the group, said.

This was wonderful news for the environmental community.  Here is the ruling - click here.  Luckily, the judge decided that the history of the Environmental Assessment was insufficiently done and needed more consideration.  In the "history section" of the ruling, the crucial consideration of an oil spill is discussed as shown below:

After “becom[ing] aware of the proximity” of DAPL to Standing Rock’s Reservation, the EPA supplemented its comments. See ECF No. 209-8 at 123 (Letter from Philip Strobel to Brent Cossette, Mar. 11, 2016). It recommended that the Corps revise the Draft EA and provide a second public-comment period “to assess potential impacts to drinking water and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,” as well as “additional concerns regarding environmental justice and emergency response actions to spills/leaks.” Id. Notably, the EPA took some issue with the Draft EA’s spill analysis, stating that although it indicated only a minimal spill risk associated affect water resources. Id. at 124. Given DAPL’s proposed capacity of 13,100 to 16,600 gallons per minute of crude oil and the proximity of drinking-water intakes to the Oahe crossing, the agency explained, “There would be very little time to determine if a spill or leak affecting surface waters is occurring, to notify water treatment plants and to have treatment plant staff on site to shut down the water intakes.” Id. at 125. Finally, the EPA urged the Corps to expand its analysis for purposes of assessing environmental-justice considerations from “the area of construction disturbance” to “the impacts of the proposed project,” and to look at route alternatives. Id. at 126; see also ECF No. 209-9 at 209 (Email “Quick Summary of Conference Call with EPA,” Feb. 25, 2016) (“EPA concerned over the lack of Environmental justice — Tribal interests have not been addressed sufficiently.”) 

The concerns expressed in the  excerpt are completely normal from the perspective of a resident of the surrounding area.  Which raises the following concern:

Why were the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so relaxed in their assessment of an oil pipeline traveling underneath a body of water carrying a massive amount of oil per day?

In a blog post from last year, I raised concerns about the scope and scale of the project.  The amount of oil projected to travel down the pipeline per day was estimated to be around 470,000 barrels per day.  If you are like me then  reading the volume of oil transported per day expressed in units of 'barrels per day' is not very useful.

The result of dimensional analysis (unit conversion) yielded that 470,000 barrels per day is equivalent to 19.7 million gallons per day.  WOW.  To put this into perspective, suppose that a spill occurred over the course of a single day which was undetected -- i.e. underneath Lake Oahe.  The amount of oil leaked over the course of a single day would be equivalent just under 2 times the volume of the the historic "Exxon Valdez" oil spill in Alaska in 1989.  The total amount of oil spilled was 10.8 million gallons of oil over an area of 28,000 square kilometers.

The volume of Lake Oahe is equal to 7,661,000,000,000 gallons with surface area of 1497 square kilometers.  That means that an oil spill of 19.7 million gallons over the course of a day would essentially cover the entire body of Lake Oahe (surface) with a depth varying depending on the crude oil composition.  Which would essentially ruin the entire body of water.

The same Lake Oahe which serves as a source of water for the entire region of both Indian Tribes.  Oh my goodness.  And to think that the oil company almost made it through without a more in depth environmental assessment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Thank goodness for the judge in this case.

Where does the case go from here?

Stay tuned for more breaking news on this critical matter for the residents of Lake Oahe.


I would hope that in addition to assessing the environmental impact, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demand that better sensor technology is installed on the pipeline to yield more information on the integrity of the pipeline over time and various environmental conditions.  The technology is out there.  Furthermore, improvements to sensor technology are being made constantly.  The difficult part of the data obtained is to "mine the data" efficiently to yield the safety results required to mitigate a future oil spill.  This ruling is one step toward that improvement.  Thank goodness for level headed judges in this case.

Until next time, have a great day.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?

Alcoholics Anonymous is probably most famously known through the lens of hollywood films.  A majority of newcomers have great misconceptions about the program.  Today represents my fourth year of Sobriety -- in effect -- Happy 4th Birthday Mike!  Right about now, you may be wondering the following question:

Why is he revealing his sobriety and the program of A.A.?

Simple, the reason that I am able to write this blog post is due to the last four years of working on sobriety.  I just wanted to touch on a few aspects about the program without revealing the program in its entirety or discussing other members of the program.  Anonymity is the key to the program.  Why?  Because having the label of an 'alcoholic' can be stigmatizing to say the least.  And when some people find out that you are in the program, adverse effects can happen due to their insecurity or misunderstanding of the program.

I am blessed to be able to tell you about my sobriety.  I feel much different (in a good way) than I did 4 years ago.  My story is not very much different than others inside the program.  The underlying theme is that alcohol became the focal point or central part of our lives.  Think about the analogous situation of being an 'over eater'.  Eating becomes the central point of your life.  Live for eating.  Not eating to live.

The most vital point of A.A. is to understand that you have let some 'vice' take over your life.  Entering the program can be equivalent to a 'reset' on your life.  To bring you back to equilibrium.  The program is centered around 12 steps -- which according to my interpretation are a way back toward living like a 'normal' member of society.  Coming from a place where a 'vice' dictated your life, this understanding is crucial.

For me, living by the 12 steps is equivalent to living life like an ordinary citizen.  Which is to say, pay taxes, take responsibility for your wrong doings, and admit when you are wrong.  Additionally, be of service to another person either entering the program or suffering with living according to the 12 steps.  If I take a step back from the veil of A.A. on the title of the program, I tend to ask myself the following question:

Why would every person not want to live by the 12 steps?

The world might be a better place if so.  Why?  Because, admitting that each of us have the tendency to take a 'vice' (eating, drinking, smoking, etc.) to the limits of where the addiction dictates our life is a serious issue.  I believe that each of us could do great with a small amount of daily 'introspection' in our lives.

Having the ability to look inward and admit your own faults is critical to living a healthy life.  Blaming others for mistakes only takes the person back in time.  Which means that progress forward is now going to be much more difficult.  Let me tell you about the last four years (briefly) and you can judge for yourself.

Upon entering the program (A.A.), my wife and I were "partiers" - who loved to socialize and drink to extreme.  I have discussed our ability to live life to the extreme in other blog posts before.  This is nothing new.  We placed partying above other activities.

We were in debt (with taxes, credit card debt, etc.) to say the least.  The first couple of years were spent on pulling ourselves back together financially while educating ourselves about the role of a 'vice' can play in our lives.  Any 'vice' or addiction can be taken to the extreme.  As soon as each of us realize this, then action can be taken to restore us to sanity sooner.  But know this, work is involved on everyones part.

Today, our life is 180 degrees different (better) than four years ago.  Education is a critical component toward success.  You might say..."Mike, you are educated with a Ph.D.?" The education which I am talking about cannot be taught in school.  This education requires each person to look within themselves and inspect for 'deficiencies' -- which is extremely unsatisfying during the initial process.  Although, after a while the process gets much easier and better.

Where are we now?

As I just mentioned, daily work is required to maintain a good standing in society.  I used to suffer from bad anxiety.  Today, my anxiety is a small percentage of what it used to be.  Furthermore, my wife and I rarely argue due to the absence of alcohol in our lives.

The overarching guiding principle for us was to understand the following:

Alcohol did not relieve us of our issues (problems).  Alcohol enhanced and amplified our problems.  Furthermore, alcohol prevented us from finding solutions to problems.  Today, problems are met with solutions much easier than 4 years ago.

In closing, I would like to welcome you to the program if you have gone to a meeting recently.  Do not worry about the process of 'identifying' as an alcoholic' at first.  The more important realization is the following:

You do not have to take another drink again!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trump Goes Right On Paris Agreement, Part Of U.S. And World Head Left

Immediately after the announcement in the Rose Garden at the White House by President Trump regarding his plan to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, social media exploded with posts from Governors and Mayors expressing disappointment.  Joined by a large part of the population, these elected politicians expressed disappointment and immediately stated an intent that their respective cities and states would go along with the rest of the world and pursue guidelines set by the Paris Agreement -- regardless of the President's actions.   Here are some of the tweets I saw that day below shown below:

I live in the state of California.  Governor Brown was outraged (rightfully so) at the President's plan as was the rest of the world.  He immediately vowed to take California in a direction opposite of that of President Trump and commit to the Paris Agreement with major nations.  One of those nations was China.

Upon hearing this, I immediately wondered what does such a commitment from a state or a city official look or sound like.  I was able to get a 'letter' signed by him and a chinese government official with an agreement.  The letter is posted below:

Memorandum of Understanding on California-Jiangsu Clean
Technology Partnership between 
State of California of the United States of America 
Province of Jiangsu of the People’s Republic of China  
To facilitate the cooperation on research, innovation, and investment in low-carbon development and clean energy resources, the State of California and Jiangsu Province (hereinafter referred to as “Participants”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a partnership on clean technology.
ACKNOWLEDGING that California has a long history of successful collaboration with China, including cooperation on climate change, air quality, energy efficiency, renewable energy, new-energy and zero emission vehicle development, emissions trading systems, and climate-positive trade and investment opportunities;
ACKNOWLEDGING that California has strong climate mitigation policies, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, 50% renewable energy and doubling of energy efficiency by 2030, and extensive investment in clean technology development and deployment;
ACKNOWLEDGING that the Province of Jiangsu has strong programs and policies designed to reduce air pollution and address climate change ,has a large number of businesses focused on innovative clean technologies, and seeks to stimulate economic growth while improving air quality and public health;
ACKNOWLEDGING the opportunity to further California-Jiangsu bilateral cooperation to promote clean technology innovation and investment;
STRIVING to develop a mutually beneficial relationship of partnership and cooperation to stimulate economic growth in both Jiangsu and California through business-led innovation which can draw on the research and development capabilities in both countries in order to address industrial challenges that will shape the markets of the future; and
CONSISTENT with the governing laws of their respective countries:
Participants have reached the following understanding:
Paragraph 1
The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) is to support the Participants in advancing innovation and development of, and investment in, low-carbon energy resources and clean technologies. Cooperation between the Participants will be based on a mutual understanding of shared issues and concerns of the governments and citizens of California and the Province of Jiangsu as they relate to research, innovation, and commercialization of clean technologies.
To achieve these objectives, the Participants agree to develop the California-Jiangsu Clean Technology Partnership (the “Partnership”), which will allow the Participants to communicate and cooperate on matters of research, innovation, and commercialization. The Partnership will also provide a mechanism through which the Participants’ governments, researchers, key stakeholders, and industrial collaborators may exchange views, express concerns, and arrange to carry out joint actions. The Partnership will provide a mechanism to promote scientific, technological, and industrial research and commercialization cooperation between California and the Province of Jiangsu and will provide a platform for promoting mutually beneficial endeavors between the Participants, including developing markets for science and technology-based products.
Paragraph 2
The Parties agree that the areas of cooperation of the Partnership will include, but not be limited to:
1. Clean energy technologies that focus on reducing energy use, improving energy efficiency, advancing renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power, energy storage and grid modernization technologies, new-energy and zero emission vehicles, and low-carbon urban development;
2. Greenhouse gas emission and air pollution reduction programs, including emissions trading systems;
3. Environmental protection technologies, including pollution mitigation technologies, water and waste water technologies, and solid waste management technologies;
4. Information technologies and techniques including software, advanced communication products and services benefiting the mitigation of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, and advancing clean energy development;
5. Establishment of the California-Jiangsu Clean Tech Innovation Center in Sunan National Innovation Park (S-Park);
6. Participation in the development of the California-China Clean Technology Partnership Fund;
7. Other areas mutually agreed by the Participants.
Paragraph 3
The implementation of this MOU will be led by the Governor’s Office and Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission from the California side and the Foreign Affairs Office, Department of Science and Technology and Commission of Reform and Development from the Jiangsu side.
The Participants of this MOU will establish a Joint Working Group on the California-Jiangsu Clean Technology Partnership (hereinafter referred to as the “Joint Working Group”) to implement this MOU.
The Participants will each designate a co-chair and an equal number of representatives to develop collaborative activities under this MOU and advise the Participants on ways to conduct the activities included in this MOU. The Joint Working Group will meet annually on a mutually agreed date and at a mutually agreed upon venue to discuss progress on the implementation of the MOU. Each Participant will bear its own costs in meeting its commitments under this MOU, including but not limited to any costs associated with the Joint Working Group.
To implement this MOU, the Working Group will create a coordinated Joint Investment Plan that identifies projects and technologies consistent with the objectives of this MOU that may be considered as part of the California-Jiangsu Clean Technology Partnership. Each Participant will identify and fund eligible projects consistent with the Joint Investment Plan according to its own processes (“Projects”). Each solicitation for eligible Projects must include a description of the Partnership.
Each Participant agrees to independently fund the activities contemplated by and being conducted pursuant to the MOU, on a contribution schedule that permits the Participants to achieve the objectives set forth under the MOU, including but not limited to any costs associated with the joint committee and implementing organizations.
The Participants agree to collaborate on these Projects where possible and to share information resulting from the projects funded pursuant to the Joint Investment Plan. Collaboration may include exchange of documents, workshops, webinars, and other forms of information sharing, including in person meetings in either Jiangsu or California.
Paragraph 4
The Participants, by common consent, may seek the collaboration of third parties, including universities and other public and private academic and research and development institutions, or any other organizations whose activities may contribute to achieving the goals of this MOU.
Paragraph 5
Documents and communications related to this MOU and its implementation may be subject to disclosure under public record laws.
Paragraph 6
The Participants intend to adopt all appropriate measures, in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, to protect intellectual property rights and interests.
Nothing in this MOU limits the right of each of the Participants to establish similar agreements with other institutions. Cooperation under this MOU does not affect the rights and obligations acquired by the Participants in other international agreements.
Paragraph 7
This MOU serves only as a record of the Participants’ intentions and does not constitute or create any legally binding or enforceable rights or obligations, expressed or implied. 
Paragraph 8
The Participants also agree to the following provisions:
1. The Participants have decided that any disagreement arising from the implementation of this MOU shall be settled in writing through amicable discussion;
2. Nothing in this MOU precludes the Government of Jiangsu or the Government of California or the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission from entering into any other agreement with an entity inside or outside of the People’s Republic of China or the United States of America; and
3. Consultation and exchange of information and documents shall preserve the security and integrity of the systems, processes, and information (including trade secrets) of each Participant and all third parties acting on behalf of any of the Participants and be without prejudice to Participants’ legal requirements or obligations, which may prevent the exchange of certain confidential information and documents under this MOU.
Paragraph 9
This MOU is neither a contract nor a treaty.
This MOU will be effective upon the date of signature by both participants and will remain in force for five (5) years thereafter.
This MOU may be renewed for equal periods by mutual consent of the Participants until terminated through written notice.
This MOU may be amended or modified by mutual written consent of the Participants.
Either Participant may terminate this MOU by providing the other with 30 days written notice.
Signed in Nanjing, China on June 5, 2017,in two originals in Chinese and English languages, both texts being equally authentic. 

The letter was signed by Governor Jerry Brown along with the Party Secretary of the Jiangsu Province (of People's Republic of China).  After reading this agreement, I find the objectives (goals) to be completely satisfactory with the movement of the renewable energy sector already.  One major argument of critics of the Paris Agreement is that investment in "low carbon" technologies will cost jobs.  Not so.

In a recent blog post I wrote regarding the renewable energy future, trillions of dollars are at stake by staying in the Paris Agreement -- check it out.  Included in that blog post and a previous blog post on the Paris agreement are actual letters signed by big "heavy hitting" (employing hundreds of thousands of employees and revenues into the billions annually) corporations like BP and Shell along with Apple and electric companies.  This is part of what makes our (the US) exit so surprising.

In fact, in a recent article from "The New York Times" titled "Our Disgraceful Exit From the Paris Accord" the following excerpt compounds the exit based on our President's background as a businessman:

Perhaps most astonishing of all, a chief executive who touts himself as a shrewd businessman, and who ran on a promise of jobs for the middle class and making America great again, seems blind to the damage this will do to America’s own economic interests. The world’s gradual transition from fossil fuels has opened up a huge global market, estimated to be $6 trillion by 2030, for renewable fuels like wind and solar, for electric cars, for advanced batteries and other technologies.

America’s private sector clearly understands this opportunity, which is why, in January, 630 businesses and investors — with names like DuPont, Hewlett Packard and Pacific Gas and Electric — signed an open letter to then-President-elect Trump and Congress, calling on them to continue supporting low-carbon policies, investment in a low-carbon economy and American participation in the Paris agreement. It is also why Elon Musk, chief executive of the electric vehicle maker Tesla, was resigning from two presidential advisory councils after Mr. Trump announced the withdrawal from Paris.

If you add the number cited in the above excerpt of 630 businesses along with the 400 cited in my previous blog posts, you are looking at just over a thousand business entities that are interested in renewable energy investment who took the time to write the President a letter regarding our position in the Paris Agreement (i.e. stay in the Paris Agreement Please!).

As we have seen over the last few months, President Trump goes off of instinct (which defies scientific reasoning along with logic) and makes dangerous decisions.  Here is the response of newly elected President Macron of France regarding the U.S. withdrawal on Twitter:

Meanwhile, the rest of the world continues to move forward with the Paris Agreement (limits which are self imposed -- the easiest to follow and define).  Here is a twitter post regarding a new "floating solar" farm in China:

These investments are massive.  According to the letter above, the goals were not necessarily completely associated with renewable energy.  Take for instance our energy grid.  The electrical grid in each U.S. city is degrading and is in need of a large repair.  Every so often, a news article will pop up and leak testing done by the government on sending "testing threats" to the grid to see how our aging grids can handle them.  This is a reactive step.  Imagine if we were a proactive nation on these renewable energy goals.  Thank goodness Governor Brown realizes that these steps are greatly needed.

Before I close with a few tweets from another famous past Governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), I just wanted to share with you a tweet from the CEO Jeff Immelt of General Electric after the U.S. withdrawal along with a tweet from Governor Tom Wolf above:

Again, the world is changing toward an energy efficient and environmentally conscious world where its inhabitants are caring instead of profit seeking at the expense of destruction.

Finally, a message from the wonderful actor and former California Governor  Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tweet to President Trump regarding his idea of taking the nation back in time - shown below:

Former Governor Schwarzenegger was implying that one man cannot take the nation back in time to one that is 'unregulated' and 'without safety nets' for its citizens.  The movement forward will take the entire nation as a whole, not just one man. In closing, I wanted to break up another portion of his twitter post (video) with a message regarding 'great leaders' -- since we are in an existential crisis in need of a great leader.  With this in mind, the following set of images will compose the conclusion to the blog post above.  The above content shows what an agreement looks like without the entire U.S. commitment.  Furthermore, the movement mentioned above indicates a change on the horizon ahead.  A change that is geared toward a more sustainable world that is cleaner and healthier.  The best way to be part of this is to invest mental or physical energy into learning about the transition.

A Concluding Remark From Arnold...

Until next time, have a great day!!!!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

T.G.I.F., Anti-Aging Skin Care, Bicycle Riding, and more.

This morning I realized while riding to school on my bicycle that regardless of how tired I am, there is so much to be thankful for in life.  Why now?  Why not everyday?  Well, as I was cruising across campus on my bicycle with the breeze running across my face staring at the horizon where the sun was making an appearance, I suddenly had this feeling of gratitude rush over me.  Of course, the fact that today is Friday and the weekend is upon us helps tremendously....T.G.I.F.

Boosting your energy level with a short bicycle ride or walk instead of driving can bring a sense of accomplishment before the work day happens.  I am reminded of Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech at University of Texas in 2014.  His speech is filled with wonderful suggestions for success in life.  One of which is to 'make your bed each day'.  This is important because if you accomplish nothing else that day, at least you have accomplished one task -- made your bed.  This thought has stuck with me for a while now.  Additionally, this can be applied to walking or bicycling to work.  Each day provides an opportunity to experience these little accomplishments.   Plus, this one task leads us to want to accomplish another task.  Think about it.

Lately, I have had a small amount of 'writers block' with regard to the series which I started last year on deconstructing products in 'anti-aging skin care' products.  I wrote about the last few weeks in a previous blog post - here.  I decided to just keep getting back to writing the series.  Unbeknownst to me, another person would be contacting me to review a 'Master's Thesis' on 'Anti-Aging' skin care creams.  Last week, I started reviewing a friend's thesis on peptides in skin care cosmetics.  The hope was to incorporate peptides into the cream in order to stimulate the production of 'collagen' in skin which is a 'holy grail' of the anti-aging industry.  I will write more about this thesis when I am done reviewing and revising the document for my friend.

On top of all of this stagnation and writer's block came the 'norovirus'.  My wife and I contracted the virus which is 48 hours of sitting near a toilet sick as all get out.  This was depressing to say the least.  Not being able to read, write, or go anywhere.  Although, during these times, there is time to reflect and think about the wonderful aspects of life.  Today, was a celebration of re-entering life -- getting over being sick.  Hooray!!!!!!!

I look forward to return to writing on the skincare series that I have started.  I hope that each of you have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wasteful Water Use Tied To 'Education and Poverty' - Really?

In a recent brief article describing a study published in the Journal "Earth Future", the results indicated that wasteful water use is higher in rural areas compared to cities.  Furthermore, two surprising parameters - education and poverty - were attributed to to wasteful use.  The result is in complete contradiction to a statistic which I wrote about in a blog post last year.  I will briefly explain below.

Study Results?

As I mentioned, in a brief article from the online journal 'Laboratory Equipment' titled "Water Usage More Efficient in U.S. Cities, More Wasteful in Rural America" the results of water usage across America were published.  Here is the excerpt which caught my eye shown below:

The water waste was also tied to less education, and more poverty, they found.
Urban environments apparently improved their water use per person through efficiency technologies, and by retrofitting existing systems.
“There may be a role for huge infrastructure projects at some point, but these findings underscore the value of focusing on efficiency measures – and the need to pursue those measures in rural counties,” said Arumugam.
It is unclear whether agriculture in the rural areas could drive some of the increased per-capita consumption.
“Basic human needs” dictate between 15 and 25 gallons of water per day for a person, according to experts. But that amount is far exceeded by the average American, who uses 90 gallons daily.

I could not help myself wondering more about the study after reading the excerpt shown above.  Here is the original manuscript (pre-print) - click here.  The report cites beneficial changes to improve efficiency - lower consumption as the following:

1) Education

2) Fines for excessive use

3) Infrastructure changes

The last change is an obvious change which can occur at the local level (municipal) and result in major savings to the daily amount of water use.  Whereas the first and second are not so easily answered which is the reason for the report.  The authors set out to answer the following questions:

1) First, how does the water withdrawals and water-use efficiency vary spatio-temporally, and do these finer-grained spatio-temporal patterns reflect underlying spatio-temporal variations in hydroclimate and population growth?

2) Second, how do socio-economic factors affect efficiency across the country?

3) Finally, can we attribute the finer-grain efficiency to institutional and infrastructural factors – federal investment in water infrastructure, water conservation measures, and type of storage systems (i.e., within-year/over-year reservoirs) – across the country?

In order to answer the three questions above, an army of researchers and data compilers would be needed.  The report was completed and worth reading.  When I first read the excerpt about factors like "education" and "poverty" which were tied to increased water use (i.e. water waste) I was rather surprised.  Here is why - below.

Education Cannot Be Tied To Water Use

Yes, you read the heading correctly to this section.  You might wonder where my evidence is which validates this statement.  First, I would say that I live in California and we have been in "drought conditions" for quite a while.  One estimate from a previous blog that I wrote estimates that in order to be fully restored as a state, we would need around 14 trillion gallons of water -- enough to fill the Dallas Cowboys stadium around 14,000 times -- WOW.

In light of that, educating the community on water use and waste is an extremely important measure that local municipalities can invest heavily in.  Although, in any given community, there will be "educated" people who do not care about the "drought" and will waste water.

You might ask: Who are these water wasters/"drought deniers"?

Great question.  In the report above, the national average use of water per day per resident is around 90 gallons per day.  Yes, each of us roughly use around 90 gallons of water per day.  In a previous post, I found an astonishing statistic which blew my mind and would blow the authors of the above minds too.  Here is the statistic shown below from the blog post:

If you focus in on the highlighted region the following statistic appears:

"Average number of gallons of water used each day by a typical Los Angeles resident: 107
By a single Bel Air resident: 32,000"

Yes, you read that statistic correctly.  The average Los Angeles resident uses close to the national average of water per day.  Whereas the average Bel Air resident uses around 32,000 gallons per day -- OMG.  Right?  Where is all that water going to?  I have no idea but maybe to water their lawns, fill their multiple water fountains up, swimming pools, etc.

You can now see my surprise when I first read the result of the above report which stated that education and poverty were tied to water waste.  I would tend to agree to an extent.  Although, the results from my blog post state a different result.

Furthermore, if the Los Angeles Water District imposes fines on the residents of Bel Air -- most would proudly pay the fine.  Thousands of dollars is pennies compared to the millions each are bringing in.  I hope that the authors of the above report decided to include Bel Air residents.

Imposing a fine on the wealthy might or might not make a difference in water use.  For low income residents, the change is dramatic.  When each of us read a report, we should keep in mind all of the information.  Results from my previous blog suggest that this is relevant in the present case.


Water use is important for each of us.  Education and poverty can play a role in water efficiency.  But if we choose not to learn about the water sources or system in our municipalities, then change will not occur.  I always try to emphasize how important the realization is of the source of our clean (drinkable) water is.  When each of us examine more closely the source of our water and the avenues by which water is process to arrive at our faucet, maybe each of us would respect and be more conservative in our consumption.  We do not want another Flint Michigan disaster.  Each of us deserve clean drinkable water. Think about how much water you use on a daily basis.  How does your consumption compare to the national average?

Until next time, have a great day!