Science & Technology
Braley Receives Award from Iowa Renewable Fuel Group PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:59

Dubuque, IA – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) received the 2012 Fueling Growth Award from Growth Energy, who represents 79 ethanol producing plants, dozens of associate members, and thousands of grassroots supporters across the nation. Jim Nussle, former Congressman from Iowa’s First District, is the President and COO of Growth Energy.

This award is the highest honor presented to congressional leaders who support ethanol – America’s home-grown, renewable fuel.

 
Mars Curiosity & the Human Condition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:41
Religious Scholar Cites 4 Reasons
to Support Space Exploration

Despite slashing government budgets on everything from entitlement to defense programs, NASA is proceeding with its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Central to the mission’s success is Curiosity – a one-ton rover that continues to impress Earthlings with laser blasts for rock samples, mobility via a joystick and plenty of video and pictures. On all accounts, the mission, which may provide answers to questions of life on Mars, has so far been a wild success.

“With this Mars program, NASA has once again captured the imaginations of people throughout the world, instigating conversations about the universe and even the significance of life not only on Earth, but also on other planets,” says Sanjay C. Patel, (www.SanjayCPatel.com), author of “God Is Real,” a book that explores similarities between modern science and ancient cosmology.

Science and religion do not conflict with each other; they are different languages that ultimately lead to the same truth, he says. As science has done in the past, Patel suspects more data from extraterrestrial locations like Mars will continue to confirm ancient religious theories. He discusses four reasons why the Mars mission is well worth the expense.

• 2012 meets 1492 – an argument for resources: It’s not just science-fiction anymore; prominent scientists like Steven Hawking say Earth’s moon, Mars and Titan, a moon of Saturn, have resources people will need sooner rather than later. The main reason – the world’s explosive growth in human population and the exponential consumption of land and other necessities. What we might find, Patel says, is a scenario very much like that which early Europeans experienced in the New World: new foods, reams of building supplies, new fuels, land and other resources. We may discover things that will become essential to future human beings.

• A spiritual-scientific connection: Science has confirmed what religion posited more than a millennium ago, Patel says. For example, scientific findings have confirmed what ancient Yogis said: That volcanic fire scorched India about 120 million years ago. Related volcanoes in the ocean south of India submerged about 117 million years ago. “The submarine Fire exists in the ocean,” he says, quoting ancient Yogis. “It drinks the seawater and removes its saltiness. It then expels the desalinated water from another opening. … That perfectly describes the undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents near India.”

• If we’re not moving forward … Predictions as to where we’d be with space exploration in 2012 were quite ambitious during the race to the moon in the 1960s. But we haven’t accomplished a lot since then. Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently argued that we’re still reaping the benefits of the research and development that went into the space race decades ago, and to negate space exploration is to turn off one of humanity’s most important dimensions – our ambition to innovate.

• Alien life may not be so alien: As the European discovery of the New World revealed, the meeting of foreign civilizations can have disastrous consequences. However, the discovery of life elsewhere, whether or not it is intelligent or self-aware, can further enlighten us as to our origins, our reason for being, and our role in the universe, Patel says.

About Sanjay C. Patel

Sanjay C. Patel studied theology, Sanskrit, ancient cosmology, advanced yoga and meditation techniques, among many other subjects, earning a degree in Divinity at the BAPS Swaminarayan Ashram in India. He continued studies of modern science and ancient spiritual texts for 30 years. His discoveries regarding the convergence of science and ancient texts were published in mainstream science journals and presented at the 22nd International Congress of History of Science in Beijing.

 
Secretary Vilsack Announces USDA Has Reached Its Goal to Fund $250 Million in Smart Grid Improvements PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 13:13
Funds for System Improvements are Provided in North Carolina, Nine other States

RALEIGH, N.C., September 7, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has reached its $250 million goal to finance smart grid technologies, a key component of President Obama's effort to help modernize our nation's electric system. Vilsack also announced nine rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 10 states including North Carolina will receive loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies.

"Grid modernization and deployment of 'smart grid' technology will increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power generation," said Vilsack. "Providing reliable, affordable electrical service contributes to stronger rural economies and is the backbone for a prosperous rural America. These loans will help ensure that rural areas can retain existing businesses, support new ones and have reliable, up-to-date infrastructure."

As part of President Obama's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, the Administration has outlined aframework for a modernized electric system that will benefit all Americans. This framework lays out a number of public and private initiatives, including a goal of $250 million in loans for smart-grid technology deployment as part of the USDA's Rural Utility Service, which is focused on upgrading the electric grid in rural America.

With today's announcement of more than $27 million in smart grid investments, USDA has met President Obama's goal and has further enabled rural utilities to make efficiency improvements to the electric grid that will help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.

Vilsack said this $250 million investment in loan funds for smart grid technologies means infrastructure investment at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. These technologies will facilitate the integration of renewable sources of electricity into the grid, help avoid blackouts and restore power quicker when outages occur, and reduce the need for new power plants. Smart grid technologies also provide a foundation for innovation by entrepreneurs and others who can develop tools to empower consumers and help them make informed decisions. A first generation of innovative consumer products and services—such as thermostats that can be controlled from a smart phone, or websites that show how much energy a house is using—can continue to help Americans save money on their electricity bills.

Vilsack made the announcement during a tour of North Carolina's Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation, which received a $30,000,000 guaranteed loan from USDA to extend its system by 52 miles and help provide service to about 1,000 new member consumers. The cooperative will also increase capacity for 100 current consumers and improve the reliability of about 40 miles of line. The cooperative installed a new automated meter system (AMI) with funds from a previous loan and will invest approximately $150,000 of the funds from this new loan on new AMI meters for the 1,000 new member consumers.

Vilsack also announced that two other cooperatives in North Carolina will receive loan guarantees. Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation will receive a $21,500,000 loan to build and improve 220 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corporation, which serves a rural area in the northeastern part of North Carolina, will receive a $6.4 million loan. Due to its location, the borrower is susceptible to extreme storm conditions, including hurricanes and Northeasters. The firm will use about $1 million of the loan to install automatic meters (AMIs).

The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Colorado/ Nebraska/ New Mexico/ Wyoming

  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. – $140,483,000 loan. Funds will be used to build 50 miles of transmission line and make upgrades to the existing generation and transmission facilities. The loan amount includes $21,756,000 in smart grid projects and $808,780 in environmental improvements.

Kansas

  • The Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. – $6,130,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 355 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $2,014,500 in smart grid projects.

Minnesota

  • Stearns Cooperative Electric Association – $23,654,000 loan. The cooperative will improve 147 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $974,085 in smart grid projects.
  • Agralite Electric Cooperative – $5,159,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 61 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $180,968 in smart grid projects.

Missouri/Iowa

  • Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative – $30,093,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 24 miles of transmission line, build three new substations and make other improvements. The loan amount includes $500,000 in smart grid projects.

North Carolina

  • Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corporation – $6,410,000 loan. The cooperative will build and improve 310 miles of distribution line and 2 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1,084,728 in smart grid projects.
  • Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation – $30,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 108 miles of distribution line and 5 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements.
  • Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation – $21,500,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 220 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Wisconsin

  • Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative – $6,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to build and improve 88 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $255,833 in smart grid projects.

The $269 million in loan guarantees announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at:http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


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YouTube My Twitter and I'll Flickr Your Google PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:49

By: Joe Thomas of Left Brain Digital

You hear it and see it every day: Follow me. Like us. Google it. And you know exactly what it means, don't you?

That's the power of brand recognition. You know the Gecko, the e-Trade baby, and probably all the words to the Free Credit Score.Com songs, too. What? You thought these characters and catch phrases just happened overnight? Not! They were planned and strategically planted, and they have become the "faces" of their respective brands.

Recognition is not the only thing – it's everything. I'm going to use an author as our test dummy for this piece because I've developed enough author websites to know there is a lot of confusion about how they should brand themselves.

I recently had a conversation with a prospective new client; let's call him Gunther Zigby. Now, Gunther wrote a book and hired an out-of-work hairdresser to “build a website tonight" that finally appeared online four months later. After getting only 30 visitors to his site and not selling a single book in more than five months, Gunther talked to a friend of a friend, who gave him my number.

I asked Gunther for his web address and he gave me the title of his book. I asked him if he had misunderstood – I was asking for his web address, the URL for his site.

"That’s it,” he said. “My book title is my website address, too. Pretty cool, huh?"

Well, Gunther, no. Not really!

I only mention Gunther Zigby because it leads me into a really important-sounding message: The Proper Packaging In Relation to the Development of Your Brand.

1. As an author/writer - understand that YOU are the brand – not your book.Have you ever heard of John Grisham? I rest my case.

2. A good many authors are also public speakers. When was the last time you heard of a book being hired for a speaking engagement? See, when it's all said and done, they really do want YOU!

3. If your website URL is your book title, what happens if, and when, you write another book? Now you're catching on; you just figured out that you’d have to build a whole new website for the second book, didn't you?

As an author, odds are you have written one or two books, but are still virtually unknown outside of your circle. It's not easy, but without the right tools, it’s pretty much impossible to break out of that circle. You have to create a package that will upgrade you from "virtually unknown" to "hot commodity." That requires a plan and execution.

You may be branding yourself as an expert on your topic – because you are! That’s a smart way to go but only part of the package. What kind of expert are you? Are you a roll-up-your-sleeves hands-on sort? Or do you have a flash and polish that make people say, “She’s successful. I need to listen to her.” Or, are you a funny, approachable everyone’s-favorite-uncle type?

What is your message? Your promise? What can you consistently deliver, whether it’s on your blog or as a speaker?

Even when you have everything 110 percent right, it's not easy achieving the stature that makes your name as well-known as, say, John Grisham’s. But by laying the right foundation, you’re at least giving yourself a good running start.

About Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas is the founder and owner of Left Brain Digital (www.leftbraindigital.com), a web development company. He’s an award-winning web designer/developer with more than 18 years of experience in print and web design and development. Thomas' work became a major influence in graphic and web design in the "Y2K" era of the Internet's dot-com explosion.

 
Loebsack to Speak at Acciona Windpower to Celebrate Assembly of First AW3000 Turbine PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 15:15

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he will speak at Acciona Windpower to celebrate the assembly of the first AW3000 turbine produced in the United States.  The celebration will take place TOMORROW, August 29th at 11:00am in West Branch.  Earlier this year, Loebsack was presented the American Wind Energy Association’s USA Wind Champion Award during a visit to Acciona’s facilities.  He was given this award in recognition of his ongoing support of wind energy in Iowa and working to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Acciona Windpower Celebration

601 Fawcett Drive

West Branch

11:00am

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