Thursday, October 18, 2007

All the links in today’s news digest lead to current stories. Please note that some media organizations update their web sites regularly, which may result in broken links in the future.


Aghast • \uh-GAST\ • adjective – Struck with terror, amazement, or horror: shocked

Allegory • \ALL-uh-goree\ • noun – 1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression 2: a symbolic representation: emblem

Albert was aghast. He had organized a conference in Bodega Bay to discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s use of birds in his movies as an allegory for coming chaos and death. Unfortunately, as the presentation began, the attendees were attacked from all sides by diving, darting birds. They ranged from barn swallows to lumbering, awkward domesticated turkeys. The former school mistress could not help but smile as she watched from her house next door “you brought the birds…you’re evil,” she murmured under her breath, stifling a hysterical cackle.


WIND ADVISORY ISSUED – The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory, which is in effect from two this afternoon to 11 tonight. Winds will increase this afternoon right ahead of an incoming weather system. South winds in the 10 to 20 mph range will increase to 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph between 2 PM and 8 PM. The winds will decrease significantly after 11 PM. Winds this strong can snap small tree branches, topple small or shallow-rooted trees and cause local power outages. Motorists, especially those with high profile vehicles, should be alert for sudden strong cross winds. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

"Significant wind event" due, so don't blow it off – Prepare to chase down knocked-over garbage cans and deal with flickering lights later today — forecasters say a windstorm is headed for Western Washington. (Seattle Times)

Storms Bearing Down On Northwest – KIRO 7 Eyewitness News meteorologist Rick VanCise said the National Weather Service has issued a high wind watch for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Get Ready For Big Storm, Officials Say (KIRO-TV, Seattle)

La Niña good news for skiers, farmers – Tropical system is expected to bring snow and cold weather to the Northwest this winter. (Idaho Statesman)

Prepare for wind storm power outages (KING-TV, Seattle)


Coal plans hit snags – At least 16 coal-fired power plant proposals nationwide have been scrapped in recent months, and more than three dozen have been delayed, as utilities face increasing pressure due to concerns over global warming and rising construction costs. (Associated Press via the Jackson Hole Star-Tribune)

North Carolina – Merger savings under fire at Duke hearing – A lawyer at the Duke Energy Carolinas' N.C. rate hearings argued Wednesday that the company seriously underestimated its merger savings, allowing Duke Energy Corp. shareholders to profit at the expense of utility customers. (Charlotte Business Journal)

Electricity Plan Advances to Public – Four-State Power Line Called Necessary to Address Energy Needs. The operator of the mid-Atlantic region's electricity grid approved yesterday a high-voltage power transmission line that would begin in Northern Virginia and cut across Southern Maryland before going under the Chesapeake Bay and ending in New Jersey. (Washington Post)

News Release – FERC improves market transparency in New England – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today approved a proposal from ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE) and the New England Power Pool that will help improve market transparency by reducing the lag time for posting of demand bid and supply offer data (FERC)

Texas – PUC Responds To Meter Reader Complaints; access to meters is the issue (KPRC-TV, Houston)

FERC’s Winter 2007/2008 – Energy Market Assessment (Links to PDF File)

Creative Bill Presentment Contributes to the Bottom Line (Energy Pulse Commentary)


While industries clean up, wildfires spew mercury – Oregon blazes release far more of the element than factories, a study says. Most of the toxic mercury spewed into the air in Oregon does not come from smokestacks that face tightening pollution rules, but from smoky wildfires that are getting more frequent and more intense with global warming. (The Oregonian – So then, what does this say about burning biomass for electricity generation?)

New Battle of Logging vs. Spotted Owls Looms in West – A 1990s’ truce that quieted the bitter wars between loggers and environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest is in danger of collapse. (NY Times)

Bottled water leaves some cities with a bad taste – Backlash against bottled water is spreading, prompting bans on the plastic bottles at city-sponsored events in some communities, their removal from restaurant menus and campaigns urging the use of tap water instead. (USA Today)


Northwest's largest solar-power site about to come on line – The sun peeked through the clouds Thursday above the Wild Horse solar power project atop Whisky Dick Mountain near Ellenburg. (Yakima Herald-Republic)

Idaho – Elmore wind power projects move forward. Idaho Power and Energy Vision get the PUC's OK for interconnection deals. (Idaho Statesman)


Gripes over Bush's first energy-efficiency upgrade – The new standard for electrical transformers, announced Friday, will save less energy than utilities had expected. (Christian Science Monitor)

Canada – Energy critic says less demand for power this summer proves conservation works (Oilweek Magazine)

How Hiring an Energy Inspector Can Save You Money – Auditors ferret out funky accounting at corporations. Can they also find the energy culprits in my home? (The Street.Com – She paid $175 for an audit that PUD 3 provides as a free service)

Awesome Cool Homework Tool – Use Con Edison Kids Web Site to Get Ahead (Market Wire, via CNN Money)


How can you predict global warming if you can't predict rain? Some say climate change is part of a complex natural cycle – so complex, in fact, that it can't be forecast. Are current climate models reliable?


‘Google effect’ spreads money around globe (News Tribune, Tacoma)


Man wins right to have nativity scene in Capitol Rotunda (The Olympian)

Canada – Safety panel concerned about pot use by B.C. ferry crews. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is worried about marijuana use by British Columbia ferry crew members, based on interviews after a fatal ferry sinking last year. (Associated Press, via the Seattle Times)


From the institute of colorful language – Swearing At Work Is OK, Study Finds. British University Finds Swearing Can Benefit Employers

Killer swimwear! Mystery underwear stymies Guantanamo investigators

Alleged purse-snatcher drops phone – When a teenage boy allegedly grabbed a 63-year-old woman's purse and ran off, he might have escaped arrest. That is, if he hadn't dropped his cell phone.

Colbert Consulted Parties Before Announcing Run – Stephen Colbert — who announced plans to run for the presidency, though only in South Carolina, on his Comedy Central show Tuesday night — is serious enough about the stunt that his staff reached out to the state’s Democratic and Republican committees in advance of his declaration.