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Wednesday, March 25, 2015



    Despite advance billing by the local media, and Ventnor city hall and Ventnor civic groups only about 30 people showed up Tues. evening for the ACOE and NJDEP's so called Dune Explanation forum starring Stockton College's Stewart Farrell head of the Stockton Coastal Institute and primary sponsor and benefactor of these projects. Why it was held was obvious to everyone locally. The Gov. was also on 101.5 radio yesterday threatening Margate's residents and leadership and calling us selfish etc. The Gov. doesn't get it yet. Margate doesn't give a shit about what he has to say about OUR friggin beach. Time to STFU Chris and go to court and I friggin hope you have your pen ready because its not going to cost a dollar to grab our beaches.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Yep, @ the Beach Blog is ten years old today!!!  A lot has happened over the course of the past ten yrs. The blog started with its focus on just the beach and for awhile it was just going to be about  Margate City's beach, because the original name of the Blog was Margate Citizen's for Beach Preservation. I changed that after the first few installments to @ the Beach and its been that name ever since. As for the content, it's stayed kind of beach centric and many of the original topics concerning Margate's beach are still being presented. In truth, part of the reason I started this blog was to carry the fight forward against the NJDEP and the Army Corps. attempts to spread its ugly intrusive Beach project south from AC and Ventnor into Margate. Amazingly, that fight is still happening even today! Although, I still love the beach, the blog has long ago strayed from just featuring this topic alone. Today it  has become  based in presenting articles and features of a  more general environmental / scientific, political and philosophical examination of reality and events.

TOP 1% 
   Interestingly, over the course of the last ten yrs. @ the Beach became part of the top 1% of Blogspots blogs ( our sponsor and host owned by Google.) That and a dollar though won't buy you a cup of joe, as the old saying goes. For some years the Blog did however earn enough from Google to pay for my monthly Internet connection. That was until Google stopped paying its blog customers anything. That we made anything at all was kind of amusing because @ the Beach was never conceived as a commercial Enterprise. Another interesting fact is that of its thousands of followers @ the Beach has people reading us on almost every Continent on the planet, so we've become an Int'l site. Beaches are everywhere!

  @ the Beach - The FUTURE 

   So, what's planned for the next ten yrs. for @ the Beach? Well, you've probably noticed we also have a Facebook page where each blog post is linked.   Also, I'm excited to announce that @ the Beach has a Podcast in the works for the near future and I'm also looking into doing an Email based Newsletter for the site. So, we'll be spreading out this year and looking forward toward reaching a wider audience World-wide. Who knows maybe we'll even be re broadcasting soon in French ( just kidding .) Anyway, what started out as a little blog about one beach in South Jersey has become over these years much more and we're still dreaming of becoming even more. I hope you'll stay with us and tell your friends about us. Oh and  please keep those  comments and emails coming !!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Published on

New Research Endorses 'Rooftop Revolution' as Simple, Local Solar Solution

Study shows 'we do not need to trade these places of environmental value for the production of renewable energy'
Rooftop solar panels. (Photo: Duncan Rawlinson/cc/flickr)
Rooftop solar panels. (Photo: Duncan Rawlinson/cc/flickr)
The future of solar energy, often envisioned as an island of reflective panels amid an ecologically sensitive desert outpost, may have a more simple, and more local solution.
A Stanford University study published earlier this week found that utility-scale solar development built alongside existing infrastructure, on rooftops or in backyards, may be more than enough to power whole communities.
The research, published in Nature Climate Change, modeled land-use efficiency in California, a global solar energy hotspot. The study examined how urban areas could be made more efficient by developing more localized sources for renewable energy.
"The quantity of accessible energy potentially produced from photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) within the built environment exceeds current statewide demand," the study found.
Common criticisms of large solar arrays are that can pose a threat to wildlife and crowd out other land uses.
"Our results show that we do not need to trade these places of environmental value for the production of renewable energy as ample land and space exists elsewhere," said Rebecca Hernandez, study lead author and an environmental earth system scientist at Stanford. "Additionally, developing renewable power generation in places close to where it is consumed reduces costs and loss of electricity associated with transmission."
Further, Hernandez notes, rooftops, vacant lots and industrial sites within urban areas are ideal for solar development, as they pose the "least environmental conflict."
The abstract points out that such development "may be an overlooked opportunity for meeting sustainable energy needs in places with land and environmental constraints."

Friday, March 13, 2015



There are those folks in the environmental movement dedicated to reducing the enormous amounts of carbon based pollution being spewed into the air daily that don't believe its possible to mitigate a great deal of this pollution using evolving carbon capture technologies. They believe that the only way to reduce this pollution is to stop the burning of Coal, Oil, and gas and that nothing else will work. I think this position is wrong and counter productive. Although , I agree we will eventually need to replace all these energy sources with renewable s  and must forge ahead to develop and deploy these technologies ASAP, I also believe we need to figure out a suite of technologies that recapture the Carbon we've already put up there. The simple truth is we desperately need to get our levels of CO2 back down within historic norms quickly. At present we are above 400 ppm of CO2 and the historic norms are between 190 ppm  ( in an Ice age) and 280 ppm ( in an  inter-glacial period like today.)  Of course some of the folks opposed to this idea warn that if such technologies are deployed , especially on power plants already burning Carbon we will never get them to stop. It's a risk we have to take. One step at a time. I believe a better strategy is to convince these Corps. its in their own interest to retro-fit all existing Carbon burning plants with these technologies and create technology that will recapture what they've already put up there then it is to just try and stop them head on. We need to immediately push for a carbon tax that will help fund this transition and the technologies needed to do it. A crash program is now necessary as the effects of the high levels of CO2 already up there are starting to kick in and are beginning to create what's known as positive feedback loops that will make the situation even worse. 

New material captures carbon at half the energy cost

March 11, 2015
University of California - Berkeley
Capturing carbon from power plants will likely be necessary in the future to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but current technologies are very expensive. Chemists have now developed a new material, a diamine-appended metal-organic framework, that captures carbon dioxide with much reduced energy costs compared to today's technologies, potentially lowering the cost of capturing and sequestering this greenhouse gas.

The diamine-appended metal-organic framework before and after binding of carbon dioxide. The view is a cross section through one of the pores of the MOF, showing diamine molecules (containing blue nitrogen atoms) attached to metal (manganese) atoms (green). Carbon dioxide molecules (grey carbon atoms with two red oxygen atoms) bind through a cooperative mechanism akin to a chain reaction along the pore surfaces. Some H atoms (white) are omitted for clarity.
Credit: Graphic by Thomas McDonald, Jarad Mason, Jeffrey Long/UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley chemists have made a major leap forward in carbon-capture technology with a material that can efficiently remove carbon from the ambient air of a submarine as readily as from the polluted emissions of a coal-fired power plant.
The material then releases the carbon dioxide at lower temperatures than current carbon-capture materials, potentially cutting by half or more the energy currently consumed in the process. The released CO2 can then be injected underground, a technique called sequestering, or, in the case of a submarine, expelled into the sea.
"Carbon dioxide is 15 percent of the gas coming off a power plant, so a carbon-capture unit is going to be big," said senior author Jeffrey Long, a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry and faculty senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "With these new materials, that unit could be much smaller, making the capital costs drop tremendously as well as the operating costs."
The material, a metal-organic framework (MOF) modified with nitrogen compounds called diamines, can be tuned to remove carbon dioxide from the room-temperature air of a submarine, for example, or the 100-degree (Fahrenheit) flue gases from a power plant.
"It would work great on something like the International Space Station," Long said.
Though power plants are not now required to capture carbon dioxide from their emissions, it will eventually be necessary in order to slow the pace of climate change caused by fossil-fuel burning. If the planet's CO2 levels rise much higher than they are today, it may even be necessary to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere to make the planet livable.
Long and his colleagues describe how the new materials -- diamine-appended MOFs -- work in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
From flue gas to submarines
Power plants that capture CO2 today use an old technology whereby flue gases are bubbled through organic amines in water, where the carbon dioxide binds to amines. The liquid is then heated to 120-150 degrees Celsius (250-300 degrees Fahrenheit) to release the gas, after which the liquids are reused. The entire process is expensive: it consumes about 30 percent of the power generated, while sequestering underground costs an additional though small fraction of that.
The new diamine-appended MOFs can capture carbon dioxide at various temperatures, depending on how the diamines are synthesized, and releases the CO2at only 50 C above the temperature at which CO2 binds, instead of the increase of 80-110 C required for aqueous liquid amines. Because MOFs are solid, the process also saves the huge energy costs of heating the water in which amines are dissolved.
MOFs are composites of metals -- in this case, magnesium or manganese -- with organic compounds that, together, form a porous structure with microscopic, parallel channels. Several years ago, Long and his lab colleagues developed a way to attach amines to the metals in an MOF to produce pores of sufficient diameter to allow CO2to penetrate rapidly into the material. They found that MOFs with attached diamines are very different from other carbon-capture materials, in that the CO2 seems to load into the material very quickly at a specific temperature and pressure, then come out quickly when the temperature is raised by 50 C. In the new paper, UC Berkeley graduate students Thomas McDonald and Jarad Mason, together with other co-workers, describe how this works.
"This material is unique in that it binds CO2 in a cooperative mechanism," Long said. "When the first CO2 starts to adsorb at a very specific pressure, all of a sudden it facilitates more CO2 adsorption, and the MOF rapidly saturates. That is really a different property from any other CO2 adsorbent based on amines.
"Then," he added, "if you raise the temperature by applying heat, at some temperature all the CO2 will come flooding off."
Long's team found that the diamines bind to the metal atoms of the MOF and then react with CO2 to form metal-bound ammonium carbamate species that completely line the interior channels of the MOF. At a sufficiently high pressure, one CO2molecule binding to an amine helps other CO2 molecules bind next door, catalyzing a chain reaction as CO2polymerizes with diamine like a zipper running down the channel. Increasing the temperature by 50 degrees Celsius makes the reaction reverse just as quickly.
The pressure at which CO2 binds to the amines can be adjusted by changing the metal in the MOF. Long has already shown that some diamine-appended MOFs can bind CO2 at room temperature and CO2 levels as low as 300 parts per million.
The current atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now 400 parts per million (ppm), and policy-makers in many countries hope to reduce this below 350 ppm to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, from increasingly severe weather events and sea level rise to global average temperature increases of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
'We got lucky'
Last summer, Long co-founded a startup, Mosaic Materials, to use the new technology to radically reduce the cost of chemical separations, with plans in the works for a pilot study of CO2 separation from power plant emissions. This would involve creating columns containing millimeter-size pellets made by compressing a crystalline powder of MOFs.
"We're also hoping to develop something that might be tested in a submarine," Long said. That would pave the way for eventual scale-up to capturing CO2 from natural gas plants, which produce emissions containing about 5 percent CO2, to the higher concentrations of coal-fired power plants.
"We got lucky," he said. "We were just trying to find a simple way to attach these amines to our MOF surface, because they are one of the best compounds for selectively binding CO2 in the presence of water, which can be a problem in flue gas. And it just happens we got the right length in the amine to make these one-dimensional chains that bind CO2in a cooperative manner."
Long suggested as well that the findings may have relevance for the fixation of CO2by plants, owing to striking structural similarities between the magnesium-based MOF and the naturally occurring CO2-fixing photosynthetic enzyme RuBisCO.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Berkeley. The original article was written by Robert Sanders. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Thomas M. McDonald, Jarad A. Mason, Xueqian Kong, Eric D. Bloch, David Gygi, Alessandro Dani, Valentina CrocellĂ , Filippo Giordanino, Samuel O. Odoh, Walter S. Drisdell, Bess Vlaisavljevich, Allison L. Dzubak, Roberta Poloni, Sondre K. Schnell, Nora Planas, Kyuho Lee, Tod Pascal, Liwen F. Wan, David Prendergast, Jeffrey B. Neaton, Berend Smit, Jeffrey B. Kortright, Laura Gagliardi, Silvia Bordiga, Jeffrey A. Reimer, Jeffrey R. Long. Cooperative insertion of CO2 in diamine-appended metal-organic frameworksNature, 2015; DOI:10.1038/nature14327

Thursday, March 12, 2015


English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

Honestly, the only candidate I can vote for this spring in Margate's Commission elections is Commissioner Maury Blumberg. Commissioner Blumberg courageously stood with the people of Margate in two referendums about the proposed Margate Beach Project. In my view, neither Mayor Becker nor Com. Taube deserve another term for the way they  have comported themselves this last four yrs. As for ex-Assemblymen John Amadeo, I'm sorry he's decided to run with Taube and Becker , it wasn't necessary, especially  given that Margate's elections are supposed to be non-partisan. ( all three are openly and stridently Republicans.)  Plus, in my view the Assemblymen should have run on his own record and not associated himself with any of the other candidates. Given Taube and Becker's disgraceful record on the Beach project issue among others one wonders why he's chosen to such a course?  Nevertheless, given the fact that we only have four choices and three have to win, I would urge people to vote for Blumberg and Amadeo if they find they need to vote for atleast two candidates, write in the third folks. On the bright side, Its good that Assemblymen Amadeo has made it clear that personally he against the Beach project. The question I pose to him public-ally is this. Assemblymen, are you prepared to spend whatever it takes to defend Margate's beaches from an unwanted and unneeded extension of the AISPP into Margate? The other side wants us to lose and they intend to win this by saying Margate can't spend a dime more then 200 K to protect and defend it's right to home rule on this all important issue. You can't have it both ways Sir, not on this issue. So far we are winning this fight,  in-spite of being endlessly stabbed in the back by  Com. Taube and Mayor Becker. We'd all like to settle this issue , but you know from experience it cannot be done from a position of weakness.  So  I urge you to take a pledge in public that you are prepared to fight any settlement that destroys Margate's seascape by placing a large obtrusive berm the length of the cities beaches and that you will not hand over city property to the State in furtherance of such a project if in the end its forced upon us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Published on

The Conundrum of Corporation and Nation

(Photo: Glenn Halog/cc/flickr)
The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren't feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.
What's behind this? Two big facts.
First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.
In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That's the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues and found that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."
Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations -- those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.
The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don't want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders -- which often requires lower wages to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.
When GM went public again in 2010, it boasted of making 43 percent of its cars in place where labor is less than $15 an hour, while in North America it could now pay "lower-tiered" wages and benefits for new employees.
American corporations shift their profits around the world wherever they pay the lowest taxes. Some are even morphing into foreign corporations.
As an Apple executive told The New York Times, "We don't have an obligation to solve America's problems."
I'm not blaming American corporations. They're in business to make profits and maximize their share prices, not to serve America.
But because of these two basic facts -- their dominance on American politics, and their interest in share prices instead of the well-being of Americans -- it's folly to count on them to create good American jobs or improve American competitiveness, or represent the interests of the United States in global commerce.
By contrast, big corporations headquartered in other rich nations are more responsible for the well-being of the people who live in those nations.
That's because labor unions there are typically stronger than they are here -- able to exert pressure both at the company level and nationally.
VW's labor unions, for example, have a voice in governing the company, as they do in other big German corporations. Not long ago, VW even welcomed the UAW to its auto plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Tennessee's own politicians nixed it.)
Governments in other rich nations often devise laws through tri-partite bargains involving big corporations and organized labor. This process further binds their corporations to their nations.
Meanwhile, American corporations distribute a smaller share of their earnings to their workers than do European or Canadian-based corporations.
And top U.S. corporate executives make far more money than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.
The typical American worker puts in more hours than Canadians and Europeans, and gets little or no paid vacation or paid family leave. In Europe, the norm is five weeks paid vacation per year and more than three months paid family leave.
And because of the overwhelming clout of American firms on U.S. politics, Americans don't get nearly as good a deal from their governments as do Canadians and Europeans.
Governments there impose higher taxes on the wealthy and redistribute more of it to middle and lower income households. Most of their citizens receive essentially free health care and more generous unemployment benefits than do Americans.
So it shouldn't be surprising that even though U.S. economy is doing better, most Americans are not.
The U.S. middle class is no longer the world's richest. After considering taxes and transfer payments, middle-class incomes in Canada and much of Western Europe are higher than in U.S. The poor in Western Europe earn more than do poor Americans.
Finally, when at global negotiating tables -- such as the secretive process devising the "Trans Pacific Partnership" trade deal -- American corporations don't represent the interests of Americans. They represent the interests of their executives and shareholders, who are not only wealthier than most Americans but also reside all over the world.
Which is why the pending Partnership protects the intellectual property of American corporations -- but not American workers' health, safety, or wages, and not the environment.
The Obama administration is casting the Partnership as way to contain Chinese influence in the Pacific region. The agents of America's interests in the area are assumed to be American corporations.
But that assumption is incorrect. American corporations aren't set up to represent America's interests in the Pacific region or anywhere else.
What's the answer to this basic conundrum? Either we lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American politics. Or we increase their allegiance and responsibility to America.
It has to be one or the other. Americans can't thrive within a political system run largely by big American corporations -- organized to boost their share prices but not boost America.
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of NationsLocked in the CabinetSupercapitalism; and his newest, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at