June 8, 2010

Corporate Greed Worsens Economy Woes – Using Infrared to Enforce “Energy Theft” in Detroit, Destroying Lives in the Process:

(Republished from

Tattoos have become more than just a tribal statement – and a mark of infamy (during the time when these were sported mostly by convicts). The art form has become mainstream, with a number of celebrities – male and female alike – sporting more than just one.

And now, the efforts of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Chemical Engineering may take tattoos to a whole new level, by making it more than just a mark of brotherhood or a fashion statement. Researchers are using nano-particle ink in order to monitor glucose levels in the bloodstream.

diabetesThose who suffer from diabetes  have to undergo consistent monitoring of glucose content in their blood. The usual way is to prick the finger to draw blood to be used for testing, a necessity that not too many people are especially fond of.

The project researchers are working on a tattoo made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in a glucose-sensitive polymer which will constitute “ink” that can be injected beneath the skin, as described in an article on Popular Science.

The “ink” will react when exposed to glucose, and the reaction can be detected using near-infrared light. In addition to the tattoo, the patient will be wearing a sensor – an example that was provided was a wristwatch-type of device – that will provide the near-infrared light needed and will be used as a tool that will provide the patient with a real time read-out of his or her blood sugar levels.

Read more:

On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 4213 that included the extension of the $2,000 federal tax credit for energy efficient new homes. Below is the language that was passed:


12 (a) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (g) of section 45L is
13 amended by striking ‘‘December 31, 2009’’ and inserting
14 ‘‘December 31, 2010’’.
15 (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this
16 section shall apply to homes acquired after December 31,
17 2009.

The extension of the energy efficient homes credit was part of an omnibus tax extension bill. Since the House version differs in total content it must go through a reconciliation process with the Senate. Since the House and Senate language for the energy efficient homes credit extension it will not be affected by the reconciliate process. Once the House and Senate passes the bill, President Obama must sign it.

RESNET efforts now need to be directed in extending the credit to homes that meet 50 on the HERS Index and extending the credit to 2014.

BPI classes resume next week at our location in Tucson, Arizona. Contact us for questions or information regarding enrollment: 888-268-0567

Hot Stars Found Hidden in Galaxy’s Dusty Embrace
By Staff

A European telescope has used infrared vision to pierce the veil of dust around the galaxy Messier 83, and revealed clusters of young stars hidden within dusty regions that harbor star factories.

The new galaxy photo comes courtesy of the HAWK-1 camera belonging to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Such findings help astronomers seek out the younger star clusters in order to better understand the birth and evolution of stars.
An infrared view not only eliminates makes much of the dust effectively transparent, but also tones down the brightly lit gas that tends to hang around hot young stars.

Binocular-wielding stargazers already know Messier 83 as one of the brightest nearby galaxies. The galaxy is located 15 million light-years away from Earth and spans over 40,000 light-years, where a light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km).
Messier 83 also looks like a strikingly similar twin to our Milky Way galaxy with its spiral shape and bar of stars across the center, despite having just 40 percent the size of the Milky Way.

Astronomers recognize Messier 83 for its record-breaking number of observed supernovas that mark the end of many a star’s life. Just one other galaxy can match that record.
Messier 83

A new report from the auditing arm of Congress shows that the federal Energy Star program has a sloppy certification process that can be easily abused.

The 18-year-old program, which is administered jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, offers consumers rebates and tax credits on appliances that meet certain standards for energy efficiency. American consumers, businesses, and federal agencies rely on the Energy Star program to identify products that decrease greenhouse emissions and lower energy costs. Companies use Energy Star certification to market their products to consumers in the hopes they will buy products based on government certification of their energy consumption and costs.

Given the millions of dollars allocated to encourage use of Energy Star products and concerns that the Energy Star program is vulnerable to fraud and abuse, GAO was asked to conduct proactive testing to (1) obtain Energy Star partnership status for bogus companies and (2) submit fictitious products for Energy Star certification. To perform this investigation, GAO used four bogus manufacturing firms and fictitious individuals to apply for Energy Star partnership and submitted 20 fictitious products with fake energy-savings claims for Energy Star certification. GAO also reviewed program documents and interviewed agency officials and officials from agency Inspector General (IG) offices.

But in a report issued today, the Government Accountability Office says its auditors obtained Energy Star certifications for 15 of 20 products it submitted using fictitious companies and individuals. Those certifications led to requests from real companies to buy some products because they had received Energy Star endorsements.

The phony products included a gasoline-powered alarm clock, which was approved by Energy Star without a review of the company web site or questions about the efficiency claimed for it. Auditors also submitted a geothermal heat pump, which they claimed to be more efficient than any product listed as certified on the Energy Star Web site. The product was certified and its efficiency data was not questioned. Two bogus products were rejected by the program and 3 did not receive a response. One of the products that an outside company wanted to buy was a computer monitor that had been approved by Energy Star within 30 minutes of submission.

This clearly shows how heavily American consumers rely on the Energy Star brand.

At briefings on GAO’s investigation, DOE and EPA officials agreed that the program is currently based on self-certifications by manufacturers. However, officials stated there are after-market tests and self-policing that ensure standards are maintained. GAO did not test or evaluate controls related to products that were already certified and available to the public. In addition, prior DOE IG, EPA IG, and GAO reports have found that current Energy Star controls do not ensure products meet efficiency guidelines.

In 2008 Energy Star reported saving consumers $19 billion dollars on utility costs. Energy Star is slated to receive about $300 million in federal stimulus money to be used for state rebate programs on energy-efficient products.

Energy Star fraud not only affects products, but your house. Many homes are Energy Star “approved”, while a quick thermal scan can determine whether the house is, in fact, energy efficient. As a licensed home inspector, I have come across many homes that were “Energy Star compliant” but consistently had gaps of missing insulation throughout the house. Beware of an Energy Star rated home, get an infrared energy audit before investing in a property.

Included are some sample pictures of mine from home inspections of Energy Star approved houses: