​ Hurricane Nicole bore down on Bermuda on the morning of October 13, 2016. The storm broke records as it stirred up the Atlantic Ocean for more than a week, growing to a category-4 storm…

Source: Rare Hurricane hits Bermuda


graph of U.S. paper and paperboard supply, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based onAmerican Forest and Paper Association

The recovery, or recycling, of paper and paperboard has increased from 34% of supply in 1990 to 67% of supply in 2015. Most of this recovered paper is consumed in the United States, but some is exported. Based on data from the American Forest and Paper Association, domestic consumption of recovered paper at U.S. mills increased to 31 million tons in 2015, while net recovered paper exports increased to 21 million tons.

Compared to new wood pulp, recovered paper typically requires less energy to process into paper products. The recycling rate for paper has remained near 67% for several years, and there may be limitations on how much higher the rate can go. Changing demand for paper products can also affect the extent to which recycling is possible.

Recovered paper and paperboard includes corrugated cardboard, newspaper, and miscellaneous mixed paper such as office paper. These post-consumer recycled products would have otherwise been discarded, and are distinguished from pre-consumer recycled products, which are mostly scrap generated in the production process.

Instead of harvesting new wood, recycled paper is gathered from various waste streams, wrapped in tight bales, transported to a paper mill, and stored in a warehouse until needed. Various paper grades, such as newspapers and corrugated boxes, are separated, as paper mills use different grades of recovered paper to make different types of recycled paper products. Preparing post-consumer paper for the pulping process may require de-inking and other processes to remove contaminants. Some paper products contain 100% recycled paper, but in some cases new wood fibers are combined with recycled fiber to meet quality requirements.

The Reference case of EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2016 expects the paper industry’s energy consumption to remain near current levels (about 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu)) through 2040. Most of the energy consumed in creating paper products is in the pulping process. Pulping involves separating fibers from wood or recycled inputs. Pulping can either be done mechanically or chemically. Mechanical pulping involves pressing and grinding wood and recycled paper to separate the fibers, while chemical pulping uses chemical-water solutions to dissolve the lignin in wood to separate the fibers. The Kraft chemical pulping process accounts for the majority of U.S. pulp production.

Although energy savings associated with recycled paper are significant, there are also variations in energy consumption associated with the different processes and approaches to operations management. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries estimates the energy saved from using recycled material versus virgin materials is as high as 68%. For example, processing wood through the Kraft chemical pulping process requires 10 to 12 million Btu per ton. Recycled pulps require about 1 to 4 million Btu per ton. A number of processes are required to prepare the pulp for the paper mill, including drying the pulp, which is typically an energy-intensive process.

Hurricane Nicole bore down on Bermuda on the morning of October 13, 2016. The storm broke records as it stirred up the Atlantic Ocean for more than a week, growing to a category-4 storm.

As it neared the island, Nicole became the secondcategory 4 or 5 storm in the Atlantic Ocean this year—the first time on record that the Atlantic has had two category 4 or 5 storms in October. Nicole became a tropical storm on October 4, circled the tropical Atlantic for several days, and then gained intensity as it approached Bermuda on October 12.

NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 13 (GOES-13) captured this natural-color image of Hurricane Nicole at 11:15 a.m. local time (14:15 Universal Time) on October 13, 2016, just before the eyewall made a direct hit on Bermuda. At the time, the storm was moving northeast at 16 miles (26 kilometers) per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles (195 kilometers) per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“This is a serious storm, and it’s living up to the weather predictions,” warned Bermuda’s National Security Minister, Jeff Baron. “The worst is not over.”

The island rarely sees direct hits from major hurricanes. So far, only seven major hurricanes have passed within 40 nautical miles (46 miles or 74 kilometers) of Bermuda since records began in 1851, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The map (below) of historical storm tracks since 1859 shows storms that passed over or near Bermuda in light blue, with major storms (category-3 and higher) in deeper blue. Hurricane Nicole appears in orange and red.

acquired October 13, 2016

This year’s hurricane season has proven to be a busy one in the western hemisphere. “The Atlantic has had more major hurricane days in 2016 than in 2012 thru 2015 combined,” wrote meteorologist Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University in a tweet.

Beyond the impacts on the island, which are still being assessed, Nicole’s reach has extended beyond the surface of Earth, delaying the arrival of suppliesto the International Space Station. The launch of a rocket and cargo vessel from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility is on pause while mission controllers await clearer skies and damage reports from atracking station in Bermuda. The cargo vessel will transport 5,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of supplies.

The ferocity of Kilauea’s eruption is linked to the chemical balance in the mantle below
Hawaiian volcanoes sometimes erupt as gentle flows of lava, but other times produce spectacular lava fountains.

New data from centuries-worth of eruptions suggest that the differences reflect fluctuations deep in the Earth.

Reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists considered how magma rich in volatile elements rises rapidly and erupts as high fountains.

Historical eruptions follow variations in the chemistry of Earth’s deep mantle, they report.

If you travel to Tokyo, Mexico City, Seattle or Naples, all cities sitting “under the volcano”, a short journey out of town will take you to the slopes of a dormant monster.

Understanding the hows and whys of volcanic eruptions is crucial if these types of geohazard are to be properly assessed.

History suggests that the consequences of huge volcanic explosions may extend from local disaster to global catastrophe.

We learned in recent years how volcanic ash can disrupt holiday flights and cause short-lived misery. But evidence from the deep geological past implies that volcanic activity could be linked to mass extinctions, or at least significant global environmental change.

Kilauea’s eruptions are sometimes spectacular, sometimes gentle
A team of volcano experts from Cambridge University and Hawaii have looked at the rocks erupted from the ocean island volcano of Kilauea, Hawaii, in 25 historical eruptions that have occurred over the last 600 years.

Kilauea is active, fed by magma from deep beneath Earth’s rocky crust in a region called the mantle.

Sometimes the volcano erupts gently, with dribbles of lava running down the mountain’s flanks, while other times she throws fountains of lava high into the sky, or produces curtains of fiery rock in a spectacular show.

Even the gentle lava flows pose problems for local residents, however. Just this week the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reported on a river of lava that is slowly flowing from Kilauea volcano’s east rift zone towards the community of Puna.

Up to now, the assumption has been that the differences in volcanic eruption style can be attributed to differences in how quickly the molten rock reaches the surface, or whether the gas it contains can escape gently ahead of the magma on its ascent. But new evidence suggests that what controls these eruptions sits deeper still.

By measuring the chemistry of the original molten rock associated with each eruption, now preserved as glassy blobs in the volcanic mineral grains, the scientists found that energetic eruptions and gentler “effusive” eruptions seem to have come from areas of the mantle with subtly different chemistries.

Describing their results, lead investigator Dr Marie Edmonds of Cambridge University told BBC News: “The chemistry of the primitive melts feeding the explosive eruptions appears statistically different to those feeding effusive eruptions.

“We think that these primitive melts may saturate with gases and grow their bubbles deep in the system, accelerate towards the surface to a greater degree and bypass the summit magma chamber, erupting more explosively at the surface.

“This work is the first to show a link between the nature of the melts produced in Earth’s mantle, and variations in surface eruption styles. It has important implications for volcano monitoring and hazard assessment.”

The data suggest that the changes in eruption reflect subtle local variations in the chemistry of Earth’s mantle occurring over decades to centuries.

The team believe that a better understanding of these variations will improve volcanic hazard assessment and perhaps land use planning and risk management over similar timescales.

Posted from DonObie

Facebook wants a piece of the lucrative fitness technology market
Facebook has added a Finnish firm that makes a fitness tracking app to its ever-increasing portfolio of purchases.

Helsinki-based ProtoGeo created the Moves app that uses a smartphone’s built-in sensors to track activity and calories burned.

The acquisition offers the social network an entry into the burgeoning health technology market.

Other recent purchases include mobile messaging firm WhatsApp and virtual headset maker Oculus.

Facebook did not reveal how much it paid for ProtoGeo, which has fewer than 10 employees, but it is believed to be a fraction of the price it has paid for more high-profile firms recently.

It paid $2bn (£1.1bn) for Oculus VR and spent $19bn (£11.3bn) on WhatsApp.

Targeted ads

In a blogpost the fitness firm moved to reassure its users about the purchase.

“For those of you that use the Moves app – the Moves experience will continue to operate as a stand-alone app, and there are no plans to change that or co-mingle data with Facebook.”

Meanwhile Facebook said of the purchase: “The Moves team has built an incredible tool for the millions of people who want to better understand their daily fitness activity, and we’re looking forward to the app continuing to gain momentum.”

The app runs in the background of users’ phones, using location data to monitor activities through the day.

The free app has been downloaded more than four million times for both iPhone and Android phones, according to the firm.

Many of the big technology firms are seeing money to be made from health technology. There is a range of fitness bands and smartwatches on the market already.

Apple is rumoured to be on the verge of launching its own smartwatch with fitness features and Google last month launched software for wearables.

But for Facebook, the purchase of a fitness app is likely to be all about new data which will allow it to better target adverts, thinks Alys Woodward, an analyst with research firm IDC.

“They want to know more stuff about what people do and where they are. This is useful information even if they don’t tie it back to the individual,” she said.

Posted from DonObie

SpaceX says its recent experiment to return part of its Falcon-9 rocket back to Earth under control was a success.

The US company has confirmed that the first-stage of the vehicle launched from Cape Canaveral a week ago used its engines to slow its fall, deployed a set of legs and made a “soft landing”.

For safety reasons, the touchdown was actually commanded to take place east of the Cape, far out at sea.

Nonetheless, the stage was vertical and had zero velocity on contact.

The company has video of the event – albeit of poor quality – that it plans to post on its website.

Extremely rough seas meant that a boat could not get to the scene for two days to try to salvage the stage before it sank.

Potentially, the experiment has enormous significance for the space industry.

Traditionally, rockets have been expendable.

As a vehicle makes an ascent, it dumps propellant stages, which then fall to destruction, torn apart as they tumble end over end.

SpaceX believes if it can recover those stages and fly them again and again, the cost of access to space could be dramatically reduced.

“No-one has ever soft-landed a liquid-rocket boost-stage before,” said SpaceX chief designer Elon Musk. “I think this bodes well for achieving reusability.

“What SpaceX has done thus far is evolutionary, not revolutionary. [But] if we can recover the stage intact and re-launch it, the potential is there for a truly revolutionary impact in space transport costs.”

The first-stage of a Falcon-9 – the segment that gets the vehicle up off the pad – represents about 70% of a flight’s $60m price tag.

Mr Musk told reporters that reusable stages could therefore lead to a hundred-fold improvement in the cost of access to space.

This demonstrator shows what a returning stage with legs looks like
The company will now further refine its technology with the aim of making a return to dry land by the end of the year.

It needs to reduce the error on touchdown to a maximum of a mile. However, Mr Musk believes there is no reason why a return could not have the same accuracy as a helicopter, which comes to rest within feet of its intended landing location.

Discussions are already under way with the US Air Force, which runs the Cape Canaveral launch complex, to identify a suitable landing zone on the Florida coast.

The Friday 18 April experiment, which followed the successful launch of the Dragon cargo ship to the space station, was actually the second time SpaceX had tried a controlled return.

The first attempt in September last year saw the stage lose control late on, as propellant for the engines gradually spun up inside their tanks.

National security missions have been entrusted to ULA’s Atlas rockets
Thrusters to correct the attitude of the stage were beefed up for this second experiment.

SpaceX also attached the landing legs for the first time. The telemetry confirmed these extended properly just prior to the stage touching water.

Reusability does not come without a penalty. The fuel needed for the manoeuvres and the weight of the landing gear affect the rocket’s ultimate performance – the maximum payload it can carry to orbit. Mr Musk has previously calculated this penalty to be about 30%.

He also recognises that some of his customers may be uncomfortable flying their satellites on what amount to second-hand rockets.

“I think what we’ll have to do is do a demonstration re-flight without an operational satellite onboard. And if that demonstration re-flight works, and some customers may want more than one – then that’s the thing that would really ultimately convince them,” he said.

Mr Musk was speaking to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington DC. He used the press conference to announce also that the company had filed a suit to protest the way rockets were being procured for national security missions, which include military spacecraft and spy satellites.

Thirty-six vehicles were recently ordered en bloc by the United States Air Force from United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Mr Musk said the absence of a competition “doesn’t seem right”, and claimed the use of ULA’s Atlas rockets was a poor deal for US taxpayers.

“The ULA rockets are basically four times more expensive than ours. So this contract is costing the US taxpayer billions of dollars for no reason. And to add salt to the wound, the primary engine used is made in Russia.

Posted from DonObie

The project will extract ores of copper, gold and other valuable metals from a depth of 1,500m
Plans to open the world’s first mine in the deep ocean have moved significantly closer to becoming reality.

A Canadian mining company has finalised an agreement with Papua New Guinea to start digging up an area of seabed.

The controversial project aims to extract ores of copper, gold and other valuable metals from a depth of 1,500m.

However, environmental campaigners say mining the ocean floor will prove devastating, causing lasting damage to marine life.

The company, Nautilus Minerals, has been eyeing the seabed minerals off Papua New Guinea (PNG) since the 1990s but then became locked in a lengthy dispute with the PNG government over the terms of the operation.

Under the agreement just reached, PNG will take a 15% stake in the mine by contributing $120m towards the costs of the operation.

Mike Johnston, chief executive of Nautilus Minerals, told BBC News: “It’s a taken a long time but everybody is very happy.”

“There’s always been a lot of support for this project and it’s very appealing that it will generate a significant amount of revenue in a region that wouldn’t ordinarily expect that to happen.”

The mine will target an area of hydrothermal vents where superheated, highly acidic water emerges from the seabed, where it encounters far colder and more alkaline seawater, forcing it to deposit high concentrations of minerals.

The result is that the seabed is formed of ores that are far richer in gold and copper than ores found on land.

Mr Johnston said that a temperature probe left in place for 18 months was found to have “high grade copper all over it”.

Construction of the largest machine – the 310-tonne Bulk Cutter – was completed in the UK
For decades, the idea of mining these deposits – and mineral-rich nodules on the seabed – was dismissed as unfeasible because of the engineering challenge and high cost.

But the boom in offshore oil and gas operations in recent years has seen the development of a host of advanced deep sea technologies at a time when intense demand for valuable metals has pushed up global prices.

The mine, known as Solwara-1, will be excavated by a fleet of robotic machines steered from a ship at the surface.

The construction of the largest machine, a Bulk Cutter weighing 310 tonnes, has just been completed by an underwater specialist manufacturer, Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), based in Newcastle, UK.

The plan is to break up the top layer of the seabed so that the ore can be pumped up as a slurry.

The agreement with PNG now clears the way for Nautilus to order a specialist vessel to manage the operation. Mining itself could start within five years.

Environmental campaigners have long argued that seabed mining will be hugely destructive and that the precise effects remain unknown.

Richard Page, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace, said: “The emerging threat of seabed mining is an urgent wake-up call for the need to protect the oceans.

For decades, the idea of mining these deposits was dismissed as unfeasible
“The deep ocean is not yet mapped or explored and so the potential loss of fauna and biospheres from mining is not yet understood.

“Only 3% of the oceans and only 1% of international waters are protected, which makes them some of the most vulnerable places on earth – what we desperately need is a global network of ocean sanctuaries.”

According to Nautilus, the mine will have a minimal environmental footprint, covering the equivalent of about 10 football fields and focusing on an area which is likely to be rapidly re-colonised by marine life.

Mr Johnston said: “It’s a resilient system and studies show that life will recover in 5-10 years. An active venting site 1km to the southeast has the same bugs and snails and the current will carry the bugs and snails to the mine site. We expect it to recover quite quickly.”

But this will be the first attempt to extract ore from the ocean floor, so the operation – and the company’s assurances about the impacts – will be watched closely.

So far, 19 licences to search for seabed minerals have been awarded by the International Seabed Authority, the UN body policing this emerging industry.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), which has welcomed the Nautilus Minerals agreement with Papua New Guinea, is currently drawing up guidelines for the environmental management of future seabed mining.

Michael Lodge of the ISA told the BBC: “This is a very exciting opportunity and we are looking forward to learning from the tests of the new machine, which is a world first and should give us some valuable insights into technical feasibility and environmental impact.”

Posted from DonObie