Solar-powered pumps to rejuvenate abandoned wells

Work on installing solar power-operated pumpsets through the Agricultural Engineering Department has been in progress in Thottiyam block in the district. As many as 23 solar pumps have been sanctioned

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Narendra Modi government looks at ashrams to harness solar power – Times of India

In a bid to promote its target of creating 40,000MW of rooftop solar power capacity, the Union new and renewable energy ministry is roping in religious and interfaith gurus to demonstrate the virtues of green energy and set an example by ensuring that their ashrams are solar powered

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30 years after nuclear catastrophe, Chernobyl has a new energy mission.

The Chernobyl meltdown on April 26, 1986, remains the most ruinous nuclear catastrophe in world history.

More than 30 people died in the immediate aftermath, and cleanup costs ran into the billions of dollars.

After the meltdown, the city and surrounding areas were evacuated, leaving 1,600 square miles of radioactive real estate rotting away in what was then the Soviet Union, now Ukraine.

The abandoned town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl power plant, through scaffolding holding a remnant of the Soviet Union hammer and sickle. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images.

30 years later, we’re still discovering the long-term effects of this devastating fallout.

The total body count is estimated to be in the tens of thousands now, although it’s difficult to determine exactly how many cases of cancer and other health complications in the surrounding areas can be attributed directly to the toxic waste still lingering in the ground.

To this day, the area remains abandoned except for occasional workers still struggling to contain the wreck in its concrete sarcophagus. But even the milk produced at the farthest edges of the disaster zone still contains 10 times the acceptable radiation limit.

On the bright side which, ya know, is a pretty low bar here the general lack of human activity means that wildlife in the area is thriving. So that’s nice.

Horses in Belarus near Chernobyl. Photo by Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images.

What do you do with 1 million acres of uninhabitable nuclear wasteland? It’s no good as farmland, and you can’t build houses…

But you can harvest sunlight.

These are actually in South Burlington, Vermont. But you get the idea. Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images.

That’s right: The Ukrainian government is turning Chernobyl into one of the world’s largest solar farms.

“The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy,” Ukrainian environment minister Ostap Semerak explained at a recent press conference in London. “We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap, and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

As crazy as it might sound to build another power plant on the site of such a famously poisonous disaster, we can be fairly confident that sun fuel doesn’t come with the same toxic risks.

Ostap Semerak (right) examines a hot cell on the construction site of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility next to the Chernobyl plant on the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images.

If this Chernobyl solar farm reaches fruition, it won’t just energize the country. It’ll dramatically transform it on a political level, too.

The estimated $1.1 billion project would produce 4 megawatts of energy, or enough to power up to 4,000 Ukrainian homes. “We want to be a successful Ukraine, to show people in the conflict zone that life is better and more comfortable with us,” Semerak said at the press conference.

Clean, steady energy would obviously have a positive impact on the lives of those families. But it would also help the country wean off its reliance on neighboring Russia, which still provides Ukraine with much of its natural gas supply (except for when they don’t, which is sometimes).

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine is complicated, to say the least. So in addition to the power-producing benefits of this potential new solar farm, energy independence offers an opportunity for the Ukraine to ally itself more closely with the European Union. As Semerak said, “We have normal European priorities, which means having the best standards with the environment and clean energy ambitions.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks at Chernobyl on the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

While Ukraine is still in the planning stages, this ambitious project represents a positive potential for a brighter, sun-fueled future.

There are still some hurdles to cross, of course. The big one right now is fundraising, which was the impetus behind Semerak’s press conference in the first place. While solar power is undeniably more efficient and affordable, the up-front overhead costs run a little steep, even if they ultimately pay off.

There’s also the fact that it’d be naive of Ukraine to enter into such a huge campaign without considering the full ramifications of nuclear fallout. Given the increased wildlife presence, it’s entirely possible that the radioactivity has subsided enough that it would be safe to start a large-scale construction project with proper precautions for the workers, just in case.

But this is definitely a situation where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Photo by Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images.

Humans have done serious damage to the planet over the years. But if it does work out, the Chernobyl solar farm could be an inspiration for all of us.

This is not to the diminish the tragedy of April 26, 1986, of course.

But building a clean-energy plant on a radioactive graveyard is a strangely powerful reminder that our people and our planet can rebound from even the most terrible catastrophes.

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He Turned His Jeep Into A House On Wheels. This Is Amazing!

Dan is no stranger to adventure. Just a few years ago, he took to the open road and drove a Jeep from Alaska to Argentina…covering 17 countries over the 22-month trip.

What did he learn from that journey? That he wanted to keep traveling!

So, after a few years saving up and planning his next great adventure, Dan got to work on his ultimate travel-mobile. This time around, he planned on exploring all of Africa with it.

Check out how he turned this regular car into a full-on home that you’ll be entirely jealous of.

Dan bought one Jeep, got to work on it, but not long after that, the engine exploded. After a period of feeling like a failure, the world traveler picked himself back up and bought a new car.

He decided his plans were too big and too exciting to let go of. These were the dimensions for his custom-built cabinetry.

He was able to transfer them from the other Jeep — thankfully, they fit perfectly.

Dan learned his lesson from the mistakes he made with the original engine.

He added some cool things like an air compressor so he could pump his own flat tires.

Due to the arid climate, Dan wanted to prepare for lots of dust…this snorkel will filter it out before it reaches the car’s air cleaner. It’ll also help if he has to cross any streams.

On the back, he mounted a carrier that can hold a 13-gallon tank of gas.

And on the undercarriage? That’s where he built storage for a jug of drinking water.

He had a custom pop-up roof installed that would allow him to stand up and walk around inside.

Look at all this space!

Mattress slats slide out and are covered with pads for a complete sleeping space.

Here’s the roof popped up…along with solar panels.

He installed a tailgate table and added a cutlery holder that he crafted himself.

This is a pretty tricked out Jeep.

The final touch? Dan painted the continent on his hood…

His plan was to trace his route as he went along.

Of course he couldn’t leave without giving it a test drive — he spent a couple of weeks in Moab, Utah, off-roading and camping.

Then, it was time to ship out! The Jeep fit in a shipping container and set out across the Atlantic.

How cool is that? He turned something that was a car into an actual home!

If you’d like to follow along with Dan’s wild adventures, you can do so here on his website or via Facebook.

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DNC communications director sucks at communicating!/mantone1/status/228261586148659203

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse is no stranger to breakdowns, and a communication breakdown has been a long time coming. Today, we got one.

Naturally, he’s a bit cranky:

How weak is @GOP message: busting my chops about typos in email (not a memo) sent to a few reporters instead of defending WMR on substance

— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) July 25, 2012

.@GOP message: Dems have typos, elect Romney. Defense of failed Romney record: Crickets.

— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) July 25, 2012

Whatevs, Brad. You might as well put down that shovel, because you’re not gonna dig your way out of this one.

.@SeanSpicer "If you want to see what pulling the emergency rip cord looks like in written form" –> cc @woodhouseb

— Tim Miller (@Timodc) July 25, 2012

@woodhouseb you are referring to the panic memo you sent responding to 24 GOP small biz owner events pushing Romney message?

— Tim Miller (@Timodc) July 25, 2012

Yup! That’s the one! Here’s the memo in its busted entirety:

In conjunction with OFA, we’re going to turn the page tomorrow on Mitt Romney’s trumped up, out of context fact-checked-to-death BS about the President and small business and set the record straight on how Mitt Romney has a horrible record on small business, a failed record on jobs and who is advocating for policies that are great for millionaires, billionaires, big oil and corporate America – but that would devastate small businesses and stifle job growth and small business expansion. We’ll being done this with on the ground events in states which are coming together as we speak and with a national press conference call which will include small business owners and others – including at least one person from MA – who will speak about Romney’s failed record and failed policies as well as President Obama’s record as a consistent advocate for small businesses.

Mitt Romney’s going to have to have more than manipulating video and taking quotes out of context to make up for his failed record on jobs and economic and small business development as Governor of Massachusetts and the policies he’s advocating for now that would roll back the investments and support small businesses and communities have always counted on to succeed. As governor of Massachusetts you need look no further than Mitt Romney finishing 47th out of 50 in jobs and manufacturing plummeting to know Mitt Romney’s tenure was a disaster for small businesses in the Bay State.

He left Massachusetts with the highest per capita debt in the nation and created or raised over 1,000 taxes and fees that came to $750 million a year – taxes and fees that fell largely on the middle class and small businesses.

If you’re the Governor that raised a fee on milk and attempted to impose a $10 fee for a state certificate of blindness, it becomes clear why Mitt Romney doesn’t want to talk about his record as Governor on jobs or the economy or budget and taxes.

And he slashed job training programs and cut the manufacturing extension partnership – both devastating to small business development.

What’s worse is that Romney wants to take his failed approach national where he’s pledged to slash the budget so deeply to pay for tax breaks for millionaires like himself he’d devastate the very investments needed for businesses of any size to succeed – especially small businesses. We know the Romney-Ryan budget would slash funding for education, training, research and development, scientific research, investments in clean energy, higher ed, student loans. He’d forgo new investments in high speed rail, broadband, road and bridge construction and repair. And of course – he would have let Detroit go Bankrupt.

Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about financial engineering for his own gain and off shoring money, outsourcing jobs and setting up Swiss Bank Accounts – but he clearly has little clue how the real economy works for small businesses or the middle class. If Mitt Romney thinks that communities and small businesses can succeed strictly on their own – he needs to acquaint himself with the real world where businesses depend on an educated workforce, RandD, and solid infrastructure – everything from broadband to road, bridges and rail.

No – there is only one candidate in this race who should apologize for his record, positions and attitude towards small business – and that’s Mitt Romney.

Oh, our aching grammatical sensibilities! There’s only one cure for this kind of pain: snarkage. Boatloads of it.

Conservatives delivered, gleefully — and stylishly! — taking Woodhouse to, well, the woodshed.

DEER @woodhouseb, U RITE GUD.

— jon gabriel (@exjon) July 25, 2012

After seeing @woodhouseb's writing, we have a pretty good idea who wrote all those Lolcat captions. They're not as funny now though.

— Jim Jamitis (@anthropocon) July 25, 2012

The sad thing is, @woodhouseb is probably on the far right side of the West Wing bell curve.

— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) July 25, 2012

Because you didn't push Amercia typo RT @woodhouseb: .@GOP message: Dems have typos, elect Romney. Defense of failed Romney record: Crickets

— el Sooper (@SooperMexican) July 25, 2012


— jon gabriel (@exjon) July 25, 2012

When did the DNC hire @mccainblogette to write press releases?

— Charly J. (@chuck_dizzle) July 25, 2012

Oh, snap.


— jon gabriel (@exjon) July 25, 2012

good Lord… @woodhouseb is a huge drama queen AND a terrible writer

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 25, 2012

@woodhouseb Did you & @RevAl have the same English/Grammar teacher as kids?

— Brent Munlin (@Bmunlin) July 25, 2012


— jon gabriel (@exjon) July 25, 2012

Good news, job seekers: apparently, anyone with a 4th grade education can get a job with the DNC as communications director.

— Charly J. (@chuck_dizzle) July 25, 2012

Here's hoping @Woodhouseb sends more incomprehensible memos attacking business owners.

— Tim Miller (@Timodc) July 25, 2012

Yes, please! Side-clutching makes for great exercise, and our obliques could use a workout.

So @PJTV superproducer Sammie is on board with my dramatic reading of the @woodhouseb memo. #Exxxxxcccellent.

— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) July 25, 2012

Oh, we’re quivering with antici … pation. To quote Woodhouse’s idol, we can’t wait!



The VodkaPundit came through!

It is my pleasure to present The Woodhouse Memo on @PJTV, in honor of the @TheDemocrats' @woodhouseb

— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) July 26, 2012

Please to enjoy.

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A list of top coal mines gives some perspective about how things are going for fossil fuel.

The time of coal has passed. Clean energy is our future.

A recent tweet from Taylor Kuykendall, who writes for an industry publication about the energy market, shows a list of the top 25 coal mines in Central Appalachia. It gives you some perspective about how things are going for coal companies.

The tweet includes a link to an article of his that opens with this zinger:

“Even some of the top-producing mines in Central Appalachia … find it increasingly difficult to keep business going in today’s market.”

Another recent financial article included this headline: “No Coal Companies Went Bankrupt Last Week.” There are so many coal companies headed for bankruptcy that when a week passes without one going bankrupt, it’s news.

It’s clear that it’s time to shift away from coal and the White House is preparing for that new, cleaner shift.

The White House Clean Power Plan limits carbon pollution from power plants, putting national standards in place for the first time. We have some work to do together, but we can make ours a clean energy future and it’s bigger than just coal. Here’s a petition you can sign to stop arctic drilling, which will help us continue this clean energy trend.

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OMG. Exxon LITERALLY Just Spilled Oil In Your Backyard. Not Joking.

189,000 gallons of oil has been spilled in Mayflower, a small town in Arkansas.  This on the heels of the Keystone pipeline XL debate. See for yourself how safe oil pipelines are. Can we start REALLY investing in clean energy yet? 

There’s still time to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from being built. Sign the petition to Secretary of State John Kerry, and share this so people know what havoc this can cause.

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I Sold Everything, Bought An Airstream And Travel America With My Family Indefinitely

I’ve always been the person to tell people to chase their dreams, so I decided to take my own advice. My dream is to make a living as a professional photographer while travelling America and this is how I’m making it happen!

We sold our house, cars, most of our possessions and bought a 30ft Airstream that we could all live in comfortably. It wasn’t an easy decision and we were faced with a lot of doubts, but when we told other people what we were doing, their eyes lit up and I could see we were doing the right thing.

We’ve been permanently in the Airstream for a little over 3 months now and life has been an adventure!

Life on the road is not for everyone, but I wish someone would have told me when I was 21 years old, that you could buy an Airstream and live in it while seeing America! So, here I am now, telling you it’s possible. If I’m doing it with my wife and 4 year old son, you can definitely do it as a younger single person looking for adventure in your life!

I’ve always been the person to tell people to chase their dreams, so I decided to take my own advice

My dream is to make a living as a professional landscape photographer while travelling America and this is how I’m making it happen!

We sold our house, cars, most of our possessions and bought a 30ft Airstream that we could all live in comfortably

But when we told other people what we were doing, their eyes lit up and I could see we were doing the right thing

What most people want to know, is how do I make money on the road?

Well, I’m an established professional wedding photographer in Nashville TN and I make enough to stay out on the road and live this Airstream lifestyle of ours

I hope to eventually make all my income from landscape photography, selling prints and traveling America

But it’s going to take some time to make that transition

For now, I do what I need to pay our bills and make it happen

We’ve been permanently in the Airstream for a little over 3 months now and life has been an adventure

Yes, there were some tough times in the beginning as we adjusted to this new lifestyle, but we’re getting use to it now

We spend a lot of time boondocking (camping in the middle of nowhere) and it’s one of the coolest things you can experience in an Airstream

Plus it doesn’t cost you anything

One of my favorite places so far has been Big Bend National Park in Texas

The night sky gets so dark that you can almost see every star in the sky

If you let your eyes adjust long enough, you will eventually see the milky way, that’s how dark it is

We charged our batteries every day by using our solar panels on top of the Airstream

We still had amazing internet service through our phones, so we were able to do Instagram and all that fun stuff

We hiked some amazing locations that challenged our endurance as a family hiking together

But one of the most amazing thing we did was spend time in a natural hot spring that sat on the side of the Rio Grande river

Life on the road is not for everyone

But I wish someone would have told me when I was 21 years old, that you could buy an Airstream and live in it while seeing America

So, here I am now, telling you it’s possible

If I’m doing it with my wife and 4 year old son

You can definitely do it as a younger single person looking for adventure in your life

Everyday is a new adventure

And I hope it continues for along time

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He Converted A Cargo Van Into Basically The Best Thing Ever

When Reddit user zachboth quit his job back in 2014, he knew he wanted to pursue his passion — filmmaking. Knowing full well that the life of a videographer is rather nomadic, he decided that living and working out of a van sounded ideal.

But, friends, if you think he just bought a boring camper van and left it at that, you are sorely mistaken.

After purchasing the van, he gutted the entire thing. A little less than a year later he was left with a masterpiece that even those of us with cozy homes and apartments will be jealous of…

Here’s what he had to work with…a 2003 Chevy van with more than 200,000 miles on it.

Before he got started, he mocked up what he hoped the van would ultimately look like inside. Not too shabby!

First he removed the floor mat and cleaned things up a bit.

Because the van was a bit older, it understandably had some rust, but an angle grinder took care of it.

A fresh coat of paint makes everything look better.

Then, with the help of some adhesive, specialized insulation was glued onto the walls.

Foam and sheet insulation was added to the floor and ceiling.

And still more insulation! The fiberglass variety was put in plastic bags and applied to the bottom part of the walls.

A birch subfloor and ceiling panel were cut and screwed in.

Then it was time to cut open the roof…yes, you read that right! This would allow for a fan and extra sunlight.

Wanting to add fancy details to certain parts of the van (the ceiling and some furniture)…

Zachboth got some plaster lath for free from a church! He sanded and stained it and nailed it to the roof.

Measuring and cutting the wooden panels was time-consuming but made all the difference.

The laminate floor went down.

And he installed the bed shortly after. It has plenty of storage space!

Then it was time to get cooking — this is the rough layout for the kitchen.

Outside, zachboth outfitted the van with a Hummer’s roof rack.

…So he could add solar panels!

When all was said and done, this is what he came out with:

Custom kitchen cabinets…

A beautiful bed (that was made from a cut-down IKEA futon)…

And a workspace. That stool works overtime serving as a chair, an ottoman, and a trash bin.

Look at those chalkboard painted windows!

Just thinking about the places he goes and the things he sees makes me super jealous.

If you’d like to check out an in-depth look at this van build, be sure to visit zachboth’s website The Vanual.

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He Turned This Ugly Cargo Van Into An Awesome Home On Wheels

For years, Instructables user had a dream to overhaul a Sprinter cargo van. This dream came at a price, though. He booked a trip from Portland, Oregon, to the East Coast where he was finally able to purchase the exact Sprinter model that he had always dreamed of.

With the van in his possession, in order to transform the vehicle from drab to fab, he first needed to gut the entire interior. In just over six months, was able to remodel his 2006 Sprinter into an RV ready for nomadic inhabiting.

loves to engineer and create new designs in CAD, so it only made sense that he would use the program to map out his new RV.

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With the layout finalized, he was able to break up chunks of the design, such as the cabinetry, into smaller pieces, making it easier to produce a materials list.

He found a professional to insulate the inside of the van. The catch? He had to complete all the prep work himself.

He masked out the cab and floor with painter’s plastic.

He then taped off areas where he was planning on attaching paneling.

The insulation work took just over 15 minutes and was almost instantly dry to the touch.

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Then it was time to get to the meat of the van — he used a pre-finished piece of baltic birch plywood for paneling.

The plywood was flexible enough to bend to the curve of the van’s interior.

The flooring went in and things were finally looking homey.

Assembling the cabinets took a lot of patience — there were A LOT of pieces.

He assembled the cabinets in his garage and then transferred them into the van.

He started the installation with the upper cabinets and worked his way down.

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The cabinets came together rather quickly thanks to the precision of the CNC used to cut the pieces.

The birch cabinets were already pre-finished on both sides and therefore required very little attention after installation.

Making It There knew that he would be living out of the van for an extended period of time, so he wanted to make sure that when it came to cooking, he wouldn’t have to sacrifice much.

His design included a working oven and a kitchen sink. He also made the decision to house the propane and water tanks inside the van under the oven.

To save water, he installed a foot pedal and a hand pump.

His decision to house the water tanks inside the locker stemmed from not wanting the water to get too hot or too cold during summer and winter.

He created custom roof pods to house larger camping accessories like chairs and picnic tables.

The pods can be opened from both sides of the van, for easy access.

They were designed with energy efficiency in mind and reinforced with extra polymetal protection.

Two 100-watt solar panels solved their need for electricity.

And finally the van was ready!

The interior looks a lot roomier than you would expect.

Just your average kitchen-living room hybrid.

No need for a tent on this camping trip, this RV has a comfortable bed spread.

Now the first question that comes to my mind, is where are they going to go to the bathroom?

If you want to embark on your own RV project, check out all the instructions from this one here.

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