Monday, December 30, 2013

New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military

Revolutionary changes among energy producers and dramatically altered patterns of energy consumption across the planet are having profound implications for American national security in general and the U.S. Army specifically.

Panel Discussion on the Military Implications of Energy Security

For example, the reduced saliency of Africa and the Middle East as energy sources for the United States and many of its key allies will alter Washington’s calculations of its vital interests, which will subsequently affect where and how the U.S. Army is wielded as a tool of national policy in the defense of those interests. Meanwhile, burgeoning fossil fuel demand in China, India, and elsewhere may both increase regional and global security competition over energy resources while simultaneously worsening human-induced global climate change and bringing increased risk of humanitarian crises, all of which may compel the United States to utilize military force in defense of vital as well as important interests overseas. For the U.S. Army during a period of contraction and reduced budgetary authority, these strategic factors will force it to give Soldiers and leaders the capability to manage energy status, resources, and performance; to significantly reduce its energy footprint; and to provide flexibility and resiliency by developing alternatives and adaptable capabilities. At the same time, whether in garrison or deployed, the “new realities” of the global energy market will compel the Army to strengthen the capacity to insulate itself from disruption of its energy supply chains, whether in electricity or fuels.

These were just some of the key conclusions reached during a conference on “New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military,” organized by the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, and hosted by the Defense Education Forum, Reserve Officers Association (ROA). The conference was held on November 19-20, 2013, in Washington, DC, at the ROA’s Minuteman Memorial Building on Capitol Hill. Funding for this conference was provided by generous support from the U.S. Army War College Foundation. Participants included representatives from the U.S. military, government, private industry, Congress, and academia principally from the United States, with a number from European nations. A virtual audience component to the conference accompanied it via a live web feed, and during the event itself, live Tweets were broadcasted via @SSInow.

The academic engagement component of the event included presentations by professors and researchers from the Atlantic Council, Rice University’s Baker Institute, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Case Western Reserve University, the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jacobs University (Bremen), the Eurasia Group, Hampshire College, Idaho National Laboratory, the Middle East Institute, the National Defense University, the National Science Foundation, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Florida, and the University of St. Andrews, as well as audience participation by a number of U.S. Army War College Senior Fellows.

The New Realities conference was divided into three themes focusing on changes among global energy market suppliers, evolving forms of consumption, and what the implications of these trends represent for the U.S. military. The event was comprised of a total of seven panels with 22 presenters and two keynote lunch speakers—the Honorable Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Operational Energy Plans and Programs); and the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment).

The first four panels focused on current trends in production and consumption and the impact of these trends on the strategic environment. The last three panels addressed the implications of the broad, strategic trends for the U.S. military generally and the Army specifically. Key takeaways included the following:

  • The unconventional fossil fuels revolution sweeping across North America and spreading to other continents is the most fundamentally transformative event – in terms of society, economics, and ultimately politics – of the last several decades.
  • Europe has two opposite fears about Russian energy behavior primarily focused on natural gas; the first is Russia will continue and intensify the pattern of energy supply manipulation for political purposes as seen in the previous decade; the second fear is that Russia will pursue incompetent policies at home that reduce its ability to supply gas to Europe.
  • Criminal organizations and guerillas in Latin America are not viewed as the major challenge to the oil industry. Rather, the inability of governments to equitably distribute rents from the energy industry while simultaneously protecting the environment and public health will undermine confidence in those governments.
  • Energy production is shifting from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere which will have geopolitical implications and will further strengthen U.S. energy security independence and national power. This is an outcome of advances in fracking, deep sea drilling, and other technologies.
  • Renewable energies (RE) offer many potential advantages including reducing exposure to price vulnerability, creating greater interdependence for regions, prolonging the stability of hydrocarbon exporters, and reducing nations’ vulnerability to energy being used as a ‘weapon’ against them in international relations. However, for the immediate future Middle East oil will continue to control oil pricing as long as the world’s industrial infrastructure remains oil-based.
  • The ubiquity of computer and information technology systems throughout the energy industry is growing, as computerization increasingly dominates energy industry processes from exploration through production and distribution. This increases the vulnerability of cyber technologies supporting U.S. Army missions.
  • Increasing American energy independence and a projected decline in African energy production are likely to fundamentally alter U.S. interests in Africa. On the one hand, the United States is likely to have less at stake in Africa if it imports less in terms of energy resources from Africa. On the other hand though, reduced energy production may mean increased economic, social, and political instability across the continent, potentially resulting in humanitarian and other crises that may compel U.S. involvement.
  • As a key strategic partner of India and as an emerging energy supplier with a number of proven bilateral mechanisms for energy cooperation already in place, the United States is well positioned to forge even closer civil and military ties to enhance mutual energy security.
  • Much more energy is wasted due to inefficiencies in energy generation, transmission, and distribution than is normally imagined. Some Russian natural gas facilities can flare (burn off) up to a third of their gas during the generation process. A number of industrial processes and efficiency technologies offer great potential for energy resource conservation and storage, but this will require less developed energy producers to become more comfortable inviting in Western industry, capital, and technology.
  • The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines seek to conduct energy-informed operations, which balance energy capabilities and employment to achieve the greatest net operational benefit. At the same time, the military must maintain balance in terms of the protection, resilience, and sustainability of its forces in the field.
  • Ultimately an enterprise approach to energy security will be required for U.S. national and coalition defense needs. This will further the development of both strategic and operational energy concepts, plans and programs, and doctrines, which is vital given the increasing energy requirements of the technologically advanced forces being fielded over the coming decades.

Deliverables from the conference will consist of a compendium of the papers presented, a YouTube archive of the presentations, and a series of executive summaries for use by policymakers and other decisionmakers. More



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eurocopter in worldwide safety alert on 'Clutha crash' helicopter

Helicopter maker Eurocopter has issued a worldwide safety alert to operators of its EC 135 model - the type that crashed in Glasgow last month.

The EC 135 is used by many police forces and ambulance services in the UK

The firm said a problem with the low fuel level warning system had been discovered in a number of aircraft.

There is no suggestion it is linked to the Clutha bar crash in Glasgow on 29 November, in which 10 people died.

Air accident investigators have already said the Police Scotland aircraft did not run out of fuel.

Bond Air Services, which operated the police helicopter, grounded its fleet of 38 EC 135s last week.

The move came after an air ambulance, one of its 22 aircraft leased in the UK, was found to have a fuel indicator problem. Tests found others also had the same fault.

'Red warning'

A spokesman for Eurocopter said tests by Bond and two other EC 135 operators in Europe found possible similar supply-tank fuel gauging errors that overestimated the fuel on board.

"The first analysis shows that the indication of the fuel quantity in the supply tanks could be overestimated," the company said in a statement.

"All crews should be aware that in the worst case a red warning "Low Fuel" could appear without any amber FUEL Caution before."

Eurocopter said it was issuing a safety notice to remind all EC 135 operators to follow the safety procedures already in place and outlined in the flight manual, regardless of the aircraft's fuel quantity indication.

The company said it would "update its Safety Information Notice as needed" with investigations continuing.

Bond Aviation said in a statement on Monday that the results of the tests on the rest of its helicopters were validated by Eurocopter, and appropriate repairs were made before returning the aircraft to service.

The discovery of the fault in Bond's fleet came 12 days after one of its EC 135s leased to Police Scotland crashed into the Clutha pub in Glasgow killing three crew members and seven people inside the pub.

The helicopter was only minutes away from returning to its base when it dropped vertically onto the roof of the bar.

A preliminary report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found no major engine or gearbox problems with the police helicopter.

It also found that the aircraft had sufficient fuel when it crashed at 22:25 on 29 November. More


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More than 100 organisations call on ministers from key developed countries to act on climate change 'loss and damage'

In total, 120 organisations from around the world, including the Cayman Institute the joined the call, which shows the depth of support for this issue, joint call to action on loss and damage.

We wanted to give you a quick update and let you know that:

  • You can now see the full list of organisations who signed the call (attached).
  • The call was presented to journalists yesterday afternoon during a joint press conference where we also highlighted the key countries who are blocking progress to achieving a loss and damage mechanism (US, Japan, Canada, Norway, EU, Australia).
  • The press conference was fairly well attended and colleagues were able to do a number of interviews afterwards. We will share any media coverage as/when it becomes available.
  • You can find a photo of the banner we presented at the press conference attached.
  • We also personally handed over the call from 120 organisations to the six key delegations mentioned above.
  • Please continue to help us drive interest in this issue – in particular, if your communications colleagues can continue to help us by posting the joint call on websites and engaging on social media. The banner photo has been retweeted a number of times already.
  • Further updates will follow as the loss and damage issue unfolds over the course of the week.
Best wishes,




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Elders debate ethical leadership

The Elders debate ethical leadership (part 1)

"To be bold; to have the courage of your convictions; and to think long-term, not short-term or for political expedience; those are characteristics common to good leaders." Gro Harlem Brundtland

The Elders partner with Al Jazeera's South2North programme for a public debate on ethical leadership.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our Perpetual Ocean

This is an animation of ocean surface currents from June 2005 to December 2007 from NASA satellites. Watch how bigger currents like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean and the Kuroshio in the Pacific carry warm waters across thousands of miles at speeds greater than four miles per hour (six kilometers per hour); how coastal currents like the Agulhas in the Southern Hemisphere move equatorial waters toward Earth's poles; and how thousands of other ocean currents are confined to particular regions and form slow-moving, circular pools called eddies. Credit: NASA/SVS
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The swirling flows of tens of thousands of ocean currents were captured in this scientific visualization created by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"There is also a 20-minute long tour, which shows these global surface currents in more detail," says Horace Mitchell, the lead of the visualization studio. "We also released a three-minute version on our NASA Visualization Explorer iPad app."

Both the 20-minute and 3-minute versions are available in high definition here:

The visualization covers the period June 2005 to December 2007 and is based on a synthesis of a numerical model with observational data, created by a NASA project called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, or ECCO for short. ECCO is a joint project between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. ECCO uses advanced mathematical tools to combine observations with the MIT numerical ocean model to obtain realistic descriptions of how ocean circulation evolves over time.

These model-data syntheses are among the largest computations of their kind ever undertaken. They are made possible by high-end computing resources provided by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

ECCO model-data syntheses are being used to quantify the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle, to understand the recent evolution of the polar oceans, to monitor time-evolving heat, water, and chemical exchanges within and between different components of the Earth system, and for many other science applications.

In the particular model-data synthesis used for this visualization, only the larger, ocean basin-wide scales have been adjusted to fit observations. Smaller-scale ocean currents are free to evolve on their own according to the computer model's equations. Due to the limited resolution of this particular model, only the larger eddies are represented, and tend to look more 'perfect' than they are in real life. Despite these model limitations, the visualization offers a realistic study in both the order and the chaos of the circulating waters that populate Earth's ocean.

Data used by the ECCO project include: sea surface height from NASA's Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1, and Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite altimeters; gravity from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission; surface wind stress from NASA's QuikScat mission; sea surface temperature from the NASA/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS; sea ice concentration and velocity data from passive microwave radiometers; and temperature and salinity profiles from shipborne casts, moorings and the international Argo ocean observation system. More


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Experts say nuclear power needed to slow warming

Some of the world's top climate scientists say wind and solar energy won't be enough to head off extreme global warming, and they're asking environmentalists to support the development of safer nuclear power as one way to cut fossil fuel pollution.

Traveling Wave Reactor

Four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter, an advance copy of which was given to The Associated Press, urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change.

Environmentalists agree that global warming is a threat to ecosystems and humans, but many oppose nuclear power and believe that new forms of renewable energy will be able to power the world within the next few decades.

That isn't realistic, the letter said.

"Those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough" to deliver the amount of cheap and reliable power the world needs, and "with the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology" that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.

The letter signers are James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Hansen began publishing research on the threat of global warming more than 30 years ago, and his testimony before Congress in 1988 helped launch a mainstream discussion. Last February he was arrested in front of the White House at a climate protest that included the head of the Sierra Club and other activists. Caldeira was a contributor to reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Emanuel is known for his research on possible links between climate change and hurricanes, and Wigley has also been doing climate research for more than 30 years.

Emanuel said the signers aren't opposed to renewable energy sources but want environmentalists to understand that "realistically, they cannot on their own solve the world's energy problems."

The vast majority of climate scientists say they're now virtually certain that pollution from fossil fuels has increased global temperatures over the last 60 years. They say emissions need to be sharply reduced to prevent more extreme damage in the future.

In 2011 worldwide carbon dioxide emissions jumped 3 percent, because of a large increase by China, the No. 1 carbon polluting country. The U.S. is No. 2 in carbon emissions.

Hansen, who's now at Columbia University, said it's not enough for environmentalists to simply oppose fossil fuels and promote renewable energy.

"They're cheating themselves if they keep believing this fiction that all we need" is renewable energy such as wind and solar, Hansen told the AP.

The joint letter says, "The time has come for those who take the threat of global warming seriously to embrace the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems" as part of efforts to build a new global energy supply.

Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard professor who studies energy issues, said nuclear power is "very divisive" within the environmental movement. But he added that the letter could help educate the public about the difficult choices that climate change presents.

One major environmental advocacy organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council, warned that "nuclear power is no panacea for our climate woes."

Risk of catastrophe is only one drawback of nuclear power, NRDC President Frances Beinecke said in a statement. Waste storage and security of nuclear material are also important issues, he said.

"The better path is to clean up our power plants and invest in efficiency and renewable energy."

The scientists acknowledge that there are risks to using nuclear power, but say those are far smaller than the risk posed by extreme climate change.

"We understand that today's nuclear plants are far from perfect." More



Friday, November 1, 2013

Amira Willighagen on Holland's Got Tallent

I watched this video for the first time a few moments ago and I was so overwhelmed by the talent this your lady has that there were tears streaming down my face. Her voice is amazing, just so incredibly talented.

You may well question why this video is on a climate chenge blog. However, I think to myself of all the wonderful talented young people that I have met in just the last year in training courses and workshops that I have attended, or the young lady of twelve that I watched last night giving a speech on political representation for young people in her hometown. She was an incredible speaker,

And I, like James Hansen, former director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies and author of Storms of my Grandchildren, who retired rather than be censored, have children and dammit, I want this world preserved for them. If the corporations cannot conduct business ethically and with Corporate Social Responsability, then they shall go down in history as murderers, and they shall go down.

And then I realize that we are destroying their world. Through burning fossil fuel, polluting the atmosphere and destroying the environment.

Let us all work to preserve this planet in an almost pristine state for these youngsters, who I would say are a lot smarter and talented than we are, They are the future so let us give them a chance.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Marty Sullivan figured out how the world’s biggest companies avoided billions in taxes.

Here’s how Marty wants to stop them - How will this affect the Cayman Islands?

It was a humbling experience for the chief executive of the world’s most valuable company. Hauled before a Senate panel, Apple’s Tim Cook had to explain how an American company whose American engineers had created the iPhone and the iPad was able to avoid paying any taxes on billions of dollars in profits generated by those products — not to United States, not to any country. The only defense the Cook could conjure up for Apple “stateless” income was that it was all perfectly legal.

A few miles away in Arlington, a 55-year-old economist named Marty Sullivan sat on a folding metal chair at a card table in the garage of his modest brick home and watched the hearing unfold on his laptop computer. Sullivan is one of those unheralded members of the permanent Washington establishment who make things work, at least when the politicians let them. And for two decades, from the same home office, Sullivan has been exposing the tax-dodging schemes of multinational corporations in the columns of Tax Notes, a must-read publication for tax lawyers, accountants and policy wonks.

It was Sullivan who shined an early light on how companies had finagled “transfer prices” — the price one division charges another for parts or services — to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions.</p><p>It was Sullivan who had called out the big drug and tech companies for transferring ownership of their patents and trademarks — the source of much of their profits — to subsidiaries in Ireland and other low-tax jurisdictions.

It was Sullivan who highlighted the absurdity of tax havens in which just a handful of multinationals claimed to earn annual profits that were several times the country’s entire GDP.

“What politicians keep forgetting is that you can’t ‘partner’ with the corporate community when it comes to writing the tax laws,” Sullivan explains. “They’re not partners — they are adversaries.”

And it was Sullivan who in 2010 pieced together from public filings that Apple had understated its reported profits to hide the fact that it was paying a tax rate of less than 2 percent on its overseas profits, shining the spotlight on Apple’s tax avoidance schemes.

“We’ve been banging the drum on this stuff for years,” Sullivan said with just the slightest hint of satisfaction as the morning sun filtered into the garage he shares with bicycles, garden tools, an American flag and an old coffee maker. “But it’s finally gone prime time.”

For years, big multinational corporations, waving the banner of competitiveness, have been pushing hard for corporate tax reform. “Reform” means different things to different people, but to multinational corporations, it has meant a sizeable cut in the 35 percent corporate tax rate and an end to all U.S. taxation on profits earned overseas.

Now, however, revelations of elaborate tax dodges by respected companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks have badly undermined their “reform” push, not just in the United States but around the globe.

At a recent meeting in St. Petersburg, the leaders of the 20 leading industrial nations vowed to push ahead with tough new global standards that would put an end to “stateless” income and limit the ability of firms to avoid taxation by shifting profits to tax havens. After years of competing against one another for corporate investment by offering ever-more-favorable tax regimes, cash-strapped governments have decided to go after the companies rather than each other.

“There’s been a race to the bottom, and the multinationals were winning,” said Eric Toder, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington. More



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Model OSCE of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship

Switzerland will assume the Chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014.

In accordance with the year’s overall theme, “Creating a Security Community for the Benefit of Everyone,” it will pursue three overarching objectives:

  • Fostering security and stability in Europe;
  • Improving people’s lives;
  • And strengthening the OSCE and increasing its capacity to act.

As part of its third objective, Switzerland wants to strengthen the voice of young people and enhance their involvement within OSCE structures. It will therefore organise a year-long Model OSCE series in which one delegate from each of the 57 OSCE-participating States will be invited to participate.

More specifically, that means that the delegates will simulate the activities and responsibilities of two specific OSCE decision-making bodies. And in doing so, the delegates will . . .

  • Get familiar with OSCE structures and –themes;
  • Have the opportunity to acquire and develop various skills (in international diplomacy, negotiations, public speaking, communications, problem solving and critical thinking);
  • Improve their team-working and leadership abilities;
  • And have the opportunity to meet other young people from the 57 OSCE-participating States.

Who should register in the Model OSCE? We strongly encourage young people aged 18-30 to submit their applications. Participants must be citizens of one of the 57 OSCE participating States, fluent in written and oral English, interested in international politics, and ready to devote their time and ideas to this project throughout the year of the Swiss OSCE Presidency. More


Please visit the Swiss National Youth Council (SNYC) website to submit your application.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

15 year-old In Line to Win Nobel Prize

A new generation of children has emerged, different from its predecessors. Whether cause to refined sugars and chemical additives in food, one thing is certain: the rise of autism and ADHD has risen significantly. Yet without giving cause to understanding the true underlying cause of the perceived issue, many of the diagnosed youngsters (1 in 88) with autism have been easily dismissed to special-ed classes and forgotten about as less-developed.

An interesting phenomenon and inspiration to the culturally accepted ‘mental disorders’ has emerged, however, and his name is Jacob Barnett. A 15-year old prodigy with an IQ higher than Einstein’s, Barnett was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and like so many other young individuals, was dismissed by doctors in their analysis that he would ‘be forever unable to independently manage day-today activities, such as tying his own shoe-laces’. Thankfully, they were completely wrong.

Jacob Barnett

With such diagnosis, it was Barnett’s mother, Kristine Barnett whom battled with her intuition to let Jacob “study the world wide-eyed and full of wonder” or listen to the teachers and therapists who dissuaded her from hoping to teach Jacob more than ‘basic skills’. Diagnosed with moderate-severe autism at age 2, Jacob struggled through the special-education system and withdrew into himself with conventional instruction. Perceiving the ‘spectacular things’ Jacob was accomplishing on his own outside of therapy, such as creating accurate maps with streets out of Q-tips on the floor, Kristine knew he just wasn’t being guided in the instruction he needed. Therefore, she took on the instruction herself.

“For a parent it’s terrifying to fly against the advice of the professionals,” Kristine writes in her memoir “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.” “But I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special-ed, he would slip away”.

Operating under the concept of ‘muchness’, Kristine surrounded her children with what they loved, and let Jacob explore all the things he wanted to explore – such as patterns, shapes, and stars. His intellect was apparent when his mom once took him out stargazing. A few months later, they visited a planetarium where the professor was giving a lecture. Whenever the teacher asked questions, Jacob’s little hand shot up and he began to answer questions – easily understanding complicated theories about physics and the movement of planets.

Nurturing his individual process to learn, Jacob was soon ready for college at age 11. Now, at age 15, he is a Master’s student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics; with an IQ of 170 (higher than Einstein’s), Jacob is currently working on his own theory of relativity.

Professors at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study are impressed, stating “The theory that he’s working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics,” astrophysics professor Scott Tremaine wrote to the family in an email. “Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize”.

Jacob continues to inspire as a tutor to other college students in subjects like Calculus, is a published scientific researcher, and with his family, runs a charity called Jacob’s Place for kids on the spectrum, raising awareness and dispelling myths about autism.

“I’m not supposed to be here at all,” he said last year during a TEDx Teen Speech about “forgetting what you know” in New York City. “You know, I was told that I wouldn’t talk. There’s probably a therapist watching who is freaking out right now”.

While he makes it look so easy, his mother, Kristine Barnett, confides that he has to work hard on a daily basis to handle his autism. “He overcomes it every day. There are things he knows about himself that he regulates everyday” she told the Indianapolis Star in April.

Jacob and his family’s inspirational story was quickly snatched up by Warner Bros. Films with intended purpose to share the phenomenal journey. It’s clear with dismantled conditioning of limitation, he will continue to shine and contribute immensely in the field of science.

The challenge to become aware of unguided potential is easily clouded by the close-minded trap of Western thinking. Truly, there are no limitations, and in order to grow and conceive even greater than past cultures have achieved, this mindset needs to be accepted by all. Thankfully Jacob Barnett has made waves for this to become so. More

Jacob Barnett is an American mathematician and child prodigy. At 8 years old, Jacob began sneaking into the back of college lectures at IUPUI.

After being diagnosed with autism since the age of two and placed in his school's special ed. program, Jacob's teachers and doctors were astonished to learn he was able to teach calculus to college students.

At age nine, while playing with shapes, Jacob built a series of mathematical models that expanded Einstein's field of relativity. A professor at Princeton reviewed his work and confirmed that it was groundbreaking and could someday result in a Nobel Prize. At age 10, Jacob was formally accepted to the University as a full-time college student and went straight into a paid research position in the field of condensed matter physics. For his original work in this field, Jacob set a record, becoming the world's youngest astrophysics researcher. His paper was subsequently accepted for publication by Physical Review A, a scientific journal shared on sites such as NASA, the Smithsonian, and Harvard's webpage. Jacob's work aims to help improve the way light travels in technology.

Jacob is also CEO and founder of Wheel LLC, a business he started in his mom's garage, and is in the process of writing a book to help end "math phobia" in his generation.

Jacob's favorite pastime is playing basketball with the kids at his charity, Jacob's Place. It is a place where kids with autism are inspired every day to be their true authentic selves...just like Jacob.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Passing the National Conservation Law

Passing the National Conservation Law, enhancing our Marine Parks, adopting a Climate Change Policy and updating CITES legislation - discussed in the Premier’s speech yesterday: The long-awaited National Conservation Bill will be brought to this honourable House before the end of this year.

This important legislation has the support of my caucus, and we have ensured that the Department of Environment, or DoE, will be in a position to support this legislation once it is passed. The draft Bill being presented is substantially the 2009 version prepared by the former PPM administration, updated to address concerns raised by the past UDP administration and independent Members. While Government plans to allow Members of the House and the public significantly more time than the required 21 days to review the draft Bill, we do not anticipate significant amendments, and we look forward to unanimous support for this seminal legislation.

The Government also is committed to continuing the consultation on proposals to enhance our current system of marine parks. DOE research shows that, while the marine parks are providing some protection, a confluence of factors has caused serious changes to our reefs, and the current protections therefore are no longer enough. These factors include population increase (resident and tourist), overfishing, coastal development, invasive species, disease of coral and other marine organisms, and climate change. The future for our marine resources is bleak without decisive and timely corrective action.

An appropriately configured and enhanced system of marine parks is the best tool available for actively managing our marine resources in order to achieve fisheries sustainability, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem resilience, in the face of the existing and emerging threats. Further, we recognise the importance of addressing climate change. We acknowledge the sobering message of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a summary of which was released on Friday, 27 September: Climate change is real, it is caused by human actions, and it continues unabated.

Cayman simply cannot afford to ignore the conclusions of this worldwide committee of eminent scientists, as the implications for the continued rise in sea levels will have severe consequences for future generations if left unchecked. The Government therefore intends to adopt the draft climate policy, produced in 2011 by a multidisciplinary public/private sector initiative led by the DoE, and to begin urgent work on an implementation plan. And lastly, in an effort to honour our commitments made under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna,

Government will take all necessary steps to bring into force the updated, local CITES-implementing legislation – the Endangered Species Trade and Transport Law – which was passed by this honourable House in 2004. Madam Speaker, we must do all that we can to protect the environment on all three Islands to ensure that we preserve paradise for future generations of residents and tourists alike. Just as we are protecting our flora and fauna, we are making moves to improve the infrastructure to make our visitors’ stays more comfortable and accommodating. (Photo:


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era offers market-based, actionable solutions integrating transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity. Built on Rocky Mountain Institute's 30 years of research and collaboration in all four sectors, Reinventing Fire maps pathways for running a 158%-bigger U.S. economy in 2050 but needing no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, and no new inventions. This would cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual—in addition to the value of avoiding fossil fuels' huge but uncounted external costs.

Dig Deeper With Our Series of Core Sector Presentations:

View the Reinventing Fire Transporation video

View the Reinventing Fire Buildings video

View the Reinventing Fire Industry video


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Disaster Preparedness in the Cayman Islands

Given the destruction that the Cayman Islands suffered in Hurricane Ivan I was surprised to see Caribbean Utilities has gone back to using wooden utility poles.

Yacht Club Round-About

Particularly when we (their customers) remember paying for the rebuilding of the transmission & distribution network. If wooden poles are again being used, and when we are struck by the next hurricane shall we have to again pay for rebuilding this critical infrastructure?.

Driving by the Yacht Club round-about on the Harquail Bypass Extension it is apparent that CUC has reverted back to the use of less expensive poles.

The reason that all of us living in the Cayman Islands had to pay for this infrastructure after Hurricane Ivan was that it was uninsured. After the Ivan experience I would have expected the Regulatory Authority to have mandated the use of high strength StressCrete concrete utility poles such which were used in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.

StressCrete Utility Poles

With historical roots firmly planted in the first decade of the 20th century, spun concrete poles have evolved over the past hundred years to become the pole of choice for an ever-increasing number of specifiers and owners. Spun concrete is more widely used today than ever before because of its many advantages including, inexpensive installation costs, minimal maintenance requirements and universal aesthetic appeal

StressCrete products is a centrifugally cast reinforced concrete pole; commonly referred to as a “Spun Pole”. It combines elegance with durability and surpasses most other materials in economy. It meets the CSA and ASTM standards for spun concrete poles, as well

as our own specifications which are more demanding. The spinning process introduces qualities into the concrete which cannot be obtained by more conventional casting methods. As well, the centrifugal casting process automatically forms a hollow raceway inside the pole thereby providing a smooth conduit for electrical cables. Poles are readily available in a full range of lengths, strengths, colors, finishes and cross-sections for a multitude of uses such as lighting, power distribution, transmission, traffic, traction and communication towers. See

The fact that we have not been hit by another disastrous hurricane is no reason the become complacent. I would go as far as to argue that there should be a program to place more of the CUC network underground. This would be an expensive undertaking but it would be cheaper that rebuilding the network every ten of fifteen years.