Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Power Lines and Tech Jargon

Power Lines and Tech Jargon

Diving into Transmission Infrastructure


Looking through the PS Buzz’ unfinished article archive, we found an excellent start for another materials and resource based article.  Having just researched the Lego story (see Lego’s search for ABS) it seemed like this could be a good article to polish up and post.

If you’ve had the privilege of driving along a major highway then you may have noticed the existence of transmission lines for communication and power distribution.  They’re so common in our electrified world that it’s become accepted as another part of the visible environment. They provide connections between communities and allow for us to shed off our harsh environments.

Some of you may have even wondered why we have these cables stretching across our landscapes, without really considering how much of a necessity this infrastructure is to our everyday life.  So the plan, for this article, is to give a little bit of insight into THE GRID.

Before getting too ahead of ourselves we should give some backgrounders-

Electrical Grid: An interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers

Peaking Plants: Power plants (typically combustion plants) that provide electricity during periods of high demand

Smart Grid: An electrical network that uses digital information and communication technology (Apps/Social Media) to optimize efficiency and reliability for suppliers/consumers

Mega-joule (MJ): Unit of Energy (1 kWh = 3.6 MJ) 

One more point of clarity before we dive in (this a dense article so we’re trying to keep the constant reader up to speed!) The best way to think of electricity/power lines is to imagine water flowing through a pipe, and for the sake of this scenario let’s assume that water is weightless.

If you are at point A and wanted to send water through a 100km long pipe to, point B, how would you best go about it?  The pipe has a standard size (assume the flow rate is 1 cup of water per second -at its fastest rate) and if you want 60 cups of water it’s going to take at least 1 minute. 

Well, the pressure at point A would have to be significant (to push all that water to point B), and in fact it’s very possible that it wouldn’t make sense to just ‘one shot’ the water.  So you install pumps at crucial points of the pipe to help boost the pressure/flow rate of the water.  

Great, you managed to get the water to point B, but what about the 100km of pipe that’s now filled up?  Well, that potential volume of water will eventually make it to point B. Okay, and now imagine trying to continuously send that water from point A to point B.  (We realize this brief explanation may confuse readers more, but please keep tuning in for more tech talk in future articles!)

So, enough thought experimenting.  

We did a little research into Nova Scotia’s transmission lines (which is currently at its limit and in the process of being revamped where possible) and thought the Buzz could have a little fun with it.

Apologies for the poor quality of the map legend, this picture was obtained from a report conducted by Hatch Ltd.  A link to their 2010 assessment can be found in the resources section! 

Looking at some of these transmission routes The Buzz was interested in determining just how much aluminum wiring is hanging there.  It has to be a butt load, or at least a large amount, so let’s do a little math and see if we can make an estimate.

Now, in the following image the distance between Greenwood and Nova Scotia Trunk 8 is roughly 50 km.  This route is meant to represent the 69 kV lines that provide grid connection to the surrounding communities in that area of the province.  (See Title Image for an example of a 69 kV power line) 

How many lines of conducting wire does this mean?

8 lines per tower, and there is typically 2 towers supporting the lines.
16 lines stretching 50 km- that would be one big spool of wire!

(Taking it a little farther)

The mass of 16 aluminum transmission lines would equal roughly 163, 120 kilograms (Why? Because reasons)

To produce aluminum cables it takes approximately 46 MJ/kg, we’ve cited the Engineering Tool box for property values.

So, If one was to refine enough material for this much transmission line it would take approximately 8,482,283 MJ (enough energy to power 148 homes for a year), just for that one stretch of road.

Keep in mind that this number took quite a few liberties and we made some assumptions.  However the math seems to check out.  Feel free to do your own math and reply to this article!  

Moving away from the heavy handed math, we would like to talk about some of the amazing stuff we’re capable of thanks to the innovation of power lines.  Without a massive grid connecting our hospitals, homes, schools -what have you, it would be a little tricky performing everyday tasks.  So perhaps the refinement process can be forgiven, all the same, dang that’s a lot of energy!

Nova Scotia alone has 31, 800 km of power lines stretching between thousands of sub stations, peaking plants and buildings of all sizes.  And the demand in this area is increasing so it will be interesting to see some of the innovations the Atlantic province will make to address this challenge.

Burden on power grids isn’t unique to Nova Scotia.  In fact many areas across the globe have started investing in smart grid solutions.  What’s the goal?  -Developing a dynamic system that allows for better manipulation of an electrical grid.

The emergence of smart grid systems (something that we will likely cover in more detail in a separate article) is something that yields exciting benefits for us energy consumers.  It will ultimately mean more control for both power producers and consumers.   

Tesla (oh Elon Musk, the world’s greatest mad-scientist) has developed a product called the PowerWall.  The concept is to develop a home energy storage system that people can use to help power their home.

The Buzz sees even bigger potential in a system like this. If buildings were able to connect via a smart grid and ‘share’ energy, well then that would mean grid burden could be a problem of the past.  Who knows, it’s some interesting brain food and a good closing. 

Links as Promised

How NS Power Delivers Electricity-

Hatch Energy Innovations-

Properties of Aluminum-

Midal Cables Ltd (AAC transmission wires)-

Physics of Everyday Stuff (Calculating Resistance of Transmission lines)-

Tesla Power Wall-

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cougar Punching and the Wild

Human punches cougar, and wins

 A crazy true story & tips for wilderness expeditions

July 2015
Welcome back!

This article is merely here to comment on how awesome people can be, especially when facing the beasts that inhabit nature.  This little digression is brought to you by Shawn Hanson, the guy who punched a cougar in the face when it attacked his dog! 

There’s no other way to make that sound more awesome, so please follow the link provided to learn more about this exciting news story.
Cougar Puncher!

The incident took place on Vancouver Island while, during a fishing trip, a cougar attacked Shawn’s faithful daschund (Bailey).  Giving chase, Shawn caught up with the wild beast and gave it a what for, then grabbed his gun in an attempt to scare it off (which didn’t work) and then had to end the cougars life.

Yes, it is sad that the cougar didn’t get away, and in retrospect it’s possible that Shawn could have fended off the animal without blood-shed.  But damn, he’s still a bad ass in our books.  So let’s look past Shawn’s use of arms, and applaud his awesome feat!

This feature is a little on the short side.  We wanted to offer our readers a variety of stories of awesome animal attacks where people win, but truthfully most news stories were not that inspirational.  We did however find a post from the UK that has a bunch of pretty incredible stories of animal attacks. 

A sneak peak of some of the stories included in the Independent UK article:

-          people surviving elephant stampedes

-          people surviving shark attacks

-          people surviving lion attacks

-          people surviving hippogriff attacks

-          the last one was a joke

-          people surviving dolphin attacks

-          the last one was true

Have we interested you? Hopefully!  This was a fun article for us to put out, albeit not on the cutting edge of news, but Ron Burgandy would likely be proud. 

This brings up a few things the Buzz team would like to remind readers of if you plan on taking a stroll through the wilderness.  Remember, animals are lower than us, we are supreme! BUT you should always be cautious and aware of the creatures that inhabit the environment you are about to walk into.
  1.    Be loud.  A peaceful stroll through the woods is nice, but don’t forget to make some noise every now and then.  If you’re by yourself, bring a whistle or harmonica, and try not to use headphones.  Not only does this help let hunters know of your presence, but animals will be more likely to keep their distance too!
  2.   Learn the area.  Don’t walk into a known animal habitat without learning about it, that’s like wilderness trekking 101.  If a bear has been known to hibernate in the area, be on your guard.  Only you can stop yourself from walking into something’s home.
  3. Tell people you’re gone.  Tweet, snapchat, facebook post, telegram; do something.  If you’re not one to post all of your happenings for the world to see, at least let some people know you’re going for a walk. It’s possible they might wonder where you are in case you get lost or attacked by a ferocious wild beast.
  4.   Enjoy yourself.  Be cautious, but don’t fret or be scared if you do come across some wildlife.  Seeing animals in their natural environment is one of the greatest rushes we mere humans can experience.  Respect the beast and it will respect you.

Link as promised:

Vancouverite saves his pooch from a cougar attack- http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/man-punches-cougar-saves-pet-daschund-1.2457149

Other Animal VS Human Stories- http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/survival-stories-when-animals-attack-and-humans-survive-433828.html

Faithfully Observe The Laws of Canada -Issue One

Issue One: Stepping into Acceptance

 July 2015

Welcome readers, we at The Buzz would like to start this expository piece by explaining the format of this series.  That’s right, the PS Buzz is committing to a series!  We will still be producing unrelated tasty articles for the in-between time.  However, for this, we will be discussing Canadian Aboriginal and Northern people and their stance within the cultural hodge-podge diaspora that is Canada.

Our tone will hopefully retain its whimsical quality- however we do plan on covering the exciting and depressingly-truthful developments within Aboriginal societies.

Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom, the point of this series is actually to shed light on the fact that 1.4 million Canadians* as of the 2011census  (or aboriginals/first nations, we’ll be playing around with terminology a little bit, so feel free to take a break sip some tea and then find your bearings again!) -anyways, it’s fact that 1.4 million Canadians actually have a pretty good future in store, provided Canada stays on the route of prosperous inter-provincial relations..

Let’s move away from the political talk.

 While there may be glimpse of better relations (we at the Buzz tend to think government/community relations are improving, however the rate at which it’s improving often fluctuates) there was a long and bumpy road that brought about this view.  The reason for beginning this series stems from investigating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that was issued mid-2015.

The TRC report is a tremendous document, and if one has time (and isn’t well versed in the genocide that occurred within Canada) we at the PS Buzz recommend at least reading the executive summary (link provided at the end of this article!)  Why is it important?  The TRC report outlines in many levels of detail the atrocities committed by the Canadian government onto people that were supposedly allies.

We say allies because, as time went on (you know, after confederation, a couple of world wars, and quite a few social revolutions) the Aboriginal people for the most part became an important populace within our modern day society.  As Canadians, we began assimilating this allied population into our everyday politics during the 1800’s.  So the Canadian legacy is tied intricately into the Canadian Aboriginal story.

 While history is an important part of this series, we want to provide a multi-perspective view of Aboriginal Canada, and at the same time hopefully show how it’s really the same story most Canadians have heard about their own history.  The reason being that in Canada we’re generally all sold the same heaps of history, but the Buzz isn’t here to blame standardized schools… or are we?


The plan is to look at Canadian Aboriginal people and their environmental, social, economic, and cultural development.  To do this, we will likely get a little dark, or not so happy-fun-time, but we also plan on providing some pretty inspirational stuff.  So readers please don’t leave, and tuck in to a hopefully delightful five part series.

Additionally, if there are any aboriginal readers or cultural writing enthusiasts we invite you to comment and/or contact us regarding this series.  The goal of this is to promote some stories and insights that, speaking honestly, don’t find their way into the Metro or The Chronicle Herald.  So if you are enraged, interested, or mildly curious with our intentions and thoughts while this series is being published then we feel like we have done some sort of job.  That being said, volunteer writers are always encouraged, no matter the point of view!

We’ll mention now that we’re really pushing the Canadian title with this, reason being that we really don’t have the time or people-power to expand and look at North & South American Indigenous peoples.  Plus, if that were the case this would turn into a sociology/philosophy/history/anthropology thesis, which is another thing that the PS Buzz editors don’t have time for, we hope that you can appreciate these short articles and then move on from there to find your own knowledge!

Link as promised:

Stat CAN (Aboriginal People in Canada)- http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.cfm

Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada- http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890

Spoiler links for future Issues:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada- http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100010023/1100100010027

RCMP report (Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operation Overview)- http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/abo-aut/mmaw-fada-eng.htm

Aboriginal Education in Canada- (Still researching credible links!)

Lego's search for ABS

The Quest for ABS

Alternative approaches for plastic materials (featuring Lego!)

The PS Buzz should invest in a staff set of Lego... for research purposes
 June 2015

Lego dropped a big bomb this month, revealing their plan to spend $184 million for developing a sustainable alternative for their production lines.  While yes, it’s important that the new material must be compatible with Lego that was produced generations ago, blah blah blah. Keeping in mind that whatever material the Danish company decides upon, it will obviously be something that isn’t going to break the mold.

So putting aside all of the insane engineering that will have to go into designing the chosen material (honestly people, they melt plastic into easy to connect shapes) the PS Buzz would like to look at the current materials being used.  Hopefully we’ll be able to provide some factoids on how other companies have developed sustainable alternatives for their production lines.

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (say that five times fast) commonly known as ABS, is a type of plastic that is pretty darn handy.  It’s also incredibly energy intensive to produce (consuming approximately 95 MJ of energy per kg of industrial plastic) and guess what? It usually uses high energy fuel sources like natural gas and petroleum products to make it.

Long story short, Lego produces a whole bunch of it, and it’s not exactly composed of eco-friendly materials.

The technology company Siemens -they make stuff, mostly with plastic- has recently developed an alternative using renewable based polymers AND (the best part) C02.  That’s right, plastic that can sequester carbon.

Now we at the Buzz have issues with one of the ingredients being used by Siemens (palm oil-we recommend checking our link on the sustainability of palm oil!).  Did you know that harvesting Palm Oil is currently under scrutiny?  That’s right; our healthy vegetable oil may actually be hurting the environment, causing deforestation and destruction of peat lands.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area equivalent to 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production.
Why care or even mention it? Peat lands help act as naturally occurring carbon stores, if you take away this vegetation then the greenhouse gas has nowhere to go other than our atmosphere. (Neat huh? Not really.)  Another big consideration people should be making is where their vegi-oil is coming from.  A big reason this type of deforestation isn’t on our main radar is because it tends to happen in countries that are willing to expand their agricultural trade (Thailand, Malaysia, Colombia, and others) even if it means risking the sustainability of their ecosystems.

 Enough hippy-dippy digression, it still needs to be said that Siemens and Lego are aiming for a leap in the right direction.  This type of development will hopefully gain steam, and more businesses will ideally find even better alternatives.

That’s all for this article, we’ve provided links to those that are interested in finding out how to get your hands on a piece of that $184 million.  Just imagine the idea of sequestering carbon with Lego- I think the little kid in us just did a back flip.


CBC- Lego invests $185M finding alternative to wasteful plastic for its bricks

Siemens- ABS Alternative C02, Palm Oil and Starch

Palm Oil- Cooking the Planet

Looking at the Party

Looking at the Party

Freelance views on Canada’s Federal Candidates

The time is approaching yet again, Canadian Federal Election.  That’s right; the 42nd Canadian general election to elect members of Parliament will soon be here.  Get the torches ready, assemble a posse, and paint your signs.  The PS Buzz wants to see a full turn out (or at least more than 75% of the voting population.)  Let us remind you that the 2008 federal election saw a record low of 58% voter turnout, 2011 saw a slight increase with a meager 61%.  We are not happy with this and it seemed pertinent that a piece be compiled to give our readership a freelance look at 2015’s candidates.

The election campaign buzz has been surrounding Parliament Hill for quite some time now (albeit some candidates may have rallied slightly too early, but we tend to encourage politicians that are committed here at the Buzz.)

Here is a list of the potential MP’s we are expecting to see in the coming months: Stephen Harper (Returning Grande Poo-Bah), Thomas Mulcair (WTF NDP is still rated highly in the polls? Sweet!) Justin Trudeau (The guy who’s a year older than the Grande Poo-Bah when he was elected).  Of course there is also the Honorable Elizabeth May who will receive mention in this article however the buzz may save another article for the Green Party leader.

He just looks creepy in our opinion
Now we don’t want to bore you with too lengthy of an article, so it’s possible that election tracking could just become a regular addition to the PS Buzz.  If that is the case, then expect to see more tid bits on your political representatives!

Starting in the Blue corner, weighing in at 192lbs in a towering frame of 6’ 2”, we have the Grande Poo-Bah returning champ Mr. Stephen Harper! (Qu: Air Horns and turn light on saying crowd cheers.)  Satire aside, the Hon. Stephen Harper is back in the running as our Prime Minister Elect.  He has headed fan favourite Bills such as Bill-C51, boosted the budget by cutting environmental funding, and freed the press by telling scientists not to publish their work.  Honest, we did try to find a way to paint him in a good light. He’s good with money? We’ll just leave it there and dive in later if need be.

The Beard!
In the Orange corner, standing at an unannounced height and weight, the official opposition of attrition, Mr. Thomas Mulcair!  Willing to call out anyone he wants, capable of standing up for Canadian citizenship, and quite dashing with that beard we have to say.  Mr. Mulcair has so far opposed Bill C-51, pushed a Bill addressing the stupid tradition of taxing feminine hygiene products (seriously, how/why is that still a thing?) And let’s not forget he’s pledged to open a national public inquiry into missing aboriginal women within 100 days of being in office.  Wow, no wonder he doesn’t have time to answer polls about his weight!  Oh, and he also believes marijuana laws are extremely unfair, but that’s enough for now.

We couldn't find a picture that didn't make him look dreamy...
And weighing in at 180lbs and also standing at 6’ 2”, we have Mr. Justin Trudeau, the Red sharp shooter himself.  We don’t really have a catchy title, mainly because there isn’t a heck of a lot to paint this guy with.  Mr. Trudeau earned his sharp shooter mantle as he has a knack for saying the right things in the right mediums.  Speak out about marijuana legalization and education funding on social media, he’s there!  Vote on Bill C-51 without bringing much attention to it, he’s there!  While Mr. T (hey, that’s actually a pretty good title) is being sold to us as “too young” and “inexperienced” we would like to remind our readership that he is 44 freaking years old.  We think campaign managers are too old and only know how to create smear campaigns.

She looks so sweet!
Finally our honorable Green candidate, the most entertaining candidate in the House of Commons since Danny Williams, Ms. Elizabeth May!  Ms. May is known for speaking out on just about any issue she feels passionate about, sometimes even if they have no place in the Canadian political spectrum.  But hey, we here at the Buzz kind of have a soft spot for the current (we’ll see if she holds her ground in the coming months) Green Party leader.  She’s pro-life and proud (we admire pride, not necessarily her stance) and is willing to oppose Bill C-51.  Above all, she’s the only one that gives a hoot about the environment, at least enough to focus on that instead of BS politics.

Perhaps you noticed a theme, the PS Buzz HATES Bill C-51.  Yes, hate is a strong word.  However, it fits this case perfectly. We made it a point to notify our readers of one of the most ridiculous things our government has passed since- well we’re still trying to research what was a bigger screw up, so perhaps that will be a separate article.

We hope you feel slightly more informed, or at the very least interested enough to wonder what ya-hoos are currently fighting for the title of Supreme Ruler of Can- sorry- the position of Right Honorable Prime Minister of Canada.  The fact is that we as voters need to focus on all levels of the arena.  That means finding out what your local ridings are supporting and educate others if you support it, or speak up if you see something happening that just doesn’t seem Canadian (nationalism makes us nauseous, but it fits in this article.)

Safe, Nutritious, Active and Healthy. Always.

Safe, Nutritious, Active and Healthy. Always.

 A look at options for better food security

Author: Kawlin Rolfe 2015

Historically Canada has seen a wide range of agricultural accomplishments with proud communities developing around common goals.  Canada as a country is unfortunately limited in its growing seasons (the amount of time in a year available for farming.)  This means proper food production and storage has been critical in the development of provincial connections.

A large goal in most communities was originally food production, however it has become far too easy to rely on a big-box solution to the daily question of most Canadians: What should I eat tonight?

According to a study by PROOF, an organization dedicated to education on the reduction of food insecurity, 17.5% of Nova Scotian households experience food insecurity at some point.  This isn’t very surprising as our climate and geography isn’t necessarily one for prosperous food production.  However that doesn’t mean we can’t try and make something work in our environment.

In countries like Canada it is common to experience a variety of seasonal extremes, in order to adapt to this we have developed a strong relationships within our many isolated communities.  Perhaps it’s time- or the time has always been ripe- to bring back local food security.  This will require many different contributions, from various levels of public and private interest groups.

The consumerist approach to food shouldn’t be ignored, or looked down upon, however it should be evaluated and understood.  As an example; going to the store and choosing to buy a head of lettuce in February has become an average occurrence to many Nova Scotia families.  Sure, you might have to pay an extra few cents on the kilo because it’s out of season, but this head of lettuce will be a nice addition to the sandwiches that you’re taking to lunch for the remainder of the week.

What if that lettuce could be grown and harvested twenty minutes away and delivered to your local supermarket, farmers market, or perhaps directly to your front step-year round?  This would solve a large number of issues many Nova Scotia and Canadian households experience as a result of food isolation.

Instead of purchasing that head of lettuce in February, perhaps something else could be packed into your lunch that fits the season.  This doesn’t mean limiting your nutritional intake, it would simply mean identifying how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when the essential vegetables are covered with snow.

A movement known as ‘urban-farming’ has taken hold in many high density communities across the globe.  It is essentially when farming starts taking place close to its consumption point.  Detroit is an excellent example of this, having turned many abandoned buildings into green house and food production centers.  This type of development will undoubtedly become more frequent as transportation costs continue to increase.

This transition doesn’t mean Canada must change its array of produce and available goods.  (However, the sustainability of coconut availability should probably be addressed) It would simply require rethinking our current production and development of food industries- particularly where our food is produced.

The take away is that, Canada has the potential to continue its long history of community development, and food security will be a fore runner for assisting in this development.

Food Insecurity in Canada, CBC News Online:
Ground Transportation Rise in Cost, Canadian Shipper Online:
Detroit gets Growing, The Guardian Online:

Renewable Combustibles PT 2

Renewable Combustibles

Part Two: Bacteria & Biofuel

 Author: Kawlin Rolfe 2015

Rising costs in fuel production is a common concern for the global economy.  The world has begun to move away from these complex carbon structures as a main source of energy.  This is mainly due to increases in transporting, mining and refinery costs for fossil fuels.  We could almost be thankful for this turn in economy, as it has led to many advances in alternative energy/renewable systems.

Aside from the environmental impacts- there are still a few valid reasons for the production of fossil fuels to continue.  The main reason being that the majority of our world still operates on some sort of combustible device (cars, boilers, power plants, etc.) and as a species, we don’t like change.  Creating efficient fossil fuel consuming systems means increasing the refining process of drilled oil and identifying alternative fuel sources.

This on-going research and development has seen a shift in recent years.  Refining and cost cutting for fossil fuels is almost at its top-end for efficiency upgrades.  This means the fuel we use to heat our homes and businesses, has reached its lowest cost point.

These businesses generally burn oil or natural gas (many have simply switched to electric heat altogether as there are less losses in the efficiency of these systems) which we know as fossil fuels.  However there is a large push to develop alternative methods of harvesting complex carbon fuels. 
So what is available for alternative fuels?  Wood biomass (pellets, stove length, wood chips) tends to be the common ground in Nova Scotia, but this isn’t the case for many large facilities.  Large buildings require a lot of space heating, which feasibly can’t be met with a wood fired system.

One such method is utilizing organic matter, like algae, tallows, other waste oils to produce a combustible fuel source.  These organic compounds can be refined (based on their organic-chemical composition) and as a result reduce the environmental impact of combustibles. The creation of these organic based fuels is done through a process called hydrothermal liquefaction.

Hydrothermal Liquefaction -not really a term that gets tossed around dinner parties- is a process where biomass is exposed to an extremely high pressure while undergoing a significant change in temperature.  This creates a chemical reaction in the algae, allowing for oxygen molecules to separate from complex sugar molecules, and in the end fuels are produced.  The benefit of this process is that it only requires a heat addition process (thanks to advances in solar technology this is becoming easier.) 

The impressive nature of this type of fuel production is that it primarily relies on the chemical structure of biomass and inducing a bacteria based chemical reaction.  We see these processes happen every day, from sour milk to alcohol.  The best part is that the product of these processes yield high quality fuel for a multitude of applications.  Imagine flying a plane on perennial grass!

(Stay tuned for more energy bits & bites!)

Biofuels were approved for commercial use in July 2011
Future of aviation fuel source

Renewable Combustibles PT 1

Renewable combustibles, something worth pondering!

 Part One: Biomass

Author: Kawlin Rolfe 2015

The production of biomass for biofuel production is an excellent area of research for green energy alternatives.  Biomass refers to organic material -from trees to perennial grass- that can be grown for the purpose of energy production.  In North America it has become common to develop biomass crops for the production of fuels, however the most effective and environmentally responsible production methods are still being investigated.

Biomass is technically a renewable resource.  It can be an annual harvest, depending on the plant matter being produced, yielding a consistent amount of fuel per year.  The jury is still out on if it is truly a ‘net-zero’ process (meaning the GHG emissions from the biomass is balanced by the growth of organic matter.)  However it’s easy to see why this is a cleaner fuel source, biomass doesn’t require a drill to get out of the ground and can be expected to come back almost every year.

Nova Scotia has traditionally focused on producing/harvesting biomass to create pellets.  Pellets essentially act in the same manner as any other combustible material, like oil or cord wood.  Pellets can be made from many different types of material (trees, hay or miscanthus grass.)  Common practice for the Maritimes has been wood pellet production (in the case of pellets, trees are harvested and then processed into a compact fuel product.) The problem with this is that Nova Scotia doesn’t have a substantial amount of wood-biomass to meet a high demand, making it a less appealing option compared to electric or oil heating.

Why talk about biofuels you may ask?  Well, currently 40% of NS homes are heated with wood/oil (aka combustibles) this trend is changing however, leading to an increase in electrical heat for homes. Electricity in the NS (albeit more efficient than combustible fuels) is primarily generated by coal.  So while home owners are opting out of combustible heating fuels for ‘greener’ alternatives, the fact is that they’re not really limiting their carbon foot print.

It’s hard to address a personal carbon goal, as an individual what’s the point, right? Wrong! Individuals are what creates the decision process for bigger businesses.  Increasing public discussion and availability of alternative energy options is still the main and best way of targeting carbon goals.

(Stay tuned for more energy bits & bites! Next article sneak peak: Bacterial produced Biofuel.)

How it Began

November 2012

Hello again faithful subscribers and readers!

I have come to you today to inform you that we are currently fully independent!  It is unfortunate that the powers at be are too large and sparse to understand the benefit of a locally developed and maintained newsletter.
A few days after our inception date it was brought to the attention of our editing staff that the name of our quaint organization may have to change. With the Gazette being merely experimental, this was not a surprise. There was no permission gathered in the creation of this page (Or news letter, or organization.)  It was created by an employee of a Parts retailer in Atlantic Canada.  The name of the corporation that owned this retailer, in the original post similar to this, has been omitted from our site due to legality issues.

Luckily, corporate ideals have interfered with the intended plans of this experiment, we have changed our name and re-worked our mission statement to add a little tongue and cheek.  The need to apply administration to an independent organization that simply wants to put a name on something is, well a little ridiculous. (Did you know they were conversing about this topic on company time? A few members of our staff have to sell herbs and spices in their spare time to put food on the table and we manage to have time to do this. Can you imagine what degrading things Corporate Management has to do to make ends meet?  We really do feel sorry for executives sometimes.)

We will be expanding to one copy a week as of December- after all we should start this thing at the end of the world right? We will of course still be looking for volunteer editors and collaborators, this is after all a non-profit organization (that's right none of the PS staff are being paid for this!)

I would now like to delve a little deeper into what it is we wish to accomplish.  We sit here through sheer enjoyment of wanting to create something beneficial, and not merely another place for an ad to appear. So we've decided to sell our community's brand instead! (*note the editors of this organization do not endorse brands- in the long run, they just tend to be more expensive)

Originally, we had meant to hold a temporary, and constantly changing, editing team. The intention of this page was simply to offer CORPORATE NAME OMITTED a format or platform for employees to communicate on and after five months total control would be handed over. It was created by employees and was meant to offer a better look into their regional work environment.

As an added bonus, through Facebook, our editors had hoped to provide transparency to the public on the life and times of a major local employer- Okay, CORPORATE NAME OMITTED isn't technically a 'major' employer for the area, but the UMBRELLA CORPORATION is, however they're also not very local...Okay wait.. the workers are local, there! At least something originated here...We are still able to offer this transparency and now with more freedom.  Keep in mind the original intent of this platform was within a business was to help connect and create a communal conversation amongst employees and customers.  Now we will do it without a big name to wave around.  (Banners can be made if a fan of the PS Buzz wins speaks forward, but you'd have to read pretty deep!)

In their always soaring ambition, it seems CORPORATE NAME OMITTED wish to create their own page (admin located west of Quebec) within the next couple of weeks. As a duty to our readership, we must keep updating and promoting our own 'buzz'.  The intention is to keep rolling forward, this is after all a minor bump in the road.

"I personally want to wish CORPORATE NAME OMITTED the best in their endeavors for creating awareness online. It's really cutting edge stuff. Some of the higher ups mentioned a telegraph line they've been developing to finally connect us sea to sea. It's a shame we couldn't work with them but our team knows when we must appease the masses. Sometimes shit happens right?"
Kawlin Rolfe Chief editor

Above is a quote from our chief editor Kawlin Rolfe speaking in regards to CORPORATE NAME OMITTED handling on the organization.
(Note, we were able to put in 'shit' but not CORPORATE NAME OMITTED.)

We will of course be posting online and treating Facebook as our temporary blog space.  There are a few paths our team is considering on where to take our local conversation.  A website is possible however for the time being, Facebook will suffice.

At the moment we address only a few people, and with hope, people will eventually find our place on the internet. We hope you await the next issue of the news letter with much anticipation! 

The PS Buzz team.