ABOUT ME

T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia survivor since November 2008. Allogeneic stem cell transplant survivor since June 2010. Leukemia can be successfully treated and cured. I'm proof!
Please use the links and labels in the right-hand column to navigate this blog, or click on "I Beat Leukemia" above to read my latest post.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Truth About Amazon Mechanical Turk; Don't Believe Everything You Read On Turkopticon

I frequently work on Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mturk) because it's the platform for the part-time work I do for a third party, and I work on it to earn extra income by completing surveys or regularly posted HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks.) For the mostly common workers that are signed up, Mturk provides tasks that computers can not do automatically and accurately. Most of these tasks include transcription of data from images, determining sentiment/contexts of text snippets, searching for business contact information, data categorization, etc. Also, businesses and colleges will often post paid surveys for workers to complete.

These tasks can be easy and completed quickly. But, most ARE NOT well-paying. Sure, you can work on a few HITs that pay well, but you can't work on those types of HITs all day. They just don't last. Therefore, most of the tasks posted on Mturk DO NOT provide well-paid full-time work. Take this for example: A requester (people or businesses that post HITs on Mturk) may put out a batch of well-paying HITs, but because of all the thousands of workers on Mturk, these HITs will get scooped up and completed very quickly. You will be lucky just to get a hundred completed out of a batch of 5,000 HITs (this is very common.) After all the years I've been working on Mturk, I believe I've come up with a pretty good estimate of what the average worker earns. It's awful:  Two to three dollars an hour! Another reason for the low pay is that Mturk allows workers from other countries to work on HITs (something I am totally against.) India is very likely the biggest culprit, so you can thank our curry-munching, cow-loving friends in that country for taking well-paying work away from turkers in the U.S.!

Click on this image for a sample of what an average worker earns on Mturk.




This was submitted to me by a friend who works on Mturk ALL DAY.  (I can't submit my earnings because of the third party part-time work I do on Mturk. They wouldn't be an accurate representation of an average Turker's earnings.) We both only work on HITs that pay well for the task. We hate and will not work for slave wage requesters. There were two days in which my friend earned close to $30 on a batch of well-paying HITs. As you can see, it doesn't happen very often...

I have read on other websites that Mturk is a great work-at-home option. That's a lie. For the common Turker besides me, IT IS NOT good for working at home! All that Mturk is good for is earning some extra splurging money. If you can complete a few surveys a day, you can probably earn $30 - $50 a month, perhaps more if a well-paying requester puts out a nice batch of HITs once or twice a month. $30 -$50 a month can be good for splurging on a night out, taking the family to the movies, buying some new clothes, etc. But just remember, if you think you can earn a decent living working full time on Mturk's common tasks, YOU WILL NOT.

If you can maintain a high approval rating (98 to 99%,) you will eventually become a Masters worker, the elite of Mturk workers. Some HITs posted for Masters workers pay higher than regular HITs. Notice I put in the word "some." Not all requesters are generous when posting Masters HITs. There are a few scumbags who pay just as low as regular non-Masters HITs, so don't think that if you become a Masters worker you will always get higher pay.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is an attractive tool for a person or a business to get tasks done cheaply. However, Mturk is also a tool for scammers to use to get free work or confidential information (for identity theft.) For example,  requesters can post surveys and reject completed ones without paying you, therefore getting free work. They can also post HITs that require you to sign-up for third party websites, require you to provide email addresses, or require you to provide other confidential information. These HITs violate Mturk's terms-of-service. They should be reported and returned. Use common sense when completing a HIT. If the task and pay looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

 

Everyone who completes HITs on Mturk should sign up and join both Turkopticon and Turkopticon 2. Also, if you use Firefox, install the Mturk Suite add-on. It is a very handy tool for viewing requester ratings and blocking requesters you don't want to work for.

Turkopticon and Turkopticon 2 offer mostly genuine and accurate reviews of HITs and requesters that workers post. These reviews should be read and digested before completing HITs of any kind. This can prevent you from getting scammed and cheated. It can also prevent you from getting unnecessary rejects that can hurt your approval rating. The lower your approval rating, the less likely you will be able to work on higher-paying HITs.

Not all of the reviews on Turkopticon are factual, however, and some of them can be scams. As a newly approved commenter and flagger on Turkopticon, combined with my ten years of experience on Mturk, I am doing my best to call out scammers and haters who post fake or malicious reviews (my handle is "cliffhang..." on both sites.)  It is not hard to find them. Look for my flags and comments, then judge for yourself if a HIT review is suspicious or not. Some members actually post fake reviews to sway people not to do HITs. They do it so they can get more HITs to themselves. If you think a review is suspicious or fake, just ignore it, and attempt to do the HIT. It is safer to do just a couple of HITs and wait to see if they're approved or rejected rather than going crazy, doing several hundred, and getting a bunch of rejections.  Also, getting one or two rejected HITs will not impact your approval rating that much. Remember, IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD IF YOU GET A COUPLE OF REJECTIONS! Plus, since most HITs are low-paying, you're not exactly taking a financial blow if a HIT is rejected. Remember, don't do any HITs that require your confidential information or require you to sign-up to a third-party website.

Do more research before working on Mturk. Besides Turkopticon, there are numerous internet forums (such as Reddit and Turkernation) where people post their experiences with Mturk. You can gain a lot of information about requesters and whether or not it is worth it to do work for them.

Final thought:  Unless you ABSOLUTELY need the money, never work on batches of low-paying HITs. Examples of these are HITs from the requesters Scout-it, Chronotrack, Shopping Receipts, Rece Capture, and other cheap requesters that pay slave wages for writing tasks, email searches, etc.  When you complete these HITs (unless you need the money badly), you support the requester paying slave-labor wages. As long as people work for low-paying requesters, they will always keep their pay low.

In closing, I will say this again. Please remember it:

"Amazon Mechanical Turk IS NOT a good full-time work-at-home option."

#work at home  #Amazon Mechanical Turk

Friday, August 24, 2018

So Long Sears At University Mall

Recently, I wrote a post about the Sears store at University Mall in Tampa. I was impressed that the store was still open and somewhat thriving. I was hopeful that it would stay open a few more years. My hopes aren't going to get fulfilled.

A new article by CNBC announced another round of Sears store closings today. See the article here:More Sears Stores Closing

University Mall's Sears is now one of them.

I was hopeful that the store would stay open while University Mall undergoes the transformation to Uptown (see my other post) because I would think the redesigned mall would help sales. But, the parent company Sears Holdings is continuing to hemorrhage money, and they're closing more stores in order to survive. Another factor that may be contributing to the store's closure is what I mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph: The mall's transformation to Uptown. It's possible that the developers may consider the Sears store to be in the way of their plans to rebuild the mall. They may have also contacted Sears Corporate letting them know about those plans. If true, the execs at Sears likely thought that the mall's rebuilding would negatively affect store traffic and sales, so it's possible they decided to go ahead and close the store for that reason.

I don't believe this next round of store closings is going to help Sears much, and their selling of the Craftsman brand just made "the hole" they're in a lot deeper. Sears Holdings is just delaying the inevitable in my opinion which is they will either file for bankruptcy and/or go out of business. This could very well happen by the end of the year if they have lousy holiday sales.

As for the Sears at University Mall, you were a great icon in the Tampa area, and you're going to be missed.



#University Mall Sears Closing #Sears Store Closings #University Mall Tampa

Monday, August 13, 2018

HIT Approval Proof

Here is proof that the Survey About Rice HIT I did was APPROVED AND PAID.

Click image to enlarge.

ATTENTION THOSE WHO HAVE MALICIOUSLY FLAGGED MY REVIEW OF THE HIT ABOVE AND LEFT SLANDEROUS COMMENTS ON MY OTHER REVIEWS

I have contacted a law firm to find out whether or not I can get sue and get monetary damages for your activities. Good news for me and bad news for you if you don't retract what you've done. Read what a lawyer sent me through email:

 

Mr. *******:

We have received and reviewed the information you have recently provided to our firm. This is a physical response in writing (as required before agreeing to the specified retainer.)

We reviewed the screenshot images you emailed to us. We also accessed your account on the Turkopticon website (Turkopticon.ucsd.edu) using the log-in information you provided to us so that we could access and read your review history and the deliberately slanderous comments on those reviews. As discussed per our telephone conversation, we are finished with our case review, so you may now change your login password if you desire.

My associate Mr. ******** and I agree that if you wish to pursue a lawsuit and seek monetary damages from those slanderous individuals, you certainly have grounds to do so. We also are very confident that we could be victorious in the case trial thanks to the documentation you provided to our firm. In regards to the refusal of the website administrator to act on the slanderous activity, we agree and find that we could be successful in that regard as well. Also, in regards to the parties initiating a retaliatory lawsuit against your flagging activities (which we've reviewed ourselves,) we agree that the flags have legal merit based on the website's terms of service, the other member's activities, and his/her behavioral history. If those members countersuit as a result of this lawsuit, we will provide a strong case to get the countersuit dismissed. We can also seek monetary damages from that unsubstantiated countersuit, as well.

If you decide to pursue your lawsuit, we would need time to subpoena the contact email and IP address information of all parties involved so that we could issue court notices and summons to all relevant parties. We would then combine all parties into a single case and pursue it in trial. Be advised that since the Turkopticon website resides at the University of California at San Diego, the case will likely be held in the small claims jurisdiction of that entity.

We will constantly update you through email when we receive new information about the case from other parties we are contacting (updated sentence per second email from law firm.) We also encourage you to send us any more information that you think will be helpful and relevant to your case. 

If you have any questions about this communication, please don't hesitate to contact our firm.

Sincerely,

EDITED OUT CONTACT INFORMATION.

 

There you have it you fucking idiots. I'm giving you until the end of this month (9/30/18) to remove your comments and flags. If not, you'll suffer the consequences.




Friday, July 27, 2018

Stay Away From Moviepass!



If you have a Moviepass subscription or are thinking of purchasing a subscription, read this carefully...

The parent company of Moviepass, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., is in SERIOUS financial trouble!

Moviepass subscribers had to deal with a service interruption yesterday. This is because Helios and Matheson could not pay their merchant processor (to reimburse the movie theaters for the tickets) because they ran out of cash. Below is an excerpt taken from the latest report filed with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) by Helios and Matheson...

If the Company is unable to make required payments to its merchant and fulfillment processors, the merchant and fulfillment processors may cease processing payments for MoviePass, Inc. (“MoviePass”), which would cause a MoviePass service interruption. Such a service interruption occurred on July 26, 2018. Such service interruptions could have a material adverse effect on MoviePass' ability to retain its subscribers. This would have an adverse effect on the Company’s financial position and results of operations.

Read the full report here... https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1040792/000121390018009741/f8k072618_heliosmatheson.htm

Read more articles about Helios and Matheson's troubles: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/HMNY?p=HMNY&.tsrc=fin-srch-v1

Helios and Matheson recently did a reverse stock split in order to maintain listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Afterwards, the stock has plummeted from around $20 a share to a measly two cents a share (updated 9/5/18.) In addition, they continue to sell stock and dilute shareholders in order to keep paying their bills. Whenever a company does this it means they have a very high chance of going out of business.

Further, if Helios and Matheson can't get their common stock price up or general market cap above the NASDAQ requirements, the stock will be transferred to the Over-the-Counter (OTC) market. That will literally be a death sentence for the company. Consider this carefully before purchasing a subscription and potentially losing money! If Moviepass shuts down suddenly because Helios and Matheson is finished, there is a very good chance you won't get your money back! Look at other alternatives for getting free movies, such as Sinemia or AMC.

Post update 9/20/18: Read this article: Helios and Matheson Again Warns...

#Moviepass

Sunday, July 8, 2018

My Leukemia Story




I submitted my leukemia survival story to the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network a few years ago.

I completely forgot that I did this until I did a web search of leukemia survivor blogs today and found the story I submitted to them. It contains more specific (and helpful) details than the story I posted when I first started this blog. Click on this link to read what I submitted to CCSN: My Survival Story


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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Scientist Thinks He's Found The Cause of Childhood Leukemia

I found this very interesting article relating to possible causes of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the same disease I was diagnosed with.

One thing that's mentioned in the article that really got my attention is the theory that leukemia can be triggered by a serious illness or infection. About a year before I was diagnosed, I caught a nasty case of bronchitis. I didn't go to the doctor to get treated for it, and it took almost two weeks to go away. Yes, I am very stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor. This stubbornness, however, could have very likely caused my leukemia. The first noticeable symptom of the leukemia, the difficulty in talking, was caused by a mass in my chest (mediastinal.) This mass could've very well been related to that bout of bronchitis I had.

To read article, click on this link:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180521131746.htm

Go to this site for more leukemia articles:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/leukemia/

Read more leukemia treatment articles I've posted on this blog at this link:
Leukemia Treatment Blog Posts

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Iconic Tampa Mall's Sears Is Still Alive...For Now


Dark clouds loom over Sears
8/24/18: This is a legacy post that I am going to keep on this blog. Sadly, the store is closing. See this post for more: http://jdchasfaith.blogspot.com/2018/08/so-long-university-mall-sears.html




Post written 5/31/18:
The company continues to bleed money with huge quarterly losses, and there appears to be no end in sight. Despite the trouble the company's in, the Sears store at University Mall in Tampa may stay open.

The last time I visited the store it looked a little rough on the outside. The eastern parking lot was quite empty, shrubs and landscaping look unkept, and the exterior needed some maintenance. I was worried about its future. But, as soon as I went inside, I was somewhat surprised. It looked like it was still thriving. There were quite a few customers inside. The store was clean. Most sections looked somewhat well-stocked. Others didn't. But, I was still impressed. The store's second floor was still open, and its original escalator (which I used to love to ride as a kid) was still running. Things didn't seem that much different from when I came to the store as a kid in the late 70's and 80's (except some of the brands of merchandise.) It's like I traveled back in time.

I don't think the store will be closing anytime soon, as I believe it is one of Sear's more profitable stores. There are three things that will help keep this store alive, in my opinion. One is its location. It is close (within walking distance) to one of Tampa's largest lower-income areas. It is also close to University of South Florida's campus. So, the store is appealing to those who have to be tight with money. The second thing that will help keep the store open is the closing of its western neighbor in Citrus Park. I'm surprised that store is closing because it's been in operation for a lot less time than University's Sears. The sales must have been terrible. The third thing is that the store is going to be included in some major changes coming to the mall. Read on for more....



University Mall Is About To Be Transformed...Big Time!

I feel a certain connection to University Mall because it was being built the same year I was born, 1973. I do care about it and want to continue to see it stay open and thrive. It's definitely not the busy mall I remember from the 70's and 80's (when it used to be University Square Mall.) Due to declining traffic, they remodeled it in the 90's changing the name to University Mall, adding a food court, and adding a second level along with a movie theater. The Sears store is the only original part of the mall still in existence since my visits in the 70's and 80's. A lot has changed over the years!

Click here to read the mall's history: http://skycity2.blogspot.com/2011/02/university-square-mall-tampa-fl.html

The improvements helped, as they attracted more mall traffic, but the mall seems to be going downhill again. The Macy's anchor store closed a few years ago, and the Dillard's became an outlet store. However, the new Grand's store did open recently. I doubt, though, it will be profitable for the mall in the long-term because the store seems to appeal to only one customer base. Also, the last time I visited the mall (in late 2017,) I saw many vacancies as I walked the entire length of it and back. In 2015, it was announced the west end of the mall (the former JC Penney's store) would be converted into an open-air shopping/dining area. When I visited the mall last year, I saw that no work on that end had been done at all.

Recently I found out why. I was shown this article that announces some major changes coming to the mall. Click to read: Goodbye University Mall Hello Uptown


Developers are planning to turn the traditional enclosed mall into a "a multi-story, open-air, development showcasing retail, entertainment, hospitality, education, medical, office, and residential uses." In plain English, the mall is going to be turned into a super multi-use commercial complex. Since the property management wants to include Sears in this visionary concept, it could mean more business for the store. It could very well stay open for a few more years if Sears Holdings doesn't go out of business.

Still, though, it's sad for me today to see the store not doing as well as it used to. I remember in the 70's and 80's that Sears and the mall were packed whenever I went there. It was hard to find a close parking space! It was THE place to shop back then. I am impressed that this Sears store is still open today and seems to be doing well. The question is how long is this going to last? Regardless of how well the store is doing, if the company has finally had enough and goes out of business, an iconic Tampa store will be gone forever.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Unusual Florida Mileage Signs

This blog has several posts of my Florida road interests. But, I haven't posted anything on one of those interests: Mileage signs.

I am fascinated with signs that have mileages for faraway cities. Two signs I found in Tampa include mileages for Fort Myers and Lake City.



Taken near Spring Hill





I think these signs were remnants of the pre-I-75 era. The bottom two are on U.S. 41 (the top one is on 56th Street which becomes U.S. 41 at I-4.) Before I-75 existed, U.S. 41 was the main road between these cities. The control cities of Ft. Myers and Lake City remained as the signs were replaced over the years. I expect them to be replaced soon this time with closer control cities (Ruskin instead of Fort Myers on the first one, Land O' Lakes instead of Lake City on the second sign, and Inverness instead of Lake City on the third sign.)

I used to have these signs on my Flickr account, but I closed it because I got tired of dealing with all the ungrateful lurking assholes on it.

I found more signs on Google Streetview that I hope to get photos of soon. One is a Tallahassee mileage sign in Ocala. Another is a Miami mileage sign just south of Leesburg, and one is a West Palm Beach sign in Lakeland. Check back for those photos.

#Florida Roads

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Another Great ALL Resource

Check out this website: Lifey Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

It is a great resource for patients of Acute Lymphocytic (or Lymphoblastic) Leukemia and their friends and families. Lifey.org is also a very valuable resource for other medical conditions.


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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Florida Renewable Energy

This is an editorial blog post about renewable energy in Florida.

I am very interested in renewable, or clean, energy in the production of electricity. If I can survive potential complications from my leukemia treatment, I would like to start a new career in that lucrative field. Before I begin, I want to reveal a MAJOR pet peeve that I have on renewable energy. First, it is scientifically immoral to use the word energy in that context. Anyone who has taken a basic physics class knows that energy can not be created or destroyed. I can't stand to see the phrase "create energy" in a renewable energy article. For the remainder of this post, I will be referring to renewable energy as clean "electricity."

Every day I read and study topics of clean electricity from all over the world, not just the U.S. and Florida. I enjoy reading stories of new solar plants, wind farms, hydroelectric plants, or anything that doesn't involve releasing carbon into the atmosphere. In addition to clean electricity, I enjoy reading articles on carbon capture and new methods of removing CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air. As a result of keeping current with developments in these fields for years, I have become fairly knowledgeable of what is "good" and "bad" in those new developments.



Solar PV Plant Near Orlando. (Bet you can't guess exactly where it is!)



First,  I am positively certain that to stop rising CO2 levels and the resulting effects on the climate two things must be implemented: Stop taking carbon from under the ground, and remove the excess from the atmosphere and put it back in the ground. Easier said than done, but not impossible.


Fifty Years From Now?

I believe our use of fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and oil, will not change within the next fifty years at minimum. However, I do believe that the use of coal to produce electricity will stop well before then for two reasons. The U.S. government is gearing toward mandating new coal power plants to have carbon capture systems. These are very expensive right now. In order for power companies to continue to use coal in the future, these systems will have to get cheaper or the companies will have to stop using coal.  Another reason coal use will stop is that natural gas is highly abundant and dirt cheap right now. Power companies, thinking of their profit margin of course, will choose this type of fuel instead of coal, as a result. Additionally, I expect China, which is also a heavy coal user, to possibly stop all coal burning within the next fifty years, as well. This article explains my reasoning:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/with_trump_china_stands_along_as_global_climate_leader/3057/

Read this also:
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/why_us_coal_industry_and_its_jobs_are_not_coming_back/3059/

Automobiles will continue to run on gasoline for at least another fifty years until electric and alternative-fuel vehicles finally take over. Other industries that require fossil fuels such as steel, plastics, concrete, etc. will also continue to release carbon dioxide well into the future.

So, high amounts of CO2 from human activity will continue to be released into the air for many years. That's not going to change. Our society and economy is too reliant on fossil fuels. The only logical thing to concentrate on now, in reversing the effects of rising CO2 levels, is to develop alternative fuels to replace fossil fuels and develop cheap and effective methods to capture CO2 and put it back in the ground. Biomass, organic material from plants and animals, could do both.


Biomass Could Reduce CO2 Levels "Drastically" If Managed Correctly

Biomass from plants is one effective method to capture CO2 and lock it up. One way of utilizing biomass for carbon capture involves planting trees and lots of them. The trouble with this method is that it takes years, even decades, for them to have any effect on CO2 levels. Another form of plant biomass which is being researched vigorously is algae. More on that later.

Biomass is also considered an alternative fuel. One form of  "environmentally-friendly" electricity is to burn plant biomass in power plants. This method would only "recycle" CO2, not get rid of it. Trees, plants, algae, etc. could absorb large quantities of CO2 during their lifetime.  However, when it is burned in power plants, most of that CO2 goes right back into the atmosphere. This is why biomass is called "carbon neutral." Biomass can reduce our usage of fossil fuels, though, and that could ultimately reduce new CO2 emissions. Two reasons explain further. One is that biomass does not take carbon from under the ground and add it to the atmosphere like fossil fuels do. The second one is that for more biomass used, the less fossil fuels have to be consumed to produce the same output. Now if, by some miraculous scenario, we stopped using fossil fuels and started solely using biomass for power and biofuel production, it would have a profound impact on lowering CO2 levels in the air. This is because no carbon would be taken out of the ground anymore, and the natural processes of removing CO2 from the air, in excess of biomass, would start to lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically. I'm not saying this scenario is likely, I just wanted to clarify my reasoning. See this diagram, also:



Florida Is Getting Better!

So, what's the story of clean electricity in Florida? Well, it's about to improve drastically, especially in the solar field. Florida does have some large solar plants, and three electric utilities in the state are about to build more, a lot more. Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Duke Energy Florida are planning to add 2,000 megawatts each in the next ten years. Tampa Electric is about to add 600 megawatts (see my other post on this.) This means that close to 4,600 megawatts of clean electricity will soon be added to Florida's electric grid! Florida could very well rival California's solar. Florida receives more sunshine during the cooler months of fall and winter than any other time of year. Also, photovoltaics are more efficient in cooler weather. Florida can produce a massive amount of photovoltaic solar electricity between the months of October and April. As far as the warmer months of May through September, Florida could still produce solar power, but the frequent afternoon clouds and storms in the summer, the reduced efficiency of photovoltaics in hot weather, and the supply/demand fluctuations from air conditioning makes solar photovoltaics unreliable as a major power source. Solar thermal would be more effective and practical in warm weather. One such plant, owned by FPL, already exists in Martin County, and it's operating fairly well. I would like to see more solar thermal plants built.

In addition to solar, Florida does have some other major clean electricity producers. There are a few large biomass plants, including one in Gainesville and one in South Bay, two small hydroelectric plants in the panhandle, and several waste-to-energy incinerators throughout the state. There are many smaller biomass and landfill gas plants as well. With more solar plants in the works, all of this clean electricity is going to add significantly to Florida's power mix. It's about time!

Even with new solar plants in the works, Florida could still do better supplementing this clean power mix with a more practical and reliable type of clean electricity: Biomass. Biomass plant and animal feedstock (trees, algae, forest/logging waste, citrus waste, sugar waste, urban yard waste, sawmill waste, human/animal waste, etc.) is plentiful throughout most of the state. Other than being directly burned, biomass can be used to produce biofuel oil, gas, even hydrogen. One form of biomass with a huge potential in Florida is algae.


Algae

If conditions are right, algae can grow extraordinarily fast




Algae can be a cheap, quick, and effective form of biomass, and it can absorb CO2 quite effectively.  Algae farms can be sited near fossil-fueled power plants to capture carbon from those plants' emissions. A facility near the farms can then process the algae into biofuel, where it can either be turned into oil or turned into a gas similar to natural gas. This gas can be used for co-firing in those same fossil-fueled power plants. The CO2 is, therefore, recycled over and over. Algae could also be used to produce oxygen. The oxygen, in a purer form, could be used in a power plant boiler to increase combustion efficiency dramatically. Both biogas and oxygen produced from algae would significantly decrease the use of fossil fuels in those plants while still producing the same amount of electricity.  The algae facility, when built, will require an initial power input that is provided by fossil fuels. But once the facility is producing, biofuel from the algae can take over and power the facility. Solar power can even help power it, as well. Algae, in my opinion, is a great type of renewable fuel because of the fact it can recycle CO2 quite rapidly. However, biomass from trees or other plant waste, is not so great, unless it can use a type of plant that grows extraordinarily fast.  This could be done using invasive plant species...


Invasive Plants for Biomass?


Air Potato Vine


Elephant Ear


Paper Mulberry Trees With A Few Months Growth After Being Cut To The Ground




One thing I would like to see in the future of Florida biomass is the use of existing invasive plant species. Off the top of my head I can think of a few species that could be very effective in recycling CO2 in a short time span. They are melaleuca trees, bamboo, air potato vine, kudzu, paper mulberry trees, elephant ear, water hyacinth, hydrilla, and Australian pine trees. All of these plant species thrive in Florida with minimal or no care. They also grow fast and are capable of absorbing large quantities of carbon dioxide in a short period of time.  Farms could be developed to cultivate these plants as long as strict controls are in place (to avoid allowing them to spread off site.) The machinery used to cultivate and process the biomass can be powered by biofuel produced from that biomass (electricity and vehicle fuel.) Solar power can also help power the equipment. Some of the invasive plants I mentioned above could also be used to treat water discharged from sewage treatment plants. The nitrates and phosphorus in that water would cause the plants to grow even faster. When harvested, the biomass could then be turned into a cheap, carbon-neutral biofuel. Read this article of an innovative way that sewage treatment discharge water is handled:
http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/history/


Animal and Human Waste

Florida's large agricultural industry also includes livestock (beef, dairy, pork, and poultry.) Dairy, poultry, and pork farms create a large amount of manure which creates methane. Depending on how large the farm is, this methane could be efficiently processed and burned to create a substantial amount of electricity. Sewage treatment plants also create methane which could be used to produce electricity to power the facilities. Trash in landfills, also considered a form of human waste, creates methane, too. Several large landfills in the state already capture landfill gas and use it to produce electricity. However, if all sewage treatment plants and landfills in the state were mandated to use the methane they produce to generate electricity, a substantial amount of renewable electricity would be added to the grid. This would, possibly, prevent a new fossil fuel plant from being built in the future. Burning methane from waste is not carbon-free, obviously. But, using it instead of fossil fuels for generating electricity reduces new carbon emissions. Furthermore, the methane has to be burned anyway. It can not just simply be released into the atmosphere, so why not use it for something constructive like creating electricity.


Pyrolysis 

Burning biomass directly is better for the environment than burning fossil fuels. That much is clear. But, biomass could be even more environmentally-friendly if it's turned into a liquid fuel by the use of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis heats biomass to extreme temperatures that extract gas and liquid fuels from the biomatter. The remaining solid components, which are almost pure carbon, remain after the fuel is extracted. These solid components could be buried or turned into a useful soil additive (carbon is an excellent fertilizer.) Also, if biomass is to be directly burned, it must be dried, which is a long and energy-intensive process. Pyrolysis does not require dry matter. It is energy intensive like direct burning, however it could be more energy-efficient by using waste heat from power plants or other sources. Solar thermal energy could even be used with pyrolysis!

The implications for biofuel use in Florida is huge! It could be used to create electricity, carbon-neutral crude oil and fuel, and numerous environmentally-friendly consumer products all while reducing the use of fossil fuels and cutting the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere.


What About Sending Biomass To Europe or Burying It?

Biomass produced from waste or invasive plants in Florida could be processed into chips or pellets and exported to Europe. The market for wood chips in Europe is very favorable now because they're burning more and more wood/biomass instead of coal to produce electricity, especially in England. This could be a very positive contribution to Florida's economy. Also, if the equipment and transportation used in the chips/pellets' processing is powered by biofuel or another "green" fuel, this method of biomass use could become 100% carbon-neutral.

If using biomass solely for carbon capture becomes a more preferred method in the future, it can be easily done by burying it. If fast-growing plants, like the ones I mentioned earlier, could be harvested and buried deep in the ground on a daily basis, it would provide an instant, cheap method of carbon capture. The material could be shredded at the farm and either be buried on site, transported a short distance to another site and buried, or buried in old phosphate mines/pits. If buried deep enough, the biomass would not have access to oxygen, thus preventing the creation and release of carbon dioxide. Burying biomass will temporarily create methane, however, so the sites where it is buried will have to have collection systems installed. This collected methane could be used to generate electricity, further offsetting fossil fuel use. Another method of carbon sequestration that could work in Florida is to sink bulky woody material (logs and stumps) from fast-growing plants into large lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. The carbon from that dense woody mass would remain in the water for centuries. In addition, the woody material would provide new shelter and habitats for fish and other marine life.


Final Thoughts

Biomass, along with more solar, could make Florida an enormous clean electricity state. The value of biomass could potentially be extensive and could help Florida's economy greatly. If utilized properly and efficiently, it could help reduce the release of CO2 significantly and keep more fossil fuels in the ground. After all, the main goal of preventing climate change is to keep carbon in the ground. The methods of biomass usage I've mentioned could be used throughout the world, not just Florida. If more governments, companies, and people would be willing to develop these methods, it could drastically cut CO2 levels in the future before the effects on Earth become more extreme.

The ideas and opinions I have posted here are copyrighted and are my personal property.
#Florida #Renewable Energy #Biomass #Florida Solar #Florida Biomass #Florida Renewable Energy

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Possible New Leukemia Treatment

Microscopic image of Acute Myeloid Leukemia cells


This article from Science Daily describes a possible new treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, and it may become useful for my disease, as well (acute lymphoblastic leukemia.) Click to read.

Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment

#acute myeloid leukemia treatment #new leukemia treatments #new cancer treatments

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tampa Electric Installing 600,000 Kilowatts of Solar Power

My electric utility, Tampa Electric, is planning to have 600 megawatts of solar power online by year 2021. Two other utilities in Florida, Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light, are planning to add 2,000 megawatts each in the same time frame. This means that Florida will be producing at least 4,600 megawatts of new solar in the next few years (one megawatt powers about 700 homes and businesses.) This will likely make Florida the second largest solar power producing state in the country. IT'S ABOUT TIME! All of this solar power will significantly decrease power plant carbon emissions in the state, especially in the cooler months of fall and winter when solar PV cells are most efficient. Not only that, but these new solar installations will likely prevent new fossil-fueled plants from having to be built in the future, cutting carbon emissions even further. Click on link to read the article:

Tampa Electric To Increase Solar Generation

#New Solar Power Plants
#Solar Power in Florida
#Tampa Electric