Why there’s global interest in a geothermal project in Beaver County

SALT LAKE CITY — Imagine having an unlimited supply of clean, renewable energy at your feet that could revolutionize the nation’s — and even the world’s — approach to turning on the lights in billions of homes and powering up economies across the globe.

A Utah project playing out near a little town of less than 1,500 residents could transform what is only imagination into a formidable reality by using the first-of-its-kind technology that reaches thousands upon thousands of feet underground to harness geothermal resources on a commercial scale.

A drone view overlooks the sight of the FORGE Project in Beaver County that seeks to use the first-of-its-kind technology to tap renewable, geothermal energy deep under the ground.
Eric Larson Flash Point, Salt Lake City

The possibilities are endless if the technology is proven successful, and the project in Milford, Beaver County, spearheaded by the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute is being watched by a lot of counties — Germany, Japan, China, the United Kingdom.

“There’s worldwide interest,” said Joseph Moore, principal investigator of the Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, or what they call FORGE, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy at a tune of some $200 million.

The project hit a milestone recently with the start of the drilling of one of two deep, deviated wells that ultimately reach depths of 10,800 feet underground and are seeking to capture geothermal energy bubbling at 437 degrees.

The enhanced geothermal technology works like a radiator, if you will.

The well will go vertically to a depth of 6,000 feet and make a 65-degree turn. The total length of the well will be approximately 11,000 feet with the “toe” — or the end of the well — reaching a vertical depth of 8,500 feet.

The Utah FORGE Project

This well will serve as the conduit of injected water, at 2,000 gallons per minute, to be circulated through the fractures it makes in the hard granite underground rock. The second deviated well will then bring that water up, only to be injected again, over and over.

This is the first project of its kind to tackle this challenge while drilling in hot, hard crystalline granite.

Ultimately the idea is to use this “radiator” process to generate steam to power a turbine to turn it into energy.

This is the first research attempt to harness geothermal energy using such a drastic angle of 65 degrees, Moore said.

“Most geothermal wells are pretty close to vertical and about 30 to 40 degrees.”

While geothermal resources across the United States are being used for energy — Utah ranks third in the country for its geothermal energy output — no one has been quite able to figure out how to make it economically viable on a commercial scale.

That challenge is what is fueling the U.S. Department of Energy’s interest and funding. It picked Utah out of four other competitors across the country to test this technology and to take it to market.

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Sloppy GDP Analysis Understates Risk Of The Recession Continuing

Economists simply cannot leave raw data alone. They tweek away with odd goals. Then, they make those tinkered numbers the official ones, locking in their perspective while ignoring and even hiding the actual data.

Compounding the problem is the media’s race to be first with “breaking news.” By quickly  regurgitating the flawed numbers, they offer no added value. Moreover, the widespread dissemination of those numbers connotes acceptance and popularity. That, in turn, produces groupthink conjectures without having to lift a mental finger.

To understand abnormal times, like now, ignore the economists’ altered data.

The GDP data has been mistakenly and misleadingly described

The best way to understand what the GDP data is revealing is to start at the ground floor.

In the table below, the actual quarterly GDP amounts are the source of analysis. Actual means:

Not seasonally adjusted – Seasonal adjustment only works for normal times. In abnormal ones like now, increasing or decreasing actual numbers alters reality

Not annualized – Annualizing monthly or quarterly numbers is popular with economists, but can be highly misleading to everybody else. Unfortunately, the media spreads the data about. For example, in The Wall Street Journal (October 30), the front-page article about GDP included a graph of annualized, fully adjusted quarterly numbers. It labeled the two latest quarters as $17.3T (2nd quarter) and $18.58T (3rd quarter). How are those numbers derived? By multiplying the fully adjusted quarterly numbers by 4! So, why do that? Because economists are used to thinking in annual terms. The media should ignore that preference and report what everybody else thinks when they see, “Third quarter = $xxxT.”

Not inflation adjusted –  Like seasonal adjustment, inflation adjustment during recessionary times can be flawed. Moreover, for investors, analyses using GDP growth often include non-inflation adjusted data like sales, earnings and investment returns. (And remember, economists never inflation-adjust those “zero” interest rates. Imagine the reaction if negative “real” returns were widely known and understood by savers and investors.)

However, that’s not the worst of it. The WSJ‘s footnote is incomplete: “Seasonally [sic] and inflation adjusted at annual rates.” How is the inflation adjustment done? By revaluing the current GDP number in 2012 dollars! The “GDP implicit price deflator” for 2012 dollars is now 113.849, meaning the actual third quarter 2020 GDP amount of $5.318T is divided by that deflator, thereby reducing it by over 12% to $4,680T. That is not a real number. Clearly, The Wall Street Journal reporter and editor don’t understand that, so all the discussion and analysis is suspect.

What should have been done? Not what the Commerce Department reports. Their worked over numbers need to be reworked. If inflation adjustment is desired, it needs to start with the latest value being the actual amount, then applying the deflator backwards, putting everything in 2020 dollars. Of

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Scientists Use DNA To Store Digital Data

In my previous article, I have written about the proliferation and abundance of data in our world, and the need for novel computing mechanisms, as our current computers may not be able to effectively handle such an influx data coming from the increasing use of digital technologies. This being the case, scientists are coming up with creative and cutting edge solutions to harness these large volumes of data in their quest to forge ahead with innovation. However, in order to do so we must either have novel and more efficient computers, or better ways of working and storing the data. One such breakthrough in data storage was recently developed at Harvard University by a team of researchers that used DNA as the storage material for digital data. 

DNA is the building block of life, carrying the genetic material of all life on this planet. Thus, DNA is an exceptionally powerful storage material which has been optimized to store a large volume of information over a span of thousands of years. What if we could leverage it store own digital data in DNA? This is precisely the question researchers lead by a pioneer in the field, George Church, have been gripping with for several years. Using DNA as a storage for digital data may sound like science fiction but with the resent work published in Nature Communications shows that it is not, rather it is reality. In this recently published research scientists have shown that they have figured out a way to encode music from the popular Super Mario Brothers game into 12 synthetics strands of DNA and play it back on the computer. 

In order to do this, the researchers used an ingenious trick of using a well known method from the computer chip manufacturing industry and adapting it to DNA sequencing. The method is known as the photolithographic approach, which uses light to induce a chemical change thereby transferring images onto a substrate, or the surface of a material. It is much akin to the working with film in the dark room, where a photographer uses light to expose image. In this case we can think of an image as information captured on film. The advantage of this method is its high precision as the light can be controlled, thereby allowing information encoding at the level of nucleotide base, or the building blocks of DNA. This process can be repeated many times over, which in turn enables the creation of custom made DNA sequencing with high precision. In other words, if we think about the DNA as composed of legos, we can then imagine the infinite possibility of what can be stored in using this method. 

This research has the potential to revolutionize computing through interweaving nature with computing. It also sheds light to the high complexity and elegance of nature, which

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Scientists Discover An Environmentally Friendly Way To Turn Waste Into Products

Researchers at National University of Singapore have figured out a way to use food waste to derive a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease and amino acid essential for collagen production. It is no secret that food waste is in abundance in our world, in the US alone there is 80 billion pounds of food waste each year. Although food waste may seem harmless, it has grave consequences for the environment, with global food waste contributing to 6% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to that, it has economic implications as the food waste equates, in 2010 the loss due to waste and food loss was $162 billion. But what if we can reverse this and turn waste in products we need?

This is pricelessly what researchers at National University of Singapore did over the course of four years, which is the time it took them to develop a unique and a multidisciplinary method which allowed them to extract precious products from waste. To do so, the researchers took advantage of the fundamentally differing roles of chemistry and biology in synthesis process. “Chemical processes are rapid …but they can only produce simple substances. On the other hand, biological processes are a lot slower, and require very specific conditions for the microbes to flourish but can produce complex substances which tend to be of higher value. By combining both chemical and biological processes, we can reap the benefits of both to create high value materials,” explains Zhou Kang from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the principal investigator of the study. This ingenious method of using complementary yet differing ways of extracting materials allowed researchers to extract a widely used drug for Parkinson’s from crustacean shell waste at a fraction of the cost.

The yield of this method was similar to the traditional way of extracting this drug, however, it was much more economically viable, as the cost of crustacean shell waste in Singapore is $100, which is about 4 to 6 times less expensive than the traditional ingredient. In addition to that, the team of researchers also used wood waste to produce Proline, a widely used amino acid important in collage production. Thus through understanding and leveraging subtle differences chemistry and biology, the researchers were able to produce Proline at a higher yield, as well as reduce the cost of production. The researchers hope to generalize this method to other forms of abundant waste, such as carbon dioxide and wastepaper, which allow our society to move away from using costly processes and while taking better care of our planet by turning waste into high valued product.

The the generalization of these methods may allow the industry to shift gears into more economically friendly ways of producing life saving drugs. Thus, the team behind this method hopes to expand and scale their work by partnering with industry leaders to commercialize

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Scientists Introduced A Chemically Altered Face Mask To Halt The Spread Of The Coronavirus

For most of us 2020 has been an unprecedented and challenging year due to the unexpected global pandemic which spread throughout the whole globe. Mentally it may be hard to conceptualize what it means to be in a truly global pandemic and how the virus could spread globally. Usually, when we think about the word ‘global’ the first thing that comes to mind is telecommunications because it is through telecommunications that we perceive the world to be global, as it allows to connect with the rest of the world simultaneously, through messaging and media. This simultaneous nature of telecommunications is what makes it ‘global’ because for something to be global it must spread very quickly through space. In much the same way electromagnetic waves travel quickly through space to allow telecommunications , the spread of the Corona virus is spread due to the fast diffusion of virus particles through air, thus making Corona virus a global phenomenon. Luckily, scientists at Northwestern University have come up with a simple way of altering the mask in such a way that would change the chemical composition of the exhaled droplets, thereby helping to halt the spread of this virus. According to Jiaxing Huang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, the vulnerability of the virus lies in its structure: “virus structures are actually very delicate and ‘brittle,’ if any part of the virus malfunctions, then it loses the ability to infect.”

It is pricelessly this brittle nature of the virus that allowed researchers to come up with an idea that would lessen the spread of the virus by altering the composition of the exhaled droplets. As we know, the way to control the spread of the Corona virus is through various precautions such as social distancing and wearing a mask. However, one problem is that Corona virus is airborne and spreads through the diffusion of virus particles through space even from asymptomatic carriers, or people who may not show any symptoms of the Corona virus. “Where there is an outbreak of infectious respiratory disease, controlling the source is most effective in preventing viral spread,” said Haiyue Huang, an author in the study. “After they leave the source, respiratory droplets become more diffuse and more difficult to control.” 

To do so, they introduced a chemical layer in the mask, which would modify the mask layer with anti-viral chemicals, thereby sanitizing the exhaled air of the mask wearer and controlling the exhaled droplets. After experimenting with several chemical substances, researchers selected two anti-viral and non-volatile chemicals that would create a local environments which would react with the exhaled air, and modify the composition of the droplets. Additionally, they ensured that these chemicals could not be vaporized and then inhaled by the wearer. Through growing a thin layer of the polymer on the mask, a favorable chemical environment was created. Testing various materials, researchers found that the droplets are indeed

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Should You Self-Publish Your Book?

As a ghostwriter, I often hear from prospective authors who would like to write a book but are on the fence about whether to self-publish it or try to find a commercial publisher. Many of these budding writers are entrepreneurs—whether solo professionals or founders of scalable companies—who want to raise the profile of their business to bring in more clients or speaking engagements, or who want to establish themselves as thought leaders.

These days, this is a tougher choice than it was in the days of “vanity” publishing houses. Self-publishing has come a long way since then, and you can earn money and build your reputation with both types of publishing. However, the experience of commercially publishing versus self-publishing is very different. It’s important to have a general sense of how they differ before you start your book, because commercial publishing requires some extra steps up front. Here’s a look at how they compare in some key areas. 

  1.  Speed to market

Self-publishing:

Self-publishing is usually a much quicker way to publish a book than commercially publishing it. There are no gatekeepers who get to decide whether you can publish your book or not. You just have to go ahead and write it, find an affordable way to publish it, and bring it to market.  

Commercial publishing:

Selling your book to a commercial publisher takes longer, and key gatekeepers will determine if you can publish this way. You’ll first have to find an agent to represent you and then, with the agent’s help, pitch the book to publishers to see if one or more is willing to bid on it. 

Because the process is very competitive for authors, an agent will want to see a book proposal that includes a full outline of the book and, often, one or two sample chapters. The agent may ask you to improve on this package before pitching the book to publishing houses to present it in its best light. Producing this package of materials usually takes several months and sometimes much longer. 

An agent will then pitch the book to a list of publishing houses that buy similar types of books. If none of them bite, the agent may send it out to a second-tier list. This process can take several months or more, and it comes with no guarantees. Many people do all of the work and never get a publisher to buy their book for a host of reasons. However, if you do find a publisher to buy your book, you will benefit from the prestige that comes with making it through this gauntlet. 

If you can get a contract, the commercial publishing process starts to gain momentum. An editor at the publishing house will give you deadlines. Many busy people won’t write their books until they have to, so

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Scientific Journals Commit to Diversity, but Lack the Data

Publishing papers in top-tier journals is crucial scholastic currency. But the process is deeply insular, often hinging on personal connections between journal editors and the researchers from whom they solicit and receive manuscripts.

“Science is publicized as a meritocracy: a larger, data-driven enterprise in which the best work and the best people float to the top,” Dr. Extavour said. In truth, she added, universal, objective standards are lacking, and “the access that authors have to editors is variable.”

To democratize this process, editors and reviewers need to level the playing field, in part by reflecting the diversity that journals claim they seek, Dr. Kamath said. “People think this is a cosmetic or surface issue,” she said. “But in reality, the very nature of your scholarship would change if you took diversity, equity and inclusion seriously.”

In responses to The Times, several organizations, including A.A.A.S., Cell Press, the Lancet and PLoS, pointed to ongoing efforts to track and boost equitable gender representation in science. Of the journals who kept tabs on these trends, many had hired women into leadership and editor positions. But where reported, authors and reviewers who identified as male still outnumbered their female colleagues — and not all organizations offered a nonbinary option. (Publishing rates among women have also fallen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.)

Other journals largely skirted questions.

Jim Michalski, a senior public information officer at JAMA, did not provide data on the company’s employees, instead inviting The Times in an email “to visit our websites and assess the diversity of all aspects of the leadership of each JAMA Network journal, including Editors in Chief, Deputy Editors, Editorial Boards, etc.”

After evaluating some of the publishers’ written responses to The Times, Dr. Crystal Wiley Cené, a physician and health equity researcher at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said, “I really questioned whether I would submit my work there again.”

The barriers raised to people of color in academia — often referred to as an ivory tower — arise early and often. “There is this false narrative that to achieve diversity, we have to compromise on excellence,” Dr. Muñoz said.

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Celebrating 3 ‘Lazarus’ Species That Were Once Thought To Be Long Gone

A “Lazarus Taxon” is a group of living things that are assumed to be extinct, but then later discovered to exist either later in the fossil record or are unexpectedly found to be alive on the planet today. In a period where extinctions are occurring at a rapid rate, finding species that are elusive (such as the recently re-discovered Voeltzkow’s chameleon) presumed extinct is a particularly special treat.

So, on this Halloween, instead of excavating corpses, let’s celebrate in the resurrection of these formerly extinct species!

1. The Coelacanth

Quite possibly the best-known species to be absolved of its extinct status, the coelacanth was assumed to have perished along with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The skeletal structure of its fossilized lobed fins suggested that its species was a crucial juncture in the evolution four-limbed land animals (”tetrapods”). Then, in the 20th century two different living species of coelacanth were discovered. First, in 1938, the West Indian Ocean coelacanth was caught near South Africa. And then, in 1998 the Indonesian coelacanth was caught off the coast of – you guessed it! – Indonesia. It is surprising how cryptic these species are, given that they are nearly six feet long and weigh close to 200 pounds.

2. New Guinea Big-Eared Bat

In 2012, Australian researchers were studying the effects of logging on microbats in Papua New Guinea. They caught several bats spanning nine known species, and a single, unidentifiable female bat. It wasn’t until 2014 that Australian Museum researcher, Harry Parnaby, was able to determine that the specimen was a New Guinea Big-Eared Bat, a species that had only been observed once before in 1890. What set this bat apart from other species was the skin near its nostrils, the size of its ears and the curve of its nose — nuanced characteristics that would certainly require a bat aficionado to distinguish. Unfortunately, as logging continues in Papua New Guinea and the Big-Eared Bat’s habitat disappears, it may be difficult – if not impossible – to find another specimen and learn more about this species’ ecology.

3. Goblin Shark

The last species on this list, the Goblin Shark, might be the most mysterious of all! Very little is known about the goblin shark, which is thought to be related to an ancient group of sharks (the Mitsukurinidae). Dead ones have been caught on occasion, but there are only a handful of accounts of live sightings.

In January 2007, a strange-looking shark was caught in the net of some Japanese fishermen who had been targeting fish 500 feet

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Space Station 20th: Expedition 1 Crew Launches to the International Space Station

Expedition 1 Russian cosmonaut Sergei K. Krikalev of Roscosmos, top, NASA astronaut William M. Shepherd, middle, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri P. Gidzenko, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz TM31 spacecraft for launch, on October 31, 2000, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their launch on October 31, 2000, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan began 20 years and counting of permanent human presence in low-Earth orbit. Two days later, they docked with the International Space Station (ISS) to begin uninterrupted operations, leading to establishing the world-class laboratory in space. NASA Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

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Trevor Lawrence tests positive for Covid-19, will not play Saturday against Boston College

Clemson Tigers starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence — the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy on college football’s No. 1 team and seen as the likely top pick of the 2021 NFL draft should he leave college early — has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not play in Saturday’s game against Boston College.



a man running on a baseball field: Trevor Lawrence will miss Saturday's game against Boston College.


© Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Trevor Lawrence will miss Saturday’s game against Boston College.

“Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement Thursday. “He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College. While we certainly will miss Trevor, this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and we’re excited about competing against a very good BC team on Saturday. Go Tigers.”

Following Swinney’s statement, Lawrence, a junior, released his own statement on Twitter.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19, and my symptoms have been relatively mild while I’m following the protocol from Clemson and the ACC,” Lawrence said. “The only thing that hurts is missing an opportunity to be with my teammates this weekend and play the game I love. I hate that I can’t be there, but I’ll be watching from isolation and pulling for our guys while I wait for the opportunity to rejoin the team.”

Per guidelines from the Atlantic Coast Conference, which Clemson is a member of, a student-athlete who tests positive for Covid-19 shall be isolated for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or positive test before returning to football activity.

This means that Lawrence might also miss the team’s November 7 football game against undefeated No. 4 Notre Dame. Clemson is No. 1 in the polls at 6-0.

Lawrence has completed 70.7% of his passes for 17 touchdowns this season. He’s also rushed for four touchdowns.

Ahead of the 2020 college football season, when conferences were weighing whether to play amid the pandemic, Lawrence was one of the high-profile players to express support playing with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.

“We really do feel safe here,” Lawrence told reporters in August. “Hopefully it’s like that everywhere … We feel safer here than anywhere else, honestly.”

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