Thanks again for helping out with our party. The restrooms worked out great and the service was awesome as usual!
" Steve Brazeel

Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome customer service. Our driver was friendly and professional. He arrived early and had everything ready to go for us. The motorhome was clean and in perfect shape. Every detail matters on a shoot to help keep everything running smoothly. We love working with King Kong!

" Jamie Williams- That Girl Productions

North Six has been working with King Kong for many years now.  Not only is their customer service unparalleled, but their fleet of motorhomes is always clean, reliable, and exactly what we need to support our photo productions.

" Kyd Kisvarday—Producer, North 6

The Helios is a great motorhome. Not only is it energy efficient but it offers a large space for production to work in. The copy machine is great because you can wirelessly print and make color copies and send faxes. The satellite phones came in handy when we realized we didn’t have any cell service on location. We received several compliments throughout the shoot day. Crew walked into the motorhome in awe of such a beautiful space.

" Courtney Witherspoon-Production Coordinator Three One O

I wanted to give Rich another glowing report, He was AMAZING on our shoot. The most helpful driver I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely be requesting him on future shoots.

Thanks for everything guys!

" Adrienne Burton – Freelance Prod Coordinator

The drivers were awesome to be with.  Hard working drivers!!   It really stands out when the drivers jump in to help set up base camp, and tear it down.  Not to mention always having a fresh green tea for me just when I needed it every time.  They really were great and I’d ask for them anytime we get vehicles from you. Thanks!

" Mary Brooks – 3 Star Productions

King Kong… top notch service, incredible drivers, clean, well equipped vehicles, on time—every time! Thanks guys…. you ROCK!!!

" Elaine Lee—Producer 5th and Sunset Los Angeles
King Kong has the best equipment & drivers in the biz.
" Tom Baker – gangboss

I just wanted to send you a quick message and let you know how amazing Rich is. I have hired motos from all over and this was by far our best experience. Really nice to work with great people

" Crystal Raymond- Chinese Laundry

Thank you so much for lovely Eko lav — definitely the nicest port-a-potty I’ve ever used!

" Amanda – Producer

…the moho was super nice, everything was great! I will definitely rent it again!!

" Susan Borbely – Prod Coordinator

We’ve used the Helios twice now and have been quite impressed each time.  It has everything production could want AND it’s earth friendly! We will use the Helios on every job in which we need a moho.

" Mario D’Amici—Production Coordinator, Beef Films

We truly enjoyed working from the Helios, the attention to detail to make it an Eco friendly asset to our industry should be commended. The quiet workspace you get when running on the solar power is delightful! Rob was pleasant to be around and always willing to help out. Thank you Rob and King Kong for bringing us the Helios!

" Rochelle Savory-Assistant Production Supervisor

Rusty, Bruce and the guys at King Kong were a crucial asset to my photoshoot.  They took a lot of stress off of my plate and came through when I needed them, allowing me to focus 100% on the production.  Without a doubt, King Kong is now my go-to for production vehicles and I do not hesitate to recommend them to my colleagues.  And, not only is Rusty the best and most helpful driver I have ever had the pleasure of working with, he is also awesome with a fog machine!

" Brett Spencer-Producer,

King Kong has great motorhomes and the best drivers in the business. Working with you guys is always easy and a pleasure.

" Cat Burkley-Portfolio One

You guys did a phenomenal job with the Helios. And Rob, as always, went above and beyond for us.

" Dan Kae—Assistant Production Supervisor

You guys are the BEST!

" Marie D’Amore—Production Supervisor, HSI

Archive for August, 2013

Santa Clarita enjoys record year for film and TV production

August 14th, 2013  | 

Santa Clarita’s film business reached a record level in the last fiscal year, fueled by such television shows  as “Justified” and “Franklin and Bash.”

The suburban northern Los Angeles County city generated 1,069 film days in the year ended June 30, an 18% increase compared to last year’s level, which was also a record, the city said.

Film and TV productions spent an estimated $25.7 million in the Santa Clarita area during the fiscal year, up 22% from the prior year.

“Santa Clarita is one of Hollywood’s first choices for location filming, as shown by yet another strong year for location filming,” Mayor Bob Kellar said in a statement.  “Filming is a big part of our business community and local economy, supporting high-paying jobs and hundreds of companies involved in the industry.”

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

In March 2012, the City Council approved a three-year extension of the city’s Film Incentive Program, which refunds permit fees to locally-based productions, those that film on location four or more times in a year, as well as those that qualified for the state of California’s film and television tax credit program.

Santa Clarita locations have doubled for many cities around the world, including New York, Washington and Paris. The city recently took steps to annex two movie ranches into its jurisdiction, Sable and Rancho Deluxe.

Nearly half of location filming can be attributed to television shows shooting in the community. Several television shows are based in Santa Clarita, including “NCIS,” “Switched at Birth,” “Chasing Life,” “Franklin and Bash” and “Justified,” and the ABC game show “Wipeout.”

The CBS show “Vegas” filmed at Santa Clarita Studios last year but didn’t get renewed for a second season.

The city also picked up several days of filming from some big features, including “The Hangover Part III,” “Iron Man 3” and “2 Guns.”

Turning cow dung into electricity

August 14th, 2013  | 


From waste to watts

Dairy farmers are being pitched a new way to turn manure into electricity

Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier’s 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.

He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm. In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
Power from dairy waste: In the June 9 Business section, an article about dairy farmers exploring the use of systems that convert cow manure into energy identified Stacey Sullivan as policy director at San Francisco environmental group Conservation California. The group’s name is Sustainable Conservation.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, June 16, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
Power from dairy waste: In the June 9 Business section, an article about dairy farmers exploring the use of systems that convert cow manure into energy identified Stacey Sullivan as policy director at San Francisco environmental group Conservation California. The group’s name is Sustainable Conservation.

In a few weeks, however, Koetsier’s renewable-energy efforts will get a reboot as a new company replaces his current system with one that is expected to satisfy strict air standards in the highly polluted San Joaquin Valley.

A decade or so ago, dozens of California dairy farmers built million-dollar systems called methane digesters that convert manure into power. Then, unexpected pollution problems, regulatory roadblocks and low rates of return killed most such digester systems, leaving only a handful in operation.

All that could be changing as renewable energy companies develop new ways of running digesters to boost profits. They’re improving technology to meet tough smog-control rules. At the same time, the state is trying out a streamlined permitting process to help remove costly regulatory hurdles.

Koetsier will be the first dairy farmer to install a digester under the state’s program. He said he is optimistic that this go-around — his third attempt to make a system work — will finally pay off.

After hearing of the technological and other advances, he decided to “give it another whirl,” Koetsier said.

State officials are pushing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that is causing utilities to pursue more renewable energy sources. Experts say digesters show particular promise in California, the top dairy producing state, with 1.8 million cows.

“If these digesters run properly, they can reduce odors associated with manure, stabilize nitrogen and have a number of environmental benefits,” said John Blue, climate change advisor for the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The systems “add to California’s goal of renewable power generation. We’d like to see dairy digesters as part of the mix.”

One California renewable energy company, CH4 Power Inc., said it plans to build more than 40 digester systems over the next year. It’s set to begin construction on its first digester on Koetsier’s dairy in the coming weeks. Other firms are expected to follow.

The challenge, however, may be trying to persuade weary dairy farmers to give digesters another try, especially after some tough years in the dairy industry.

Dairy farmers have plenty of manure lying around to convert to energy. A typical cow can produce as much as 150 pounds of dung daily. That presents a continuing challenge for farmers to dispose of waste and control the methane — a greenhouse gas — produced by decomposing manure.

Digesters seemed like the perfect solution only a few years ago. Manure is fed into a digester, which extracts methane from decomposing organic material, removes impurities and burns it to produce energy.

But many farmers ran afoul of air pollution regulations because their generators emitted nitrogen oxide, or NOx, a component of smog.

Retrofitting digesters with catalytic converters was expensive, costing about $150,000, and put additional strain on the engines that run the systems.

The current generation of digesters has improved technology that should alleviate that concern, experts said.

With those advances in mind, officials are trying to kick-start new projects by turning to a consolidated permitting program on the books since the mid-1990s but never used.

It took the collaboration by the state Department of Food and Agriculture, Cal/EPA and local air and water quality boards to figure out how to permit new digesters.

The goal is to involve all the various permitting agencies in the beginning of the process to ensure there are no surprises later, Cal/EPA’s Blue said.

Ray Brewer, president of CH4 Power, drew Koetsier back to the digester concept with the promise of a new, potentially less risky way of doing business: Instead of Koetsier running the operation, CH4 will lease the land where the system will be installed and buy Koetsier’s manure.

CH4 technicians will be able to monitor it remotely and will be readily available if it breaks down, Brewer said.

Brewer said he tested his system in other states, such as Wisconsin and Idaho, before shopping it around with California dairy farmers, whom he said were very skeptical.

He eventually signed his first contract with Koetsier — “Talk about apprehensive,” Brewer recalled. “That was a little bit of an understatement.”

Brewer’s business model, in which farmers lease their land and sell their animals’ waste to third-party operators, seemed less of a financial gamble, Koetsier said.

Cheap fuel not only electric car cost

August 13th, 2013  | 

The government said this week that the fuel cost for an electric vehicle is only about one-third of the cost to fuel a gasoline vehicle for the same distance, but that Energy Department formula leaves out some key financial and environmental factors in the overall cost of owning an electric vehicle.

The government said Tuesday that electric car owners spend only $1.14, on average, to go as far as gasoline-car owners do on one gallon of gas, which averages about $3.63, according to travel consultant AAA.

The $1.14 number – the equivalent of dirt-cheap in today’s fuel market — was trumpeted by electric-car interests ranging from General Motors, which sells the mostly electric Chevrolet Volt, to a variety of clean-fuel and environmental advocacy blogs.

If anything, however, the DOE calculation blazingly illuminates a sharp conflict between clean fuel and cheap fuel.

Electric cars are so cheap to run is because of cheap electricity available to recharge their batteries. The reason electricity is cheap is because of cheap, if not always clean-burning, coal, and cheap, if not necessarily carbon-emission-free, natural gas.

Burning coal accounts for about 40% of the power generated in the U.S., according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data for the first quarter of 2013.

Natural gas was burned to generate about 26% of U.S. electricity the first quarter, EIA data show. While a cleaner-burning fuel than coal, it’s still carbon-based and, thus, still emits greenhouse gases that environmental advocates blame for climate change.

Also, increasing amounts of natural gas are coming from shale gas released using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which critics and industry groups agree releases toxic substances. The industry says the amounts are small, the critics say any amount is too much. The Edison Electric Institute, the power industry’s trade organization, says, “Concern about the environmental impacts of shale gas production has increased, potentially hampering the development and cost-effectiveness of this resource.”

Coal’s share of electiricity generation has ranged from a post-recession high of 47.4% the first quarter of 2010 to a low of 36.3% first quarter last year, according to EIA data. Same period, natural gas has ranged from a low of 20.5% in Q1 2010 to a high of 33.1% of all fuel used to produce electricity in Q3 last year, EIA says. All told, roughly two-thirds of the fuel burned to provide power to recharge the locally clean, electrified vehicles is carbon-based.

That has some saying that there should be greater environmental concern about power plants before there is a headlong push for electric cars.

“Gasoline vehicle efficiency is already improving by nearly 4% per year, while emissions from U.S. electric power generation are not even declining by 1% per year. “If you think that electric cars will be needed someday, you first have to greatly cut carbon emissions from power generation,” says John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Institute, and professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

“The missing link for really cleaning up cars is not about the car at all,” DeCicco believes. “It’s about limiting net carbon impacts in the energy and natural resource sectors that supply motor fuel, whatever form that fuel may take.”

Coal-burning plants are being closed and replaced with cleaner-fuel, mostly natural gas power plants throughout the industry, so the mix of coal-fired power will decline over time.

Solar and wind generation is growing fast, but has yet to matter on an industrial scale. The so-called “renewables” accounted for just 5.4% of the power generated last year, EIA says, up from 4.7% in 2011 and 4.1% in 2010.

Beyond the environmental costs, the DOE calculation also does not factor in the purely financial drawbacks of electrified vehicles that include:

• Expensive to buy: The Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid that goes up to 38 miles on battery power and has a gas engine to recharge the batteries if you can’t find a place to plug in, starts at $39,995. Chevy currently offers a $4,000 rebate because sales have slowed, and – for those who qualify, and can afford to wait until they file their next income tax returns – the federal government kicks in another $7,500 via a tax credit subsidy.

That still leaves the cheapest Volt at $28,495. The lowest-price Chevy Cruze, on which Volt is based, and which has more room for passengers, is $8.605 less, or $19,890 with an automatic transmission, which nearly all buyers choose.

Volt has a federal fuel-economy rating of 37 mpg-equivalent in combined city/highway driving, while the gasoline Cruze models range from 27 to 31 mpg in combined use. The Cruze diesel, just introduced and starting at $25,710, is rated 33 mpg in combined driving.

It’s not just Chevy. Ford’s electric Focus starts at $39,995, or $30,495 after the $7,500 tax credit and a Ford rebate of $2,000. The conventional gasoline Focus with automatic starts at $18,090 and you don’t give up much of the trunk storage to a battery.

Some areas, especially in California, offer additional sweeteners that can amount to several thousand dollars, helping cut the net price of electrics in those markets.

To draw reluctant buyers, automakers are offering tempting lease deals. In California, which is requiring big makers to sell or lease a set number of electrics, some are self-subsidizing lease payments as low as $199 per month to move the cars. That’s less than most cheaper conventional gasoline cars. But as with any lease, once the period ends, you’re left with nothing. You have to hope low-price deals still are available for a new one, or be willing to make a higher monthly payment to buy the car after the lease.

•Expensive accessories and your time: Getting and installing a 240-volt home charger for a plug-in hybrid or electric car — pretty much a practical necessity — runs $1,500 to $3,000. Or $0 if you use a normal 120-volt outlet, but you must be willing to wait a third to a half day for a full recharge.

For owners of gasoline and diesel cars, the corner service station already has made that investment, by paying for underground storage tanks and gasoline pumps that will fill a gas tank in no more than a few minutes.

•Expensive batteries: To replace a battery pack outside of warranty could cost from $4,000 to more than three times that much for a $70,000 Tesla luxury electric. Battery warranties are long, but not infinite — 100,000 miles, plus or minus — and will be a lot less reassuring to a potential second owner.

To replace a fuel system on a gasoline or diesel car would cost much less. To rebuild a gasoline four-cylinder engine, if that seems a more fair comparison, would be roughly $2,000, though could range much higher, depending on who does the work and how complicated the engine is.

•Expensive supplemental transportation: If a car’s purely electric, and has to be plugged in when the batteries are low, real-world driving range is about 100 miles — less when it’s necessary to use the heater or air conditioning and the headlights and less in cold weather. So even though an electric can be a primary car for people who mainly drive in urban areas, a second car is necessary for longer trips.

If you decide your second car will be an as-needed rental, freeing you from ongoing ownership costs, you could spend $50 to $100 a day to rent, or more, depending on size, type and location.

A plug-in hybrid is more versatile, though still somewhat more expensive up front than a gasoline car. But a plug-in operates like an ordinary gasoline-electric hybrid car once the batteries are low. The range on electric only power ranges from about 11 to 38 miles, though, limiting the benefit from that $1.14 fuel cost. But the hybrid assist to the gas engine stretches how far you can go on every $3.63 gallon of gasoline.

•Uncertain depreciation: Electrified vehicles will depreciate much faster from the sticker price than the most-similar gasoline models, forecasts and its ALG unit. But, if you assume the buyer got the federal subsidy and possible state aid, depreciation’s similar for the gas and electrified models.

For example, a 2013 Ford Focus electric is expected to be worth 51% of it’s actual transaction price after three years, while a similar gasoline model should be worth 65% of the actual transaction price — that is, everything included, from rebates to extra-cost options.

But if you calculate the net transaction price after a $7,500 federal tax credit, then the electric’s value works out to 65.3% after three years, almost identical to the gas model.

•Higher electricity rates: The $1.14 looks great, but if demand for power grows fast, from electric cars or just additional appliances and other electricity users, power rates will rise. The current system of power plants and interconnecting electric grids is struggling to keep up already.

Some utilities charge lower rates to customers willing to let the utility cut their power from time to time — voluntary “brownouts.” Others are moving toward lower rates in low-demand hours — typically at night to spread use and prevent peaks that could cause shortages — but higher rates at times of higher demand.

EEI, the utility industry group, asserts, “We need to invest in transmission (lines and other facilities) now.” It adds that as demand grows, “the system must be expanded and upgraded,” and notes that “electric companies have earmarked billions of additional dollars for investment in the coming decade.”

That money will have to come from higher rates.

Jump-starting electric vehicle sales with workplace charging stations

August 9th, 2013  | 

Jump-starting electric vehicle sales with workplace charging stations

Electric vehicle enthusiasts aim to boost the viability of the EV industry by encouraging employers to add charging stations.

EV effort targets work sites for charging stationsAs of July 20, there were 7,849 public and private non-residential charging stations in the United States, 1,579 of which were in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Above, Yesewlik “Leo” Ayalew, finance chief of clean transportation consulting firm Calstart, plugs his electric car into a charging station at his office in Pasadena last week.(Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / July 25, 2013)
By Catherine GreenAugust 3, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

Electric cars will probably remain a tiny niche of the auto industry until drivers see a serious expansion of charging stations.

But you can’t just put one on every corner next to the gas station. The cars can take hours to fully charge, which would create a big parking problem, among other issues. Even if consumers bought electric cars in droves tomorrow, the infrastructure to keep them rolling would look much different.

Charging starts at home, with a charging station that can cost drivers $500 to $2,000. But the real key to extending the cars’ range, and easing consumer fears of running out of power and getting stranded on the road, may well be getting large workplaces to add chargers — allowing EV-driving employees to double their commuting distance or to run more errands.

“That would really help increase the viability of the EV market,” said John Boesel, chief executive of Calstart, a clean transportation consulting firm.

According to statistics provided by charging station supplier Ecotality, workplace chargers are used three times as often as typical public chargers, which might sit outside the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles, for instance, or the Department of Water and Power office on Hope Street.

In a recent survey, Ecotality found its workplace chargers showed a dramatic increase in usage over the first half of 2013, up about 61%. That growth mirrored a rise in EV ownership. The Electric Drive Transportation Assn. reported more than 8,600 plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars were sold in the U.S. in June, compared with about 3,300 in June 2012. July estimates put plug-in sales at more than 5,800 vehicles, compared with 3,010 during the same month last year. Tesla Motors has not yet reported last month’s sales of its all-electric Model S sedan.

As of July 20, there were 7,849 public and private non-residential charging stations in the United States, 1,579 of which were in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Some automakers have taken it upon themselves to grow the public charging network. Nissan, which makes the electric Leaf, has been especially aggressive, aiming to triple the number of 30-minute quick-chargers in the U.S. to 600 by the middle of next year. That plan includes more than 100 quick-chargers at Nissan dealerships in about 50 key markets.

“There’s a certain obligation to make sure you’re leading the effort,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, though he gave most of the credit to charging companies. “They’re really putting in the capital to build out infrastructure.”

Nissan also deploys a team of five people to educate companies in the U.S. about the advantages of workplace charging. “The fuel [source] is everywhere we go. It’s that easy with electricity,” Jones said. “But we have to be thoughtful and strategic about where we put stations.”

Tesla Motors, which makes the premium Model S sedan, offers 30-minute Supercharger stations for its customers to use exclusively. Tesla has 16 stations installed in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Florida and Washington. The automaker plans to have 27 stations open by the end of this summer, said Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks.

The challenge for charging station manufacturers is to get employers, especially those with large numbers of workers, to see charging stations as a cost-effective workplace benefit.

An employer decides whether to make the electricity free to employees, or charge per hour or kilowatt-hour. Employees can become part of Ecotality’s Blink member program, for example, which enables them to pay $1 an hour instead of the $2 non-member rate. An undisclosed percentage of the revenue from charging sessions goes back into the employers’ pockets.

ChargePoint’s business model requires an employer to pay an annual subscription fee. ChargePoint tracks usage and deducts per-charge payments from the employer’s account. “They want a turn-key solution,” said ChargePoint Chief Executive Pat Romano. “This isn’t their primary business. It doesn’t become one more thing they have to deal with.”

But the main incentive for employees is the goodwill they build with their workers, who can also gain carpool lane access in California.

“You’re saving the employee a lot of money in fuel. It’s the easiest way to give your employee a raise,” Romano said. “You’ve improved their commute, and you’re going to get more productivity out of that employee.”

Employers who start with just one or two charging stations often end up adding more as they see employees using them, Boesel said. “And having them encourages more employees to buy or lease EVs,” he said. “It’s a virtuous cycle for the EV industry.”

Half of ChargePoint’s business comes from workplace charging, Romano said.

The Department of Energy in January launched a campaign to help large employers install chargers, calling it the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge. The program offers no money but does provide planning and technical support. The department has so far persuaded 48 companies — including Google, General Electric, 3M and Duke Energy — to install chargers on at least one of their work sites.

Last year, the California Energy Commission awarded more than $420,000 in grants to fund workplace charging at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and UC San Diego, among other projects.

The DWP offers additional rebates to businesses, either $750 or $1,000 for every charger installed, depending on the model. According to a program official, the goal is to dole out 2,000 rebates on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program ends June 30, 2015, or whenever funds run out.

Don Anair, clean vehicles research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said developing infrastructure to support EVs should come from several sources. “Supporting that infrastructure through incentives — that makes sense,” he said, “and companies are seeing an opportunity at this stage as well.”

ChargePoint’s Romano said charging companies should be ready to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in growing the EV market.

“This is a project for the private sector,” he said. “Enhanced by policy, but not solved by policy.”

Electric avenue: Korean buses now wirelessly charge as they drive

August 8th, 2013  | 
KAIST OLEV Wireless Bus


Wireless charging hasn’t quite yet made an impact in the smartphone market but that hasn’t stopped scientists in South Korea from using a similar technology to develop the world’s first road-powered electric vehicle network. Located in Gumi city, the 15-mile network uses specially adapted roads with electrical cables lying just underneath the surface to magnetically transfer power to Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) coaches, charging them whether they are stopped in traffic or swiftly navigating their route.


The technology behind the project was developed by the KAIST Graduate School for Green Transportation as a way to power electric vehicles without using traditional battery storage. While the buses do feature small batteries — around a third of the size of a traditional electric vehicle engine — they are able to rely on a constant source of power that lies 17 centimeters below them. Currently, the city has two OLEVs in operation but plans to add another 10 within the next two years. With only up to 15 percent of the road needing to be replaced to fit the power cables, KAIST’s technology isn’t too invasive but overhead cables are still much easier for city authorities to install. Perhaps the network’s intelligent power system, which uses segment technology to control the supply to OLEV buses and switches it off for other vehicles, will encourage other cities to follow suit.

Tomorrow, Friday August 9th event to educate California Legislators on the importance of expansion of our California Tax Incentives

August 8th, 2013  | 

Many of you have seen this (below) but for those of you that haven’t its important to support these efforts.  We will be using some of what Ed will be creating here as our coalition  works towards our vital film tax credits expansion bill. I encourage you all to follow the link and take the time to go there and get on camera. Participation by everyone will be vital to our success over the next few months!

Thanks for the support,

Ed Duffy
Teamsters Local 399
Business Agent

Hi all,
Please share with your membership and come to this.
August 9 event to create a better California Film Tax Incentive

I will be filming at least 120 people that will speak on camera to the 120 legislators of our state
It’s important to inform our lawmakers that they need to get on board sooner rather than later.
Sent from one of my mobile devices.
Phone: 310/990/3418 cell
Phone: 310/455/3455 hm

Teamsters Local 399 | 4747 Vineland Avenue | North Hollywood, CA 91602

Feds give solar plants priority over mining on public lands

August 6th, 2013  | 

Feds give solar plants priority over mining on public lands

Solar power plant Work begins on heliostat-construction buildings at BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar power plant in the Mojave Desert.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times / April 5, 2011)
By Julie CartJuly 5, 2013, 1:21 p.m.

Utility-scale solar plants have been given priority over mining claims on federal lands, according to a decision announced Friday.

The federal Bureau of Land Management withdrew more than 300,000 acres of federal land in six Western states from eligibility for new mining claims in an effort to preserve the land for commercial-scale solar energy development.

The decision, published in the Federal Register, formalizes an earlier announcement to prohibit new claims for the next 20 years on public land previously identified for solar development in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The bulk of the withdrawn land — nearly 150,000 acres — is in California.

The decision is in line with President Obama’s recent climate change pronouncements, challenging the Interior Departmentto approve an additional 10,000 megawatts’ worth of renewable energy projects on public lands by 2020.

Dolphins Have “Names,” Respond When Called

August 2nd, 2013  | 
Bottlenose dolphins, Tusiops truncatus, in the Sea of Cortez.

Bottlenose dolphins swim in the Sea of Cortez.

Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Stock

Christine Dell’Amore

National Geographic News

Published July 22, 2013

We already knew that bottlenose dolphins can follow “recipes” in preparing mollusks, help other species in distress, and possibly do math. So it may come as no surprise that the marine mammals also call each other by whistles that act as names.

Past studies have shown that individual dolphins have a unique whistle, called a “signature whistle,” that they often use in big group settings, like when several pods of dolphins meet at sea.

The idea that dolphins have a name in the form of a whistle has been around since the 1960s, and studies of captive dolphins have shown that the animals are responsive to the whistles of dolphins they know.

But a new study takes the theory a step further by asserting that a dolphin will respond when it hears the sound of its own signature whistle, repeating that whistle back in a way that seems to say, “Yup, I’m here—did you call my name?” explained Whitney Friedman, a dolphin-behavior expert at the University of California, San Diego.

It’s “compelling evidence” that the dolphin indeed uses the sound as a name, according to the study, published July 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research was performed by a group of scientists on a boat off eastern Scotland who joined up with a group of wild dolphins. When one of the dolphins announced itself with its signature whistle—the equivalent of “Joey!” for instance—the researchers recorded that sound.

Later, the team played that same “Joey!” call back to the dolphins, and a significant portion of the time, the dolphin they called Joey responded with the same call—as if Joey was saying, “Yup, I’m here.”

The dolphins responded a little when the scientists played recordings of whistles of familiar dolphins from the same population, but did not respond at all to unfamiliar dolphins from a different population. (Watch video: “Dolphin Talk Decoded.”)

The finding shows that signature whistles aren’t just noises dolphins produce, but also signals to which they respond—a “fantastic contribution” toward understanding how dolphins communicate, said Friedman, a National Geographic grantee who was not part of the new study.

Gossiping Dolphins?

The finding is more evidence that identity is important for dolphins, which form complex relationships within tight-knit communities.

For instance, being able to call a dolphin by name could be crucial in a situation where a competition erupts between two groups of male dolphins and a member of one group is missing. One of the dolphin groups could call the missing dolphin’s signature whistle to request that he help out, noted Friedman.

What’s more, the ocean is noisy and visibility is poor, so there’s a greater need for sounds that indicate an animal’s identity, said Jeremy Karnowski, also a UCSD dolphin-communication expert who was not involved in the new study.

“Having sounds that express identity might be a way for the group to know where each group member is at a given time, and the specific identity of that dolphin,” he said.

Building on this study, scientists could look at the two other types of dolphin vocalizations, Karnowski said by email.

One is the “clicks” dolphins make during echolocation—the use of built-in sonar that helps dolphins find prey—and the other is “burst-pulse” calls that sound like buzzing and squeaking. (See “The Secret Language of Dolphins.”)

These “other vocalizations might have meanings,” he said.

The study also raises other questions, like exactly when and how often dolphins address each other, Karnowski said. Perhaps most intriguing: Do dolphins use these names to talk about each other behind their backs?