Skeptics in the Pub: Energy Sources for the US and the World

Chemical Engineer, Dr. Pratima Rangarajan, will be our guest for the first of two successive Skeptics in the Pub events for April. Her presentation will be a high-level examination of energy sources for the US and the world, the environmental implications therein, and the possible solutions to the broader concerns.

About Dr. Rangarajan:

Dr. Pratima Rangarajan is the past Senior Vice President, Global Research and Innovation and Deputy CTO of Vestas Wind Systems. Vestas Wind Systems is the world’s largest provider of wind turbines and associated systems to generate electricity.

Dr. Rangarajan started her career at Exxon Chemical Company and then moved to GE where she spent the bulk of her career. She spent nine years in GE’s Global Research Center in Schenectady, NY building technologies for GE Plastics before moving on to the position of Vice President of Research and Development for NBC-Universal and finally as a Business Leader of Licensing and Services for GE Energy.

Rangarajan holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. She lives in Houston with her husband and two boys.

WE HAVE A PERMANENT HOME FOR SitP MEETUPS!!!

Let's get together for our monthly Skeptics in the Pub meetup at the Stag's Head Pub.

If you'd like to address the group about anything sciency, skeptical, or newsworthy, don't be afraid to ask.

Oh, and don't forget to bring a book or just a strong desire to read new material, if you'd like to participate in the book exchange.

Add it to your calendar.

The Skinny on the Digs

The Stag's Head Pub is located in the old Sheperd Plaza. It's a traditional style pub with a decent selection of beverages and reasonably priced food, with laquered hardwood everywhere you look.

But more importantly, the Stag's Head features a private room called The Oak Room that allows us to avoid any undue bar noise, and to have a good setting for conversation and any guest speakers we may have.

Now here's the important part: The manager usually charges a fee to book the Oak Room, but I explained that our group does not have a budget, and so would most likely not be able to pay the room fee. I assured her, however, that our group is good about ordering drinks and lots of food. We don't just use up space for nothing. And I told her that we could put 20 or more people in the room each month, most of whom would do some kind of business with the bar. And she was kind enough to wave the room fee with the understanding that our business would still make it worth her while.

So, we need to strive for two things to keep this venue at no cost to us:

  1. Put butts in the seats, as they say --- We need to have a good showing of members. Tell all your friends, bring a family member, invite a co-worker, anything. But let's get the word out, and get as many people to attend as possible.
  2. Enjoy the fare offered by the Stag's Head Pub --- Have a few beers. Order some appetizers and a sandwhich, whatever strikes your fancy. No reason to empty your wallet, but let's show Stag's Head a little financial love. Keep them happy and they will keep us happy.

Other Important Information

The Skeptics in the Pub meetups will take place on the 4th Tuesday night of each month. Note the standing meetup posted here.

Driving Tips and Directions

The Stag's Head Pub is in the old Sheperd Plaza, easily accessible from US Highway 59. From Highway 59, take the Sheperd/Greenbriar exit, and go north on Sheperd. Turn left on Portsmouth, and after a block, you will see the stag's head mounted on the building to your left. You have arrived.

Upon leaving, you can exit Sheperd Plaza onto Greenbriar and turn left on Greenbriar to link up with 59.

If you are heading south on 59, turn right at the Greenbriar/59 intersection, and enter the freeway immediately.

If you are heading north on 59, TURN RIGHT at the Greenbriar/59 intersection, stay on the access road toward Kirby Drive. Make a U-turn at Kirby, and enter the freeway to head north.

Hope to see you all there!

Join or login to comment.

  • Ariel

    Good! Unfortunately the speaker was a bit soft spoken, and there were a few inconsiderate people in the audience whose side conversations drowned her out.

    April 23, 2013

  • Tom P.

    An excellent presentation. Informative, energetic and thoughtful. And the speaker understood when to step back and let the group questions take over. Something that was on target for our group.

    1 · April 23, 2013

  • Ariel

    As what’s-his-name said “Here we go again…”
    Your friend can count, but was too selective.
    More birds are killed by other human factors. For starts:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_wind_power
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm
    http://www.dialight.com/Assets%5CApplication_Notes%5CSignaling%5CObstruction%20Lighting%20Bird%20Strike%20Study.pdf

    Turbines along pathways aren't an ”unexpected hazard”: not since >40 years ago at Altamont Pass. Your friend failed to do a proper review of literature before claiming novelty–poor science? Does s/he work for fossil or nuclear outfits?

    I’m tired of hearing about how noisy they are. This Sun I'll go past many in W Texas – including a large farm 5 miles N of Fluvana, where I videotaped a bunch, fairly close; the video shows my sound meter – the loudest sound (65 db?): wind & birds. When around turbines I look for dead birds on the ground or bloody blades, & see none.

    2 · April 22, 2013

    • Ariel

      Oops - I hit "enter" to start a new paragraph and it just "sent" instead. Oh well. I think the wind folks mostly learned re. location from Altamont Pass; they also went from Tinkertoy towers to cylindrical ones painted for bird visibility. My travel in China was far briefer; I was lucky to see mostly blue sky. They DO eat any form of protein (yuck) which precludes loose animals.

      April 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh, yea, I saw blue skies near the coast, but none inside the country. I have been there many times. I am a FIRM believer in birth control!

      April 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    As they say in French, "Ariel said out loud what others say under their breath!" This group needs more technocrats to speak up.

    April 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    A friend (Environmental Engr.) spent 6 months counting birds killed by windmills in PA. Seems an unexpected hazard to bird migration and birds in general.

    April 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds very interesting but I have a meeting at 8:30 that night.

    April 22, 2013

  • Janey T.

    It would be just me. Do I need to bring anything?

    April 22, 2013

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