Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That's What I'm talking About

Keep your thinking hats on, kids.

DNA-Based Assembly Line for Nano-Construction of New Biosensors, Solar Cells

(PhysOrg.com) -- Building on the idea of using DNA to link up nanoparticles — particles measuring mere billionths of a meter — scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed a molecular assembly line for predictable, high-precision nano-construction. Such reliable, reproducible nanofabrication is essential for exploiting the unique properties of nanoparticles in applications such as biological sensors and devices for converting sunlight to electricity. The work will be published online March 29, 2009, by Nature Materials.

Concentrating solar powered desalination - a water solution?

Keep fighting against mediocrity and the culture of failure and fear-mongering. Long live innovation. Let us keep striving to raise up the living standards of all to a humane level, rather than pulling us all down into suffering.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Increasing Electric Rates

From the MacIver Institute:

a 17.7% increase in electricity rates is being forecasted under President Obama's Cap and Trade plan.

Cap and trade is a politically safe way to say massive global warming tax on anything that emits carbon. I prefer to call it what it is, a global warming tax. Others call at cap and tax.


Washington, DC - Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement during today's committee hearing addressing price volatility in climate change legislation. The graph below shows the state-by-state analysis of annual increases in electricity costs that would occur under a 100% auction, as President Obama has called for, to meet his target carbon emission reductions:

"As the data suggests, in almost every case, cap-and-tax increases electricity rates and causes hardships for American families. In the past, providing incentives for renewable and alternate forms of energy has worked at lowering emissions. Congress should not resort to using penalties of an unproven cap-and-tax system that only serves to put millions of Americans out of work and skyrocket the cost of electricity for American families."

How about instead of horse-whipping us all for using too much electricity, we concentrate on producing new, more efficient forms of energy production (many solutions, not just one) and continue to make improvements in conservation?

Check the geologic record. The climate has changed, and will continue to change. We need to focus on solutions, not punishment. This type of taxation plan will continue to stunt industrial growth and encourage companies to continue their exodus from the US. It will also be a very regressive tax, hitting the poor very hard.

How about investing in innovations such as these?

..."butterfly inspired collector absorbs more light than conventional dye-sensitized cells. And, the manufacturing process is easier and faster than traditional methods."

anitreflective coating - "When a silicon solar cell was treated with their anti-reflective coating, sunlight absorbance increased from 67.4% to 96.21%, demonstrating “near perfect” absorbance."

plastic solar cells - "in five to seven years, inexpensive and mass-produced plastic solar cells made by ink jet-like printers can be made available to everyone."

How about taking a closer look at this "cold fusion alike"?

MIT has been working on solar storage, developing a process that mimics photosysnthesis so they can store solar energy for use at night.

Punishing current energy producers before the new techonology is ready to go live is foolish.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am into alternative energy, but I am not ready to inflict it on a market where it does not make economic sense. Take a look at this:

Job Losses From Obama Green Stimulus Foreseen in Spanish Study

By Gianluca Baratti

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power - - which are charged to consumers in their bills -- translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

Spain’s Acerinox SA, the nation’s largest stainless-steel producer, blamed domestic energy costs for deciding to expand in South Africa and the U.S., according to the study.

“Microsoft and Google moved their servers up to the Canadian border because they benefited from cheaper energy there,” said the professor of applied environmental economics.

"May destroy two jobs for every one created?" Are these the kind of numbers we want to generate? I know that right now with the incentives that are in place, local solar installers have a backlog of installations lined up. Why push ahead with the carbon tax? It's all about more government control, and I want no part of it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something Good from Wisconsin

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) opening statement at the Markup of the FY 2010 Budget

Real Math

I would like to point out that a minus and a minus only equal a plus when you're multiplying, not when you add them together. The President either doesn't understand basic math or is lying through his big toothy grin.

Power Line says it more eloquently than I.

Obama said, in his introductory statement:

At the end of the day, the best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led us to a narrow prosperity and massive debt. It's with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.

This is entirely disingenuous. Obama's budget plan multiplies the federal deficit far beyond what it has ever been, in any prior administration. So how is he "moving from an era of borrow and spend"? It's a lie, pure and simple, as this chart shows (note that it begins before the Bush administration and reflects Obama's budget projections that go beyond his maximum possible term):

When a politician is capable of this sort of bald-faced lie, an alarm bell has to go off every time he opens his mouth.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What was that guy's name?

Maybe they should issue President Obama a cheat sheet listing all the leaders of the world and their countries? Maybe he need one of his old college professors (I'd say elementary teachers, but they're back in Indonesia) to come in and check his writing before he sends big honking mistakes like this out?

Obama Upsets Sarkozy With Letter to Jacques Chirac

My bad.

It seemed outlandish, but I admit I was ready to believe it, given the seeming inability of the White House to do basic math, the gift of DVDs that won't play in the UK to the Prime Minister, the telepromter addiction...yeah...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A video is worth how many words?

From The Real Revo:

Funny, somehow it's less appealing to be faced with someone who has accused you of air raiding villages and killing civilians.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ode to Meat

From Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook (1951): (Wish my copy was in better condition, it'd be worth a lot of money.)

From the Beginning of time, meat has been the mainstay of man’s diet. Wild deer, boar, fowl, and fish were the foods of the cave man whose life depended on his prowess as a hunter. Later in medieval times all food was referred to as “meat”. To celebrate battles, men feasted on meat and little else. There were no forks, though each guest brought his own knife.

As animals were domesticated, certain meats found favor in certain areas fo the world. The English are famous beef-eaters and Americans of English descent soon placed beef at the top of our meat preference list. Our southern neighbors in Argentine raise and enjoy excellent beef. The deeds of their gauchos and our cowboys have built a colorful folklore around beef-raising.

The Italian raost the paschal lamb at Eastr, the English love lamp chops, while the Near East prefers shish-kabobs.

Rich, flavorful pork, long a favorite in China, the Pacific isles and Africa, is second only to beef in our country.

In Italy and France, chefs and homemakers alike, know the art of cooking the delicate, tender veal; and we Americans would do well to learn from them.

With the following chapter as your guide, tender, flavorful meats will be yours for the cooking.

From a more scientific perspective (http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-4a.shtml):

In considering the evolution of human carnivory it may be that a level of 10-20% of nutritional intake may be sufficient to have major evolutionary consequences...

Meat-eating, it may be argued, represents an expansion of resource breadth beyond that found in non-human primates...

Homo, with its associated encephalization, may have been the product of the selection for individuals capable of exploiting these energy- and protein-rich resources as the habitats expanded (Foley 1987a).

The last sentence in the preceding quote is provocative indeed--it suggests that we, and our large brains, may be the evolutionary result of selection that specifically favored meat-eating and a high-protein diet, i.e., a faunivorous diet.

Further, domesticated animals have no purpose if they are not raised to produce a product. You are condemning awesome heirloom breeds to extinction if you avoid meat in its entirety. Check out sustainabletable.org:

Traditionally, farmers throughout the world have raised thousands of different animal breeds and plant varieties. However, since today's industrial farms rely upon only a few specialized types of livestock and crops, thousands of non-commercial animal breeds and crop varieties have disappeared, along with the valuable genetic diversity they possessed. Fortunately, a growing number of sustainable farmers are preserving agricultural variety and protecting biodiversity by raising “heritage” or “heirloom” animal breeds and crops

Enjoy sustainably raised meat in moderation without guilt. Feast on some free range eggs while you're at it.