Monday, April 30, 2007

Disappearing Arctic Ice

Arctic ice is retreating so fast that the computer models can't keep up.
"While the ice is disappearing faster than the computer models indicate, both observations and the models point in the same direction: the Arctic is losing ice at an increasingly rapid pace and the impact of greenhouse gases is growing," says NCAR scientist Marika Holland, one of the study’s co-authors.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

China Greenhouse Emissions to Pass US Soon

With a new coal-fired power plant coming online every 4 days the CO2 threat from China is not hypothetical. It is upon us now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CO2 splitting device

From San Diego we have a semiconductor-catalytic device that uses solar energy to convert CO2 into fuel.
For every mention of CO2 splitting, there are more than 100 articles on splitting water to produce hydrogen, yet CO2 splitting uses up more of what you want to put a dent into,” explained Kubiak. “It also produces CO, an important industrial chemical, which is normally produced from natural gas. So with CO2 splitting you can save fuel, produce a useful chemical and reduce a greenhouse gas.”

Although carbon monoxide is poisonous, it is highly sought after. Millions of pounds of it are used each year to manufacture chemicals including detergents and plastics. It can also be converted into liquid fuel.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Drinking Liberally Reaches 200

A landmark:
Today, Drinking Liberally reached a major milestone. With the arrival of Pagosa Springs, Colorado the Drinking Liberally map has hit 200 chapters across the country. While beer companies should rejoice that more Americans are promoting democracy one pint at a time, it's the progressive movement that has cause to celebrate. With every new social club, Drinking Liberally, and its umbrella organization Living Liberally, are building a community that energizes and expands Liberal and Progressive America.

For the past three-and-a-half years, as it has grown city-by-city through local organizers, word-of-mouth and blog-fueled buzz, Drinking Liberally has never been about the "drinking." These progressive social clubs provide a regular (some are weekly, some monthly), welcoming, informal (a number have guest speakers, but most are more conversational) destination, in which newcomers can engage, activists can connect, and everyone can make progressive politics part of their every day lives. And that's taken different shapes around the country:

--In Reading, PA, Drinking Liberally is about hosting 100 activists to meet grassroot candidates before the '06 election
--In Gooding, ID, Drinking Liberally is about defending the word "liberal" from libelous attacks in the local newspaper
--In Natchez, MS, Drinking Liberally is about finding a bar where black and white patrons feel comfortable attending together
--In Louisville, KY, Drinking Liberally is about building a network that pledged thousands of dollars to local public radio

A potential cure for malaria

If this works it could be more earthshaking than polio vaccine.
Johns Hopkins University researchers have cured malaria-infected mice with single shots of a new series of potent, long lasting synthetic drugs modeled on an ancient Chinese herbal folk remedy.

The team also has developed several other compounds which defeated the febrile disease in rodents after three oral doses.

These peroxide compounds, containing a crucial oxygen-oxygen unit, promise not only to be more effective than today's best malaria remedies, but also potentially safer and more efficient, said research team leader Gary Posner, Scowe Professor of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Or in this case, about to fall.
Paul Wolfowitz's tenure at the World Bank may end in the next day or two. Rumors are spreading like wild fire at the Bank that he plans to resign tomorrow.

I have no official information confirming this -- other than that several senior staff in two specific Executive Directorships at the World Bank and some other senior staff at the IMF and other staff are reporting to me that Wolfowitz's resignation is imminent. I'm not sure, however, that there views are not collective speculation.

Paul Wolfowitz has now admitted to helping his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, get positions outside the Bank, including "seconding" her to the US State Department that have helped up her salary to levels that clearly violate World Bank rules (i.e. nearly double her salary).

And there's more smoking guns in the article.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Real Voter Fraud

The real voter fraud in recent elections is the Bush and Republican canard that there is a problem. Since there isn't a problem they try to invent a voter fraud problem. This is another example of fact-doctoring to suit firmly-held beliefs.
"Though the original report said that among experts “there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,” the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that “there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chernobyl Surprises

It seems that the long-term health effects of Chernobyl are... not so bad. Especially when you factor the stupid things humans do such as smoking, breathing second-hand smoke, and eat to much.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Lower Key for Obama

Obama is proving to be an awesome candidate. He can move large crowds with a dynamite delivery but he is winning souls one-by-one in smaller venues just by being himself.
This more casual setting has revealed Mr. Obama to be a tactile campaigner; his bony hand grabbing elbows and hands, his long arms thrown over shoulders, drawing voters close in conversation.

And it allowed for moments like one that took place at the V.F.W. Hall in Dakota City, after almost everyone had gone. Mr. Obama was approached by a woman, her eyes wet. She spoke into his ear and began to weep, collapsing into his embrace. They stood like that for a full minute, Mr. Obama looking ashen, before she pulled away. She began crying again, Mr. Obama pulled her in for another embrace.

The woman left declining to give her name or recount their conversation. Mr. Obama said she told him what had happened to her 20-year-old son, who was serving in Iraq.

“Her son died,” he said. He paused. “What can you say? This happens to me every single place I go.”

The next day, at the rally here, Mr. Obama described the encounter for the crowd. The woman, he said, had asked if her son’s death was the result of a mistake by the government. “And I told her the service of our young men and women — the duty they show this country — that’s never a mistake,” he said.

He paused carefully as he reflected on that encounter. “It reminds you why you get into politics,” he said. “It reminds you that this isn’t a game.”

We could really use a president with that kind of attitude.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Future President Pelosi Maintains Her Own Image

In today's Washington Post.

Think about it. When Bush gets impeached, Cheney has a heart attack and Pelosi is in.

Arctic Sea Ice Narrowly Missed Record Low In Winter 2007

In the news on climate change:
"The maximum extent of Arctic sea ice in winter 2007 was the second lowest on satellite record, narrowly missing the 2006 record, according to a team of University of Colorado at Boulder researchers."

On the Solar Front

A New Zealander has a for producing truly inexpensive solar cells using titanium dioxide and synthetic chlorophyll. They would cost about a tenth of what silicon-based cell cost. And they also work well in diffused light while silicon cells don't.

Nanogenerator Provides Continuous Power By Harvesting Energy From The Environment

These tricky little devices can provide direct current for small scale electronics from vibrations and movement, even a heartbeat. If you had a large array of them you could even power some standard electronics with body movement.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

UniStar Nuclear signs agreement with AmerenUE

Texas developer selects the U.S. EPR for two reactors

AREVA Inc.’s joint venture with Constellation Energy, UniStar Nuclear, continues to advance a unique concept for building the next generation of nuclear power plants in the U.S. UniStar Nuclear has signed an agreement with AmerenUE, a Missouri-based subsidiary of Ameren Corporation to help prepare a combined construction and operating license application (COLA). A construction and operating license application describes how a proposed nuclear plant is to be designed, constructed and operated.

Preparing a COLA does not mean a decision has been made to build a nuclear plant. It is a commitment to apply for a COL license for an EPR at the Callaway site.

UniStar Nuclear expects to submit the COLA in 2008 to remain eligible for nuclear production tax credits, financial risk insurance and federal loan guarantees – all provisions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The U.S. Congress and others are now urging the development of power generation that does not contribute to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Congress is also considering caps and taxes on CO2 emissions.

AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. The Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers across 64,000 square miles of Missouri and Illinois.

Another positive development for UniStar is the recent announcement by an Amarillo developer, operating as Amarillo Power, LLC, that it has selected the U.S. EPR™ design for two nuclear reactors in the vicinity of the Texas town. Amarillo Power will work with UniStar Nuclear to submit a COLA in the fourth quarter of 2008.

A letter to the NRC dated March 15 informed the agency of Amarillo Power’s change in plans. Amarillo Power had announced in March 2006 its plans to prepare and submit to the NRC an application for an Early Site Permit (ESP) for a reactor citing GE’s ESBWR as its technology choice.

So now there are 4 new US power reactors in the works.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A CIA Insider's View

As one of the people that crafted the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Brent Budowsky, offers a most necessary viewpoint on the Valerie Plame case.
"The CIA leak case is not about Joe Wilson, or Valerie Plame, or whether one supports or opposes the Iraq war. The CIA leak case is about integrity and truth in intelligence, which is essential in defeating terrorism, in winning wars when we must fight them, and avoiding wars when we should not fight them. The CIA leak case is about honor and patriotism, about protecting those who serve bravely and covertly, just as we should stand completely behind men and women in uniform.

The CIA leak case is about the need for strong human intelligence, a need that is urgent and has been urgent for more than three decades.

The CIA leak case is about the obsession and ideology that disrespects facts, and disrespects truth, and declares Mafia-like vendettas against those who make good faith and professional efforts to ascertain them. The CIA leak case is about using partisan and political pressure to distort and pervert the search for truth, which is what good intelligence is all about, and the CIA leak case is about what goes wrong when these cardinal principles, time honored for every intelligence service on earth, are violated."

Hispanic Immigration Not a Threat

While Minute-idiots line the border the truth puts lie to their thinly-disguised racism.
"New research by political scientists concludes that available data does not appear to support the claim that Hispanic immigration poses a threat to American identity. Among the key findings of this study are that Hispanics acquire English and lose Spanish rapidly beginning in the 2nd generation; appear to be as religious and at least as committed to the work ethic as native-born whites; and largely reject a purely ethnic identification and exhibit levels of patriotism equal to native-born whites by the 3rd generation."