Thursday, September 27, 2012

Earth cracking up

It's interesting to live in a time when a brand new rift in the earth's crust makes its appearance.  Since the Himalayan range is slowing the movement of the west side of the Indo-Australian plate, it is beginning to buckle out in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  There has been much more frequent and stronger seismic activity there in the last few years than science has ever seen before.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tax cuts needed for the rich?

No, not so much:
When politicians try to convince you that half of Americans aren’t really paying taxes, it’s usually because the real data undermines their preferred policies. For instance, you wouldn’t look at these numbers and think tax cuts for the rich need to be a huge priority. And that’s one reason people who want more tax cuts for the rich don’t like to show you these numbers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gravity Waves Detected

A pair of white dwarf stars that orbit in less than 13 minutes send out gravity wave that can be detected in the optical wavelengths.

Here's Hypocrisy

"Americans for Prosperity" don't like wind credits but they love credits for oil companies.  I guess favorable tax advantages are only for those who can buy Congress.

Rather than defend wind energy tax credits, we should just put them on the same footing as the oil company tax credits. Who doesn't want a level playing field?

Oil spill cleanup

When the next Deep Horizon-style blowout occurs because regulators are still ineffective, there are some new cleanup tools that might be useful.

Greed and Debt

But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.
If that's the kind of guy you think we need to run this country, then more power to you. 

House Republicans Forget

Amongst all the hand-wringing about the fiscal cliff and the sequester, let's remember that the House Republicans are to blame.  The Democrats wanted a simple, clean debt-ceiling increase, but no.  The Republicans tied it all up with a deficit reduction program that subsequently failed.  Any consequences for this can be placed squarely at the feet of your local Republican congress-critter.  Yes, I'm talk about you Rep. Hastings.

Nuclear Safety, Decide for Yourself

Here's a short piece that debunks the mythology on nuclear safety or the lack thereof.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Small Government Ideology Kills Jobs

Growth in the nuclear industry is suffering because budget pressures are such that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is understaffed for the mission it has before it. After Fukushima, power plant regulations are being enhanced. That means there less staff available to review the permits utilities need to make improvements in their day-to-day operations. New, more efficient fuel designs sit in the queue for NRC approval. This slow-down means reduced business and fewer new jobs.

Economic growth depends more upon appropriate government partnership than reduced taxes and oversight. It's Republican philosophies that are holding back our economic recovery. When regulators have the resources to do their jobs efficiently, industry prospers. Small government isn't the answer, it's the problem!

Shattering glass cookware

The glass cookware you have in your kitchen may be an explosion waiting to happen.  The formulation of Pyrex has changed over time and the current products can only withstand a temperature differential one third the size of the original product.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ohio Secretary of State Refuses To Comply

You see, the law and the courts can only be honored when they side with the Republican view. When they side with the Democratic view, they can just be ignored.

The simplistic flaw in Ayn Rand's philosophy

Ayn Rand's fallacy is ignored by most of her adherents. It involves a basic logical confusion between what is a necessary condition or a sufficient condition. A necessary condition is one of multiple requirements. A sufficient condition is the complete set of requirements.

One can agree with this point by saying that the entrepreneur is a necessary condition for the creation of economic value. But Rand treats the entrepreneur as a sufficient condition. The entrepreneur creates the value of goods and everyone else gets in his way (in Rand the pronoun is always "he," even when he is a woman). Governments are leeches on the value he creates; organized labor siphons off more of it. Who could blame the hero of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, and his like if they should take their marbles and head off to form their own society, leaving the parasites behind?

But in truth the entrepreneur, though very much a necessary condition for the production of economic value, is not a sufficient condition. An entrepreneur will get nowhere without a capitalist or a government agency in charge of a budget to finance his or her ideas; the production will require a labor force; it will need to make use of public infrastructure and a framework of the rule of law; and the fruits of the production will be of no value if no one wants them. Thus the creators, entrepreneurs, investors, taxpayers, legislators, jurists, workers, and consumers are all necessary conditions for the production of the value that we find in the marketplace; but none of them, including the entrepreneur, is a sufficient condition: none can make it happen alone.