Monday, April 29, 2013

Gaming for Java

Some programmers have developed a video game that teaches players how to program in JAVA.  Interesting idea.  Maybe we can do the same for all kinds of skills.

Hewitt Staffer's Lame Defense

In an attempt to defend Mike Hewitt's support of a bill to legalize discrimination, his staffer says that if a gay person in rural Washington can't get food at the only store for miles around, he should just grow his own food.  These guys wouldn't look so stupid if they didn't keep supporting stupid laws.

Friday, April 19, 2013 Hot, gadget

With this thing you can charge your iPhone from a campfire.

Nuclear Waste

A recent paper calls for using thorium to consume nuclear wastes.  A facility rated to handle construct MOX fuel could probably handle the fabrication of thorium/actinide fuel for a conventional reactor.  This could be a Yucca Mountain alternative as will as get thorium into the current nuclear economy.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stimulus: The way forward.

Matthew Yglesias gives his recommendations for permanent monetary policy changes to stave off future recessions like the current one.
1. We should aim for a long-term inflation rate of four or even five percent so that the Federal Reserve is much less likely to hit the "zero bound" and lose confidence in its own ability to shape the economy-wide demand picture.
2. We should make specific statutory provision for Fed injection of "helicopter money" into the economy. The metaphysics of fiscal vs monetary policy are less important than the fact that the Fed has the right institutional setup to conduct a joint fiscal-monetary action when needed. A Fed that can order money-financed payroll tax cuts that have zero impact on the deficit is never going to "run out of ammunition" in the war on demand shortfalls. 
3. We should beef up automatic stabilizers in the budget by creating some kind of national rainy day fund that automatically releases unrestricted funds to state governments in times of recession. Some elected officials will use the money to avoid pro-cyclical service cuts and furloughs, while others will use it to finance tax cuts and we'll just live with disagreement about the best way to proceed.

Implementing the Affordable Care Act

Ian Morrison has a thoughtful article or best-case and worst-case scenarios on the full implementation of the ACA.

Cleaning Radioactive Material from Water

Graphene oxide has been proven to be effective at cleaning up radioactivity in water.

Chipotle Cancels Sponsorship of Utah Boy Scouts Event

Chipotle walks the walk by withdrawing their support for a Boy Scouts event because the Scouts actively discriminate on sexual preference.

Solar plus natural gas

Our local national lab, PNNL, has developed a process that uses solar power to boost the efficiency of burning natural gas.  The gas is first passed through a catalytic process that converts it to a more energy dense form.  When burned, you get more BTU's per cubic foot.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Housing up but no jobs

Here's why.  It's called labor hoarding.  Construction companies didn't lay off as many people as they could have because they didn't want to lose the skilled help.

Underage Drinkers Don't Deserve Medical Help

Our own Colonel Klink is more concerned with punishing underage drinkers than helping them avoid poisoning themselves to death.  Nice priorities, Brad.  Very impressive.

Grow Your Own Plastic

Fungi may replace plastics someday.  It can be molded into many shapes and is biodegradable.