Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Christian" Cry-babies

This article leads with the idea that Stutzman could lose her home and life savings. It doesn't mention that the Washington AG made a quite reasonable settlement offer. Stutzman is risking all that loss because she refuses to acknowledge that she broke the law. It's all your fault that I'm hitting myself in the head with this hammer and I'll keep doing it until you let me do what I want. These people are the saddest examples of Christianity on the planet. They can't see that the law isn't anti-Christian, it's anti-discrimination. Their problem is they interpret their faith in such a way that not only is discrimination allowed but actually commanded.

Inflation Is Dead

Now that inflation is below 1 percent in the U.S., U.K., Europe, China, and Japan don't you think it might be time to enact some progressive policies that increase economic activity by putting more money into the hands of the less fortunate.

Lies in the Media

This piece in the Washington Times about the ACA does not get a single fact correct. The truth is pretty much the reverse of everything that is said here.

It's a Zap Plug

They have finally built an engine that uses lasers as the ignition source. They are not only more precise but it is possible to have multiple ones per cylinder such that fuel is exploded more completely with each stroke.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Problem with Free-market Health Care

A genuine free market depends on the consumer having the choice to buy or not to buy should the price be unaffordable. This isn't true with health care. But the libertarian, free-market purist can't see thate. “People could die and that’s OK”, is how they look at it.

Cold-hearted, bastards!

Nuclear Power as Renewable

I've often referred to nuclear power as a renewable. Here's why. You can recycle 80% of the uranium in spent fuel, much less mining is needed. Furthermore, a breeder program can produce more fuel than it consumes. With appropriate safeguards and new reactor designs it is possible to fuel a plant once and have it operate for the rest of its lifetime with no additional refueling.

Richland’s Areva and Bill Gates

Terrapower is collaborating Areva in Richland to test fuel designs for its new type of reactor. Other SMR outfits have also been in contact with the company. Eastern Washington may be getting into the SMR game with or without the encouragement of our state government.

Advances in Carbon Sequestration

If we simply must burn natural gas, at least we are getting better methods of capturing the CO2 it produces. This one uses a cheap compound found in every kitchen.

Minimum Wage Increases and McDonald's

Don't let the "job-creators" get away with it. This analysis explains that there are many components to product costs and often labor isn't the major one. Everyone understands when costs go up for such things as transportation and high rent and we adapt to that. The small bump caused by a minimum wage increase can easily be accepted when we consider the benefit it gives to a great many hard-working people. Furthermore, more money to the less-affluent class generates an instant economic boost because that money goes back into the economy immediately.

10 States With the Worst Taxes for Average Americans

In the 10 States With the Worst Taxes for Average Americans, guess which state is the worst of the worst?
Washington’s score of -12.6% was the worst in the nation. The poorest 20% of families paid nearly 17% of their income in state and local taxes, the highest such rate nationwide. With the wealthiest 1% of state households paying just 2.4% — nearly the lowest such rate — Washington’s tax system helped widen the income gap more than any other state. Washington’s poorest residents paid nearly seven times what the wealthiest 1% paid as a share of income, one of the highest such ratios nationwide. While Washington’s tax code is considered by many to be among the nation’s most unfair, residents are better-off financially than in many other states. A typical household earned $58,405 in 2013, one of the higher household median incomes. And while 15.8% of Americans lived in poverty that year, 14.1% did in Washington.
Perhaps our legislature should do something about this. An income tax to replace sales tax perhaps?

No Big Bang?

By looking at quantum theory, some physicists have arrived at a  quantum equation that predicts universe has no beginning.

In cosmological terms, the scientists explain that the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size, and therefore give it an infinite age. The terms also make predictions that agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.

Closing in on the Stradivarian Secret

Researchers use X-ray and CAT scans to reveal the secrets of golden age violins. It seems the key is the shape of the sound hole and the stiffness of the wood in the backplate.

Nuclear Energy Aids Biodiversity

When combined with other renewables, nuclear energy protects biodiversity by reducing the carbon footprint of energy production.

"When compared objectively with renewables, nuclear power performs as well or better in terms of safety, cost, scaleability, land transformation and emissions," says Professor Barry Brook, Chair of Climate Change at the Environment Institute for this study, and now Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania

Monday, February 02, 2015

Who Has Late Abortions -- And Why? | David A. Grimes

In the conservative hyperventalation about late-term abortions it's nice to  have some facts about the object of the discussion.

Late-term abortions are very rare. Only 1% of abortions happen after 20 weeks, Sixty-three percent happen before 8 weeks when the embryo can't even be seen with the naked eye.

Frequently, restricted access to health care is a major contributing factor as well as poverty and a young age of the mother.

Severe fetal abnormalities can not be diagnosed until later in the pregnancy. Most women elect to abort children whose lives after birth would be subject to extreme suffering.

In fact, the increased legal restrictions on abortion have resulted in an increase in more late-term abortions.

Labyrinths as crucibles of life

The science on the origins of life continues to advance. Eventually, many religious traditions will have to evolve as well.

Secede! Yeah, sure.

It would be nice if our district were represented by genuine publec servants. Instead, we have these clowns. With the state in fiscal crisis, they want to waste time and money on stuff like this.