Archive for March, 2012
If you like numbers and supernatural drama, take a look at the new show on FOX, Touch. The stories center around a speechless autistic boy, the red thread and interconnectedness. And it’s about choices and trust. It’s extremely well-written and well acted, tapping into both that which is intellectual and deeply emotional. You can watch the pilot and the only two episodes here.
Donald Sadoway, a professor at MIT, has helped develop a new type of battery, and he proposes that such a device is critically needed for America to make use of sustainable energy technologies such as wind and solar:
If we’re going to get this country out of its current energy situation, we can’t just conserve our way out. we can’t just drill our way out. We can’t bomb our way out. We’re going to do it the old fashioned American way: we’re going to invent our way out working together.
He starts the talk discussing the history of the battery. The problem is that there is no battery yet available to meet today’s main needs: “uncommonly high power, long service lifetime and super low cost.” (min 4). He indicates that it needs to be made out of abundant elements–”dirt cheap.”
His proposed liquid-metal battery consists of magnesium, antimony and salt (min 10). He adds that prototypes have worked well, and they have “no moving parts . . . minimum regulation . . . no thermal runaway . . . designed to work at elevated temperature that come from current surges . . . reduced cost by producing fewer larger units . . . ”
Glenn Greenwald compares the danger of government secrecy with the dangers of excessive disclosure of government secrets:
The harms from excessive governmental secrecy vastly outweigh the harms from excessive disclosures; they’re not even in the same universe That’s why WikiLeaks is such a vital and important movement. It’s also why I have zero respect for those who so vehemently denounced WikiLeaks’ supposed disclosure recklessness without devoting even a fraction of the same rage to the obsessive, anti-democratic, dangerous government secrecy regime being not only maintained, but vigorously increased, even a full decade after the 9/11 attacks. Such critics have little interest in issues of transparency v. secrecy; their manifest agenda (like the often-overlapping American “terrorism expert” industry: more on them in the next couple days) is to serve the state, demonize its adversaries, and protect its interests. That’s what indiscriminate secrecy achieves, and it’s why such people are so rarely bothered by it.
What do the New and Old Testaments of the Bible tell us about drinking alcohol? Michael Morris is as witty and informative as ever at Funmentionables.
I’ve run into more than a few fundamentalist Christians who have insisted that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
“Then please explain the results of radiometric dating,” I typically ask, adding that even carbon dating can accurately date materials up to 60,000 years old, far older than 6,000 years.
Most modern savvy Young-Earthers won’t fight me on the general usefulness or accuracy of carbon dating. Instead, they will insist that A) God has created an Earth that only looks like it is billions of years old, and B) I need to have faith. That is how they would explain everything older than 6,000 years old, including the Old Tjikko tree in Sweden, which certainly appears to be 9,550 years old. God must have transplanted it from another universe when he made this universe.
The Young-Earthers thus offer an provocative argument. I don’t believe it, but there’s would be no way for me to disprove it.
Tim DeChristopher (climate activist currently serving a 2-year prison sentence for outbidding oil and gas companies at an illegitimate BLM auction in 2008) was summarily removed from the minimum security camp where he has been held since September 2011, and moved into the FCI Herlong’s Special Housing Unit (SHU). Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own.