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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hydrogen Breakthrough?

Sunny
Image from TripAdvisor
Visitors to this site will find me to be a general bummer when it comes to energy news, but I did find this latest bit somewhat encouraging. I will, of course, caveat the shit out of it, because that is my nature.

Scientists: Alloy will Revolutionize Energy by Generating Hydrogen on the Cheap

State-of-the-art hydrogen extraction from water ("water splitting"), as I understand it, involves significant (electrical) energy inputs and CO2 generation, rendering its production prohibitive as a sustainable energy source.

If these barriers could be overcome, it could be a game-changer. From the article:
Research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy has demonstrated how to "tweak" an inexpensive semiconductor material to generate hydrogen from water by using sunlight, a finding that could revolutionize the energy sector...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For The Love Of Success Is A Root Of All Kinds Of Evil...

Metropolis
Image pilfered from Picture Depot
Ah, cheer - I'm in a blasphemous mood this morning, a bent - some might say a wicked bent - of mine.

Although I'm not sure that toying with a quote from a mere disciple would constitute actual blasphemy - a man can dream, though. Actually, I don't think the transgression of blasphemy is within the reach of a non-believer, though your local Fundie may disagree.

Today's sermon, this Holy Tuesday, is on Success.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Metropolis: The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart!

Metropolis
Image capture from Metropolis (1927)
Science fiction is a genre with a long tradition of social critique. Beneath its veneer of gee-whiz exploration and extrapolations of technology, science fiction of any enduring value unfailingly offers the reader an unblinking look at the society around them. The conceit of fiction gives the author a great deal of subversive license in exposing taboos and the shortcomings of accepted wisdom. This tradition of literary sci-fi extends to modern film, of course.

As with any narrative, however, even great science fiction narratives fall victim to the vicissitudes of framing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pigs In Space: You Really Must

Space Hotel 2012
Image found at MY MODERN MET
[Updated at the bottom, after the break, with a link to John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report's more mature thoughts on the subject of space travel. And some more sober thoughts from me, as well.]

Ah, prosperity. The human race really is doing so well, it's time for our masters to take a breather. And survey the conquered land.
USA Today reports:
Talk about room with a view... Reuters reports that a Russian company wants to launch a hotel in orbit - 217 miles above Earth.

A company called Orbital Technologies hopes to build an orbiting hotel with room for seven rich, adventurous and space loving guests, Reuters says.
Ah, "space loving!" Our rich and adventurous overlords' hearts are so huge that the love of merely the Earth simply will not do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In A World Saturated With Tipping Points, Will A Third Party Finally Emerge?


Posted at FireDogLake.

WikiLeaks Data Destroyed?!

Wikileaks

Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake has a mind-blowing post up regarding the encrypted WikiLeaks data that has been held in abeyance. It, and the encryption keys, have apparently been destroyed, by estranged WikiLeaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
According to reporter Holger Stark of the German news organization Der Spiegel, Domscheit-Berg told Stark some time on August 20 that the cache was gone forever...

On August 19, DDB confirmed...[that] the files would, under supervision of a notary, be deleted. The deletion would also be confirmed with an affidavit.
And some of that data was information damning Bank of America:
WikiLeaks confirmed on Twitter on Sunday that the cache included the following: US intercept arrangements for over a hundred internet companies and 5 GB of files from the Bank of America. People asking when WikiLeaks will release the Bank of America data has become a regular occurrence. Now, if what WikiLeaks says is true, there will never be a release of BofA data and the Big Bank can now breathe one giant sigh of relief.
I am not a journalist, so I need not be as circumspect as others. My take? This is how it's done. The power of these people, and their money, is truly breathtaking.

I find it very hard to believe that there are not other copies, even with a notary and affidavit involved, and on that I will keep my fingers crossed. (Who would trust this Domscheit-Berg's "affidavit" anyway?)

Click on over to Kevin's very detailed and interesting article for the story.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Greenland: The Sad

You're Dreaming
Image found at LiveTravelMountains
This article in Businessweek is just heartbreaking. It discusses the very real impact that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is having, right now, on the population of Greenland. (Excerpts below are from the article, and emphases are mine.)

The ice is coming later in the winter, coming thinner, and leaving earlier, wreaking havoc on traditional economics and nutrition.

Traditional economics? While oil exploration itself is only indirectly contributing to AGW - though an indictable culprit - I want to jump to the irony of it all. This makes me more angry than sad:
Geologists see good prospects for oil and gas off Greenland's shores, and for valuable mineral deposits onshore, from gold to zinc. The more open waters and more ice-free terrain make the work of finding them easier.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Meet George Jetson: Seasteading Ahoy!

You're Dreaming
Image found at MY MODERN MET
I have, I suppose, the same apocalyptic urges that beset any thinking person beholding the modern state of affairs for mankind. But I resist. It seems to me that such urges emanate from a rather primitive and reactionary part of my brain, and so I consign them to the same castaway archipalego of thought islands I reserve for those pieces of me that respond to mint-chocolate-chip ice cream and Independence Day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We're In The Money: Federal Stimulus An Unqualified Success

We're All Rich!
Image found at COEJL
I love the smell of irony in the morning. Smells like... shit.

emptywheel has a great catch-and-spin on the effect of Federal stimulus dollars for the DC bubble. First, The Graph Of Odiousness:

Gallup

Bottom line - the same culture that is being all fiscally conservative with government dollars and bestowing a necessary austerity on the country are quietly enjoying their little boom. Can anyone in the media pick this up as an argument for stimulus?

Just kidding.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Activist Is A Concern Troll

troll
Image found at The Policy Lass
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Insanity is... thinking honestly. Willful ignorance is a survival mechanism.
- Petro
It's my blog, and I'll think if I want to.
- Petro
(A "think" piece - move on if you must.)

I want to start with a "foolish consistency" that I have adopted, in order to stave off insanity. I am a very concerned individual. Because of this, one could reasonably argue that I am an ass. Indeed, I often do, albeit privately, in my own head (there's no cause in arming the enemy.) Therefore, I mitigate this by holding myself at a higher standard than I would hold another.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Unraveling According To Ian

Oracle at Delphi
I've been reading Ian Welsh's posts for nearly five years now, and I can tell you that his predictions and trends analysis are uncannily correct. This is all the more remarkable, because he does not shy from bridging the edgy predictions that more "serious" people avoid. Oh, there are silly and sensationalist writers out there that may seem to strike the same tenor (*cough* Alex Jones *cough*,) but Ian is more specific and, more importantly, he backs it up with facts that are impossible to ignore.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maron Does It Again: OK, Props to Birbiglia, Too, For A Job Well Done

WTF with Marc Maron
Image found at WTF! with Marc Maron
Marc Maron has Mike Birbiglia interview him for his 200th WTF! podcast. Channeling Maron's psyche, I keep expecting him to lose it, too - go manic, over the top, blow the gig. He doesn't, and I think this interview seals it. He's for real, and he's here to stay.

Brilliant.

Fire All Of Your Guns At Once And Explode Into ???

Close Encounters

USA Today:
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says contact with its experimental hypersonic glider was lost after launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast.
Heh.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Calling

London Calling - The Clash
London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared - and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected and the wheat is growing thin
The engines stopped running, but I have no fear
London is drowning - and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, an' go it alone
London calling upon the zombies of death
Quit holding out - and draw another breath
London calling - and I don't wanna shout
But when we were talking-I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no highs
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes...

I live by the river

- The Clash - London Calling
Obvious post, but somebody had to do it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Noam Chomsky: America In Decline

Tattered Flag
Noam Chomsky, despite the scorn and public beatings he has endured for his entire career, has stubbornly kept his wary eye upon the sociopathic behavior of the looting class (it is of no irony that these greedheads label the people who do not labor on their behalf "the looting class" - it is nice to be able to turn that around on them, with even the Mighty Wurlitzer of corporate media unable to drown out the truth of it.) This latest NY Times Syndicate op-ed from Professor Chomsky, America In Decline, is a particularly clear-eyed summary of where we are and how we got here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hackers Fire Back At US Law Enforcement

Anonymous

Hackers unsympathetic with the last round of Anonymous arrests have brazenly hacked sheriffs' offices in the US:
Last month the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested people alleged to be involved with hactivist collective Anonymous, and now the collective has responded the way it knows best: by hacking into some 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the United States, the AP reports, and then releasing the data. According to Gizmodo, hackers with ties to the AntiSec movement released 10 gigs of sensitive data, in what it describes as a "brazen show of solidarity with Anonymous' cause and retribution against an oppressive police system." The Los Angeles Times reports that AntiSec called this cyber attack 'ShootingSheriffsSaturday.'"
I don't know about you, but I've got this sudden craving for popcorn.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dispatch From Colombia: Another Ex-Pat Speaks Out

Burning U.S. Passport
Image found at nostate.com
Sir,

Greetings from Colombia! I had the opportunity to read through DTM last night and saw the post regarding the the demoralization techniques used on the young. Very interesting, and most likely correct.

Regarding the latest made for TV drama regarding the governments budget, well I find this to be basically the last act as we head deeper into the other side of the peak oil curve. The effects of peak oil are truly beginning to hit home in Amerika. Those in power fully know this. I believe, as Arthur Silber stated in his latest post, they got exactly what they wanted. These people are craven murderers and serial haters of all living things. They know that the financial/economic system is beyond repair. They also know that when societies reach the point we have reached, they collapse. There goal now is to maintain the status quo at all costs. There is nothing they will not do to stay in power. They will murder, torture and imprison their domestic "Enemies" on a scale not scene since Lincoln. They will do all these things, because at the root of it all, they are cowards and fear death more than the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Particularly Good Special Comment From Keith Olbermann



The close:
There is a tide, pushing back the rights of each of us, and it has been artificially induced by union bashing, and the sowing of hatreds and fears, and now this ever-more-institutionalized economic battering of the average American. It will continue and it will crush us, because those who created it are organized unified and hell-bent, and the only response is to be organized unified and hell-bent in return.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Youth Of America, Are You Crushed?

Crushed Memories (writing)
Crushed Memories (writing)by Gisèle Bédard
Once again via emptywheel, a disturbing article by Bruce E. Levine at AlterNet, 8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance:
Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it...
I don't know, if "they" were saying those kinds of things about me, well, you know...