October 31, 2008

Happy Haloween!

Art, is, of course, by the multi-talented Ryu

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October 29, 2008

Put Down that Palantír!!

 The odds are indeed very long. The stakes of this fight are high.....but NOTHING is certain yet...

....except that in despair lies certain defeat.
Do not give up. Victory is not out of reach!      

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October 28, 2008

We Interupt Our Regularly Scheduled Below the Fold Obama Bashing

...to express our profound and sincere joy that the Secret Service thwarted an attempt by two walking, talking colostomy bags to assassinate Barak Obama.

Yes 2 Goddamned Nazi thugs were trying to kill the first serious black candidate for president of the United States.

As others have pointed out they are awfully pretty for Nazis. One wonders if they are part of the Ernst Roem wing of the party or perhaps some new, horrible type of Emo Nazis.
( I think Frank Miller foresaw this)

Their plan was almost funny....

Cowart and Schlesselman “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows.”

“Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt.

Of course then there is the part about them killing 88 children to comemorate their murder of a United States Senator...soley because of the color of his skin. Rot in hell asswipes! I hope your prison experience is deeply unpleasant.

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October 27, 2008

The Politix of D&D

It really is all just a game...with a bad GM.

 Motivational Poster  not one of mine....was nicked from the late lamented MacroChan

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October 26, 2008

Science with a Capital "!"

One of the Brickmuppets Crack Team of Science Babes points out that Brian Wang has a huge roundup of really interesting technology advancements here.
Some have been touched on here before, but Wangs' got a lot more and links within links. Get a cup of hot chocolate, sit down and start clicking.

A few highlights...

Cardboard harder than cast iron.

Nuclear fuel from seaweed.

3-D printers...for buildings, that Caterpillar expects to be field testing by the end of the year.

As has been mentioned here numerous times, we are on the cusp of, or witnessing several breakthroughs that have the potential to greatly increase our quality of life.
The only thing standing in the way of most of them most of them are Luddites, and those who would unwittingly regulate them out of existence. That fact bears considerable pondering over the next 8 days at least.

The idea that great advances could just be shelved for silly, political reasons is not at all far fetched as the continued existence of Leon Kass outside of a pillory demonstrates.

Historically such decisions have had very bad results.Rome had very rudimentary steam engines. However the development of them for more practical applications was officially discouraged for fear that they would displace slave labor...and thereby create an employment crisis and subsequent social upheaval....the implications of the industrial age and the elimination of slavery...2000 years ago.....are fascinating, but rife with assumptions more the purview of Harry Turteldove.

China is the most commonly cited example, and unlike the Roman example above requires little assumption that necessary advances would have been made. In possession of the largest merchant fleet in history, the oldest and most advanced civilization  on earth decided in the early 1400's to stop exploring and engaging the world. The nation rapidly lost the applicable technologies and did not become a world power again until the 1960's...and was not a serious economic power until the early 90s.

The lead in economics and power the US currently enjoys is infinitesimal in comparison to the lead in technology, knowledge, and both hard and soft power that China enjoyed in the 1400s. Other nations were literally centuries behind, and yet a group of visonless bureaucrats, for reasons of both well intentioned but short sighted idiocy, and the most venal self interest, stymied through legislation (or simply outlawed) not only emerging technologies, but existing ones as well. China was leapfrogged and became the plaything of the nations who had put her inventions to good use. In a last fit of bureaucratic group think, the descendants of those who had brought this about, ended the modernization efforts of the Tang Dynasty solely because they feared that the new ministries and corporations focused on technological development  would threaten their power and relevance. The result was 70 years of blood, culminating in the worst mass murder humanity has ever seen.

The people who oppose nuclear power and other technologies occasionally do so out of good faith. Even so, following their tragically flawed path is a journey through despair and blood.

We cling desperately to the face of a precipice, but we are about to grow wings. There are those  who presume to know whats best for us, and think we should not posses wings. It is imperative that we not hand them shears.

(Science babe is actually Klan Klan from Macross Frontier)

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October 20, 2008

What Hapwened!!??

2 hours gone!
Curse you Steven you have ruined my night....

Warning!!...site is a Mandelbrot hyperlink set...which may be of limited usefulness as a warning....
...as it is a word I just made up.


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October 19, 2008

Gainfully Employed


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October 18, 2008

(Bumped) A Nail that stands up....

Gets beat down.

Updated... and moved below the fold....

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God...What a Beeotch

For the last 2 years, there has been one show that has exceeded all others in hype, discussion and adoration. It's alleged to be one of those "important" shows that in some ways marked a sort demarcation point in the history of fandom. Most distressingly, it is a show I had seen but one random episode of.

   Well, last night, I finally watched episodes zero, one and two of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumia.

 The buzz surrounding this show was actually a bit offputting,  with some  fans of the show giving the sort of coercive and evangelical salesmanship that leads one to believe that a negative response will be met by violence.
It is by all accounts an interesting show, and I had been looking forward to seeing it.
One of the reasons for my delay is that I was informed that it was exceedingly important to watch the show in broadcast order as opposed to actual episodic order.
The show was initially broadcast deliberately out of order and that is said to be important to the pacing of the story. Of course the broadcast order set is the delux set...and is expensive.

Last night my friend Allan announced that he'd watched it, enjoyed it and offered to show it to me...so I said "Screw it!" and we watched the show beginning with episode zero.....

My first impression was..."Lord what awful voice acting!" This is one of the worst dubs ever! Switch the audio!  

(Then I got the joke that is episode 0.)

Episode zero aside, three episodes in, the English dub is actually quite good. Wendee Lee  gives a great performance as the manic and bombastic Haruhi.

The show has unusually high production values. It is also unusual in other ways.

Haruhi Suzumia is bored...completely...utterly...bored. She despairs of her banal existence and wants desperately to do interesting and unusual things and by golly she is going to try to make said things happen!
This is, on the surface, a really cool character trait and certainly should be an excellent start for anything.
Unfortunately, Haruhi is not a particularly good person, in fact she is a borderline sociopath.

Haruhi is, you see, one of those obnoxious, pushy, psychobitch fangirls many of us have had the misfortune of encountering over the years, the manipulative narcissistic female bully to whom all people she encounters are nothing but disposable red-shirt bit players in the glorious Mary Sue story that she believes her life must be.  Unfettered with any ethical inhibitions and adept at avoiding any serious sanctions for her increasingly bizarre actions, Haruhi collects a likable but hapless band of  bit players through intimidation and kidnapping to join her highschool club ( the SOS Brigade) and help her achieve a state of not-boredom......

...beginning with Kyon, who has the painful misfortune of being seated ahead of her in homeroom, and who made the mistake of engaging this loon in a conversation....which to his considerable detriment did not bore her.

Kyon is quickly joined on the path to hell by one Yuki Nagato, a painfully shy, and rather odd girl . She is a very intelligent and highly literate girl who is...bookish...and glasses...and  and is....Umm...glasses and ...smart..and...I  she is......I...I....

... I'm back

Wait what?

Oh yeah...Mikuru Asahina is a quiet, and introverted young lady who was...ahem.. ...recruited...for the school club by Haruhi in part because of her ample bosom and all round Moe' vibe...  because, you see,  all leading ladies need a bimbo to act as their foils. Ms. Asahina is not actually stupid and is in fact a very decent person, but she is introverted and rather overwhelmed by Haruhis bullying.

It should be pointed out at this time that Mikuru Asahina doesn't generally dress like this and rarely ever shoots badly shopped beams out of her eyes.

There is no way the show could possibly live up to its hype, but it is in fact quite interesting, if a bit creepy.  How creepy? Well, watch this 2 minute clip...

This isn't escapism...or a sitcom....it's EEOC hell!
This girl is not precocious...she is evil.

Our three heroes....protagonists are caught in a vortex of whiteknuckle stress and high school peril as they watch the inevitable trainwreck that is Haruhi's  club...from the perilous vantage point of the train itself.

We viewers, of course can watch the trainwreck from the safety of our couch.

This show is more than a little schizo, but it has an exceedingly interesting set of characters and a story that is developing in rather surprising ways. Despite the exceedingly unlikeable title character, it has certainly gained and kept my interest at 3 episodes in.

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A Correction

In this post, I mentioned, in passing, a story that has been circulating that claims  Øbama has campaigned for a Kenyan politician who later had a non-trivial role in the ethnic strife that befell that country earlier this year.

Upon reflection it seemed a bit sketchy and tenuously sourced so I contacted the go-to-blogger for matters Kenyan ( Baldilocks) and today she graciously replied.

According to her,  the story is true to the extent that Obama traveled with the Odinga as part of an anti-AIDS initiative, but he was not in any way campaigning for the fellow.
She also pointed that this story actually grew out of the "Obama is a closet Muslim" smear which surprised me. This is because the Marxist Odinga  made some non-trivial concessions to Muslim interests regards Sharia Law amongst other things and that THIS was the angle pushed when the story was first broached....I'd missed it then, perhaps because the Obama as Muslim story is SO silly and dumb that I'd tuned it out.

It appears that unlike ACORN, his Marxist tendancies, and all the other crap in the above linked post, Obama did not in any way support a Marxist who had a hand in the long simmering Colonial blowback that erupted in Kenya in January. In fact given that he was there supporting an anti HIV initiative his Kenyan adventure comes off as pretty laudable.

The Senators  candidacy troubles me to say the least. However, while there are plenty of reasons to vote against Barak Obama. They do not need to be conflated with exaggerations.

I apologize for the error.

Teh crow..it is gamey.

UPDATE:  Juliet Ochieng kindly  gave permission to post her Email so I've pasted it below the fold unfiltered by me, in its entirety...


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October 16, 2008


Aha! I found my widget for transferring pics to the computer!

I'd been laid up a few days with a cold, a foot injury and there had been days of rain from a typhoon that hovered offshore. As my entire discretionary budget after various fiascoes had ended up being <$400...for a month in Tokyo...I was coming to the end of my financial tether. Nevertheless I was determined to see something else not in the Tokyo area and as I was blessed with a rail pass transportation costs were not an issue. The problem was that  touristy places tend to require money, so with 3 days and ~
70 bucks left, I looked for something off the beaten path and cheap.
Kanazawa is unusual in that it is one of the few large cities that was outside the range of the B29s in World War Two. Reportedly much of the Edo period architecture remains unscathed. It is not on a bullet train line and can only be reached from Tokyo via a 6 hour overnight trip from Ueno station...either via a sleeper car or a normal train...as the rail pass is no good on sleeper cars I took the sitter car.

In stark contrast to the shinkansen and other trains I saw on the east coast, the train to Kanazawa was a retro special.

....So much so that I was one of several who wanted a picture of it.....

Unlike the non-bullet trains on Kyushu that I took to Nagasaki (but like the Shinkansen) this one was electric, but it was far less gracefully appointed. Like most older facilities I encountered in Japan, it was well maintained to the point that it appeared to have been dropped almost new out of the 1950s.

Arriving in Kanazawa station, the retro sort of feel was reinforced by the old style commuter trains that were stopping there. The stations embarking area was quite old apart from what appeared to be a recently redone floor....

Beneath the station and the whole city I later found out is a network of underground walkways, similar to those at the big stations in Tokyo, but without any shops. Very stark, modern and utilitarian, they look like sets from Logans Run or something

The locations in this series of tubes were, shall we say,  unimaginatively named

Up the stairs! There was a wheelchair transporter available if needed...the platform was retracted into the wall, but it would have ridden on this geared assembly.

Emerging into Kanazawa station proper, the retro feel was....well...lost.

Holy frickking crap! The train station in Kanazawa is huge, ultra modern, and seriously impressive. This gate is made of cypress like a shrine gate, but is of massive size (and steel reinforced). It appears to be over 80 feet high and is surrounded by fountains. The trees, though large, are, in fact, bonsai trees!

Oh look...modern art...carefully designed to create maximum loss of life in the event of an earthquake....

The food court in the station is huge, and aside from a McDonalds seems to consist entirely of local restaurants serving Chinese, Korean or the local (known as Kaga) cuisine. It is unbelievably diverse and surprisingly cheap. I hit a Kaga (mainly seafood) place shortly after arriving and a Chinese joint before I left. I did not spend more than 10 bucks either time....and despite being a food court in a train station, it was not mall food at all. It was excellent.

Adjoining the station is a bathouse...with washing machines and comfy chairs. It is only 120 yen for 3 hours, so, after a bath, doing my laundry and a 2.5 hour nap I was pale, rested and ready to see this historic city.

The Kanazawa tour bus costs 500 yen and in the US would be a children s bus at a kiddie park. I was the first on the bus and got a seat, however as the company uses the clown car method of bus packing, and because there was an elderly lady standing, I spent the ride standing up, hunched over and contemplating how short its interior was. The only non Japanese on the bus were a young Russian couple and they, like me, were too small for the hobbit bus...so when the conductor announced that "We are about to stop at a tourist trap." (!) ..the three of us extracted ourselves with some difficulty.

Looking at the map, I saw that the whole bus route was a bit less than 10 miles.  We decided that we were not getting on that hobbit bus again.

Kanazawa has an interesting history, from 1488-1580 it was ruled more or less democratically by the peasants, as opposed to the more traditional feudal arrangement. This "peasants kingdom" was conquered after a hundred years but Kanazawa continued to have a somewhat independent flavor and because of its position on the west coast have contacts  (often quite unofficial) with Korea and China.The city has been unusually spared the sort of disasters that have hit other cities, very few earthquakes (though here was very minor damage from last years Niigata quake) no major fires (outside of he castle), being on the west coast it is spared the brunt of typhoons, and as mentioned, it was beyond the range of the B29s. The result of this is that outside the banking district the city is astoundingly old.....

The city is designated a historic area, but it is a working town...these are, by and large, homes, shops, restaurants and offices, in buildings that are 400 years or more old....

A few newer buildings are interspersed in the older areas and a few had stucco and such added before the building codes were enacted to preserve the area, but a remarkably large swath of the city is composed of the same buildings that were there centuries ago!

The roads of course, have been paved and there have been utilities added (particularly power, water and sewers) so its not a living museum or anything, but its all the more remarkable that it is a perfectly functional city.

It seems that major repairs to pre Taisho period buildings are now required to use traditional techniques for things not involving plumbing or electrical repairs. At least one home was open to the public so these could be observed. The Russian couple and I went in and we guys began discussing the fact that it looked like they had standard sized boards and cuts of wood in feudal japan as well as the different techniques for running floor supports...


At which point the Russian lass broke morale and, determined that there were going to be no Tim Allen moments on her trip, drug her husband/boyfriend away from the bad influence American and I never saw them again.

Brickmuppet....awful diplomacy since 2008.

Where the facades were not traditional, hey were often corrugated. Like many other places I had observed  in Japan, (and like most of the US south) there are very wild differences in income level from door to door. Which makes for a more eclectic neighborhood

A 500 year old Konbinri...(convinience store) where I bought batteries for my camera. You might be surprised to learn that they carried Coca-Cola too....

In the historic areas most signs are less garish. I assume there are local ordinances that require they be traditional in appearance.

I came across a garden with half a dozen women taking pictures of Yoruichi here. So I took one too...

This is a statue of a famous female magician, or witch, or something...I'm not entirely sure. The statue is on the edge of what was once the Geisha quarter, so I assume she was an entertainer of some sort.

Unlike the rest of the city and the other castles I visited, Kanazawa Castle has suffered from fires, earthquakes and even wars. It is not in the best shape though it is undergoing meticulous repairs.

One of the wall has collapsed and is being rebuilt....

This has its advantages, since the tour is unsupervised and admission is only charged for part of the day.

Parts of the castle have been either very well preserved or very well restored....

And parts haven't.... Note too that the story that Kudzu is not a destructive force for chaos in its native environment is a lie....

This is the uppermost parapet, which was destroyed by fire in the 1880s. The castle suffered several fires, and was restored several times, but was not rebuilt to a great degree after the 1880s until recently.

Kanazawa is full of shrines....LOTS AND LOTS OF SHRINES. There are literally hundreds of them and they are active.

The girl is taking a picture of this....stained glass in a Shinto Shrine.


There are gardens in the shrines..lots and lots of gardens.

As one approaches the station again the architecture becomes more contemporary culminating in the spectacular modern edifices in and around the station...near there was this...a branch of Gamers.

I ambled inside to discover hat they were apparently either having a big seasonal clearance sale or were going out of business, everything was 25-75% off.

I of course, was broke.....

Kanazawa is a remarkable place. If I ever go again it is going to be high on my return list and I'll spend 2 or three days there as opposed to the day I spent on this trip.

I'll also likely spend more than 33 dollars..... which is what I spent on 2 meals, a bathouse a coke and some batteries.

Even more remarkable I never encountered any....OH NOES!!!1!

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October 15, 2008

Space News

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes brings us these tidbits regarding progress in the opening of the final frontier....

On the 9th NASAs  Casinni probe successfully flew to within 16 miles (!) of the surface of Enceladus and managed to pass through the tenuous remains of a guyeser plume! Samples were collected and are being analyzed now by the probes dust analyzer. Previously, spectroscopic analasis had confirmed that the big guysers at the moons southern hemispere are very rich in organic matter as well as water. The probes dust analyzer may well give a better idea of what sort of organic matter it is.

NASA is also working on the Hubble Telescope which has suffered a major problem and are attempting to switch to redundant electronic systems. The  Atlantis mission to service the historic telescope one last time is already delayed until next year.

Space X successfully launched its medium lift launcher several days ago. Brickmuppet Blog was remiss in not covering it at the time....but here is a You Tube in atonement.....

Often overlooked when talking about commercial space are suborbital sounding rockets, but these are potentially a growth industry as well and have some potential to be stepping stones to greater things for their respective countries. One such outfit is Garvey Spacecraft Corperation which recently launched a science paload designed by college students from Kentucky.

On the other side of the pond, the UK minister of science is endorsing the creation of a UK Astronaut corps,  This is a sea change for the Brittish space program . More here and here.

France is studying microsatelites launched from a Rafael fighter. The Aldabran program is discussed here (HT RLV News) and there are other inexpensive  small launchers proposed in this report.

ESA is looking into a means to bring things the other way..from space to earth..with an eye to a manned system as well as other aplications. To that end they are studying something with the rousing name of Intermediate Experimental Vehicle.....This is hoped  to , amongst other things, allow for a rescue capability from the Space Station independant of soyuz.

Finally in a less near term time frame.  International Space University has conducted a study of the engineering challanges of outer planet exploration , mainly with regards to the systems of Jupiter and Saturn. Report one from Project Theseus is mainly concerned with a Europa mission, though the ambitious spaceship design is scalable to loftier goals.


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A Bit of Linky Luv

The Unofficial Coast Guard Blog is having an unofficial contest to "name that icebreaker"
(Which icebreaker? You ask?..The one we don't have but need)

Information Dissemination
was already one of the best stops on he internet for naval related matters. Now it is a group blog and has been bloging up a storm..... on fire support, worrying trends in procurement and affordability and the fact that congress has compounded that problem by mandating all major warships be nuclear....good grief.

Did you know the first US warship was named for an English King? Eagle One has a superb birthday post on the history of the US Navy, including information on the Continental Navies ships.

Murdoc has a Leggo HMS Hood.

Brian Wang has a big roundup of technology develoments from Japan.

Phil Bowmeister has infomation on the development of the internet..in 1934.

Colleen Doran has information on a disturbing CBLDF case that involves a fellow potentially going to prison for posession of hentai.

Jeff Lawson has thoughts on the fall anime season, as does Ubu and Don does as well, interspersed with various other thoughts.

Steven Den Beste is watching Aria...and running the math on the moons of Mars. The series has also got him thinking about concealed carry (!?)

At Ani Nouto, Pete's cynicism filters have somehow been bypassed.

On the political front, The Anchoress has a long and link heavy post on the troubling ACORN scandal.

ACE laments the existence of morons on the team. While Gay Patriot has an extensively linked post that puts our morons in perspective...

John C. Wright links to this shocking You Tube that proves that British Comedians KNEW about he subprime mess over a year ago!

Finally,  via the Anchoress, comes this story that has everything the other half hates (religion, fresh water fishing, capitalism, windfall profits and good habits ).

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October 12, 2008

Energy Issues Almost Solved

 One of the Brickmuppets crack team of science babes points out that current and very near term technologies have the potential to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future...without giving huge vast sums to the perpetrators of windmill boondoggles.

Hyperion Power Generation's little reactor has been mentioned in passing here before, but it has now gone from concept to prototype to being prepped for mass production. The company has contracts with Romania, the Czech Republic and is in negotiation with The Caymans, the Bahamas and Panama. (HT Brian Wang, who should be in your link list)
This reactor is developed from a General Atomics  design intended for educational purposes and is currently making use of the regulatory loophole designed for very small and safe reactors. The reactor is "walk away safe" and has NO moving parts.
(It does need connections for a heat exchanger to operate a steam plant and turbogenerators)

With each producing enough power for ~20000 homes the residential power needs of 300 million normal sized American homes could be met with 15,000 of these things. This number makes an interesting comparison with the companies tooling up to build 4,000 of the little boogers over the first 10 years. This number does not allow for industrial level power generation of course.

There are other small reactors intended for mass production as well.

The Toshiba/Westinghouse 4S reactor has gained a lot of publicity because it is being installed in the remote village of Galena AK. ( A further report in PDF form is here) This reactor is experimental and intended largely for 3rd world applications. It can last 40 years without refueling

An interesting design from the Oregon based firm of NuScale Power has been designed to be just small enough to allow for US industrial limitations.

That is, it can be manufactured from off the shelf components and not require any large imported casting and turbopumps that the US can no longer produce. This greatly facilitates mass production.
(The fact that we have lost the capacity as a nation to produce heavy industrial castings is worrisome in and of itself, but it is not something that can be fixed in the short term.)
This design is not as maintenance free as the others but it has a little less than twice the generating capacity.

Small reactors such as these have a few things going for them quite aside from the theoretical ease and speed of putting them into service.

Redundancy: Lots of small genrators are inherintly more resistant to single point failures than a few large ones. Large nmbrs of these, if relatively evenly dispersed would provide a good hedge against grid damage from natural disasters, deliberate attacks or squirrley wrath. The big northeast power failures of 1968, 1977, and 2005 were not just caused by the aged grid,but because the system was (and is) still fairly centralized.

Scalability: Power can be increased by the simple exedient of adding new reactors. All of these are designed to be set up in fairly remote locations. This allows bringing clean power to remote areas (the raison d'être of the 4S reactor for instance). This can be for industrial applications, or power to rural or third world settlements. Power allows not only industrialization, but such basics as refrigeration and water purification which are lacking in much of the world.

Reduce strain on the grid: The US energy grid is old..the oldest in the world simply because it was the first large scale one. This is part of the reason the big blackouts not associated with natural disasters happened in he northeast..the grid is oldest there. Distributing and decentralizing the power supply allows there to be less strain on the grid at any one point. This is not practical with, say, a coal plant, as the transportation infrastructure for the fuel is uneconomical to duplicate, but with nuclear power the refueling/replacement takes place every 10-40 years depending upon the specific design, so that is no longer a major consideration. Incidentally, this was, reportedly, one of the reasons the Czech Republic went with Hyperion.
We've already signed up our first customers, Romania and the Czech Republic. They were looking at a very high infrastructure cost for an electric grid, but are now doing a distributed model.

Grid upgrades need to be done of course, but this allows both for more time and far less disruption in the process.

Note that while the ammounts of waste produced by these are very small the waste must be dealt with. Until the late 70s the US planned to reprocess its nuclear waste. This not only allows most of it to be reused greatly increasing reserves, it significantly reduces waste that needs to be disposed of.

Belgum, Germany, France, The UK, India, Japan, and Russia all reproces their waste, however, the Carter administration, as part of a larger overall policy of making bad decisions whenever possible,  outlawed nuclear reprocessing. Now the plan is to bury the unreprocessed..and therefore more dangerous than it needs to be...waste in a Yucca mountain cave. This was selected primarily because of the areas relative geological stability and Nevada's small congressional deligation and number of electoral votes.

Reprocessing is the key to nuclear power.

We simply MUST start building large reprocessing plants. (Reprocessing plants can be designed produce scads of electrial power as well).
Beyond that everything needed for energy in perpetuity is easy.
Brian Wang reports that great breakthroughs are being made in thermoelectrics, which has the potential to greatly increase the useable output of the above mentioned reactor designs ( or, alternatively remove the associated turbines and their maintenance/repair costs)
This would, as well, increase the effeciency of most other industrial processes.

In the short term "Drill Baby Drill!!!" and increasing efficiencies in diesel and hybrid vehicles will help the world meet its liquid fuel needs but petroleum is a finite resource. Biofuels are one answer, but not the corn based ethanol that requires vast acreage of food crops to be displaced...and is damned inefficient anyway. The only biofuel that is really good in terms of amount produced per acre is oil from algae. There have been big advances in this recently as well as several production ventures. (More here and here) Algae can be cultivated in lots of places, but both he hydroponic systems and the refining process require energy....thus the necessity for nuclear power.

If these things are followed through on we could have a remarkably robust, clean, and more than adequate set of complimentary power sources within 20 years. If we go with windmills we will have to lay vast ammounts of power cables to vast ammounts of windmill that wil be highly erratic in their output...though via subsidies...we will make T.Boone Pickens rich.

As this is the silly season there are thoughts on the politics of this descretely below the fold.


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Politics...It's Just Like a Catfight with Teams!

.....but with rather higher stakes.
(As usual,the politics are below the fold....)


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October 10, 2008

Last Survivor of HMS Hood Passes

Ted Briggs, the last of the 3 men who survived the destruction of the HMS Hood at the Battle of the Denmark Straits passed  away on the 6th.

Only 18 at the time of the ships loss, Briggs went on to serve for 30 years on the Royal Navy before retiring.
He was the president of the HMS Hood Association.

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Oh My Godwin

...er...wait..that's not right.

So...what law IS this violating?

On a less sarcastic note....The dismal poll numbers notwithstanding, there is at least good news for those concerned with the vitality of American civics. Indianapolis has achieved a 105% voter registration rate. Thank you ACORN!

Oh wait..that was just as sarcastic wasn't it?


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:49 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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October 09, 2008

Some Things are Constant

Idiot fanboys are one of them....

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:47 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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While we Were Distracted.....

Russia bought Iceland.

OK not quite...but damn.

From Stratfor...

Iceland straddles the key Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, likely the most strategic thoroughfare of the Cold War and of the North Atlantic in general. Soviet (and now Russian) nuclear submarines departing Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula to threaten Europe or United States would have to pass through the GIUK gap. The U.S. presence in Iceland was therefore considerable during the Cold War. The United States maintained a Naval Air Station in Keflavik as well as an extensive anti-submarine hydrophone sensor system, called the Sound Surveillance System, lining the seabed in the area. With the end of the Cold War and changes in the U.S. military’s priorities, the GIUK gap was abandoned, and the Keflavik base closed in September 2006.....
....At the very least, the United States will regret ever having abandoned Keflavik.


Stratfor goes on to say that NATO is deeply entrenched in Iceland...but
the main bases are shut down, Iceland is desperate and the rest of NATO rather dependent on Russian energy reserves.

UPDATE:It should be noted in passing that Tom Clancy plots are always worrisome when in the current events rather than fiction section.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:01 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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A Conspiracy SO Vast

Lawn and garden variety truther....

Via Machine Overlords....

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:46 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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