Monday, June 30, 2008

Mamet Goes Conservative

This is kind of old news, but I need a post today. So here goes. I used to know David Mamet from his time helping to get the St. Nicholas Theater on Halsted Street in Chicago going. I was actually living in the theater at the time and helped them set up their sound system. I got to watch the play "American Buffalo" from the windows in our 2nd floor "apartment". I have heard rumors that I was the inspiration for the radio engineer in his play "The Water Engine". I knew Bill Macy rather well at the time. In any case, back in the day he and I were liberals. However, it looks like his outlook has changed. As has mine. David is discussing a play he wrote, "November", where the two main characters in it are a conservative and a liberal:

The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. "?" she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."
Yes. We were all children of the 60s back then (1975). What changed my mind? I could see that liberalism (and its core socialism) didn't work. I'm not going to go into detail on all the events that shattered my illusions (the Vietnamese Boat People played a big part), but let me just say that my contact with the real world of business changed my mind about a lot of things. And, if you want to find out what changed Mamet's mind, read the whole thing.

H/T Instapundit

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. - John Adams

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No Caribou In Sight

Oil Soaked Beach
Here we have an oil soaked beach with no Caribou in sight. I wonder if the EPA has been notified? It does look like a good place to do some exploratory drilling though.

Prompted by the discussion at Flopping Aces.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Without Lubrication

Yes it is true. America's need for more oil refining capacity is bringing a new refinery on line. In India. Shouting Into The Void tells the tale.

Here’s some news that should make all the energy independence buffs throw their hats to the floor and shout “Tarnashion!” India’s Reliance Industries is building the world’s largest oil refinery. This refinery, scheduled for completion this December, is planned for refined fuel export to Europe and the US exclusively. So by the end of the year we can be dependent on India for gasoline shipments. Gas prices could drop by 60 cents a gallon from this.

How can this lower prices when we’re being told we live in a world of tight oil supplies? It’s actually quite simple. This enormous refinery will process sour crude oil. Sour refers to the sulfur content of the petroleum. Sour crude has lots of sulfur. Sweet crude has little. Removing sulfur from oil is an expensive process, so in the past oil refiners have chosen to favor sweet crude. I was surprised to learn there is actually a glut of sour oil. The extra 200,000 daily barrels Saudi Arabia pledged this weekend to pump is all sour crude. That’s why the announcement did nothing to lower prices. The Saudis will pump more unwanted oil. Iraq has 30 million barrels in tankers floating at sea. They have no destination because no one wants to buy sour crude.
Interesting. We are not suffering from an oil shortage. We are suffering from a refinery shortage.

So maybe we need to refine our peak oil theories. Maybe we have not reached peak oil. Maybe we have reached peak refinery. And who benefits the most from peak refinery? The people who already own a refinery. Why it is like a license to print money. I wouldn't be surprised if I found that oil companies were in cahoots with enviros on this.

Fortunately there appear to be some real hicks in flyover country who are trying to profit from the current situation.
ELK POINT, S.D. - A Texas-based energy firm planning to build the first U.S. oil refinery in more than 30 years said today that Union County is a finalist for the $8 billion project.

The refinery, which Hyperion Resources Inc. described as a "green energy technology center,'' would create as many 10,000 construction jobs and employ 1,800 after its completion in four years.

Hyperion also is considering "alternative sites'' in at least two other Midwest states, project executive Preston Phillips said at a late afternoon news conference at the county courthouse. A final decision should come by the first half of 2008, he said.

The announcement ended months of intense speculation over the so-called Project Gorilla. Until Wednesday, only a few local and state leaders knew the identify of the firm that has been optioning thousands of acres of farmland northwest of Elk Point, a city of about 1,800.
Texans? And folks from South Dakota? How crude and unsophisticated. However, look at the time line on that sucker. Four years.

You have to ask yourself what is the point of even starting a project like that if it will have no effect on the supply situation for at least four years. Why bother? It is all so hopeless. Just ask our Democrat Congress. They will tell you. There is no point in drilling now in the hopes of having oil for delivery in the future. And what is that "future delivery" stuff? Sounds like speculation. I think an investigation is required.

If the American people re-elect the current controlling Party to majority status in Congress, they will deserve what they get and if past history is any guarantee of future performance we are going to get what we deserve hard. Very hard. Or as they say in some circles, "without lubrication".

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heller And The Election

Some commenters out there, among them Instapundit, say that the decision in Heller today takes gun rights off the table as an election issue. I beg to differ.

The decision was 5-4. That means that everything could change if a Justice is confirmed whose views are more in line with Obama's views (which appear to have changed) of a while back. Don't forget that he lives in a state that is one of two that are totally out of touch on this issue. The two? Illinois and Wisconsin. The only two states in the nation that do not have some form of concealed carry laws.

Of course what are the odds of getting another Justice Thomas? Higher with McCain than Obama. FWIW.

For some background on the case visit Clayton Cramer.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Naturally Gay

William Saletan discusses a theory of homosexuality that I have seen before. That homosexuality in some men is compensated for by the increased fertility of their female relatives.

Gay couples can't have biological kids together. So if homosexuality is genetic, why hasn't it died out?

A study published last week in PLoS One tackles the question. It starts with four curious patterns. First, male homosexuality occurs at a low but stable frequency in a wide range of societies. Second, the female relatives of gay men produce children at a higher rate than other women do. Third, among these female relatives, those related to the gay man's mother produce children at a higher rate than do those related to his father. Fourth, among the man's male relatives, homosexuality is more common in those related to his mother than in those related to his father.

Can genes account for these patterns? To find out, the authors posit several possible mechanisms and compute their effects over time. They conclude that only one theory fits the data. The theory is called "sexually antagonistic selection." It holds that a gene can be reproductively harmful to one sex as long as it's helpful to the other. The gene for male homosexuality persists because it promotes—and is passed down through—high rates of procreation among gay men's mothers, sisters, and aunts.
The article is a very good in depth look at the question and its implications.

The article does not discuss a point that no one seems to have paid any attention to (What a surprise - no one is discussing what they haven't paid attention to - what will they avoid thinking of next? Elephants?). Is there a genetic basis for some male's antagonism to male homosexuality? If so then what?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Socializing Risk

You have to ask yourself a pertinent question:

Which countries are richer - those with a long corporate history or those with short or none?

Corporations are how we socialize economic risk. The fact that there are winners and losers keeps the game honest.

The problem with other ways of socializing economic risk are that non-performers get carried on the books instead of being liquidated.

Students Achieve Fusion

Students at Penninsula College have achieved fusion. I am more than a little proud to say I had a little to do with it. At least in so far as getting them on the right track.

Penninsula College Fusioneers

From left to right: Devon, Ivan, Sarah, Chris, Aaron, and Derek.

The Reactor

The Reactor

Peninsula College Glows

It glows

Which just goes to show that fusion research need not take big labs and big budgets. There is a lot that can be done in small labs to advance the state of the art. So let me encourage the rest of you: Start A Fusion Program In Your Own Home Town. America needs your help. The world needs your help.

Let me add that the genesis of this report was a bit done by ClassicPenny at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blackness Wins

I think this election is going to turn on the economy. Oil prices in particular. The Democrat resistance to drilling, mining, and converting is going to bite them hard.

This campaign will turn on blackness. The blackness of oil. The blacker candidate will win.

Fusion Pioneer Says: Drill Now

Fusion energy pioneer Robert Hirsch says that in a CNBC interview that the US must drill for oil. And use all its available resources to help us get over the current liquid fuels hump. I'm inclined to agree. No Blood For Oil or No Drilling For Oil? Good question.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We See Nothing

The Atlantic has an interesting article on how moving people out of crime ridden neighborhoods has moved the crime with them as well. In the whole piece, not one single commentator mentioned the rhinoceros in the room. Drug prohibition. The American price support system for criminals. Oh it gets mentioned in passing. The usual "drug addicts are bad" kind of stuff is in there. No policy prescriptions however.

The answer the policy people prescribe is more police. That is the ticket. Subsidies for the gangs on one hand. More police to fight them on the other.

I guess things have not gotten bad enough in the good neighborhoods for the policy elites to notice. Give it time.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, June 20, 2008

Better Than Printing Money?

EDN Magazine reports on a new technology for making solar cells. Printing them.

This week, Nanosolar put up a video of its 1GW (in annual production) solar ink coating machine, which the company says costs $1.65M. The coater, which works in a normal factory environment, and coats metal film with a proprietary ink based on a Copper-Indium-Gallium-Diselenide (CIGS) compound, is just a continuous-process printing machine, and is inherently cheaper and simpler than traditional silicon wafer deposition processes used in today’s photovoltaic cells. True, the efficiency of the Nanosolar technology is less: 14% compared to ~25% silicon wafer efficiency. But 14% is still very practical.

So, in essence you have a machine you pay $1.65M for and feed in CIGS ink and metal foil, and at the end of the year you have produced 1GW worth of thin-film solar cells which you sell for about $1/W, or about $1B worth of product. Yeah, I’m beginning to see Nanosolar’s business model.

Here’s another interesting energy number from the Nanosolar site: Energy payback time is the time that a solar panel has to be used in order to generate the amount of energy required to produce it. The energy payback time for a Nanosolar panel is less than two months. A typical silicon wafer solar panel has an energy payback time of around three years, and a typical vacuum-deposited thin-film cell has one of 1-2 years.
I'm wondering if this might not be a Pony Express situation. Where the solar guys have figured out how to start getting into the market in a big way and then are derailed by something like this: World's Simplest Fusion Reactor Revisited. Just as the Pony Express was derailed by copper wires. At least the solar stuff is a sure thing. Even at my most optimistic I still have to say that fusion as of now is not a proven technology. It is still just promise. In any case the choices are widening. Now if we could just get the NIMBYs and their politician enablers out of the way.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Amazing Edison

Innovate Like Edison is a book about how to use Edison's system of innovation to improve business practices. Control Engineering discusses the book based on a talk given at the recent Society for Manufacturing Engineers Convention in Detroit, MI.

Detroit, MI – Understanding Thomas Edison’s patterns of thinking can help us be more like the guy who has 1,093 U.S. patents to his name, says co-author of the book, “Innovate Like Edison: The Success System of America’s Greatest Inventor.” Sarah Miller Caldicott, also Edison’s great grandniece, helped a packed room of engineers at the SME Annual Meeting gain insights into Edison’s thought patterns, to improve U.S. competitiveness.

Bearing a family resemblance to her great great Aunt Mina Miller – who married Edison in 1886 – and telling stories of growing up with Edison phonographs in her bedroom, Caldicott offered exercises which seemed to win over SME attendees... along with a promise of an autographed book.

Caldicott, also founder of The Power Patterns of Innovation, noted five best practices based on her 3-year study of Edison: a solution-centered mindset; kaleidoscopic thinking; full-spectrum engagement; master-mind collaboration; and super value creation.
All the points are covered in the review, but I'd like to take up this one:
-Cultivate a solution-centered mindset. Do not seize an answer at the beginning of an initiative. A framework of options and pathways can lead to solutions. Look outward and scan the environment. Lean ahead and hunt for a solution. Combine factual information with what-if or if-then thinking. Envision the solution and “emotionalize” the state that will be experienced upon getting there.
Which could be translated into be patiently crazy. Also note that emotion is considered an important part of rational thinking. In fact emotion may be one of the most critical feedback mechanisms. We have a very good pattern recognition system in our brains. If you train your brain with good patterns, after a while you get a "feel" about the right way and the wrong way to do things. Caldicott also goes into the need for thinking before acting. She even calls it contemplation. Be quiet. Sit Still. Shut up. And good preparation for that contemplation time is to get on the www and start looking around. Go deep. Some times the good stuff is on the 30th page of a search.

I always had a standard which I tried to stick to when it came to development: Five days of planning, two days of work. That is both imperative and descriptive. You must recognize that this method is scary for most management. The typical exhortation is: put in all the time you need to, but meet the schedule. My answer was: I'm not putting in any extra time. I will meet your schedule. In two days I will have a plan. How did that work out? Three months were alloted to get the project on track. I did it in five weeks. Without raising a sweat. Of course once you have proven yourself it is easier the next time.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Chinese Economy

Daniel Drezner is discussing China's power in the world. Soft and economic. I liked this quote from one of his commenters re: the success of state capitalism (i.e. sovereign wealth funds).

18 Jun 2008 at 7:45 am, DWPittelli:

Yes, and Japan’s MITI and other government control of the economy has given it some of the world’s strongest growth rates. Japan will continue to dominate global markets, to increase its share of manufactured goods, and to buy up premium US real estate.

– My dad, ~1989
Trends do not always go in straight lines. What looked smart in the 1930s in Germany didn't look so smart in 1945. The all devouring Japan has hit a wall. It is very nice next to the wall. It is still a wall.

Here is another comment that illustrates the problem:
If I understand the concept of sovereign wealth funds, they are under the control of the government. In that case, they are necessarily under political control.

I have worked at two different levels of government and have concluded that politics permeates EVERYTHING in government. If the funds are under political control, decisions will be made on political rather than economic grounds. The system may achieve economic success for a while, but it won’t over the long term.

Inevitably, political considerations will trump economic ones. That is because in government people are hired, fired, promoted, and demoted on political grounds. If you institute a civil service, you may insulate workers from the broader politics only to create a politics internal to the civil service system. Witness SEIU.

Issues can be decided on an economic basis or a (broadly defined) political basis. There are no other bases, and only an economic basis offers hope for long-term success.
Now if we could just get some bits of the US economy back from the clutches of government (No Blood For Oil or No Drilling For Oil?) then we might have better long term performance than we have seen for the last decade. And it hasn't been a bad decade.

H/T Instapundit

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spending My Time

And for those of you wondering where I have been lately? Busy learning the ARM instruction set. Preparatory to writing a simple FORTH for the ARM. The whole concept is supported by a number of companies so code written for one company's chips should with modification work on another company's chips.

Right now I like the TI, ATMEL, and ST Microelectronics chips. For the time being I've settled on the IAR Toolset. If any one has any suggestions, I'm open.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

McCain Gets It

At last John McCain is getting towards an energy policy I can back. Drill for oil.

Most voters favor the resumption of offshore drilling in the United States and expect it to lower prices at the pump, even as John McCain has announced his support for states that want to explore for oil and gas off their coasts.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey—conducted before McCain announced his intentions on the issue--finds that 67% of voters believe that drilling should be allowed off the coasts of California, Florida and other states. Only 18% disagree and 15% are undecided. Conservative and moderate voters strongly support this approach, while liberals are more evenly divided (46% of liberals favor drilling, 37% oppose).
Maybe McCain finally gets that it is not only a political strategy, and an economic strategy, but also a war fighting strategy:

No Blood For Oil

You know, the more I hear about John McCain the more I like him.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 16, 2008


The poor have little,
Beggars none;
The rich too much
Enough not one.

Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A New Kind Of Politics

Barack Obama stands for a new kind of politics -- a politics without partisan bickering and smear tactics. Which is why he wants you to vote for John McCain. Vote for the Republican because it would be the nice thing to do. Give your vote to the needy. Vote McCain.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Make Your Very Own

I did a bit last night about a site with a bunch of Obama posters. It turns out you can make your very own. To prove it I made one of my own:

Not A Pin Head

To make one of your own just click on the picture. I had some trouble loading the site. It works. Just try again.

Obama Posters

Hard to Swallow has some very nice Obama posters for your viewing pleasure. I especially like this one:

Befriend A Bomber


Friday, June 13, 2008

Fusion Report 13 June 008

Alan Boyle has a new report on the goings on in New Mexico at EMC2 Fusion Labs.

Emc2 Fusion's Richard Nebel can't say yet whether his team's garage-shop plasma experiment will lead to cheap, abundant fusion power. But he can say that after months of tweaking, the WB-7 device "runs like a top" - and he's hoping to get definitive answers about a technology that has tantalized grass-roots fusion fans for years.
Dr Nebel has been rather quiet lately in the usual forum he frequents, so this update is very welcome to all us grass-roots fusion fans.
"We're kind of a combination of high tech and Home Depot, because a lot of this stuff we make ourselves," Nebel told me today. "We're operating out of a glorified garage, but it's appropriate for what we're doing."

The Emc2 team has been ramping up its tests over the past few months, with the aim of using WB-7 to verify Bussard's WB-6 results. Today, Nebel said he's confident that the answers will be forthcoming, one way or the other.

"We're fully operational and we're getting data," Nebel said. "The machine runs like a top. You can just sit there and take data all afternoon."
Now compare "We're operating out of a glorified garage... with ITER's 30 % cost over run so far.
an independent panel of experts will be coming to Santa Fe this summer to review the WB-7 experiment, Nebel said.

"We're going to show them the whole thing, warts and all," he said.

Because of the complexity, it will take some interpretation to determine exactly how the experiment is turning out. "The answers are going to be kind of nuanced," Nebel said.

The experts' assessment will feed into the decision on whether to move forward with larger-scale tests. Nebel said he won't discuss the data publicly until his funders have made that decision.
"Warts and all now isn't that refreshing.
Nebel may be low-key about the experiment, but he has high hopes for Bussard's Polywell fusion concept. If it works the way Nebel hopes, the system could open the way for larger-scale, commercially viable fusion reactors and even new types of space propulsion systems.

"We're looking at power generation with this machine," Nebel said. "This machine is so inexpensive going into the 100-megawatt range that there's no compelling reason for not just doing it. We're trying to take bigger steps than you would with a conventional fusion machine."
With my typical engineering sensibilities I still think some intermediate steps would be required. Like a continuously operating experiment. It need not be a very big machine but it will require a big power supply. It might need to draw 4 to 6 MW on start up. In fact it might need that for the whole duration of operation. The machine scales in a funny way. Coil power (for a copper coil demo) goes up as the reactor gets large but the accelerator power goes down.
Over the next decade, billions of dollars are due to be spent on the most conventional approach to nuclear fusion, which is based on a magnetic confinement device known as a tokamak. The $13 billion ITER experimental plasma project is just starting to take shape in France, and there's already talk that bigger budgets and longer timetables will be required.

If the Polywell system's worth is proven, that could provide a cheaper, faster route to the same goal - and that's why there's a groundswell of grass-roots interest in Nebel's progress. What's more, a large-scale Polywell device could use cleaner fusion fuels - for example, lunar helium-3, or hydrogen and boron ions. Nebel eventually hopes to make use of the hydrogen-boron combination, known as pB11 fusion.

"The reason that advanced fuels are so hard for conventional fusion machines is that you have to go to high temperatures," Nebel explained. "High temperatures are difficult on a conventional fusion machine. ... If you look at electrostatics, high temperatures aren't hard. High temperatures are high voltage."

Most researchers would see conventional tokamak machines as the safer route to commercial fusion power. There's a chance that Bussard's Polywell dream will prove illusory, due to scientific or engineering bugaboos yet to be revealed. But even though Nebel can't yet talk about the data, he's proud that he and his colleagues at Emc2 have gotten so far so quickly.

"By God, we built a laboratory and an experiment in nine months," he said, "and we're getting data out of it."
By God I hope it works out.

If you want to know what you can do to help have a look at Starting A Fusion Program In Your Home Town. To get the technical details and some history read World's Simplest Fusion Reactor Revisited

Previous Fusion Reports:
A Fusion President?
Fusion Report 15 May 008
Fusion Report 06 May 008
Fusion Report 05 May 008
Fusion Report 02 May 008
Fusion Report - April '08
WB-7 First Plasma
Bussard Fusion Update
Bussard Reactor Funded

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Bucky Fuller Retrospective

In Dymaxion Man Elizabeth Kolbert discusses the life of Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. Prompted by a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art which opens later this month.

One of Buckminster Fuller’s earliest inventions was a car shaped like a blimp. The car had three wheels—two up front, one in the back—and a periscope instead of a rear window. Owing to its unusual design, it could be maneuvered into a parking space nose first and could execute a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn so tightly that it would end up practically where it had started, facing the opposite direction. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the car was introduced in the summer of 1933, it caused such a sensation that gridlock followed, and anxious drivers implored Fuller to keep it off the streets at rush hour.

Fuller called his invention the Dymaxion Vehicle. He believed that it would not just revolutionize automaking but help bring about a wholesale reordering of modern life. Soon, Fuller thought, people would be living in standardized, prefabricated dwellings, and this, in turn, would allow them to occupy regions previously considered uninhabitable—the Arctic, the Sahara, the tops of mountains. The Dymaxion Vehicle would carry them to their new homes; it would be capable of travelling on the roughest roads and—once the technology for the requisite engines had been worked out—it would also (somehow) be able to fly. Fuller envisioned the Dymaxion taking off almost vertically, like a duck.

Fuller’s schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past. In addition to flying cars, he imagined mass-produced bathrooms that could be installed like refrigerators; underwater settlements that would be restocked by submarine; and floating communities that, along with all their inhabitants, would hover among the clouds. Most famously, he dreamed up the geodesic dome.
I have been a big fan of Bucky's ever since my geodesic dome days. I think I built my first one in 1969. It was a great party.

Bucky was famous for being able to tell the future by looking at a graph of trends. A kind of Moore's Law guy before Moore's Law. In many ways he was a Leonardo DaVinci with a shorter time lag.

Have a read.

H/T Alan Boyle

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saving Power

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are not all they are cracked up to be. Because of certain technical reasons [pdf] they may cut your power use by a factor of four for a given light output but the power company only sees a power of two reduction on their demand. In other words the power companies have to supply power that is not charged to the users. Guess what? Electrical rates will have to go up to compensate. There is also a further technical discussion available. It is possible to fix this problem with more expensive circuits. Look for Congress' new mandate for light manufacturers, as soon as the electric company guys whisper in their ear. This is not a bad thing. Except that Congress has outlawed cheap tungsten lamps even where their low usage, no phantom (reactive) power, and low cost would make sense. Big Brother only has your best interests at heart. Just ask him.

Big Solar Cells

Abu Dhabi is buying solar cell manufacturing plants from the US in order to make solar cells 2.2 meters by 2.6 meters (7 ft 2 1/2in by 8ft 6 3/8 in).

As part of its drive to become a world leader in alternative energy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based Masdar PV announced this week it will invest more than $2 billion in thin-film photovoltaic solar technology in a three-phased strategy to produce thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Masdar’s phase one includes a $600 million investment for manufacturing facilities in Erfurt, Germany and Abu Dhabi. The Erfurt facility is expected to be operational by Q3 2009, and the one in Abu Dhabi will begin initial production by Q2 2010, for combined annual production capacity of 210 megawatts.

Concurrently, as part of the Masdar Initiative, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co has placed an order with Applied Materials Inc for three of its SunFab thin film lines for manufacturing solar modules, which are expected to annually produce modules with a targeted capacity of up to 210 megawatts (MW) – sufficient energy to power approximately 70,000 homes.

While Applied declined to confirm the size of the deal with Masdar, it appears that the deal could be for $600 million, given Masdar’s earlier announcement.
The equipment is of course huge. As you can see by the picture in the article. And what about AppliedMaterials a leader in nanomanufacturing and nanomaterials? They are a Silicon Valley Company. That should help our balance of payments. Not to mention that Abu Dhabi is doing something useful with its oil money. I think the Emirates were always smarter than the Saudis. This is further proof.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Water On The Brain

IBM says that water cooling is the answer to an overheated brain.

IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory recently demonstrated 3D chip stacks that are cooled with water. The company expects to commercialize such stacks for its multicore servers as early as 2013.

IBM plans to stack memory chips between processor cores to multiply interconnections by 100 times while reducing their feature size tenfold. To cool the stack at a rate of 180W per layer, water flows down 50µ channels between the stacked chips.

"Electrical interconnects are in a wiring crisis. The wiring does not scale the way transistors do it because the wire width is shrinking while their length is not," said Thomas Brunschwiler, researcher, IBM Zurich. "Our solution is to go to 3D to stack multicore dice and have the interconnections go in between them vertically, which can decrease their length by up to 1,000 times," he added.

IBM's paper on the approach, "Forced convective interlayer cooling in vertically integrated packages," received a Best Paper award at the IEEE ITherm conference, held recently in Florida. This marked the third consecutive year that the IBM's Advanced Thermal Packaging team has won the awards. The Zurich group claimed to be fixated on water cooling because it is up to 4,000 times more effective than air in removing heat from electronics.
Water cooling the brain seems to work very well for humans too. Something to take note of in hot weather. Keep hydrated. Get your salt. And a wet wash cloth to the forehead is always nice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Macho Response

I just came across The Macho Response. A lovely blog post that describes the writer's journey from Democrat to Republican. There are lots of pretty pictures illustrating his story. What he looks at with a particularly bright eye is the occultism that is at the core of the Democrat world view today.

The Discomfort Of Ignorance

Professor X has written a wonderful piece on his troubles in a very low level English 101 class. He has studied the matter up close and personal and has some wise words on the subject.

For I, who teach these low-level, must-pass, no-multiple-choice-test classes, am the one who ultimately delivers the news to those unfit for college: that they lack the most-basic skills and have no sense of the volume of work required; that they are in some cases barely literate; that they are so bereft of schemata, so dispossessed of contexts in which to place newly acquired knowledge, that every bit of information simply raises more questions. They are not ready for high school, some of them, much less for college.
He has other indications. The look of pain on some people's faces when they get confronted with something new and difficult to learn. I think that is the missing level zero class for every student above a certain age. Learning is painful if it is really going on. The truth is that most people can't stand the pain. What students need to know is that the pain is inevitable and must be endured for however long it takes. If learning is to become life long the pain is essentially forever. With the occasional breaks allowed for rearming for the fight.

The key to learning is to be comfortable with the discomfort of ignorance. That should be lesson zero.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Class Warfare

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. — Abraham Lincoln

That Abe guy sounds like a Republican.

I am informed (through a link left in the comments) by commenter Shempbot of the following:

The quotes were published in 1942 by William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian minister. He released a pamphlet titled Lincoln On Limitations, which did include a Lincoln quote, but also added 10 statements written by Boetcker himself.

They were:

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

People who got the pamphlet thought the 10 statements were written by Lincoln and they have been distributed widely under Lincoln's name.

ITER Is The Fusion Reactor Of The Future

In fact from the look of things it may always be the Fusion Reactor of The Future.

A massive international nuclear fusion experiment planned for Cadarache, France, is set to cost up to 30% more than anticipated and be delayed by as much as three years, governments will learn next week.

Construction has not even begun on the ITER fusion reactor, which has been beset by political wrangling since its inception. Now its seven international backers are to be told they will have to come up with an extra €1.2 billion–1.6 billion (US$1.9 billion–2.5 billion) on top of its current €5-billion construction budget if the project is to be realized.

A report from a group of scientific advisers says the additional money is needed for critical design changes and for coordinating between the participant nations. And the experiment, already delayed, will not be completed until anywhere from one to three years after its current 2018 due date.

Critics expect more cost hikes. “Personally, I think the price will double before it’s done,” says Stephen Dean, president of Fusion Power Associates, a research and educational foundation based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Let me see if I can guess a little about the problems. This phrase "coordinating between the participant nations" particularly stood out. Usually what that means in government speak is lavish parties disguised as conferences at exotic destinations.

And the redesign? Some of the problems were known for twenty years. They were only addressed after the initial design was completed. First you sell the sizzle. Then, when the customer has bought in, you advise that the steak will cost extra.

I hinted at this in my piece The Secret Of The Tokamak.
Here is the dirty little tokamak secret - "The last one didn't work, shows no promise of working, and new difficulties have been encountered. I have a plan. We will make the next one 3X bigger." For 40 years.

Eventually the marks wise up.
The US cut ITER out of the Federal Budget earlier this year. Maybe it was not just a move by Congress to PO Bush. Maybe it had something to do with Congress actually paying attention to the real experts.
I have heard rumors that Congress is interested in the Bussard Fusion Reactor. If it works out (Bussard Fusion Reactor Funded) ITER (a tokamak design) would be a waste. Or as Plasma Physicist Dr. Nicholas Krall said, "We spent $15 billion dollars studying tokamaks and what we learned about them is that they are no damn good."
I think the problem with the Euros is that they are slow learners. Stephen Dean nails it at the end of the piece quoted above:
Dean anticipates that the new budget will ultimately be approved. “This thing has gotten a life of its own — it’s almost irrelevant how much it costs or what it’s for.”
At least it is on their dime. Mostly.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Deviation Isn't What It Used To Be

Here is a very funny audio clip if you have a bent mind.

Thanks to RJ40.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 09, 2008


I was reading something Wretchard wrote at The Belmont Club and came across this comment:

Inasmuch as the economy is in the toilet and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are unwon, all the math is pointing toward the Democrat winning.
Obama has one little problem. He doesn't do unscripted.

He also has a little problem of saying things and then retracting them. Or his advisers say things and get thrown under the bus. Or he needs a tool and throws granny under the bus.

After a while people begin to notice.

A lot of Clintonites find McCain acceptable. Iraq is certainly a problem, but maybe the Democrats have misdiagnosed it. Maybe the problem was not the war, but that at one time there seemed to be no prospect to establish a self governing Iraq. With at least the prospect in hand Americans might be willing to see it through if the costs don't rise too much.

And the economy? Definitely on shaky ground. What does Obama promise? To raise taxes. I don't see how that helps.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What Counts?

This is a roundup on what is wrong with our voting system. Brad Friedman tries to vote. He had a lot of problems. Fortunately he was wired with the California Secretary of State's office. This was not his first problem with voting irregularities. It was his first personal experience. The comment section (from which I have cribbed some urls) is good too. Brad also discusses Why 'Vote-by-Mail' Elections are a Terrible Idea for Democracy. Thanks to Instapundit for that first link.

Juris-imprudence is very interesting in showing how to take back control of government by ordinary citizens. This bit on Grand Juries [opens a doc] was especially interesting.

I really like Black Box Voting for their coverage of the issues. I did a bit on them (basically a reprint of one of their www pages) at Black Box Voting.

Vote Fraud And Election Issues is maintained by The Equal Justice Foundation. They seem to be libertarian oriented. Their page on the Drug War proves it (as far as proof is possible without a direct statement). They have an article by Harry Browne.

Bill Hobbs talks about election irregularities in 2004. This site looks at the Presidential Election of 2004.

Prison Planet says that there is Clear Evidence Of Widespread Vote Fraud In New Hampshire. They have another report Vote Fraud Expert Warns Of New Hampshire Chicanery. They mention
Black Box Voting, which is a good thing.

There is even a book out by John Fund Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. He says it is not a party specific problem.

Here is a very nice history lesson: Origins of American Vote Fraud. He says it is the Republicans. I think he is probably right. At least about what went on during and after the Civil War. Which may explain the rise of the KKK.

In February 1867 Tennessee enfranchised freedmen, and Republicans established local chapters of the Union League, a political arm of the party, to mobilize the new black voters. In some respects the KKK became the conservative ex-Confederates' answer to the Union League, a rallying point for white Democrats determined to drive freedmen, Republicans, and their allies from the polls. During the spring of 1867 the KKK's innocent beginnings began to give way to intimidation and violence as some of its members sought to keep freedmen in their traditional place.

The official reorganization of the Klan into a political and terrorist movement began in April 1867, when the state's Democratic Party leadership met in Nashville. An invitation sent by the Pulaski den to others in the state called for a gathering of members at the Maxwell House hotel, where Tennessee's conservative Democrats provided for greater control of an expanding KKK. A prescript established administrative protocols and emphasized the need for secrecy. Subsequently, former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was elected the first and only Grand Wizard. In 1868 a revised prescript declared the Klan the defender of the Constitution of the United States and the protector of the orphans and widows of Confederate dead. Klansmen were required to swear that they had never been members of the Union army, the Union League, or the Republican Party, and they supported re-enfranchising ex-Rebels and upholding the South's constitutional rights.
Now isn't that interesting. The Klan was a response to Republican depredations. Something you don't hear much about in most history books. I think that may provide some good background for my 2005 article Dems revert to Klan roots.

Well, that was an interesting digression. Now back to vote fraud.

I think all this points to an essential feature of the internet age. Distance is no longer a barrier to the transport of information. Small groups of interested parties can band together exchange useful information and then get things done. Some one wrote a book about it.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dems Scrap Money Bill

What do you call a bill designed to garner political contributions? A money bill. Let me set the stage a bit. Due to the wold wide boom in commodity prices, extraction industries like coal, oil, and mining are booming. What do good incumbent politicians do in a case like that? They propose a bill that would wreck those industries. And thus we have a carbon cap and trade bill.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 6, 2008 (ENS) – The U.S. Senate's much anticipated tangle with a landmark bill that would have required the nation to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming came to an unceremonious end Friday, as proponents failed to muster enough votes to formally consider the legislation.

Four days of deliberations on the climate bill were marked more by partisan bickering than substantive debate, but supporters of aggressive U.S. action to combat global warming contend the tide is turning in their favor.

"This is a landmark day," said Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and cosponsor of the bill. "It's another milestone in the fight against global warming."

Friday's 48-36 vote fell a dozen votes short of the number needed to end debate and begin consideration of amendments to the bill.

Seven Republicans joined 39 Democrats and two Independents in voting to move forward with the bill. Four Democrats sided with 32 Republicans in opposition.

Convinced most Republicans had little interest in actually trying to move the bill forward, Democratic leaders opted to pull the legislation from the floor.
I guess the run up to the bill's consideration and four days of debate was enough to extract the maximum in contributions. And speaking of election year action, here is another money bill.
Senate Republicans killed legislation Wednesday aimed at removing limits on how long workers can wait before suing their employers for pay discrimination.

Democrats, speaking to key constituencies of women, minorities and swing voters this election year, said they weren't finished trying to pass the bill.

"Women of America: Put your lipstick on, square your shoulders, suit up" and get ready to fight, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said moments after the bill's opponents denied supporters the 60 votes needed to proceed to full debate and a vote on passage. "The revolution starts tonight."

Debate on the legislation, which was proposed in response to a Supreme Court decision last year, was steeped in election-year politics and shadowed by a White House veto threat.

The vote sparked dueling news conferences Wednesday in which leaders of both parties accused each other of playing politics with key voting blocs in a year when the presidency, every House seat and a third in the Senate are on the ballot.
That is a pretty good explanation of what went on but the real goodies are located a little further down in the news.
Besides trial lawyers, the bill could appeal to women and minority voters for whom pay equity will be a top issue on Election Day.
Get that? Trial lawyers. Some of the biggest givers to the Democrat Party. This bill is what I would refer to as a dangle. "Help us get elected and we will help you". As opposed to "give us money or we will punish you".

I have a prediction that is about as close to a sure thing as you can get. There will be more money bills in the run up to the election. However, this is nothing new. 'Twas ever thus:

"No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session." - Mark Twain

The best defense? Divided government. All it will take is a few more Democrats elected to the Senate and we are in real trouble.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Where Will Learning Take Place?

It seems as if the schools in America are not producing the quality of output many Americans desire. There is a lot of "woe is me" out there. However, it does not reflect in any way what is really going on.

Let us take my case, an impecunious student with a lot of time on my hands. I want to learn something useful. What do I do? I get on the internet and start studying. What else do I know? I know a high school drop out who is studying Fortran to improve his mental skills. What else? I saw a community develop over the last year and three-quarters to learn plasma physics, electrodynamics, vacuum tube design principles, high voltage construction and laboratory safety, and a whole host of other disciplines and sub disciplines all with the idea of furthering the study of the Bussard Fusion Reactor. What are its strengths? Where will it need improvement? Where are the "and then you do the Magic" steps? All done to the point where the old hands can teach the newbies. At this point I'd say we have 50 to 200 people well enough trained to form design teams to build and install test reactors and power reactors (if and when they become available). And how did that all evolve? About 5 or 10 people started discussing the idea at the NASA Spaceflight blog and then all of a sudden there was a critical mass. A news group formed, a discussion group, and a number of blogs were created. All through the magic of the Internet.

So yeah. The motivated can get an education that is down right amazing. So how do we get them all motivated? I don't know. Bright kids always seem to find a way. That is very encouraging. It means our knowledge capital will be expanded. The not so bright watch American idol. There may be something you can do about it. I don't know what it is.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


The FORTH programming system is one of my favorites. The language is simple, compact, and extremely powerful, and almost dead. It has been kept alive over the years by a few fanatics including myself. Well, it looks like it is coming back in a big way. A lot of big names are now into the game.

By INQUIRER staff: Friday, 07 December 2007, 2:40 PM

PATRIOT SCIENTIFIC, which jointly owns a microprocessor related patent porfolio, said that Taiwanese firm Lite-On has bought a licence, becoming the third firm in a week to do so.

According to the firm, it's the first Taiwanese system company to buy a licence. Daewoo and a US manufacturer said they'd buy a licence earlier this week.

The firm's "Moore Microprocessor Patent Portfolio" that holds IP including seven US patents covering microprocessors, system on chip stuff, and microcontrollers.

This lot have also signed up for licences already. AMD, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Casio, Fujitsu, Sony, Nikon, Seiko Epson, Pentax, Olympus, Kenwood, Agilent, Lexmark, Schneider Electric, NEC Corporation, Funai Electric, Sandisk, Sharp Corporation, Nokia, Bull, Lego, DMP Electronics, Denso Wave, Philips, TEAC, Daewoo Electronics. And now Lite-On.
Now that looks like a rush. Why? Well, a dual stack architecture is pretty well fitted to C. Although C is not near as efficient as FORTH with such an architecture. EE Times Asia has more on the story.
06 Mar 2006

Alliacense announced that Fujitsu Ltd has licensed its intellectual property protected by the Moore Microprocessor Patent (MMP) portfolio. Alliacense is the subsidiary created last year to administer the portfolio on behalf of owners Patriot Scientific Corp. and TPL Group Financial terms of the licensing arrangement were not disclosed.

Fujitsu becomes the third system manufacturer to publicly disclose licensing of the MMP portfolio, following Hewlett-Packard (HP) in January and Casio Computer Co. Ltd last week. In announcing the Casio deal last week, Patriot Scientific revealed that semiconductor makers like Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are not being required to pay royalties on MMP licenses.
Note the earlier date. About a year and a half before the Dec 007 announcement. Also note that I have a friend who works for the TPL Group. I'll have to ask him what happened.

In any case a little more background from the March 006 article:
Patriot and TPL came together in June 2005 to settle a long-standing patent dispute so they could jointly pursue licensing revenue from third parties. The TPL Group has been granted full responsibility and authority for the commercialization and licensing of a unified portfolio of 10 patents.

The MMP portfolio is named after inventor Charles H. Moore, chief technology officer of TPL Group, who is known for inventing the Forth software programming language and for his work in the 1980s on stack-based microprocessors.
It looks like FORTH as a chip architecture is back big time. I wonder if the language will come back as well.

In any case I really like the Fujitsu 16 bit and the Fujitsu 32 bit versions of the architecture.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Feel Free To Speak

Blogger Diana West at discusses Obama's ties to The Nation of Islam. Very interesting. But that is not what caught my eye.

“Another Obama connection to supporters of Farrakhan comes from Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod.

“WND reported this week Axelrod sits on the finance committee of St. Sabina, the Chicago Catholic parish that was led by controversial pastor Michael Pfleger, an outspoken Farrakhan supporter who hosted the Nation of Islam chief at his parish several times.

“The Archdiocese of Chicago yesterday removed Pfleger from his duties at St. Sabina for an unspecified time following a well-publicized sermon at Trinity church two weeks ago in which Pfleger claimed Sen. Hillary Clinton cried in public because she thought being white entitled her to the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Pfleger told the Chicago Sun-Times he felt free to speak about Clinton because he believed his sermon was not being recorded. He said he thought the live Internet link that normally broadcasts Trinity sermons was not running.
Now isn't that interesting. Two (at least) different messages depending on who he is speaking to. Isn't that special. And to think the Rev. Pfleger was once one of Obama's close advisers. I sure hope Obama wasn't getting any bad advice.

The Church has been looking for a way to remove the Rev. from St. Sabina for a long time. He gave them one. So far that makes the Rev. the first person in the Obama Campaign to get thrown under the bus twice. Good work Rev. If you can get it.

H/T linearthinker

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wealth Without Money

A self replicating Rapid Prototyping machine has just been developed.

A universal constructor is a machine that can replicate itself and - in addition - make other industrial products. Such a machine would have a number of interesting characteristics, such as being subject to Darwinian evolution, increasing in number exponentially, and being extremely low-cost.

A rapid prototyper is a machine that can manufacture objects directly (usually, though not necessarily, in plastic) under the control of a computer.

The RepRap project is working towards creating a universal constructor by using rapid prototyping, and then giving the results away free under the GNU General Public Licence to allow other investigators to work on the same idea. We are trying to prove the hypothesis: Rapid prototyping and direct writing technologies are sufficiently versatile to allow them to be used to make a von Neumann Universal Constructor.

All good projects have a slogan, and the best have a slogan that reeks of hubris. RepRap is no exception. Our slogan is:

"Wealth without money..."
A. Jacksonian and I have discussed in months past what such devices would mean in various e-mails. Basically it would mean the end of scarcity. Sociologically we thought it would mean that the poor would be the mass consumers and the rich would flaunt how little they consume. At least obviously. The poor would get lots of meat and potatoes. The rich would eat half a peach on a lettuce leaf.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Not Yet In Evidence

Larry Johnson of No Quarter (how about two dimes and a nickel?) has a bit from HillBuzz on the not yet in evidence Michelle Obama Oration tape. Here is what HillBuzz has to say:

The Michelle Obama Rant Tape was filmed between June 26th - July 1st 2004 in Chicago, IL at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference at Trinity United Church: specifically the Women's Event.

Michelle Obama appeared as a panelist alongside Mrs. Khadijah Farrakhan and Mrs. James Meeks.

Bill Clinton spoke during the Conference, as did Bill Cosby and other speakers, but not at the panel Michelle attended.

Michelle Obama spoke at the Women's Event, but referenced Bill Clinton in her rant --- his presence at the conference was the impetus for her raving, it seems.

For about 30 minutes, Michelle Obama launched into a rant about the evils of America, and how America is to blame for the problems of Africa. Michelle personally blamed President Clinton for the deaths of millions of Africans and said America is responsible for the genocide of the Tutsis and other ethnic groups. She then launched into an attack on "whitey", and talked about solutions to black on black crime in the realm of diverting those actions onto white America.
HillBuzz has more. If that is true, what is going to kill the deal for the Obamas is not the "whitey" stuff. It is the advocacy of a black race war against whites. Hey, Michelle. Do you really think that is a vote getter?

For now though, take all this with a kilo of salt. The tape is not yet in evidence.

History - The Prequel

I just came across a most interesting bit of information. Despite a whole host of folks, including Andrew Sullivan, coming out with the idea that if Iraq is not yet won, a win is likely, a book has recently come out which says all is lost. Defeat is at hand, and well deserved. One must remember, however, that book publishers operate on a longer schedule than journalists and bloggers. And the book, written by a senior correspondent for the Guardian, which is just a few months old, Defeat: Why America and Britain Lost Iraq,is already 40% off at Amazon.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. And not just because I get a cut from every one sold through here. I have other better reasons. Now I have to tell you that I have not read the book. So how is a reasonable recommendation even possible? Well the reviews were all gushingly positive so there is that. But that is not it. The real reason I suggest this book is the same reason I have a copy of The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age. It will be good to refer to when people start trying to overdose you with conventional wisdom. Sometimes the odds makers don't even know what the real odds are. Which brings up another point. Has any one noticed a change yet in editorial policy or reporting policy re: Iraq from the Guardian? What are the odds?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Crap And Tax

The Democrats along with some Republican enablers are trying to pass a CO2 cap and trade bill. Its purpose is to strangle the American economy. Gateway Pundit has the story.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I Link

I haven't linked to Andew Sullivan in ages. Since after he lost his cahones about the War in Iraq. Well I'm linking today. And to what? This article on the changed situation in Iraq, suggested by Jennifer Rubin of Commentary. Via Instapundit. I'm sure this is white hot because in some respects it represents Andrew's return to sanity. We will see if I can shed some light on it from a different angle. Or from the same angle. Depending.

Here is what Andrew Said that got him a link:

Petraeus deserves the lion's share of the credit; luck and time and the self-defeating nihilism of the Jihadists have helped. But Bush and McCain equally merit points for pursuing the surge, even though the metrics pointed to failure. Obama needs to capitalize on these gains, not dismiss them.
Props where they are due. That is an astounding turn around for Andrew. He finally gets it. Even if the War was a mistake a self governing, independent, prosperous Iraq is a good thing.

Now what about Obama? Boy, is the Good Judgement Man™ ever in trouble. He has been talking defeat in Iraq since forever. Whoops. McCain on the other hand has the distinction that, despite the unpopularity of his position, he was right. I predict a pivot - "I never knew how really vile those jihadis were. And I repudiate them for their obvious misjudgment. I have always been in favor of good relations with the Government of Iraq and no Republican is going to stand in the way of my achieving that goal. There are a number of companies in Chicago that would be excellent help in the effort to rebuild Iraq and they will have all my support." Aside to staff: " &#(*^@!~& Axelrod, where are my G-d Damn Tickets to Iraq? "

You know, I don't think Barry is going to have a cake walk.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

A Blog In Rockford

I just came across (due to a comment left here) Right Of The Star. A very good blog. And why not? I am in very good agreement with everything posted that I have seen.

Keeping It Up

Growth that is. Foreign Policy looks at what makes countries grow.

Why do some countries succeed when others struggle? That’s what Nobel laureate A. Michael Spence and the Commission on Growth and Development set out to discover in their landmark study of the world’s 13 fastest-growing economies.

Foreign Policy: You’ve obviously studied development topics in economics for a long time. Was there anything that surprised you as you did your research with the commission?

Michael Spence: I was surprised by two things. One, how important the global economy is for developing countries both in terms of demand, meaning the size of the market and your ability to expand it once you get a cost position, and also from the point of view of importing technology or knowledge. But the biggest surprise was how important political leadership is in looking at cases of sustained high growth in developing countries. There’s a whole lot of consensus building and picking the right model, getting everybody on board, making deals with stakeholders like labor and business, and a persistent kind of pragmatic approach with imperfect knowledge about how the economy is going to respond to policy. I started out thinking this was a subject that was mainly about economics, and I ended up thinking that was about half of it, but the other half is really political.

FP: Were you able to discover any secret to growth among the countries that you studied?

MS: I don’t think there’s any kind of secret. There are certainly common characteristics of the sustained high-growth cases, and they’re described in some detail in the report. I don’t view them as secrets. But we haven’t been able to find a case where, if you avoid the general approach that’s described there—engagement with the global economy; being careful to bring everybody on board; very high savings and investment levels; a stable macro environment and a pretty heavy reliance on the basic characteristics of market allocation, price signals, and stuff; and being willing to put up with rather chaotic microeconomic dynamics—you can sustain high growth.
And now for something a little closer to home:
FP: What’s your view on corruption as a drag on development? Countries like India, China, Indonesia, and South Korea have major problems with corruption, and yet they’ve been able to grow fairly successfully.

MS: I think it depends on the kind of corruption. This is an active subject of research, so we’re learning all the time. I would say really small-scale corruption is not necessarily a good thing, but it’s a little bit like a tax. If it gets out of hand and turns into big delays in things like establishing businesses or getting approvals for investment projects, it can be a problem. The really destructive kind of corruption, I would describe as wholesale theft on a large scale, where governments are really living on taking the national resources and using them to buy votes and stay in power. That seems to be completely destructive of the sustained growth and policies that are needed to support it.
Congress are you listening?

It Is A Shame

Some one in this thread said: "our products aren’t competitive"

I said:

A real shame exports are growing at a rate of about 2.8% a year. It is a shame manufacturing is booming. It is a shame Germans are moving factories to America.

It is a shame the Iraqis are getting a handle on Iraq. It is a shame they are holding national elections in October. It is a shame their economy is growing 5% a year.

It is a shame oil prices are up giving a boost to the sale of hybrids and high mileage vehicles.

It is a shame unemployment in the “worst economy since the depression” is only around 5%. It is a shame it only grew .9%. It is a shame that higher growth is expected in the coming quarters. Did I mention that Germans are building factories in America?

Considering the doofus we have as President it is a shame things are going as well as they are.

H/T Instapundit

Commenter DKK adds: It's a shame we are exporting Buicks TO China and Toyota is going to start building cars here for export.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here It Comes

Sun NASA 1 June 008

Click on the picture for an explanation. The big deal is in the lower left.

Cross Posted at Classical Values