Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Something Completely Different

There comes a point in life where you either accept whatever you're doing and just exist, or stop talking about what you used to be and do something completely different.

Found at Good**** by Fred Lapides. You can look it up. NSFW

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Little Help For Friends

The Obama Administration knows who its friends are.

Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power company, stands to rake in roughly an extra $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year if the House climate change bill passes, according to the company's own estimates. The House is expected to vote on the bill on Friday.

A memo produced for Exelon by Bernstein Research, and obtained by the Huffington Post, reports that Exelon CEO John Rowe recently told a gathering of investors and senior executives that the energy bill "will add $700 to $750 million to Exelon's annual revenues for every $10 per metric ton (MT) increase in the price of CO2 allowances." Prices will range between $15 and $18 per metric ton, the report estimates, "implying a positive earnings impact of $1 to $1.30 per share."

Read the full memo.

Exelon, with a major presence in Illinois, was an early backer of President Barack Obama's.
I love Chicago/Illinois politics a model of honesty to emulated around the land. What? Our President is a Chicago politician? You don't say. Well I'll be darned. How about that.

The Bill has yet to hit the Senate. You might want to let your Senators know how you feel and better yet what you think:

The Senate

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Neda Net Manifesto

Neda Net has an interesting manifesto:

Welcome to NedaNet

This is the resource page for NedaNet, a network of hackers formed to support the democratic revolution in Iran. Our mission is to help the Iranian people by setting up networks of proxy severs, anonymizers, and any other appropriate technologies that can enable them to communicate and organize — a network beyond the censorship or control of the Iranian regime.

NedaNet doesn't have leaders or a manifesto or even much in the way of organization. We're not affiliated with any nation or religion. We're just computer hackers and computer users from all over the planet doing what we can to help the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom.

NedaNet does have contacts on the ground in Iran. We are actively and directly cooperating with the revolutionaries (though for obvious security reasons most of us don't know who the contacts are). By helping us, you can help them.
Neda Net has links and advice explaining how you can pitch in.

Tehran Broadcast has a list of things the Iranian people need to carry on their revolution. This was sent out on 22 June.
1.Today we heard many people saying we can not win. Give us some spirit and motivation by reminding us of the important accomplishments made so far. Isn’t delegitimizing this government enough?! Is being united like this a small thing? Today, a Revolutionary Guard’s commander in Tehran was arrested because of his refusal to implement a crackdown order. Is this is a small triumph? We repeat, Help us maintain our spirits!

2. Invite terrified people to low cost actions; for example, pulling out money from governmental banks. Believe me but these days even wearing black in the working place (as a sign of mourning) is scary, let alone going on a strike. Please don’t criticize us for this. We did everything we could, everything within our powers, for a week. Think how you can convince a villager to pull out his/her money from the banks.

3.Don’t let state-run websites crush people’s spirit. Why didn’t you continue your DDOS attacks on the government news websites, such as Fars news? Do onto them what they are doing onto us! Please install the auto-reload plugin on firefox and bring their websites down again.

4.To create fear and frustration, the state TV, in a showmanship act, has asked people to send them pictures of the demonstrators. Explain to us, haven’t we already put our own photos and videos on the Internet?! In fact this is our strength, we should not be afraid. This is Islamic Republic TV’s psychological warfare.

5.By unfounded charges and accusations that foreign media are instigating chaos in Iran, the government has put them in a passive defensive position. Ask the foreign media to show our imperfect videos and reports. Governments, especially Obama should not remain neutral. They shouldn’t sell the people for the benefit of the rulers.
I don't know how much help Obama will be. But he did decide to disinvite Iranian diplomats to America's 4th of July Celebration after they had declined the invite. The Canadians are a little farther ahead of the curve.
Canada hardened its stance toward Iran on Thursday, denouncing the Islamic republic's appointment of a widely feared prosecutor to interrogate arrested reformists, and rescinding a Canada Day invitation that had been extended to Iranian envoys in Ottawa.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Canada was "deeply concerned" about the appointment of Saaed Mortazavi, who is known in Iran as the "butcher of the press," and who gained notoriety for his role in the 2003 death of Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi.

"On several occasions, most notably in the detention and murder of Zahara Kazemi, Mr. Mortazavi has clearly demonstrated his disregard for human rights and fundamental freedoms," Cannon said.
And please do not forget to look at the Neda Net page and see if there is some where you can pitch in.

Other recent posts on this topic:

Neda Net
Iranian Says: Israelis Help Us

Neda Net

I was checking out the home page of Neda Net and came across this interesting bit:

I'm Eric S. Raymond. Some of you will know me from the open-source movement as "ESR". Because of the real threat of terrorist action against us, most of NedaNet is keeping a low profile. I have volunteered to be a visible public contact because (a) I've done this sort of public-face work before, (b) I already got my jihadi death threat from Iran in 2006 before NedaNet, and (c) I'm not easily intimidated.

Think of me as a cut-out. I have very carefully not asked who our contacts in Iran are. I don't even know who most of the rest of the NedaNet people are, and don't intend to try to find out; they're basically just handles on an IRC channel from whom I get URLs and files. And for any agent or proxy of the regime interested in asking me questions face to face, I've got some bullets slathered in pork fat to make you feel extra special welcome.
Neda Net is of course named after this woman:
You can read more about Neda Net at Iranian Says: Israelis Help Us.

I think what is going on in Iran has passed the point of no return. I have heard rumors of rumblings in Iran. Rumors of people saying things like "Heaven help the Mullahs if we decide to take up arms."

In the meantime the Iranian people need bandwidth in and out of Iran. Go over to Neda Net and see what you can do.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Iranian Says: Israelis Help Us

An Iranian asks:

"Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters," writes Iranian dissident Arash Irandoost, "Iran needs your help more than ever now. And we will be eternally grateful. Please help opposition television and radio stations which are blocked and being jammed by the Islamic Republic (Nokia and Siemens) resume broadcast to Iran. There is a total media blackout and Iranians inside Iran for the most part are not aware of their brave brothers and sisters fighting and losing their lives daily. And the unjust treatment and brutal massacre of the brave Iranians in the hands of the mullah's paid terrorist Hamas and Hizbullah gangs are not seen by the majority of the Iranians. Please help in any way you can to allow these stations resume broadcasting to Iran.

"And, please remember that we will remember, as you have remembered Cyrus the Great's treatment of you in your time of need," Irandoost concludes, signing his blogged call for help "Your Iranian Brothers and Sisters!"
Which brings up something I was just looking at a couple of days ago the Zoroastrian Revival in Iran
There are, in fact, two Irans, and the lesser known one to most Americans is undergoing a renaissance that the ruling Iranian mullahs fear the most. If the Persians are awakened to their identity as children of Cyrus the Great, who wrote mankind's first charter of human rights, these oppressive regimes will topple domino-style. Besides Iran, the Persian heritage is embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were it to be rekindled, a revolution unheard of in scope could occur."

My new friend and former Muslim, whom I will call Babak Iran, told me that Korans are being burned in Iran, and that there is a strong movement toward the philosophy of Zoroastrianism. This man showed me the pendant he now wears, a symbol of the ancient religion (it is older than Judaism). This symbol, carried by many of the parade marchers in New York City, can be seen at persianparade.org. Slide # 24 in the 2009 parade is where one can see many beautiful Persian women like Neda.
So what about Cyrus the Great?
The achievements of Cyrus the Great throughout antiquity is well reflected in the way he is remembered today. His own nation, the Iranians, regarded him as "The Father" and the Babylonians as "The Liberator". After this liberation of Babylonians, followed Cyrus' liberal help for the return of Jews. For this Cyrus is addressed in the Jewish Tanakh as the "Lord's anointed ". Glorified by Ezra and by Isaiah, Cyrus is the one who "The Lord, the God of heaven" has given him "all the Kingdoms of the earth".
And then of course there is the Jewish Queen of Persia, Esther.
Esther, born Hadassah, was a Jewish queen of the Persian Empire in the Hebrew Bible, the queen of Ahasuerus (traditionally identified with Xerxes I), and heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther which is named after her. The name Esther comes from the Persian word "star".

As a result of Esther's intervention and influence, Mizrahi Jews lived in the Persian Empire for 2400 years thereafter. Esther's husband Ahasuerus followed in the footsteps of Cyrus the Great, in showing mercy to the Jews of Persia: Cyrus had decreed an end to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews upon his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.
It seems among some Iranians/Persians the Jews still have an honored place in their history.

Well enough history. The Iranians of today need help. If you can help pitch in.

H/T Judith Weiss Facebook. Judith also suggests that any one wishing to help contact Neda Net.
You can help by adding bandwidth and computing power to our network. It is still forming and growing; the more widely dispersed it gets, the less vulnerable it will be to denial-of-service attacks, blacklisting, or physical action by the Iranian government and its terrorist allies.

If you are a Linux or *BSD or Mac OS/X user, we have a detailed recipe for setting up and registering a Squid proxy for the revolutionaries' use. Update: We are no longer recommending people set up plaintext squid proxies. The Iranian regime appears to be doing deep-packet inspection on all traffic now.

To help support safe communications that are immune to deep-packet inspection, you can set up a Tor relay; this will help dissidents to communicate in and out of Iran without being traceable by the regime. See these directions.

Squid instructions for Windows users are under development.

Alternatively, there's a bootable CD called rbox that sets up a NedaNet site in a box. I'm told it's usable but still being polished. Windows users (especially) may want to go that route to avoid security issues.
You can get more information and links by visiting Neda Net.

Update: If you want to get deeper into the history of the Jews here is a book I liked: A History of the Jews.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

How I Spent My Saturday Afternoon

The Rockford Yacht Club was giving free sail boat rides to any one who wanted one this afternoon. So my mate and I went to see if we couldn't get a ride. We got there a little after 12 and got signed up for 4 PM. My mate and I decided to take a little walk around the park (Rock Cut State Park - one of our favorites) and then head home and come back later. When we got done with our little walk Scott's boat had just got in and he asked us if we wanted to go out now. Of course we said yes. So we spent the next hour and a half cruising the lake. We had an afternoon of moderately stiff winds (10 to 15 mph). My job was to reset the jib when the tack put it on the starboard side. I also liked leaning out over the water when the boat was heeling. Captain Scott alluded to the fact that not all his previous passengers appreciated such maneuvers. My first mate and I thought it was marvelous. And of course a lot of time was spent telling sea stories. Great fun.

Oh. Yeah. The boat in the video is the one we sailed on. The Flying Scot.

Mark Kirk Is No Traitor

John Kaduk says Mark Kirk (R - Illinois 10th Dist.) is a traitor for voting for the tax and shred bill.

Pat yourself on the back Nancy. You too Waxman. And let’s not forget Mark Kirk. You successfully hid behind Michael Jackson’s death and the country’s mourning to push through your garbage bill that could permanently kill the U.S. economy.
And that may be very well true. But Mark Kirk is no traitor. Mark Kirk is an idiot.

He is also behind the recent idiocy of calling for more draconian penalties to stem the flow of marijuana in this country. At a time when California is thinking about legalization and soccer moms are toking up? I don't think so. Mark Kirk is an idiot.

Let us hope that by 3 November 2010 he is a retired (from the House) idiot. I'll do my part.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

EPA Scientist Drops A Bomb On Warming

An EPA Staffer, Alan Carlin, has dropped a bomb [pdf] not just on global warming (it is currently not happening) but also on the "concensus" hypothesis about how the climate system works.

The document makes these points:

The EPA report is based on the last IPCC report which is now 3 years out of date. These new findings have not been taken into account:
    a. Global temperatures have been trending downwards for 11 years
    b. The concensus on Atlantic Hurricane behavior has changed
    c. Greenland is probably safe from melting
    d. The economic downturn has reduced CO2 emissions
    e. Empirical evidence supports negative feedback for water vapor
    f. Solar variability may account for 68% of warming

The Mr. Carlin also points out that the EPA has a history of doing its own evaluations of science and does not rely on outside organizations (such as the IPCC) to determine its conclusions. The EPA in this case has not done its own independent investigation.

Now here is where it really gets good. Watts Up With That reports that the Alan Carlin report is being suppressed within the EPA. Here is an e-mail that circulated inside the EPA:

“The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision… I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.”

- Internal EPA email, March 17th, 2009
I was under the impression that the Obama Administration was going to be the most scientific administration ever. I put that one right up there with the current Democrat Congress being the most ethical ever.

Note that Watts Up With That also has several more pieces on the topic:

Source inside EPA confirms claims of science being ignored, suppressed, by top EPA management

CARBONGATE – Global Warming Study Censored by EPA

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Understanding Before Voting

The Climate Bill passed the House 219 to 212. Which is a fairly slim margin since the minimum required for a House majority is 218 votes. Now the Senate has to go over it. It will be interesting to see how the Senators from Illinois (a coal state - I met my mate in Carbondale, Illinois) vote.

H/T Watts Up With That?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ronald Reagan On Socialized Medicine

H/T Bill Whittle of Pajamas Media. Take a look at Bill's video for an up to date look at Ronald's speech and what it means for us today.

Soccer Moms Going To Pot

The question of the day is: will Northern Lights replace Cabernet Sauvignon or Dos Equis?

Mary is a 37-year-old, self-employed mother in Seattle who smokes pot several times a week. "It is relaxing, fun, and once in a while I self-medicate for cramps or headaches," said Mary. She says she prefers smoking to drinking beer because it's easier on the body and has fewer calories. Mary buys her bags from a dealer, making it more risky because "there's still a real danger of being arrested," says Mary.

The website, Chikii.com, surveyed hundreds of women nationwide between the ages of 25 and 60 years old. Out of that group, 52% admitted to using marijuana at least ten times a year. 27% smoked between one and seven times a week. And 78% of those women knew someone who got high on a regular basis.

The results of recent surveys are no surprise to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. "These findings are indicative of women's willingness to admit to the social stigma that was so high in the 1970s and 80s," said St. Pierre.

Both women who shared their stories with momlogic say that many of their friends smoke weed.
And now you know why the laws are changing rather rapidly. No one is going to put up with a war on suburban moms.

Just look at what is going on in my town of 150,000. We have enough demand for indoor horticulture to support two grow op stores. No doubt the horticulturalists are reading books like Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower's Bibleand putting what they have learned to use. In order to supply all those soccer moms and dads on pot.

It has gone so far in Oakland, California that they have a university, Oaksterdam University, dedicated to teaching marijuana horticulture and business.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Second Cup

My mate tells me I am drinking entirely too much coffee (although I have lived on the stuff since my Navy days). But it is always wise to keep the mate happy. So for her I'm skipping my second cup of coffee and going straight to the third.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reports From Iran

Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs is doing an excellent job of keeping up to date on events in Iran. She has a report from a medical student.

I only want to speak about what I have witnessed. I am a medical student. There was chaos at the trauma section in one of our main hospitals. Although by decree, all riot-related injuries were supposed to be sent to military hospitals, all other hospitals were filled to the rim. Last night, nine people died at our hospital and another 28 had gunshot wounds. All hospital employees were crying till dawn. They (government) removed the dead bodies on back of trucks, before we were even able to get their names or other information. What can you even say to the people who don't even respect the dead. No one was allowed to speak to the wounded or get any information from them. This morning the faculty and the students protested by gathering at the lobby of the hospital where they were confronted by plain cloths anti-riot militia, who in turn closed off the hospital and imprisoned the staff.

The extent of injuries are so grave, that despite being one of the most staffed emergency rooms, they've asked everyone to stay and help--I'm sure it will even be worst tonight. What can anyone say in face of all these atrocities? What can you say to the family of the 13 year-old boy who died from gunshots and whose dead body then disappeared? This issue is not about cheating (election) anymore. This is not about stealing votes anymore. The issue is about a vast injustice inflected on the people. They've put a baton in the hand of every 13-14 year old to smash the faces of "the bunches who are less than dirt" (government is calling the people who are uprising dried-up torn and weeds). This is what sickens me from dealing with these issues. And from those who shut their eyes and close their ears and claim the riots are in opposition of the government and presidency!! No! The people's complaint is against the egregious injustices committed against the people.
The report originally came from The Guardian. The Guardian updates that page every day and provides a link to previous day's pages.

H/T R. Dave at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Regime Change Iran Logo Banned

If you look at my sidebar you will see that the logo for Regime Change Iran has been banned. The message reads in part:

This page/domain banned b/c porn, warez, or topsite. If you own this site and feel the ban is in error visit imageshack.us go to "Contact Image Shack" and refer to the contents of the url bar.
Regime Change Iran is still functioning. Visit them for their latest updates.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saudi Underwear Revolution

Some of you may remember my article Defeated by Pornography where I discussed how modern technology was liquefying Islamic society. We can start with this amazing statistic:

Up to 70% of files exchanged between Saudi teenagers' mobile phones contain pornography, according to a study in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.
Well the Saudis are at it again. This time with women's underwear.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Using colorful bras donated by employees at Victoria's Secret, a group of 26 mostly Saudi women completed the first course of its kind to be offered in the kingdom _ how to fit, stock and sell underwear _ a training organizers hope will help boost a campaign to lift the ban on women selling underwear in the kingdom.

The graduates held a small ceremony at a college in the western seaport of Jiddah on Tuesday, capping 40 hours of instruction during which they learned to overcome their embarrassment at doing bra fittings, deal with customer complaints and display the stock in an appealing manner.

"It was a beautiful experience," said Faten Abdo, a 32-year-old coordinator in the offices of a lingerie company.

"The most shocking thing for me was the bra sizes," she added. "We didn't know how to get proper measurements before."
Now there is a class I'd like to take. As long as there was a lot of hands on experience. Besides my engineering training should give me a head start when it comes to measurement accuracy. The key is to keep measuring until you get a consistent set of measurements.
Suzanne al-Hindi, 33, one of 26 graduates, said she and the other women were "shy at first to play-role and do fittings on each other, but we got over it."

British consul-general in Jiddah Kate Rudd said she attended Tuesday's ceremony to show support for the idea that women should be allowed to play a more active role. "It was a small step, but perhaps from this little drop there will be bigger ripples," said Rudd.
Bigger WHAT? I believe Kate said ripples you boob. And what is this about underwear fitting as an RPG? Don't kids play Dungeons and Dragons any more?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Government Failure

I was browsing Amazon and came across a book, Government Failure,which seems tailor made for current economic and political conditions.

So, how about some reviews? This one gives the book 5 stars.

The general thrust of the text is that, however well-intentioned, no government can sustain a vibrant and diverse welfare-state over the long-term. Entrenched bureaucracies simply can't cope with the vagaries and varieties of human desires. Only the free market can hope to provide for the panoply of individuals' interests.

Part I: A concise, lucid, introduction to the theory of public choice. Professor Tullock has a definitely "small-government" mentality (which I share), but his discussion is still even-handed. The sole problem I have is that the few tables and graphs he employs are completely unitelligible to me. Fortunately, they're not essential, as his writing should be clear enough. The most important topics are rent-seeking and log-rolling, the former of which is the topic most treated by the co-authors. Also of interest is the discussion about bureaucracies.

Part II: A far ranging, perhaps wandering, discussion of the application of rent-seeking to American regulatory policy. Brady writes with a slightly more fervent tone than does Tullock, with a clear but tempered opinion of the roles lawyers, regulators, etc. Generally interesting, but the chapters somewhat lack coherence with each other beyond the theory.

Part III: Sheldon here presents the most entertaining and forcefully written section of the book. Full of vigor, he brings ip several issues that are of critical interest to proponents of small government: the Fabian fallacy, the growth of addiction to the welfare-state, and the welfare-state's role in the collapse of the family.

A great introduction for the interested student of politics or economics.
and for balance a 1 star review:
Not terribly useful, though a good introductory review of log-rolling and rent-seeking. Might perhaps do as a book for an introductory Political Science course if backed up with significant amounts of other material.
The problem I see with government is not the corruption (bad enough) but the freezing of the rules to conform to current realities. When the realities change the rules still hold us back.

We are starting to see that in the medical care debate. Since everyone can't afford the latest treatments they should be outlawed. i.e. if progress can't be instantaneous then progress needs to be outlawed.

Megan Mcardle looks at healthcare and sees it differently.
It is true that I cannot afford to spend 40% of my income on healthcare. It was equally true that my great-great grandparents could not afford to spend a third of their income on housing, and another half on clothing, manufactured good, transportation, and services--Land o' Mercy, everyone in the future is going to starve to death!!!

Obviously this is ridiculous. I am not consuming less food than my ancestors; I am consuming more. (Too much more, according to the waistband of my favorite pants.) But my income is vastly higher than theirs in real terms, so that the food I consume is 10% of my household budget, rather than 50%. Similarly, our descendents in 2100 giving over 40% of their income to health care (if indeed they do), will not be skimping on housing, transportation, clothing, entertainment, or what have you. In all probability, they will be consuming more of everything than I do, except maybe energy and housing. It's just that they'll be devoting a large share of their extra income to health care. This prospect doesn't worry me. And it probably won't worry them, other than the way it (mostly) worries us: because we'd always like everything we consume to cost less, and be more equally distributed.
The best use of increased wealth is what? I guess it depends on who you ask.

A commenter to Megan's article had this to say:
I attended a CLE in January put on by Professor M. Gregg Bloche who was one of Obama’s health care reform advisors during the 2008 campaign. He made pretty much the same argument that health care costs were going to eventually consume nearly half of GDP and advocated controlling costs by slowing down the rate of innovation. His logic was that if new (and initially expensive) treatments, drugs, devices and tests don’t exist then patients can’t demand them and no one has to pay for them and technically we won’t have reduced the quality of care since people would still be able to get the treatments that are available today.
Translation: "We can save a lot of money (to pass out to our friends) by killing a lot of people and the best thing is they will never know who did it to them."

It is a good thing our President shaves off his upper lip hair.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Stupid Laws

When stupidity is outlawed only outlaws will be stupid.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rock Meet Hard Place

Pejman Yousefzadeh on Facebook suggested
this article on the latest happenings in Iran. It discusses the infighting among the clerics in Iran. This, I thought, was the most interesting point.

To a certain degree, hardliners now find themselves caught in a cycle of doom: they must crack down on protesters if they are to have any chance of retaining power, but doing so only causes more and more clerics to align against them.

Security forces broke up a small street protest on June 22 involving roughly a thousand demonstrators who had gathered to mourn the victims of the government crackdown two days before. Also on June 22, a statement issued in the name of the Revolutionary Guards demanded that protesters immediately stop "sabotage and rioting activities," and threatened to unleash "revolutionary confrontation" against anyone who took to the streets.

Such a showdown could come later this week. One of the country’s highest-ranking clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri has declared three days of mourning for those who have died in street protests. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s declaration could bring thousands of Tehran residents back out into the streets starting on June 24.
Iran is +3:30 from GMT. Which says that we might be seeing reports from as early as about 05:00 GMT on the 24th about the state of affairs in Iran. About 12 hours from the time of this post.

Green Jobs Come Real Jobs Go

Power Magazine whose mission is to cover Business and Technology for the Global Generation Industry reports on what Green Energy is doing to Spain. It is pretty ugly.

Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, PhD, an economics professor at King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, completed Spain’s first comprehensive review of the long-term effects of Spain’s renewable energy policy on jobs and the economy. His report, "Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources," was released in March. Some of its most surprising findings include these:
* The premium paid for renewable power in Spain that’s charged to consumers translates into $774,000 for each Spanish "green job" created since 2000. In an interview with Bloomberg, Álvarez stated: "The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices."
* The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every "green job" created. The report notes that Obama’s estimates of job creation gloss over jobs lost due to lost opportunity in the private capital market or the higher efficiency of private capital employed in renewable energy investment. Álvarez concluded that each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, and 5.05 by mini-hydro.
Now couple that knowledge with how people are feeling about the US Economy.
A string of new polls seems to show that America’s belief in the wonder-working power of Obamanomics has begun to fade. A Pew poll found President Obama’s economic approval rating has fallen to 52 percent from 60 percent in April. A Wall Street Journal poll found 53 percent disapprove of his handling of GM and Chrysler vs. 39 who approve. And the New York Times found that 60 percent don’t think Obama has a “clear plan” to deal with the monstrous budget deficit.

Okay, here’s the thing: Obama took a tremendous economic and political gamble last January. The new president had the option of putting forward a stimulus plan that would attempt to reverse or significantly dampen America’s terrible economic downturn ASAP. The quickest and most effective approach would have been a big cut in payroll taxes. For $800 billion, combined Social Security and Medicare taxes could have been slashed by 6 percentage points, or 40 percent. That would have put $1,500 in worker paychecks and, according to one credible study, increased employment by 4 million jobs in 2009.

Instead, Obama chose to listen to Rahm “Never let a crisis go to waste” Emanuel and put forward an $800 billion plan that advanced his healthcare, energy and education policy goals — but pretty much neglected the economy in 2009. Team Obama had to fully understand this. Indeed, a study from the Congressional Budget Office study — when led by current Obama budget chief Peter Orszag — concluded that an Obama-like economic stimulus package would be “totally impractical” because it would take so long to implement. (True enough, only seven percent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been doled out so far.)
And how about the rosy future we have hears so much about in the last few months, "an economy on the mend".
The terrible tale of the tape: a) the current downturn is arguably the worse since the Great Depression; b) household wealth has fallen by $14 trillion during the past two years, including the first quarter of 2009; c) while the economy may not shrink as much this quarter as it did in the previous three months (-5.7 percent) or the final quarter of 2008 (-6.3 percent), unemployment is soaring; d) Obama himself said the jobless rate will hit 10 percent this year; d) even worse, the Federal Reserve sees it approaching 11 percent next year. (Recall, that the original White House economic analysis of the Obama economic plan never saw unemployment exceeding 8 percent if Obamanomics was passed by Congress.)

So now many Americans are rightfully wondering just what they are getting for that $800 billion, as well as massive budget deficits as far as the eye can see. And it goes beyond the mercurial world of polling. Pricey plans to deal with perceived climate change and healthcare are also appear on the ropes or are being scaled back as voters view them as lower priorities than job creation and taming out-of-control spending.

Green shoots? Oh there are some to be sure. Just yesterday, the Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose by its biggest monthly amount in five years And the stock market is up nearly 40 percent from its lows as depression fears ebb. Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, by contrast, declares that the “era of the green shoots is over.” He points out that 1) bellwether FedEx described the economy as “extremely difficult” when it reported disappointing earnings , 2) United Airlines said second quarter traffic fell as much at 10.5 percent, 3) commercial real estate loan concerns led S&P to cut ratings on 22 non-”too big too fail” regional banks; 4) incomes are being pinched by rising gas prices, and 5) surging interest rates are refreezing the housing market.
The Republicans tried to tell Obama what to do: "lower taxes, drill for oil, implement alternative energy when it becomes cheaper than the alternative". Was Mr. Obama listening? Evidently not. Let us hope his party pays for it in the 2010 mid-term elections.

And about that health care thing? Bill Whittle has some words on the subject. The words are not kind to Mr. Obama and his Democrat confederates.

So what do I think is required to get us out of the current mess? Cheaper energy. And not just oil. Although we need to bring more of that to market. It wouldn't hurt to get electrical energy below the price of coal. I think fusion might be an answer.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained.

And the best part about Polywell? We Will Know In Two Years.

The next best? If it works it should be possible to make fusion electricity for about the same price or less than coal electricity.

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 22, 2009

Legalization A Failure

In an article discussing Mexico's probable decriminalization of small amounts of drugs for personal use, the US Drug Enforcement Agency made its unhappiness known.

Michele Leonhart, acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, however, said in April that legalization "would be a failed law enforcement strategy for both the U.S. and Mexico."
How true. It would be one less set of laws to enforce.

The police would have a lot less work to do.

Well I'm going to be fearless and ask a question no one else will ask: "If the police have so much less work to do, who will pay for them?"

Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tehran: Battle With Police 20 June

From Pejman Yousefzadeh on Facebook.

Limited Crooked Election

Rumors that the Iranian elections had crooked election results in 150 or more Iranian cities is totally false. Nothing of the sort happened. According to Iranian government sources.

Quoted by Press TV, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman for the authoritative Guardian Council — a 12-member panel of clerics charged with certifying the vote — denied claims by another losing candidate, Mohsen Rezai, that irregularities had occurred in up to 170 voting districts.

“Statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100 percent of those eligible have cast their ballot in 80 to 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Mr. Kadkhodaei said.

But he said that a voter turnout in excess of the registered voting list was a “normal phenomenon” because people could legally vote in areas other than those in which they were registered. Nonetheless, some analysts in Tehran said, the number of people said to be traveling on election day seemed unusually high.
I wonder if they have considered high speed rail to reduce congestion on election day?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Applause For Obama

You don't get that much around here. But when he does something right he should be encouraged. This is from the 16th of June so I'm a little late.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had contacted the social networking service Twitter to urge it to delay a planned upgrade that would have cut daytime service to Iranians who are disputing their election.

Confirmation that the U.S. government had contacted Twitter came as the Obama administration sought to avoid suggestions it was meddling in Iran's internal affairs as the Islamic Republic battled to control deadly street protests over the election result.

Twitter and Facebook have been used as a tool by many young people to coordinate protests over the election's outcome.

President Barack Obama said earlier on Tuesday he believed "people's voices should be heard and not suppressed" in Iran.
Good on ya Barack.

Judith Weiss asked on Facebook on June 20th:
OK everybody let's help BHO out. What should the US do SPECIFICALLY to help the Iranian people right now? He (finally!) made a "statement" - now what?
My answer:
Keep the 'net open to them. Add proxy servers. Deliver Sat Phones with unlimited minutes (for the duration). And blog it every day, all the time.
Well it seems Barry is keeping the 'net open. Good for him. And let us hope he is doing more of that sort of thing behind the scenes: like set up proxy servers.

Now if the proxy servers had monitors on them a pretty good picture of what is going on in Iran could be built. Would Barry do that? Why wouldn't he?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

We Are On Our Own

The story of the Revolution is being written by the women.
I don’t know where this uprising is leading. I do know some police units are wavering. That commander talking about his family was not alone. There were other policemen complaining about the unruly Basijis. Some security forces just stood and watched. “All together, all together, don’t be scared,” the crowd shouted.

I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?” one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”

Another green-eyed woman, Mahin, aged 52, staggered into an alley clutching her face and in tears. Then, against the urging of those around her, she limped back into the crowd moving west toward Freedom Square. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “We want liberty!” accompanied her.

There were people of all ages. I saw an old man on crutches, middle-aged office workers and bands of teenagers. Unlike the student revolts of 2003 and 1999, this movement is broad.

“Can’t the United Nations help us?” one woman asked me. I said I doubted that very much. “So,” she said, “we are on our own.”

The world is watching, and technology is connecting, and the West is sending what signals it can, but in the end that is true.
The Iranian women are fighting and dying. About all I can do from here is pass on news that I find and wish the people of Iran better days.

You all know where I stand and have stood since 2003 and before.


Just as

I Support  Democracy In Iraq

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Woman Rocks

Woman Shot By Iranian Regime

Gateway Pundit has the story.

Gateway also has this picture gleaned from Facebook.
Woman With Rocks

The next few days will tell the story. Will there be enough blood in the streets to end the demonstrations? Or have things already gone beyond control?

Update: 21 June 2009, 0152z

The woman who died was called Neda, which means which means voice or call in Farsi.
Yesterday I wrote a note, with the subject line "tomorrow is a great day perhaps tomorrow I'll be killed." I'm here to let you know I'm alive but my sister was killed...

I'm here to tell you my sister died while in her father's hands
I'm here to tell you my sister had big dreams...
I'm here to tell you my sister who died was a decent person... and like me yearned for a day when her hair would be swept by the wind... and like me read "Forough" [Forough Farrokhzad]... and longed to live free and equal... and she longed to hold her head up and announce, "I'm Iranian"... and she longed to one day fall in love to a man with a shaggy hair... and she longed for a daughter to braid her hair and sing lullaby by her crib...

my sister died from not having life... my sister died as injustice has no end... my sister died since she loved life too much... and my sister died since she lovingly cared for people...

my loving sister, I wish you had closed your eyes when your time had come... the very end of your last glance burns my soul....

sister have a short sleep. your last dream be sweet.
You can see the video that the still of Neda was taken from on Facebook.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Why Drugs Work

The reason drugs work is that they or their natural analogs are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Deficiencies will cause cravings.

Incorrect Hypothesis

Scientists are all the time trying to figure out how the world works (it is their job after all). So they think about things that interest them and imagine how they work. Then they develop a rule, called a hypothesis, to match their imaginings. Then they test the rule against the real world. Some times things don't come out the way they were imagined.

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."
It wouldn't be the first time such an effect was found.
The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February 2000, when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. This report shows the medicinal value of marijuana and cancer treatment.

The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals. In 1974, researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institutes of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead the medicinal value of marijuana and cancer treatment. THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice — lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.
And with some new research out we are actually getting into the details of what has so far only been a statistical connection. Researchers have recently made headway into figuring out how it works. The title of the piece is Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through stimulation of ER stress in human glioma cells. Here is a bit from the abstract:
Autophagy can promote cell survival or cell death, but the molecular basis underlying its dual role in cancer remains obscure. Here we demonstrate that Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana, induces human glioma cell death through stimulation of autophagy.
They go on for pages with all that medical stuff. Not my area of expertise. So let me just say that THC kills cancer cells.

I look forward to the day when government controls medicine and requires people to smoke pot to prevent lung cancer. Perhaps they will go so far as to jail people with a negative drug test.

OK. So what is the bottom line here? In 1976 Gerald Ford forbade the US Government's sponsorship of any public research on marijuana and its effect on cancer. Can you imagine where we would be now if he had promoted such research? Prejudice kills. Think of all those cancer patients who have been victims of prejudice and didn't even know it.

H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Trust Issues

It seems that the Obama Government is loosing the support of its own members.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is unfair to the ethanol industry with its proposals on greenhouse gas reduction, the House Agriculture Committee chairman said on Wednesday, and he will not support any climate-change bills.

"You're going to kill off the biofuels industry before it even gets started. You are in bed with the oil industry," Collin Peterson told officials from the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency at a hearing on ethanol's impact on land use and greenhouse gases.

"I want this message sent back down the street. I will not support any climate-change bill. I don't trust anybody anymore," said the Democrat from Minnesota.
Good to see the thieves at each other's throats.

It seems that rural electric co-ops are not thrilled either.
Some say Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, could play a role in killing climate legislation. Others call him just a blip in the current political radar.

English, for his part, says he may not be able to support the federal global warming legislation now pending in the House until it reaches the Senate -- or as he calls it, "the fourth inning."

That's because NRECA represents some 930 rural customer-owned utilities that are more dependent on coal than many other generators. Under the federal climate bill, English fears, his members' customers will be hit hard.
And it looks like the EPA is already in trouble. Laws are being passed against it.
House appropriators approved a $10.6 billion spending bill for U.S. EPA last night, tucking in several amendments aimed at insulating agricultural interests from the reach of federal climate regulations.

The House Appropriations Committee cleared the fiscal 2010 Interior and Environment spending bill after adding provisions to block EPA regulations requiring factory farms to report their greenhouse gas emissions and exempt livestock operations from possible carbon regulations.

The committee voted 31-27 to adopt an amendment that would prevent funding from this or any other bill to go toward a rule that requires mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases from manure management systems at large factory farms.

Agriculture "is scared to death," of the regulation, said the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa). "They don't know what it's going to cost or the impact it's going to have on their livelihood."

EPA proposed a rule in March that would establish a national reporting system for industries to document their greenhouse gas emissions. The reporting rule would affect about 13,000 facilities nationwide, including large factory farms. The public comment on the rule ended earlier this month and EPA is expected to take final action in October.
I certainly hope this whole thing goes no where.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Beginning Of The End

The Federal Government is trying to get out of arresting users of marijuana.

Washington, DC: Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), will reintroduce legislation today to limit the federal government's authority to arrest and prosecute minor marijuana offenders.

The measure, entitled an "Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults," would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (over three and one-half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot - making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.

Under federal law, defendants found guilty of possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own personal use face up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely. Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.
Note that two Republicans have signed on. And note that one of the Republicans was in the running for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

I would be very surprised if marijuana prohibition for individuals was the law of the land in 2012. Of course the laws says nothing about suppliers. So there will still be good money in the business of supply. Especially when retail customers no longer need to fear arrest. This was essentially how alcohol prohibition worked. Small amounts of alcohol for personal use were legal. Large amounts got you busted for trafficking. No doubt if you frequented a place where liquor was trafficked (a speakeasy) you were subject to arrest, but otherwise you were generally free to go about your business.

It may take another 10 years to get all this properly sorted out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Some Music For The Iranian People

The below video came from Raye Man Kojast? Where Is My Vote? There is a lot of excellent material there in English, French, and Farsi. Updated frequently.


Just as

I Support  Democracy In Iraq

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The ITER Mafia

The Air Force has a gang of guys called the Fighter Mafia who work to improve the performance of American fighter aircraft.

In fusion physics we have the the ITER Mafia gobbling up all the funds and holding back fusion progress.

Looking For A Schedule

The joke that is the ITER Fusion Project in France just got a lot funnier today.

The EC said it welcomed the decision by the parties to adopt a "phased approach to the completion of ITER construction as a working basis for development of the project baseline."

In particular the EC said it welcomed a proposal to finalize a realistic schedule for the project.

"This is key to ensure a sound management of the project, which in turn will warrant running ITER in the most cost-effective and efficient way," the EC said.
They would welcome a realistic proposal. What have they been accepting up 'til now? Smoke, mirrors, fairy dust, and regular visits to the best brothels of Paris?

Sound management? The tokamak ELM problem has been known for 20 years. For ITER a solution was proposed after the design was done. "Sound management?" Surely you are joking.

Even the lawyers in Congress are starting to notice. If the American contribution to ITER goes down the whole DOE Fusion edifice goes down because it is built around ITER. Most of the small scale experiments are in support of ITER. And a big chunk of dough (something like $160 million a year) gets sent to ITER as either cash or payment in kind (equipment). Something like 4 different nations are going to supply the superconducting wire for the magnets. That is nuts.

Now what would a rational fusion program look like? Start with twenty small projects at $2 million a year per. That is $40 million. Add a $5 million slush fund to that to give boosts to promising experiments. Add in 5 projects at $10 million a year each. Add in one project at $20 million and one project at $40 million. That leaves $5 million a year for investigating new ideas and managing the overall project. And there you have managed to spend $160 million a year on a Balanced program that actually has a chance to achieve an economical working fusion reactor in twenty years or less.

And that is the biggest strike against ITER. Even its proponents agree that a working fusion reactor based on its principles will not be economical. On top of that the ITER approach is not expected to give results for 100 years. As some one said to me in an e-mail recently, "when I was a kid it was only 30 years." It is madness to go on this way.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't Blame The Drugs

A doctor gives advice to children and parents about drug use. One bit of advice I especially liked, "Assume drugs are everywhere." I guess the prohibition thing is not working out.

Anecdotal Evidence

Click the link and read the CNN transcript of the Melissa Etheridge portion of the video.

The second part of this video has Melissa with the bald look (a side effect of chemotherapy).

Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Room Temperature Superconductors One Step Closer

We are one step closer to room temperature superconductors.

Menlo Park, Calif.—Move over, silicon—it may be time to give the Valley a new name. Physicists at the Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have confirmed the existence of a type of material that could one day provide dramatically faster, more efficient computer chips.

Recently-predicted and much-sought, the material allows electrons on its surface to travel with no loss of energy at room temperatures and can be fabricated using existing semiconductor technologies. Such material could provide a leap in microchip speeds, and even become the bedrock of an entirely new kind of computing industry based on spintronics, the next evolution of electronics.

Physicists Yulin Chen, Zhi-Xun Shen and their colleagues tested the behavior of electrons in the compound bismuth telluride. The results, published online June 11 in Science Express, show a clear signature of what is called a topological insulator, a material that enables the free flow of electrons across its surface with no loss of energy.
Pretty darn exciting. It all depends on something called topological insulation. The article gives some details on how that works. Which gets a bit heavy on the physics. I'm going to skip that here. However, if you have heard of the Pauli exclusion principle it is worth a read.

There are some limitations. For now.
Topological insulators aren't conventional superconductors nor fodder for super-efficient power lines, as they can only carry small currents, but they could pave the way for a paradigm shift in microchip development. "This could lead to new applications of spintronics, or using the electron spin to carry information," Qi said. "Whether or not it can build better wires, I'm optimistic it can lead to new devices, transistors, and spintronics devices."

Fortunately for real-world applications, bismuth telluride is fairly simple to grow and work with. Chen said, "It's a three-dimensional material, so it's easy to fabricate with the current mature semiconductor technology. It's also easy to dope—you can tune the properties relatively easily."

"This is already a very exciting thing," he said, adding that the material "could let us make a device with new operating principles."
Bismuth Telluride is a semiconductor that is currently used for solid state refrigerators. It is also used to generate electricity from small temperature differences. That means the semiconductor industry has more than a little experience in fabricating the material.

If the lab boys have developed a repeatable formula it is possible we might see useful devices using this superconducting property in as little as three years. One use of such properties might be to make a super low noise microwave filter that doesn't require cooling to Liquid Nitrogen temperatures (77° Kelvin). That could be very helpful.

I will be keeping an eye on this one.

If "normal" superconductivity interests you this book is a good place to start:
Introduction to Superconductivity

And if you are a little further along and contemplate building a fusion reactor in your garage, this book could help:
Case Studies in Superconducting Magnets: Design and Operational Issues

Cross Posted at Classical Values

ITER Fusion - 100 Years Away

The BBC reports that tokamak fusion may be 100 years off.

The Iter project was set up three years ago to build an experimental nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France.

But construction costs alone have more than doubled and some scientists now argue that the development of fusion as a commercial power source is still at least 100 years away.
The ITER guys have a well paid flack you can watch at the BBC link extolling the virtues of ITER. He calls it the world's biggest science experiment.

Compare that to the applied research on the Polywell WB-8 Fusion Reactor test which is now gearing up. And with the experiments already completed and contemplated We Will Know In Two Years if the design can produce limitless fusion energy. Or if it is just another interesting science experiment. And the answer won't cost $20 billion either.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

H/T rn via e-mail

Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Boys At Talk-Polywell Have Struck Paydirt

The boys at Talk Polywell have uncovered the details of the WB-8 contract [pdf]. Those details can give us some insight into how WB-7 has gone. From the looks of things - rather well.

The current effort will build on what has been completed under these previous contracts as well as requirements to provide the Navy with data for potential applications of AGEE with a delivered item, wiffleball 8 (WB8) and options for a modified wiffleball 8 (WB8.1) and modified ion gun. The objective of this procurement is validation of the basic physics of the AGEE concept as well as requirements to provide the Navy with data for potential applications of AGEE. It builds upon previous concept-demonstration bench top versions of plasma wiffleballs. As such, it comes under the FAR 35.001 definition of applied research. The contract will be for a wiffleball 8 with 2 options for modifications to the wiffleball based upon it’s success.
OK. They are going into deeper validation. Which means WB-7 went OK.
3.1.1 The Contractor shall construct and test a small-scale MG Insulated, Wiffleball Polyhedral Device, WB8. WB8 shall be built based on results of WB7 (built under contract N68936-03-C-0031) and shall utilize design and performance knowledge gained from test of prior WB machines.

3.1.2 The design shall use circular coils around each main face cusp axis. The device shall use emitter electron gun arrays and an ion beam drive. The machine will be operated in magnetic fields with pulsed currents. WB8 shall be operated at a magnetic field strength of approximately 0.8 Tesla, which represents an increase of 8 times the magnetic field strength of previous WB machines. Improvements over previous WB machines in WB confinement, ion energy and fusion reactivity are expected as a result of these changes to WB machine design.

3.1.3 Within 20 days of completion of testing of the WB8, the contractor shall deliver a report detailing the results of the experimental testing of this MG Insulated, Wiffleball Polyhedral Device, WB8. The report shall provide sufficient information to guide programmatic and design decisions about further, refined design efforts for similar devices. The report shall address the plasma dynamics of WB devices, and shall address the scaling laws that apply to polywell fusion. (A001)
Circular coils means that there will be no significant change in geometry. That is good. Apples to apples comparisons. An increase of field strength by a factor of 8 means - if the scaling laws hold a factor of about 4,000 increase in power out. If WB-7 was similar to WB-6 it means an increase from 3 neutrons a shot to 12,000. A real countable number i.e the error bars will be much lower. A count of 3 can actually be considered a count of 3 +/-2. That is a big error bar. For 12,000 the error bar is on the order of +/-100 about 1%. That makes improvements or degradations of 5% easily detectable. Where as in the first situation (WB-6/7) changes that doubled or halved the output rate would be hard to detect.
3.1.4 Within 30 days of build and test of WB8, the contractor shall provide a predictive model of WB behavior including data points for detailed 2D/3D profile measurements of plasma density, ion energy and WB magnetic field structure during follow-on tests to validate the scientific basis for a Polywell fusion power reactor, and guide further research. The contractor shall coordinate with the Government for a program review meeting at the contractor’s facilities to be held no later than 40 days after the testing of the WB8 and shall provide the detailed predictive model and data points at this program review meeting.

3.1.5 The contractor shall deliver a periodic progress report specifying status information of the experimental testing of the MG Insulated, Wiffleball Polyhedral Device, WB8. (A002)
The magnetic profile of an operating device is critical for knowing how the device actually operates. Without that it is very difficult if not impossible to design in improvements.
3.1.6 The contractor shall deliver a conceptual design for a follow-on fusion demonstration device, WB-9. Conceptual studies will focus on the feasibility of extending the WB-8 results to this device and determining the suitability of this concept as a fusion reactor. This design will be delivered at the end of the contract.
So the program is starting to take on a life of its own. A WB-9 device is already under consideration even before experiments on WB-8 are even completed. This indicates a fair amount of confidence in the forthcoming results. Excellent.

Now here comes what I consider the most critical requirement of WB-8testing.
3.2.1 Enhanced Ion Drive with PB11 (proton/boron 11): Based on the results of WB8 testing, and the availability of government funds the contractor shall develop a WB machine (WB8.1) which incorporates the knowledge and improvements gained in WB8. It is expected that higher ion drive capabilities will be added, and that a “PB11” reaction will be demonstrated. The contractor shall investigate and validate the plasma scaling laws with respect to B-field, voltage and reactor size. The contractor shall investigate the feasibility of a neutron-free fusion power reaction using a polywell WB machine. It is anticipated that improvements in WB confinement, ion energy, and fusion reactivity will be demonstrated in WB8.1. Improvements over the WB8 predictive, computational model are expected, which should yield a better understanding of the WB fusion reaction thus allowing optimization of the WB machine.

3.2.2 The contractor shall deliver a report detailing the results of the experimental testing of WB8.1. The report shall provide sufficient information to guide programmatic and design decisions about further, refined design efforts for similar devices. The report shall address the plasma dynamics of WB devices, and shall address the scaling laws that apply to polywell fusion, and the feasibility of the PB11 reaction. The report shall address the conceptual requirements for a polywell fusion reactor capable of generating approximately 100mW. (A0001)

3.2.3 Within 30 days of testing, the contractor shall update the predictive computer model of WB behavior created under paragraph 3.1.4 using the PB11 reaction and shall deliver the model within 30 days of completion of initial tests specified in paragraph 3.2.1.
The fact that they are contemplating work on the pB11 reaction is very encouraging. That fuel is one of the most difficult to burn in a fusion reactor. Which means testing with lesser fuels (or simulated fuels) has gone very well indeed.

At 100 milliwatts for a follow on reactor they are starting to get into the power range. If they can get that kind of power with .3 m dia. coils and .8 T fields, then a reactor with 3 m coils and 10 T fields should produce about 2.5 Mega Watts if the scaling laws hold.

And just as a little kicker:
3.3.1 The contractor shall develop an enhanced ion drive system that is compatible with Wiffleball 8.1 and projected future wiffleballs. The ion drive system shall be capable of injecting protons (ionized Hydrogen), and ionized Boron 11. The ion drive system shall be capable of generating ions in sufficient quantity to fully fuel the wiffleball fusion machines.
If they are going to fuel even a small machine the ion guns are going to have to be capable of multi amp currents - each.

Well that is my first cut at digesting the news. If you want to figure out more a look at all the links at Talk Polywell will be helpful. I especially liked this inventory [pdf] of items purchased since about 1999.

All in all the new contract has a lot of good news. To sum up:

What it means about past work: it went well.
What it means for the future: verifying engineering rules
More: there is a plan to test the Hydrogen/Boron 11 fuel combination
More: They must be confident of results since they are planning a WB-9

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Michael Totten was discussing how important citizen journalism is to understanding the current situation in Iran. He gave a link to this audio report in Farsi with English subtitles.

And then Michael finds something that corroborates the audio report about the nature of the demonstrations.

What I saw today was the most elegant scene I had ever witnessed in my life. The huge number of people were marching hand in hand in full peace. Silence. Silence was everywhere. There was no slogan. No violence. Hands were up in victory sign with green ribbons. People carried placards which read: Silence. Old and young, man and woman of all social groups were marching cheerfully. This was a magnificent show of solidarity. Enghelab Street which is the widest avenue in Tehran was full of people. I was told that the march has begun in Ferdowsi Sq. and the end of the march was now in Imam Hossein Sq. to the further east of Tehran while on the other end people had already gathered in Azadi Sq. The length of this street is about 6 kilometers. The estimate is about 2 million people. On the way, we passed a police department and a militia (Baseej) base. In both places, the doors were closed and we could see fully-armed riot police and militia watching the people from behind the fences. Near Sharif University of Technology where the students had chased away Ahmadinejad a few days ago, Mirhossein Mousavi (the reformist elect president) and Karrubi (the other reformist candidate spoke to people for a few minutes which was received by cries of praise and applause. I felt proud to find myself among such a huge number of passionate people who were showing the most reasonable act of protest. Frankly, I didn’t expect such a political maturity from emotional Iranians who easily get excited.
Very interesting.

Totten has another report I found very interesting.
I asked him how social life in Iran is right now, ie if people are going to work, etc. He said that probably half the stores are closed, but that unemployment is 40% anyway, so its not like protestors have anything better to do. These people are mostly young, unemployed, have poor access to higher education, and no foreseeable future prospects. All they had was their perceived voice in government, and since that has been so blatantly taken away, the situation is ready to explode. He’s also heard that in smaller cities around the country, the protests have become much more violent with a lot of skirmishes between the Basij and protestors.
A lot of young men with nothing to do. Always dangerous. You can put them in armies but that is always dangerous. You could put the kids in schools. But you know - for authoritarian regimes - that is dangerous. You can always try to slow the spread of information by censoring cell phones and the internet. But that is never complete nor totally effective. Here is a video channel from YouTube that is a good place to start. You know when everyone has a television camera it turns out that The Revolution Will Be Televised.

Crowd In Iran Captures Policeman

The audio is in Italian. And my Italian is not so good. From about 2:00 minutes on you can watch the capture of a policeman.

H/T Commenter Nick G. at Michael Ledeen's

Obama's Iran Policy

Obama's policy on Iran seems to be to lay low and hope the whole thing blows over.

Meeting with the press before President Obama's speech to the American Medical Association in Chicago, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "I think there are a number of factors that give us some concern about what we've seen."

"Obviously we continue to have concern about what we've seen. Obviously the Iranians are looking into this, as well," Gibbs told reporters. "We continue to be heartened by the enthusiasm of young people in Iran."
What the heck does heartened by the enthusiasm of young people mean?

Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is not too happy with Obama's position.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lambasted the White House in a statement Monday afternoon, as reports came out of Iran of at least one protester killed in the tumult after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed a landslide victory over challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi on Friday.

"The Administration’s silence in the face of Iran’s brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East," Cantor said. "President Obama must take a strong public position in the face of violence and human rights abuses. We have a moral responsibility to lead the world in opposition to Iran’s extreme response to peaceful protests.

“In addition, Iran’s clerical regime has made clear that its nuclear program will move forward," he said. "The United States cannot trust the aspirations of a nation that is a state-sponsor of terrorism, and the Administration must work with Congress to do everything in its power to deny Iran nuclear weapons.”
And Harry Reid's position? Too disgusting to even mention. That man is whipped.

Well Michael Totten has pointed to some photos of youthful enthusiasm in Iran. The question is: will it burn itself out or can it be sustained long enough to overthrow the current regime?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Brain Dead Republican Enhances Party Image

And THIS abomination my friends is why the Republican party is in trouble. Big trouble.

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk will call for legislation Monday that would toughen drug-trafficking laws regarding a highly potent form of marijuana, with penalties of up to 25 years in prison for a first-time offense.

The law would target offenders who sell or distribute marijuana that has a THC content exceeding 15 percent.

… Drug dealers are increasingly cross-breeding plants to produce high-potency variants of marijuana, which are called “kush” in street slang when they have 20 percent THC, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said. “When you amplify the strength of it, you are increasing the harm to the system,” said Curran, who supports the legislation, which would amend a federal law. “They are more dangerous behind the wheel of a vehicle. It’s not a good idea to have people that messed up.”
Well that is a novel approach. You are not held responsible for how intoxicated you are but whether you got that way by serially downing six packs of beer or tumblers of whiskey.

Paul Armentano has some things to say about this. I'm going to start with the second of his points.
2) THC — regardless of potency — is virtually non-toxic to healthy cells or organs, and is incapable of causing a fatal overdose. Currently, doctors may legally prescribe a FDA-approved pill that contains 100 percent THC, and curiously, nobody among Rep. Kirk’s staff or at the Lake County Sheriff’s office seems to be overly concerned about its potential health effects.

3) Survey data gleaned from cannabis consumers in the Netherlands—where users may legally purchase pot of known quality—indicates that most cannabis consumers prefer less potent pot, just as the majority of those who drink alcohol prefer beer or wine rather than 190 proof Everclear or Bacardi 151. When consumers encounter unusually strong varieties of marijuana, they adjust their use accordingly and smoke less.

Of course, if Rep. Kirk (write him here!) was really concerned about potential risks posed by supposedly stronger marijuana, he would support regulating the sale of drug (as opposed to jailing first-time pot sellers for a quarter of a century) so that its potency would be consistent and this information would be publicly displayed to the consumer. This same advice applies to the members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Waukegan Police Department — who claim “we don’t make the laws; we just enforce them” — yet seem to have no problem whatsoever lobbying for increased federal pot penalties while on company time.
And this my friends is exactly what is wrong with the Republican party. The handwriting is on the wall relative to marijuana and the Dumb Republicans can't read it. I do know how it is with policies and parties though. It is like a real marriage. 'Til death do us part. Or defeat in an election. Whichever comes first.

H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Monday, June 15, 2009

Michael Totten On Iran

Michael Totten as usual has very good sources. Let us start with the fact that in the above video a phalanx of police is retreating before a mob.

Then Michael gives this excerpt from Shah of Shahs.
Now the most important moment, the moment that will determine the fate of the country, the Shah, and the revolution, is the moment when one policeman walks from his post toward one man on the edge of the crowd, raises his voice, and orders the man to go home. The policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd are ordinary, anonymous people, but their meeting has historic significance.

They are both adults, they have both lived through certain events, they have both their individual experiences.

The policeman’s experience: If I shout at someone and raise my truncheon, he will first go numb with terror and then take to his heels. The experience of the man at the edge of the crowd: At the sight of an approaching policeman I am seized by fear and start running. On the basis of these experiences we can elaborate a scenario: The policeman shouts, the man runs, others take flight, the square empties.

But this time everything turns out differently. The policeman shouts, but the man doesn’t run. He just stands there, looking at the policeman. It’s a cautious look, still tinged with fear, but at the same time tough and insolent. So that’s the way it is! The man on the edge of the crowd is looking insolently at uniformed authority. He doesn’t budge. He glances around and sees and sees the same look on other faces. Like his, their faces are watchful, still a bit fearful, but already firm and unrelenting. Nobody runs though the policeman has gone on shouting; at last he stops. There is a moment of silence.

We don’t know whether the policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd already realize what has happened. The man has stopped being afraid – and this is precisely the beginning of the revolution. Here it starts.
The question is, will this nothing left to lose attitude be sustainable? Will the boat rock far enough to tip over? So far the regime has been able to contain these eruptions. It all depends on the balance of fear. And chaos. In chaos small perturbations can have big effects.

Well you know Michael has way more. Visit him. And drop him a buck or two.

Cross Posted at Classical Values