Here’s your damn private forum.
Sep 01 2007
re-posted from DailyKos
There is an energy source that is abundant, clean, renewable, and locally available. It’s also almost entirely untapped, even though the technology to tap a lot of it already exists. It’s enhanced geothermal, which involves tapping the Earth’s heat with deep mines (miles deep). A panel at MIT wrote about it, and I’m impressed. The full report (400 pages) is at this site this site
Sep 01 2007
Four at Four is an afternoon briefing of four (yes only four) important or interesting stories in the news. Please look for it Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern.
According to the Washington Post, George W. Bush apologized to Roberta Stewart, “the widow of a Wiccan soldier, after she was excluded from a Nevada meeting this week that the president held with the families of soldiers killed in combat.” Stewart lost her husband, Patrick, in Afghanistan in 2005. Bush called Stewart for a five minute conversation and “expressed regret over her exclusion.”
There is a hopeful article about green energy in the Washington Post, Beyond Wind and Solar, a New Generation of Clean Energy. Some of the alternatives investigated include buoys”to harness ocean waves off the coast of Oregon to produce electricity” and geothermal power plants that “pump naturally heated water from underground, run it through turbines to generate electricity and re-inject it into the earth”. The article notes that, “this push for lesser-known renewables — which also includes geothermal, solar thermal and tidal energy — may someday help ease the country’s transition to a society less reliant on carbon-based fuels. But many of these technologies are in their infancy, and it remains to be seen whether they can move to the marketplace and come close to meeting the country’s total energy needs.” Let’s hope the engineers and scientists succeed and let’s push the politicians to make it possible.
The Sydney Morning Herald gives an update on the Voyager I and II space probes in Thirty years tracking faint whispers from space. “When NASA’s Voyager probes set sail they were the most sophisticated spacecraft ever built. But that was 30 years ago.” Now, the Tidbinbilla space tracking station, outside Canberra, Australia has to maintain “heritage equipment to talk to them… because the ageing probes can only chat at a sluggish 32 bits a second, far too slow for modern computers.” Some of the engineers maintaining the equipment are younger than the hardware.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Jason Ur, an archaeologist at Harvard University has a new theory about how ancient cities came to be. “Excavations at a 6,000-year-old archeological mound in northeastern Syria called Tell Brak are providing an alternative explanation for how the first cities may have grown. ¶ Archeologists have thought cities generally began in a single small area and grew outward — but evidence indicates that the urban area at Tell Brak was a ring of small villages that grew inward to become a city.”
So, what else is happening?
Sep 01 2007
(re-posted from Daily Kos)
It is time to unite the country. Time and past time to do, if you ask me. But *how* shall we unite the country? Shall we attempt to reach out to the -more moderate- less crazy Republicans? If so, *how* should we do it?
Major polls show most of the head to head presidential races tight. Yes, folks, a lot of people say they would vote for Giuliani against Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. Latest polls show all three winning, but not by much.
So, what should we do?
more below the fold
Sep 01 2007
This is an off-the-cuff essay, but it’s an easy question. Why are the Democrats falling for it this time?
We can run a side-by-side comparison: April 2007, and now. We can compare the weeks preceding the funding requests in May 2007 and September 2007. The Republican propoganda is unsurpisingly identical in each case. Each time, the Republicans ran a EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER YOU BETTER FUND THE OCCUPATION!!!! campaign against the public and the Democrats.
Last time, in April, it was a bit ridiculous. McCain humiliating himself on 60 Minutes. Mike Spense and his Indiana marketplace.
This time it’s a bit more dignified. “Violence is Down in Baghdad”. But relative levels of decorum aside, there is nothing complicated about this comparison. It’s apples to apples.
Sep 01 2007
I have the schedule from Hell. I suppose it could be worse, but any sane people would see a worse schedule and stop the insanity. I’m on the cusp of instanity, so it slid through.
I have classes MW 6-7:45 and TTH 10-11:45, 4-5:45 and 6-7:45. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm is when faculty meetings take place…every week. So I have just about enough time open on those days to eat lunch.
Anyway, that’s not my topic. I met my classes this past week and tried to impress them with how much fun they can have if they want to do so…and how much it would please their instructor if they adopted such an attitude. Only time will tell me if I was successful in that.
Sep 01 2007
Now that word of our existence is starting to trickle out, I thought it would be a good time to post another sort of mission statement. Of course, absolutely none of this should be taken as absolute.
We are taking a very different approach, with this site. We are pursuing a discussion that is based more on issues and ideology, which means we happily invite people who would, on other sites, be considered purity trolls. Some of us may stretch our purity wings, and some of us may argue against such, but I believe that the overall goal of all of us, and of most who will find here an online home or vacation home, is to push the political center of this country to the left. Much to the left! To some of us, that will mean, primarily, trying to help destroy the current extremist version of the Republican Party. To some, it will mean trying to destroy the current capitulating Democratic Party. To some, it will mean trying to save the Democratic Party by remaking it. But it will also mean much much more than any of that.
Some of us are more of the ranter type, and some are more intensely cerebral. Most of us are a mix of the two. But we won’t be spending as much time on horse-race politics. Not that most of us have anything against such, but Daily Kos serves that function very ably. Those of us who continue to participate in Daily Kos do so because we appreciate it for what it is. But, again, we will be more focused on issues and ideology. And as the name of the site suggests, we will also be trying to reawaken a non-denominational, areligious and irreligious spiritual core, that may, at times, involve aspects of different religions, and often won’t. Liberal idealism is, by its very nature, spiritual. Even those who consider themselves atheists, agnostics, and/or secular humanists do so with a great deal of spiritual idealism and passion. We want to touch on all of that. We want to explore the arts as well as the sciences. We want to discuss philosophy and literary criticism. We want to discuss how to help our species evolve in such a way that a more principled and just society evolves with it. If there are still, in the world, Thomas Paines and Walt Whitmans, we hope to lure some of them in here.
Sep 01 2007
Eastern Standard Time, that is. I'm live from New York. (Well, woulda been 8 pm EST, but I screwed up the formatting on the time. Sorry 'bout that!)
I had all sorts of ideas on what I wanted my weekly essay to be about. Fuck it. I couldn't be consistent if you put a gun to my head.
But today's essay will be about diversity.