Friday, July 15, 2011

Chorizos!

(That’s New Mexican for Hot Links)

Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.” Ray Bradbury.

My “Favorites” list has gotten out of hand again, so it’s time to make the sausages. I thought I’d start with some technological advances that are in the works or at least are claimed to be. New technology is how we’re going to have to get out of the fiscal slump we’re in and start moving forward again.

Cyanobacteria: Here’s the concept: build solar panels filled with water and blue-green algae (yes, the stuff they were touting as a nutritional supplement a few years ago), more formally known as cyanobacteria, that have been bio-engineered to excrete something that can be used as diesel fuel. Pump in carbon dioxide – an unwanted byproduct from a nearby factory – as food for the algae, and pump out fuel from the other end. It sounds promising: http://www.jouleunlimited.com/

Megawindmills: If you’ve seen semi trucks carrying individual blades for windmills that generate electricity, you know these things have gotten huge. Just how big can they get? A 23-million-Euro project in Denmark called “UpWind” aims to find out. The biggest windmills today produce five to six megawatts; UpWind is working to see if a 20 MW monster could be mechanically and economically feasible: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415083320.htm

Infrastricture: Sometimes we can’t move forward until we figure out where we’ve gone wrong in the past. Here’s a website that calls into question our post-war reliance on suburbs as the appropriate mechanism of growth. The problem is that single-family houses are built on lots that are too big to allow utilities to be maintained. The roads, sidewalks, and water and sewer lines have too far to travel between connections, and there isn’t critical mass to support transit facilities. Dense developments surrounded by open space may be the solution: http://www.grist.org/sprawl/2011-06-22-the-american-suburbs-are-a-giant-ponzi-scheme

Got fungi? They’ll eat up an oil spill, decontaminate water, kill the termites under your house, even break down nerve gas. If you’re only familiar with fungi in the form of button mushrooms or athlete’s foot, you’ve got a lot to learn. You could find worse ways to spend 18 minutes than by watching Paul Stamets’s video about fungi and how they can save the world: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html

Got magic? This one is a little bit on the far side, but it still has to do with mushrooms saving the world. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers found that psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms,” as some call them, not only improves your life, it has long-lasting positive effects. Seems like someone told me that 40 years ago; they were illegal back then, too: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/06/magic-mushrooms-safe-still-illegal

Floating cannon ball: This one’s really out there, but it’s fun. Canadian scientist John Hutchinson bombarded a 75-pound cannon ball “with high-frequency waves produced by Tesla coils, radio waves, and Van de Graaf waves” and made it float. Is this what allows UFOs to change course instantaneously while traveling at high speeds? See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK-BziiId_0&feature=share

Déjà vu all over again: Well, back to politics. Political scientist Laurence Britt studied fascist regimes, including Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Suharto’s Indonesia, and Pinochet’s Chile, and came up with fourteen common traits. The list is eerily familiar: http://www.ellensplace.net/fascism.html

Another Fave Fourteen: Here’s another list of 14 things that is strangely similar to the previous one: http://www.truth-out.org/14-propaganda-techniques-fox-news-uses-brainwash-americans/1309612678

Trickle up: Profits are way up at the Fortune 500 companies. How’s that working out for us? http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/05/163747/fortune-500-corporations-81/

Meanwhile, back at the board room: CEOs of the Standard & Poor’s 500 companies (probably about the same as the Fortune 500) made more in 2010 than they did in 2007, before the excrement contacted the oscillator: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110506/D9N1UMKO1.html

Perspective: House Republicans have proposed cutting the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by over $830 million. Pat Garofalo points out that this is roughly equivalent to one week of the revenues we would have collected from millionaires if Congress had not extended the Bush tax cuts last December: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/06/02/234878/gop-nutrition-cuts-one-week/

Is our military too big? We have 5% of the world’s population but account for almost half of worldwide military spending. This is one of 13 facts that may surprise you:   http://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-defense-spending-2010-11#

Pipelineistan: Why are we in Afghanistan? Is it to crush the “50-75 ‘al-Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan” (supposedly a CIA quote) now that bin Laden is gone? Here’s an interesting perspective, from what Wikipedia describes as the ”independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/07/2011711121720939655.html

Something completely different: Even I get tired of politics. Here’s a collection of recipes for one of the most astonishing substances on earth: dandelion wine. Enjoy! http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelion.asp

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