daily news

Days of Future Passed: Sol

Tyler Hamilton/Tech Review: Gasifying Biomass with Sunlight:

The gasifier is mounted atop a tower surrounded by a field of solar concentrating mirrors that reflect sunlight back to the furnace. As the biomass is dropped through the intensely hot ceramic tubes, it is vaporized into syngas.

The article discusses the ever-present problem of 'scaling up', but the pilot is up and running. The 'scaling-up problem' of course ignores the reality of what's staring them - and entirely too many others - in the face:

Pity the Fools: This Time Send No One.


As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff, according to a new Security Council report.

[Jeffrey Gettleman+Neil MacFarquar/NYT:
Half of Food Aid to Somalia Is Diverted, Report Says (8 March 2010)


Looting, by heavily armed gangs, of supplies from delivery and distribution points, as well as attacks on incoming and docked ships and on airports and airstrips, prevented the assured delivery of humanitarian assistance by overland transport.

[Somalia - UNOSOM 1 Background (Jan '91 forward)

Quit diggin'.

Doin' the Hokey Pokey In An LA Middle School

Image © LATimes: Burbank middle school teacher arrested for allegedly having unlawful sex with a student:

We'll have to watch this one closely, given the importance of the story in the overall scheme of things. Never mind those few hundreds of dead, dying, or damaged children in the greater LA area. We got a horny teacher story!

Now *that's* a news organization with their priorities straight.

First Impressions

Kevin Bullis/Tech Review: Ultra-Efficient Gas Engine Passes Test:

Transonic Combustion, a startup based in Camarillo, CA, has developed a fuel-injection system it says can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by more than 50 percent. A test vehicle equipped with the technology gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving, which is far better than more costly gas-electric hybrids . . .

[Image © Transonic Combustion]

Excellent. Let the change-outs begin.

C.o.C. Suckers

Tom Hamburger/LAT: U.S. Chamber of Commerce grows into a political force:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is building a large-scale grass-roots political operation that has begun to rival those of the major political parties, funded by record-setting amounts of money raised from corporations and wealthy individuals.

Well, hey, the-people-who-would-own-America need, well, their people too. Looks like they've been doing what they do best, hiring a bunch of 'vote mercs' at around six bits a pop to stand out front of grocery stores and beg for signatures.

The Jetpack Arrives

Image © Martin Aircraft

Tannith Cattermole/gizmag: It's 2010 - finally my jet pack is here!:

And when will I be able drive it to work? Again it's a waiting game as currently air traffic control technology is not yet advanced enough to cope with jetpacks . . .

Yeah, yeah, they're 'getting there'. I've been fed that line of b.s. for over fifty years. Even though this one's positively real, and you can buy-'n-fly with an ultralight license, you'll probably be restricted to rural airspace.

On second thought, I think if I'd spent 86 grand for a toy like that, I'd be flying the thing wherever the hell I want.

Woman Attacks Jailer With Breast

AP: Woman charged in breast milk assault on jailer:

(03-07) 07:09 PST Owensboro, Ky. (AP)

A woman in jail for public intoxication was accused of assaulting a jailer by squirting breast milk at her. WYMT-TV reported that a 31-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. But as she was changing into an inmate uniform, she squirted breast milk into the face of a female deputy who was with her.

The woman now faces a felony charge of third degree assault on a police officer. Her bond was set at 10,000.

That's the story in it's entirety. I'll leave the visuals to you.

Filming In Their Boots

Operation In Their Boots:

Operation In Their Boots (OITB) is a unique filmmaking fellowship in which Brave New Foundation commissions five veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to produce and direct their own documentary films.

Go read the article: Alexandra Zavis/LAT: Veterans put their own war stories on film. Timely, with today's election in Iraq. Nicely done.

Layers of Evil

And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you
Bob Dylan: Positively 4th Street
© Warner Bros. (1965)

Continental Divide: It's Only Money

Image @ HistoryMap.com

Sam Dillon/NYT: Federal Grant Competition Whittles to 16 Finalists:

WASHINGTON — New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. . .Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Proof positive from the Feds that the United States ends @ the Mississippi River. (Colorado, owing to it's lack of anything useful to the rest of the Country, was included out of pity - a "token West" State).

CAP in Afghanistan

Cover/Manual @ Air War College/Maxwell AFB

John Koopman/sfgate: Marines seal bonds of trust / Special unit wants to win hearts, minds (4 Jul 2004):

This is about hearts and minds. Captain Matt has captured both in Haditha. He taught himself Arabic, which he says he speaks at a 4-year-old's level. Still, it's enough for him to joke with the Iraqis and make a more personal connection.

Reading Twigs & Stems

Image © Zig-Zag @ Hemptopia

Carla Marinucci+Joe Garofoli/sfgate:
Can Jerry Brown shed 'Gov. Moonbeam' label?

Having a flexible image, as Brown does, "means a candidate with $50 million to spend on running negative ads on you all summer can define you if you don't act first," said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego.

Right. Gimme a puff on dat fo' you th'ow it away.

Souther To LAX: Later. Stop. Republicans. Stop.

Image © Salem News

LA Now:
One-time TSA nominee resigns from police post at L.A. World Airports

President Obama’s nomination of Southers to head the agency that helps protect passengers from terrorist attack came under fire from Republicans over worries he would support TSA workers unionizing