daily news

Shipping Alcohol


Image: Pumping ethanol from corn in 1933 @ DOE.gov

Quite naturally the proposal (Plan for 1,800-mile ethanol pipeline unveiled, Bruce C. Smith/IndyStar) must include very high security indeed, lest small holes be tapped along the length of the pipe, turning the thing into an 1800-mile long, everlasting supply of 'moonshine'. Which everybody knows is worth ten times the price of a gallon of gas, and which would render the individual too stoned to drive.

Ergo: drink 180-proof alcohol, save energy.

Shorted Handed

This morning the FCIC will talk to Eric Holder about the FBI's in/ability to keep up with mortgage fraud. They know the answer:

Lichtblau-Johnston-Nixon/NYT: F.B.I. Struggles to Handle Financial Fraud Cases (18 Oct 2008):

Since 2004...the bureau has repeatedly asked the Bush administration for more money to replenish the ranks of agents handling nonterrorism investigations...But each year, the requests have been denied...

Holder coulda phoned this one in.

Mysterious Objects In Space


Image © AFAM/CARA/G.Sostero,P.Camilleri,E. Guido,M. Jaeger,E. Prosperi,W. Vollmann/AP:

A mystery object from space, as seen from the Skylive-Grove Creek Observatory in Australia, is about to whizz close by Earth. Scientists are stumped by what exactly the object, 33 to 50 feet wide at most, is.

Flying home, the alien took a shortcut.

Kansas' Judge Overturns Sixth Commandment

[Update, Wed, 13 Jan: "This trial is going to be on TV, but it is not a TV trial - it is a real trial," defense attorney Mark Rudy said.

Master of the obvious.]

"The damage is done: The judge has agreed to give him a platform," Hern said. "It is an act of incomprehensible stupidity on the part of the judge, but he is carrying out the will of the people of Kansas who are trying to get out of the 19th century."
[Roxana Hegeman/AP: Some fear Kan. ruling may spur abortion violence]

Just plain cuckoo. If this holds Kansas will have officially sanctioned reduced sentences for vigilantes.

PEJ Report: How News Happens


Image © Fadi Abou Ghalioum/Daily Star (Lebanon)

PEJ: How News Happens:

... while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, most of what the public learns is still overwhelmingly driven by traditional media -- particularly newspapers.

In the growing echo chamber online, formal procedures for citing and crediting can get lost. We found numerous examples of websites carrying sections of other people’s work without attribution...

Good report for the editors and publishers to read. They might even wake up enough to avoid total collapse.

Code Wars


Margo Roosevelt/LAT:

Environmental groups try to block parts of California's green building code
:

The proposed code, likely to be adopted Tuesday, would slash water use, mandate the recycling of construction waste, cut back on polluting materials and step up enforcement of energy efficiency in new homes, schools, hospitals and commercial buildings statewide.

Well, lessee here. Houses out here have been energy efficient since back in the mid-70's. Builders installed dual-pane windows, insulated walls and ceiling/roof assemblies, sealed around all vertical and horizontal openings, and installed far more efficient HVAC systems. Our drought brought added requirements for low-flow fixtures, 1.5 gal toilets, even a move toward drought tolerant plants. (I'll give them the increased attention to waste, even though our locals have been source-separating for decades, because those were not Statewide requirements.)

So why the whine? The enviros want to mandate use of a proprietary set of 'standards' developed by the private sector, for which the building industry and manufacturers have been paying dearly. Screw that. I'll stick with the State's new code set. One State, one set of standards. The Earth Biscuit Brigades can take a hike.

Experts of the Unexpected


Image: Aerial View and Portraits of Poultry Farmer Experts - Petaluma, CA @ AllPosters

I suppose I could link to what passes for 'news' on point here, but there is no value in the content. Another morning where some jackass who thinks he's a reporter makes a few calls to other jackii who think they are 'experts', for reaction to a government report filled with WAGs. 'Experts' are 'surprised' at the 'unexpected' [rise/fall/no change] in the [insert relevant report here].

Out West we have a word for that practice: chickenshit. In the mediasphere it's neck deep and rising.

Empty Chairs


Image © James Thompson/BBC

I don't think there has been a better opportunity for the activist 'progressive left' to fill soon-to-be-empty Senate seats in at least a decade. The loud but growing group of marginally effective backbenchers who inhabit the alt.universe of e-com have failed miserably thusfar, but now have a slim chance to actually promote and elect two U.S. Senators.

My take? No way, no how. Too scattered, fragmented, and disingenuous. Plus, no candidates. Good luck wid dat.

Screening


Image @ A la mode.com

The most fascinating thing about new tools, is the fact that it has taken decades of effort by the world's greatest engineers to produce devices that replicate a piece of paper with print, with the added bonus of programs that will allow any human capable of it to write as if on paper.

Brilliant, no? At least sixty years of brain-numbing, massive study, and intense global competition to make tools that function almost as good as the originals.

I'll make a note.