Friday, November 07, 2008

Water Goes Off the Grid

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A Canadian company rethinks atmospheric-water generators

Happy Now?: Will the chance to generate drinking water
from the air make consumers smile?

The escalating cost of electricity has sent a growing
number of consumers in search of ways to generate
electricity at home. Element Four, based in Kelowna,
B.C., Canada, is betting that with bottled-water
consumption increasing and aging water distribution
systems, water will be the next commodity consumers will
want to produce at home. The company has done what it
says is a top-to-bottom reinvention of the
atmospheric-water generator—a device that pulls water
from the air by cooling it to the point that
condensation forms and then keeps it sterile for

Element Four’s WaterMill is a 300‑watt generator that
makes up to 12 liters of drinking water per day—enough,
it says, for your typical North American household. At
Kelowna’s rate of 6 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour, the
cost comes to about 3 to 4 cents per liter
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And it's Canadian!

In combination with sustainable power generation - solar, wind, thermal differential, biofuels, biogas - this would definitely make long term, sustainable independence possible in very remote locations. Or in your city apartment, for that matter.

Purple America

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Here's a graphic illustration of how the presidential election turned out. These are the results by county, with color reflecting the percentage that voted Republican (red) and Democrat (blue).


Here's what it looks like when the counties are scaled by population size; the smear of reds is greatly diminished.

It's striking how the emptiest places in the country are enriched with fervent conservatives. People are always fretting over how conservatives are outbreeding liberals, but it seems to me that that actually works in liberals' favor — as communities become larger and more interdependent, as people grow up aware of social support systems, as their numbers create richer opportunities for education, there's a trend towards embracing liberal values.
Of course, there is the alternative explanation:

Whatever the explanation is, I want more blue in these maps. There are more election cartograms to peruse.

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Oddly enough, people who are not isolated from differences, who have to work with black, gay, Hispanic, lesbian, First Nations persons of various and no religious background end up being far more decent people on average.

Hm. Amusing thought; when Mao Tse Tung sent all the "Counterrevolutionary Intellectuals" to the country to work in the fields, it's quite possible that he was sowing the seeds for the end of Maoist thought.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Stupid; It Threatens to Explode!

The stupid is deep, and I am lazy, so I will simply point and laugh. (H/t) Jon Swift's Latest

Michelle Malkin addresses the troops:

I’m getting a lot of moan-y, sad-face “What do we do now, Michelle?” e-mails.

What do we do now? We do what we’ve always done.

We stand up for our principles, as we always have — through Democrat administrations and Republican administrations, in bear markets or bull markets, in peacetime and wartime.

We stay positive and focused.

We keep the faith.

We do not apologize for our beliefs. We do not re-brand them, re-form them, or relinquish them. We defend them.

Positive and focused. She actually said that out loud.

Positive. Focused. With the word "stay" in front of it. As if, you know, warning against the temptation to say really bad, nasty, untrue things in these stressful times.

Just follow her example; she councils. And don't re-think failure, don't reconsider positions rejected by the largest plurality of citizens ever, Ghu forbid! No; defend the indefensible, the unthinkable and the outright fucking delusional to the last ditch.

Yep. Stay the course.

Please, Michelle. Adhere to this ONE principle. America needs you to carry on the in the footsteps of Lyndon LaRouche.

And in other news; Republicans wonder if they should rally behind Palin as their new "brand image."

Well, all I can say is that those of you who think that's a good idea, please do go right ahead.

You might also consider changing the name to the "Federalist HotWife Whig Party."

Sadly, No: Barack To The Future II: The Hosening
Stupidest thing ever written by a human is here — but not for long, because they’re already trying to top it.

The "stupidest thing" is an Wall Street Journal op-ed saying that citizens have treated Bush shamefully and thereby emboldened "our enemies." I presume that in this context, "our enemies" includes a plurality of the actual electorate.

But in the running, with stars and clusters for unintentional irony, is one Paige Rodrieguez, commenting on the Bush Was Picked On meme:

Whatever criticisms we may have about Bush's presidency, I predict that Obama's tenure will give us a fuller appreciation of what we had, and painfully aware of what we have now lost.
All I can say is - "From your lips to God's Ears." And may your karma have sharp corners.

Pere Ubu's Debraining Machine: What I learned from Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh today

And from the department of hardcore reality... (via Raw Story)

"Police and the Secret Service are investigating whether a man arrested this afternoon in Rosemont with an assault rifle intended to harm Barack Obama, several sources have told the Chicago Sun-Times," the paper reported.

The man was arrested during a routine traffic stop, according to the paper. Police found a laptop computer opened to a page warning of possible riots if Obama won. The man also had a stun gun, ammunition and hand guns, along with the assault rifle, sources told the paper.

“There’s an individual who we have in custody at this time. There’s no charges as of yet,” a police spokesman told the Sun Times. “As part of the investigation, we’ve gotten the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.”

Obama, who Tuesday night became the first African American elected president, has been targeted in a handful of possible assassination plots, including during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.
"The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied," the magazine reports in a special post-election edition. "Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. 'Why would they try to make people hate us?' Michelle asked a top campaign aide."

Michelle, you are a liberal democrat and a black female, so I assume that was an rhetorical question, but the reason, bluntly, is they want to excite some dispensable idiot to the point where he kills you, your husband, your children, your puppies and any hope left for civilization in the howling wilds between the Canadian and Mexican borders. That's why.

As for the more difficult question as to why anyone would think that was an appropriate thing to do - I refer you to your preacher, and suggest you ask them why people choose to do evil things.

For myself, I see no reason to try and understand why anyone would do such a thing. I think it response enough to hold them accountable for the consequences. This entry is my small effort toward that end; sadly inadequate in itself, but perhaps as a pebble in an avalanche of outrage, it may do it's part to bury such evil under a new and higher ground.

The Stupid; It Burns! Mug by webcarve

Scary Black Man President = Conservative Victory!

"Whether Obama was elected because of enormous voter fraud, liberal white guilt, an influx of new and ignorant voters or some kind of mass hysteria is not important. For now all Americans should savor this victory for our country and for conservative values."

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The Reality Behind Teenage Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books

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Oh, yeah!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I GOT your Joke, Ace. I just don't WANT it.

It has long puzzled me why Conservatives so consistently embarrass themselves in Jon Swift's comment threads. Apparently someone should reprogram a GI-Joe to say "Funny is hard." Here's all too much evidence of what the readers (and writers) at Ace of Spades think is Real Conservative Humor.

Of course, he traps far more humorless liberals - in case you were about to Swiftly respond in that direction. But then, the more humorless a liberal is, the more distressed they are about the sort of people who start out a post with "What's the difference between a woman and a tuna."

The problem with humorless liberals is that they treat such people seriously, instead of treating them as they deserve (within the bounds of law.) Usta be, when I grew up, anyone who said such a thing in hearing of a woman could look forward to a ruthless snubbing - at the very best. Nowadays, it's become understood that a woman has the perfectly understandable right to do her own snubbing. At the very least. And, as I said, within the bounds of law.

Alas, this properly limits one to mockery and fine satire. But then again, fine satire IS a better contribution to our culture than any amount of swastika decorated vellum lampshades and no matter how much fine luck it would bring.

It appears that, in taking themselves beyond the point of parody, this sort of person has made themselves too embarrassing to associate with, and perhaps also betrayed that their judgment in large things is no better than their judgment in small matters.

To quote Papa Heinlein: "Justice is what you deserve. Mercy is what you hope you get." Words to live by, in these brave new days - if you are the sort of "conservative" that thinks people "should be able to take a joke."

Because SOME jokes should be taken all the way to the Hague. Along with their cheerleaders, should there be any doubt where I stand upon this point.

Hope, fear and hope from across the 38th Parallel.

The bit below was a response to this election post/thread on Echidne of the Snakes. Antijen speaks for a great many people; myself among them.

Eight years ago, I was casually cynical about politics, but still had reason to think that most people (and politicians) were well intentioned and had some principles. In January 2001, I moved to the US and GWB took office. Since then, almost every news story has been of corruption and the destruction of civil liberties, environmental protections and the ability of the government to even function. Now that Obama has won, I am mostly relieved that we have averted another diaster...and starting to dare to hope for more.

I was inspired to do some thinking aloud, and realized that it had expanded to a point that I either needed to be actually blogging there, or post it here. And indeed, it would have been quite inappropriate to post it there as a comment.


antijen, that was a perfect summation of these last eight years for me. I moved to the US in 2000. My wife and I left in September fearing the consequences of what could happen, having been devastated by economic and medical issues that should never have become issues. And frankly, this fight for the soul of your nation has taken a toll upon me. Note that I say "your nation." I am a dual citizen in fact and law. But it's emotional truth has evaporated. In this fight I've lost my ability to really care about the fate of all citizens of the United States.

The fact is, as stupid as "My country, right or wrong" is as a slogan, it must be something you can abide by at the last ditch, if push comes to shove. And in that event, should push come to shove, I cannot honestly take that position.

Let the healing begin - and I hope and pray it can. But it will not be without some surgery and I do indeed fear that it will not come without violence and upheaval. There are outstanding moral and legal debts, international obligations to justice being done and amends to be made if this beautiful moment is to unfold in all it's seeming promise.

I personally believe that even the appearance of being willing to hold the Bush administration accountable for it's most literal and inarguable crimes could cause social upheaval. It will certainly earn legitimate worldwide contempt and distrust - and with that will come terrifying economic consequences.

Too many people have been raised for too long in total batshit denial of vital duties of citizenship and the requirements of participating in civil discourse. Too many people believe that linguistic, social or direct violence and oppression are the first and only appropriate responses to dissent. And the realization that this cancer infects the US as badly as it infects anywhere the Taliban raises it's banner with impunity is something no-one who can connect to the internet and is aware of geopolitics and the price of money is unaware of.

These people have been defeated in a crucial battle. The war will continue; complacency is not an option.

I do not think they will permit "reconciliation." Nor do I believe they deserve forgiveness for thirty years of conscious subversion and treason. Whatever happens will be remarkable and intensely interesting from an historical perspective. For that very reason, I choose to spend the remainder of my days in a far less "interesting" social matrix.

I find myself holding within my heart an implacable hatred of all these people stand for, a hatred that is refueled every day by every pinhead and would-be potentate who consciously lies or stupidly repeats lies intended to further the end of a Saudi-style religious dictatorship upon us all. And such levels of hatred and contept bring a price of bitterness that I did not care to pay more of.

I finally choose to return home. Canada earned my loyalty long ago; but in the US, it's been established to my satisfaction that there are people in places of power, great and small, that would cheerfully kill me and mine if they could get away with it, and had achieved a great deal to achieve that happy state of affairs - of being able to kill anyone they wanted to, with impunity, while terrifying the rest into mute compliance.

And at least a third of the US citizenry thinks that's a fine idea, devoutly to be wished. In eight years, a nation I loved abused and squandered my loyalty and my trust, while Canada muddled along, quite easily avoiding the worst pitfalls of being such a close ally of the US.

I wish all of you the best and I will continue, even redouble my efforts to be a small voice of reason, sanity and right action. But frankly, I'm a Canadian, by birth AND by choice. If it comes down to it, if push comes to shove, this is my country, and it is right far more often than it is wrong because it cares about being correct in hindsight; because being good and decent is something we value across the spectrum. Often - far too often - the recognition that we have made poor choices comes late; often far too late. But as a nation, I do believe we do not cling to our mistakes so grimly or deny consequences so irrationally as I have seen "down there."

There are exceptions of course; there are certainly people here that are hateful little pinheads - but by and large, they are recognized as being hateful little pinheads, even by those who think Canada is far, far too liberal about this and that.

Mostly, though, we argue about the most effective means of effectively giving a crap about our neighbors without becoming meddlesome busybodies. More importantly, as Canadians, that is actually how we tend to act as individuals. Our ideology generally arises from conscience, rather than the other way around.

I'm afraid that left and right and middle, the idea that "ah gawt a gawdamn right" to exercise power over others who are thereby defined as "Lusers" is a cultural matter that is far too likely to play out in tragic ways against a world background of rapid change, need and expectation. We can no longer afford that luxury, if we ever truly could; this world is now so tightly knit together that it's really not sane to let any nation, large or small, to wander off into dusty, desolite, self-indulgent idiocy. Consequnces trancesnd borders; we must at least find ways of defining a price for such willful disregard for the rights of one's neighbors and take it to the Allthing of public opinion.

More than fear, though, I have hope, and if I were a native born American I would suck up my gut, gird my aching loins and carry on. I expect, hope and pray that you who are in such a position will do so.

I have faith you will ultimately prevail; indeed, I expect you will. But it will not be without cost, and I can foresee circumstances that may bring our two nations into genuine dispute.

Well, this is my home, this is my choice and this society, this polite, civil and caring nation is where and for what I will choose to fight if, God Forbid, push comes to shove.

Je sui un Canadian!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama Wins and It's Barak-y night in Canada!

It's Barak-y Night in Canada! T-Shirt shirt

Celebrations abound world-wide at the realization that Democrats have gained a majority in all both houses of Congress. This changes everything - or so we all hope. There are gigantic issues to be dealt with, huge domestic issues, and worldwide expectations for Barack Hussain Obama. Particularly from a small, dusty town in Kenya, where they are no doubt partying their brains out now.

And no doubt if I were to walk across the street to the pub, I'd find quite an ebulliant mood there.

I just this second finished listening to Obama's victory speech - an amazingly well crafted and gracious speech, of which my wife said, "this is going to be one of those speeches, right?" As she is a teacher, I knew exactly what she meant. It will be played to first graders for the next century, just as was an historic predicessor from Ohio who spoke at another historic cusp: Abraham Lincoln.

Liveshirting the Election: No Fishy Whining....

No Fishy Whining shirt

I have been dying to put this shirt up. I should have a post to hang it on, but by this point .... well, if I have to, what hope is there? My hope is, this shirt says everything that needs to be said.

For at least two decades!


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