Archive for March 29th, 2011

March 29, 2011

An Artificial Leaf?

by cpmy3rs

I know that this is a bit outside of what usually comes up here, but an MIT Professor is making some pretty impressive claims about what his artificial leaf can do.

The device is an advanced solar cell, no bigger than a typical playing card, which is left floating in a pool of water. Then, much like a natural leaf, it uses sunlight to split the water into its two core components, oxygen and hydrogen, which are stored in a fuel cell to be used when producing electricity.

Nocera’s leaf is stable — operating continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity in preliminary tests — and made of widely available, inexpensive materials — like silicon, electronics and chemical catalysts. It’s also powerful, as much as ten times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf.

He has also evidently signed a deal with a large technology conglomerate, so somebody thinks his idea may be viable.

March 29, 2011

GOP Presidential Candidate Endorses Affirmative Action

by cpmy3rs

One of the so-called “third rails” of American Politics is race, and one of the most contentious race-related topics is affirmative action. That is why I was so happy when Herman Cain, at the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines Iowa, had the guts to say that he would make his hiring decisions based on religious quotas. Specifically, Mr. Cain took the position that there would be no Muslims allowed in his cabinet when he said

KEYES: You came under a bit of controversy this week for some of the comments made about Muslims in general. Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?

CAIN: No, I would not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cain appears to be confused about the purpose of affirmative action, which is to include rather than to exclude. Then again, since so many on the right have conflated affirmative action with racism, perhaps Mr. Cain simply forgot that there was a difference. At any rate, I do hope that he and his Tea Party friends remember to read the Constitution they so revere. Specifically, Article VI, Paragraph 3.

March 29, 2011

The Obama Doctrine

by Vince

PM Carpenter explains how we wish things were with foreign interventions:

I suppose at the root of such resistance is an aversion to human ambiguity. We don’t want answers so much as we demand predeterminations; we’d like to think that global politics and its occasional corollary of regional conflict resemble a kind of preestablished moral physics. Event A occurs, which sparks B, which then results in C — each and every time.

This we demand — or I should say, some demand it — of commanders in chief. Unfortunately they sometimes deliver it, even though each Event A is distinguishable from other Events A, which either should or should not spark B.

Not to go all Rumsfeldian on you, but how is one to know, until A happens and all its knowable elements are known?

He goes on to connect it to the Bible:

Yet what strikes me as most incongruent is that so many of our yearning, anguished absolutists of doctrinaire diplomacy are undoubtedly also Sunday religionists who somehow find peace and mental comfort in worldly contradictions of literally biblical proportions. Their Judeo-Christian God wasn’t — and still isn’t, I assume, since He has sent unto us no exacting editors — fussy about consistency; He could say one thing one millennium and the confounding opposite the next, yet somehow it all blends together in acceptable text.

In other words, they cut God some slack, but for this U.S. president, they don’t.

I disagree with his 2nd point but his first point provides clarity to many of our inner desires.

March 29, 2011

President Obama on U.S. Intervention in Libya

by Vince

Watch, enjoy, discuss, and get informed.