From the Bwahaha Department: Gazprom has no Gaz

Finally, as predicted, the Russians grabbing everything in sight has failed to hide the fact that you can’t run a company the way the FSB runs the Press Freedom Office:

Anticipated by some independent experts in the West and Russia but otherwise widely ignored, Gazprom’s gas deficit became a reality by 2007 at the latest. Russia was able, however, to hide it temporarily through imports of Central Asian gas, which it used partly for Russia’s internal consumption and partly for re-export as “Russian” gas. This method no longer suffices to cover the deficit, as top officials in Moscow are now forced to admit, albeit obliquely.

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Mars: It looks like Arizona or West Texas

Check this out:

For more awesome pictures, check out the Daily Mail article here.

So, if we’re going to get here and do all sorts of cool things, why not start off by dumping a bunch of this crap into the atmosphere, and warming that sucker up until it’s a touch more habitable? Air pressure when outdoors will always be an issue, but at least we could get it up to where a light-duty pressure suit and breather would make it do-able… get the temperatures high enough, and you could start to make things actually grow…

The Pickens Plan: More or Less Ambitious than mass nukes?

Okay, Wind farms through that corridor.  Groovy.  That is a corridor that badly needs some economic development anyway.  But if his plan is dependent on having the right amount of leadership and everybody marching in the same direction… doesn’t that pretty much mean it’s screwed from the get-go?

Could the same thing be achieved with improved nuclear capacity within the same ten-year timeframe, given political will?

AWESOME Reason Mag Editorial

People either have rights, or uniforms.

What comes first, culture, or the people who make it up?

Diplomatic Precursors to Iranian War in Place?

Information Dissemination says the board is green all the way across the major powers.

Some interesting commentary on this one, as well.

Is the “Era of Triangulation” Over?

The Puppy Blender points out something interesting, albeit fairly well-known, and I’d like to see if it justifies the above question:

I had always assumed that the race would tighten up in October, but we’re a long way from then. Why so early? What does this mean?

It is pretty much taken for granted now that the Democratic candidates have a problem: they’re most excited base voters are highly liberal, of the sort that starts to lean directly socialist-lite. To capture those voters in the primary, one has to take positions guaranteeing one’s defeat in the general election, because the Democrats, like the Republicans, are not a majority of the country. So what looks like runaway numbers for the Dems inevitably returns to something significantly more even by the fall.

Senator Obama may still take the race. However, if his poll numbers are dropping this fast, against McCain, who most observers note to be a stunningly inept campaigner, that begs the question… is the Clinton formula a failure? Most ideological liberals started to lose in the late 80s, and Clinton rejuvenated the party’s electoral successes by tacking hard towards the center while winking at the left. GWB was also a very weak campaigner, and even Al Gore as a sitting VP couldn’t quite pull a win by moving straight left.

“Winking” in the era of You-Tube and media exposure that doesn’t outright flatter one party, doesn’t seem to be working. Clinton could get away with it, partially b/c the media was in his camp, and mostly because he had the combination of charisma and chutzpah to simply pull people in his wake, even when they knew he was screwing them over (like the union folks who went for Clinton even as he stepped up with the previous administration’s NAFTA football, and took it into the endzone). (more…)

“Patriarchy makes men Crazy and Stupid”

Good article.  You can see in any group that it is ipso natura empowered within a larger framework, that they are not as with-it as other groups… such as the stereotypical Japanese married man who doesn’t even know where his underwear lives.

You can readily see the corollary presented in the article playing out within the post-Civil-War South.

Solar Panel Breakthrough: Efficiency per Cost

EE Times reports that a new method of using paints that collects energy towards the edge of a transparent sheet of glass, can be used for solar panels…

By absorbing light and transporting energy to panel edges, developers of the paint-on solar panels said they could lower cost by only requiring active solar cells around a panel edges.

Since the primary barriers to widespread solar power are economic, rather than technical, let’s mangle some math here to drive the actually knowledgeable people nuts.

Solar cells required per unit area:

Traditional, 200×100 grid: 20,000 solar cells

Newer Method, same grid: 600 solar cells

Now, that ignores things like the cost of the paints, etcetera… but it’s easy to see how such a breakthrough could have people REALLY excited, because as soon as solar can match coal per kilowatt, “comes the revolution.” Now, at around 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, solar, even if the efficiency is doubled, isn’t yet ready to bust down the doors of 4.5-5 cent/kwh coal. But 4.5 with massive air pollution and horrific costs to coal-country bystanders, against 10, with minimal production-stage pollution and NO air pollution, starts to sound really good.

Might want to start thinking about that plug-in hybrid. Expect lots and lots of hype over the next few days.

UPDATE: (yes, already) Looks like Wired has got an interview and basic tech explanation. Pretty cool picture, too.

While they’re at it, can they put on a UV-absorbing surface paint that is still transparent?  And where’s my flying car?

This blog looks better with pictures

So I’m going to try to start including them more often.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Campsite near Cedar City in Utah

Near Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah.

Alternate Power means a lot of landscape

These folks are trying to make it happen, and folks in the Southwest seem to approve of the idea… but you’re going to chew up some real estate.  Less than a comparable windfarm, though, once you count in the 3-D space.  I think, though, of all the times I’ve seen a measly 10 acres for sale on speculation out in West Texas near Pecos, and….. hrm… if 4 of those could provide enough power to create fresh water for some of the rest of it, even Loving County might see a population!

And, of course, politics is already playing a huge part…

“Will do a monkey for a grape”

Well, sort of.

But still, this is encouraging.  First, we have rumors of spearfishing orangutans, now we have capuchin monkey prostitutes… my flying car can’t be far off!

Beer, Foundation of Civilisation

So sayeth George Will, and it does make a certain sort of sense.  I mean, after all, why go through all that bother of inventing alcohol, just to get… bread?

I’ve seen things you Polar Bears wouldn’t believe…

Attack Seals on Ice, off the Shoulder of the North Pole

or, put another way, “wow, look at that humongous seal!  Think it’s edible?”

Plus, the “somebody’s got stones” post… intuit the camera angle… (yeah, it might be a different time of day… but those are polar bears.  I mean, c’mon….)

(hat tip to the Dad, for a real winner)

Spengler on Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and “Special Grace”

There exists a struggle for indigenous rights, in short, precisely because the indigenous have found something specific to fight for, namely the drug trade. Indefensible as the mistreatment of the indigenous might have been by the Spanish conquerors and their successors, the indigenous movement in Latin America is an excrescence of globalization, rather than its enemy. We hardly need talk in this context of radical Islam, whose existence in the absence of the global oil market is unimaginable. Without America’s global success, the undead of traditional society could not give voice to their rancor – much less finance it.

Editorial via Asia Times.  It’s dense and there’s a lot there to chew on (or throw up, depending on how you take it), including the willing death of various cultures in the face of globalisation.

Intelligent Design Morons still at it

And, apparently, they’re making progress trying to make us all more ignorant than we are today.

Maybe I’m just sensitive to this, because I taught the Straw Man fallacy today inside a lesson on Plessy vs. Ferguson, and reading about the same being used to attack the teaching of basic science just makes me blow my top.

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