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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Fifth Of July!

Now the Chinese have their jobs cut out for them. All the fireworks in the world were used up between five PM and two AM by my neighbor's kids. I've got a stack of cold grilled burger patties a half bowl of potato salad in the fridge, burned spots on the lawn and a lingering smell of sulfur in the air. I'm sure there are spent bottle rockets on the roof that I won't see 'till its time to clean the gutters.

The day after a holiday is always a day of reflection and stowing the detritus that is particular to the holiday. Leftover foods are usually as good if not better than the day it was served. Xmas has boxing day in Canada, but that never really caught on in the US. Thanksgiving has "Black Friday" sales. What a letdown.

My dilemma this fourth was wether or not to go to a couple of free BBQs given by local bible thumpers. If I went and ate their food they would have less money to go out and harass poor indigenous folk of South America and Africa with missionaries. Most of these fundie clowns can't even imagine Atheists, much less ever have talked to one. I have to be in playful mood to give 'em the what-fer, and I wasn't. 

I ramble. Low blood sugar I think.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Favorite LOL To Date

I know there are millions of them out on the Webber-tubes, but this one is the best I've seen. And it isn't a cat!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

300 Million Won't Cut It

John McCain is just being silly when he offers a 300 million dollar prize for the development of a battery that will deliver the same performance we enjoy from our fossil fueled cars. It's going to be some serious blue sky physics research to develop anything like what Grampy McSame wants, and it may well take decades. That's billions of dollars sunk in universities and giant particle accelerators to really test the limits of our knowledge of matter and energy. That's thousands of under-grad, graduate and post-doc men and women working on new ways of locking loose electrons up in an as yet unknown matrix. Most conservative cave men wanted better ends on their pointy sticks. Some egg headed cave man wimp noticed that rocks could make sharp edges when broken, and these pieces of broken rocks could be tied to sticks. While suspicious, the conservative cave men went along with the rock ends for their pointy sticks, but there was another gang of even wimpier cave men who wanted to be fed while they developed a way to use that shiny stuff that melted out of rocks around the fire. Financing the development of metal technology probably took about forty thousand years, but we were ruled by conservative cave men. I mean, where was the market for such stuff? How long would it take? Who would own the metal? Conservative cave man was suspicious. Then the wimpy cave men wanted to gather cave children together and teach them how to do things other than killing bears. There was a lot of sun god-ing and moon worshiping somewhere in the mix, and their followers developed writing to make sure nobody would ever forget the universe was carried about on the back of a turtle.

We (humans) (Europeans) have been making batteries for better than 200 years it's only been in the last thirty years that we could do better than the lead acid system, and lead acid remains the vast majority of installed storage capacity. Future electrical storage is going to have to be based on fantastic new materials that we can't even dream of at this point, based on science we've yet to develop. Ka-Ching! Unzip those change purses or get set to go back to those pointy sticks.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good News Everyone!



The congress has see in its wisdom to scrape a few dollars out of the crevices in the budget to fund (poorly) FermiLab. This should keep a few dozen physicists eating beans and day old bread for another year and off the streets.

When I was on a town council I suggested naming the local baseball field "Higgs Field". Nobody took me seriously after that day. Sigh......