January 6, 2008
WHEN HIGH TECH MEETS LOW TECH. Hey, you gotta have both.
WHEN HIGH TECH MEETS LOW TECH. Hey, you gotta have both.
SONY HAS INTRODUCED OLED TVS: An 11″ model that you can buy now, and a 27″ prototype. The picture is better than regular LCD or Plasma screens — a million-to-one contrast ratio with no backlight — and they’re thinner.
My impression, though, is that there’s not much that’s really new here — just a lot of slightly-improved iterations of products that are already out there, for the most part. Sony led off its presentation with the Rolly (pronounced “role-y”), which is basically a dancing Walkman. Apparently it’s huge in Japan, but so was Spinal Tap. I’m underwhelmed. Here it is, up close, on a lighted disco floor. It’s about the size of my fist.
WHILE I’M SEEING GREEN, the Netroots crowd has been seeing things in black-and-white. Jon Henke and Tom Maguire have been reading them, saving me the trouble of responding. Which is good, because I’m busy, er, gathering information.
UPDATE: Happily — see photo — the Comfy Chair Revolution has arrived at CES.
LOTS MORE CES COVERAGE over at the Popular Mechanics site.
LAST YEAR, EVERYTHING WAS BLUE. This year, more of it is green. I credit Al Gore.
I’M AT THE SONY EVENT, AND AS YOU CAN SEE, THE PRESS IS EAGERLY GATHERING INFORMATION
JUST ARRIVED IN LAS VEGAS for the Consumer Electronics Show. Old-Media can’t be doing too badly, as the suite that Popular Mechanics has me in this year is even nicer than last year’s. (It has a blender. They think of everything.) Off to the big Sony event in a bit.
A PREVIEW OF the 2012 Mazda RX-9. I agree that it’s “a far less attractive incarnation of the current RX-8.” I’d suggest that Mazda give it some more thought.
I HADN’T THOUGHT OF THIS ASPECT: Warner Brothers’ backing Blu-Ray as a boost for PlayStation. Makes sense, though.
A PLUG-AND-PLAY REFRIGERATOR: Because what’s a fridge without an iPod dock?
FORGET NATIONAL HEALTHCARE: Try Wal-Mart healthcare. “I will never go to a regular doctor for a minor, routine illness again. Sick and wanting an appointment immediately, I went to one of those medical clinics in Wal-Mart. I got in almost immediately, everyone on the staff was extremely friendly, and it only cost $59.”
I’M PRETTY SURE THE ANSWER IS “NO:” Could the U.S. walk away from the Persian Gulf?
IN THE MAIL: From Eric Flint, Ring of Fire II, the latest in his Grantville / 1632 series. I have to say, though, that while I admire him for opening up his world to other authors, I’d rather see more solo Flint efforts. The original book is still the best part of the series, despite numerous high points since.
KERRY HOWLEY ON HILLARY CLINTON: “The uncomfortable truth is that political nepotism has often served feminismâ€™s cause well.” Lurleen Wallace, however, is not mentioned.
THE SCIENCE OF TOGA PARTIES.
THE LATEST BLAWG REVIEW is up!
BILL, HILLARY, and Sigmund.
EMPEROR PALPATINE DECRIES BLOGGERS.
HEH, I MISSED THIS FROM DANIEL HENNINGER ON THURSDAY, but it’s still worth quoting:
Let me describe a pre-election moment of perspective this way: Later today some people who will start their evening with Iowa’s caucus by watching angry Lou Dobbs–convincing themselves, again, that they and this country are getting shafted, and coming to this conclusion while watching a $700, 32-inch Samsung flat-panel, high-definition TV with Lou’s sad song flowing through Monster digital coax cables to five Onkyo HT-SR800 home theater speakers.
The reader who sent the link observes: “Seems like there’s nobody so comfortable that they can’t be recruited to the politics of resentment these days.” Well, yeah. I mean only 32 inches?
VIDEO: Squirming over the surge.
A POST-DEBATE WRAPUP FROM STEPHEN GREEN. And from looking around the blogosphere, I’d say there’s a fair amount of agreement with this observation:
High: Charles Gibson. He wasnâ€™t the perfect moderator, but he did act like a moderator. For the first time, the debate wasnâ€™t about the host, it was about the candidates, and their interactions with each other. Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper and all the rest were not missed.
Read the whole thing.
HILLARY’S gender gap.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE looks at Obama’s position on corporate governance. “Iâ€™d give Obama a failing grade on this issue.”
THE HIGH SCHOOL ROBOTICS COMPETITION kicks off!
HILLARY CLINTON: Obama’s too liberal! Yeah, that’ll work.
ABC NEWS says its viewers wanted the Dems to spend more time on the economy. Hardly any wanted to hear more about Iraq.
SOME HDTV PREDICTIONS for 2008.
GUY HERBERT: “Big business bonanza: Parents must pay for children to be watched at home by online officials.” Britain ain’t what it used to be.
MARC AMBINDER’S SUM-UP on the Republican debate. “On points, Fred Thompson won the debate. Every answer was thoughtful and well-crafted; his tone matched the tone of the question; he wisely refrained from interjecting in the back and forth squabbling. He very deftly reminded viewers that he served on key Senate national security panels and is bringing his experience to bear. Even his insults were subtly and gently constructed.”
Plus, a gutsy move by Hillary: “Wow — HRC uses her husband’s failed strike at Pakistan in 1998 as a reason why caution should be exercised in this affair.”
UPDATE: Dan Riehl, on the other hand, thinks it was Romney.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yeah, that’s news if it’s true: “Bill Richardson just said that terrorists have obtained nukes in Russia. Really? Isn’t this like really, really, really, really big news? And bad?” All of the above, if it’s true.
MORE: Romney: Standing up against anti-pharma demagoguery. Good for him. How many sick people have you cured, Senator?
Peter Robinson: “Fred Thompson turned in a very fine performance, the more effective for proving underplayed. . . . If (as I expect) Romney fares badly in New Hampshire, Thompson will be the obvious choice for conservatives. He’s going to prove an easy man to rally around.”
Plus, a strangely touching moment: “ABCâ€™s Charlie Gibson, who is moderating these back-to-back debates, asked at the conclusion of the Republican contest for the Democratic candidates to come out and shake hands with the Republicans. They had a civil minute of joshing and smiling. I donâ€™t want to sound sappy, but there was something lovely about it.”
Josh Marshall: “Obama’s very solid. Edwards really tried to slam the door on Hillary permanently. She was … I’m not certain what the right word is, enraged? But it was a good response. Impassioned in ways that I think will play very well with some and probably not well with others. But really captured her argument as well as, I think you have to say, her anger at being in this position.”
STILL MORE: Exhaustion setting in? I can see why — but there’s an awfully long road ahead.
Plus, Stephen Green has been drunkblogging. “Finally, someone had the stones to defend the pharmacutical companies who, whatever their faults, make modern health care possible. That someone was Mitt Romney. Why wasnâ€™t it free-marketeer Ron Paul? Well, after watching Paulâ€™s performance so far tonight, Iâ€™ll tell you why: Paul knows that heâ€™s already lost libertarians like me, and is counting on nothing but the anti-war vote. Itâ€™s that simple, and that craven.” But wait: “FINALLY, Paul is talking his principles. Heâ€™s taking a stand against the national ID card in general, and the welfare state in general. Iâ€™ve never been so happy to be so wrong.”
Plus this: “Obama is taking the easy lob, and looking good doing so. Heâ€™s got an easy command of the facts, even if he sounds a LOT more like Bush than any good (or bad, bar Lieberman) Democrat would ever admit.”
Also: “Clinton says weâ€™re approach a recession, and sheâ€™s probably right. Whatâ€™s telling is, her one statistic: The unemployment rate has increased to five whole percent. A modern recession is better than a 1970s growth period. Cool. . . . Bill Richardson just claimed that he “runs” the “state economy” of New Mexico. I can see him with his eyeshades and pencil, determining the markdowns at Safeway and the wage increases at Los Alamos National Laboratories. For the first time, Hillary has spent more time attacking her fellow Democrats than the Republicans. Thatâ€™s a major change in strategy, and it speaks volumes. Big, womanly volumes of experienced change.”
Lots more from Freeman Hunt, including this: “This is the best debate format. Kudos to ABC and Charles Gibson.” And some advice that shouldn’t be necessary, but is: “Note to all GOP candidates: talk about and explain the free market more.”
Ann Althouse on the Democrats: “Will any of them admit the surge is a success? No.”
And there’s anti-Pharma demagoguery in the Democratic debate, too: “Clinton likes to accuse her opponents of having staff members who are ‘lobbyists for the drug companies.’ Itâ€™s a specious, meaningless charge. But shouldnâ€™t someone point out that Mark Penn, chief Hillary strategist, is also CEO of Burson-Marsteller, the PR firm for Wyeth, Pfizer, Amgen and hundreds of other corporations? I donâ€™t see anything wrong with Mark Pennâ€™s career, but the depth of her phoniness is breathtaking.” It is, but I find it reassuring to think that she might just be in the pocket of Big Pharma. That should limit the demagoguery to words, not actions . . .
AFTER QUOTING ONE OF MY READERS, JOE CARTER WRITES: “The fact that Reynolds (and many others) think that screwing over one’s employees is a central ‘free-market principle’ is disheartening.”
I can see how that would be disturbing, if it were true. My problem with Huckabee, however, is a bit different — it’s that when he talks about this stuff, he sounds like a slicker John Edwards.
UPDATE: Joe responds: “With all due respect to Reyonlds, anyone who thinks Governor Huckabee–a supply sider who favors reducing corporate tax rates, supports the Bush tax cuts, and proposes eliminating the AMT and the death tax–sounds like Sen. Edwards obviously hasn’t been paying attention to his actual message.”
Well, I guess his communications department needs to be doing a better job of getting that message out, as opposed to the “I’m a Christian!” message, which we all get by now. Because I’m hardly the only one to get this impression, and it’s come from Huckabee’s own statements.
BEWARE ALL THAT “American flag jingoism and Muslim fear mongering.”
Is it better if the purveyors “donâ€™t believe all that stuff anyhow”?
JOHN PODHORETZ EMAILS: “I’ll be liveblogging the debate at Contentions, if anybody cares –
and given that it’s a Saturday night, nobody should.”
HILLARY’S BURDEN: He ran with Al Gore. She’s running with Al Batross. Heh.
THE CARNIVAL OF CARS is up!
ROBERT NOVAK: “Published reports that Fred Thompson soon will withdraw from the Republican presidential contest and endorse Sen. John McCain have been traced in part to Mitt Romney’s campaign, trying to stir up strife between McCain and Thompson.”
MORE ON HILLARY’S NEW HAMPSHIRE BOOS: But I like this line from the comments: “Hillary should have used the Spinal Tap excuse for getting booed, played it off as ‘They were still booing Obama when I got on stage.’”
She’s not losing popularity. Her appeal is just becoming more . . . selective.
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll doubts that these boos will disappear the way those post-9/11 boos did.
FOR CERTAIN VALUES OF THE WORD EXTRAORDINARY: “Now a grape KitchenAid mixer is truly extraordinary.” Not that mixers aren’t cool.
CLASS AND PRIVILEGE: John Scalzi takes some professors to school. To me, a real signifier of class/privilege issues can be found in the answer to this question: “Do you feel socially superior to people who nonetheless make considerably more money than you?” If the answer is yes, you’re a member of the privileged class . . . .
UPDATE: Reader Brian Gates shoots me down. “I can refute your 2:18 post in one word: Britney.” Back to the drawing board, I guess . . .
RANDY BARNETT, misleadingly quoted on the Second Amendment by the A.P. It’s worth noting that this is an innocent, garden-variety press error, of the sort that happens regularly in the reportorial process, not the result of deliberate bias.
SO I SENT IN MY GRAMMY BALLOT TODAY, and it was slim pickings. I didn’t even vote in all the categories I’m entitled to vote in. There just wasn’t a lot of music that excited me this year, and most of that didn’t get nominated for a Grammy.
OBAMA AS Rorschach test.
IN THE MAIL: Carl Bernstein’s A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. If the portrait of Hillary in the book is as airbrushed as the portrait of Hillary on the cover, it’s not worth the $10.95 . . . .
WARNER GOES exclusively Blu-Ray.
I’M GUESSING THAT THIS STORY WON’T GET WIDE PLAY:
Iraq’s culture of corruption stems from the actions of the international community and the controversial UN oil-for-food scheme, the deputy prime minister Barham Saleh said on Thursday.
Speaking at a new anti-corruption forum in Baghdad, Saleh said that the programme, run between 1996 and 2003 while Iraq was under UN sanctions, and what he charged was the body’s wasteful use of money were to blame for the rampant corruption that bedevils Iraq.
“A large responsibility for the outbreak of corruption in Iraq lies on the international community,” said Saleh.
Now, if he’d blamed the United States, it’d be front-paged all over. . . .
A VIGNETTE FROM THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC CAUCUSES:
He grabs his coat, but before he can leave, an Edwards campaign ambassador approaches. â€œWhat do you guys hang from the ladders at firefightersâ€™ funerals?â€ he asked the men in yellow. An awkward moment ensues. â€œThe American flag!â€ he answers his own question. Then, he points right at Mrs. Sorenson, and declares: â€œObama doesnâ€™t salute the American flag.â€ For good measure, he adds that Obama was sworn in to the Senate on the Koran. (Not true, but allâ€™s fair in the heat of a caucus moment.)
Didn’t work. But read the whole thing.
MORE ON THE PARASITE / ALLERGY HYPOTHESIS: “People know that something isn’t right. They keep their kids in the cleanest environments and they get asthma. We get all of these things that were rare becoming common. And a lot of it comes down to hygiene. Excessive hygiene can potentially lead to disease.” D’oh! Plus, the advantages of letting your kids play in the dirt, and the big, big question: “Will people be afraid to take a worm pill?”
LOTS OF INTRIGUING PRIMARY SPECULATION from Mickey Kaus.
GLOBAL COOLING NEWS FROM GREENLAND: “Did the Norse colonists starve? Were they wiped out by the Inuit â€“ or did they intermarry? No. Things got colder and they left.” Okay, it’s pretty old news.
THOUGHTS ON THE child support obligations of sperm donors.
DO FACEBOOK FRIENDS EQUAL VOTES?
MR. JUSTICE CLINTON: “Presumably the Supreme Court needs to do something about our draconian sexual harassment laws.” Indeed.
MEGAN MCARDLE: “Did anyone else notice that where Hilary Clinton had carefully positioned Madeleine Albright looking over her left shoulder as she faced the camera, Mike Huckabee had put Chuck Norris in the key position? This seems, in some way that I can’t quite verbalize, to be a perfect metaphor for this campaign.”
STEVE JURVETSON on the nanotechnology startup ecosystem.
HILLARY booed in New Hampshire.
HUCKABEE’S PROBLEM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: “His aides are wary of New Hampshire. ‘It’s all no tax, no government there,’ said Bob Wickers, a top strategist. ‘It’s not ideal.’”
SONY DITCHING DRM:
In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet, BusinessWeek.com has learned. Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sony BMG would become the last of the top four music labels to drop DRM, following Warner Music Group (WMG), which in late December said it would sell DRM-free songs through Amazon.com’s (AMZN) digital music store. EMI and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group announced their plans for DRM-free downloads earlier in 2007.
THE DVDS THAT PEOPLE ARE WATCHING as they wait out the writers’ strike.
SLIPPERY SLOPES: “Switzerland is introducing speed cameras on the slopes to try to reduce the increasing number of accidents. The first such nationwide controls will treat skiers like cars on the motorway. Speeders will be caught with hand-held radar devices carried by hidden personnel.” They’re going after anyone going faster than 19 mph.
Well, you could see that kind of thing coming. And, come to think of it, I did.
HILLARY RESPONDS TO THE LOSS, badly.
MILLIONS LOSE POWER IN CALIFORNIA:
A fierce storm swept through central and northern California on Friday, cutting power to more than 1 million homes and businesses, closing major roads and canceling flights at several airports.
The storm may dump as much as 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.5 metres) of snow through the weekend in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, and up to 2 feet (0.6 metre) at the popular tourist spot of Lake Tahoe, forecasters with the U.S. National Weather Service said.
Southern California braced for possible flash floods and mudslides in areas that burned in the October wildfires. Total rainfall could reach 5 inches (12.5 cm) in Los Angeles and 10 inches (25 cm) in the mountains of Southern California — the most significant rainfall in the region since January 2005, and on the heels of the driest year on record.
“It is very important, since there is so much land that has burned, that we are prepared for mudslides,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said after being briefed by the Office of Emergency Services.
Hope they’ve done their disaster-preparedness in advance, because it’s too late now.
UPDATE: Snow in Mexico?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Readers think this storm is being, er, overblown:
Being here in the brunt of the storm, I can attest that this is the biggest storm to hit California since, oh, March.
I’m not sure what the news here is. Yes, the winds have toppled trees all over town. This happens EVERY year. The TV reporters were measuring the depth of the water in the gutters; it was up to 4 inches. (Sacramento people usually dump yard waste in the street, causing storm drains to be clogged. Again, this happens EVERY year.) We joke – but it isn’t really a joke – that in California, our four seasons are Earth, Air, Fire and Water; mudslides, Santa Ana winds, forest fires and floods.
This isn’t _disaster_ preparedness, Glenn; this is _winter_ preparedness. EVERY year we have wildfires. EVERY year, we have mudslides when the rains soak the fire-ravaged hillsides. EVERY year we have strong winds, generally starting about now, that blow down a few trees and power lines. Every year, hikers and skiers get trapped by “unexpected” snowstorms in the mountains and have to be rescued. And any person with an IQ in triple digits knows enough to have flashlights, battery powered radios, and the minimal basics of storm preparedness.
You remember the old children’s song about the “Eeensy Weensy Spider”? That’s us.
Ah, to live in idyllic California! And reader Rodney Graves emails:
Here in South San Jose the area around us is without power (including my data center [about a mile from here], which is still running on generator power), while our new housing development is powered.
The storm has been very windy, and we had some gusts I would estimate at more than 50kts here on our hill. Rainfall has also been heavy.
Not all that unusual for our rainy season here. Worst in six years, twelve worse than this in the last fifty. More of a pain in the posterior than a threat to life and limb for most.
Bad weather news overhyped? Say it ain’t so! And speaking of weather alarmism, John Tierney has some thoughts: “It would be nice to think that we, unlike the ancients who propitiated the gods with human sacrifices, could accept the fact that itâ€™s natural for unusual weather to occur â€” that the weirdest year of all would be one in which no record was set anywhere.”
MORE: Dr. Stanley Tillinghast emails:
In the few hours my MacBook Pro’s battery has left, I went first, of course, to Instapundit.
I appreciated the dose of reality from your Sacramento reader. This is our winter; we won’t freeze to death, but may get wet.
My wife and I are cocooned very snugly, thank you, in our vacation home on the northern California coast. Last night the storm was howling, today the surf was high, but we had a little breakthrough sun just before sunset.
Our necessary ‘survival’ equipment so far has included: (1) an Aladdin oil lamp that puts out a light via its mantle that is bright enough for comfortable reading; (2) a Coleman propane stove; (3) our Lopi wood-burning stove. The Mountain Green LED lantern is very useful but not as cozy as the Aladdin lamp.
We do have the two cookbooks you recommended for when the power goes out, but are too lazy to actually cook up anything as long as the canned soup and PB&J makings hold up.
We don’t quite have the emergency radio thing worked out, though. I think the local radio station lost power too.
Power outages are expected here on the coast; the full-timers have their generators, but we’re very happy with our books and the light to read them by.
Just finished reading Robert Zubrin’s Energy Victory, BTW, and highly recommend it.
I have one of these hand-crank radios. But the radio station should have a generator. . . .
LIKABLE, YES. BUT ELECTABLE? Kerry Howley looks at Mike Huckabee. Of course, if he’s likable enough, he’s probably electable.
JONAH GOLDBERG ON OBAMA AND DISAPPOINTMENT: “Imagine the Democrats do rally around Obama. Imagine the media invests as heavily in him as I think we all know they will if he’s the nominee â€” and then imagine he loses. I seriously think certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008. Forget Hillary’s inevitability. Obama has a rendezvous with destiny, or so we will be told. And if he’s denied it, teeth shall be gnashed, clothes rent and prices paid.”
He’s right. And as I’ve noted before, Hillary runs a smaller-scale version of this risk in the nomination battle — if she outmaneuvers Obama rather than beating him straight-up, that’ll probably alienate a lot of people and cause them to stay home in November.
UPDATE: Bill Quick: “If Huckabee beats Obama, everything youâ€™ve seen during the past eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome will become nothing more than a mild neurosis. Bottom line, though, is that the real threat of a Huckabee candidacy is not that heâ€™ll defeat Obama, but that heâ€™ll destroy the GOP coalition in trying.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ryan Hartman thinks this is about urban riots. I’m thinking more an extended chattering-class hissy fit. Yes, it’s hard to believe that people could get more deranged than they’ve been since the 2000 elections, but I think they’ve got it in them.
Meanwhile, Hartman should note that the “secret Muslim” claims about Obama come from other Democrats, in the form of Hillary and Edwards proxies.
JOSE PADILLA sues John Yoo.
PERRY DE HAVILLAND ON the American legal psychosis. Surely it’s mere neurosis, isn’t it?
CHINESE COUNTERFEIT GOODS: A national security angle.
NORMAN HSU UPDATE: Democratic Fundraiser Norman Hsu Sentenced to 3 Years in Calif. Fraud Case.
I DIDN’T HEAR LIMBAUGH TODAY, but reader Doug Hutson emails: “I notice that Rush Limbaugh is concerned that most Republican candidates for POTUS are not true conservatives in that they are for open borders, increased spending, higher taxes, etc. He is saying in his anti- Huckabee monologues that Huckabee is no conservative. He is now adopting your reasoning prior to November 06 that ideas matter more than party. You won!” Well, he wasn’t very happy with my GOP pre-mortem, but it’s held up pretty well. So, for that matter, has this, alas.
UPDATE: In response to a couple of readers, let me be clear: I don’t think that I changed Limbaugh’s mind. I think that events did. After the election, Limbaugh said he felt “liberated” — I think that before that he felt obliged to put the best face on things. Now he doesn’t. And, once he looks at the problem honestly, it’s no surprise to me that he sees a lot of the problems that I saw. That’s not because of me, it’s just because that’s how things are.
JEEZ: “China has upped the ante on censorship, moving beyond the Great Firewall of China to mandate that all Internet video sites must be state-owned.” No Internet coverage of the next Tiananmen massacre if they can help it.
SOUNDS GOOD: “Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!”
UPDATE: Several readers think this is a hoax, or at least overstated, and one writes:
Nice dreams. but i find many issues with the story.
I use waste veggie right now in my Dodge. It clatters more than diesel, not less, the engine is less quiet than on diesel. You have to filter your wvo to less than 5 microns, and you can’t do that through a pair of jeans (it generally won’t flow through denim at less than 140 deg F), and it takes a pump to push it through a filter. If it were that easy,
more of us would do it. (trust me, I run 20K+ miles a year on veggie…..)
Biodiesel does require different materials in your fuel system (believe me, I *know* this from experience…The hard way). And biodiesel uses feedstock, just like ethanol does. His idea about electric (plug in) vehicles is good, and not far off the mark, but the devil is in the details. TO get good range, you need a LOT of batteries. You can’t “go next door to Ace Hardware and buy a DC electric motor” and just “bolt the electric motor onto the back of the
transfer case” and hook up the batteries. In the basics, that works. In reality, you need gearing to mate the DC motor to the rest of the drivetrain, and the weight of the batteries is prohibitive if you want any real range. (again, I know this from experience in DC driven farm carts and such). I’ve built 5 so far.
Hydrogen and Natural Gas are wonderful fuels, but they won’t cut mileage in half. At best, they are an alternative fuel. They will produce more power, but so will adding more gasoline or diesel to the current engine’s fuel mix. Hydrogen does help diesel burn cleaner, but it is cost prohibitive. The diesel guru’s have often used propane or Natural gas to increase HP in their engines. But it’s just putting another fuel into the engine. More miles per gallon of diesel, perhaps. Less fuel used per mile? No.
If adding hydrogen or propane or natural gas were economical, don’t you really think that the freight companies would use it? They’ll do anything to save a buck, but they haven’t. It really doesn’t save anything. More HP in the same size engine, but at a reduced lifetime.
Ethanol as you have posted previously, is at best a boondoggle for farmers via subsidies. It really doesn’t save any energy after all has been considered. If we had sugarcane, it might, but corn ethanol is a waste of good food.
He has some good ideas. But converting them to practical automobiles for people and cargo transportation? That’s the rub.
Yeah, over the years I’ve heard a lot of stuff that sounds good about homebrew MPG tinkering. Often you can make a vehicle that works pretty well if the driver is also the designer and mechanic; it’s a lot harder to make something you can sell to consumers. I’ve also heard a lot of hoaxes. Don’t know which this one is. There’s some skepticism in this DailyKos thread.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More discussion at Bill Quick’s place.
WHERE IS EUROPE’S RON PAUL?
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE REAL WORLD: As the Iowa hoopla dies down, some useful thoughts from William Shawcross about the big picture.
FAT-BLOGGING: I guess it’s the time of year, but there’s always lots of interest when I put up a diet or fat-related post.
I will say that I tried the Shangri-La Diet as an experiment back when we did our podcast with Seth Roberts, and absolutely nothing happened. Of course, it’s supposed to work better the more overweight you are, and I’m not overweight — except on the lame BMI scale, which doesn’t really work for people who lift weights — so I suppose it’s possible that it lives up to the hype elsewhere.
In my experience, though, the only real weight-loss plan that works is eat less and exercise more. But nobody wants to do that . . . .
RICHARD FERNANDEZ on climate, corruption, and bureaucratic empowerment.
A REPORT FROM JOHN MCCAIN’S blog conference call.
WHY THE NETROOTS aren’t overjoyed about Obama’s victory.
So, would that be good news, or bad?
FIREFLY RETURNS: as an online game.
IN THE MAIL: Eric Finkelstein & Laurie Zuckerman’s The Fattening of America: How The Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What To Do About It.
MICHAEL YON: “The body armor controversy is heating up again. The military is being accused of malfeasance but I believe that certain manufacturers have been more successful at manufacturing controversy than body armor.” And on a related note, see Michael Totten’s comments on wearing heavy body armor: “One lieutenant forced me to wear Marine-issue body armor â€“ which weighs almost 80 pounds â€“ before he would let me go out on patrol with him. I felt like Godzilla lumbering around with all the extra bulk and weight, and I didnâ€™t really feel safer. Running while carrying those extra pounds all of a sudden wasnâ€™t much of an option. Sacrificing most of my speed and agility to make myself a little more bullet-proof might not be worth it.” That’s a trade-off that the press stories usually ignore.
UPDATE: Bill Ardolino emails:
“Marine issue” body armor weighs 80 lbs. only when it is accompanied by webbing and a full complement of ammunition and other gear. A standard issue interceptor or spartan vest with kevlar inserts and the heavy ceramic rifle plates is about 35 lbs., max 40 lbs. with kevlar bells and whistles like sleeves.
Up until recently in Anbar, this rig, while cumbersome and problematic for middle-of-the-night and Special Ops stuff, was fairly useful in stopping armor piercing and other high caliber sniper rounds, as well as protecting against lesser threats like shrapnel and 7.62 rounds.
Regarding the ostensibly superior dragon skin armor: as a journalist embed without the ammunition, I would find the extra weight prohibitive. If I were a soldier or Marine with an extra 40 lbs. of ammunition and gear, I would find it REALLY prohibitive.
More info on body armor here.
It probably feels like 80 lbs. soon enough.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More on body armor at The Captain’s Journal.
MORE: Still more on the armor faux-controversy here.
STILL MORE: A reader emails:
Right after my son got to Iraq, they weighed his basic rig. That was armor(with side and shoulder plates), camelback with water, basic ammo load, first-aid kit, all the stuff you ALWAYS take. It was right at 90 pounds. Add in helmet, rifle, extra ammo, etc., and that’s a lot to carry around.
Yeah. If you know you’re gonna get shot, you’d like to be wearing the heaviest armor possible. But if you know you’re going to duck, you’d like to be wearing the lightest armor possible. It’s a bit like sports cars vs. SUVs, I suppose: You see a wreck, and you’d like to be in a big heavy SUV. But you don’t see the wreck that didn’t happen because the guy in the sports car managed to swerve out of the way.
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: “With oil prices soaring, a U.S. distracted by war in Iraq and the rise of populist anti-American leaders in Latin America, it’s amazing that free trade isn’t better understood as a way the U.S. can boost its influence in its own hemisphere.” Yeah, even among the supposed devotees of “soft power” it gets short shrift.
A CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW PREVIEW. I’ll be there with the Popular Mechanics folks starting on Sunday.
MICKEY KAUS says Iowans are smarter than he thought — but he also finds journalists admitting they’re afraid to write negative things about Obama.
GOOD NEWS — VINDICATION. Bad news — 26 years behind bars for an innocent man:
Three times during his nearly 27 years in prison, Charles Chatman went before a parole board and refused to acknowledge he was a rapist. His steadfastness was vindicated yesterday, when a judge released him because of new DNA evidence showing he indeed wasn’t. The release of Mr. Chatman, 47, added to Dallas County’s nationally unmatched number of wrongfully convicted inmates.
I think he ought to get a millon bucks per year served. At a minimum.
FREE SPEECH? WHAT’S THAT? British blogger to be arrested for inciting racial hatred. What, are they channeling the Saudis in Britain? If you’re interested in supporting free speech rights, the British Embassy’s contact page is here. As with the Saudi case I don’t know much about the blogger, but I don’t need to — people shouldn’t be arrested merely for blogging things that the powers-that-be don’t like.
But since the British government disagrees, they should be forced to live with their position, and the one-sided nature of it should be brought out. As with the Steyn-persecuting Canadian government, British citizens who value free speech should be flooding the authorities with complaints about hate speech aimed at Jews, Christians and, for fun, even Americans, and then documenting the action, or lack thereof, that results.
UPDATE: Brian Micklethwait comments: “If Lionheart’s claim that he faces arrest just for blogging his mind are correct, then of course it is everything-and-the-kitchen-sink time. Let battle be joined. But for now, I would like just a little more reconnaissance.” Well, if it turns out he knocked over a bank or something, then yes. But the notion of people being arrested in Britain just for saying politically incorrect things is hardly shocking these days. That said, I’d be happy if this turned out to be something else, for obvious reasons. As one of Micklethwait’s commenters observes: “Surely the bigger issue here isn’t whether or not he actually goes to chokey, it’s the fact that we now live in a society in which he credibly could.” And that’s pretty clearly the case in Britain, which is also trying to export its laws to the United States via libel tourism and the like.
STEPHEN GREEN TO IOWA REPUBLICANS: “What the f*** is wrong with you people?”
BIG — AND DEVASTATING — NEWS ON THAT LANCET STUDY claiming massive civilian deaths in Iraq. A National Journal cover story by Neil Munro suggests the possibility of outright scientific fraud. Munro notes serious problems with the study, and a failure on the part of The Lancet’s staff to determine if the data on which it was based — data which the authors will not share — were even true. In addition, there are problems with conflicts of interest and political bias. This is a big deal story; it’ll be interesting to see if it gets the attention it deserves.
UPDATE: Some background here. (Bumped).
ANOTHER UPDATE: Much more here. “This should be a lesson to Old Media that a little digging is in order when something so out of line with previous reports shows up. But itâ€™s one that probably wonâ€™t be learned â€” at least when outlier studies like Lancetâ€™s fit their advocacy template.”
ON TO THE Wyoming caucus!
SEEING A GHOST in New Hampshire.
MORE JOURNALISTIC SCANDAL: The latest on Scott Horton and Harper’s.
THEY’RE NOT AN ENDANGERED SPECIES IN ACADEMIA YET, THOUGH: Where have all the Marxists gone?