• techno commented on the blog post The Roundup for July 28th, 2014

    2014-07-29 07:06:45View | Delete

    There is literally ZERO credible evidence that Russia or pro-Russian Ukrainians shot down MH17. On the other hand, there is PLENTY of credible evidence that this shoot-down was a USA-Kiev operation. You know—the kind of evidence treated seriously by real aviation types.

    These Russkie-bashing lies are going to fall apart because there is no hard evidence they are true. If there were, we would have seen it by now.

  • techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Solar Roadways Is Hiring!

    2014-06-29 12:05:22View | Delete

    I know quite a bit about making solar systems work because I have done it. They are difficult to handle and are quite fragile.

    These roadway solar clowns pretend to think that putting these devices into the most difficult maintenance position imaginable is a good idea. I am wondering why they don’t go all in and suggest we pave roads with smartphones.

    Tell you what, we get solar arrays on all the good rooftop sites and THEN we should consider paving roads with them.

    This is obviously a scam. And if you cannot see it, I wonder about your awareness level.

  • techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Solar Roadways Is Hiring!

    2014-06-28 23:23:02View | Delete

    I hesitate to respond to this because the idea of putting solar cells on the highway is so absurd, I smell a hoax.

    Can anyone imagine the problems selling the idea of paving roads with glass? This glass must be kept clean in order to transmit the solar energy and as everyone knows, there is nothing so easy to keep spotless as a road.

    I have been watching roads deteriorate from the weather and the pounding of traffic my whole life. Here in Minnesota, we actually had a bridge fall into the Mississippi. And since solar cells actually generate electricity when they are working, can you imagine what would happen if anyone introduced road salt into that environment? Since that would be a disaster, this means even the non-solar roads could not be salted because cars would carry salt from the regular roads to the solar ones.

    And so on. It is scams like this that will severely embarrass anyone who supports them. Worse, this idea is so goofy, it will discredit the technologically illiterate left (the main left we have, unfortunately.)

  • I have been thinking the same thing since Tuesday. Hedges’ great line from the OWS days was that the problem with American politics is that there was no way to vote against Goldman Sachs. So the folks in Virginia were actually given the choice of voting for someone who claims to be against the interests of GS and surprise, he wins.

    Yes indeed, it would be great fun to have a Harvard-Princeton Divinity School debate. As a Lutheran PK who knows quite a bit about the rituals of serious Protestantism, I would pay good money to see it.

    What I wrote about Brat yesterday.

  • techno commented on the blog post The Roundup for June 5th, 2014

    2014-06-06 07:26:41View | Delete

    Do you suppose that with the last veterans of WW II passing, we can finally start telling the truth about USA’s involvement? I mean D-Day is treated as this very big deal even though it had almost nothing to do with the defeat of Germany. That was accomplished by the Red Army.

    In fact, the USA lost fewer forces during the whole of the war than USSR suffered liberating Sevastopol in Crimea. Red Army figures are around 200,000 for that battle alone. USA in Europe-Atlantic 183,588; Army ground forces 141,088; United States Army Air Forces 36,461 and Navy/Coast Guard 6,039.

    If people understood this, they might understand why Russia was NOT about to let Crimea fall into NATO’s grasp.

  • Kinsley, the rich doctor’s son, attended very fancy prep school and then Harvard. When you come from so much privilege, it is almost impossible to become anything but a useless, right-wing, prick. And that is what he became. I lost my patience with Kinsley when I discovered he was FAR to the right of Buchanan on NAFTA. What was so disgusting is that Kinsley defended neoliberalism so enthusiastically.

    I try not to think about Kinsley. He didn’t betray us—he was never one of us. What was so shocking is that by the 1980s, a far-right looney like Kinsley could actually play a librul on TV. The “center” of political thinking is a long way back, folks.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-24 14:03:16View | Delete

    Have you paid the price of installing ground source heat pumps instead of burning oil or gas to heat your home?

    This is the sort of quote that proves most “liberals” probably should not be discussing solutions to climate change.

    I have spent most of my adult life either trying to build energy-efficient housing myself, learning from folks who do it well—esp. in Sweden and Finland, or advising on projects that offer some hope. Sometime, I just stand by and applaud—after 20 years of trying, my brother has actually succeeded in making his house net-zero—on a working class budget. He is qualified to award all levels of LEED certification so when he claims net-zero, he has the documents to back it up.

    He was here over the weekend and we got caught up on the latest in the business of building green. I wanted an answer about an installation of a ground-source heat pump some friends installed hoping to go green. They are VERY unhappy with it because this last winter, the resistance heater literally ran for weeks at a time.

    His response included:

    1) The ground source location must be selected very carefully or the thing never works as well as a lab tests would lead you to believe. Most folks bury the tubes on their property without serious geological sampling.

    2) Most folks building the equipment have way more good intentions than manufacturing expertise.

    3) Most people installing this equipment are hippies who believe that because they are doing the work of the gods, they really don’t have to read those pesky instruction manuals. People believe their sincerity and connections to the various environmental NGOs.

    4) Whatever made anyone believe a heat pump could work very well when its -35°F. Anyone who sells one of these things north of St. Louis should be jailed for fraud.

    5) There are no magic bullets. If you want a true net-zero house, you must do a LOT of things right—not just select a “green” heating system and hope that makes up for all the other energy catastrophes you have built into your structure.

    If you want to comment on the nuts and bolts of how green housing is built, please do your homework. Wild opinions are NOT helpful—even if they mostly politically correct.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-23 17:51:34View | Delete

    Actually, we have the makings of a fire-free earth—thanks to all the things we know about electricity. But we don’t seem to have the will to go to work and convert to those technologies.

    And no, I do not think this is about comfort and complacency—this is about survival. Of course, we can cut down on the wasteful uses of fire. Unfortunately, the necessary uses will still kill us.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-23 15:03:41View | Delete

    We know how to plant trees. We don’t know how to survive without fire.

    Big difference. HUGE!

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-23 15:01:55View | Delete

    Ah yes, the creatures of prometheus. Damn, we got good at burning things. And now, if we are to survive, we have to give up our favorite invention.

    Without fire, I do not survive 24 hours. I would REALLY like to change that reality before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-23 14:29:52View | Delete

    Get a grip, folks. Climate change is caused because of too many fires. Nothing, absolutely nothing changes that fact. So political action will accomplish nothing unless it leads DIRECTLY to a society that employs less fire. And the only way that happens is if political action dramatically increases the funds necessary to convert the society to one that stops burning things. In short—unless political action changes the economic setting so that suddenly $Trillions are available for such a systems upgrade, it is just blowing smoke.

    And even then, the real work has only started.

    So are there “political” solutions to climate change? Yes, if politics sticks to fundraising. No, for everything else.

  • Don’t you just love it. According to Nuland’s infamous boast, USA spent $5 billion to destabilize and bring down the Ukrainian government. And now Joe the Daft comes bearing the promise of $50 million to keep their illegitimate government in power.

    Oh goody! One wonders if anyone in the administration even knows how to count.

  • techno commented on the diary post Thomas Friedman Escaped and Is Writing About Economics Again by Dean Baker.

    2014-02-16 13:21:52View | Delete

    Do you know why Tom Friedman gets so many ideas from taxi drivers? Because if my personal experience is anything close to representative, every damn cab driver in the world knows more and is more intelligent that one of NYT’s so-called wise men.

    Does anyone know why NYT still has readers?

  • techno commented on the diary post Michael Klare: Have the Obits for Peak Oil Come Too Soon? by Tom Engelhardt.

    2014-01-09 22:48:47View | Delete

    Proof that once again, tea-party liberals are Michelle Bachman clueless. Fracking is a secondary production technique—and a damn expensive one at that. Fracking PROVES that Hubbert was absolutely correct. Hubbert said that when a field (well, country) reaches its peak, there is just as much oil in the ground as has been extracted. The difference [...]

  • techno commented on the diary post 2013: Vladimir Putin’s year by David Seaton.

    2013-12-22 18:03:18View | Delete

    Maybe now, but he certainly was not one of the thieves of the Yeltsin era. And yes, he certainly hates that crowd.

  • techno commented on the blog post We Shall Feed Our Flock

    2013-12-22 14:46:58View | Delete

    I absolutely love this piece. Our family made a habit of listening to Messiah on Christmas Eve afternoon. Both my parents performed it when they were young. I finally got to sing it as a member of the University of Minnesota Chorus with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1967. Messiah is a big deal for me.

    But this piece is special! The absolute BEST feature of Christianity is their idea that when God came to earth as a poor kid, the first people to be informed were social nobodies working outside on the night shift.

    I also believe that the high point of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is the Shepherd Sinfonia. Bach and Handel—lots of musical genius was born in 1685.

  • techno commented on the diary post 2013: Vladimir Putin’s year by David Seaton.

    2013-12-22 14:29:34View | Delete

    I don’t find Putin so inscrutable. He is a poor kid from from Russia’s “second city” who had to struggle mightily to advance his cause in life. Add to that he is a short man. Hardly need to know more than that. He is a Russian nationalist who knows USSR beat the Nazis at incredible [...]

  • techno commented on the diary post Pull Up a Chair: Cookies! by Elliott.

    2013-12-21 05:44:54View | Delete

    As someone who used to help my mother make spritz cookies, I agree they are something of a trick. But her “secret” was to use powdered sugar instead of granulated. It made the dough stiffer. She also made them first because the kitchen was still chilly (this was Minnesota). As the spritzer, I always thought [...]

  • techno commented on the diary post What a revoltin’ development this is! by TarheelDem.

    2013-12-08 20:54:44View | Delete

    I hate to be picky, but this sort of analysis usually fails because it concentrates on the BS artists and neglects the most important revolution of all—the industrial revolution. This was the revolution that determined what was possible. It determined how large the economic pie could grow. Since the only economics worth organizing a revolution [...]

  • techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Why Modern “Country Music” Exists

    2013-11-09 10:18:41View | Delete

    I haver never liked country music—hated it actually. But now I have a woman in my life whose brother plays in a major Nashville band so I don’t make jokes about the genre any longer. And one thing I will say—there are a LOT of seriously great musicians around Nashville. Her brother could put a world-class band together in about two hours with only the names on his iPhone.

    So my guess is that if country music sucks more than it once did, the fault can be found in the zeitgeist. When I looks around, I find there is damn little in USA anymore that doesn’t suck. I mean, try comparing the average clown who calls himself a “progressive” with someone like Bob LaFollette.

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