My excitement was minimal for a few reasons: (1) The involvement of King Rat, Al Sharpton; (2) the all-too-evident desire of Sharpton's buddy in the White House, and Democrats generally, to drive the protest movement safely into a ditch; (3) skepticism of "marches" generally (see under Iraq); and (4) a general sense that the action is in the Midwest, in St. Louis, which is where the new and interesting work is being done, instead of on the coasts (San Francisco, New York, Washington DC). For example, if you think about two original tactics that surfaced this time, die-ins and freeway blockages, both of those originated from St Louis, and both scale continentally in a way that tactics developed for non-sprawl areas (like San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC) do not.
So here's a random selection of tweets. But first, Al Sharpton on his way home:
— Dr. Cornel Fresh (@WyzeChef) December 13, 2014
Sadly I had to take the bus to Walmart (four hours round trip on public transportation). The service was horrible, and I had to go back a second time (total, eight hours) but there was no point losing my temper because clearly all the employees, er, associates, as well as their managers, were in the grip of a system that was being run more cheaply than possible. (I waited outside for the bus home next to some storage containers they had parked outside the building, gawd knows why, and heard a big electrical crackle come from one of them just before the bus arrived. Yikes.)
While I was there I took this picture, because it seemed to sum up a lot of my difficulties with the place:
This is, I believe, a "simpler than possible" awning. Rather it's a notional awning, the dead idea of an awning. It's above an area that serves bread, as you see, so I imagine it's meant to convey the feel of a cheery patisserie. I'm not sure which is worse: The attempt to convey the feel, or success (if any) in the conveyance, because that would have meant such a horridly low baseline for inducing the feel. I hate everything about that awning and no, I don't just strongly dislike it: Read below the fold...
This is truly neat stuff. I can't do it justice, so I'll just quote a big slab of it. Quanta:
The chemistry of the primordial soup, random mutations, geography, catastrophic events and countless other factors have contributed to the fine details of Earth’s diverse flora and fauna. But according to England’s theory, the underlying principle driving the whole process is dissipation-driven adaptation of matter.
This principle would apply to inanimate matter as well. “It is very tempting to speculate about what phenomena in nature we can now fit under this big tent of dissipation-driven adaptive organization,” England said. “Many examples could just be right under our nose, but because we haven’t been looking for them we haven’t noticed them.” Read below the fold...
PMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made calls to lawmakers on Thursday urging them to support the “cromnibus” spending bill, House Financial Services Committee ranking member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told reporters.
Dimon's involvement came amidst progressives enraged that the House "cromnibus" included a provision that they said would weaken Wall Street regulations. Read below the fold...
All that high tech stuff needs power, right? So you'd think they'd make sure they had it, right? CBS Local:
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Heavy wind and rain from Thursday’s massive storm have left much of San Francisco without power for most of the day, with 276,000 PG&E customers system wide losing power since the storm started, and 110,000 still without power.
San Francisco was hardest hit, with 70,000 customers across a vast swath of the city including downtown high rises in the dark beginning early Thursday morning through mid-morning. ...
The outage forced the shutdown of the Bay Area Rapid Transit Montgomery Station for a time Thursday morning. A transformer blew out near high-rise hotels, including one out front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The Embarcadero Center was also shut down for a time after power went out there as well..
[PG&E spokesman Joe Molica] said they have been preparing for the storm for more than a week, but weren’t anticipating as many trees and wires coming down. “All summer we’ve been hearing from our vegetation department that a lot of trees have been stressed, so they were very susceptible to coming down,” he said. “That’s exactly what we saw today. A lot of wires coming down. We do want folks to be safe out there. If you see a downed or hanging low wire, please call us and stay away.”
I love the idea of a "Vegetation Department." Read below the fold...
Here's the second: Read below the fold...
SW Australia's solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported.
The record efficiency was achieved in outdoor tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their outdoor test facility in the United States.
"This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity," UNSW Scientia Professor and Director of the Advanced Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) Professor Martin Green said.
"We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry," added Dr Mark Keevers, the UNSW solar scientist who managed the project.
The 40% efficiency milestone is the latest in a long line of achievements by UNSW solar researchers spanning four decades. These include the first photovoltaic system to convert sunlight to electricity with over 20% efficiency in 1989, with the new result doubling this performance.
Maybe it's a good thing fixing the roof has been last on my list. I've got acreage up there, and maybe I could be getting more out of it than a hot water heater. Read below the fold...
The face of credulity in the media is Andrew Ross Sorkin, hardworking New York Times Wall Street reporter and sometime Wall Street shoeshine boy. You cannot question Sorkin's work ethic. You cannot question his deep connections on Wall Street. And personally, I don't even question his sincerity. I do not believe that Andrew Ross Sorkin is a nefarious, scheming, two-faced spy, sent to do the bidding of Wall Street bankers in the halls of the nation's most important news outlet. I just think he is so dangerously, moronically credulous that his writing constitutes a danger to the public.
I saw this at Eschaton. Presumably it's part of the great "Whither Democrats?" conversation after the mid-terms debacle:
A dirty hippie reply to ALEC launches this week.
and so naturally I rushed over to "State Innovation Exchange" and found this, which I've helpfully annotated:
If you think you're looking at Democrat trade dress -- the blue, blue, blue, the round logo, the red, white, and blue (so much more tasteful to crop the flag in the logo, rather than crudely waving it), the sans serif font -- you'd be right (though we'll get to how exactly we can be 100% sure of that in a minute). Read below the fold...