Bathtub reading for the World Series, and autumn’s appearance (finally!)

October 20, 2011

Busy as a teacher with 450 papers to grade each week.

That blue color in GE Reveal™ lightbulbs that just turned 10 years old?  Neodymium.  Embedded in the glass, not a coating.  Who knew?  Need to learn a lot more about neodymium — where is it mined, how toxic is it, what else can it do?

How will Rand Paul work up a whine about Reveal lightbulbs?  What will he complain about?

While we’re trolling GE’s press releases, we note the Climate Denialist™ reports of the death of wind power suffer from exaggeration Mark Twain warned us against.

Chart showing effects of 9-9-9 tax plan of Herman Cain

Chart showing effects of 9-9-9 tax plan of Herman Cain, Washington Post

Chart shows Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan overwhelmingly benefits the very rich, while raising taxes on the poor.  Give the man some credit:  Cain’s business acumen was in serving unhealthy food to poor people; gouging money from the poor is probably something he can figure out in his sleep.

Physics fun:  See what you can do with a bunch of pendulums on different lengths of string.  Video at bottom of this post.  Same idea, but with bolt nuts, paper clips, and colored pieces of paper to make it flash in darker light.  Physics fun on the cheap.

Business Insider has charts showing the economic change and job troubles that justify the Occupy Wall Street people.  When Cicero spoke, the people said how well he spoke.  When Demosthenes spoke, the people said, “Let us march!”  Demosthenes seems to have the ear of those protesters.  How long was your last job search?  Is?

Republican super-strategist David Frum calls it quits from Marketplace radio commentaries:  Can’t voice the Republican tripe anymore.  Robert Reich, Frum’s “liberal sparring partner” at the show, eviscerates the philosophy behind the logic that Frum should quit because the Republicans have moved from where Frum feels comfortable — only good and bad politics, Reich says, not right or left politics.  Hate to see Frum go, especially for the state reasons.  Reich is right.  Maybe those Rhodes Scholars should get a good hearing once in a while.

You thought that might be accurate?  No, cosmic rays do not cause global warming — it’s still our fault, and we must act to stop it, if disaster is to be averted.  Yeah, that’s from 2007. Here cosmic ray/cloud expert, Jasper Kirkby explains that his paper does not claim cosmic rays cause clouds and thereby global warming as the Climate Denialists™ claimed.

Worse, as the Yale Climate Forum explains, warming is nearly forever (35,000 years is longer than I expect to live).

Norwegian study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adequate supplies of folic acid to mothers, pre-natal, leads to normal language development in the baby three years out.  One supplement that keeps on working in study after study.

Washington Post’s Fact Checker looks like a useful tool to have around in an election year.  Glenn Kessler’s done a good job so far.

“Neanderthals still walk the Earth:  Climate deniers don’t believe in evolution, either.”  The National Center for Science Education takes on another goblin stunting our nation’s collective mental development.

Yale Climate Forum, again, takes on some misconceptions about carbon dioxide.

An entertaining post on lies your English teacher told you about writing.  Heck, this is about polishing writing — how do we get teenagers to write at all, today?

U.S.’s NASA and Japanese scientists teamed up to produce an even better, zowie-grosso topographical map of the world.  Scouts everywhere will be impressed.

Why is there gridlock in Congress?  Not sure, Bucky, but you’ll be excited to know that Sen. Jim DeMint  (R-SC) proposes to stop women from communicating with their physicians about abortion on the internet.  Jobs may be the top concern of Americans, but Sen. DeMint can’t be distracted from his task at hand dastardly work.  What?  First Amendment?  Doctor/Patient privilege?  Good health care?  Women’s health and rights?  Sanity?  No, those weren’t mentioned in the amendment.  I don’t think the good senator worries about such things.

Should have seen this one coming:  It’s the fastest growing industry in the U.S.  We export products from it to China.  It employs more than 100,000 people in 5,000 different companies, mostly small businesses.  It helps reduce carbon footprints of everyone, it contributes to making our nation energy independent.  If things continue as they are, there could be as many as 37,000 new jobs added in the next year, and continuing things as they are requires no new federal spending.  So, of course, the Republicans are trying to kill the solar energy industry.  Did someone strike them with a stupid stick?

Ungodly and unholy silence from conservatives and Christians about this terrorist-supporting claim from a pillar of right-wing thought.  No wonder Jesus weeps (not past tense).  On October 18, Limbaugh went back to the topic to laugh about it.  Cold blooded creature, isn’t he?

Update, 10/20:  Even the usually cluelessly callous Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe takes Limbaugh to task — but gently (see 1:45:00 into the C-SPAN video).

Occupy Sesame Street?

Yeah, that chart to the right goes on forever — big, big tax cuts to the richest Americans from Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 idea.

Scroll to the bottom to see the pendulum video.


White House notes advances in light bulbs and energy conservation

August 14, 2011

L-Prize-winning bulb from Philips North American Lighting -- a 10-watt LED bulb to replace 60-watt incandescent bulbs

L-Prize-winning bulb from Philips North American Lighting -- a 10-watt LED bulb to replace 60-watt incandescent bulbs

From the White House blog, something you probably didn’t see in your local newspaper and/or Tea Party organ:

Bright Ideas: Thomas Edison would be amazed. The conventional light bulb now has some serious competition. Philips Lighting North America has invented a revolutionary 10-watt light emitting diode (LED) bulb. Phillips is the first winner of the Energy Department’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize(L Prize). The L Prize challenged the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs that will save American consumers and businesses money.

Some business gets an award for lights that conserve energy?  Rats, there goes Rand Paul’s raison d’etre — all but for the lack of a toilet Paul could flush on his own.

More: 


Slowpoke Comics on the light bulb wars

July 24, 2011

Oh, while we’re looking at the genius of Jen Sorensen, let’s see what she’s got to cartoon about light bulbs:

Jen Sorensen's Slowpoke Comics, "Bulb Wars"

Jen Sorensen's Slowpoke Comics, "Bulb Wars" - for a larger image at Jen's website, click the image

This strip appears Wednesdays at Daily Kos, and I understand some newspapers around the country have picked it up.  Does it appear in a paper in your city?


Marxism from Republicans? Sad, but true . . .

July 12, 2011

. . .  Groucho Marxism.

(From Horsefeathers; longer version of entire scene, here.)

The U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote today to force light bulb manufacturers to keep manufacturing bulbs the market has rejected — Marxist socialism at its apex! — in order to overturn energy conservation standards signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007.

ThinkProgress explains:

Lately it seems that the House Republican leadership is against everything that isn’t pre-approved by Big Oil or the Tea Party. Perhaps the most outlandish example of this Groucho Marx approach to public policy is today’s vote on the BULB Act, H.R. 2417. It would repeal the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, or EISA, P.L. 110-140. It would also prevent California from setting its own light bulb efficiency standards. The original author of the provision is House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI), who is now supporting the repeal of his own idea after conservatives attacked it along with other clean energy programs.

EISA, with Rep. Upton’s efficiency measure, passed the House in 2007 by a bipartisan vote of 319-100, with support from 49.7 percent of Republicans who voted and 98 percent of Democratic votes. President George W. Bush signed it into law.

Afterwards, Rep. Upton bragged in a press release, “Upton Measure to Upgrade Energy Efficiency Standards for all Light Bulbs Now Law” . . .

Mark Twain observed that it takes just one man of conscience to stand up to a mob and frustrate stupid mob action.  Fred Upton is not that man of conscience, alas.

Meanwhile, PopVox has a poll on the bill.  Go on over there and vote “no,” meaning you wish to keep the conservation standards.

Tip of the old scrub brush to ThinkProgress via Jennsmom.


Tea partiers: Constipated, now in the dark — what else can they screw up?

July 9, 2011

Life is just a constant bitch for tea partiers.

Rand Paul revealed why he’s full of . . . that certain fecality, shall we say.  He did that in a hearing about light bulbs, and appliances.  Energy conservation gives Rand Paul formication (look it up).

Joker burns money - Warner Brothers publicity still, with Heath Ledger as the Joker

Burning money: Republicans prefer more heat than light, less energy conservation, and the libertarian, self-help yourself to others' money philosophy popularized in recent movies.

But what about efforts to undo the energy conservation bill that practically forces long-lived, low-energy light bulbs on us?  The Tea Party doesn’t like that idea, either.  Michael Patrick Leahy, writing at the blog for Rupert Murdoch’s Broadside Books, explains why he thinks the Tea Party should oppose Fred Upton’s bill to repeal the energy standards Rand Paul castigated.

Basically, none of these guys knows beans about energy, nor much about the technology or science of electricity and lighting — they just like to whine.

Leahy wrote:

Section 3 [of the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act,” HR 2417] states that “No Federal, State, or local requirement or standard regarding energy efficient lighting shall be effective to the extent that the requirement or standard can be satisfied only by installing or using lamps containing mercury.” This reads to me that Congress is attacking the mercury laden CFL bulbs. The point of the individual economic choice guaranteed in the Constitution, however, is that Congress ought not to favor CFLs over incandescents, just as it ought not to favor incandescents over CFLs. I’m no fan of CFL bulbs personally, but look for CFL manufacturers like GE to make this argument against the bill at every opportunity.

Section 4 of the Act is designed to repeal the light bulb efficiency standards in effect in the State of California since January 1 of this year. The standards are essentially the federal standards that will go into effect January 1, 2012, but moved up a year. While I personally question the legal status of these very specific rules promulgated by the California Energy Commission based on a vague and non-specific 2007 California statute, it seems to me that there are serious Constitutional questions surrounding a Federal law prohibiting a State to establish its own product efficiency standards. While a good argument can be made that the Commerce Clause grants Congress the right to repeal California state regulations, a reasonable argument could be made by opponents of the bill that Congress can’t do this because the state of California is merely establishing local standards, which is its right.

Given these concerns about Sections 3 and 4, what purpose does it serve to include them in the bill? Both raise potential objections to the passage of the bill on the floor of the House if it comes to a vote this week.

Now, granted this is the House of Representatives, and not the Senate where Sen. Paul keeps a chair warmed, occasionally.  Still, is it too much to ask the Tea Party to support the bills it asks for?  Leahy said:

A full and open discussion of these issues in public hearings held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would have been the right way to begin a legislative process that would have identified and addressed these potential objections. That’s the course that a Committee Chairman seriously committed to repealing the light bulb ban would have taken. Instead, Chairman Upton has followed this secretive, behind closed doors, last minute rushed vote approach.

There was a hearing in the Senate — good enough for most people — and of course, there were hearings on the issue in the House.  The Tea Party was unconscious at the time.  The bill they’re trying to repeal was a model of moderation as touted by the president when it passed, President George W. Bush — and it’s still a good idea to conserve energy and set standards that require energy conservation (the law does not ban incandescent bulbs).

Also, while they’re complaining about the mercury in Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs), remember, Dear Reader, they oppose letting our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protect you from mercury in your drinking water or the air that you breathe.  Pollution is only worrisome to them if they can use worry as a tool to whine about people making life work without pollution.  A rational person would point out that the mercury released by coal-fired power plants to produce the energy required by repeal of the conservation law would more than equal the mercury from all the CFLs, even were all that mercury to be released as pollution (which it isn’t, if properly disposed of):

8 hours: The amount of time a person must be exposed to the mercury in a CFL bulb to acquire the same mercury level as eating a six-ounce can of tuna, according to Climate Progress’s Stephen Lacey.

Is it too much to ask for reason, circumspection, and a touch of wisdom from these guys?  You’re supposed to drink the tea, Tea Party, not smoke it.

Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller (can we get on the no-call list?) says Republicans plan to vote for darkness instead of light next Monday.

A wet shake of the old scrub brush in the general direction of Instapundit, who never met a form of pollution he didn’t prefer over clean water or clean air.

_____________

Update:  Mike the Mad Biologist talks sense about the light bulb vote planned by the dim bulbs:

Because it’s not like more efficient light bulbs would be helpful at all:

The American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy says that the standards would eliminate the need to develop 30 new power plants – or about the electrical demand of Pennsylvania and Tennessee combined.

Only Republicans can make the current crop of Democrats look good…

Mike provides more points that make the Upton bill look simultaneously silly and craven:  The current law does not ban incandescent bulbs at all, for example, one manufacturer has introduced two new incandescent bulbs in the past year.  Tea Party Republicans:  No fact left unignored, no sensible solution left undistorted and unattacked.

Also see:


Relief for Rand Paul’s toilet problem

March 17, 2011

David Roberts at the online Grist site has a toilet that will solve Rand Paul’s problem, as Paul let slip at a Senate hearing earlier this week.  A couple of interesting videos accompanied Roberts’ article:

And this one, which makes me happy we didn’t have this toilet when our kids were toddlers, and at war with each other, or just happy to study hydraulics with frequent flushes, frequently with stuff that shouldn’t be flushed:

Bill Scher, also at Grist, did the shopping earlier that Rand Paul appears unable  to do — there are several toilets available to solve Paul’s problem, many of them made in America.

Almost three years ago we replaced the three toilets in our home with two Toto models and one Kohler, all low-flow, water miser editions.  They work fine. (We also shopped our local area, and found prices considerably below those listed, at several different outlets.)  Kohler, in fact, enlists the help of a fetching plumber named Jo.  She steps into a well-appointed bathroom and invites you to test Kohler’s toilets – you pick something in the bathroom, and she flushes it.  Bye bye, rubber duckie.  So long, handtowel.  Four bottles of shampoo at once.

Test Kohler toilets with Jo, the plumber

Click image to test Kohler toilets [Update, August 2012: Alas, Kohler seems to have deactivated the interactive site.]

Kohler, clearly, had someone with Sen. Paul’s, er, um, problem, in mind!

So, Rand Paul no longer has a reason to be full of s—.  It’s time he vote to endorse saving energy, as appliance and lightbulb manufacturers have done.  Why is Paul so opposed to American business anyway?

Update: The Trophy Wife™ suggested somebody stage a showdown, or flush off between Jo the Plumber and Sen. Rand Paul.  Jo the Plumber could see how well the Republican budget whacks flush away . . . “H.R. 1:  Flushes cleanly!  382 pages gone!  Appropriately disposed of!  What do you want to flush next?”

Perhaps someone adept at editing flash videos could make that happen . . .


Rand Paul’s confession: Constipated for years, he can’t see the light

March 17, 2011

In what must be one of the most bizarre but informative exchanges we’ve ever heard from a Tea Partier, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reveals what bugs so many Tea Partiers.  His toilets don’t work, and haven’t for 20 years.

That’s not supposed to be a straight line for a gag.

You can’t get the information from just listening to him, however — you have to have some additional facts so you can read between the lines.

From this exchange at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, we learn:

  1. Rand Paul trivializes abortion and women’s rights.  He appears to think babies are similar to incandescent light bulbs; he’s pretty clueless about either pregnancies or light bulbs.  Could there be a more offensive way to introduce this topic, than to claim his right to buy an incandescent light bulb and waste energy is equal, somehow, to a woman’s right to choose whether to carry a baby?
  2. Rand Paul doesn’t know how to shop.  Rand Paul isn’t much of a plumber.  He apparently bought a defective toilet some years ago, one that either doesn’t work or just can’t deal with the amount of effluent he personally produces, and he blames government for his bowel issues and his plumbing issues.  Well-working, low-water-use toilets have been available for decades in Europe and Asia, and are now available in the U.S., but he can’t be bothered to shop for them.  If he could maintain his old, water-wasting toilet, he’d have no kick, of course.  But he can’t be bothered to shop for a plumber who knows plumbing, and he can’t figure out how to do it himself.
  3. Rand Paul is incompetent at economics and constitutional law, at the same time.  Rand Paul thinks government should regulate things for his satisfaction, keeping products available that are no longer economical to produce — and if government fails to force businesses to do his bidding, it’s government’s fault; but the fact that Paul lives in the 19th century in his mind and no one else wants what he wants, never occurs to him.
  4. Rand Paul wants government to subsidize his bad choices.

Oy.

Let’s go to the video:

Can somebody get Rand Paul a competent plumber?  Can somebody show him how to use Google or Bing or Yahoo! to shop for good toilets and good plumbers?   The nation needs Paul to return to sanity, decency, and sanitation.

[Update:  Paul could learn about efficient, U.S.-built toilets, here.]

Am I wrong to think Paul is making an attack on wise conservation in general?  Why?

Paul’s smug, self-satisfied invincibility of incompetence and learned helplessness is appalling.  (Take that, Protein Wisdom; it’s just you, Jeff G. — everybody else sees Ms. Morgan as composed against Paul’s overweening smugness.)

Can somebody explain this to me:  This moment of extreme embarrassment to Sen. Paul is posted by his office at his YouTube site.  What were they thinking?

Somebody give a medal to Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Morgan for not teeing off on the guy.  Letting him twist in the wind is good enough.

By the way, the bill Paul complains about?  The manufacturers agreed to the standards voluntarily, and have already agreed to comply — the bill adds no regulations they say they cannot meet; Hogan’s statement noted:

S.398 codifies agreements that were negotiated, signed, and promoted by a cross-section of stakeholders representing consumer advocacy groups, manufacturers, manufacturer trade associations, and energy efficiency advocacy organizations, all of whom support this bill. The negotiated consensus agreements would establish energy conservation standards for 14 products, several of which are in the midst of DOE’s ongoing standards and test procedure rulemakings.

Also constipated:

Resources, good information:


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