When things get politicized

September 6, 2015

What a great object lesson on why the government should have as little power as possible.

Because most things it touches get handled the way Tom Harkin handled health care.

The Alternative Medicine Racket: How the Feds Fund Quacks

James Randi, call your office.

H.T. Jeff G


She’s been there and done that

September 2, 2015

Here’s a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by Mirta Gutierrez.

IMO, a $15 minimum wage is great news for automation companies. But…

A $15 minimum wage would hurt entry-level workers

Living in poverty in Argentina was not easy. Like many Argentinians trapped at the bottom of the economy, I was determined to make something of myself. I pursued a degree in accounting, but I quickly discovered that even with an education in my country, I was on a path to a dead end. […]

After arriving in Washington, I learned at a job fair that an Angelo & Maxie’s restaurant was opening and hiring 300 people. I met the chef, and in very broken English I asked for an opportunity to prove myself. He agreed, reluctantly, to hire me as a dishwasher at $5.50 an hour. It was 2001. I watched everything, took mental notes and looked for every opportunity to try something new in the back of the house. […]

When Angelo & Maxie’s closed, I went to work at District ChopHouse near Verizon Center. In nine years, the general manager and executive chef taught me everything he knew about the restaurant business. Then, in a bittersweet moment, he told me, “It’s time for you to fly.”

I was hired as the executive sous chef at Rosa Mexicano, where I was able to apply the skills that I had learned over the years. Before long, restaurant executive Spike Mendelsohn asked for my help with kitchen management and bookkeeping for one of his restaurant concepts, Good Stuff Eatery, on Capitol Hill. Soon, I was recruited to be executive chef at Tortilla Coast, where I am today.

I am an immigrant who started at the bottom with nothing. I became an executive chef who understands the kitchen and an accountant who understands the numbers of running a business. […]

As a poor immigrant, would a $15 minimum wage have helped me? Absolutely not. No restaurant owner would hire someone without experience, skills or English at such a high wage. I would never have made it to that first rung on the career ladder. […]


What he said (6)

September 1, 2015

I recently finished Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear. It’s a little dated now, since it came out in late 2004, but I still found it an entertaining read. And that’s despite the fact that it’s not one of his better novels; it ain’t a patch on The Andromeda Strain, for example.

I won’t give anything away but it’s a story about how people perceive climate change and anthropogenic global warming.

At the end, Crichton wrote some end notes to explain his personal take on AGW. Among those were these comments that I liked.

I believe people are well intentioned. But I have great respect for the corrosive influence of bias, systematic distortions of thought, the power of rationalization, the guises of self-interest, and the inevitability of unintended consequences.

I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.

Before making expensive policy decisions on the basis of climate models, I think it is reasonable to require that those models predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. Twenty would be better.

The hard-headed common sense of these remarks reminds me of things that Thomas Sowell has said.


While Trump et al. were at the Iowa State Fair…

August 23, 2015

Rand Paul was in Haiti doing something that impresses me no end.


Name that system Lucy

August 20, 2015

An efficient way to make carbon nanofibers is pretty cool, even if you’re not all that concerned about atmospheric CO2 concentration.

But will this process scale? That’s the question.

Now if they could only do this to make graphene. I’m waiting to see an electric car powered by graphene super-capacitors which are the car’s body panels. You’d have to add weight to make it stable.

‘Diamonds from the sky’ approach turns CO2 into valuable products

BOSTON, Aug. 19, 2015 — Finding a technology to shift carbon dioxide (CO2), the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity has long been a dream of many scientists and government officials. Now, a team of chemists says they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products. […]

“We have found a way to use atmospheric CO2 to produce high-yield carbon nanofibers,” says Stuart Licht, Ph.D., who leads a research team at George Washington University. “Such nanofibers are used to make strong carbon composites, such as those used in the Boeing Dreamliner, as well as in high-end sports equipment, wind turbine blades and a host of other products.”

Previously, the researchers had made fertilizer and cement without emitting CO2, which they reported. […]

Licht calls his approach “diamonds from the sky.” That refers to carbon being the material that diamonds are made of, and also hints at the high value of the products, such as the carbon nanofibers that can be made from atmospheric carbon and oxygen.

Because of its efficiency, this low-energy process can be run using only a few volts of electricity, sunlight and a whole lot of carbon dioxide. At its root, the system uses electrolytic syntheses to make the nanofibers. CO2 is broken down in a high-temperature electrolytic bath of molten carbonates at 1,380 degrees F (750 degrees C). Atmospheric air is added to an electrolytic cell. Once there, the CO2 dissolves when subjected to the heat and direct current through electrodes of nickel and steel. The carbon nanofibers build up on the steel electrode, where they can be removed, Licht says. […]

Licht estimates electrical energy costs of this “solar thermal electrochemical process” to be around $1,000 per ton of carbon nanofiber product, which means the cost of running the system is hundreds of times less than the value of product output.

“We calculate that with a physical area less than 10 percent the size of the Sahara Desert, our process could remove enough CO2 to decrease atmospheric levels to those of the pre-industrial revolution within 10 years,” he says. […]

Via Gizmag


The real american civil liberties organisation

August 19, 2015

Actually, I’m a little surprised that Texas would be doing something so silly. But you find this type of nonsense everywhere, I suppose.

You’ve gotta love the IJ.

Via What We Think and Why


So food is a controlled substance in Venezuela?

August 19, 2015

I’m taking this video at face value. That is, I don’t know for certain how serious or how frequent the food shortages are in Venezuela. Based on other reports, though, I think they’re both pretty serious and pretty frequent.

So I have to wonder what the hell is going on When I see the military chasing down a food "smuggler."

Here’s a video from Operacion Libertad Venezuela.

¿Debería la gente espere a que el pan? Creo que no. El pan debe esperar a la gente.


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