Jet Fuel From Seawater: No longer a pipe dream

by Charlton Stanley

Navy Research LabsThis did not exactly come as a news story to me. I had this discussion with one of my best friends from high school years ago. Normally, a discussion with a former next door neighbor doesn’t amount to much in the total scheme of things. Especially when the neighbors are a couple of teenagers. However, every October I watch the Nobel awards announcements for my friend’s name. Not yet, but maybe one of these days. At any rate, he told me about some of the technology advances not generally known to the public, and that it would only be a matter of time.

I might add that he is of the opinion that none of the current alternatives to fossil fuels are completely environmentally friendly. However, the survival of our civilization makes it incumbent on us to keep looking. In one of our discussions, I mentioned that we had a lot of water on the surface of the globe, and that water comprises the perfect fuel. Hydrogen is pure fuel, and oxygen the purest oxidizer. The only fly in the ointment is that little thing called the First Law of Thermodynamics. The chemical bond between the two elements is one of the tightest possible, and it takes energy to break it. Recombining the two is relatively easy. A physicist once quipped that hydrogen is the perfect fuel, but if somebody wants to set up a pure hydrogen service station, he would prefer to watch the results from the next county.

Continue reading

Posted in Big Oil, Biology, Chemistry, Climatology, Education, Energy Policy, Investing, Memories, Physics, Uncategorized, USN | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Of Winters Court, Milhous, And Me

by James Knauer

Overture

For everything, there is a first time, Mr. Saavik.”  Captain Spock.

Nixon ResignsThese matters concern my real life experiences as a television addict during the years 1973 to 1977. The location of these events took place at the end of a small dead-end street known as Winters Court in Jackson, Michigan. It was a full two-story farm house, unlike any of the smaller craftsman style homes around it. Nor did it begin life at the end of the street; it was deliberately moved there to make way for a new road, and in this some of its original sturdiness was lost.

By the time of my arrival in the Summer of 1973, its front porch was sloped downward away from the front door, and faded white foam drop ceilings cut the original twelve feet down to about seven, replete with lurid buzzy fluorescent lighting. In that hidden world above the tiles, between the wires which held it fast, the true roof of the world was revealed in small glimpses of some forgotten crown molding, extreme filth, and perhaps spiders of Tolkienian appetite. When it came crashing through the false ceiling at various times, the plaster work was revealed to be hand-carved reliefs of vines, leaves, and florets, painted a faded green, and other colors below that. But mostly that art laid perilously hidden.

There were three T. V. stations at the time, two on cloudy days, and in the Summer of 1973, if one was going to nurse a television addiction, one watched the only thing these channels had to offer. And that meant Watergate, mother of all -Gates, the real one, and this is what I saw.

Continue reading

Posted in American History, Constitutional Law, Government, History, Jurisprudence, Politics, Presidents, Richard Nixon, United States | 3 Comments

Evangelical Group’s Plan to Proselytize Children at Portland’s Parks and Pools This Summer Comes under Fire

JesusSermononMountBy Elaine Magliaro

Stateside Oregon: The Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club plans to “try to convert children as young as 5 at Portland apartment pools, public parks and dozens of other gathering spots this summer…” Some residents have been disturbed by CEF’s efforts to proselytize the youth of their city—and have banded together in order to warn parents about the eager evangelizers. Protect Portland Children (PPC)—a group of concerned residents that has taken issue with the CEF’s “message and the way it’s delivering it”—bought “a full-page ad in the local alternative weekly to highlight the group’s tactics.”

Kaye Schmitt is an organizer with PPC. She was quoted as saying, “They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they’re a very old school fundamentalist sect.”

Continue reading

Posted in Christianity, Religion, United States | Tagged , | 11 Comments

The Devil Is in the Details: Satanists, Religion, and the Hobby Lobby Ruling

SatanBaphometBy Elaine Magliaro

In her “blistering” dissent in the Hobby Lobby ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” In addition to venturing into a minefield, Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg - CopySCOTUS may have also cracked open the gates of hell a tad–at least as far as some folks might be concerned.

I’m sure most of you know that the Hobby Lobby ruling allows “closely held” for-profit companies to claim a religious exemption to Obamacare’s contraception mandate. According to Caitlin MacNeal (Talking Points Memo), the ruling has prompted the Satanic Temple to launch a campaign. It is “seeking religious exemption from laws that restrict access to abortions, citing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.” Tara Culp-Ressler (ThinkProgress) said that Satanists have pointed out that the Hobby Lobby decision “strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty.”

Continue reading

Posted in Conservatives, Constitutional Law, Courts, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Politics, Religion, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS, United States | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Make Music with Your Life—A Poem for a Retiring Teacher

By Elaine Magliaro

I’m dedicating this post to my “cyber” friend Blouise—who is a true music afficiando.

I had the great fortune to work at an elementary school that had many exceptional teachers. One of them was Valerie. “Val” taught music at the Malcolm Bell School in Marblehead, Massachusetts, for many years. She retired in 2011—seven years after I did. For nearly a quarter of a century, she helped music come alive for the children in her classroom.

I wanted to do something special for Valerie’s retirement party to show her how much I appreciated all that she had done to make music an integral part of our students’ elementary education. So…I wrote a poem for her that came from my heart. That poem is called a cento.

NOTE: Cento comes from the Latin word for “patchwork.” The cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems written by other poets.

Continue reading

Posted in Music, Poetry | 5 Comments

Beauty Is . . .

submitted by Gene Howington

The following was suggested by longtime friend of the blog and all around beautiful person herself, Blouise. It is a stunning, beautiful piece of music. Enjoy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Science, Conception, SCOTUS, Corporate Personhood, and Some Facts about the Four Contraceptives at the Center of the Hobby Lobby Case…with a Mark Fiore Video

By Elaine Magliaro

Hobby Lobby’s Corporate Commandments

Back in March of this year—during oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case—Sahil Kapur (Talking Points Memo) said he thought that the conservative Supreme Court Justices “appeared broadly ready to rule against the birth control mandate under Obamacare.” He added that “their line of questioning indicated they may have a majority to do it.” Kapur reported that Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Alito “expressed no sympathy for the regulation while appearing concerned for the Christian business owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood who said the contraceptive mandate violates their religious liberty and fails strict scrutiny standards under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

During oral arguments, Justice Scalia said, “You’re talking about, what, three or four birth controls, not all of them, just those that are abortifacient. That’s not terribly expensive stuff, is it?”

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, Science, Religion, Politics, Fundamentalism, Christianity, Pharmaceuticals, Conservatives, Health Care, United States, SCOTUS, Constitutional Law, Sexuality, Reproductive Rights, Courts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment