Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:06:05 AM.

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daily link  Thursday, September 25, 2003

Our True Enemies by Ralph Peters: "From North Africa through Arabia's sands to Kashmir, those with whom we do business, upon whom we rely for advice and assurances of stability, with whom we have dinner and play golf - these are the very creatures who have stolen everything they could steal from their own people, who have ravaged educational systems, looted treasuries, corrupted institutions, tortured and murdered populist opponents and turned once-promising states into financial and moral basket cases.

Until the recent war against Saddam's regime, we never stood up for freedom in the Arab world. We have consistently tolerated or supported those who said the right things to us, who signed the oil contracts, who promised to keep things quiet - and who made a mockery of every value our nation professes. Our reward? Terror. But the truth is that we should be astonished that there is so little anti-American terrorism, given how long, how dishonestly and how virulently our supposed friends preached their theology of blame to local audiences..

Why isn't there a serious bipartisan outcry to expose Saudi misdeeds? Why do we get nothing but pro forma, made-for-the-microphone complaints from both sides of the aisle? Because both political parties are horrified at the thought of the Saudis revealing what they know about us, about the sweetheart deals, the retainers-for-nothing, the inflated contracts and the appalling shabbiness of politicians, businessmen and lobbyists willing to look away from human suffering, injustice and the deepest roots of terror in exchange for a game of tennis with Prince Bandar.

We have unleashed a great wave of change in the Middle East. But we will never make decisive progress against terror until we address the underlying causes - and stop supporting the smiling thieves who rob their own people then ask us out to lunch."

  4:21:48 PM  permalink  

Cover Story: â01CThe Shah Always Fallsâ01D - February/March 2003: "A soldier-historian looks at how the world has changed in the past decade and finds that America is both hostage to history and likely to be saved by it An Interview With Ralph Peters by Fredric Smoler."  Great reading.  Many good ideas, too many to blog right now...  4:15:00 PM  permalink  

Press slants Iraq news: Members=The Hill.com=: "Journalists are giving a slanted and unduly negative account of events in Iraq, a bipartisan congressional group that has just returned from a three-day House Armed Services Committee visit to assess stabilization efforts and the condition of U.S. troops said. .. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said: “We were all like-minded in our conversations, not robotic at all, but we saw the real progress that is being made, that we are not at all mired.”

Wilson, once a print reporter, strongly criticized the balance of his former profession’s story selection. “Sure, show the bloody side, but get away from this police-blotter mindset. There’s much more going on, ” he said. “Just on Friday, I heard a CBS radio report on the three deaths and then they had this analysis that just bordered on the hysterical,” Wilson said.  Adding, “CBS got it exactly wrong, the media portrayed it as an act of sophistication and a regrouping of Saddam’s forces, when in fact, it’s an indication of disorganization and desperation.”

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) explained that the longer he was in Iraq, the more skeptical he became of his previous assumptions.   Some of the media reports led him to believe that “it was Vietnam revisited,” he said. But he said there was “a disconnect between the reporting and the reality."  Other Democrats were quoted with similar assessments.

  4:02:48 PM  permalink  

Nanoscale iron as environmental cleanser: "An ultrafine, "nanoscale" powder made from iron, one of the most abundant metals on Earth, is turning out to be a remarkably effective tool for cleaning up contaminated soil and groundwater--a trillion-dollar problem that encompasses more than 1000 still-untreated Superfund sites in the United States, some 150,000 underground storage tank releases, and a staggering number of landfills, abandoned mines, and industrial sites.

Iron's cleansing power stems from the simple fact that it rusts, or oxidizes, explains [Lehigh University environmental engineer Wei-xian]Zhang. Ordinarily, of course, the only result is the familiar patina of brick-red iron oxide. But when metallic iron oxidizes in the presence of contaminants such as trichloroethene, carbon tetrachloride, dioxins, or PCBs, he says, these organic molecules get caught up in the reactions and broken down into simple carbon compounds that are far less toxic.   Likewise with dangerous heavy metals..

[N]anoscale iron particles are some 10 to 1000 times more reactive than conventional iron powders, because their smaller size collectively gives them a much larger surface area, and they can be suspended in a slurry and pumped straight into the heart of a contaminated site like an industrial-scale hypodermic injection. Once there, the particles will flow along with the groundwater to work their decontamination magic in place--a vastly cheaper proposition than digging out the soil..

Laboratory and field tests have confirmed that treatment with nanoscale iron particles can drastically lower contaminant levels around the injection well within a day or two, and will all but eliminate them within a few weeks--reducing them so far that the formerly polluted site will now meet federal groundwater quality standards. The tests also show that the nanoscale iron will remain active in the soil for 6 to 8 weeks, says Zhang, or until what's left of it dissolves in the groundwater. And after that, of course, it will be essentially undetectable against the much higher background of naturally occurring iron.

Finally, says Zhang, the cost of the nanoscale iron treatments is not nearly as big a barrier as it was in 1995, when he and his colleagues first developed a chemical route for making the particles. Then the nanoscale iron cost about $500 a kilogram; now, it's more like $40 to $50 per kilogram. (Decontaminating an area of about 100 square meters using a single injection well requires 11.2 kilograms.)   Zhang is currently forming a company to mass-produce the nanoscale iron particles. " Contact: (610)-758-5318, wez3@lehigh.edu.

  11:28:47 AM  permalink  

Today I wrote my thoughts on trends in photovoltaic cell prices.  My gut estimate is for grid-competitive PV products selling into some markets in 2007, and being mass marketable in 2011.

  11:04:57 AM  permalink  

Progress at Nanosys with nanorods: "To keep the rods properly aligned inside a solar cell so that they absorb solar energy consistently, he and his research team make them in the shape of branching nanocrystals that they call tetrapods. "Imagine a pyramid with all four sides exposed,â01D Alivisatos says. "We can grow rods out of each face of that pyramid. The result looks like a jack, from the children's game. It' a semiconductor that will always stand up on a surface, and should perform more efficiently."  9:24:18 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:06:05 AM.