|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Saturday, August 14, 2004
Tidal Flow To Power New York City
: Excellent summary of tidal flow power from Roland Piquepaille. The lead story is about a NY installation: "Verdant Power, an energy company based in Arlington, Virginia, plans to plunge six electricity turbines into the East River. If the $4.5-million project is successful, the generators will form the first farm of tide-powered turbines in the world. The plan is to attach the machines, which look like small wind turbines, to concrete piles hammered into the bedrock nine metres below the river's surface. As the tide surges in and out, the heads pivot to face the current and the blades spin." 11:44:59 PM
Kerry's education reform: merit pay for teachers:
"The candidate proposed a "new bargain"--a $30 billion, 10-year plan of federal grants which would allow districts to raise the pay of teachers whose students consistently test above average, while at the same time making it easier for schools to fire bad teachers." The article cites research in support. 11:14:46 PM
Pro-Resolution, Not Pro-War: On Kerry and his vote for the Iraq war resolution. First, Kerry's statement made on the day he cast his vote: "Let there be no doubt or confusion about where we stand on this. I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances." The commentator concludes "In reality, Bush flip-flopped. He said the war was about WMD and both he and Powell assured congress the WMD threat was the only thing necessitating the resolution to authorize force in Iraq. Now Bush admits that was a lie. He'd have gone to war anyway.."
More on this from Kevin Drum, quoting first from another source: "Edwards says if Kerry had been president, we would have found out Iraq had no WMD, and "we would never be in this place." Kerry emphatically agrees with this translation. " And concluding: You can decide for yourself whether you like this position, but it's not hard to grasp. That's especially true for the press, since they know very well that there are lots and lots of liberal hawks and other former war supporters who have exactly the same position: pressuring Saddam was good, inspections were good, and eventually war might have been good too. But Bush blew it: he failed to rally world opinion, he failed to get the Arab world on our side, he failed to let the inspections process run its course, and he failed to plan properly for the postwar occupation. The result is a loss of American power and prestige, a diminished chance of Iraq becoming a pluralistic democracy, and an al-Qaeda that's been given a second lease on life thanks to George Bush's Queeg-like obsession with Saddam Hussein."
And an analogy from Josh Marshall: "in most cases, when a batter steps up to the plate, he doesn't decide whether he's going to swing until he sees the pitch. Only an idiot decides in advance not knowing what he's going to face. And yet this is roughly what the Bush camp says was the only reasonable, or I suppose manly, approach to the Iraq war.
I see the war decision in very similar terms to this baseball analogy. Voting for the war resolution was not remotely the same thing as going to war at the first possible opportunity. Forcing inspections meant seeing what inspections would yield. And seeing what inspections would yield was the best insurance against getting ourselves into the current situation and finding that the WMD, which constituted the premise for the whole endeavor, didn't even exist.
To extend our baseball analogy, Bush went to the plate knowing he was going to swing at whatever pitch he got." 10:56:27 PM
"TimeTrax is an application for the XM Satellite Radio XM PCR
PC-based radio. This radio, available for under $50, plugs into a USB port on your PC and lets you tune into over 120 digital audio satellite channels, featuring music, talk, comedy and news. Using TimeTrax, you can now record directly from your XM PCR radio onto your PC's hard drive in WAV or MP3 format." Software automatically breaks songs into separate MP3 files and collects metadata (artist, title, etc). Can be scheduled to retain all songs by an artist, for example. Software free (registered for $20), hardware $50, service $7/mo. 8:31:09 AM
Nice summary of the idea in his book, We the Media: "There are various ways to "make the news," but they're starting to blend. In the traditional sense it works this way: You can make news by doing something extraordinary (or ordinary, if you're a celebrity or politician), or by doing something evil or especially good. PR and marketing people help. We in the journalism business make the news every day, every hour, by reporting what we learn; newspapers are, in part, a manufacturing business. And "consumers" of news can make their own news reports by sifting through the growing variety of information now available to them.
Now, all of those news constituencies are starting to bleed into each other. The former audience is joining the journalism process, as is the Newsmaker who talks over our heads to the audience more directly via blogs and other new tools. The journalist has to pay much closer attention to it all, and must listen as much as lecture." 8:01:19 AM
Habitat Chronicles: You can't tell people anything
: How do you explain what you can't demonstrate? "When people ask me about my life's ambitions, I often joke that my goal is to become independently wealthy so that I can afford to get some work done. Mainly that's about being able to do things without having to explain them first, so that the finished product can be the explanation. I think this will be a major labor saving improvement." 12:57:27 AM