|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Ken Novak's Weblog
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative:
Surprising to me, and hopeful. " [A] television spot links images of drought, starvation and Hurricane
Katrina to global warming. In it, the Rev. Joel Hunter, pastor of a
megachurch in Longwood, Fla., says: "As Christians, our faith in Jesus
Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God's
creation. The good news is that with God's help, we can stop global
warming, for our kids, our world and for the Lord." The
advertisements are to be shown in Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, New
Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and
The Evangelical Climate Initiative, at a cost of
several hundred thousand dollars, is being supported by individuals and
foundations, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Hewlett
Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation." 10:51:45 AM
Saturday, February 04, 2006
United States Ranks 28th on Environment:
Among other measures, the GHG per GDP was interesting: "The study shows that annual carbon dioxide emissions, measured as
metric tons per $1 million of gross domestic product, average about 363
. North Korea, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Mongolia rank
at the bottom of the scale, with amounts ranging from Mongolia's 1,992
tons to North Korea's 4,859 tons.
Carbon dioxide emissions from
nations with rapid economic expansion, like China and India, are more
than double the world average (731 tons and 621 tons, respectively).
The United States, at 171 tons per $1 million of gross domestic
product, ranks well behind some other nations in the Group of 8, the
major industrial powers - France (56), Japan (57), Germany (80) and
Britain (118) - but close to Canada (168), ahead of Australia (209) and
far ahead of Russia (914)." At today's $10-30 per metric ton, the global average "GDP tax" for GHG offsets would be under 1%, and the US under .5%. 3:41:19 PM
'State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration':
Review of the Risen book by Walter Isaacson, that makes some larger points: "Even those of us who like the idea of the
intelligence agencies using data-mining and
electronic surveillance to detect terrorist communications
are uncomfortable with the possibility
that future presidents, with murkier agendas,
might secretly use such techniques, without
any authorization, for any purpose they alone
deem part of their war-making powers.
In these cases, oversight is supposed to
come from Congress, the special intelligence
courts and the lawyers at the Justice Department,
C.I.A. and White House. But in an administration
that has little appreciation for Congressional
authority or for meddling lawyers,
and in a town where the president's party controls
all branches of government, there were
no such checks or balances.
Except the press. Whether on torture or
wiretapping, the news media have become a de
facto fourth branch that provides some small
check on executive power. That is why so
many concerned or disgruntled sources, especially
from within the intelligence agencies,
came forward to give Risen information.
So what are we to believe in a book that relies
heavily on leaks from disgruntled
sources? We are in an age where the consumer
of information has to make an educated guess
about what percentage of assertions in books
like this are true. My own guess is that Risen
has earnest sources for everything he reports
but that they don't all know the full story, thus
resulting in a book that smells like it's 80 percent
true. If that sounds deeply flawed, let me
add that if he had relied on no anonymous
sources and reported instead only the on-the-record
line from official spinners, the result
would very likely have been only half as true.
In fact, the new way we consume information
provides a good argument for the role of
an independent press that relies on leakers.
Other journalists will and should build on, or
debunk, the allegations reported by Risen. This
will prompt many of the players to publish
their own version of the facts. L. Paul Bremer,
the American viceroy in Iraq after the invasion,
has just come out with his book pointing
fingers at the C.I.A. for giving him flawed intelligence
and at Donald Rumsfeld for not giving
him the troops he actually wanted. And
Tenet, one hopes, will someday cash in on a
hefty book contract by clamping cigar in
mouth and pen in hand to give evidence that he
was not the buffoonish toady Rumsfeld's aides
portray him to be. Besides being fun to watch,
this process is a boon for future historians.
So welcome to the new age of impressionistic
history. Like an Impressionist painting, it
relies on dots of varying hues and intensity.
Some come from leakers like those who spoke
to Risen. Other dots come from the memoirs
and comments of the players. Eventually, a
picture emerges, slowly getting clearer. It's up
to us to connect the dots and find our own
meanings in this landscape."
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
: Wireless soil moisture and micro-climate montoring system. 9:11:28 AM
Jesse Sullivan, the World's First Bionic Man:
Groundbreaking use of nerves to control artificial limbs, so that thought controls the device. Amazing video. May be applications for other machine control. "In May 2001, working as a high-power lineman 54 year old Jesse Sullivan was electrocuted so severely that both of his arms needed to be amputated. ..
Doctors take nerves that used to go to the arm and move those nerves onto chest muscles. The nerves grow into the chest muscles, so when the patient thinks “close hand,” a portion of his chest muscle contracts and electrodes that detect this muscle activity tell the computerized arm when to close the hand. Thus, the patient thinks “close hand” and his artificial hand closes. ..
While previously moving his artificial arms was slow and cumbersome, today he is able to do many of the routine tasks he took for granted before his accident, including putting on socks, shaving, eating dinner, taking out the garbage, carrying groceries and vacuuming." 8:49:03 AM
Algae to produce hydrogen:
Links to research in progress. References and images of computer simulations of hydrogen and oxygen generation at very small scale. 8:28:15 AM