About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly.
Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said.
It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.
The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.
I think from the start of the intervention, the military attack, the outcome in Libya has depended on removing Qaddafi from power. If he stays, he will crush his Libyan opponents at a future time and place. If he stays after the intervention, he will sponsor or cooperate with folks who will launch bombings and attacks against Western civilian targets. He’s a murderous, vindictive thug.
Justice would be nice for a guy like this, but if that means a public hanging like Saddam Hussein got, I would rather see Qaddafi retire to a villa somewhere like Idi Amin did when he was forced out of Uganda (I think Amin’s obit at the Guardian is comprehensive and accurate).
The Guardian is also reporting today that Italy is working to arrange a villa somewhere in Africa where Qaddafi can retire. Frankly, I would rather see the guy moved into Amin’s villa in Saudi Arabia, but I don’t think that is likely to happen.
Obama comes out of this looking pretty good if Italy can persuade Qaddafi to leave Tripoli and Libya. Maybe he should be promoted to General as part of the retirement process?
Libya and the prospects for a “democratic” uprising remain wildly uncertain even if Qaddafi declares victory, accepts a promotion and retires to an Unlibyan villa. Like the other Middle East uprising in Tunisia and Egypt, the prospects for a Libyan democratic awakening are fragile. A military strongman or a Iranian style theocracy are possible to arise from the chaos and struggle, and then these countries are likely to follow the Animal Farm model and we will all see again that the flaw in revolution is corrupt leadership. The instances where an incorruptible leader like Nelson Mandela or Lech Walesa arises to help a revolution in a country develop a democracy with structure and electoral accountability are rare. The long term or episodic outcomes even in these instances do not rule out regression. Look at the election of Hamas in Gaza. How the US and its allies and proxies did not understand that a free election in Gaza would elevate Hamas is a marvel.
Democracies can elect the wrong people. The US might even have some history of that sort. But what is going on in the Middle East is a popular uprising. The masses are tired of living on almost nothing while the rulers of the countries feed steaks to their pet tigers. Real Politiks – the politics of cronyism and temporal security, economic stability create some unfortunate alliances where industrial nations forge bonds with despotic rulers and fail to comprehend the fundamental instability of the countries under despotic rule. Idi Amin is not a good trade partner. Some animals are more equal than others.
On a parallel track, I noticed this morning on the wires that Egypt’s military has decided that Mubarak may not travel out of Egypt. I don’t think this is good news for Mubarak. He should have taken my advice and gone to check on his real estate in London when he had the opportunity.
Joe Bageant died yesterday. He fought a good fight against cancer the past 4 months and kept writing and posting.
Here is part of a piece he wrote not too long ago:
Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga
By Joe Bageant
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.
One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?
But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and (B) we cling to institutions dedicated to making sure we never find out.
As William Edwards Deming famously demonstrated, no system can understand itself, and why it does what it does, including the American social system. Not knowing shit about why your society does what it makes for a pretty nasty case of existential unease. So we create institutions whose function is to pretend to know, which makes everyone feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes the savviest among us — those elites who run the institutions — very rich, or safe from the vicissitudes that buffet the rest of us.
I will miss the guy.
Washington Community Action Network
is holding a Week of Action to demand that our legislators and the governor do the right thing. Close corporate tax giveaways and stop balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class.
APRIL 5-8 we will take back our dignity and our State.
On April 5-8th, we will take Olympia, our state capitol, as a force to be recognized. The current economic crisis has led to massive job loss, home foreclosures, and cuts to education, health care, child care, and other basic services. People of color, immigrants, low-income people, and public workers are being attacked for this crisis, while big banks and corporations who are the ones responsible enjoy millions in free tax giveaways and profits at our expense.
We know right from wrong and we cannot stand by any longer in silence.
We’ve rallied, marched, lobbied, and testified and they have not moved – now is the time to TURN UP THE HEAT!
United, the community demands that the Governor and State Legislature:
- Close corporate tax loopholes
- Stop scapegoating our communities, people of color, immigrants, and public workers
- Stop the cuts to critical social services
- Create jobs
Help us spread the word about the week of action in Olympia!
Take a stand for racial and economic equity!
Transportation, translation, child care, and special needs will be taken care of.
For information or to join our action efforts, contact Jill Mangaliman ~ 206-805-6678 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Washington State Democrats have sent out a fund-raising appeal so that it can place an ad critical of Rob McKenna in the Seattle Times. (See http://www.wa-democrats.org/content/our-newspaper-ad.)
This ad calling out Rob McKenna for his attacks on public employee unions is running in today’s issue of The Olympian.
GOAL: We need to raise $6,935 to place this ad in The Seattle Times and keep up the pressure on anti-union forces in our state.
Rob McKenna sure is dangerous, the ad is good, and Dems need to get the message out. But the Seattle Times was a major opponent of I-1098 (the high-earrners’ income tax initiative), a major supporter of Tim Eyman’s I-1053 (see this editorial), and a backer of other regressive fiscal policies and candidate.
How sad that Democrats have to give support to their enemy the Seattle Times. Some Democratic leaders have encouraged Democrats to boycott the Seattle Times.
This situation exemplifies the great need the Left has in Washington State to build a progressive media infrastructure that we control so that we can get our message out. Of course, that’s no easy task.
Since Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, you’d think they’d be able to use their positions to educate the public about issues such as regressive taxation. But at the recent Town Hall meeting on Mercer Island, I heard barely a word from our Democratic representatives about the regressiveness of the tax system. The Governor sure isn’t leading. Democrats should at least be organizing their messaging. Or do the state legislators not coordinate with Pelz’ Democratic Party establishment?
Or maybe there are too many “centrist” (Blue Doggish) Democrats-in-name-only legislators.
Sadly, on the issue of revenue and taxation, our leaders are afraid to lead, lest the voters think they’re tax-and-spend liberals. The result is that the Right controls the messaging in Washington State, as they do nationally.
The PCOs and grassroots activists are mostly progressive, in my experience. Somehow that progressivism doesn’t trickle up to our leaders.