Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 21st, 2007

Mexico, December 21 2007

Posted by Charles II on December 21, 2007

A spokesman for Lopez Obrador says that a basket of necessities has risen by about 35% in the last year. In 2006, it was 10%. They have risen from 51% of the minimum wage to 73% of it. For that minimum wage worker, a pound of beef required 4 hours and 20 minutes of labor at the beginning of 2006. Now it takes 5 hours and 15 minutes. (via Sdp)

Mexico Solidarity News reports that

Four leaders of Opddic (Organization for Defense of Campesino and Indigenous Rights) were charged this week with attempted murder for an attack against two Zapatista supporters on August 10 in the municipality of Chilon. Opddic is a paramilitary group affiliated with local and state PRI leaders.

The US State Department announced this week a 31% increase in the cost of temporary visas, to take effect in 2008.  The price will increase from US$100 to US$131.  Mexicans applying for a visa must deposit the funds in a bank in advance of a required interview, and the money is not refunded in the case of a failed interview.  Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans who apply for visas are denied after the interview process.  Mexicans who schedule a second interview appointment to present additional information must pay an additional US$131.

Posted in Mexico | 2 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on December 21, 2007

A sight I never thought I’d see: the two cats not merely sharing the bed, but touching.

Are they being good in case Santa is watching?


Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 2 Comments »

Things That Just Might Save Us: Friday Morning Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 21, 2007


Thing One: Increasing battery charge capacity by a factor of ten:

Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.

The new version, developed through research led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers.


The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.

“Given the mature infrastructure behind silicon, this new technology can be pushed to real life quickly,” Cui said.

Thing Two: World’s first $1/watt solar panels sold, shipped:

After five years of product development – including aggressively pipelined science, research and development, manufacturing process development, product testing, manufacturing engineering and tool development, and factory construction – we now have shipped first product and received our first check of product revenue.

We are grateful to everyone who supported us through all these years and the many occasions where there appeared to be mile-high concrete walls in our path; the unusual intensity and creativity of our team deserves all the credit for achieving this major milestone today.

Why is $1 per watt such a big deal? Because that’s how much it costs to get power from coal-fired power plants. Suddenly, solar is now — at least with Nanosolar’s printed thin-film cells — on a par, cost-wise, with the most commonly-used power source in the world.

Combine this with the Stanford nanowire battery technology, and a whole new world of possibilities opens.

Posted in economy, energy, environment, Good Causes, Good Things, saving the earth | 2 Comments »

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