Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for March 7th, 2008

Making Solar Film Cells — With An Ink-Jet Printer

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 7, 2008

You read that right:

Konarka Technologies, the Massachusetts-based company we first recognized with a 2005 Breakthrough Award for its affordable Power Plastic solar film, said this week that it has successfully manufactured those thin solar cells using an inkjet printer. In addition to decreasing production costs because it relies on existing inkjet technology, the printable Power Plastic cells can be applied to a range of small-scale, highly variable power opportunities, from indoor sensors to small RFID installations.

With printers now capable of producing solar cells, other companies might be able to use plastics and other colors in developing new kinds of power-packing film. But the inkjet process is just one of several different manufacturing techniques Konarka has been busy demonstrating for its solar collectors over the last three years. “Compared to current PV technologies, the Power Plastic has an advantage in flexibility, greater sensitivity to low light and versatility,” Konarka president and CEO Rick Hess says of the film cells, which are fused from liquid containing semiconducting polymers.

By 2009 at the latest, Konarka plans to bring multiple forms of its product to market—everything from tiny cells for sensors to fabric-based and larger building panels. Hess says the company is currently working with U.S. Green Building Council LEED designers on custom installations.

I’m impressed. We could have solar cells in pretty much every small appliance, as well as various units designed to operate off the grid (highway markers, wi-fi hotspots in rural areas, etc.).

Posted in energy, environment, Good Things | 4 Comments »

Greg Palast: Stop The Insanity!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 7, 2008

The inimitable Palast looks at the Bush Junta’s efforts to accuse Hugo Chavez of — of — well, something:

This past weekend, Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop – and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million – which they’re using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That’s what George Bush tells us. And he got that from his buddy, the strange right-wing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

So: After the fact, Colombia justifies its attempt to provoke a border war as a way to stop the threat of WMDs! Uh, where have we heard that before?

Why, that does have more than a tinge of the yellowcake nonsense about it, doesn’t it? And for good reason:

What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader’s last words were, “Listen, my password is ….”)

I read them. (You can read them here) While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez:

“… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.”

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Canada, Chavez, half-vast rightwing conspiracy, Latin America, liars, Libby trial, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, Venezuela | 2 Comments »

An object lesson in how greed makes us poorer

Posted by Charles II on March 7, 2008

I have posted on many economics and finance message boards a simple proposition: it is cheaper to pay the mortgage resets of people about to get evicted than it is to evict them. The response I get tends not to be polite, usually including some blunt remarks to the effect that helping people in trouble creates a “moral hazard.”

Now Kathleen Howley of Bloomberg does the math:

The public’s bill for maintaining foreclosed properties abandoned by lenders and investors may reach as much as $50 billion this year, according to Peter Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union in Alexandria, Virginia. The U.S. Congress is considering various bills to help cover some of the costs to towns and cities for securing and policing the empty homes, Sepp said.

Banks or mortgage companies typically hire people to care for repossessed properties. As foreclosures increase and the value of property drops, more companies are simply walking away, Zandi said.

Almost 1 million U.S. homes were seized last year, the highest ever and more than double the pace of 2006, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based foreclosure data company. U.S. banks owned $12.1 billion of foreclosed real estate at the end of 2007, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Washington, double the year-earlier amount.

Let’s suppose that to keep people in their homes would require the taxpayer shelling out $500 per month for each of those 1 million homes for five years. The cost would be $30B, a little over half of what the NTU says the taxpayers are paying for one year.

Corporate landlords like Morgan Stanley think they’ll just walk away from the costs. But the eventual effect is higher taxes. Probably much higher taxes. Compounded by interest.

Greed is very expensive. It makes people stupid, and stupefied people don’t do their sums very carefully.

Posted in economy, Law of Unintended Consequences, mortgage crisis, wrong way to go about it | 7 Comments »

A Puzzlement

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 7, 2008

Concerning what even Alan Greenspan admitted was the real reason Bush invaded Iraq, here’s a blast from the past.

Seems that, in an April 14, 2005 press conference, Bush himself said that there was no need for subsidies or incentives to the oil companies if oil hit $55 a barrel. (”I will tell you with $55 oil we don’t need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives.”)

Well, guess what? It will never be less than $55 a barrel — or even $65 a barrel — ever again. So why are Bush and his Republican colleagues in Congress so flatly opposed to the Democratic bill that takes the $18 billion in free money away from Big Oil and gives it to companies developing and selling renewable energy?

Posted in big money, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, capitalism as cancer, energy, environment, Oil, our tax dollars at work, renewable energy, Republicans, saving the earth | Comments Off on A Puzzlement

AP: Primary Creating More Dems

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 7, 2008

Contrary to worries about how voters might be driven away from the Democrats by a nasty or even normal primary campaign, new polling shows that the opposite is happening:

More people say they are Democrats than said so before voting started in this year’s presidential contests while the number of Republicans has remained flat, a survey showed Thursday.

The Associated Press-Ipsos poll had additional bad news for the GOP: The number of independents and moderates satisfied with President Bush and the country’s direction has dipped to record or near-record lows.

John McCain, who has wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, appeals to many independents. But the high levels of unhappiness among centrist voters, who can tip national campaigns, will present him with a challenge for the November election.
The poll showed 52 percent call themselves Democrats, up from 45 percent in an AP-Ipsos survey in mid-December. Thirty-five percent say they are Republicans, about the same as December’s 37 percent.

This ties in with what I’ve suspected for a while: That an old-fashioned lengthy primary, one that isn’t settled before the snow melts, isn’t necessarily bad and can be quite good for the Democrats.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton | Comments Off on AP: Primary Creating More Dems

Friday Kitty-Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 7, 2008

What is Lightfoot thinking?

La Chatte Noire

“What is he doing in my box?”

Friday Cat Blogging 03/02/07 - Alex

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 4 Comments »

Euro breaks 1.54

Posted by Charles II on March 7, 2008

The chances of a disorderly fall in the dollar are rising. As are the chances of an Asian market panic.

Posted in economy | 1 Comment »

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