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Another One Bites The Dust

The folks over at Nukes & Spooks are reporting that another bad idea of the staff of Rumsfeld, the Chauncey Gardiner of the Pentagon, has been stamped out

Today comes the news, not unexpected, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has shuttered–the official euphemism is “disestablished”–the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA.

CIFA was widely criticized for gathering data on anti-war protesters, allegedly because they represented a threat to military bases and facilities, under a program known as Talon. The agency was the brainchild of Rumsfeld aides Stephen Cambone and Paul Wolfowitz. (Our colleague Walter Pincus of the Washington Post did a lot of the groundbreaking reporting on this issue).

The Talon database, itself shut down last year, had about 13,000 entries, including nearly 3,000 reports on U.S. citizens.

I’m not sure that you could call anything proposed by Cambone and Wolfowitz a “brainchild”, as that presupposes the presence of a brain. There is more evidence of brain activity in mildew than those two.

I’m sure there will be someone somewhere who is decrying our loss of the ability to track the nefarious activities that take place at Quaker potlucks and vegen picnics, but if they would switch from Cheetos to carrot sticks, they would feel better.

August 4, 2008   Comments Off on Another One Bites The Dust

A Promising Discovery

Michael at Musing’s musings wrote about this research at the end of last week, and Juan Cole of Informed Comment noticed today and linked to ‘Major discovery’ from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution.

The problem with solar power is what happens when the sun isn’t shining. The normal procedure is to use the solar cells to charge batteries, and then use power from the batteries. That isn’t very efficient.

With solar cells powering a device using the process from MIT feeding a hydrogen fuel cell you can design a nearly closed system that will generate power when necessary, not just when the sun shines, whose waste product is some heat, which can be used to for hot water in a bathroom.

The water put into the MIT device is split into hydrogen and oxygen, which is used to power the fuel cell and generate electricity and some heat.  The fuel cell combines the hydrogen and oxygen back into water which is returned to the MIT device.  The energy from the solar cells is stored as hydrogen and oxygen.

If the device will scale, i.e. if it still works when it is much larger than a model on a laboratory bench, this system has great potential.

August 4, 2008   8 Comments

Tropical Storm Edouard – Day 2

Tropical Storm EdouardPosition: 29.0 N 92.8 W. [1 AM CDT] Updated
Movement: West-Northwest [290°] near 10 mph.
Maximum sustained winds: 60 mph.
Wind Gusts: 75 mph.
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 70 miles.
Minimum central pressure: 997 mb.

Currently about 90 miles East-Southeast of Galveston, Texas.

A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana westward to Port O’Connor.

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect from west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Port O’Connor, Texas.

August 4, 2008   8 Comments