Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coffee and Provocation

Asian Carp Now in the Great Lakes Basin
Asian carp are now breeding in the Lake Erie Basin. A new study found four grass carp in Ohio’s Sandusky River and they are the result of natural reproduction.  Grass carp, by the way, were introduced as a "triploid" species -- a animal made sterile in the laboratory which supposedly could not breed in the wild, so it was going to be OK to put them in golf course ponds to eat algae and weeds.  Guess what?  Not all of the triploid carp got the message about being sterile, and some came out of the pressurized egg process fecund.  Whoops?  So no problem with that viral immuno-contraception thing.  I am sure that will end up being flawless
Not Making the Case Against Drone Strikes
The came all the way from Pakistan, but "drone strike survivors" who came to Washington found only five member of Congress could be bothered to show up.  One reason for that is the Pakistan and Al Queda are still the number one danger on earth and the number one terrorist group on earth, yet drone strikes have killed a remarkably few civilians.  It seems there are a LOT of survivors of drone strikes -- good people the drones did not hit.  The bad guys are generally dead.  Pakistan, which is outraged that we slam mostly very well-placed drones into terrorist camps they allow to operate in regions they cannot seem to control, notes that that 3 percent of 2,227 people killed in U.S. drone strikes since 2008 were civilians -- a total of 67civilans since 2008.  In the long history of warfare, I am not sure more really bad guys have been killed in so many separate incidents with so little civilian death as a result.  Can you imagine how many lives would have been saved if we had fought World Wars I and II, Korea, or Vietnam with drones? 
Best Bike Lock Ever?
It's a keyless U-bolt that opens when you approach it thanks to an encrypted phone-app.  And yes, the lock can be opened without the phone.  Added bonus:  the lock will tell you where your lock and bike are located in case you get to some serious drinking!  Not available yet, but there's a kickstarter campaign to fund it, and I think this one will happen.
How Do Your Get the Enemy to Give Up?
Play Britney Spears.  "As a tool against pirates, it is pretty effective."
50 Greatest Inventions Since the Wheel?
Survey says.. this is the list. The printing press is #1, followed by electricity, penicillin, the semiconductor, optical lenses, paper, internal combustion engine, vaccination, the internet, steam engine, nitrogen fixation from the air, sanitation systems, refrigeration, gunpowder, airplane, personal computer, compass, automobile, industrial steelmaking, birth control pill, nuclear fission, green revolution, sextant, telephone... and see the list for the rest.
Here Comes the Sun, But Walmart Wages Still Suck
Walmart has more solar capacity than 38 U.S. states, and twice as much as its nearest competitor... Costco.  Of course the thing that could save Big Bucks and Big Energy is simple weatherstripping and sealing leaky homes.  America could save $33 billion a year with low-tech and low-cost stuff to be found in the neighborhood.

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