Image via Under The Microscope blog.
There are so many items that I want to post and I have so little time today that I'm going to do something unconventional, for me -- post them all at one time. Enjoy the links. - c
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The scary actual U.S. government debt
Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion - 840 per cent of current GDP. "Let's get real," Prof. Kotlikoff says. "The U.S. is bankrupt." More...
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White House Adviser: US Must Prepare for Asteroid
If an asteroid were on a collision course with Earth, would we be ready to defend against its destructive impact or would we be helpless and defenseless?
NASA, America’s space agency, is being charged with leading the way to protect not only the U.S. but the entire world in the event of such a horrifying scenario. And a top White House science adviser says we have to be prepared.
In separate 10-page letters to the House Committee on Science and Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, or OSTP, outlines plans for "(A) protecting the United States from a near-Earth object that is expected to collide with Earth; and (B) implementing a deflection campaign, in consultation with international bodies, should one be necessary." More…
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Bloom Box claims to have designed a power generator that combines oxygen and natural gas, biogas or solar energy to create electricity. ”6O Minutes” interviewed the inventor and his financial backer, who are going extremely public after years of secrecy. Among the initial companies testing the hype — Google, eBay, and Walmart. Take a look at the video for yourself.
Invention Secrecy Still Going Strong
There were 5,135 inventions that were under secrecy orders at the end of Fiscal Year 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told Secrecy News last week. It’s a 1% rise over the year before, and the highest total in more than a decade.
Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders restricting their publication if government agencies believe that disclosure would be “detrimental to the national security.”
The current list of technology areas that is used to screen patent applications for possible restriction under the Invention Secrecy Act is not publicly available and has been denied under the Freedom of Information Act. (An appeal is pending.) But a previous list dated 1971 and obtained by researcher Michael Ravnitzky is available here (pdf).
Most of the listed technology areas are closely related to military applications. But some of them range more widely.
Thus, the 1971 list indicates that patents for solar photovoltaic generators were subject to review and possible restriction if the photovoltaics were more than 20% efficient. Energy conversion systems were likewise subject to review and possible restriction if they offered conversion efficiencies “in excess of 70-80%.”
One may fairly ask if disclosure of such technologies could really have been “detrimental to the national security,” or whether the opposite would be closer to the truth. One may further ask what comparable advances in technology may be subject to restriction and non-disclosure today. But no answers are forthcoming, and the invention secrecy system persists with no discernible external review.
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Currently, mutual fund cash levels have hit an all-time record low.
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A night-side sub-ionospheric high amplitude Remote MT Trigger pulse was detected, which appears to be related to an injection of solar energetic particles into the Core-Mantle Boundary at the Equatorial Pacific Plate's Stress Center located in Polynesia.
The equatorial electrojet (EEJ) is an intense electric current that flows in the ionosphere in a narrow zone above the magnetic dip equator during the daytime. The electrojet current produces a large enhancement of the surface component of the geomagnetic field at and in the vicinity of the dip equator.
The EEJ is most intense around local noontime and appears to be more stable than other ionospheric current systems. This report presents a brief overview of the characteristics of the EEJ, including its location, electron density profile, current distribution, and magnetic field. In addition, the diurnal and seasonal variations of the EEJ are discussed. The relationship of the EEJ to the worldwide dynamo current system is discussed, in addition to a comparison with the aurora electrojet (AEJ). A derivation of the EEJ current distribution is presented that is based on an anisotropic conductivity model of the ionosphere. A summary of several experiments involving the generation of low4requency signals from a heated and modulated EEJ is also given. It is anticipated that this report will provide helpful background information to scientists and engineers engaged in the development of future experiments that involve the transmission of signals in the ELF and VLF frequency bands from a heated and modulated EEJ.
Fault Whispering is a scientific method of Earth Stress Monitoring now being used to detect changes in acoustic emissions from within the Earth at depth before, during and after an earthquake sequence.
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And now for some good news…
Solar Shield--Protecting the North American Power Grid
Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet's topsoil. The most famous such storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, actually shocked telegraph operators and set some of their offices on fire. A 2008 report by the National Academy of Sciences warns that if such a storm occurred today, we could experience widespread power blackouts with permanent damage to many key transformers.
What's a utility operator to do?
A new NASA project called "Solar Shield" could help keep the lights on.
"Solar Shield is a new and experimental forecasting system for the North American power grid," explains project leader Antti Pulkkinen, a Catholic University of America research associate working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We believe we can zero in on specific transformers and predict which of them are going to be hit hardest by a space weather event." More…
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A Quick System to Get on Target
With big-game seasons around the corner, now is the time to be sure your rifle is shooting where it's aimed. Here's a quick and easy way to get on target that takes all the mystery out of sighting-in.
· Watch a short video on the two-shot sighting-in system.
· Print out a free sighting-in target.
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Is Long Hair $$$ High Maintenance?
Yes, I’ll admit that it is a look that requires tender loving care. It is impossible to body surf without getting seaweed tangled up in it. It is impossible to get it completely dry when one is in a rush to get to a job interview or a blind date. It is impossible to forget one’s hairbrush when one travels. It is impossible to garden or farm or weave or cook without one’s hair getting in the way. I have knitted many a gray strand into many a scarf. Which, by the way, I consider a nice touch. Anyone who disagrees can send me back his Christmas present. It is impossible to let the vacuuming go for too long, lest the bezoars (new vocabulary word) become large enough to choke a tiger.
You would think that having long hair means you are spending a lot of money on hair products. I won’t even tell you what my Madison Avenue hairdresser, Joseph — the consummate high-end hair professional! — told me about how we shouldn’t even be using all those chemically laden shampoos. O.K., I will tell you: Those shampoos strip out the hair’s protective oils, and then you have to replace them with other chemical brews. He recommends regular hot water rinses and massaging of the scalp with fingertips. A little patience is required while the scalp’s natural oils rebalance themselves and — voilà — glossy, thick tresses, for free.
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Good to know, because after reading the news, I need a drink. ;)
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Have a safe and happy Samhain!
I hope to be able to post again soon.
Thank you for your continued support. I put your donations to good use -- I drove the 40-mile round trip to my poling place and voted early.
(That bit about the 40 miles wasn’t meant to make you feel sorry for me. I live in the sticks by design.)
Thank you also for your kind email. It means so much to me. Don’t worry for me. I have a wood burning stove and plenty of food, firearms and ammo put away. As for water -- I live on the ocean (own a hand pump desalinator) and have a fresh water source across the street in the forest. What more could any 2010 pioneer woman want?
Always My Best,