Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go Joe!

I guess great minds think alike. Lieberman for SecState, not Veep. I posted about this only a few months ago.

Hat tip: Hot Air.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Inside Georgia

Michael Totten is an amazing individual. He comes off as almost a daredevil reporter, going to the hot spots of the world and bringing back the story. In this case, he happened to be nearby Georgia in Azerbaijan, and he headed into the conflict. What he found was shocking.

The conflict has been going on a lot longer than people have thought. The war actually began August 6th, and had less to do with controlling the region and more to do with stopping the Russian advance. This has brought his website under cyber-attack, so be patient if you can't get in right away.


Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm with Georgia

To stand with Vladimir Putin or with the people who just finished helping us in Iraq - not a tough choice. I hope we back the Russians down and get them to hold to their borders. Our F-22s need some target practice, and our allies need a hand. Frankly, he US has a lot to gain from knocking Putin around.

Wretchard is providing excellent strategic analysis at the Belmont Club. He's following the Georgian strategy.

Interestingly, Georgia and other Caucasus republics are a common setting for conflicts in techno-thrillers and video games. The Tom Clancy stealth game Splinter Cell was actually set in Georgia. The reason is a tinderbox akin to the Balkans, and adventurer/journalist Michael Totten is headed there. He just returned from the Balkans, with stories of the most European Muslim country in existence.


Friday, August 1, 2008

A Pro-Nuclear Argument...

...that I hadn't heard before. Something rather rare, to be honest, as I follow the issues quite avidly.

The idea is more efficient use of energy will reduce energy use. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out that way:

And when it comes to arguing the merits of energy efficiency, Lovins’s prime nemesis is a dead guy – William Stanley Jevons – a British economist who in 1865 determined that increased efficiency won’t cut energy use, it will raise it. “It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuels is equivalent to a diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.” And in the 142 years since Jevons put forth that thesis, now commonly known as the Jevons Paradox, he’s yet to be proven wrong.

It makes sense, once you think about it. More discussion of the concept is here at the Nuclear Notes blog. "Negawatts", for all their usefulness, do not yield megawatts. Now conservation, that is a different story. The comment thread discusses the difference between conservation and increased efficiency. I consider the best way to illustrate the distinction to be the resulting effect.

Increased efficiency means you use less energy for the same effect. This is the result of improved systems in the product. Conservation is where less energy is used for a lesser effect. This is the result of changing consumption behaviors. Think of lighting: installing compact fluorescent bulbs increases energy efficiency, while leaving the lights off conserves energy. Conservation can reduce energy usage, but to actually take it to the point of useful reductions, it would need to reduce individual and collective standards of living, That is about as close to a politic sre loser as could exist...

More in the series in defense of nuclear power here.


Elephant House Party

Thanks to Allahpundit at HotAir, I just heard that our GOP representatives decided to stay in the House until they can pass the energy policy bill. Speaker Pelosi appears to be acting like a mother with rambunctious kids, by turning the lights and microphones off. Let's just say the party's just getting started. Heck, they ordered pizza!

Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the dimly lit chamber is a "vision of the future by the Democrat Party: The lights are out, there's no power, and the air conditioning is gonna go off soon."

Good one.

More updates at Redstate

Politico has four parts of coverage here and here.
and the third update, featuring representatives coming back with quips in hand. The atmosphere gets wild in part four.

Apparently, there was a delay, and they closed the event at 5.

They just finished the press conference. Still staying as far as I know. Looks like the police thing was just a threat.

It's after 5 Eastern, and they are holding the fort and bring people down. It is on CSPAN-2 currently.

As far as I know they are still there as 4:45 Eastern.

I said Pelosi was acting like a Mom. Maybe Mommy Dearest might have been more appropriate. WLS at Patterico describes the Dear (majority) Leader threatening to call in the cops at 4:30 PM Eastern to clear the place out. This will get... interesting.


I'll pass on the chlorine trifluoride

One of the more interesting aspects of safety industry is the tales of danger that you pick up from fellow professionals and experience. I once heard of a response team finding a leaking can of potassium cyanide nearby a growing acid spill. They ran out and got the full self-contained breathing apparatus before going any further.

There are some experiments and chemicals which make that look like a picnic. These include condensing hydrogen cyanide and compounds that explode without much of a reason. And chlorine trifluoride

I have not encountered this fine substance myself, but reading up on its properties immediately gives it a spot on my “no way, no how” list. Let's put it this way: during World War II, the Germans were very interested in using it in self-igniting flamethrowers, but found it too nasty to work with. It is apparently about the most vigorous fluorinating agent known, and is much more difficult to handle than fluorine gas. That’s one of those statements you don’t get to hear very often, and it should be enough to make any sensible chemist turn around smartly and head down the hall in the other direction.

The compound also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile. It’s been used in the semiconductor industry to clean oxides off of surfaces, at which activity it no doubt excels.

Whoa... (Emphasis mine, taken from here)

You can see more like these here. It is a great little list of nasty substances.