Daily Archives: December 19, 2007

Senate Republicans set new record for filibusters

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The Republican Senate minority today filibustered an omnibus budget bill, setting a modern-day record for blocking the most legislation during a congressional session. A new report released today by the Campaign for America’s Future details the 62 times conservatives have used the filibuster to block legislation (or force modification of bills) in the first session of the 110th Congress. In just the first year of this two-year Congress, their use of the filibuster in the Senate topped the previous record, reached during the entire 107th Congress.

The new report outlines every bill filibustered, vetoed or threatened to be vetoed by President Bush. Conservatives filibustered bills to end the occupation of Iraq, provide soldiers in Iraq rest time equal to their deployments, support renewable energy and grant residents of the District of Columbia representation in Congress. Today’s record-breaker involved a $516 billion budget package passed by the House to fund the federal government in 2008. The conservative minority demanded $20 billion additional funding for the war and opposed House language to bring troops home, and threatened a filibuster to prevent the bill from getting an up or down vote.

“In just one session, a minority in Congress has prevented a mind-blowing 62 pieces of legislation from going to the floor for an up or down vote,” said Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey. “Our report shows how over and over again, the uncompromising minority has thwarted the will of majorities in Congress and of the American people, holding the Senate floor hostage to a radical right-wing agenda.”

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Filed under Congress, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Wordpress Political Blogs

U.S. military study: Invasion responsible for discord among Iraqis

Washington Post

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of “occupying forces” as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Bush blunders worldwide, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Donald Rumsfeld:criminal or just incompetent?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Politics, Wordpress Political Blogs

The woman who taught her son to hate the Dixie Chicks

An interesting story.

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Stanford team improves capacity of lithium battery tenfold

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This is potentially huge for laptops, but also for electric vehicles.

The electrical storage capacity of a Li-ion battery is limited by how much lithium can be held in the battery’s anode, which is typically made of carbon. Silicon has a much higher capacity than carbon, but also has a drawback.

Silicon placed in a battery swells as it absorbs positively charged lithium atoms during charging, then shrinks during use (i.e., when playing your iPod) as the lithium is drawn out of the silicon. This expand/shrink cycle typically causes the silicon (often in the form of particles or a thin film) to pulverize, degrading the performance of the battery.

Cui’s battery gets around this problem with nanotechnology. The lithium is stored in a forest of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate four times their normal size as they soak up lithium. But, unlike other silicon shapes, they do not fracture.

….”It’s not a small improvement,” Cui said. “It’s a revolutionary development.”

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Nanosolar ships first utility-scale nano solar panel

This is an exciting product which has been in development for some time; previous technology has resulted in a cost of about $3/Watt, but coal fired power costs only a third of that; This new solar nanotechnology cuts production costs by 90%, which puts solar in competition with other power generation technologies.

Nanosolar Inc., a global leader in solar power innovation, and Beck Energy, a leading integrator of large-scale solar power systems, today announced that they have won a highly competitive public selection process for a solar power plant located on a former landfill owned by one of the largest waste management companies in Eastern Germany.

The project will employ the Nanosolar Utility Panel™ in combination with systems technology and services from Beck Energy. The initial size of the plant is 1MW, an amount sufficient to power approximately 400 homes. The Nanosolar Utility Panel™ is Nanosolar’s first product as part of its award-winning PowerSheet™ product line – recently named the Top Innovation of the Year 2007 by Popular Science Magazine – and the company’s solution for building solar power plants on free fields at the outskirts of towns and cities.   “This is the first time that a solar electricity cell and panel has been designed entirely and specifically for utility-scale power generation,” said Martin Roscheisen, CEO of Nanosolar. “It will set the standard for green power generation at utility scale.”

Visit their website and look around.  The founders of Google are investors.

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Filed under Al Gore, economics, gadgets, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, Googling Google