Archive for November, 2005

Delta broke God’s Finger

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

As this year’s record-breaking hurricane season officially ends (tell that to Epsilon), the residents of the Canary Islands are picking up from the devastation caused by tropical storm Delta. Delta was the first tropical storm recorded to ever get anywhere near the Canary Islands, according to Jeff Masters. Although is was not officially classified as […]

Leitmedium der Leidkultur

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

BILD, der bottomfeeder des Schmuddeljournalismus lotet neue Tiefen aus: Deutsche Geisel – Wird sie geköpft? Schluss, der Irrsinn dieses Blattes und seine millionenfache Ruchlosigkeit sind ansteckend wie Aids und haben in Wirklichkeit schon längst die Abdankung von Takt und Mitleid im weiten Kreis seiner Leser zur Folge gehabt. Warum sonst würden sie sich täglich gemein […]

Tropical Storm Delta slams Canary Islands

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

What an extraordinary hurricane season! I wonder if this is the first tropical storm recorded to have hit Africa? Tropical Storm Delta slammed into Spain’s Canary Islands last night at near hurricane strength, killing at least seven people. One man died when he was blown off the roof he was trying to repair, and six […]

Heckuva-Job, Stewart Simonson

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Worried yet about the bird flu? At least the Feds are on the job, now, right? There are competent public-health experts hammering out plans for a response to a flu pandemic, right? Meet Stewart Simonson. He’s the official charged by Bush with “the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public […]

Effects of a flu pandemic

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

The Council on Foreign Relations held a conference on Nov. 16 in New York where a number of high-powered panelists discussed the threat of a flu pandemic and the status of avian flu preparedness in the U.S. and around the world. The intensity and complexity of the problem, as laid out in the discussions, is […]

History or current events?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Both are depressing: Kanzlerin Sauerkraut climbs behind the wheel of that stalling, choking, smoking dumptruck that Germany is these days. Good luck, you’ll need it. 53 members of the Bundestag from her own “coalition” voted against her. I give this arrangement no more than 2 years. This government will probably fail not so much over […]


Sunday, November 20th, 2005

We woke up this morning at 5:30 because Julia was not feeling well, and noticed the woods behind our house were burning. Across an area of about an acre (roughly a third of a hectare) the leaf litter on the ground was burning and the fire was rapidly spreading in a wide swath across the […]

New catalyst could make biodiesel cheaper

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Interesting new technology developed in Japan: a sugar-based catalyst to replace the commonly used lye in the transesterification reaction that turns veg-oil into biodiesel: Michikazu Hara, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Yokohama, Japan, and his colleagues have used common, inexpensive sugars to form a recyclable solid acid that does the job on the […]

Ups and downs

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

After apparently reasonably fair elections, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is about to take charge of battered Liberia as the first second female African head of state. This is a very hopeful turn of events for this war-torn, exploited country. On the other side of the continent, Uganda’s strongman Yoweri Museveni had his main opposition candidate Kizza Besigye […]

Boycott Sony

Monday, November 14th, 2005

The recent Sony rootkit scandal takes all that’s wrong with our “brave, new world” of networked computing: spam, viruses, spyware, malware, sloppyware (=Windows) and adds a major technology and entertainment corporation’s bad attitude about consumer’s rights. Earlier this year, Sony sold music CDs with copyright protection software that installs a rootkit on Windows machines, making […]

Frankenstein government in Germany

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

Kanzlerin Pestbeule is ready to lead Germany … in circles probably. On the surface a national consensus government may seem like a good idea to accomplish needed but painful social reforms in the next four years. That would be the case if this was 1) a government with a mandate, and 2) a government with […]

A book

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Remember those paper-and-ink-based information storage devices with the multi-page user interface? Yeah – books! I just read Richard Clarke’s Scorpion’s Gate – the first novel I read in years – and I could not put it down for two nights. The man sure knows how to spin a yarn, but the way the story comments […]

My first batch of homebrew biodiesel

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

Last week I picked up 10 gallons of used fryer oil from a local restaurant, and on Sunday I made my first one-liter test batch of biodiesel. I got a nice separation but the biodiesel is a bit cloudy, so there is probably some soap. Now I have to wash the stuff thoroughly, dry it […]