Month: June 2012

When the U.S. was capable of greatness and how we can get there again

I think one of the shining moments of human achievement happened during the 1960’s with the space program.

I’ve been watching the Moon Machines series on YouTube.  For example, here’s part 1 of the Lunar Rover:

The Apollo program employed, as the program likes to say, over 400,000 engineers and technicians spread across hundreds of companies. Think about that for a moment.

Tell me, what projects and ideas could we use to push the United States firmly into the 21st and 22nd century?

I’ve written a lot about what I consider to be a disruptive change that we could accomplish and I’ll elaborate:

We need alternative energy sources but the key factor is that all of them have to produce electricity. If there is one thing we have learned over time is that electric power is the most efficient energy transmission method. So in that vein I am focusing on a common object that nearly everyone has or uses. It’s the motor vehicle.

Put it this way, there were over 60 million cars produced in 2011. As to the number of them on the road, it’s just shy of a billion cars. With an  average of 12,500 miles per year and you get the following emissions per vehicle:

  • Carbon Dioxide: 11,450lbs
  • Carbon Monoxide: 575lbs
  • Nitrous Oxide: 38.2lbs
  • Hydrocarbons: 77.1 lbs

Now let’s exten those out by the billion cars:

  • Carbon Dioxide:  11,450,000,000,000lbs – 11.45 Trillion Pounds of CO2
  • Carbon Monoxide: 575,000,000,000lbs – 575 Billion Pounds of CO
  • Nitrous Oxide:  38,200,000,000 – 38 Billion Pounds of NO2
  • Hydrocarbons: 77,100,000,000 – 77.1 Billion Pounds of Hydrocarbons

Those are the four main pollutant groups for land based motor vehicles and excludes ships that use bunker oil.

13 Trillion pounds of pollutants. We can do better.

Now imagine if we put the money and talent behind electric energy storage devices. This is a game changer in a few respects as cars require about 20kW at a minimum. Your house on average uses about 1kW per hour.

So how do we pay for this? It’s simple, cut the military and Pentagon budgets by 33% to 50%. But don’t just put the money aside. Instead put it into advance research and development. Shore up the electric vehicles. Because I truly believe that we can create a battery of sorts that can store enough energy to propel a motor vehicle for 500+ miles between charges, and that we can also charge that battery pack withing 15 to 20 minutes.

Then of course there are government incentives to ditch internal combustion machines and change out for electric vehicles. Massive subsidies – again all of the money won’t go into R&D.

The positive impacts:

1) You no longer need a large military machine to protect the oil lifeline. Instead they can be purely for the defense of the country only. No foreign misadventure anymore.

2) The environmental benefits would be astounding.  Imagine 13 Trillion pounds of pollutants and contaminants removed from our atmosphere. Incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases would decrease. And then there’s noise, internal combustion engines waste a lot of energy as noise.

3) The Middle East radicals would be denied money to propagate their twisted views. Foreign policy gets a lot easier when we’re not subsidizing radicalism.

In essence, it would be another moon shot program of sorts, only this time one that directly benefits EVERYONE in the world.



RI Pride 2012 – Videos

This is just the first small batch of video of the parade yesterday.

Setting up the reviewing stand:

You’ll note the gates being setup. They only did this on Weybosset Street.

If you look to the center right in this video you see little boy swinging a sword around, hence the title “Someone Needs Jedi Training”:

The last float in the parade gets several points because it had a pretty good lit up front end. I really should get involved with thee groups and teach them about EL Wire and Super Bright LED’s though. EL Wire is sort of what they used in the original Tron movie, though in more colors now. Super Bright LED’s are interesting, they’re tiny as hell but the heat sink and carrier assembly is huge. If you’re curious about what you can do with EL Wire:

On with the videos:

The next to last truck float, it seems to be a castle motif – I recognize the song though. Had the requisite cute but not rail thing twinks on it too. They’re mostly at the end of the float.

The next float had a Carribbean/Latino theme to it:

Ok, I referred to it above. Light – if you notice we were directly across from the reviewing stand. See how brightly lit PPAC is, that should be your goal. Or if you’ve ever seen the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney, that’s another inspiration. And no flashlights!

That is, if you’re going to have an illuminated parade it doesn’t mean streetlights either.

Gay Pride Providence – the Pro Forma

So the Pride Festival was the usual. Nothing to really report other than no cape policy should be enforced, and walking around with a pet boidae and not a feather boa, well, it’s amusing that your snake is so cool that it just stays wrapped around you.

Then of course there was the young guy in a pair of tight briefs and again a cape! Did these people not watch the Incredibles?.  In fact there were a small gaggle of shirtless twinks.

Mother nature had her revenge though. Once the sun set the temperatures dropped into the the high 50’s. I know I was cold, I imagine the emaciated little things were freezing.

I also noted that of the major floats, not one had a major corporate sponsor. We had the usual cast like Staples, Blue Cross, Lifespan, etc. march through but the floats on the trucks were just thematic. One was the Time Warp theme from Rocky Horror Picture Show. The other was a castle motif with fog machine and red lit swords and dancing boys and girls.

And as usual we had the Extraordinary Rendition Band leading the parade, and followed a few groups later by the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps.  When they got to the reviewing stand they did James Brown, then followed up with the one by Taio Cruz with Dynamite. One of my favorite little tunes:


I’ll be posting pix and videos soon. Just got in not too long ago.


When your Amazon suggestions get interesting

So I bought a book on Backtrack 5 some time ago. Then of course I’ve bought Kevin Mitnick’s “Ghost in the Wire”. So my suggestions on Amazon now include:

Books about the human brain

How to Disappear

Mitnick’s The Art of Deception and Art of Intrusion

Hacking and Penetration testing books

Books on SSH and NMAP.

Social engineering books

Books about lock picking.

Granted I know this is my total buying history over time. So I can understand how it’s getting slanted. It’s just scary. Why is it scary – because I have an interest in pretty much all the above.


NOM: THe Big Mo

This is priceless. The folks at NOM step in it all the time, last time it was including the M4M phrase in a domain address. But now we have (warning, links directly to NOM):

I’m curious why Brian Brown would publish such a thing? But once again, NOM does we LGBT folks  a little solid.


{Sarcasm Mode On}Try this with your iPhone

So I noted the OEM battery in my Samsung SCH-R910 Indulge was suffering from short standby time, and being it was only a 1,500mah battery I thought I’d poke around. Found a 2,800mah with adapter cover for the phone for $23. And I’m happy to say it completed charging at 3:30PM and 7 hours later the battery indicator has barely moved.

So I’m going to stress test it. I’ll see how it lasts if I turn background data on. That was usually enough to reduce the OEM battery to 40 minutes.

President Obama issues LGBT Proclamation

I received this at Netroots Nation during the LGBT Caucus.  I know I’m a little late posting this but I finally got out the scanner and captured a digital image of it.


President Obama's LGBT Pride Proclamation 2012

This is remarkable to me because this is the first time in my life I ever remember a sitting President issuing such a proclamation. Thank you President Obama.


Minnesota Marriage Minute: They just don’t get it

“The government shall make no law respecting establishment of religion,  or prohibiting the free exercise of religion”. That’s part of the first amendment.

Same sex marriage doesn’t impact them at all. Hell, if I had my way when the bigots come out to testify there would be a paddy wagon waiting to take them away. But seriously, you have every right to spout your religious bovine effluent, and I have every right to shut you down with your own Biblical verses.


At a minimum Kalley Yanta and her ilk are guilty of violating:

Exodus 20:16 – Thou shall not bear false witness against they neighbor

Exodus 23:1 – Value the truth, do not lie

Deuteronomy 10:19 – Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

And finally one not in the Bible – people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

And I still find it highly suspect that Minnesota for Marriage doesn’t allow comments on their YouTube videos, nor do they allow ratings. Even on their main web site there is NO CONTACT info. However here’s the info from their domain registration:

Administrative Contact:
      Helmberger, John M.
      Minnesota for Marriage
      2355 Fairview Ave N
      Box 301
      Roseville, Minnesota 55113
      United States

Note they use  a generic email. You can try variants on the standard dot and underscore E.g., or, or they may just go with first name, or first initial plus last name. Those are the STANDARD email address formats.

As it stands, only twenty five people have viewed the above video. So their message doesn’t appear to be resonating.

T0 my LGBT brothers and sisters in Minnesota, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Netroots Nation here in Providence, keep up the fight! Don’t let the bigots get you down!

Economic improvement: Hike the minimum wage

I saw the below:MinWage
I’ve said it on Facebook, twitter, here my solution to our economic woes:

1) Raise the minimum wage. Double it. RI for example wants to kick it’s minimum wage to $7.75 an hour. Doubled that would be $15.50 an hour. And while I’m at it, make the Federal minimum wage follow the most populous states minimum wage. Take the average, mean, mode, whatever you want, but tie it all together.

And looking at the above, it would be a full $7.50 below that. As of 2009 there were 980,000 at the prevailing minimum wage, 2.6 million of you count those making less than minimum (wait staff, etc.). So I’ll say a million people. Let’s also assume these are part time jobs at 20 hours a week. By hiking to $15.50 it means $310,000,000 as opposed to $155,000,000 – that’s more money injected into the local economy. Now if it were $23 an hour, it would mean $460,000,000 into the economy. It only gets better.



RI Tax on Cabs Taxis and other revenue measures

I’m somewhat befuddled by the opposition to apply sales tax to taxi cabs, pet grooming and on clothing above $250. I’m a little unclear on that last, is it total sale over $250 or item price of $250 or more. I’ll have to ask the chair of the Finance committee.

But the taxi tax – here’s where my befuddlement arises:

When you rent a car, be it through Avis, Budget, Enterprise, ZipCar etc. you pay not only the 7% RI Sales Tax, and a rental surcharge of about 6%. So applying the 7% to taxis makes sense to me.

Of course I’d more support those taxes if they were used for the good of the public, but honestly it’s just going into the Rhode Island General Fund.

What I’d like to see the tax applied to is R&D into advanced energy storage. You know what I’m talking about here; the electric car with a 500 mile range and 15 minute recharge time, that’s what I want to see.

I was watching a video earlier from the Austalian Broadcasting Company’s Q&A Program (qanda). They had Richard Dawkins vs. Cardinal George Pell. Pell said something interesting – he says he’s not in the camp that global warming is man made.

I beg to differ with the Cardinal – multiply the millions of vehicles all over the world that burn gasoline and diesel and multiply miles traveled by times the amount of exhaust gas that contains CO2, benzene, and a number of byproducts of combustion. And that’s all getting pumped into the atmosphere.

So if we applied the tax in every state and applied it to r&d, we’d improve the environment and improve foreign relations. A twofer!