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Saturday Open Thread

by Jerome a Paris Sat May 24th, 2008 at 12:59:00 PM EST

How's the week-end going?


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to fill in my taxes.

The complexitiy of the rules when you get out of your basic salary thing is getting interesting... There are more than a few threshhold thingys that can have unexpected consequences, and as the rules seem to give you a lot of choice to declare stuff one way or another, the combinations can be daunting.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:02:32 PM EST
swimming pool with the kids earlier today, and a birthday party without the kids soonish.

And I just dropped the eldest over at a friends' place and hop, a velib to come back - 3mn biking instead of a 15 mn walk. I would have walked anyway, but I suspect that this is the kind of distance where people start thinking about taking their car to do the return trip rather than walk, especially when it rains like today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the rain, maybe, but 15 minutes isn't too bad.  My daily walk is 25, maybe 30 minutes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the spirit of Energize America is still going strong, Jerome.  Whatever became of that in y'all had with a high-profile Dem in Congress?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:46:05 PM EST
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I do not have papers to combine them for my tax return. So, I am studying a book that has been given to me by a former student, and I do combinations: Jean Faucounau, Le déchiffrement du disque de Phaistos, L'Harmattan, 1999. I reread and I remember my dear Arthur John Evans. But my hopes of being able to say something new on July 3 next -will then 100 years of its discovery- are invalid. The decoding of Faucounau semms to be the most consistent proposal for decoding.
by PerCLupi on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:40:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
    Accountant

It's what I do, and I doubt my sitch is as complicated as yours....

by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 04:25:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tax papers should be so simple that anyone should be able to do them in 15 minutes.

If not, the tax system is too complicated.

Most Swedes do their taxes via SMS nowadays.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 06:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...I'm just lazy, easily flustered and disorganised. So I pay a professional quite small amounts of money to be efficient, competent and organised on my behalf, and I sleep even better at night.
by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you can not afford it ! Mobiles
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:17:00 PM EST
Gorgeous day here, and I have nothing to do.  I'm thinking of going over to Barnes & Noble to grab Matt Taibbi's new book, and perhaps the one he put out in October.  First things first, though.  Lunch, and then laundry.

And people are finally coming around to my argument that a certain someone is certifiable, which I've been saying since the "Operation Glowing Towelheads" policy proposal last month.  So that's nice, I guess, and I welcome them to reality.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:27:20 PM EST
Same here; it's finally broken out of the 40's (yes, it's been rather wintry here) and I'm just enjoying a lazy day reading, shopping, doing the al fresco city thing, enjoying the weather.

You've probably already gone to the store, but I've read some mixed reviews of Taibbi's book, so I'm just planning to check it out from the library.  FWIW, The Shock Doctrine (Klien) and The Lazarus Project (Hemon) I would absolutely recommend shelling out the cash for.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 04:01:13 PM EST
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Nah, haven't gone yet.  My father mailed me Klein's book the other day while doing one of his big UPS runs, so I have that to look forward to.

I've heard mixed reviews of the Taibbi book, too -- that it's not terribly funny but rather kind of sad.

I'll have a look at the Lazarus Project tonight, too.  Thanks! :)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 04:06:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, well, I've made it through the Introduction to Taibbi's book, and I'm pleased to report that it's typical Taibbi deliciousness so far, but stay tuned.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 08:33:13 PM EST
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General agreement seems to be that Eurovision commentary will be Haz-Mat sector contained in the Euro Trends: Music (3) diary, so feel free to post there...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:32:13 PM EST
Not much I can add to the Eurovision blogging, as I do not have a tv. I depend on you people to tell me what happens. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 01:39:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polen beat Österreich 3-1, and Deutschland's leading der Schweiz 6-0 after the first ten minutes.  Wait, that's wrong Euro thingie..

Annie just called for dinner, one of the few times i let her cook alone.  Green and white spargel, pasta, knoblauch sauce with tofu, Crement (with an accent somewhere) and a fair amount of smiles.  Bon Apetite, kids.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Euro Trends: Music (3)
If you're not at a TV, it appears you can watch online if you go to the Eurovision Belgrade 2008 site.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:12:19 PM EST
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A New Wind Generator Feature - Moon of Alabama

The picture shows the last big task in the installation of an Enercon E-82 wind generator. This is not a really big one, the rotor diameter is only 82 meters (270 feet), but it has a neat new feature.

Enercon generators have no gears. The turning motion of the rotor is directly transferred into electricity via a nearly frictionless annular generator. The moving part of the generator consist of perma magnets and the static part, the stator, is a ring of copper wires. When the rotation of the perma magnets induces energy into the stator a part of the energy also heats the copper wires. This effect is undesired as it reduces the electricity generation capacity.

The wind generator pictured above has a new feature. Its stator is water-cooled in a closed loop system and in the picture above one can see the heat exchangers on top of the front top of the machine house.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:00:21 PM EST

Normal E-82's have 2 megawatts output. This water-cooled version will generate 3 megawatts. That is quite a jump in output for adding a relative simple feature.

This feature is only available for much stronger wind sites, as no matter the make-up of the generator, the max power available is dependent upon the swept area of the blades (the interceded energy content).  Deutsche WindGuard has an E-82 powering its dedicated wind tunnel in Bremerhavn.

Moon says that it's not as big as many modern turbines, but in fact, the 80-90m rotor range is the largest considered commercial.  Current 100m rotors are for low wind areas.  The project J is financing (i only write J because i haven't figured out how to make proper accents, and wish to do him justice) has bigger turbines which are called the largest commercial turbines at 126 meters diameter, though one could argue it's only the very beginning of serial production.

Moon also references why Enercon turbines, the best in the world, are not available in the US.  And that's only the surface of the sordid story.  I fought Kenetech most of my career, because of precisely these kinds of actions.  Their bankruptcy was a vindication of sorts for me personally, and my credibility in the industry.  In actuality, GE now holds the old Kenetech patents, which expire in 2010, and Enercon has already made a royalty deal with them.  But for political reasons, they have no wish to do business in the US.  Such things happen in a privately controlled company led by an eccentric genius, Dr. Aloys Wobben.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's his version of the real shit:


You will not find Enercon wind generators in the United States.

As wikipedia writes:

    Enercon was prohibited from exporting their wind turbines to the US until 2010 due to infringement of U.S. Patent 5,083,039. [...] Enercon claims their intellectual property was stolen by Kenetech (US Windpower, Inc.) and patented in the US before they could do so. Kenetech made similar claims against Enercon.

    According to the European Parliament: "Kenetech seeking evidence for legal action against Enercon for breach of patent rights on the grounds that Enercon had obtained commercial secrets illegally. According to an NSA employee, detailed information concerning Enercon was passed on to Kenetech via ECHELON."

It is a longer story going back to the early 1990s. It is alleged, though not proven, that the CIA 'aquired' the technical information which was patented in the U.S. by Kenetech. Later the NSA was involved to 'prove' that Enercon was in breach of that Kenetech patent.

The NSA listened in to Enercon communication and 'aquired' codes needed to enter and shut down Enercon wind generators. Some folks on Kenetech's payroll used these codes and then climbed up into the machine house of one Enercon generator in Germany. There they took plenty of pictures. These pictures were used against Enercon in the U.S. patent case by Kenetech.

Who needs enemies when one has such allies?



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone formerly involved in the Aerospace industry, this is standard practice for US firms and the US government. That's why I tend to make with the hollow laughing at a lot of the claims about "allies" and US innovation and various other topics...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Normal E-82's have 2 megawatts output. This water-cooled version will generate 3 megawatts. That is quite a jump in output for adding a relative simple feature.

You will not find Enercon wind generators in the United States.

Pretty interesting stuff.  Arguably, the executive branch of the US Government deploys NSA for industrial espionage against companies operating in Germany and then provides the fruits of that espionage to agents of a US corporation so as to thwart the German company from selling its products in the USA. It would be interesting to see if there was any involvement by executive branch figures, (Cheney?), with Kenetech, the beneficiary of the information.  It could be that they were just concerned that a 50% increase in output from the windmills would so improve the life cost analysis as to pose a threat to Powder Basin, Wyoming coal sales.

Also a new low for the US Dept. of Patents and Trademarks, effectively a co-conspirator.  I have long accused them of functioning about like a ruptured anus when it came to protecting the public against bogus patents.  They have approved patents so obviously based on well known prior art in my field alone that I am amazed no one has patented Ohm's Law--or breathing air, for that matter.  Of course, the patent is just a license to sue and unless you enforce it you loose it. I learned that the hard way.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Gordon Brown lost himself a by-election.  Are there any Labour MPs left?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:07:16 PM EST
Plenty, for now...

The forecasts for the next election however, are not good.

It's actually a bit depressing, because all those dancing on the grave of New Labour are just building the coming majority for Cameron's Conservatives. And I struggle to believe they will be an improvement for those of us in the bottom 95%...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:13:50 PM EST
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How long have the Tories been polling above 40%. It's not just the Crewe by-election.

Is it just me, or is Brown in the running for "worst PM ever"?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not really fair.  Phony Tony rode the bubble to three election victories after over a decade of Tory incompetence and criminality.  He just left Brown holding the bag.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 02:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For anyone living in the US, this should trigger whispers of prescient worry.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Countdown to President Mc Cain...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:22:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think geezer was noting potential worry about Bush leaving Obama holding the bag.  It's possible Obama could get blamed for it.  I just don't think it's likely, since the shit has already hit the fan in the minds of most voters.

You guys sound like my dad: You worry far too much about a McCain presidency at this point.  Believe me, no one hates the idea more than I do, but given that Obama has maintained a lead despite all the "-gates" (Pastorgate, Bittergate, FlagPingate, etc -- we've seen in the last two months, it's really not warranted.  People don't seem to be stupid this year, and on the fundamentals -- Iraq, the economy, health care -- he's beating the snot out of McCain so badly that I'm tempted to think that already significant lead may well widen, despite the tendency for polling to bump up and down in summer (before people start paying attention).

If he were losing in September with this sort of stuff going on, I'd be worried.  For now, he's pulling ahead, finally, in Ohio and Virginia.  He was already ahead in Colorado and Iowa.  New Mexico is tight (slightly leaning Obama), but it's going to do the right thing in the end, I think.  He's now got Pennsylvania looking solid again.  New Hampshire is swinging back, finally.  And, with Edwards on the ticket, those poll numbers go from solid Obama wins to landslide Obama wins, according to the Jesus Polling Group, SurveyUSA.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 11:33:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, by the way, while I don't think he's as far ahead as some of those polls suggest in places like Ohio, it's consistent with what I predicted about a week ago, when I said that state polls lag national polls and gave the reasons for it.

They might well bump back to a tie.  It's still spring, so the public isn't paying incredibly close attention.  But I think you're seeing the fundamentals flex their muscles a bit, and that should be reassuring.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 11:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's unlikely he will get blamed for it, -I agree- but I think it's hard to imagine any administration dealing with a landscape strewn with the wreckage of policies, agencies, social services, infrastructure, education, the military,--- or them being able to explain it's failure.
What has he not wrecked?
It's 2012 and later that really could be the bombshell.

Was not the discrediting of government as a social force for good one of the central ideas from the start?

And, viewed from this perspective, --is the Bush administration really a failure?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 06:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but, at the same time, I can't feel too badly for them.  Tony Blair was one of only two guys on the planet who might have been able to stop the Iraq War.  Instead, he decided to go along with it, and New Labour enabled him.

That's not to say that Cameron and the Tories get a free pass, of course, as I understand them to have been no less pro-war.  But, still, Labour has only itself to blame.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Murdoch Alert]

Times Online: Gordon Brown faces `quit now' calls as Labour MPs panic

Gordon Brown was facing public and private pressure to consider quitting for the sake of his party last night after the Crewe by-election "catastrophe" left ministers and Labour MPs convinced that they could not win with him at the helm.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, was being earmarked by senior backbenchers as the figure to tell Mr Brown that they had lost confidence in him and that he should step aside unless there was a swift improvement in Labour's fortunes.

Graham Stringer was the first Labour MP to call for Mr Brown to go, saying that the party needed a new leader to save it from "disaster" at the next election.

The following is interesting:
One former Cabinet minister said there was a 20 to 30 per cent chance that Mr Brown would himself offer to step down if he believed that doing so would help his party.
So he's saying there's a 70 to 80% chance that Brown wouldn't step down even if he believed it would help the party? That's pretty damning.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's not going anywhere.  Brown leaving is not going to rescue Labour anyway.  Wasn't that seat supposed to be safely in the Labour column?  It looks like a British remake of Mississippi-01.

Labour's finished for the foreseeable future.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 03:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NWS Norman, Oklahoma - Enhanced Weather Page
Weather Synopsis...Supercell storms will affect northern Oklahoma...producing a few tornadoes near an outflow boundary where wind shear is very favorable for rotation. Other scattered severe storms are possible farther southward through Oklahoma this afternoon and evening.

Ah, springtime in Oklahoma.  The local TV stations have live coverage of a tornado on the ground NW of OKC.  Channel 9's helicopter is playing tag with the wall cloud.  

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 04:27:45 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Indiana angers Russian Communists

Members of the Russian Communist party have called for the new Indiana Jones film to be banned in the county because they say it distorts history.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, set during the Cold War, sees Harrison Ford's character battle Cate Blanchett's evil KGB agent.

St Petersburg Communist Party chief Sergei Malinkovich told the Reuters news agency it was "rubbish".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 06:43:44 PM EST
I know that everyone is distracted by this curious Eurovision thingee, but it's also Africa day, as of now. A strange quirk of fate to expose the wide range of musical talents Africa cherishes here in Johannesburg, less than a week after were beating foreigners in downtown.

The audience was still filled with the spirit of the massive protest rally that was held this morning. We had Eric Wainana from Kenya, an energetic performance from Mapumba (DRC), the celebrated Ladysmith Black Mambozo (who everyone knows because they're on Paul Simon's Graceland). There were three artists that really stole my heart: I've fallen in very real love with Chiwoniso from Zimbabwe (couldn't find good clips for her though)

Dobet Gnahore -Ivory Coast (just a taste I'm afraid, but what a voice):

But when Ismael Lo (Senegal) opened with Jammu Africa, I was close to tears. So I need to share. I've commented to Alex in Toulouse once that African music still can carry both the merriness and the sadness of its past and present; this is the one song that seems to encapsulate the latter essence in its totality. Haunting beyond description. The YouTube version doesn't do the slightest justice to the live version, nor to Lo's melodious, strong voice.

by Nomad on Sat May 24th, 2008 at 07:15:58 PM EST
Ten times, WOW!!!!  More of this, please, Nomad!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:20:08 AM EST
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