Author Archives: John Basset

Does Donald Trump Have Any Friends?

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

One of the things that kind of fascinates me about Donald Trump1 is the fact that he doesn’t even pretend that his attacks are real. His latest 2-minutes hate has been directed at Bill Clinton, and he’s pretty much admitted that he doesn’t really believe the stuff he’s saying. But if Hillary attacks him, he has to attack back. Here’s Rebecca Sinderbrand:

Trump on HRC: “Had to mention her husband’s situation. And now it’s the biggest story on television by a factor of 10. So you have to do it

He had to do it—delivered with the usual Trumpish shrug of the shoulders. That’s all. And if Hillary stops, he’ll stop. It’s business, not personal.

This is an odd quirk in Trump’s personality. He seems to have an ironclad rule against ever attacking someone first. Even Vladimir Putin. Putin says nice things about Trump, so Trump has to say nice things back. Opposing candidates who don’t attack him are “great guys.” But if you attack first, then he has to fire off a nuclear retaliation. There’s an odd kind of chivalry at work here, and I suppose it also provides people with a motivation to leave him alone.

This may also be responsible for the odd silence about Trump from everyone who knows him. I’ve been wondering for a while whether Trump has any friends. Real friends, that is. Not family members, not people who work for him, and not celebrity buddies who have a casual acquaintance with him. I’m talking about people he’s worked with frequently and who like him. People he hangs out with regularly. People from his childhood or college years that he’s stayed close to. Are there any?

I can’t tell. Nobody from the New York development community seems willing to say anything about him, which would make sense if they all dislike him but don’t want to trigger a temper tantrum. Who needs the grief, right? How about childhood friends? Not that I’ve heard of. Trump seems to view people almost entirely transactionally, as assets to be deployed, so it would hardly be surprising if none of them had stayed close. Given his penchant for demanding sycophancy, and lashing out instantly against even a hint of criticism, I suppose it would be hard to have any real long-term friends or even any long-term business pals. It’s kind of sad, actually.

1Against my will, but there you have it.


Does Donald Trump Have Any Friends?

Posted in alo, Everyone, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Does Donald Trump Have Any Friends?

These solar panels might not be that efficient, but they sure do look pretty

These solar panels might not be that efficient, but they sure do look pretty

By on 4 Aug 2015commentsShare

The bane of your local renewables enthusiast: Solar panels are ugly. They might save our world someday, but photovoltaic cells weren’t exactly designed for their aesthetic properties. This can make for a horde of irked neighbors if you end up tossing them indiscriminately onto a house.

But these solar panels are different (#NotAllSolarPanels). A team of Dutch researchers is piloting a new type of panel that comes in a variety of colors and — drumroll — doubles as a sound barrier on a highwayWired has the story:

These panels, installed on A2 Highway near Den Bosch, use a new kind of renewable energy technology called luminescent solar concentrators (LSC). Unlike typically metallic solar panels, these are red, yellow, and translucent. They are also cheaper than standard silicon-based panels—one of the reasons they’re be tested in a real-world context.

Dr. Michael Debije is the Eindhoven University of Technology professor spearheading the experiment. He’s spent years researching solar energy in the built environment and says that we still don’t have enough options for harnessing all the light that hits the earth. Standard solar panels live on rooftops, need to tilt at a certain angle, and, most problematically, are an eyesore. “People don’t find them attractive, so it’s hard for a building designer to integrate them in a way people will accept,” he says.

Debije hopes that the LSC panels will do the trick. They’re less efficient than traditional silicon panels — 4 to 8 percent efficiency compared to 13 to 15 percent — but the logic is that the sleeker, cheaper panels will garner widespread adoption. Debije cites bus stops and park benches as public spaces that would be well-suited to the LSC technology.

One of the promising features of the panels is that they can collect both direct and diffuse light, making solar trackers unnecessary. The combination of dyes and the type of polymer used to construct the LSCs ends up forming a waveguide; that is, the LSCs can trap and direct sunlight to the actual solar cells of the panel, which run along the border. Initial tests suggest a kilometer of LSCs could power up to 50 households.

All in all, encouraging news for solar. Plus, with the Dutch panels, we get the excellent acronym SONOBs (Solar Noise Barriers). To all the renewable energy naysayers: SONOBs, suckers.

Since they function as a waveguide, the solar panels could function in diffuse and dark lighting conditions.

Eindhoven University of TechnologySource:
Clear Solar Panels Double as Highway Sound Barriers

, Wired.



enable JavaScript

to view the comments.

Find this article interesting?

Donate now to support our work.

Get Grist in your inbox

View original article – 

These solar panels might not be that efficient, but they sure do look pretty

Posted in alo, Anchor, ATTRA, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, oven, Radius, solar, solar panels, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on These solar panels might not be that efficient, but they sure do look pretty

We’re Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 18, 2014

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

A Soldier guides the driver of an Avenger weapon system before they fired the .50-caliber machine gun April 8, 2014 as part of the Avenger Master Gunner Course at Fort Sill, Okla. (Photo by Marie Berberea, Cannoneer staff)

Taken from – 

We’re Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 18, 2014

Posted in Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on We’re Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 18, 2014

Fracking company finds new way to screw over the environment

Fracking company finds new way to screw over the environment


Props are in order for Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the country’s biggest natural gas producers, for finding yet another way to make a big mess with fracking. This time, it was irresponsible construction practices.

Company subsidiary Chesapeake Appalachia will pay a near-record $3.2 million in federal penalties for clean water violations at fracking facilities in West Virginia. It will also spend $6.5 million more to restore 27 sites that it damaged with construction activities and pollution. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Most of the discharges subject to the consent decree are related to the construction of fracking facilities, but none of them involved actual fracking, said Donna Heron, spokeswoman for the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic region.

“In doing the construction, that’s where they were discharging fill material into the wetlands and the streams. And that’s what the violations were about,” she said.

The violations of the Clean Water Act involved discharges done without required Army Corps of Engineers permits, said Tom Aluise, spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. …

West Virginia, which is a co-plaintiff in the settlement, will receive half of the civil penalty.

We get that that frackers are keen to make a buck. But why, oh why, must they do absolutely everything with nary a thought given to the environment?

Chesapeake Energy subsidiary to pay fine for dumping into W.Va. streams, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC Clean Water Settlement, EPA

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

Find this article interesting? Donate now to support our work.Read more: Business & Technology


Climate & Energy


Fracking company finds new way to screw over the environment

Posted in ALPHA, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fracking company finds new way to screw over the environment

8 Beautiful & Easy-To-Grow Houseplants

View this article: 

8 Beautiful & Easy-To-Grow Houseplants

Posted in FF, GE, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 8 Beautiful & Easy-To-Grow Houseplants

How the Bush v. Gore Decision Could Factor Into This Close Virginia Race

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

All the votes from the November 5 election have been tabulated and the attorney general race is as close as they come. Democrat Mark Herring holds a slim 164-vote lead over his Republican opponent, Mark Obenshain. The close count has teed up a likely recount for next month, and the Republican candidate has hinted at an unusual legal strategy: basing a lawsuit on Bush v. Gore, the controversial Supreme Court decision that ended the 2000 presidential election in George W. Bush’s favor.

The Supreme Court usually prides itself on respecting the past while keeping an eye toward future legal precedent. But the court treaded lightly when they intervened in 2000. The five conservative justices may have handed the election to Bush, but they tried to ensure that their decision would lack wider ramifications. “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances,” read the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore, “for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” The conservative majority wanted to put a stop to the Florida recount, but they hoped their ruling—which extended the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause to argue that different standards cannot be used to count votes from different counties—wouldn’t set precedent in future cases.

For a time the justices got their wish. But the supposed one-time logic of the controversial decision has begun to gain acceptance in the legal community—particularly among campaign lawyers in contentious elections.

Virginia GOP attorney Miller Baker challenged the attorney general results on Bush v. Gore grounds last week during a meeting of the Fairfax County electoral board, claiming the rest of the state lacked equal protection thanks to the county’s method for tabulating votes. The problem stems from a swath of uncounted provisional ballots in the region. Obenshain had led Herring after initial election-night results, but the Democrat closed the gap thanks to some misplaced votes in a reliably blue section of Fairfax County, a DC suburb. The Republican-dominated state Board of Elections then demanded that Fairfax change its procedure for provisional ballots midway through counting. But even after the changes, Fairfax still afforded residents several extra days to advocate on provisional ballots compared to the rest of the state. (Other counties had until the Friday after the election, while Fairfax allowed votes to be counted until the following Tuesday.)

Obenshain issued a statement last week that left his options open and mentioned the need for “uniform rules,” which election law expert Rick Hasen interpreted as a sign that the Republican is gearing up for a lawsuit that would base its challenge on Bush v. Gore.

Continue Reading »


How the Bush v. Gore Decision Could Factor Into This Close Virginia Race

Posted in FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How the Bush v. Gore Decision Could Factor Into This Close Virginia Race

President Obama Doesn’t Much Care What Benjamin Netanyahu Thinks Anymore

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

The United States and its allies appear to be close to an interim deal with Iran, one that would modestly ease some of the economic sanctions currently in place in return for some kind of freeze on its centrifuge activities. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is apoplectic at the prospect of a deal, but no one seems to be paying much attention to him. Jeffrey Goldberg explains why:

Two reasons. The first reason is that U.S. President Barack Obama has him boxed in. Netanyahu can’t launch a unilateral strike on Iran now that the U.S. is actively negotiating with its leaders.

….The second reason is one Netanyahu, so far at least, has refused to comprehend. His unwillingness to permanently freeze settlement growth on the West Bank, to make the sort of grand gesture toward the Palestinians that would advance the peace process, has caused even those in Washington and Europe who are sympathetic to his stance on Iran to write him off as generally immovable and irrational.

….Netanyahu argues that these are two separate issues, and he’s correct. Except that, in the world of international diplomacy, they are inextricably linked. The Obama administration hears Netanyahu’s demands for more action on Iran and tries — so far, fairly successfully — to meet that call for action. But when the Obama administration turns around and asks Netanyahu to make the sort of gestures that might advance the peace process, it more often than not gets stonewalled.

I’d put it more simply. Netanyahu has made it clear that he’s just flatly opposed to any plausible bargain at all. His idea of a deal is that Iran first destroys its entire nuclear infrastructure and then—maybe—sanctions should be eased or lifted. This is pretty plainly not a deal that any national leader in his right mind would ever accept, and Netanyahu knows it. So he’s essentially saying that no deal should ever be made with Iran.

Given an attitude like that, who’s going to take him seriously? Nobody. Add to that an unending string of personal affronts against President Obama, and it’s a credit to Obama’s self-control that he’s still willing to talk to Netanyahu at all. Obama has been endlessly accommodating toward Netanyahu’s interests, and it’s gotten him nothing in return but condescending lectures and blunt dismissals. So now he’s acting on his own. More here from Andrew Sullivan.

Excerpt from: 

President Obama Doesn’t Much Care What Benjamin Netanyahu Thinks Anymore

Posted in FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on President Obama Doesn’t Much Care What Benjamin Netanyahu Thinks Anymore

Plan to Separate Food Waste Will Expand


Munitorum: Quake Cannons – Games Workshop

A Quake Cannon is capable of hurling a macro cannon shell at targets kilometres away before they even know they are within range. Each mighty shell from a Quake Cannon can sunder fortress walls, shatter tank formations and leave craters dozens of metres deep. About this series: Weapons are the tools of war and with them soldiers ply their bloody trade […]

iTunes Store
A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen

James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet. Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep. When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey. A Street Cat Named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for […]

iTunes Store
Dogtripping – David Rosenfelt

David Rosenfelt’s Dogtripping is moving and funny account of a cross-country move from California to Maine, and the beginnings of a dog rescue foundation When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three […]

iTunes Store
Trident K9 Warriors – Michael Ritland & Gary Brozek

As Seen on “60 Minutes”! As a Navy SEAL during a combat deployment in Iraq, Mike Ritland saw a military working dog in action and instantly knew he’d found his true calling. Ritland started his own company training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense. He knew that fewer than 1 percent of […]

iTunes Store
Index Astartes: Tactical Dreadnought Armour – Games Workshop

Terminator Armour, also known as Tactical Dreadnought Armour, is the heaviest personal protection known to the Imperium. Commonly issued to Terminators, the armour offers protection against the hard vacuum of space as well as the bolts and blade of the enemy. About this Series: The Adeptus Astartes are genetically engineered warriors, created by […]

iTunes Store
How to Raise the Perfect Dog – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer , the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, “Yes, […]

iTunes Store
Warhammer 40,000: The Rules – Games Workshop

There is no time for peace. No respite. No forgiveness. There is only WAR. In the nightmare future of the 41st Millennium, Mankind teeters upon the brink of destruction. The galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by ravening aliens and threatened from within by Warp-spawned entities and heretical plots. Only the strength of the immortal […]

iTunes Store
Farsight Enclaves – A Codex: Tau Empire Supplement – Games Workshop

Commander Farsight was once hailed by every Tau caste as a genius warrior-leader without compare. As his career blazed a bloody path across the Damocles Gulf and back again, O’Shovah split away from the Tau Empire, doggedly pursuing the Orks that had killed so many of his Fire caste comrades. It was the first overt sign of a rebellion that was to change the […]

iTunes Store
The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition) – Monks of New Skete

For more than thirty years the Monks of New Skete have been among America’s most trusted authorities on dog training, canine behavior, and the animal/human bond. In their two now-classic bestsellers, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy, the Monks draw on their experience as long-time breeders of German shepherds and as t […]

iTunes Store
I Could Chew on This – Francesco Marciuliano

A New York Times bestseller? Oh, you know the dogs weren’t going to let the cats get away with that! This canine companion to I Could Pee on This , the beloved volume of poems by cats, I Could Chew on This will have dog lovers laughing out loud. Doggie laureates not only chew on quite a lot of things, they also reveal their creativity, their hidden moti […]

iTunes Store

Follow this link:

Plan to Separate Food Waste Will Expand

Posted in eco-friendly, FF, G & F, GE, Monterey, ONA, PUR, solar, solar power, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Plan to Separate Food Waste Will Expand

Funny or Die Is Making Pro-Obamacare Videos

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “”>

On Monday, a cluster of Hollywood celebrities gathered at the White House for a chat on how they could help spread the word about Obamacare to young people in America. In attendance—along with some producers and writers—were big-name entertainers such as Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Cera, and Kal Penn. (Penn served multiple stints as associate director for the Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration, and delivered this speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.)

The meeting was run by senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who gave a presentation on health care reform and talked about pushing back against conservative memes surrounding the law. President Obama dropped in for roughly half an hour to mingle and hear some ideas from the attending celebrities and artists. Mike Farah, president of production and “ambassador of lifestyle” at Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s comedy website Funny or Die, was at the meeting with his colleague Jake Szymanski. “It was awesome,” Farah tells Mother Jones. “It kind of kicked ass…I was honored to be there and to hear from Obama directly.”

Continue Reading »

More here:  

Funny or Die Is Making Pro-Obamacare Videos

Posted in alo, FF, GE, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Funny or Die Is Making Pro-Obamacare Videos

Instead of Being Protected, Antarctica’s Oceans Will Be Open for Fishing

A Weddell Seal sunbathes near Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Photo: Leonardo Sagnotti

As Antarctica is undergoing massive changes—in its climate, because of rapidly melting ice shelves, and in its biology, because invasive species are moving into the warming waters—it’s also playing a new role in scientists’ understanding of how life on Earth gets by. The continent was long thought to be a mostly barren wasteland, home to penguins and seals and little else, but recent investigations in the surrounding oceans and in lakes deep beneath the glaciers have turned up a wealth of new life—a trove of thriving species likely found nowhere else on Earth.

Recognizing Antarctica’s status as one of the last largely untapped ecosystems on Earth, many members of an international government consortium, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), have been pushing hard to have 963 million acres of the Southern Ocean set off as a protected reserve. Pew Environment writes:

The proposed Southern Ocean protections included a Ross Sea marine reserve of 1.6 million square kilometres — where no fishing would be allowed — within a 2.3 million square kilometre marine protected area, and seven marine protected areas on the East Antarctic coast, covering an additional 1.6 million square kilometres. The Ross Sea plan was proposed by the United States and New Zealand; the East Antarctic protections were championed by Australia, France, and the E.U.

Scientists, say Pew, have “called the Ross Sea ‘The least altered marine ecosystem on Earth,’ with unusually large and closely interacting populations of several marine bird and mammal species.”

The Southern Ocean is home to thousands of unique species including most of the world’s penguins, whales, seabirds, colossal squid, and the remarkable but heavily fished Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish. The region is critical for scientific research, both for studying how intact marine ecosystems function and for determining the accelerating impacts of global climate change.

Unfortunately for those arguing for greater protections (which included representatives from the United States), the plan to set the Southern Ocean regions aside, free from fishing and other enterprises, has been nixed. At a meeting organized to discuss the plan, says Nature, a “surprise legal objection from Russian diplomats” stalled the plan.

[T]he Russian delegation questioned the very authority of the Commission for the Conservation on Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which regulates fishing in Antarctica, to create reserves.

… This has enraged NGOs, who pointed out that CCAMLR has already created one such ‘marine protected area’ and that all of the commission’s members had previously agreed in principle that it should create such zones. NGO representatives accused Russia of coming in bad faith to the meeting, which was convened specifically to discuss the marine reserves after they were not agreed to at another meeting last year.

With no legal restrictions in place, fisheries would be free to act in the Southern Ocean. Indeed, fishing has been a “major sticking point in the talks,” says the BBC:

[S]pecies like krill and patagonian toothfish prov[e] highly lucrative for boats from a range of countries, including South Korea, Norway and Japan.

The tiny shrimp like Antarctic krill are a key element of the ecosystem, as they are part of the diet of whales, penguins, seals and sea birds.

However demand for krill has risen sharply in recent years thanks to growing interest in Omega-3 dietary supplements.

The group, says Der Spiegel, plans to meet once more in October to discuss the marine protected area. “Although there is hope that they may be approved there,” says Nature, “Russia’s hardline approach to this week’s meeting casts a long shadow, and raises serious doubts about the chances of approval.”

More from

‘Bone-Eating Zombie Worm’ And Eight Other New Species Live on the First Whale Skeleton Found in Antarctica
Thousands of Species Found in a Lake Cut Off From the World for Millions of Years
There Goes the Ecosystem: Alien Animals Invade Antarctica


Instead of Being Protected, Antarctica’s Oceans Will Be Open for Fishing

Posted in FF, GE, global climate change, Omega, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Instead of Being Protected, Antarctica’s Oceans Will Be Open for Fishing