I’ve been learning about the candidates a bit. I’ve never thought much for or against Hillary Clinton. All I ever hear is that evangelicals don’t like her because they won’t vote for a woman, and I assume, because she had the gall to actually try to keep her family together. I thought evangelicals we’re for that sort of thing. Meanwhile, I was reading her website, and imagine she might write the following letter:
Dear business owner,
You know, I’ve had it with you. For more than fifty years I’ve asked you for a service and you’ve provided it. You’ve improved efficiency in your efforts and competed with others in the market, but the demand has been strong and you’ve been profitable. How dare you! What’s worse, is that even though demand is increasing for the goods you supply, you refuse to stop producing even when what you make is bad for us! How can you wantonly give us exactly what we ask for?
How you dare to invest money, year after year, just so that you can be successful at giving us what we want, without ever taking a moment to decide what’s best for us; to stop selling exactly what the market demands of you and drive yourself and all those who trusted you with their savings in to ruin, because you should know better.
I thought you knew, that in the United States we don’t have enough sense to know what is best for us. We want to be able to do as we wish. Ah, thank the Lord, I the government, am here, to ensure you do what is best for us all. No doubt, you’re excellent at what you do, and I am impressed. That you have made so much money is proof of your excellence; all you have to do is invest in something else, something you ought to be just as successful with. Sure there are small companies out there developing the technology on their own, but you, you’re a big and successful organization and I know that you can do it again, so long as you receive a bit of my help and advice.
So, this letter is to inform you that I hereby make you an offer you cannot refuse. Not legally anyway.
In 2005, Exxon Mobil’s CEO told Congress that his company’s investment in alternative energy technologies over the prior decade was “negligible.” Hillary believes it is time for oil companies to do their share in funding clean energy technologies. She would give oil companies a choice: invest more in renewable energy technology or pay into a Strategic Energy Fund. The Strategic Energy Fund would also eliminate oil company tax breaks and make sure that oil companies pay their fair share in royalties when drilling on public lands. This fund would jumpstart a clean energy future by injecting $50 billion over ten years into research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol and other homegrown biofuels.
Hillary’s got a different way to show that she loves corporations just as much as Bush does. Where the Bush administration maintains handouts to oil companies earned over democratic and republican administrations; the future Clinton administration will rightfully eliminate the handouts, but only by extorting corporations to fund programs she
deems best. The tried and true method where companies were required to earn their success in the market place; the pattern that’s been successful for generations of industrialists, from railroad tycoons to today’s oil companies, is clearly a tired old model. Today those companies who are already successful will be forced to re-tool in the hopes that if they’re good at drilling oil, they’ll be equally good at building solar cells. All the while, companies who’ve plied their technology for decades aren’t even given the opportunity to make the money they’ve worked so hard for.
At first glance, taking from the rich oil companies to help fund a green future sounds like a great idea to get votes. But it’s anti-American to take fairly earned profits from companies just because the government doesn’t think what they’re doing is such a good idea any more, and it’s inefficient to expect those same companies with no prior experience to be more successful than the upstarts who already have the expertise to finally make renewables viable. It’s a clever plan, because she’s pandering both to the those folks who think profits of the rich are theirs for the taking simply because they don’t have them and at the same time, the rich corporations know that if they buy in to her policy (whether they want to or not) at least they’ll be protected from real competition, because the government will use their own money to fun their new “clean energy initiatives.” It’s just unfortunate that the ill gotten governmental gains won’t be better spent on companies that are better suited to success.
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A 19 year old woman in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to receive 200 lashes (and now another six months in jail!) for being the victim of rape. Senator Hillary Clinton is so angry about this that she’s blasted President Bush for not condemning Saudi Ariabia and not calling on King Abdullah to repeal this sentence.
It may be obvious to the kind of people reading this blog that the woman’s punishment is absurd. I too, am opposed to many of the laws around the world and quite a few in my own country. Some laws are downright appalling (such as the Sharia laws of Saudi Arabia) and many of them violate basic human rights that I should be applicable across borders.
Individually, we each have a right to express our opinion of these laws and even act against them through boycots and even sanctions, but no country has the right to directly interfere with the sovereignty of another without expecting war.
Where does Ms. Clinton (and now Joe Biden has joined her) get off demanding that Mr. Bush go tell the leader of a sovereign nation what laws to enforce? How would a President Clinton respond to requests to punish the free speech of anti-muslim activists? How will Hillary react to cries that homosexuality be banned (as it is in many of our allies’ countries)? Will President Clinton wonder what the first man has to say when she receives a phone call from King Abdullah asking her to leave office as women in his country aren’t even afforded the right to drive a car, let alone become president. Does she really think King Abdullah ought to have this right to tell her how to run the United States of America? How then, does she expect anyone to take this grandstanding seriously?
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You know, dear readers, when I haven’t posted anything for a while, it might be a good idea to check out my flickr site. It’s like a photo-blog and a picture is worth a thousand words I hear. That totally counts! Right? Um, of course it does. When nothing is happening here, you should look there, because, um, it’s boring here then. And that’s also where I “travel places, look at things, [take pictures of them], write your thoughts down..” If you log in, you can comment and they don’t spam you! Really.
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I do enjoy watching and reading reading sci-fi now and again, but, as impressed as I am by the futuristic and clever ideas that writers create, I am also frequently disappointed by the lack of touch with reality they often are. Don’t they realize that technically educated geeks dominate their audiences?
During the recent Colorado Photonics Industry Association’s (CPIA) annual meeting students from local universities participated in a poster session and department chairs discussed photonics related progress in their universities. A sci-fi writer running low on ideas need go no further.
One poster was on cloaking. Cloaking’s already a popular sci-fi element and it was hard not to wonder, looking at the student’s paper, if he wasn’t talking pseudo science. The fact is that there are already small objects, meta-materials, that have a negative index of refraction making light bend around them in such a way that the light never even registers they were there. A meta-material is a material whose characteristics are not based upon its chemical properties, but rather on its structure. It’s like textured vegetable protein. You can make the stuff into almost anything, even though chemically, it’s still just soy.
Another poster discussed cancer cell detection between a Fabry-Perot interferometer. A Fabry-Perot interferometer is simply two semi-reflective plates parallel to each other. As the light bounces between them on its way in and then out of them, it makes special patterns. Through incredibly tedious and impressive mathematics, these students were able to describe how the patterns look when you pass certain kinds of healthy cells between the plates compared to decidedly similar cancer cells. I can see futuristic doctors testing your health by making you walk between two plates of glass.
There were solar cells made of organic plastics and bio-sensors made of chemically, microscopically, tethered RNA. The students were very impressive, indeed, but the really mind-bending stuff came later. In 2001 the Nobel prize for Physics was awarded to Colorado University faculty for their work on Bose-Einstein Condensates, BEC. BECs are a state of matter that is so cold, that even their tiniest internal vibrations begin to cease. In doing so, unfortunately for them, the attempt to break a law of quantum mechanics which says we can only know so well just exactly, I mean really exactly, where something is. To make up for their offense, the otherwise unnoticeable wave-function of these atoms spreads out and becomes measurable. If all the atoms cool off together, their wave-functions match up, or become coherent.
Coherence is exactly what is special about lasers and so these new BECs are really atom-lasers. Coherent streams of particles all acting like laser beams. They’re actually the exact opposite of laser-beams though, because where beams interact with matter to bounce around, for example off of mirrors, or be focused by lenses, these atom beams interact with light. They bounce off of walls of light and are focused by fields of light, all the while, completely unaffected by matter.
I am not even sure where sci-fi authors are going to go with this stuff, but these fascinating features of nature aren’t the stuff of science fiction, they’re happening, in the real world, at local Colorado universities. Looks like that latest sci-fi novel we’re reading is already behind the times!
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