Mar 29

“the Power Pallet is a small refinery, which converts biomass (nutshells, wood chips, corncobs) to hydrogen-rich gas, attached to a four-cylinder engine, which burns the gas to generate electricity. The weirdest part: It is, potentially, the most important and transformative energy product that no one has heard of.” — Meet The Radical Berkeley Artist Whose Company Is Turning Trash Into Electricity | Fast Company | Business Innovation

Mar 27

“Countries around the world—even European nations that tout their environmental track records—have found themselves unable to wean themselves from coal. Germany, though often celebrated for its embrace of solar and wind energy, not only gets more than half its power from coal but opened more coal-fired power plants in 2013 than in any year in the past two decades. In neighboring Poland, 86 percent of the electricity is generated from coal. South Africa, Israel, Australia, Indonesia—all are ever more dependent on coal. (The US is a partial exception: Coal’s share of American electricity fell from 49 percent in 2007 to 39 percent in 2013, largely because fracking has cut the price of natural gas, a competing fuel. But critics note, accurately, that US coal exports have hit record highs; an ever-increasing share of European and Asian coal is red, white, and blue.)” — Renewables Aren’t Enough. Clean Coal Is the Future

Here, inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government’s own workers.

But that system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper.

The employees here pass thousands of case files from cavern to cavern and then key in retirees’ personal data, one line at a time. They work underground not for secrecy but for space. The old mine’s tunnels have room for more than 28,000 file cabinets of paper records.

This odd place is an example of how hard it is to get a time-wasting bug out of a big bureaucratic system.

Held up by all that paper, work in the mine runs as slowly now as it did in 1977.

” — Sinkhole of bureaucracy | The Washington Post


Russia Takes Control Of Ukraine's Dolphin Army -

It sounds like the sort of headline that belongs to The Onion, but it’s not.


Mar 26


Silicon's Valley's Brutal Ageism

Mar 25

“One of our most essential tasks is to solve the enigma of the outside world, and this starts with our basic sensory perceptions. Our conscious minds experience reality as a seamlessly spooling movie in HD and surround sound. But our brain is fooling us. It turns out the very act of perception “is more like puzzle solving than most people realize,” writes neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran in The Tell-Tale Brain. “When you look at a simple visual scene, your brain is constantly resolving ambiguities, testing hypotheses, searching for patterns, comparing current information with memories and expectations.”” — Obsession over Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Cognitive neuroscience of why we love mysteries.

“One of the poorest states in the nation has invested nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and 10 years in creating a hub for Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.” — Failure To Launch: How New Mexico Is Paying For Richard Branson’s Space Tourism Fantasy