Posted 3 years ago




Meet a Gargantuan Wind Turbine, the 7-Megawatt V164. You could fit the entire infield and outfield of Yankee stadium inside the area that this enormous machine sweeps. Twice! Read more.

The annual output of the V164 is estimated to be 30,000 megawatt-hours, which is roughly equivalent to 2,787 households’ electricity consumption.

This is all very different from the small-scale beginnings of the wind industry. In 1979, Vestas’ first turbine was the V10-30kW model, which produced about 40,000 kWh. That is to say, the V164 is expected to produce 750 times as much energy as the V10.

Another way of looking at this is to consider Altamont Pass, Calif., the world’s largest wind farm with over 5,000 turbines when it was built in the 1980s. The entire combined annual energy production of Altamont is 1.1 TWh. The citizens of California could get the same amount of energy from just 36 of the new turbines. Thirty-six machines would replace 5,000.”

Posted 3 years ago

Walker wants private sector to run assistance programs

Texas started using a private company in 2005 to screen medical and food assistance applications. By 2010, there were 56,000 unresolved food stamp applications, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News.

In addition, 37 percent of all applicants — and more than 50 percent of applicants in the greater Dallas and Houston areas — were not told whether they qualified for benefits within 30 days of filing, as federal law requires, according to the newspaper. And applications from 13 percent of the truly destitute — people defined by the newspaper as virtually out of cash and unable to afford groceries — weren’t processed in the seven days required by federal law, it reported.

I think it’s time we started calling privatization by another, more accurate name: corruption. Sending vital services out to a for-profit company is nothing but a chance for it to skim money off the top.

Posted 3 years ago

Banks Are to Blame for Rising Food Costs


What’s behind the spiraling cost of food? It’s not just oil and the burgeoning appetites of Americans.

As Frederick Kaufman, the author of A Short History of the American Stomach explains in an article in this month’s Foreign Policy, titled “How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis”:

Since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, there has been a 50-fold increase in dollars invested in commodity index funds. To put the phenomenon in real terms: In 2003, the commodities futures market still totaled a sleepy $13 billion. But when the global financial crisis sent investors running scared in early 2008, and as dollars, pounds, and euros evaded investor confidence, commodities—including food—seemed like the last, best place for hedge, pension, and sovereign wealth funds to park their cash. “You had people who had no clue what commodities were all about suddenly buying commodities,” an analyst from the United States Department of Agriculture told me. In the first 55 days of 2008, speculators poured $55 billion into commodity markets, and by July, $318 billion was roiling the markets. Food inflation has remained steady since.

While rampant speculation by bankers in commodity index funds might sound lands away from your next meal, Kaufman writes in an earlier article for Harper’s (subscription req’d):

The worldwide price of food had risen by 80 percent between 2005 and 2008, and unlike other food catastrophes of the past half century or so, the United States was not insulated from this one, as 49 million Americans found themselves unable to put a full meal on the table. Across the country demand for food stamps reached an all-time high, and one in five kids came to depend on food kitchens. In Los Angeles nearly a million people went hungry.

And it’s inevitably going to get worse as the world reaches 10 billion. Time for bankers face the hard truth to their complicity.

Illustration: Tim Bower/Harper’s

Posted 3 years ago

amory’s 17-point guide to graduate school, or phds for radicals in the humanities & social sciences


12. After surviving the indignities of graduate school, you will gain a little bit of status, prestige, and financial security as faculty. However your academic work will continue to be demoralizing. You feel that you must master and keep up with an impossible amount of material. You will never know enough and you will live in fear of getting caught not knowing something that you should. While you will get positive feedback from students, most of your colleagues will appreciate your successes and failures only insofar as they provide useful cannon fodder for their own careers and egos. You will find only sporadic meaning and fulfillment in this work. You may have very few or no colleagues with whom you have satisfying intellectual relationships. Therefore, you must DESIGN a life with political activity and meaning. The academy WILL NOT meet your political (or social) needs on its own. You will have to make a political path outside/beyond the academy. See your academic life as one part of an overall plan for your political, intellectual, community, and life-meaning development. This is a big task. Live your life as a graduate student building political connections, activist skills, community involvements, and popular pedagogy so that in the next phase of your life you will already know how to connect with communities and do political work outside of the academy as a public intellectual, a community member, a citizen in service to social justice organizations, a political activist, etc…

Posted 3 years ago
In transportation, we are shying away from major new projects like high-speed rail because they do not fit in with contemporary American commuting trends — forgetting the fact that the U.S. car reliance is a constructed one. We spent massively to create the highway network, and the result is that it is now the backbone of most Americans’ daily commutes. There was nothing natural about that process, and no reason to think that it cannot be reversed if we thought differently about our transportation system development. We are adding population at such a quick rate that we could encourage different commuting trends if we want to, but only if we invest the resources to do so.
Posted 3 years ago

Vermont closing in on single payer - Ezra Klein - The Washington Post


Kevin Outterson is an associate professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at Boston University, as well as a blogger at the Incidental Economist. He’s also been following the Vermont health-care reform process in some detail, and is one of fairly few people who has actually read the 141-page single-payer bill that the governor is poised to sign. Earlier this afternoon, he walked me through what he’s learned.

Ezra Klein: What is Vermont passing, exactly? My understanding is that they’re not going to sign this legislation and wake up with single-payer health care the next day. So what’s in this bill, and what does it do?

Kevin Outterson: This bill is more of a framework. For example, they left out all the financing. But it sets a planning process for a single-payer — or what they’re calling a “single-payment” — system. If you read the various reports and presentations they’ve released so far, you can get a sense of where that’s going. Their plan is to roll every payer they can into one system. It’s easy to do with state and municipal employees. They might be able to do it with the individual and small-group markets that they regulate under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. They are going to ask the Obama administration for waivers for Medicaid, so they’d get the Medicaid money and use it in this system, and they also want a waiver for Medicare, which I’m not sure anyone has ever done before. And the last group they’re trying to woo in are the large, national employers who are regulated by ERISA. Their plan is to tax these employers whether they pay in or not, and then these employers have to ask themselves, “We’re already paying this tax, why wouldn’t we just put our employees into Green Mountain Care?”

EK: So all these different players remain part of the health-care system. But now their payments run through the Vermont state government.

KO: Right. So employers would still be paying in, the Vermont state government would still pay in, the federal government would still be paying in, but all the money would then flow through Green Mountain Care, the single-payment system. And for all providers, there’d just be one contract. It’d equalize payment rates between private insurance and Medicare and Medicaid. It’ll dramatically reduce their paperwork. That’s why they’re supporting it. And Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont, which is the biggest insurer in the state, supports it.

EK: Wait, Blue Cross/Blue Shield supports it? Why? Won’t this put them out of business?

KO: You would think. But this is one of those Blue Cross plans that never sold out to Anthem. They’re still nonprofit. And they’ve got 70 percent of the market in Vermont. So the theory is they would administer the payment system. But they’re not alone. The Vermont Medical Association and the Vermont hospitals are supporting this legislation. The most vocal opponents are the state association of insurance agents, and the drug companies are about to descend in force, because there’s a lot in there the drug industry won’t like.


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Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago
We are, if the president is serious here, a nation that has narrowly constricted its marketable talents to the deployment of violence. We can’t manufacture much of anything, but we can kill you. We can’t fix our schools, or build adequate levees to protect a city like New Orleans from floodwaters. But we can kill you. We can’t reduce infant mortality to anywhere near the level of other industrialized nations with which we like to compare ourselves. But we can kill you. We can’t break the power of Wall Street bankers, or jail any of those bankers and money managers who helped orchestrate the global financial collapse. But we can kill you. We can’t protect LGBT youth from bullying in schools, or ensure equal opportunity for all in the labor market, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or any other factor. But we can kill you.
Posted 3 years ago

Graffiti on Portland mosque under investigation

Portland police are investigating anti-Islam graffiti painted onto the Maine Muslims Community Center on Anderson Street.

The graffiti included: “Osama today, Islam tomorow (sic),” “Long live the West” and “Free Cyprus.”

The letters were written in maroon paint on the mosque’s gray cement block wall. The graffiti was written sometime between late Sunday night and about 7:15 a.m. today, when it was discovered by Portland Housing Authority workers on Anderson Street.

This isn’t anything other than the natural consequence of the jingoistic, nationalistic fervor we got a glimpse of last night.

Posted 3 years ago


that there are masses of flag waving white people gathering in the streets outside the white house (and possibly other places) may be the most unsettling revelation of the night.