How’s the Weather Up There?

Wind farms could become a thing of the past if a blimp-like power generator takes off.

Altaeros Energies, a U.S wind energy company formed out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced that it has successfully generated energy from 350 feet up with an automated prototype of its airborne wind turbine (AWT).

The completed commercial version would rest at 1,000 feet, where winds are stronger and more consistent, according to Altaeros Energies.

The company reports that AWT achieved several key milestones.

It lifted a top-selling turbine to produce over twice the power at high altitude than generated at conventional tower height and landed again in an automated cycle.

The turbine was successfully transported and deployed into the air at Loring Commerce Center in Limestone, Maine, from a towable docking trailer.

Altaeros says that because its product would harness higher-altitude winds – up to five times stronger than those reached by tower turbines – it would reduce energy costs by up to 65 per cent and reduce installation time from weeks to days.

In addition, it is designed to have virtually no environmental or noise impact and to require minimal maintenance.

The Altaeros AWT will displace expensive fuel used to power diesel generators at remote industrial, military, and village sites.

In the long term, Altaeros plans to scale up the technology to reduce costs in the offshore wind market.

‘For decades, wind turbines have required cranes and huge towers to lift a few hundred feet off the ground where winds can be slow and gusty,’ explained Ben Glass, the inventor of the AWT and Altaeros Chief Executive Officer.

‘We are excited to demonstrate that modern inflatable materials can lift wind turbines into more powerful winds almost everywhere – with a platform that is cost competitive and easy to setup from a shipping container.’

The AWT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to ascend, with strong tethers holding it steady and sending electricity down to the ground.

Could They really Do It?

By David G. Savage

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices said last Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.

Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law’s controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.

The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.

“One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto,” said Justice Antonin Scalia.

Agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said it would be an “extreme proposition” to allow the various insurance regulations to stand after the mandate was struck down.

Meanwhile, the court’s liberal justices argued for restraint. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court should do a “salvage job,” not undertake a “wrecking operation.” But she looked to be out-voted.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they shared the view of Scalia and Kennedy that the law should stand or fall in total. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, they would have a majority to strike down the entire statute as unconstitutional.

An Obama administration lawyer, urging caution, said it would be “extraordinary” for the court to throw out the entire law. About 2.5 million young people under age 26 are on their parents’ insurance now because of the new law. If it were struck down entirely, “2.5 million of them would be thrown off the insurance rolls,” said Edwin Kneedler.

The administration indicated it was prepared to accept a ruling that some of the insurance reforms should fall if the mandate were struck down. For example, insurers would not be required to sell coverage to people with preexisting conditions. But Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general, said the court should go no further.

But the court’s conservatives said the law was passed as a package and must fall as a package.

End Article

Editor’s comments:

So the Supreme Court seems poised to do the right and constitutional thing. It’s funny how all the Internet outlets, newspapers, TV, et al, classifiy the justices as Conservative or liberal.

The Supreme Court has one job. It’s only job is to determine the constitutionality of the case before it. It is not supposed to write law or somehow fiddle around with the laws that are being decided by the court. Yet Justice Ruth (buzzi) Bader Ginsburg suggests that the court should perform a “salvage job” on the law. The only way that one could perform a “salvage job” on the law would be to rewrite it at the bench.

Somehow this minor inconvenience escapes justice Ginsburg. She must’ve forgotten that the justices are forbidden from writing or creating law from the bench. Either that, or she just doesn’t care. I vote for the latter. But Ginsburg is of course a liberal justice.

As I’ve stated many times in the past, liberals are liberals, first and foremost. What ever their vocation may be, a liberal will always think and act as one without regard to said vocation.

As for Mr. Kneedler’s plea regarding the 2.5 million young people that will may be kicked off their parents insurance if the court strikes down Obamacare, may I remind him, or maybe he doesn’t know, that the Constitution is not a conditional document.

Let’s hope that at least five of the justices will make the right constitutional decision and strike this travesty down in toto.

Joke of the Day (3)

Church Billboards. We’ve all seen them. They mean well, but are sometimes filled with errors-a-plenty. Here are some great examples.

Third Installment 

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.

 The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They
 may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

 This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across
 from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

 Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies
 are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.

 The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would
 lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

 Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use
 the back door.

 The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the
Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

 Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church.
 Please use large double door at the side entrance.

 The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last
Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.

Assad will Not Step Down

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Friday that Arab and international efforts to end the conflict in Syria have moved away from demanding that Syrian President Bashar Assad steps down and now appear focused on achieving political dialogue.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a key Assad ally, said that rebels who have fought a year-long campaign to oust Assad were incapable of toppling him and that the option of foreign military intervention in Syria was a “closed subject.”

Hezbollah has relied on Syria as a main political backer and is also accused of using the country as a transit point for arms sent from its main bankroller, Iran.

The group has backed Assad’s crackdown on a mostly Sunni-lead uprising, which both blame on foreign-backed militants.

“Some people talked about the political option,” Nasrallah said, “but with conditions that equalled the fall of the regime, for example for President Assad to step down. I think the international and regional political climate today has passed this phase.”

Arab states, split over how to deal with the crisis in Syria that threatens to inflame the region’s sectarian faultlines, appear to have backed off their demand that Assad step aside.

The rebels also appear to have lost ground in the past month to Assad’s forces, who have crushed several opposition strongholds through sustained shelling campaigns.

“The armed opposition is incapable of toppling the regime,” Nasrallah said. “Therefore betting on military efforts to topple the regime is a losing gamble and the burden is too great: more bloodshed and loss of life and property, to no avail.”

More than 9,000 people have been killed by Assad’s forces, according to the United Nations, while Damascus says it has lost around 3,000 police and security forces.

Syria’s uprising, which began as peaceful protests, has grown increasingly bloody in recent months as armed civilians and army defectors began to bring the fight to Assad’s forces. But they are heavily outgunned by Assad’s military machine.

Nasrallah said some Arab efforts, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to demand Assad’s ouster appear to have been dropped.

He pointed to the backing by an Arab summit on Thursday for a peace plan by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan calling for a political solution to the crisis. Assad has said he accepts the plan but stipulates that the rebels must stop fighting.

Annan’s spokesman stressed on Friday that Assad’s forces should be the first to withdraw their troops and tanks, saying “the deadline is now”, but fighting continued.

Attribution: Jerusalem Post

Octogenarian Olympian

Meet Johanna Quaas, the lycra-donning granny whose muscular physique puts Madonna to shame.

At 86 Quass, of Halle, Saxony, would be forgiven for wanting to put her feet up, which she does – over her head that is.

And her gymnastic prowess is not the only trophy in her cabinet, she was once a member of the East German handball champion team, too.

The octogenarian showed off her skills at the 2012 Cottbus World Cup in Germany, where she wowed the crowd with her moves, performing an impressive parallel bar and floor demonstration.

Ultra flexible Quaas was a late starter, beginning her gymnastics training at the age of 30. But that hasn’t held her back.

More than fifty years on she still steals the show from her younger rivals, as a multiple time senior champion of artistic gymnastics in Germany.

As she performs routines with the balance, strength and flexibility of a 20-year-old, this geriatric granny could easily be a quarter of her age – were it not for her tell-tale curly bob of snow-white hair and specs balanced on her nose.

Joke of the Day (2)

Church Billboards. We’ve all seen them. They mean well, but are sometimes filled with errors-a-plenty. Here are some great examples.

Second Installment

 Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the
 help they can get.

 A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall.
Music will follow..

 At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is
 Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of
 several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

 Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be
 recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

 Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased
 person you want remembered..

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment
 and gracious hostility.

3D-Nanoprinting

Making complex 3D structures would normally take hours or even days to perfect.
But researchers from the Vienna University of Technology have sped that up considerably – and produced grain-of-sand sized objects such as bridges, cathedrals and Formula 1 cars.

It is thought that the world record for producing the nano-objects in the quickest time has been smashed.

The attention to detail is exquisite – and the craftsmanship is even more impressive when you appreciate the scale of the endeavour.

In the design of London’s Tower Bridge, for example, you can make out details in the roof-work of the tower, as well as the railings on the actual bridge.

The little Formula 1 car is just 0.028cm (0.011 in.) across – or to put it another way, less than a third of a millimeter.

So this tiny little motor could easily fit into the space of the period at the end of this sentence.

If that isn’t impressive enough, the Vienna Institute of Technology created the 100-layer nano-structure in just four minutes – a huge increase on previous technology.

The precision model uses a technique called two-photon lithography, which uses highly-focused light beams to manipulate, then harden resin molecules in exactly the right position.

The ‘two-photon’ part of the name refers to how the resin only hardens when two photon molecules hit it at the same time.

3D printing its still in its infancy, although commercial and even domestic printers are now hitting the market.

The technology opens up the exciting world of nano-technology to both industry and the public, with many applications in science and medicine.

For instance, in the future, you may be able to print out small items for your life – almost anything like cups or plates.

The medical applications are also significant. The technology has been trialled in dental work and bone reconstruction, with one lady having her jaw reconstructed via 3D printing following a bone infection.

But the standard replication method usually requires a model to be built up layer-by-layer, whereas the two-photon method can operate across the model at once.

Attribution: Mail Online

Face Lift for the Oat Man

The Quaker Oats man featured on the boxes of the popular oatmeal shed five pounds and now sports a more youthful look in the brand’s new logo to highlight its healthy products.

PepsiCo Inc, owner of the cereal company, also decided to give the jolly-faced character a haircut and broader shoulders so consumers can associate the image with ‘energy and healthy choices.’

The makeover of the rosy-cheeked man, known as ‘Larry’, is part of a new direction to make the 134-year-old brand ‘fresh and innovative.’

The new physique removes the man’s double chin.

The rolls and plumpness that made his face and neck look rounder were toned down so he can appear slimmer.

‘We took about five pounds off him,’ said Michael Connors, vice president of design at Hornall Anderson, which was in charge of the change.

The man’s shoulders have greater emphasis so Larry can be seen as a stronger, more vibrant image

His white hair, which dangles down from his top hat, is also shortened as a way to keep him looking thin.

The traditional logo featured Larry on a white background with his fuller face centered within a gold band.

The new image has the man in front of a two-toned red background so it ‘adds a sense of movement,’ according to Connors.

The company did not want to dramatically change Larry – instead opting for subtle differences – to keep the image consistent with consumers who are used to the old look.

Quaker Oats became a registered trademark in 1877 as a breakfast cereal. Owners Henry Seymour and William Heston wanted the products to be associated with good quality and honest value.

The company used an image of a man in “Quaker garb” to be connected with its products.

In 1922, the chubby-cheeked Larry was first prominent on the Quaker Quick Oats box.

His face would remain on the box for decades, including on labels of the oatmeal in 1995 when the company submitted a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish the first health claim for a specific food.

The oatmeal became the first to say on its label that the products help improve heart health.

Attribution: Mailonline

Look Mama, It’s the Devil!

And Now for the Rest… Of the Story:

Did Paul Harvey’s 1965 Broadcast “If I Were the Devil” Predict America’s Downfall?

by:

Paul Harvey Aurandt (1918–2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was America’s National Commentator. His listening audience was estimated, at its highest, to be around 24 million people a week. “Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers. His broadcasts and newspaper columns have been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator.”

One of Paul Harvey’s most popular messages was the Christian classic “The Man and the Birds” based on a verse from the book of Job: “Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you” (12:7b).
Paul Harvey didn’t just report the news with his distinctive voice; he would always make the point that the news was reflective of society. You could take the pulse of America’s moral health by reading the daily newspaper.

In 1964, Paul Harvey wrote “If I Were the Devil.” Various versions of the article have appeared over time. I first heard about it from Glenn Beck’s show, but it’s been floating around the internet for some time.[1]
Before Paul Harvey wrote “If I Were the Devil,” the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) explained the steps necessary for radicals to transform a nation without firing a shot:
[T]hey must enter into every civil, cultural and political activity in every nation, patiently leavening them all as thoroughly as yeast leavens bread. . . .[2] [This] would require a ‘long march through the institutions’ — the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the new electronic medium [of the time], radio.”[3]

The following is the text from an audio version of Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil.” you can see that Gramsci was on target and his radical heirs were successful:
“If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please. Do as you please.’

“To the young, I would whisper, ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to pray after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’

“And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.”

“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war with themselves, and nations that war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.”

“If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, and neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.”

“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.”

“If I were the devil I’d take from those, and who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would question against extremes and hard work, and Patriotism, and moral conduct.”

 “I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were to devil I’d keep on doing on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”

Notes:
1. I’m a little suspicious that the poor quality audio version might be a revised version done by someone else to make it sound like Paul Harvey. [↩]
2. Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood: The Struggle for World Dominion Between Pope John II, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Capitalist West (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990), 245. [↩]
3. Patrick J. Buchanan, Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (New York: St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books, 2001), 77. [↩]