“Duh Technology”

I love that expression. Indeed… why not harness the human torque that drives revolving doors in large metropolitan buildings to generate some turbine energy to power up some lights at little to no cost? Kind of a no-brainer.

Surely even our retrogressive friends on the Right could agree that small-bore innovations like this that discretely capitalize on energy efficiency and conservation are a rather good thing, no?

The Cost of Dying

It’s a profoundly sad commentary on the “debate” about healthcare in the U.S. Congress that the pivotal issue of “end-of-life” medical care can no longer be discussed without invoking ridiculously offensive terminology such as “Death Panels” (thanks Sarah Palin!).

In this regard, last night’s edition of 60 Minutes featured a very incisive and sometimes disturbing piece on the subject, explaining why, as palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock contends, many Americans are “dying badly” in the present system.

Could it be that profit, greed and fear of litigation, combined with a fundamentally irrational inability to confront mortality in a realistic way are behind so many people dying without dignity or comfort?

Note: Unfortunately, CBS hasn’t posted the complete episode on YouTube yet, but it can be watched here and the full transcript of the piece is available here.

p.s. Just to add a wry little footnote to this, what I found most provocative was Byock’s assertion about the delusional nature of a great many people when coming to grips with death, especially given that the overwhelming number of Americans claim to believe in “God” and existence in the Great Hereafter awaiting them following the magical teleportation of their spirit to the ethereal realm of Heaven or whatever… As such, their grimly determined reluctance of shake off this sinfully mortal coil would seem to indicate an alarming lack of the “faith” they’re so adamantly convinced of otherwise. Curious that.

Meeeow

Michael Moore made a whole documentary about President Bush playing golf? Gee, I must have missed that one. Hmmm. Funny that neither Ms. Perino or any the Friendly Fox folks mentioned the fact that while Dubya may have given up golf (for the sake of the troops he’d sent to fight his illegal wars), he nonetheless spent fully one-third of his presidency on vacation.

Janine Who?

Does anyone really care about the puerile drivel Janine Krieber posts on her Facebook page? Granted, it makes for a juicy media flap, but her remarks can hardly be taken seriously. If she truly feels that the grass is greener on the NDP side of the fence; “Un parti où la règle serait le principe de plaisir et non l’assassinat” and “Un parti où l’éthique du travail et de la compétence seraient respectés et où les sourires ne seraient pas factices,” then I hope the door hitting her backside on the way out doesn’t impede her flight.

ITER Fusion Power

ITER (originally the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international tokamak (magnetic confinement fusion) research/engineering project that could help to make the transition from today’s studies of plasma physics to future electricity-producing fusion power plants.

I have to confess that I’d never heard of this €10 billion megaproject in the south of France until recently when I stumbled across it in connection with another intriguing story about a new fusion device (Laser Inertial Fusion Energy, or LIFE — pretty catchy, huh?) being tested at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

It’s kind of exciting to think that such projects might hold the key to addressing much of our energy requirements at some point in the not too distant future (relatively speaking), but then, I’m a firm believer that mankind’s ingenuity will eventually arrive at technological solutions that will render carbon-based technologies obsolete for power generation.