Sunday Open Thread

That empty space many of you are feeling is the lonely absence of football.


Others of you have no inner emotional life of any significance. I know this b/c I used to be like you. That is, until I came upon:










Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

If the lithium-ion cell technology is True...Game Changer...nt



I am a bit skeptical we will see this any time soon...


These guys made a similar claim last year, then the car that made the drive burned in their garage or something odd like that.


These claims might be A) Bogus or B) True.


If B, then there is the issue of safety. Manganese isn't the most stable element I've ever seen, and all that energy needs to be well contained. So the technologies can be A) Inherently Unsafe or B) Possible to make safe.


Again, if B (safe), there is another, bigger problem. Since it woud be in fact a game changer, the people currently playing the game will do their utmost to block it.


So did DBM burn their car because it was a fraud or did some other interested party torch it? I know this sounds like tinfoil territory, but the billions of dollars at stake are staggering. Not only oil companies but governments of oil producing states have enourmous incentives. I think it actually requires tin foil to believe that none of these interests will move a finger to stop or delay technologies such as these.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Revolutionary claims


certainly need to be verified and I have my doubts about this one. But as far as the stability of Manganese goes it's certainly no worse than lithium.

No, it's not...


...but these batteries supposedly have both lithium and manganese, unless I am reading it wrong.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Try a little experiment MA


Drop some pure lithium in water and some pure manganese and see what happens. Make sure you stand well back from the lithium though when you do it.

I've done that...

(#275577)'s loads of fun.


(Chemistry lab, not at home, if you were wondering...)

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

High school chem lab


kids were always trying to steal some sodium to drop down the toilets in school. Another fun one in electronics labs was connecting certain types diode backwards and making them pop.

Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydrogen

HankP's picture

can make anything from sugar to TNT. The elements don't matter, only what kind of compounds they're in.

I blame it all on the Internet



Halogens in elemental form like flourine or chlorine are pretty nasty but compounds of the two like Teflon and salt are both stable and harmless. Elemental Li is quite dangerous (around water much more so than Mn) but it's widely used in batteries with pretty good safety (there are some interesting videos of burning Li batteries on youtube).

If that were true...


...we wouldn't really need many elements.


But we do. Elements sure as heck matter, a lot. CFCs are inert, but have chlorine in them, and as it turns out this meant a hole in the ozone layer, since the chlorine is separated from the molecule by UV light in the upper atmosphere.


Manganese and Lithium can make their presence felt in a burning battery, as they will quickly disassociate from whatever molecule they might be a part of.


I am all for batteries and will buy an electric car as soon as I can afford one. But more energy density means more energy is available if things go wrong. Gasoline tanks can explode, but for whatever reason electric cars are held to a higher standard. It might be unfair, but those are the breaks.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Thing is, these days the oil companies are also energy


companies.  And if there's money to be made in alternative forms of storing energy than gasoline, they'll be all over it.  And even if the fossil fuel industry stays out of other energy, the energy that batteries store, after all, still comes from a gas- or coal-fired plant.  If you make a technology that people can make money off of, it will thrive.

No, They Are Not


They are not and never will be energy companies. That's just a PR pivot, a propaganda ploy, they initiated long ago, the idea being to muddle the distinction between fossil fuels and energy. This way, if you are against oil extraction, you are against energy. BP adopted the line "beyond petroleum" to highlight itself as an "energy company", yet it later sold its renewable energy operations, which were just for show to begin with.


Oil companies are not energy producers. They are fuel extractors. They have used their power to slow or stop the adoption of non-fossil fuel energy sources. They behave almost exactly like mining companies, which is really what they are.


They have no interest in energy as such, and have not acquired or developed large scale businesses around any renewable energy technology. It's not in the corporate DNA of any of them, regardless of national origin.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.


HankP's picture

from what I can tell it will knock about $10K off the price of an all electric car, more for high performance or extended range vehicles.

I blame it all on the Internet

$10K - probably not soon


It might be true that *their* cost to get the same capacity is one third,  but by the time it gets to the end user I'm fairly confident the price will be low enough to beat the existing competition, but no lower,  at least until there are several manufacturers up and running.

Memo To Harley

M Scott Eiland's picture

Whitey and Mickey--the 2012-2025 edition:


If we're lucky, anyway--let's hope they don't end up as the new Doc and Darryl.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

CBS calls Michigan for Romney

Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I'm relieved too


For a minute I thought extremists might have some power in the GOP ...

Even more Santorum

brutusettu's picture

[url=]According to sources from TNR, back in Rick's college days, he wasn't so worried about policies and what was best, but what polices would be more popular, etc[/url]


And this tidbit from about 30 year old memories. [quote]“Rick asked me, would he do better as a Republican or a Democrat? I said Republican, given that back then, your ambitious and bright students were not Republicans.” O’Connor added that he does not believe Santorum would be a liberal Democrat today if he had responded differently; it was already clear that he at least leaned right. When I asked why he thought Santorum had bothered to ask the question in that case, O’Connor said he didn’t know. “I guess you’d have to ask him,” he replied. (The Santorum campaign did not respond when I contacted them about this article.)[/quote]

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

I wouldn't be too relieved

HankP's picture

Super Tuesday looks like a hot three way mess.

I blame it all on the Internet

Santorum comes from behind in Alabama 3 way


No, really;

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias



"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

The PETA pet killers

Bird Dog's picture

The excuse that those animals are "society's rejects" is lame. There are shelters that have superior approaches and they work quite well. All it takes is a little effort and semi-competent management.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Muslim neighborhood watch

Bird Dog's picture

Still in effect. They told me if I voted for McCain, the feds would sponsor the surveillance of Muslim locales, and they were right!

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

So are we in agreement here, BD?

Jay C's picture

I read your link to the HIDTA/NYPD grant-money article (and noticed, FWIW, that it was not from a New York paper), and was quite ticked off. Do you think that domestic spying on American Muslims is a productive use of taxpayer money? Or is it just the scale of the effort?


I know my opinion on this program (i.e., it sucks, and should be scaled back considerably) - are we in agreement?

Actually, yes

Bird Dog's picture

Seems like there should be some probable cause for surveillance instead of this generalized "let's watch this mosque or coffee house and take down some license plate numbers" approach.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Quite right....

Jay C's picture

... unfortunately, there is a non-trivial segment of the law-enforcement community (to say nothing of the "public" in general) who would wholeheartedly agree that "Breathing While Muslim" is probable cause for surveillance in and of itself.

Rock Lobster

brutusettu's picture


[quote]"Allen West from south Florida, a Republican, said he was outraged this week because it cost him $70 to fill his car," (George) Will pointed out. "He drives a Hummer (H3). Newt Gingrich said the American people have a right to demand $2.50 gas. They have a right to demand to lobsters grow on trees. I mean, this is economic nonsense."[/quote]

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Santorum's bold economic theory


Stressing the importance for the country to provide cheap energy to its citizens, Santorum blamed the recession not on sub-prime mortgages or the derivatives market but on spiking fuel prices.


“We went into a recession in 2008. People forget why. They thought it was a housing bubble. The housing bubble was caused because of a dramatic spike in energy prices that caused the housing bubble to burst,” Santorum told the audience. “People had to pay so much money to air condition and heat their homes or pay for gasoline that they couldn’t pay their mortgage.”

Sometimes I have trouble wrapping my mind around this level of cynicism. Everyone knows the financial collapse was the government's fault.

The primary takes place within the bubble


not so the general.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

An 8 yr. old in the NY Times on classical music






I think this is the single most beautiful thing I've ever seen. If it's for real. Which I'm inclined to doubt.




It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

I had my doubts too


Even an 8 yr. old has to know that Paganini is nowhere near the 7th greatest composer. 

On second thought...

(#275446) doubts are banished:

It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.

Dear V. (also see T. Pynchon)..I tried Translating Your Sig Line


...but what I got is:


passed Katzir, bride summer; and we, not נושענו


Ahem...this cannot be correct; (or, maybe it is...!)


Got any help for me on this?



I miss the old sig line


I think it was something about how the world was bad, but at least I understood it. 

That's talented playing


I like how on the second piece he only puts up his right hand to start even though he's gonna need the left a second later. I'm guessing he'd never done that before and in general played these pieces at home perfectly. 


My brain was always doing the most maddening things when I performed in public as a child as well. Actually it still does.

It's in the NYT


not that everyfing in there is true, but this isn't an WMD report, it's the arts beat section:




And here I was just this weekend, telling my niece about my memories of Woodstock...

As far as pandering goes, not exactly a huge faux pas

brutusettu's picture

It gets slightly worse if his campaign knew it was false, but thought it preached well.

I like how he pointed out his neighborhood got overrun with [i]drugs[/i] and then started talking how why would 7 foot Chewbacca live on Endor with a bunch of 3 foot Ewoks.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

I agree.


As I said, truthiness is popular on the right. Though I don't believe for a second that mitt is misremembering anything. He just lies a lot.



We Need to look even further forward, not back

brutusettu's picture

[url=]ESPN replaid[/url] [i]Catching Hell[/i], the story of how a bunch of Peaceful Moderate Chicagoans issued death threats to a man who was among a crowd of Cubs fans reaching for a foul ball.

If if this is what peaceful moderate Chicagoans do when their live action theater doesn't end the way they want it to, why don't we level the place before something serious happens that might really tick them off enough to step their game up and then bring their vitriolic murder lust over here?

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Let Me Know When It Gets To That Point

M Scott Eiland's picture

Given that Bartman yet walks this Earth, I'm thinking that putting them on a continuum with the Taliban/al-Queda is a tad premature.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It was teeny tiny bit of a hyperbole

brutusettu's picture

-[b]The guy was wearing a Cubs hat in Wrigley Field[/b], what would the crowd due to a guy in a Marlins hat?
-Those Chicagoans were issuing death threats due to live theater not going the way they wanted.
-Most people tend to put their religion as a little bit more important than their local live theater troupe.
-Bartman looked like a Cubs fan in Cubs territory. Not some outsider.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

(Perceived) Treason Is Usually Considered Worse

M Scott Eiland's picture

If an obvious Marlins fan had been going for a ball that Alou had a shot at, rough justice probably would have been done on the spot via a body check that might well have broken bones, and no jury in Illinois would have convicted for it.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Santorum's foolish and stupid comment

Bird Dog's picture

Having just read Kennedy's speech on religion, the only thing that makes me feel sick is that Santorum felt sick after reading Kennedy's speech. He already has a problem with conservative women in the primaries, and those problems with women will only worsen if he somehow gets nominated.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The Gospel According to St. Richard

Jay C's picture

So: 52 years after John Kennedy (successfully) put to rest one of the more enduring canards of American politics, i.e. that Catholic politicians were, or would be, the tools of the Vatican – Rick Santorum comes along to update the principle: by stating that not only should Catholic politicians be the tools of the Vatican, they basically have to be?


And this man is not only a serious Republican candidate for President - but an occasional front-runner?


To use a probably inapplicable cite: Oy vey!

The thing I find fascinating

HankP's picture

is that the more Santorum doubles down on Catholicism, the stronger his support from Protestants and specifically Evangelicals. That is not what I would have expected. My experience has been that the more the populist the form of Protestantism, the less comfortable they are with Catholicism. I say "damned Papists" as a joke, but I've met quite a few people who take it seriously.

I blame it all on the Internet

But Santorum doesn't talk about Catholicism all that much.


Yes, he's gone on record that Protestans are governed by Satan, or some such nonsense, but I haven't seen him mentioning Rome very often during the campaign. He does throw out lots of red meat to his social conservative followers, though, and they seem to be enthusiastic. Which cannot be said about any of Romney's supporters.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

"From the tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all of his


detestable enormities, good Lord deliver us."


--Thomas Cranmer's Great Litany.

While it's been fun watching the GOP primaries...


...and rooting for injuries, at this point I feel sorry for the GOP. They had a genuine, sane conservative (Jon Huntsman) who managed to garner absolutely no significant support, and have otherwise attracted the biggest collection of silver-plated fools, Taleban wanna-bes, grifters and loons ever seen in a "serious" political party.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

It's strange...


Something that stands out to me over the past 10 years is/was the near universal support for the US mission in Afghanistan versus what it is now.


I'm not sure I buy a war fatigue explanation, or really any offered explanations at this point.  I don't know why, but my brain keeps going back to "it's the leader stupid".  Things have certainly changed "on the ground" etc., but the resolve that I -thought- used to exist to accomplish the stated goals, is just gone.  It's weird.

Bush screwed the pooch


There's now a Democrat in the WH, liberals were never really enthused about a lengthy stay in country.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

"Look forward, not backward"


I think that's been Obama's biggest con:


Last week, Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle a civil complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, accusing the company and its CitiMortgage home-loan unit of defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. By itself, that wouldn’t be big news. The payment is small for a company with $1.9 trillion of assets. And the government has accused Citigroup of fraud many times before.

What makes this case different -- and so galling -- is that some of the alleged misconduct was ongoing as recently as last year, well after the company’s 2008 taxpayer bailouts. All this might have stayed under wraps, too, were it not for a CitiMortgage employee, Sherry Hunt, who filed a federal whistle- blower complaint against the company last year. Hunt was awarded $31.7 million, or 20 percent of the settlement proceeds agreed to last week, after the government intervened in her lawsuit and resolved the case.

The worst aspect of the bailout...


Was that while it kept the big players afloat and avoided the meltdown which would have truly cratered the economy, it didn't and couldn't resolve the underlying problem of 'too big too fail' nor restore value to all those toxic assets which are still out there. Still, I would have liked to see a few more people go to jail. But I guess prosecutions of individuals involved in bad behavior in the upper reaches of high finance rarely roll that way.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias