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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 4,121

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

company that raised drug price from $13.50 to $750; CEO was formerly a HEDGE FUND MANAGER!

Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight

Former Hedge Fund Manager Buys Rights To Drug For Pregnant Women, Increases Price 5500 Percent
A decades-old drug that’s used to treat a common parasite has jumped in price by more than $700, after a pharmaceutical company purchased it and raised the price tag practically overnight — triggering protests from members of the medical community, who say that the treatment may now be out of reach even for patients with insurance coverage.

Daraprim helps treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite that mainly affects pregnant women and other people with compromised immune systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, toxoplasmosis is “a leading cause of death attributed to foodborne illness in the United States,” though it’s typically not dangerous for healthy people.

A start-up company named Turing Pharmaceuticals bought Derapim last month and now has exclusive rights to market the name brand drug, which has been on the market since 1953. Turing, which is run by a former hedge fund manager named Martin Shkreli, quickly upped the drug’s price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.

CBS' Dickerson asks HRC: "Is this the 'real' Hillary Clinton?".. Is Dickerson a real journalist, or

.. just a boot-licking campaign errand boy for the GOP? Did Dickerson ever ask, over the last several years, any of the GOP Benghazi Inquisitioners - of any of the 7 investigations of Benghazi - did he ever ask any of these McCarthyites:

"Is this a 'REAL' investigation seeking to find the truth about what happened in Benghazi, or is it just a McCarhtyist hounding of Hillary Clinton?"

.. Come-on Dickerson, tell us how much you enjoy being on your knees, grovelling before the GOP. Here's a question for a real journalist, not you Dickerson: "What would the GOP do for a campaign if it wasn't for McCarthyism?"

McCarthyist Witch hunt
There have already been seven investigations, 13 hearings, 50 briefings, and 25,000 pages of documents have been released. But that won't stop Republicans from re-re-re investigating Benghazi as a part of a crass partisan ploy to turn out the far-right base in November.

Face the Nation interview of Hillary Clinton: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/full-interview-hillary-clinton-september-20/

UN Data Shows That Ethanol is Not Causing Food Price Rises - on no, what to do with the superstition

.. that ethanol increases food prices (even though it decreases Oil prices by adding to the light transportation sector fuel supply!)

UN Data Shows That Ethanol is Not Causing Food Price Rises
(emphases my own)

TORONTO — The UN FAO has released data showing that global food prices have experienced the steepest monthly drop since 2008, casting doubt upon concerns about the impact of ethanol production in food price increases. The recent decline in food prices has coincided with a period of record ethanol production expansion, reaching a high of 94 billion litres in 2014 from 83.5 billion litres in 2012, a 10% increase over this period. This contrast clearly demonstrates that increased ethanol production has not driven up food prices.

The UN FAO Food Price Index averaged 155.7 points in August, down 5.2% from July, representing the steepest monthly drop since December 2008 with virtually all major food commodities registering marked dips. This drop coincides with a fall in crude oil prices in July of 19%, closing at $48.25USD per barrel on July 31.

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) has for several years argued that the price of oil and energy inputs are the single most influential drivers of food and commodity prices. A number of international institutions including the World Bank, International Energy Agency (IEA) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) have also recognised the strong relationship between oil prices and food prices.

A 2013 World Bank publication, Long-Term Drivers of Food Prices, concluded that almost two thirds of food price increases are caused by rising oil prices. The report states that between 1997-2012 the price of crude oil caused maize and wheat prices to increase by 52 percent and 64 percent, respectively. The report also found that biofuels had a negligible impact on food prices during this period.

Why is the media more interested in Hillary's email than in Jeb's profoundly dishonest tax pitch?


The formative experience of my political life was the 2000 presidential campaign, in which the media mercilessly persecuted Al Gore over a series of trivial exaggerations and now-forgotten pseudo-scandals while giving George W. Bush a pass on the fact that the central premises of his economic agenda were lies.

People too young to remember the campaign may wonder how Bush persuaded the country that budget-busting tax cuts for the richest Americans were the prescription the country needed. The answer is that he simply misdescribed his plan. In speeches, in televised debates, and in advertisements he represented his plan as consistent with a continued budget surplus and as primarily benefiting middle-class taxpayers.

Bush won the election and enacted hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts. Surpluses turned into deficits, and the promised economic boom never materialized.

None of this was surprising or unpredictable to anyone who cared to dig into the details. The problem was political reporters had found those details much less interesting than snarking about Al Gore's wooden speaking style and complaining that his "demeanor" was disrespectful during a debate exchange in which Bush repeatedly attacked Gore with bogus math.

High-paying jobs outpacing others in recovery - contrary to the popular lament


A new study concludes that high-paying jobs have grown the fastest in the economic recovery, casting doubt on the widespread lament that low-wage jobs have dominated payroll growth since 2010.

The report, by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, says its findings are more accurate than prior analyses that cite a prevalence of low-paid jobs because it evaluated occupations rather than industries.

Based on that measure, nearly 3 million, or 44%, of the jobs added from 2010 to 2014 were high-paying positions with salaries above $53,000. Only 1.9 million, or 29%, of the newly formed jobs were middle-wage ($32,000 to $53,000) and 1.8 million, or 27%, were low-wage (less than $32,000).

"We're not just creating lousy jobs," says Anthony Carnevale, head of the Georgetown center and co-author of the report. "It's more good jobs than bad jobs."

NOTE: nowhere in this post will you find the words "we're in Heaven". That lack notwithstanding, this is good news.

The Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing next to nothing for Syria’s refugees


The world has been transfixed in recent weeks by the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe, an influx of migrants unprecedented since World War II. Their plight was chillingly highlighted on Wednesday in the image of a drowned Syrian toddler, his lifeless body lying alone on a Turkish beach.

A fair amount of attention has fallen on the failure of many Western governments to adequately address the burden on Syria's neighboring countries, which are struggling to host the brunt of the roughly 4 million Syrians forced out of the country by its civil war.

Some European countries have been criticized for offering sanctuary only to a small number of refugees, or for discriminating between Muslims and Christians. There's also been a good deal of continental hand-wringing over the general dysfunction of Europe's systems for migration and asylum.

Less ire, though, has been directed at another set of stakeholders who almost certainly should be doing more: Saudi Arabia and the wealthy Arab states along the Persian Gulf.

U.S. banks moved billions in trades beyond CFTC's reach - Reuters


Aug 21 (Reuters) - This spring, traders and analysts working deep in the global swaps markets began picking up peculiar readings: Hundreds of billions of dollars of trades by U.S. banks had seemingly vanished.

"We saw strange things in the data," said Chris Barnes, a former swaps trader now with ClarusFT, a London-based data firm.

The vanishing of the trades was little noted outside a circle of specialists. But the implications were big.

The missing transactions reflected an effort by some of the largest U.S. banks - including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley - to get around new regulations on derivatives enacted in the wake of the financial crisis, say current and former financial regulators.

When Millions Of Lost Bush White House Emails (From Private Accounts) Triggered A Media Shrug

This is good.....and the Bush administration admitted to 22 staffers using private email accounts, under the Republican National Committee's account, maintained on the servers of private companies (e.g. Google) hosting emails services. ---- on private companies servers ...no security doubts there! -- NO SECURITY.


Methanol at MIT: Industry Influence Charged in Project Cancellation

..This article confirms my suspicions that the Oil industry has been thwarting any efforts to demonstrate that ethanol or methanol is a viable fuel for cars and trucks (with some modifications of the engines). The Oil industry already knew this. The oil industry didn't want any other fuel entering the market that would reduce their revenues and weaken their ability to control pricing of gasoline. That's why it was imperative to keep the effectiveness of ethanol or methanol as a fuel for cars and light trucks from being demonstrated.


Cambridge, Massachusetts. Academic institutions in theory provide a testing ground for
ideas which is somewhat insulated from the push and pull of the world outside. But, as
they take advantage of the energy R & D dollars now so tantalizingly available from
government and industry, these institutions may risk compromising or appearing to
compromise their academic independence. The cancellation of a research project on
methanol (methyl alcohol) as a substitute motor fuel for gasoline at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s Energy Laboratory offers a case in point. In the opinion of the
scientist who initiated and led the project, it was killed because the laboratory yielded to
influence from the oil and automobile industry.

Authorities at MIT deny that outside influence had any bearing on the decision, and they
say that the project--which was to involve the testing of a blend of methanol and gasoline
in 200 faculty and student cars--was terminated because it was technically weak and
inappropriate for a university. Yet the attendant circumstances, which include the active
involvement of an Exxon employee as well as the fact that the laboratory had received $1
million in grants from Exxon and Ford, put the termination in an ambiguous, and perhaps
suspicious, light.

The project in question began some 18 months ago at a time of considerable debate over
the feasibility of using methanol in automobiles. Several academic researchers were
touting methanol’s potential, and among them Thomas B. Reed of MIT’s Lincoln
Laboratory was perhaps the most vocal. Spokesmen for several oil and automobile
companies, notably Exxon, Chevron, and General Motors, were contesting the feasibility
of methanol fuels.

Reed, a 49 year old chemist who holds 10 patents and whose specialty is crystal growth
and high temperature processes, had in his spare time experimented extensively with his
own automobiles and those of his colleagues. He found that adding about 10 percent
methanol to a tank of gasoline improved performance, gave better mileage, and reduced
pollutant emissions. Results similar to Reed’s have since been reported by West
Germany’s Volkswagen, ow generally acknowledged as the leader in methanol research.
In this country, however, oil and automobile companies have continued to report that
methanol-gasoline blends cause drivability problems1.


I think the Oil industry is particularly fearful of anybody taking actual cars tuned for alcohol blends and running them on ethanol or methanol. They know that engines can be set up to handle alcohol blended fuels and with proper equipment and settings, achieve comparable or better fuel efficiency with alcohol fuels as with gasoline. (Methanol has been used in racing for decades and there is no question it could be used (as well as ethanol) blended with gasoline to increase supply of fuel and lower GHG emissions (methanol can be made from agricultural or forestry waste and thus would be a renewable fuel). Research that confines itself to modeling and computations on paper is acceptable to the oil industry but NOT real world demonstrations of ethanol or methanol (blended with gasoline or 'strait') as a fuel in cars and trucks.

I only know of a few cases where straight forward tests were done of ethanol andor methanol and they showed that it's possible to achieve comparable fuel efficiency with ethanol or methanol as with gasoline.

THe Ethanol Vehicle Challenge 1998 - 14 teams of College Engineering students competed to optimize Chevrolet Malibus to run on ethanol. All the teams produced cars that achieved better fuel efficiency than the stock Malibu on gasoline in the city driving test. The three top teams achieving efficiency improvements of 13% to 15% overall. Note these improvements in fuel efficiency were achieved without downsizing. Alcohol fueled (incl blended with gas) engines can be supercharged or turbocharged producing much higher power outputs than gasoline so boosted and thus you can use a smaller engine and achieve greater fuel efficiency gains over low octane gasoline.

Fuel Freedom Foundations study involving ethanol and methanol (Is The Gasoline Gallon Equivalent An Accurate Measure Of Mileage For Ethanol And Methanol Fuel Blends?) --- FFF wanted to see if the Government's official method of estimating a cars fuel efficiency based on the Heat content of ethanol compared to gasoline's (this is called the Gasoline Gallon Equivalent). Several different Flex Fuel automobiles of years 2007 through 2012 were tested after their Engine Control Modules were 'reflashed' to alter ignition timing to take advantage of Ethanol's higher octane than gasoline. On average the cars on ethanol achieved 17% better fuel efficiency than the GGE. Some cars did better than others. A 2011 Chevrolet Impala 3.9 L V6 FFV running on E85 achieved 25.7% better fuel efficiency than the Government's GGE estimate. A 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt 2.2 L FFV on E85 achieved 37% better fuel efficiency than the Government's GGE estimate.

___ Note these improvements in fuel efficiency were achieved without downsizing. Alcohol fueled (incl blended with gas) engines can be supercharged or turbocharged producing much higher power outputs than gasoline so boosted and thus you can use a smaller engine and achieve greater fuel efficiency gains over low octane gasoline.

I guess the oil industry couldn't stop ALL research into alcohol's advantages as a fuel. Three MIT scientists have designed an Ethanol Boosted Highly turbo-charged engine which achieves 30% better fuel efficiency than a comparable powered ICE using only 5% ethanol, directly injected, and 95% gasoline (the gasoline can be blended gasoline and ethanol). The engines superior power output enables considerable downsizing which contributes to the fuel efficiency gain.

By the time these scientists did their research the Oil industry's disinformation campaign on ethanol had been so successful, the Oil industry was no doubt confident that nobody would listen to them anyway. So Big Oil let them have their little old revolutionary engine. They knew virtually nobody would listen to them as they 'knew' that ethanol was the molecule from Hell by that time.

California's Methanol Fuel Experience
The State of California has had an experimental methanol program that ran for 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s. From all we have learned thus far, it makes you think California is a separate country. The assessment of both state officials and of Ford motor company was that is was successful. This was in an age when vehicle on-board computers where primitive, and fuel injection was just a feature of the most advanced cars. Still all issues where successfully accommodated.


In 1981, Ford delivered 40 dedicated methanol fueled Escorts to Los Angeles (LA) County. Four refueling stations were installed throughout the county, including two in underground garages. The experience gained with these initial refueling stations added considerably to the knowledge base required for methanol-cornpatible infrastructure, as well as identifying the ventilation requirements for underground installations. The 200-mile driving range of the vehicle also made it clear that four stations were inadequate to cover the territorial driving requirements of LA County. But the drivers of the vehicles loved the performance, offering 20 per cent more power than their gasoline-powered cousins and a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Combining renewable methanol with ethanol and blending these with gasoline would enable us to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks faster than any other approach we have - you can replace the fuel cars burn faster than you can the cars that burn it. But, we can't have the molecule from hell cutting into Oil Industry sales and profits, now can we?

I'd laugh if the consequences of this ignorance weren't so disastrous....

Turning CO2 emissions into plastic with algae? It may not be as crazy as it sounds


Jianping Yu, a research scientist with NREL's Photobiology Group, is leading a team of researchers who are working with these organisms. In his lab, they have been able to make ethylene directly from genetically modified algae.

The researchers were able to accomplish this by introducing a gene that coded for an ethylene-producing enzyme -- effectively altering the cyanobacteria's metabolism. This allows the organisms to convert some of the carbon dioxide normally used to make sugars and starches during photosynthesis into ethylene. Because ethylene is a gas, it can easily be collected.

Making ethylene doesn't require many inputs, either. The basic requirements for cyanobacteria are water, some minerals and light, and a carbon source. In a commercial setting, CO2 could come from a point source like a power plant, Yu said.

If this alternative production method becomes efficient enough, it could potentially replace steam cracking, the energy-intensive method currently used to break apart petrochemicals into ethylene and other compounds. Because the algae take in three times the CO2 to produce a single ton of ethylene, the process acts as a carbon sink. That would be a significant improvement over steam cracking, which generates between 1 ½ and 3 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of ethylene, according to the researchers' own analysis. The captured ethylene gas can then be transformed for use in a wide range of fuels and products.
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