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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

Going solid-state could make batteries safer and longer-lasting

New research paves the way for rechargeable batteries with almost indefinite lifetimes, researchers say

Illustrations show the crystal structure of a superionic conductor. The backbone of the material is a body-centred cubic-like arrangement of sulphur anions. Lithium atoms are depicted in green, sulfur atoms in yellow, PS4 tetrahedra in purple, and GeS4 tetrahedra in blue. Researchers have revealed the fundamental relationship between anion packing and ionic transport in fast lithium-conducting materials.
Image: Yan Wang

Now researchers at MIT and Samsung, and in California and Maryland, have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the electrolyte. The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety — while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space.

The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by MIT postdoc Yan Wang, visiting professor of materials science and engineering Gerbrand Ceder, and five others. They describe a new approach to the development of solid-state electrolytes that could simultaneously address the greatest challenges associated with improving lithium-ion batteries, the technology now used in everything from cellphones to electric cars.

The electrolyte in such batteries — typically a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging — has been responsible for the overheating and fires that, for example, resulted in a temporary grounding of all of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets, Ceder explains. Others have attempted to find a solid replacement for the liquid electrolyte, but this group is the first to show that this can be done in a formulation that fully meets the needs of battery applications.

Solid-state electrolytes could be “a real game-changer,” Ceder says, creating “almost a perfect battery, solving most of the remaining issues” in battery lifetime, safety, and cost.

... now, keep in mind this is cutting edge research and there is a lead time before a lab result makes it to a commercial reality - if it doesn't run into some prohibitive costs hurdles or technical problems in scaling this up from lab to industrial scale. But with these considerations in mind, this is indeed very interesting news on the research front.

Researcher uses vibrations to identify materials’ composition - it's better than tunneling electron


A researcher now at the University of Central Florida has developed a new method for identifying materials’ unique chemical “fingerprints” and mapping their chemical properties at a much higher spatial resolution than ever before.

It’s a discovery that could have promising implications for fields as varied as biofuel production, solar energy, opto-electronic devices, pharmaceuticals and medical research.


For more than two decades, scientists have used atomic force microscopy—a probe that acts like an ultra-sensitive needle on a record player—to determine the surface characteristics of samples at the microscopic scale. A “needle” that comes to an atoms-thin point traces a path over a sample, mapping the surface features at a sub-cellular level.


A team led by Tetard has come up with a hybrid form of that technology that produces a much clearer chemical image. As described Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, Hybrid Photonic-Nanomechanical Force Microscopy can discern a sample’s topographic characteristics together with the chemical properties at a much finer scale.

abstract: Opto-nanomechanical spectroscopic material characterization in Nature: Nanotechnology
The non-destructive, simultaneous chemical and physical characterization of materials at the nanoscale is an essential and highly sought-after capability. However, a combination of limitations imposed by Abbe diffraction, diffuse scattering, unknown subsurface, electromagnetic fluctuations and Brownian noise, for example, have made achieving this goal challenging. Here, we report a hybrid approach for nanoscale material characterization based on generalized nanomechanical force microscopy in conjunction with infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy. As an application, we tackle the outstanding problem of spatially and spectrally resolving plant cell walls. Nanoscale characterization of plant cell walls and the effect of complex phenotype treatments on biomass are challenging but necessary in the search for sustainable and renewable bioenergy. We present results that reveal both the morphological and compositional substructures of the cell walls. The measured biomolecular traits are in agreement with the lower-resolution chemical maps obtained with infrared and confocal Raman micro-spectroscopies of the same samples. These results should prove relevant in other fields such as cancer research, nanotoxicity, and energy storage and production, where morphological, chemical and subsurface studies of nanocomposites, nanoparticle uptake by cells and nanoscale quality control are in demand.

Figure 2: Experimental set-up of HPFM

Various photon sources (via the photoacoustic channel) and multiple waveform generators (via the PZT, lead zirconate titante) supply mechanical energy to the sample and the probe to generate a time (t) domain signal S(t) that can be detected by the position-sensitive detector (PSD) and analysed in the frequency (ω) domain. S(t) will carry the amplitude modulation of period T (frequency Ω) imposed by the external cavity (EC) QCL or the interferometric amplitude modulation imposed by the pulses (labelled I1, I2) from the broadband source through the ZnSe.


MIT scientists develop technique to boost yeast's ethanol production - by 80% (that's no typo, 80%)

Different environment helps yeast tolerate high levels of ethanol, making them more productive

Yeast are commonly used to transform corn and other plant materials into biofuels such as ethanol. However, large concentrations of ethanol can be toxic to yeast, which has limited the production capacity of many yeast strains used in industry.

“Toxicity is probably the single most important problem in cost-effective biofuels production,” says Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.

Now Stephanopoulos and colleagues at MIT and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have identified a new way to boost yeast tolerance to ethanol by simply altering the composition of the medium in which the yeast are grown. They report the findings, which they believe could have a significant impact on industrial biofuel production, in today’s issue of the journal Science.

Ethanol and other alcohols can disrupt yeast cell membranes, eventually killing the cells. The MIT team found that adding potassium and hydroxide ions to the medium in which yeast grow can help cells compensate for that membrane damage. By making these changes, the researchers were able to boost yeast’s ethanol production by about 80 percent. They also showed that this approach works with commercial yeast strains and other types of alcohols, including propanol and butanol, which are even more toxic to yeast.

link to Science article: Engineering alcohol tolerance in yeast

the frightening Doc on Antibiotic use in agriculture & the development of antibiotic resistant germs

.. if there is one thing you write/email your Congressman about it should be stopping the use of antibiotics in agriculture. It is leading to the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

This documentary describes the rise of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. These bacteria are not affected by the strongest antibiotics we have. IF we do not stop this use of antibiotics in agriculture we will one day experience a plague.. this is not alarmist talk. When antibiotics stop working the human race is in trouble. (on the other hand, we'll have a lot more room with several million - 10's of million? - people gone)

Transcript: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/health-science-technology/trouble-with-antibiotics/transcript-69/

video: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365345810/

Brooks parrots GOP Propaganda...Clinton's "untrustworthiness"... on PBS Newshour.. again..

Hurray for PBS newshour for providing David Brooks, GOP Propaganda disseminator a platform for more Goebbel-speak.

on Friday, July 24, broadcast where good ol' GOP Fraudster Brooks chants about Hilary's "Trust problem"...

"... it’s no question it’s a stain and the continued investigations are stains"

Continued McCarthyite campaign against HRC is a stain on Hillary Clinton???

.. and:
"it’s still a long-running stain that goes to a core concern people have about her, which is openness, transparency and trustworthiness."

... no possibility that the GOP has a trustworthiness problem with endless inquistions of HRC as exercisses in pure McCarthyism.... oh, but this McCarthyist campaign is not worthy of examination by the GOP friends in M$M.

Even the 7th GOP run inquisition on Benghazi concluded there were no nefarious activities on the part of the Obama administration (including the Sec or State) before or evil machinations after the Benghazi tragedy:


The CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a Republican-controlled House committee has found. Its report asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration officials.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the two-year investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.


The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.

and Public Policy Polling found that the Public trusts Hillary Clinton more than the GOP on Benghazi:

Voters trust Clinton over GOP on Benghazi

PPP's newest national poll finds that Republicans aren't getting much traction with their focus on Benghazi over the last week. Voters trust Hillary Clinton over Congressional Republicans on the issue of Benghazi by a 49/39 margin and Clinton's +8 net favorability rating at 52/44 is identical to what it was on our last national poll in late March. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans remain very unpopular with a 36/57 favorability rating.

Voters think Congress should be more focused on other major issues right now rather than Benghazi. By a 56/38 margin they say passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill is more important than continuing to focus on Benghazi, and by a 52/43 spread they think passing a bill requiring background checks for all gun sales should be a higher priority.

but this was in May 2013 before the ever solicitous of GOP approval - M$M kept repeating the GOP battle cry: "What did Hillary Clinton know/do/make-up about Benghazi/Benghazi emails" over and over again.

Joe McCarthy and Josef Goebbels would be ever so proud and pleased with the GOP and their friends in the M$M.

Who Pays (the taxes) - a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy


Released January 14th, 2015

Who Pays?, A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All Fifty States (the fifth edition of the report), assesses the fairness of state and local tax systems by measuring the state and local taxes that will be paid in 2015 by different income groups as a share of their incomes. The report examines every state and the District of Columbia. It discusses important features of each state’s tax system and includes detailed state-by-state profiles that provide essential baseline data to help lawmakers understand the effect tax reform proposals will have on constituents at all income levels.

(links on the page: )

Executive Summary

Full Report

Press Release (PDF)

there is an interactive map on this page which shows the rate of the state and local taxes as a percent of family income paid by each quintile and breaks the top quintile into "next 15" percentiles, the next 4 percentiles and the top 1 percentile.

It shows when you take into account the local and state taxes along with federal income taxes - our system of taxation is regressive.

Myths And Facts About The Renewable Fuel Standard and Ethanol fuel - MediaMatters

.. here is thorough debunking of the popular myths and urban legends {usually promulgated by the Oil industry minions paid and unpaid (read: uninformed would-be environmentalists)} about ethanol from the people at Media Matters. Too bad this will probably make zero difference despite the facts enumerated - to the those who have been thoroughly duped by the Oil INdustry propagandists. LOL!
 ... oh, not so funny....                                                                      

The article debunks four well known myths about Ethanol:

Ethanol Mandate Increases Food Prices
Ethanol (E15) will destroy your cars engine
Renewable fuels are bad for the environment
Renewable fuel industry receives a disproportionate share of Government subsidies

this excerpt only includes a fraction of the article (note the excerpts in the article are from Government reports and are not subject to copyright protection provisions). the article really should be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated (well, unless of course you are an Oil Industry troll or sucker... in which case you would not appreciate this article even more if you read the whole thing!).


MYTH: Renewable Fuel Standards Raise Food Prices

FACT: Ethanol Production Does Not Divert Food Or Raise Prices

CBO Report: RFS Will Not Significantly Alter Food Prices. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed how the RFS will impact the economy beyond 2014 and determined that it will have no significant impact on food prices. The CBO also stated that if the standards were increased to meet the initially proposed requirements by 2017, it would result in increased spending on food by just one-quarter of 1 percent:

Food Prices Would Be Similar Whether the RFS Was Continued or Repealed

Roughly 40 percent of the U.S. corn supply is used to make ethanol. To the extent that the Renewable Fuel Standard increases the demand for corn ethanol, it will raise corn prices and put upward pressure on the prices of foods that are made with corn -- ranging from corn-syrup sweeteners to meat, poultry, and dairy products. CBO expects that roughly the same amount of corn ethanol would be used in 2017 if fuel suppliers had to meet requirements equal to EPA's proposed 2014 volumes or if lawmakers repealed the RFS, because suppliers would probably find it cost-effective to use a roughly 10 percent blend of corn ethanol in gasoline in 2017 even in the absence of the RFS. Therefore, food prices would also be about the same under the 2014 volumes scenario and the repeal scenario.

By contrast, corn ethanol use in 2017 would be about 15 percent (or 2 billion gallons) higher under the EISA volumes scenario. CBO estimates that the resulting increase in the demand for corn would raise the average price of corn by about 6 percent. However, because corn and food made with corn account for only a small fraction of total U.S. spending on food, that total spending would increase by about one-quarter of one percent. 6/26/14>


MYTH: Ethanol Will Harm Your Vehicle


FACT: Rigorous Studies Show That Ethanol Does Not Harm Engines

DOE: Industry-Funded Study Claiming Ethanol Hurts Engines Is "Significantly Flawed." Patrick B. Davis, the manager of the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program, published an article critiquing the CRC study that found E15 and E20 (a gasoline blend with 20 percent ethanol) hurt auto engines. The DOE concluded that the study was "significantly flawed" because it did not establish a proper control group and that it cherry-picked vehicles "already known to have durability issues" (emphasis original):

The CRC failed to establish a proper control group, a standard component of scientific, data-driven testing and a necessity to determine statistical significance for any results.

◾ Instead, only three out of the eight engines were tested with straight gasoline containing no ethanol (E0), and one of those three failed the CRC's test.
◾ No engines were tested with E10 fuel, the de facto standard gasoline for all grades, which represents more than 90 percent of gasoline available in the U.S. market. Even though E10 fuel has been in the market for over 30 years and is used in all current conventional gasoline vehicles and small non-road engines, it was not part of the CRC test program.

◾ Perhaps most surprisingly, the CRC decided to select several engines already known to have durability issues, including one that was subject to a recall involving valve problems when running on E0 gasoline and E10. It is no surprise that an engine having problems with traditional fuels might also "fail" with E15 or E20 ethanol-blended fuels -- especially using a failure criterion chosen to demonstrate sensitivity to ethanol and operated on a cycle designed to stress the valves. 5/16/12>

DOE's More Rigorous Study Found No "Unusual Wear" From E15 On Current Systems. The DOE studied 86 vehicles -- compared to the CRC's analysis of eight engines -- and "did not uncover unusual wear that would be expected to impact performance." From Davis' article:

Prior to the CRC's findings, the Energy Department conducted its own rigorous, thorough and peer-reviewed study of the impact of E15 fuel on current, conventional vehicle catalyst systems. The Energy Department study included an inspection of critical engine components, such as valves, and did not uncover unusual wear that would be expected to impact performance. Rather than using an aggressive test cycle intended to severely-stress valves, the Energy Department program was run using a cycle more closely resembling normal driving. The Energy Department testing program was run on standard gasoline, E10, E15, and E20. The Energy Department test program was comprised of 86 vehicles operated up to 120,000 miles each using an industry-standard EPA-defined test cycle (called the Standard Road Cycle). The resulting Energy Department data showed no statistically significant loss of vehicle performance (emissions, fuel economy, and maintenance issues) attributable to the use of E15 fuel compared to straight gasoline. The Energy Department test program also showed that 10% engine leakdown is not a reliable indicator of vehicle performance. In the Energy Department program, there were vehicles found to exceed 10% leakdown for all fuels, including vehicles running on E0 and E10. There was no correlation between fuel type and leakdown, and high leakdown measurements did not correlate to degradation in engine or emissions performance.


study: gasoline without ethanol increases wear & tear on engines - aromatics are the problem

“In ... Wichita , the average E0 has 46% more benzene and toluene by volume than the same 87 octane blend with ethanol."


The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) has released a study that finds ethanol free gasoline blends actually increase the wear and tear on engines including hoses, seals and fuel tanks. In other words, the data supports ethanol blends lead to cleaner engines. The findings were presented at the semi-annual meeting of ASTM by Steve Vander Griend, technical director for UAI who also works for ICM.

The report demonstrated that high aromatic content of gasoline, including toxic aromatics like benzene and toluene, negatively impact engine parts. Vander Griend explained in his presentation that the toxic aromatics create a significant increase in the escape of harmful emissions that can have a devastating impact on public health as these are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency has known and suspected carcinogens.

“What we are seeing is that benzene and toluene are increasing permeation, which means increasing the amount of fuel vapors that seep from a vehicle. For anyone who has a garage at home and smells gasoline, vapors are escaping through the vehicles fuel system or small engine gas tank,” said Vander Griend.

Also during his presentation Vander Griend explained that extensive testing was conducted on fuel lines, gas containers, and plastic components. The materials were each soaked in straight gasoline (E0) and a 10 percent ethanol blend (E10) for extended periods of time. In every case, said Vander Griend, the ethanol free gasoline increased the damage to fuel lines, gas containers, and plastic components, while the materials soaked in E10 were impacted less.

the increasing rate of thawing of the permafrost a huge unknown - how much will it accelerate GW?

(emphases my own)

Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons). That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface.

But, as scientists are learning, permafrost - and its stored carbon - may not be as permanent as its name implies. And that has them concerned.

"Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years," Miller said. "As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming."

Current climate models do not adequately account for the impact of climate change on permafrost and how its degradation may affect regional and global climate. Scientists want to know how much permafrost carbon may be vulnerable to release as Earth's climate warms, and how fast it may be released.

research published in Nature, April 15, 2015 points out that as microbes break down the organic material in thawed permafrost they generate more heat and will speed up the process of melting more permafrost - with greater release of carbon dioxide and methane.


Decomposition of organic carbon from thawing permafrost soils and the resulting release of carbon to the atmosphere are considered to represent a potentially critical global-scale feedback on climate change1, 2. The accompanying heat production from microbial metabolism of organic material has been recognized as a potential positive-feedback mechanism that would enhance permafrost thawing and the release of carbon3, 4. This internal heat production is poorly understood, however, and the strength of this effect remains unclear3. Here, we have quantified the variability of heat production in contrasting organic permafrost soils across Greenland and tested the hypothesis that these soils produce enough heat to reach a tipping point after which internal heat production can accelerate the decomposition processes. Results show that the impact of climate changes on natural organic soils can be accelerated by microbial heat production with crucial implications for the amounts of carbon being decomposed. The same is shown to be true for organic middens5 with the risk of losing unique evidence of early human presence in the Arctic.

Here's the whole paper: http://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2590.epdf?referrer_access_token=aZJygArBfYYSiUzB60TqbNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0M-PY6I018KtzmgQoAY5EQbmH76TfMseb9NFOSHHqdzKJm_9NtSZ_chqLlF3XZh5tJmNTjj6z22l6mKbdk6TcbKG2bVCK8Mh6MSBH88MUG6-GF-t4HNRT-0fhBSSSyU5-NFba_qY5Je4QkMRiGCevx5_3nHpHSSE9FoPj6-fHdHse-1sAUlSHT1-CMf97IVH-BIUa1s4O5tJ61MxjPt1E4r&tracking_referrer=grist.org

GW is accelerating. I haven't been able to find an estimate for the GHG production for the permafrost and a prediction of how fast it is growing (they may not have enough data to make what scientists consider a reliable estimate yet). But it is definitely accelerating. At some point in the future, if efforts at combating GW continue at the current pace, the World-wide annual release of CO2 and methane will be greater than what we will be able to reduce GHG production per year. It could get to the point that even if we could cut GHG emissions to zero, the planet will continue to warm on its own. At that point, you could say we will have reached the point of no return. And that is why we don't have the luxury of taking 20 to 30 years to achieve modest reductions in GHG emissions. With accelerating production of GHG emissions, a given amount of GHG reductions achieved sooner will have a greater impact than that same amount of GHG reductions achieved later.

After Forming Clinton Cash "Exclusives," NY Times, Washington Post Fail To Report On Book's Errors

After Forming Clinton Cash "Exclusives," NY Times, Washington Post Fail To Report On Book's Errors

Ever since Peter Schweizer's new attack book Clinton Cash was touted as the must-read tome of the campaign season, a growing number of media organizations, including Politico, BuzzFeed, ABC News, FactCheck.org, and Time, have detailed factual shortcomings in the book. (Media Matters has, too.) Noticeably absent from that fact-checking procession has been The New York Times and the Washington Post, the two newspapers that entered into exclusive editorial agreements with Clinton Cash's publisher.

The Times' and Post's seeming lack of interest in detailing the book's long list of misstatements certainly raises questions about whether the papers' exclusive pacts made the dailies reluctant to highlight Clinton Cash's obvious shortcomings.

After all, if those other media organizations can find the Clinton Cash errors, why can't the Times and the Post? And even if Times and Post reporters can't spot the misinformation, why aren't they at least writing about the key revelations that others are uncovering? Recall that it was the Times that trumpeted Clinton Cash as the "the most anticipated and feared book" of the campaign season. If it's so important, why isn't the Times documenting the crucial errors found between the Clinton Cash covers?

By entering into exclusive agreements, both the Times and the Post used Clinton Cash as the basis for larger investigative articles that raised questions about the Clintons' finances.
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