June 13, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 6:48 PM


The Other Solar Power: How Scientists Are Making Fuel From Sunlight and Air (Frank Swain, June 13, 2020, Discover magazine)

"We have developed a solar technology that is able to produce liquid fuels using just two ingredients: solar energy and ambient air," says Aldo Steinfeld, a renewable energy expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. "These hydrocarbon fuels release only as much carbon dioxide during combustion as was previously extracted from the air."

It may seem like alchemy, but the solar refinery Steinfeld has helped build in Móstoles, on the outskirts of Madrid, follows some straightforward chemistry. An array of mirrors called a heliostat tracks the sun, boosting the sunlight's intensity by a factor of 2,500 while reflecting it onto a 50-foot-high tower.

This dazzling beam of light heats a reactor with a core made of cerium oxide, an inexpensive compound often used to polish glass. At 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, oxygen is liberated from the cerium and removed, after which water and carbon dioxide captured from the air are injected into the reactor. As the reactor cools, the reduced cerium claws back oxygen molecules from the added material, leaving a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide called syngas. This is funneled into a second reactor, where the syngas is converted into kerosene molecules. In June 2019, the Móstoles refinery announced its first trickle of fuel.

Posted by orrinj at 6:45 PM

SUPER ON BRAND (profanity alert):

Far-Right Demonstrators Got Drunk and Attacked Police While 'Defending' a Statue in London (Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Jun 13 2020, vice News)

Hundreds of far-right demonstrators from across the country today travelled to Parliament Square in London to "defend" a statue of Winston Churchill, before attacking police and fighting among themselves. [...]

On a bright, sunny day, the atmosphere among demonstrators in Parliament Square was tense, fuelled by alcohol and drugs. Many of the mostly white, middle-aged men had bought large quantities of beer, wine and spirits to consume, and many were already inebriated by midday. Individuals were openly bumping keys of coke and taking laughing gas, exacerbating the aggression directed at many passers-by. Few were wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves or face masks.

Posted by orrinj at 6:43 PM


Tight polls put GOP on edge in Texas (JONATHAN EASLEY, 06/13/20, The Hill)

The president's margins in Texas will matter, and Republicans fear that a close race at the top of the ticket might wipe them out in down ballot races.

Five House Republicans from the Texas delegation are retiring at the end of the year and the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates three of those as either toss-ups or leaning Democratic.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is also up for reelection and will likely face the toughest fight of his career in 2020.

Biden's campaign says it intends to compete in Texas, where the state Democratic Party has become one of the largest in the nation. Texas's fast-changing demographics have hastened its move from solidly red state to purple battleground.

"It is a very serious moment for Republicans in Texas," said Bill Miller, a veteran Republican campaign operative in Austin. "Any Republican that doesn't take the moment seriously will be surprised in a very bad way in November. They have to be alert and engaged or they'll find themselves in trouble with a capital T."

A Quinnipiac University survey released last week found Trump leading Biden by 1 point in Texas. Trump leads by 2.2 points in the RealClearPolitics average.

Texas Republicans are primarily worried about their standing in the suburbs, where women and independents have steadily gravitated away from the GOP since Trump took office.

Republican support has eroded in the areas surrounding Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, four of the nation's largest and fastest growing metro areas. Democrats defeated longtime GOP incumbents in Houston and Dallas in 2018.

Posted by orrinj at 6:32 PM


Posted by orrinj at 4:35 PM


Fox News runs digitally altered images in coverage of Seattle's protests, Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (Jim Brunner, 6/12/20, Seattle Times)

Fox News published digitally altered and misleading photos on stories about Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in what photojournalism experts called a clear violation of ethical standards for news organizations.

The Right's ignorance is not just willful; it's also carefully cultivated.

Posted by orrinj at 4:20 PM


Joe Biden is winning female voters by a historic margin (Harry Enten, 6/13/20, CNN)

Biden is leading among female registered voters by 59% to 35%, a 25-point margin when the numbers aren't rounded. That's a significant increase from his 19-point advantage earlier this year and the 14-point lead Hillary Clinton had in the final 2016 preelection polls of registered voters. [...]

The only year that comes close to what we see in the polls right now is 1964. That year, Democrat Lyndon Johnson won nationally by 23 points overall, and Gallup had him taking the women's vote by 24 points. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:05 AM

Most Americans express support for the Black Lives Matter movement Roughly half of Americans say Trump has made race relations worse
Posted by orrinj at 6:43 AM


The Pulse of Jazz Grounded in Freedom Movements (DANIEL KING, 6/11/20, Mother Jones)

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When it's said that you can hear the history of freedom movements in John Coltrane's 1963 "Alabama," it's more than metaphor: Coltrane patterned his horn lines after Martin Luther King Jr.'s vocal inflections. He reworked King's speech after the church bombing by the Ku Klux Klan, which killed four Black girls, into the song. King's cadence is remade in Coltrane's rising saxophone solo, Elvin Jones' crashing cymbals and percussive shots, McCoy Tyner's rolling block chords, and Jimmy Garrison's low-register groundswell. This is music that's purposeful, principled, and timeless.

Posted by orrinj at 6:37 AM


Survivors of KKK's Ax Handle Attack Appalled at Trump Speech (Michael Daly,. 13, 2020, Daily Beast)

On the same day President Trump is scheduled to give his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination at the big arena in Jacksonville, Florida, another group will meet in a nearby park where Klansmen in Confederate uniforms handed out ax handles for a racist rampage exactly 60 years before.

The permit for the Aug. 27 gathering at Hemming Park was secured by one of that murderous white mob's targets on what became known as Ax Handle Saturday. Rodney Hurst was the 16-year-old president of the youth council of the NAACP back in 1960. He will be joined this year as in previous years by Alton Yates, who was then the group's 23-year-old vice president. 

"I got hit in the back of the head with an ax handle," Yates told The Daily Beast of that day six decades ago. "If you've ever seen stars before, it's unbelievable. It's something a young person never expects to have happen to them."

Yates survived, but three people are believed to have died as a result of the attack and as many as 100 were injured. Hurst says that an admitted FBI informant named Clarence Sears would tell him years later that the Klu Klux Klan had hoped to spark a race war in the city.

Posted by orrinj at 6:31 AM


The UK has gone 2 months without burning coal, the longest period since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution (Bill Bostock, 6/13/20, Business Insider)

The last time coal was burned at any of Britain's four coal-fired power stations was April 10, 2020, according to the National Grid, the utility company.

It marks the longest period without deriving energy from the fossil fuel since 1790, the start of the Industrial Revolution.