Archive for May 30th, 2008
And very easy to cook. They’re boneless in the sense that some watermelons are seedless: they have bones/seeds, but they’re so soft it makes no difference.
I washed them, pulled the heads off (which cleans them), shook them in a plastic bag with seasoned flour, sautéed them in olive oil (or butter), drained them on paper towels, squirted the juice of a lemon over them—man, they were tasty. I’ll get more tomorrow.
Matthew Blake in the Washington Independent points to an interesting story:
Tim Shorrock at Salon has a great piece of investigative reporting on, what he calls, “the intelligence industrial complex.” Shorrock chronicles how White House officials and contractors have benefited financially from the “war on terror,” while leaving open the question of how the arrangements have affected intelligence gathering.
About 70 percent of the $50 billion budget for America’s spy agencies goes to private contractors, often run by people that just left the Pentagon or intelligence community. Roger Creasey, the national security council’s deputy director under Bill Clinton, says that the connections made working for spy agencies is “liquid gold” in the private sector. Joan Dempsey, a former top intelligence official in both the Clinton and Bush administration, is now vice-president of Booz Allen, a company she likes to see as a “shadow intelligence community.”
Dick Armitage’s business practices are specifically targeted. While Deputy Secretary of State in Bush’s first term, Armitage had cultivated an image of an administration maverick critical of the Iraq War. Now Armitage splits time amongst being adviser for the McCain campaign, adviser to the Pentagon, and a stakeholder in several companies profiting off the war Armitage opposed.
Coverage of Iraq War contracting has been largely critical, citing waste, fraud, and abuse. Some suggest that the contractors are actually counterproductive to the military’s efforts. That conclusion is not in Shorrock’s Salon piece, which is excerpted from a book he just completed. It would be interesting to find out how making the spying trade a for-profit business has hurt or helped intelligence agencies.
Amazing story about renewable carbon-neutral gasoline by Jozef Winter at EcoGeek:
… Sapphire Energy, a California-based company, has been working away to create actual gasoline from a renewable, carbon neutral source: algae. While we’ve heard of many different processes for making fuels from algae, this one certainly tops the list. They’ve managed to produce 91-octane, ASTM certified gasoline, ready to be pumped into your car. They stress that it is not ethanol, and not biodiesel.
Move over Brent Crude, it’s Green Crude’s turn.
The company, they say, started with 3 friends discussing a very interesting question: “Why is the biofuel industry spending so much time and energy to manufacture ethanol — a fundamentally inferior fuel?” A very good question indeed, and one they sought to answer on their own terms. The friends – a bioengineer, a chemist, and a biologist – set out to recruit the best minds they could find to collaborate with them on the project, and the results are staggering. “The company has built a revolutionary platform using sunlight, CO2 and microorganisms such as algae” to produce the fuel, without the use of arable land, and while we haven’t yet seen any data, they claim it to be very water efficient.
They also announced that they raised $50 million from Arch Rock Ventures, Venrock, and the Wellcome Trust. It is evident that Sapphire will become a major player in the coming years for alternative fuel production, and one cannot help but be inspired with confidence when Arch Rock says: “We realized at that point we could change the world, so we sat them down and told them, ‘the checkbook is completely open; tell us what you need’.” Not a statement you hear everyday from a venture capital firm. …
… Greensulation is a renewable and biodegradeable insulation currently undergoing testing, and when it hits the market – potentially as soon as 2010 – it will be the first of its kind in the industry. The insulation is made mainly of rice hulls, mushroom roots and recycled paper, which are mixed together with water and hydrogen peroxide, placed in plastic containers, and put in a dark place where it can literally grow into shape. It is then baked to stop photosynthesis of mold and spores, and voila! – a rigid panel of insulation that can withstand heat up to 1,112 degrees Fahrenehit. The best part is it can be done cheaply since it utilizes agro-garbage and easily obtained ingredients, and contains no petroleum.
The product is proven to be fire retardant – far more so than common pink insulation products – but is still under testing to make sure it can resist mold growth and conforms to strict building codes. But building companies all over the world are already contacting the inventors at Ecovative wanting to know more about the innovation. …