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Thursday, October 7, 2010

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GRAPHENE, SHARK FIN, WINDPOWER, DEMOCRACY AND THE GASOLINE TAX

It took me just about the same time (11 hours) to ride four trains from Sapporo to the Tokyo Westin than to come from Honolulu to this hotel.  My training portion is just about over, but I have 18 more planes to catch.

Two final views of Sapporo.  Above, an Aflac office.  That duck commercial!  Amazingly enough, Aflac is the largest insurer in Japan.  Below, a flower from the Hokkaido University Botanic Garden.


More specific to my graphene Nobel prize blog yesterday, plain Scotch tape was used to isolate the material, something Geim and Novoselov reported just six years ago.  One atomic layer of graphene is said to be the strongest material known.  Look for super solar cells, laser fusion, next generation hydrogen aircraft (maybe a 500 MPH dirigible) and wall-sized 3D television in a decade or so, but probably longer.

A decent bowl of shark fin soup in Hong Kong costs $100/bowl.  Seventy three million sharks are annually killed just for this dish.  Only the fin is generally kept, the body is tossed back into the sea.  In comparison, over the past 339 years, sharks have killed 49 Americans (only one in 2008).  Hawaii is the only state to ban this commodity.

ABC News not too long ago reported that windpower was the fastest growing energy resource.  Nope, coal still dominates.  While last year 37,5000 megawatts (the equivalent of 30 new nuclear powerplants) of wind energy systems were added, the American Wind Energy Association predicts that in the U.S., installations this year will be HALF that of last year.  Europe will drop by 14%.  Why?  Click on that ECONOMIST article. China appears, though, to maintain a susainable momentum.  Something about a dictatorship works.  The same ECONOMIST issue laments that democracy stops anything getting done, especially in India.  Add the USA.

Are taxes too high for gasoline?  Mexico subsidizes gasoline and the U.S. is about the lowest at 39 cents/gallon.  Turkey is beyond $4/gallon and most of Europe is not far behind.  Every so often a brave politician suggests increasing this tax by a nickel or dime.  Almost never happens, although we really should increase by a buck a gallon, or two or more. The Hawaii State Legislature this year added a dollar a barrel tax for oil products.  Gasoline is personal.  Crude oil is not as inflammatory.  Yet, a dollar a barrrel is 2.4 cents/gallon!  Whoopie!

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The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 19 to 10,949, with world markets also mostly up.  Yes, gold set another record, up $11/toz to $1356.  That's an increase of about $200/toz since mid-summer.  Investors are shifting away from the stock market.  Not a good sign for the economy.  Crude oil is back down to $81/barrel.  In July of 2008 oil jumped to $147/barrel, but by the end of the year, it crashed to just above $30/bbl.  This metastability ruins long-term renewable energy financing.  

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In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Otto at 60 MPH is expected to soon attain hurricane strength...but is moving EAST, that is, away from the U.S.!  Hmmm.

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I just noticed that the original Flag Counter is working again, so my 154th country is:


THE DOMINICAN POPULATION: 9,650,054


«  Previous Country | Next Country  »   Back to Top Countries
 Background
Explored and claimed by Christopher COLUMBUS on his first voyage in 1492, the island of Hispaniola became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821 but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844. In 1861, the Dominicans voluntarily returned to the Spanish Empire, but two years later they launched a war that restored independence in 1865. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule followed, capped by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas TRUJILLO from 1930-61. Juan BOSCH was elected president in 1962 but was deposed in a military coup in 1963. In 1965, the United States led an intervention in the midst of a civil war sparked by an uprising to restore BOSCH. In 1966, Joaquin BALAGUER defeated BOSCH in an election to become president. BALAGUER maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. Former President (1996-2000) Leonel FERNANDEZ Reyna won election to a second term in 2004 following a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term.






Map data ©2010 AND, MapLink, Tele Atlas - Terms of Use


Also interesting that over the past ten days, 66 countries have clicked on this blog site.  Also, I wonder why the daily numbers are similar, but not the same.  I'll keep both Flag Counters for a while.

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3 comments:

Angel said...

Hai, How Are You? I like your blogpost, will back for another update

Patrick Kenji Takahashi said...

Glad somebody reads my blog. Come back daily! By the way, I updated that October 7 version.

Aloha.

Dr.Tom said...

Pat is in China where he cannot blog. He asked me to post this for him.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-takahashi/three-steps-for-china-to-_b_757254.html