“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Michael Phelps and His Magic Bong Photo

Guaranteed to blow your mind and money.

The kid can swim , but is demonstrably a dumb shit, and hopefully not a business major. Here he is in his own words of course:

I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," Phelps said in the statement released by one of his agents. "I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."


  1. This is NOT a Negative. Swimmers are the most boring, least marketable people on earth. I heard he showed up with four or five young ho's. If true, he might be of value (marketing wise.)

  2. The day is rapidly approaching when this type of thing will not be deemed newsworthy.

    Afterall, look at our tax evading Masters and Rulers. And don't forget we've already seen a President philandering in the White House and a Congressman trolling in a public restroom.

    Our morals and ethics are going down the tubes so why should we be surprised when one of our 23 year-old idols is shown to be only human.

  3. If he was holding a beer or eating a bowl of cereal, we'd discuss his choice of brands. He'd be earning those endoorsement dollars, but taking a hit on the magic bong, oh, the faux outrage!

    Betcha he buys American, what more would you want him to do?

    Support Mendocino County growers, buy US, not American!

  4. Our current POTUS was a crack smoking, heroin smoking addict....

    Our previous POTUS a drunk

    The one before? Womanizer who didnt inhale..

    Why expect more from anyone that our POTUS?

    HOPE is alive in america!

    where else can an illegal alien crack smoking revolutionary moslem get to become white and president?


    REVA announces lithium-ion electric car and fast charge station

    Reva Electric Car Company (REVA), the market and technology-leader in the EV (electric vehicle) personal transport segment, announces the European launch of its lithium-ion (li-ion) battery powered EV the REVA L-ion.

    Based on the REVAi platform, the latest version of the world's best selling city electric car, the REVA L-ion is the result of more than two years of testing with a range of 120 km (75 miles) per charge and a maximum speed of 80 km (50 miles) per hour.

    REVA is also introducing a fast charge station capable of charging the REVA L-ion to 90% in one hour.

    REVA's proven EV platform now offers an increased range, faster acceleration, shorter charging time, less energy consumption, improved cold weather performance, maintenance-free battery operation and a longer operating life. REVA has also developed a new proprietary intelligent battery management system for the L-ion that tracks the performance of each cell for uninterrupted performance, which allows a three-year battery warranty to be provided to customers.

    Research conducted by Professor Julia King for 2008's King Review of low carbon cars concludes that 93% of car journeys are less than 40 kms (25 miles) and 97% are less than 80 kms (50 miles).

    REVA's own data, based on 55 million kms of driving habits by customers in 20 cities worldwide also reflects the nature of every day city driving and the number of short trips, hence REVA's decision to offer this combination of increased range and speed, which extends the REVA's usage to the suburbs and means that up to 95% of all car journeys can be completed without the requirement to recharge.

    The new REVA off-board fast charge station uses three-phase power. It is primarily aimed at organisations that require constant vehicle availability during the day and will be offered to purchase or lease. The REVA L-ion's normal full charging time is six hours using ordinary mains electricity, compared to eight hours for the REVAi with lead acid batteries.

    "With the REVAi and REVA L-ion, we are now able to offer a choice of performance options to suit commuter needs and preferences. The introduction of fast charge stations really opens up the market to reach new customers and increase the availability of EVs. Local authorities and businesses can now create the charging and parking infrastructure necessary to make zero-emission personal transport an everyday reality," said Chetan Maini, REVA's deputy chairman and chief technology officer.

    The REVA L-ion EV and fast charge stations will be available to pre-order from REVA distributors in Norway, UK, France, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Ireland from February 2009, with the first test drive vehicles and customer deliveries commencing May 2009. Customers will have the option of outright purchase or battery leasing, with prices to be announced by the end of January.

    REVA's European expansion, under the guidance of Keith Johnston, president of European operations, will continue throughout 2009, with new distributors being sought in all European countries.

    REVA is also developing upgrade kits that will enable existing REVAi owners with a lead acid power train to upgrade to the lithium-ion power train later in 2009.

  6. It's official! Fiat gets 35% stake in Chrysler for small cars

  7. That Headline should read:

    It's official! Chrysler is 35% brain dead!

    Instead of concentrating on electric plug-ins, Chrysler's executives are banking on another desperate play reliant on old fossil fuel technology.

  8. Perhaps the brand of watch he is wearing the picture will now give him an endorsement as well!

  9. Road Trip

    "We will not apologize for our way of life...."

    This unfortunate phrase from President Obama's otherwise sturdy inaugural address, echoed through my mind last week as I cruised the suburban outlands of Montgomery, Alabama. All the usual commercial furnishings of consumerist America hugged the flattish ochre and dusty-green landscape of played-out cotton fields where thirty feet of topsoil has washed away in the two hundred years since the mainly English settlers shoved out the native Alabamu, Coosa, and Tallapoosa. Along the low horizon, mall followed strip mall followed "lifestyle center," book-ending the "one house" failed subdivisions of otherwise empty unsold lots in a cavalcade of floundering enterprise. It seemed at times as if the terrain was a kind of sea-like expanse, and all the retail boxes ghost ships drifting to oblivion.
    They say that the banks have stopped calling in their loans on the commercial real estate, even though the owners of the malls and strip malls have arrived firmly in default. Calling in the loans would only pin another horrifying liability on the banks' balance sheets. So all parties join in a game of "pretend," that nothing has really happened to the fundamental equations of business life. Something similar goes on at the next level down, where the tenants of the malls and strip malls sink deeper into rent arrears every month, and the eviction process is simply postponed, while the stores themselves put off paying their vendors and suppliers – as the whole system, the whole way of life, enters upon a circle-jerk of mutual denial in a last desperate effort to forestall the mandates of reality .
    How long will these games go on? This is the primary question that haunts the republic as we wait for new TARPS, and "bad banks," economic stimulus packages, infrastructure renewal roll-outs, and other policy life-lines thrown out in guarded hopefulness to haul America out of a ditch.
    The center of Montgomery was instructive, too. Not unlike any other city in the USA (pop. about 200,000), the former main artery of downtown commerce – Dexter Avenue, rolling out like a red carpet below the state capitol hill, where Martin Luther King's early career kicked off in a modest red brick church, and where Rosa Parks famously refused to move to the back of her bus – this "main street" presented a sad sequence of empty shopfronts interrupted here and there by rather creepy amateur murals depicting the cruelties of slavery, as if a remonstrance to the politicos up the hill. Most of the buildings lining the avenue still stood burdened by the clownish facade re-doos and ghastly claddings of the 1950s, which had replaced the ordered classical-vernacular decorum of the original 19th century frontages. Once the malls had landed in the old cotton fields, and MLK moved on to Atlanta, Dexter Avenue was just left to rot in the memory trunk.
    Here and there around the rest of the downtown, other weird experiments in American post-war anti-urbanism presented themselves, most notably a "building" designed to look like a small-scaled Death Star, all black reflective glass, canted concrete and steel walls – which turned out to belong to Morris Dees' renowned Southern Poverty Law Center -- deployed directly across the street from the modest white clapboard-with-green-shutters house once occupied by Jefferson Davis after Richmond fell and the Confederate leadership skeedaddled further south. There were a few recently-built government towers that looked like Nascar trophies. But the rest of the downtown – the parts not dedicated to surface parking – was the ubiquitous array of muffler shops, or restaurants and churches that looked like muffler shops.
    With the city center thus nearly dead, and the asteroid belt of malls and strips on their knees financially, this emblematic sunbelt metro area finds itself in a pickle. Cotton being well-past decline, and having wrecked the soil, the "new" economy of recent decades dedicated itself to building car-dependent air-conditioned suburban sprawl – the perceived perfect antidote to a previous economic order based on serfdom, hook-worm, and inescapable heat. That now-not-so-new economy of sprawl, in turn, has come to a screeching halt, as a cruel destiny threw sand in the mechanisms of reliably cheap oil and revolving credit, and the gears seized up. A mood of ominous watching and waiting pervaded the city, but many of the movers-and-shakers had pinned their hopes on the chance that Mr. Obama's stimulus bill would allow them to commence building a new freeway to the ocean on the Florida panhandle.
    My journey continued on the Jesus-haunted blue highways, to that selfsame place, Walton County, Florida, where some of the most famous experiments in the New Urbanism were conducted beginning in the 1980s with the new town of Seaside. I had been there many times over the years, and I was called down to get a prize in the service of the movement, but it was a little disconcerting to see how the build-out had progressed.
    The Seaside experiment began very modestly as the idea for a bohemian village of architects and artists in what was then an almost empty quarter of piney woods owned by the St Joe timber company. Seaside was designed so beautifully that it attracted the attention of every thoracic surgeon and corporate lawyer between Nashville and New Orleans, and pretty soon Seaside became the Riviera of the sunbelt's economic elite – and came in for gales of criticism for becoming that. The newer houses and commercial structures grew ever grander, as a Boomer generation status competition ramped up into the new millennium. Several more, ever-grander New Urbanist towns sprouted along the adjacent beaches, some of the most recent composed of immense mansions embarrassing in their opulence. The outcome was a little scary, especially now that the fortunes behind many of these mansions may be threatened by the multiplying fiascos of finance and economy overspreading the nation like a vicious plague.
    The New Urbanists had not set out to build monuments to Yuppie-Boomer consumerism, but a peculiar destiny shoved them into that role for a while – even while they toiled elsewhere around the nation to reform town planning laws and generally provide an antidote to the fatal cultural cancer of sprawl, that is, of a settlement pattern guaranteed to comprehensively bankrupt our society. Anyway, the collapse of the housing bubble has affected the New Urbanists' business, too, and this may turn out to be a very good thing because they can put aside the distractions of building very grand places to sop up ill-gotten wealth and focus on the issues that Mr. Obama's people should have been paying attention to all along, namely, how are we going to reform the way we live in this country and what will be the physical manifestation of how we live in the decades to come.
    The New Urbanists have preached for years that conventional suburbia would fail America in the long run, and that we'd have to prepare for this failure by restoring traditional modes of occupying the landscape. So far, the Obama team has not been willing to identify the suburban system as the heart of our economic problem. They can't recognize it for what it truly is: a living arrangement with no future – and an economic, ecological, and spiritual disaster. It is, of course, the primary reason why we find ourselves in the deadly predicament of importing over two-thirds of the oil we use every day.
    But then, more than half the population lives the suburban way of life, with its deadly mortgage traps, its mandatory motoring, and its civic disengagements. Nobody in power dares tell the truth: that we can't live this way anymore.
    But there are scores of places like Montgomery, Alabama, and thousands of traditional main street small towns that are sitting out there waiting to be re-activated. We need to do this much more than we need to build new freeways to the beach. Suburbia is not going to be abandoned overnight (even if it fails logistically and economically !) but we have got to arrive at a consensus about rehabilitating our forsaken small cities and small towns. The New Urbanists have gathered, organized, and codified all the principle and methodology needed to carry out this campaign. This should be their moment. Mr. Obama and his team should get with the program.

  10. Bob, you might want to catch this. Kinda sounds like Kabbalah:


    Here is a quick quote from next week's Radio Ecoshock Show. The speaker is Martin Burger, CEO of Blue Energy, and a campaigner for tidal energy. We'll examine power from the tides, but Burger raises a deep and difficult point. Just how does a society transform itself? Can any amount of money from the Federal Government, or even mega-corporations, really change things? Or does it take a tidal wave of consciousness in humanity?

    Let's listen to Martin Burger for two minutes.

    "And this is a long talk, in of itself. And we are in the infancy of our consciousness evolution as individuals, but in this collective mind field.

    Our Western perspective has not, or has failed to integrate the quantum perspective, and field effect. There is a fundamental truth, in physics and in reality, to what Chief Seattle said, when he talked about the web of life, that how all the animal kingdom - the birds, the forests, the beasts, and all of us - are all connected at some dimensional root level.

    And out of that arises a signal that generates and manifests our shared experience called our future.

    If we haven't contemplated the possibility of a low-cost clean sustainable energy future, that signal is presently weak. And that signal is displaced and dominated by those with an agenda that serves a narrow element and segment, rather than the broader segment of society.

    So consciousness is really more important in creating this future, and in realizing the opportunities of significant efforts that have come long before this one [referring to tidal power]. But this one is still under the same limits of a feeble signal to the future.

    Meetings like this, your book, your effort, the New Energy Movement, creates that monkey [the "hundredth monkey"] that has to ride that what-could-be train. And every one of the efforts needs that hundredth monkey.

    So they [the public] will behave quantumly until that quantum mass is achieved in attention and consciousness. But then there's a tipping point where they can't be stopped.

    Money won't do it. Money will take - and you can put something into a technology, and have a great flurry go on, but if it's going to change the world it has to occur with consciousness, before the money will make it stick.

    So there are other technologies out there, raising more money. But when you look at it from a vision, versus a good idea, most of them are just good ideas. They're not going to change the future. They don't have a future."

    What is he talking about? Einstein conceived the field theory of physics around 1905. You could say that each of us is less a distinct body, and more a collection of atoms held together by a field. These fields interact, forming larger fields.

    Biologists such as Rupert Sheldrake opened the idea that animals really operate as large groups. You've seen large flocks of birds wheel in the sky as one, like schools of fish in the sea. Next week we'll hear about the hundredth monkey theory - that groups of animals reach a critical mass, where change occurs.

    99 monkeys may not bring alternative energy to our lives, but the hundredth adopter might be the tipping point where suddenly everyone realizes the route to sustainable power.

    Money can't do it. A change in mass consciousness needs to happen.

    We'll explore all that next week on Radio Ecoshock, along with Burger's inside look at the state of tidal power around the world. Yes we could power everything using the gravity of the moon and stars, as they pull the ocean surface.


  11. I always liked that 100th monkey effect idea, Mat. But it seems the story it's based on may not have really happened. What doesn't make it untrue, I quess.

    It implies a kind of spiritual warfare, I think. Presumably, if 100 monkeys can get together and drive electric scooters, and then all the monkeys do so, it might also be true that 100 monkeys can get together and drive 1960 Ford F-600 gas guzzlers, then all the other monkeys do so too.

    Likewise, if 54% if a nation's monkeys become convinced to vote for a zero....

    The idea becomes a little more scary thought of as spiritural warfare.

    Sheldrake books are said to be interesting, I've never read them.

    Pity the poor bong manufacturer(that's quite the bong)--if he had only his company logo on there, he'd have gotten a lot of free advertising.

    If you had to outlaw maryjane and hash, on the one hand, OR booze on the other---your only choice, one or the other---what would you do, and why.

    Compare and contrast.

  12. Spititual warfare seems to be what we do here.

    So far, we haven't gotten even 10 monkeys to agree on anything, much less 100, so we still be fighting.

    Wampum Day at the Casino. See ya a little later....

  13. Think of the weight of responsibility resting on the shoulders of that last, 100th monkey. For weal or woe, the behavior of the tribe is resting on one monkey's shoulders! Talk about your tipping points....

    Morphogenetic angst!

  14. So far, we haven't gotten even 10 monkeys to agree on anything, much less 100, so we still be fighting.

    That's not what's needed. What's needed is awareness. Once this awareness permeates our conscientiousness, it will also permeate our sub-conscientiousness. Once the thoughts are implanted there, the future will align itself all on its own.

  15. Bob, your arithmetics is all wrong. No doubt LT counts for 10 monkeys. Unfortunately, Ashley counts as minus 20 monkeys.

  16. Interesting:

    EEStor Gets Patent on Breakthough Mystery Device

    These guys are connected to Lockheed-Martin.

  17. Fuji Heavy and Toyota to Partner on EVs

    Here's an interesting comment that ties in with our conversation above:

    "What's interesting here is that we are now accustomed to these announcements from major manufacturers. A mere two years ago when the Tesla was still an infant and the Volt not yet announced - the prospects for a mass produced EV/PHEV was dim.

    What good progress has been made in a relatively short period of time."

  18. Global Wind Power Capacity Now 120.8 GW, 28.8% Growth in 2008

    by Michael Graham Richard, Gatineau, Canada on 02. 2.09

    Looking Back on 2008's Wind Power Boom
    According to the GWEC: "Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8% last year, even higher than the average over the past decade, to reach total global installations of more than 120.8 GW at the end of 2008. Over 27 GW of new wind power generation capacity came online in 2008, 36% more than in 2007." The U.S. has passed Germany and is now #1 in wind power installed capacity, but China is expanding very quickly...

    Chinese Wind Power Growing Exponentially
    In 2008, China has added 6.3 GW of wind capacity, bringing its total to 12.2 GW. It's the fourth year in a row that it doubles capacity. If it keeps going at that rate, it will pass the US (25.1 GW) and Germany (23,9 GW) to become #1 relatively quickly (though those are moving targets).

    Wind Power in the US and Europe
    "Europe and North America are running neck-to-neck, with about 8.9 GW each of new installed capacity in 2008, with Asia closely following with 8.6 GW." See this post for more.

    Big Wind, Big Money, Big Jobs
    The global wind market for wind turbine installations in 2008 was worth about 36.5bn EUR or 47.5bn US$. According to the GWEC, 400,000 people have jobs in that industry, and it projects over a million of jobs "in the near future".

    That's about 35,000 new jobs in the US last year, for a total of 85,000 jobs in the wind power sector in that country.

    What About the Future of Wind Power?
    But as Matt mentioned recently, the global economic recession isn't sparing wind power. The end of 2008 saw a slowdown, and financing new projects became difficult. Lower demand for energy because of reduced economic activity probably also makes new projects seem less urgent, though replacing dirty power plants with clean sources of power (wind, but also solar and others) should happen regardless.

    120GW. That's the equivalent of 120 nukes.

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