Archive for November 5th, 2003

Why CAN’T We Transmit Power Over the Air?


transmission of power has been a dream of mankind, at least since Nicolas
Tesla dreamt of it a century ago.

Well, it turned out to be a tougher nut to crack than the atom. However,
ingenious scientists have developed a work-around: convert the electricity
into light, and then back to electricity.

First, a laser converts electricity into photons of light and beams
it to the plane or other vehicle. Then photovoltaic (light-collecting)
cells on the receiving end convert the photons back into electricity.

Although photovoltaic cells can capture sunlight on their own and turn
it into electricity, they do not do so particularly efficiently, said
David Bushman, a NASA scientist. They use only thin slices of sunlight’s
wide spectrum, so they waste 80 percent or more of the energy that they

Laser light, however, shines in very specific frequencies, not broad
bands, and when tuned right can give cells efficient energy doses.

the New York Times

Celestial Solutions


Events in the Dowbrigade’s world are coming to a head. Creditors circling
like vultures, career options drying up, the mother lode of rich incoherent
foreigners petering out, suspicious strangers with inconspicuous earpieces
seemingly everywhere, just standing, watching….

It is becoming increasingly clear that but one path remains out of this
morass of miscalculation and damaged dreams.  Fortunately, it is
a path the Dowbrigade has been planning on following for years, a last-ditch
escape hatch, and one with an illustrious history in legend, folklore
and real-life history.  The Dowbrigade is going to found a new religion.

Putting aside the theological considerations for a moment, from a fiduciary
point of view it would be manna from heaven.  Besides the obvious
tax benefits, the potential revenue from digital dispensations, votive
candles, designer sacraments, subscription-only newsletters, on-line
fund raising campaigns, recycled publications, consecrated vestments, educational
retreats, cross-promotions, and tithing of the faithful but brain dead would choke a Croesus.

Of course, a successful religion has to offer something substantial
to its adherents. I mean besides inner peace and tax deductions.  Here
is where we get wicked ingenious.  Our new religion would celebrate
all the major American holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentines
Day, Super bowl Sunday), but we will celebrate them A WEEK AFTER EVERYONE
ELSE! That way, we will be able to take advantage of Half-Price Halloween
Candy!, Big After Christmas Sales, and Deeply-slashed, Open-box High-Definition
TV’s!  Wrapping paper and Hallmark Cards 50% Off! I see smart shoppers
converting in droves.

Now, we are not joking about this project. Look how well the More-Mons
have done.  Imagine, a religion founded by a guy named "JOE SMITH"
in a place like Elmira, New York.  Yeah, right! I grew up near Elmira,
and let me tell you, I’ve never seen a LESS religious spot. And have
you ever seen that movie they show at the Mother Church in Salt Lake
City? Christ does pre-Columbian Central America? Who knew?

Or Scientology, which certainly deserves some sort of P.T. Barnum Award.
  Founded by a Science Fiction Writer! Who wrote a novel outlining
the fantastic plot before he turned it into reality! And now Tom Cruse
is a member! Even some Mensa members are Scientologist’s.

Brilliant, sacred examples like these inspire the Dowbrigade!  Anything
is possible!  The sky’s the limit! This is clearly an idea
whose time has come, and not a moment too soon.  Now all we need
is a little divine intervention, a healthy dose of dogma and a cannon
or two.

dealing with Man’s relationship with the Infinite is no joking matter,
and we
much thought to the theological content of our new religion. Celibacy
for adherents or leaders is clearly out, for starters. We may not go as far as
some of the Greek Dionysian temples, but would favor leaning in that

the Dowbrigade is so innately ecumenical and empathetic that the body
of belief so far resembles the bar scene in the original Star Wars if
every weird alien were the Messiah of his, her or its species.  My
deeply ingrained but repressed Jewish mysticism forms a backdrop to a mad
of Rastafarianism
Zoroastrianism, Tantric Zen and the Andean Pachamama sect.  Lounging
around our Pantheon one can spy a blue man flute group, a blank-eyed
congenital idiot and a six-armed elephant-head
who definitely does NOT appear to be a Republican.

Add a pinch of B’ahai and some serious Kabala symbolism, the San Pedro
cult ceremonies of the Sacred
Psychedelic Cactus
, the Rites of
Eleusis and occasional cameos from Loki, Monkey and Dido, the Wandering
One. We pitch a big tent.  Room for anyone who buys into the lazy
fair, laid-back modus operandi. Welcome aboard.

As to the Dowbrigade’s official role in this new religion, I am wavering
between Prophet and Oracle.  Prophet provides more opportunity for
dramatic public appearances, but Oracle has that air of mystery and mysticism,
which would cover all sorts of ecstatically inebriated behavior. In a
moment of irrational exuberance we considered Messiah, but that role
lot of works,
doing miracles
and such, and has a history of ending up badly.

So sign on now, fans, the Cardinalships are going fast.

In Case You’re Keeping Score at Home


The candidates
were asked if they had ever used marijuana.

Edwards, Dean and Kerry said they had used the illegal drug in the past.
Sharpton, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said they had not, Kucinich adding that
using the drug should be decriminalized. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun
of Illinois declined to answer. from

Government Diversity Study Censored


The Justice Department recently released a commissioned report on
diversity among its attorneys. Half of its 186 pages were blacked out.

blacked-out pages betray a Justice Department that does not want America
to know what happens after people are hired. The full report is available
on a Web site called the Memory
, which electronically lifted the
blacked-out sections. Among the conclusions of the full report were:

"When controlling for component, grade, and salary, we found that the
average minority is currently residing approximately one-third step lower
than the average white and the average woman is currently residing approximately
one-half step lower than the average man. These effects are statistically

The sections on "stereotyping," "racial and gender tension," "harassment
behavior," and "mentoring," were completely blacked out.

Deleted was a paragraph that showed that about 20 percent of lawyers
of color say they have personally experienced racial harassment at the
department. Deleted was the fact that only 53 percent of attorneys of
color felt that the promotion process was fair with respect to color
compared with 87 percent of white attorneys. Deleted was the fact that
60 percent of women felt that the promotion process was fair with regards
to gender, compared with 81 percent of men.

Derrick Z Jackson in
the Boston Globe