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Potentially revolutionary renewable energy technology.

This would be very cool (in a figurative sense), if this technology was able to be used in real-world applications:

What if a laser-powered fusion energy power plant that would have all the reliability of coal, without the carbon dioxide, all the cleanliness of wind and solar, without having to worry about the sun not shining or the wind not blowing, and all the scale of nuclear, without all the waste, was indeed just 10 years away or less? That would be a holy cow game-changer.

Read the whole article to find out what this process involves. It’s rather Star-Trekkish, but basically it involves firing 192 lasers simultaneously at a [...]

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A stray quick thought on Omar Khadr and the Obama visit to Canada.

If Stephen Harper (or his spokesperson) are saying they will not bring Omar Khadr up with President Obama, and if their claim that they don’t expect Obama to bring it up to them pans out, (though I would hope Obama surprises them and does raise the issue, which would make for some uncomfortable discussions for Harper), then I think it’s imperative that Michael Ignatieff – who gets a 10 minute courtesy chat with President Obama as leader of the Official Opposition – does bring it up with Obama when the 2 of them have their brief chit-chat. Furthermore, I’d hope Ignatieff makes sure the Harper government knows loud and clear [...]

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Followers, not leaders.

In the Toronto Star today, we have an article on how Harper and his Conservative government are probably going to be dragged kicking and screaming by Obama’s new administration into actually having a credible climate change fighting plan on the environment. In the midst of that article there is an excerpt which shows not only have the Conservatives been laggards on fighting Greenhouse Gas emissions, but they’ve barely bothered to fund alternative fuels research, and Canada will probably pay economically and competitively against the US (and probably other countries) because of it:

Compare the scope and ambition of Washington and Ottawa’s respective plans: Obama has promised $150 billion over 10 [...]

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Reading between the lines: Did Obama brush aside Harper’s environmental proposal?

An interesting diary over at Talking Points Memo on this topic attempts such an analysis from reading the quotes of Harper in the media over the last week before and after talking to Obama:

Interestingly, on their conversation regarding climate change Harper said: “The new president has expressed a desire to participate fully in global efforts to fix the problems of greenhouse gases.” I stress “global” since it appears to be a subtle shift from statements made by the Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon earlier in the week that indicated the Canadian desire to pursue a “North American” approach. My initial concern was that Harper would use some regional scheme to try and rope Obama into following the obstructionist stance he pursued at last year’s UN meetings in Bali. Is Harper’s characterization of Obama’s commitment to “global efforts” an indication that he was cool to the Prime Minister’s position?

That’s a very good question. We probably won’t really know until President-elect Obama is sworn in on January, though as I said, his picks for the EPA and whether or not he decides to add Al Gore in an environmental role in his administration will be telling hints whether he thinks Harper is trying to play games with the environment. Under no circumstances does Harper want Big Oil losing a bit of their multi-billion dollar profits to, you know, actually having to do something substantial to cut down on GHG gases, and have Canada commit to fighting something that is a question still whether Harper actually believes is a problem or not (“so-called Greenhouse Gases”, as he has said).

Personally, I hope Obama and whoever he puts in there – be it Kennedy and/or Gore or others – tells Harper to stick it, and get back to them when you have a real climate change fighting plan, rather then the “complete and utter fraud” of one (quoting Al Gore) that he has put in place now.

UPDATE@ 4:28pm: Good point from my comment section about what Obama is proposing at his change.gov site for the environment:

You might want to take a look at President Elect Obama’a new web site..If Harper has he’s probably having conniption fits already. Not only does Obama’s plan propose a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits in order to give American families tax rebates, he also wants to enact serious cap and trade measures, end American reliance on imported oil (particularly “dirty oil”) and invest in green technologies. The program reads very much like the Green Shift

Those cap and trade measures are calling for GHG emissions to be reduced by 80% when 2050 rolls around. Those aren’t using “intensity targets”, I can tell you. Those are hard caps. I think Harper is going to have a pretty tough time convincing Obama and his administration to exclude the Tarsands from any new US tough climate change laws – when its responsible for a lot of the GHG emitted up here.

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Spot the differences between Obama and Harper’s reaction to the economic crisis.

Barack Obama said this today at his first news conference as the President-elect said this about more grim figures for the US economy:

Obama said that, if the lame-duck Congress fails to pass a stimulus package before he takes office January 20, passing such a package will be his first move…He said the country must deal with several immediate challenges. Obama said a fiscal stimulus plan to jump-start economic growth is “long overdue.”…The president-elect also said he would make it a high priority to work on additional policy options to help the struggling auto industry.

Note the key phrases; stimulus package, assistance to the auto industry.

It we look at [...]

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Canada sucks at protecting the environment, study shows.

No surprise here, particularly under Harper’s do-nothing approach, that we’re one of the world’s biggest ‘slouches’ when it comes to protecting the environment:

Canada’s environmental record is among the worst in the industrialized world, due in part to its poor performance fighting global warming, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada on Monday. Canada placed 15th among 17 peers, beating only Australia and the United States. Greenhouse gas emissions, high garbage production, and rampant overuse of fresh water were its biggest environmental problems.

Note that this isn’t some world study berating us, but the Conference Board of Canada. Last I looked, it wasn’t being run by any [...]

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Striking back at Palin and Republicans sneering at “community organizers”

If you missed her loathsome speech a couple of nights ago, one of the things that Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin did in trying to argue that her being governor of Alaska gave her more experience then Obama running for President was to be very condescending and degrading to Obama and everyone else who did or does community organizing – that is apparently the Republican brand new code-word for Islamofascism, or un-American, or whatever. You’ll see some of the outrage at those remarks here but I wanted to focus on two very effective rebuttals to this deplorable attack.

#1 is this saying and logo that has popped up on the [...]

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The Speech

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The road to the White House for Obama is easier then McCain.

I read this interesting bit at Daily Kos from Kos himself, discussing how Obama can win the White House even if he loses Florida and Ohio, an Achilles heel for the prior 2 Democratic candidates, Gore and Kerry:

Without Florida and Ohio, and keeping all the Kerry states (252 EV – ed), all Obama has to do to win is win 18 more Electoral Votes. He currently leads in these states:

Virginia (13) Iowa (7) New Mexico (5) Colorado (9) Montana (3)

Obama trails narrowly in:

Nevada (5) North Dakota (3) Missouri (11) Indiana (11) North Carolina (15) Georgia (15)

So there’s plenty of combinations that would get Obama to [...]

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It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

I was talking to one of my friends last night who graduated with me in Political Science from The U. Of Guelph. He now works as a Conservative Party staffer, and is more “conservative” then even what the official Conservative Party orthodoxy is right now which they are trying to present to the Canadian public. So, we don’t see eye to eye on Canadian politics, to say the least.

However, our discussion was about the Obama-McCain race in the US. I made the remark that I felt Obama was going to slaughter McCain in the presidential race – that it wouldn’t be close, and that he’d win 300 electoral [...]

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