If only greenhouse gasses were visible to the naked eye…

This isn’t new footage – the video is from 2016, and at least some of the footage in it is from 2015, but it’s useful to have clips like this handy, to help our monkey brains come to terms with solving an invisible problem.

(For those who can’t see or hear, the video shows Californian scrubland on a sunny day, with text-over saying that you can’t see the gas leak, but an infrared camera can. The image then goes to black and white, showing a dark plume of gas blotting out part of the sky. The text-over says that it’s methane, and goes on to explain that that particular leak put out 4.4 billion cubic feet of methane – enough to heat 70,000 homes for the winter – between its detection in October of 2015, and the making of the video four months later. It then talks about Methane’s properties as a greenhouse gas.)

Russia, China, and North Korea could hand Trump a second term.

This one’s been bouncing around in my head since Trump announced he was going to meet with Kim Jong Un. Whether or not the Trump administration is working directly with Russia, I think it’s clear by now that Putin has been putting a fair amount of effort toward bolstering his own regime by wearing down any place that seems to have it better. It also seems clear to me that this kind of activity works to the benefit of any other kind of autocratic regime, like the one in North Korea

And so we come to my fear – If Trump’s regime is good for domestic politics from the point of view of Putin and Kim, then it would be trivially easy for them, probably along with China, to effectively stage a massive success for Trump that even he couldn’t screw up. The official end of the “Korean Conflict”, normalization of relationships with Pyongyang, and a promise to behave (now that they have nukes), or even a promise to dispose of their nukes, could easily be enough to get another majority in the Electoral College, if not in the popular vote.

I have no idea how likely this scenario is, but it seems to be well within the realm of possibility, and I find that worrisome.

Istanbul (Not They Might Be Giants)

So I just had my mind blown, and felt a need to share it with the world. This is some serious shit here. It turns out that They Might Be Giants did not write the song Istanbul (Not Constantinople)!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the song, you can hear it here, and for those who need them, the lyrics are here. For all those who understand how crazy this is already, I would like to present to you the original Istanbul (Not Constantinople), by The Four Lads:

A new tool for creating better batteries

Any version of the future that includes the use of modern technology will need better batteries than we have today. Our current technology could support a lot more of our power grid than it does, but even if we could swap over to 100% renewable right now without any power storage problems, better batteries would still be a good thing. This article is not about a better battery design, though; it’s about how to find better materials for any battery that might be designed down the road.

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