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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trump business accused of human trafficking

Trump made millions by bringing young, beautiful, undocumented women into the US 

Image result for trump model managementThe majority of Donald Trump’s campaign is built on xenophobia, but while his supporters are ranting non-stop about immigrants, Trump himself is taking full advantage of the flaws in our immigration system — at least according to a report in Mother Jones, in which Trump is accused of human trafficking (my words, not theirs).

Are those words a little harsh? Well, according to the report, Trump Model Management has been using foreign models who arrived on tourist visas, not work visas. Yes, that’s a violation of federal law. It gets worse, though. The models are what could be considered indentured servants because much of what they make goes right back into the pockets of Donald Trump.
Founded in 1999, Trump Model Management “has risen to the top of the fashion market,” boasts the Trump Organization’s website, and has a name “that symbolizes success.”
According to a financial disclosure filed by his campaign in May, Donald Trump earned nearly $2 million from the company, in which he holds an 85 percent stake. Meanwhile, some former Trump models say they barely made any money working for the agency because of the high fees for rent and other expenses that were charged by the company.

VIDEO: Cats are good judges of character

 To watch this video on YouTube:

How climate change affects your health, part 2

New storm track puts southern RI "within the cone" for Labor Day

The other tropical depression in our area - likely to reach Tropical Storm strength - looks likely to miss our area entirely and be long gone by the weekend.

Trump visits Mexico today....

Pic of the Moment

Sugared drink tax actually works

It IS the government’s duty to protect public health over corporate profits

Image result for sugary drinks and obesityOne 12-ounce can of soda has almost 8 teaspoons of sugar, so cities are saying ‘enough.’

As politicians seek ways to combat the obesity epidemic here in the U.S., taxes and even bans on sodas have been floated in cities across the U.S.

When former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg first tried to tax and then limit the size of sodas in the Big Apple, howls of “the nanny state is here” roared across the country.

Beverage industry trade groups screamed bloody murder over the cap on soda sizes that could be sold in NYC, and eventually New York State’s Court of Appeals ruled against the ban, saying the city’s health board lacked any such authority.

Now an ex-mayor, Bloomberg has not given up. And a recent study on the effects of a similar policy in Berkeley, CA may give him even more ammunition as a campaign he bankrolled in Philadelphia was approved by its city council earlier this year.

According to the American Journal of Pediatric Health, consumption of sugary drinks such as cola (technically sugar sweetened beverages, or SSBs) in the Bay Area city of 117,000 decreased by 21 percent since the city implemented the tax in March 2015.

Federal Marijuana Laws Reek of Hy-Pot-Crisy

Cannabis is considered dangerous until proven safe, while known toxins like asbestos are still legal.

reactions smoke weed 420 marijuanaFor a few brief months, it looked like America might take a step closer to sanity. And then came the news: the Obama administration will not loosen federal restrictions on marijuana after all.

Before delving into the issue of marijuana, consider its two fellow “gateway drugs:” alcohol and tobacco. Aside from the potential benefits from drinking a glass of red wine, neither one is good for you.

Alcohol can be incredibly harmful, either via acute alcohol poisoning or via chronic destruction to your life and liver. Cigarettes are always bad for you.

All three—alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana—supposedly entice users to take a timid step into the world of drug use and then find themselves plunged all the way in with “harder” drugs like heroin, cocaine, or meth.

And while illegal drugs like meth and heroin can ruin your life or kill you, so can legal ones like alcohol. Just ask any recovering alcoholic.

But among the three so-called gateway drugs, marijuana alone is illegal according to the federal government.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


EpiPen Maker's Latest Offer: Still Not Good Enough

GIPHY Studios Originals martin shkreli epipen heather breschNot good enough.

Mylan's public relations people should tell the company that drip, drip, drip responses to the EpiPen rip-off will only further enrage the public.

It's not enough to blame insurance companies, it's not enough to offer coupons, and it's not enough to offer an overpriced generic version of their own branded product.

The company must roll back its unjustified and outrageous price increases.

The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong.

Mylan knows its $600 per set of EpiPens is unsustainable, but aims to continue ripping off some segment of the marketplace - both consumers who do not trust or know about the generic and perhaps some insurers and payers constrained from buying a generic.

The announced $300 price for Mylan's generic also comes in too high; the profitable price in Canada is roughly $200 for two, and the price in France is roughly half that.

Oh, all right then

Pic of the Moment

VIDEO: core supporters of Donald Trump talk about why they like him

To see this video on YouTube:


American Association for the Advancement of Science 

Dogs have the ability to distinguish vocabulary words and the intonation of human speech through brain regions similar to those that humans use, a new study reports.

Attila Andics et al. note that vocabulary learning "does not appear to be a uniquely human capacity that follows from the emergence of language, but rather a more ancient function that can be exploited to link arbitrary sound sequences to meanings."

Words are the basic building blocks of human languages, but they are hardly ever found in nonhuman vocal communications. 

Intonation is another way that information is conveyed through speech, where, for example, praises tend to be conveyed with higher and more varying pitch. 

Humans understand speech through both vocabulary and intonation.

Here, Andics and colleagues explored whether dogs also depend on both mechanisms. 

Visit Charlestown's Art Show on September 3

Four locations, twenty seven artists, loads of original art
Road Less Traveled by Dave 'Gilly' Gilstein
On Saturday, September 3, from 10 am until 3 pm, Charlestown's Economic Improvement Commission is proud to present a multi-site art show featuring artists from Charlestown and the area.

Visit our four sites: Charlestown Gallery, Cross Mills Public Library, General Stanton Inn and Quonochontaug Grange. See what our local artists have to offer. Your presence will give them a boost and they'll be happy to talk to you about their work.

Here are the details:

Chew on this: How we believe our meat is raised can influence how it tastes

Northeastern University

Cheezburger soccer chickensOur beliefs about how farm animals are raised can shape our meat-eating experience, according to a new study led by Lisa Feldman Barrett, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University.

For the study, Barrett and co-author Eric Anderson, PhD'15, paired identical meat samples with different descriptions and then reported on participants' eating experiences. 

They found that meat samples paired with descriptions of animals raised on factory farms looked, smelled, and tasted less pleasant to study participants than meat samples paired with descriptions of animals raised on humane farms. 

Participants' beliefs also influenced their perceived flavor of the meat and the amount of meat they consumed, suggesting that beliefs can actually influence eating behavior.

The findings, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, align with an emerging body of research that shows that our beliefs can influence how we evaluate food. Wine, for instance, tastes better if we think it's expensive -- even if the fine vintage we've been told we're drinking is really a cheap knock-off from a corner store.

Tropical storm looks like it will miss us but will stir up surf

Note: if you have not yet received the excellent issue of the Charlestown Pipeline on what to do in case of disaster, CLICK HERE.

Where Has All the Money for Our Schools Gone?

New government spending data could reveal how tax breaks for big businesses leave K-12 school funding out to dry.

Image result for corporate subsidies & educationAs fall approaches, millions of moms and dads are scrambling to prepare for the first day of school, excited to support their children’s success.

But are schools ready to receive our kids and foster that success? Increasingly, the answer is no.

In at least 18 states, local government funding levels are declining, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. And as a result, many schools will open with fewer teachers than last year, among other detrimental losses.

As lawmakers throw up their hands and say, “sorry, there’s just not enough money,” we must ask: Where has all the money gone?

State and local governments give away at least $70 billion a year to business subsidies, most of it in foregone tax revenue. Local property taxes are the most significant tax most corporations pay. In most communities, they’re also the backbone of local school finance.

So when subsidies slash corporate property taxes, our schools often get hurt the most.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Understanding Trump's Use of Language

A linguistic scientist looks at Trump’s manner of speaking…and the results will surprise you!

Image result for trump means what he saysThis piece is a follow-up of a Lakoff's article, Understanding Trump, published by Common Dreams last month.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A warning to those with a low capacity for reading serious material. This article is long and is loaded with actual scientific analysis. But if you give it a chance, I think you will find reading this article to be worthwhile.

Responsible reporters in the media normally transcribe political speeches so that they can accurately report them.  But Donald Trump’s discourse style has stumped a number of reporters. Dan Libit, CNBC’s excellent analyst is one of them. Libit writes:

His unscripted speaking style, with its spasmodic, self-interrupting sentence structure, has increasingly come to overwhelm the human brains and tape recorders attempting to quote him.

Trump is, simply put, a transcriptionist's worst nightmare: severely unintelligible, and yet, incredibly important to understand. 

Pod people

Pod People
For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

How climate change affects your health, part 1

Dog of the Week
Meet Russell!
Animal Rescue Rhode Island

Woof! My name is Russell and I am a two-year-old Chow/Boxer mix, ready to find my forever home.

I am a goofy, fun-loving dog looking for just the right owner. I need a calm, confident owner who is very active and willing to continue with my training.

I need a lot of exercise! I can be a little nervous around loud noises and sudden movements, so I am going to need some help with my reactiveness.

Because of this, I would do best in a home without children.

I LOVE toys, but will destroy almost anything, so I need tough ones like nyla-bones and kongs.

I love to be the center of attention, getting belly rubs and lots of love from the people around me.

Please consider giving me a loving, structured home!

Generic Price Gouging

Even “low price” substitutes cause sticker shock
By Phil Mattera in the Dirt Diggers Digest

Mike Luckovich
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE
Price gouging by the producer of EpiPens has been creating a hardship for those suffering from severe allergies, but it is also revealing the truth about the one segment of the drug industry that was thought to have some decency.

Mylan, the corporation behind the EpiPen scandal, is best known as a leader in the production of generic drugs, which were supposed to weaken the stranglehold of the pharma giants. 

Building on the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act, Mylan and the other generic firms began to have an impact. Mylan introduced cheaper versions of brand-name medications for Parkinson’s disease, depression, arthritis and other ailments.

In the past decade or so, however, Mylan began to stray from its mission. The company became preoccupied with growth and was soon appearing in the business news more in connection with mergers than with product announcements. 

Challenged Over 'Racist' Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

Top contender for worst Governor in the nation

"I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a 
racist, you cocksucker," Maine Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday in a 
voicemail to a state legislator. 
(Photo: Maine Department of Education/flickr/cc)
Maine's Donald Trump-supporting, race-baiting, Republican Governor Paul LePage has gotten into hot water—again—after leaving a state lawmaker an expletive-laced and threatening voicemail on Thursday.

In the phone message, LePage—who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014—demands that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine "prove" that he's a racist, calls him a "son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker," and says: "I am after you."

Gattine has denied that he called the governor racist after his latest diatribe on the racial background of drug dealers in the state. LePage on Wednesday said that "90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic."

The Portland Press Herald reports:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Despite a history of problems, regulators grant Millstone nuclear plant license revisions

Issues remain about nuclear waste storage, plant reliability, safety, environmental impact and security
By Will Collette

Image result for fukushima nuclear disasterI have been cutting back on articles about the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford, CT. 

Even though Charlestown is only 20 miles downwind from the troubled facility, well within the danger zone, and the plant has been rife with problems, it seems as though Charlestown town government could care less.

Even though the Town Council, comprised entirely of members of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party), frequently adopts resolutions and sends letters about matters having little or no bearing on Charlestown, Millstone seems to be totally off their radar. 

Out of sight, out of mind, even though, as the wind blows, it’s practically in our backyard.

Let’s review the issues. Millstone is our local nuke. If there’s an accident at the plant, the prevailing winds will carry any released radiation right to us.

Any of a number of problems could cause an accident – failure of the reactor cooling system (and they’ve had recurring problems with their cooling system), a fire at the radioactive waste storage site where millions of pounds of high-level wastes are stored on-site for lack of any other place to put them, or a terrorist attack.

It took Millstone years after the 9/11 attacks to hold its first emergency drill, though apparently they are starting to catch up, having just recently won praise from FEMA for its August 16 six-hour emergency drill.

That contrasts with last May when a majority of Millstone’s security guards voted “no confidence” in Millstone management or contractors when it comes to the safety and security of the plant.

"Humane" border control

Pic of the Moment

VIDEO: American workers aren't quitters

 Watch this video on YouTube:

NOT a nice surprise

Global warming's next surprise: Saltier beaches
New Jersey Institute of Technology

joyfulnoiserecordings  beach dead ocean skeleton

Batches of sand from a beach on the Delaware Bay are yielding insights into the powerful impact of temperature rise and evaporation along the shore that are in turn challenging long-held assumptions about what causes beach salinity to fluctuate in coastal zones that support a rich network of sea creatures and plants.

The findings have implications for the migration and survival of invertebrates such as mussels and crabs as global warming drives temperatures higher.

Boosting solar energy conversion efficiency

"Who would have expected that an electrical insulator could be used to improve solar energy conversion?"

Designers of solar cells may soon be setting their sights higher, as a discovery by a team of researchers has revealed a class of materials that could be better at converting sunlight into energy than those currently being used in solar arrays.

Their research shows how a material can be used to extract power from a small portion of the sunlight spectrum with a conversion efficiency that is above its theoretical maximum -- a value called the Shockley-Queisser limit.

This finding, which could lead to more power-efficient solar cells, was seeded in a near-half-century old discovery by Russian physicist Vladimir M. Fridkin, a visiting professor of physics at Drexel, who is also known as one of the innovators behind the photocopier.

Trump’s Taxes Won’t Go Away

The candidate’s ongoing scandalous behavior can’t cover up whatever he’s hiding in his tax returns.

Image result for what's in trump's tax returnsEvery day we get a new headline on Donald Trump, each one more bombastic than the last, as reporters attempt to keep up with his latest provocation. But which headline wont fade away as we near November? His tax returns.

Or more to the point, his lack thereof.

Every U.S. presidential candidate since 1976 has released their tax returns. It’s a simple and straightforward tradition, one that sheds light on a candidate’s decision-making in personal finances, business dealings, and contributions to society.

Perhaps that’s why Trump himself said in May 2014, “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, and I would love to do that.”

Fast forward two years later, he now says he won’t release them before November.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Not much to show for “teaching to the test”

Image result for teaching to the testNo surprise: Most students in Rhode Island “failed” the Common Core PARCC tests. As I have explained many times, the tests were designed to fail most students.

They are aligned with NAEP Proficient, which most students have never reached, with the sole exception of those in Massachusetts, where slightly more than half have reached that standard.
What is the point of giving a test that is too hard for most students?

Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute wrote to say that the tests were designed to show college readiness, and only 40% (or less) are college ready. But 70% enroll in college. Thus, he writes, a remediation crisis in college.

But really, why should schools test third graders for college readiness?

Colleges set their own admission standards; they can accept or reject whoever they want.
I wonder if Michael Phelps or Simone Boles would have tested “proficient” on PARCC?

I posed these questions to him:

Making the passing mark so high that most kids fail is insane. Does that make them smarter? Will they be denied a high school diploma? Will they be retained in grade? Will the schools become giant holding pens where most kids never get past third grade?

Mike is never at a loss for words so I expect he will answer.

Meanwhile, the RI Commissioner of Education, Ken Wagner (formerly deputy commissioner in New York state), was quoted in the Providence Journal:

Less than 22 percent of black and Latino students scored proficient in English compared to a statewide average of almost 38 percent on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a challenging test rolled out last year amid dismal results.

Less than 9 percent of English language learners reached the state standard, and that number fell to less than 6 percent for special-needs students.

Related content R.I. educators urge stay the course on standardized testsIn an interview yesterday, State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said poverty was not to blame for the chronically low scores among urban school districts.

“If you go back 40 years, we’ve always been at a 30- or 40-percent plateau,” he said, referring to the percentage of students reaching proficiency in English and math. “Part of the story is we need to stop changing our minds. We need take a common-sense approach and stick with it for the long haul.”

Rhode Island, unlike Massachusetts, has switched state tests. It has reversed course on whether passing a test should be a high-school graduation requirement. Legislative leadership has undermined the work of education commissioners.

Math scores increased by 5 points this year, with nearly 30 percent of all students meeting the standards. Students improved in every grade level. In English, scores improved by two percentage points, with almost 38-percent reaching proficiency. Students improved in five out of eight grade levels.

Tim Duffy, the executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, said Rhode Island is moving forward but “not fast enough.”

“The anxiety about the PARCC seems to have dissipated,” he said. “But the scores are stagnant at the upper grade levels, which reinforces that the test has to be part of the graduation requirements.”

Wagner moved this year to drop the PARCC as a graduation requirement after widespread criticism that urban students were not adequately prepared to take it, among other concerns.

The PARCC, which was originally adopted by 24 states, is down to seven. Rhode Island is the only state in New England to stick with the test, which has been confounded by technical problems and a huge opt-out movement in states like New York. Massachusetts switched to a hybrid of the PARCC and its own test, the MCAS, this past year.

Wagner denied that the test is too hard, a common criticism. Instead, he said Rhode Island has much work to do to put a rigorous curriculum in every school, ramp up teacher training and redesign the way schools, especially high schools, are structured.

High-school students across Rhode Island performed poorly on the tests. In Providence, every high school but Classical scored in the single digits on the math and English PARCC tests.

But it wasn’t just the urban schools that underperformed. At Burrillville High School, only 17 percent of the students scored proficient on the English test. In North Kingstown and South Kingstown, approximately a third scored proficient and in Westerly, 21 percent did.

Wagner says the tests are not too hard. Surely that can’t be an excuse for the vast majority that “failed.” Can’t blame poverty.

The real problem, he says, is that we need to stick with the PARCC no matter how many kids fail.
Tim Duffy of the state’s school committees wants PARCC to be a graduation requirement (Wagner disagrees). What will Rhode Island do with all those kids who never pass?

At this point, it would be a very large majority. Will they drop out? Will they get jobs without a high school diploma? Will they stay in third grade or fourth grade until they pass? Will third grade become a huge parking lot where few students make it to fourth grade?

Please, someone, explain how this would work. And Commissioner Wagner, how many years will it take until most students in Rhode Island “pass” the PARCC test, a feat not accomplished by any other state except Massachusetts? Will students with disabilities stay in school for the rest of their lives?

VIDEO: The perfect end game

To watch this video on YouTube:

Petition to save Social Security

Tell Congress: Don't dismantle Social Security!
Join the thousands of people who have already committed to protecting Social Security, for our seniors today and for generations to come. Sign the petition today!

Eighty-one years ago this month, the Social Security Act was signed into law. Since then, generations of Americans have relied on this critical program, and today Social Security continues to keep millions of Americans out of poverty.

But despite Social Security’s resounding success, Republicans under Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are pushing extreme budgets that would slash essential funding by privatizing or even dismantling the program. These right-wing proposals run against the basic promise of Social Security: that after a lifetime of hard work, Americans will have access to the benefits they’ve earned.

It’s no wonder so many in the workforce are worried about what would happen if we ended this cornerstone of economic security for our seniors.

I’m committed to protecting Social Security, for our seniors today and for generations to come. Will you sign the petition to stand with us and tell Congress to protect Social Security?

Bizarre Trump “doctor’s note” explained…sort of

To watch this video on YouTube:

Donald Trump’s doctor didn’t follow standard medical procedure when he proclaimed the Republican nominee to be in good health, according to a newly released video.

Dr. Harold Bornstein, who has reportedly been Trump’s physician for 35 years, confessed that he took only five minutes to write up the assessment of Trump, who he described in the letter as in “excellent” health.

The four-paragraph letter — the only medical information released by Trump — was written and released in December but has drawn fresh scrutiny in recent days as Trump’s allies have questioned Hillary Clinton’s health, despite a more detailed two-page letter from her doctor that said she has no serious issues.

Unique perspective to the study of climate change

URI graduate student awarded humanities grant for climate change study

URI grad student Alanna Casey poses in front of a historic ship at San Francisco Maritime National Park, where she is conducting research on climate change. (Photo by Jennifer He.)

URI grad student Alanna Casey poses in front of a historic ship at San Francisco Maritime National Park, where she is conducting research on climate change. (Photo by Jennifer He.)

Alanna Casey is bringing a unique perspective to the study of climate change at national parks in the United States.

A graduate student in the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Marine Affairs who already earned a master’s degree in history from URI, she is analyzing three parks from the perspective of science, policy and history to help them prepare for the inevitable challenges they will face as sea level rises due to the warming climate.

“I’m taking a dual approach,” said Casey, a native of San Ramon, Cal., with an undergraduate degree from Smith College. “I’m conducting historical research, archival work and oral histories to get historical perspectives on how the parks may have adapted to changes in the past, and I’m also interviewing site managers about how this information can be interpreted in the present.”

If the Clinton Foundation is so corrupt, why did Donald Trump donate to it?

Trump Gave 6-Figure Donation to Clinton Foundation

Image result for trump & clinton foundationDonald Trump donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, sparking controversy in light of his recent call to “shut it down.”

Trump published a statement regarding the Clinton Foundation on his website this Monday, calling it “the most corrupt enterprise in political history:”

"Hillary Clinton is the defender of the corrupt and rigged status quo. The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people. It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as Secretary of State was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately."
Later that day, Steve Doocy of Fox News asked Trump about his statement:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mass voters asked to renew commitment to public education

The Massachusetts Democratic Committee overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing Question 2, which seeks to lift the cap on charter schools.

Massachusetts teacher and daily reader Christine Langhoff expands on my early report (which she kindly sent to me as soon as the resolution passed). 

Thanks to Christine, I was able to circulate the good news before the daily press. It is kind of amusing seeing the complaint by the representative of DFER, the hedge fund managers’ group. 

Hedge funds are not generally viewed as champions of those without power; they lack numbers, but they are loaded with money and power. 

Parents and educators anticipate that the hedge funds and corporate interests will pour close to $20 million into their campaign for Question 2. 

Supporters of public schools can’t match the dollars, but they can knock on every door and alert every parent that the real goal of this deceptive campaign is privatization, not helping public schools.

She writes:

The arms race for personal protection

Forget Guns, Flamethrowers Now Available To the Public 

Every so often there’s a news report about some idiot with a gun shooting himself in the crotch or a kid finding a parent’s or grandparent’s gun and killing either himself, a sibling, parent, or grandma.

Now we can look forward to sizzled and crackling family members and friends with the latest news that flamethrowers will now be available to the general public.

That’s right folks, you too can get your very own flamethrower – the weapons of war that were so controversial the U.S. military stopped using them after Vietnam.

A Cleveland startup called “Throwflame” is selling flamethrowers for the low, low price of $1,599 that can shoot fire for 50 feet.

Another company, “Ion Productions Team of Detroit,” is selling flamethrowers that can shoot flames for 25 feet for only $900.

The flamethrowers are, of course, marketed not as weapons, but as fun devices.

Trump donor rip-off

Pic of the Moment

The First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Is Complete

By Samantha Page, Climate Reporter at @ThinkProgress.

The country’s first offshore wind farm is complete and set to start putting electricity on the grid by November, the developer announced last week.

The five-turbine, 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm — providing enough electricity to power roughly 18,000 homes for a year — is not going to overhaul the state’s electricity supply, but it is a powerful step forward for Rhode Island and for the country.

That’s because the electricity sector produces roughly a third of U.S. emissions. If the country wants to meet its emissions reduction goals as part of a global effort to curb climate change, transitioning from fossil fuel-powered electricity generation to clean resources such as wind is critical to that effort. 

In addition, the cost of wind energy has decreased dramatically, making it one of the most cost-effective means of electricity generation.

Calling the project’s completion “a watershed moment,” the director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign congratulated Deepwater Wind. “As America’s first offshore wind farm, we see Block Island Wind Farm as landmark for a better, cleaner energy future, and we happily congratulate everyone involved in making it happen,” Mary Anne Hitt said in a statement.

Quonnie solution?

SLAC, Stanford gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster

In many parts of the world, the only way to make germy water safe is by boiling, which consumes precious fuel, or by putting it out in the sun in a plastic bottle so ultraviolet rays will kill the microbes. But because UV rays carry only 4 percent of the sun's total energy, the UV method takes six to 48 hours, limiting the amount of water people can disinfect this way.

Now researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have created a nanostructured device, about half the size of a postage stamp, that disinfects water much faster than the UV method by also making use of the visible part of the solar spectrum, which contains 50 percent of the sun's energy.