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Molten salt energy Mon, Dec 20, 2010
California is planning to build a molten salt power plant in the desert, which is kind of cool.  If you're a nerd, you might like reading these words: 
In the case of a molten salt solar plant, heliostats--giant rotating mirrors controlled by computers to best track and reflect sun onto a specific point--reflect sun rays onto a central tower, or a series of pipes, containing a molten salt mixture. The molten salt generally consists of sodium nitrates and potassium. The solar rays heat the liquefied salt to a temperature of up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam from the molten salt is then harnessed to power a generator that makes electricity. Afterward, the cooled molten salt is then piped back to the tower to be heated once again.
If you're not a nerd, you might enjoy reading these words instead: 
With reliability, unused desert, no pollution, and no fuel costs, the obstacles for large deployment for [concentrated solar power] are cost, aesthetics, land use and similar factors for the necessary connecting high tension lines.
I've been to the desert, and personally I'd be ok with having a big ugly solar plant in the middle of nowhere, as opposed to, say, coal-burning power plants strewn about the "Garden State."  Two interesting factoids:  (1) This is essentially the same system as nuclear power but instead of capturing the heat from a radiation-emitting nuclear fuel rod, it's capturing the heat from a sun-warmed block of salt.  (2) The "salt" is actually a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate, which are used in gun powder and rocket propellants. #technology

Wireless charging Mon, Dec 20, 2010
I've seen a few commercials recently for Powermat, which is a wireless charging system for small electronics (technically called inductive charging), and I'm excited to see this technology finally gaining some ground.  The science is complicated, but the reality is pretty simple:  Instead of plugging something into your cell phone to recharge it, you just place it in a holder or on a mat.  It takes the mess and complication of cables out of the equation.  My Palm Pre came with a wireless charging base called a Touchstone, and it's so dead-simple and convenient that it makes you wonder why they didn't think of it sooner.  When you don't have to fumble around with wires that aren't long enough and tiny micro-USB connectors that never fit on the first try, you tend to forget about abysmal battery life. #technology

On security Mon, Dec 20, 2010
From a recent On the Media episode regarding the role of security in our everyday lives: 
The mission is first. You don't let yourself be tied in knots. Security at best is a means to an end. It should be serving the national interest. When we become servants of security rather than being served by security, then we've got things backwards.
#technology