American Elephants


The Exciting and Tantalizing Possibilities of the New Materials. by The Elephant's Child

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The potential uses of the new materials sound like science fiction: here’s a new electrically conducting fiber for— artificial muscles, exoskeletons and morphing aircraft. The fiber is made from sheets of carbon nanotubes wrapped around a rubber core, and can be stretched to 14 times its original length and actually increases its electrical conductivity while being stretched, without losing any of its resistance.

An international research team based at the University of Texas at Dallas initially targeted the new super fiber for artificial muscles and for capacitors whose storage capacity increase tenfold when the fiber is stretched. The researchers now believe that the material could be used as interconnects in flexible electronics and a host of other related applications.

The team has published research in the Journal Science describing how they devised a method for wrapping electrically conductive sheets of carbon nanotubes around the rubber core in such a way that the fiber’s resistance does not change when stretched, but its conductivity increases.

I wish they had indicated the amount of magnification in the photo above, for those of us who are definitely not materials scientists.

The researchers have also been able to add a thin coat of rubber to the sheath-core fibers and then another carbon nanotube sheath to create strain sensors and artificial muscles. In this setup, the buckled nanotube sheets act as electrodes and the thin rubber coating serves as the dielectric. Voilà! You have a fiber capacitor.

“This technology could be well-suited for rapid commercialization,” said Raquel Ovalle-Robles, one of the paper’s authors, in the press release. “The rubber cores used for these sheath-core fibers are inexpensive and readily available. The only exotic component is the carbon nanotube aerogel sheet used for the fiber sheath.”

As new materials have been discovered or invented, there is a mad rush for patents on potential uses, I  gather based on informed guesses, by corporations hoping to develop what the scientists discover. Free enterprise at work.

For other posts on the new materials, enter “new materials” in the search function over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.



The Myth of Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Program by The Elephant's Child

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

Last year Iran was selling gasoline for less than 50 cents a gallon. This year a desperate regime hiked prices up to over a dollar. Meanwhile, Iranians pay about a tenth of what Americans do for electricity.

Unlike Japan, Iran does not need nuclear power. It is already sitting on a mountain of gas and oil.

Iran blew between $100 billion to $500 billion on its nuclear program. The Bushehr reactor alone cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 billion making it one of the most expensive in the world.

This wasn’t done to cut power bills. Iran didn’t take its economy to the edge for a peaceful nuclear program. It built the Fordow fortified underground nuclear reactor that even Obama admitted was not part of a peaceful nuclear program, it built the underground Natanz enrichment facility whose construction at one point consumed all the cement in the country, because the nuclear program mattered more than anything else as a fulfillment of the Islamic Revolution’s purpose.

Iran did not do all this so that its citizens could pay 0.003 cents less for a kilowatt hour of electricity.

It built its nuclear program on the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.”

Iran’s constitution states that its military is an “ideological army” built to fulfill “the ideological mission of jihad in Allah’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of Allah’s law throughout the world.”

It quotes the Koranic verse urging Muslims to “strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah”.

Article 3 of Iran’s Constitution calls for a foreign policy based on “unsparing support” to terrorists around the world. Article 11, the ISIS clause, demands the political unity of the Islamic world.

Iran is not just a country. It is the Islamic Revolution, the Shiite ISIS, a perpetual revolution to destroy the non-Muslim world and unite the Muslim world. Over half of Iran’s urban population lives below the poverty line and its regime sacrificed 100,000 child soldiers as human shields in the Iran-Iraq War.

Iran did not spend all that money just to build a peaceful civilian nuclear program to benefit its people. And yet the nuclear deal depends on the myth that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Obama insisted, “This deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior.” But if Iran isn’t changing its behavior, if it isn’t changing its priorities or its values, then there is no deal.

If Iran hasn’t changed its behavior, then the nuclear deal is just another way for it to get the bomb.

If Iran were really serious about abandoning a drive for nuclear weapons, it would have shut down its nuclear program. Not because America or Europe demanded it, but because it made no economic sense. For a fraction of the money it spent on its nuclear ambitions, it could have overhauled its decaying electrical grid and actually cut costs. But this isn’t about electricity, it’s about nuclear bombs.

The peaceful nuclear program is a hoax. The deal accepts the hoax. It assumes that Iran wants a peaceful nuclear program. It even undertakes to improve and protect Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear technology.

The reasoning behind the nuclear deal is false. It’s so blatantly false that the falseness has been written into the deal. The agreement punts on the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and creates a complicated and easily subverted mechanism for inspecting suspicious programs in Iranian military sites.

It builds in so many loopholes and delays, separate agreements and distractions, because it doesn’t really want to know. The inspections were built to help Iran cheat and give Obama plausible deniability.

With or without the agreement, Iran is on the road to a nuclear bomb. Sanctions closed some doors and opened others. The agreement opens some doors and closes others. It’s a tactical difference that moves the crisis from one stalemate to another. Nothing has been resolved. The underlying strategy is Iran’s.

Iran decided that the best way to conduct this stage of its nuclear weapons program was by getting technical assistance and sanctions relief from the West. This agreement doesn’t even pretend to resolve the problem of Iran’s nuclear weapons. Instead its best case scenario assumes that years from now Iran won’t want a nuclear bomb. So that’s why we’ll be helping Iran move along the path to building one.

It’s like teaching a terrorist to use TNT for mining purposes if he promises not to kill anyone.

But this agreement exists because the West refuses to come to terms with what Islam is. Successful negotiations depend on understanding what the other side wants. Celebratory media coverage talks about finding “common ground” with Iran. But what common ground is there with a regime that believes that America is the “Great Satan” and its number one enemy?

What common ground can there be with people who literally believe that you are the devil?

When Iranian leaders chant, “Death to America”, we are told that they are pandering to the hardliners. The possibility that they really believe it can’t be discussed because then the nuclear deal falls apart.

For Europe, the nuclear agreement is about ending an unprofitable standoff and doing business with Iran. For Obama, it’s about rewriting history by befriending another enemy of the United States. But for Iran’s Supreme Leader, it’s about pursuing a holy war against the enemies of his flavor of Islam.

The Supreme Leader of Iran already made it clear that the war will continue until America is destroyed. That may be the only common ground he has with Obama. Both America and Iran are governed by fanatics who believe that America is the source of all evil. Both believe that it needs to be destroyed.

Carter made the Islamic Revolution possible. Obama is enabling its nuclear revolution.

Today Tehran and Washington D.C. are united by a deep distrust of America, distaste for the West and a violent hatred of Israel. This deal is the product of that mutually incomprehensible unity. It is not meant to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. It is meant to stop America and Israel from stopping it.

Both Obama and the Supreme Leader of Iran have a compelling vision of the world as it should be and don’t care about the consequences because they are convinced that the absolute good of their ideology makes a bad outcome inconceivable.

“O Allah, for your satisfaction, we sacrificed the offspring of Islam and the revolution,” a despairing Ayatollah Khomeini wrote after the disastrous Iran-Iraq War cost the lives of three-quarters of a million Iranians. The letter quoted the need for “atomic weapons” and evicting America from the Persian Gulf.

Four years earlier, its current Supreme Leader had told officials that Khomeini had reactivated Iran’s nuclear program, vowing that it would prepare “for the emergence of Imam Mehdi.”

The Islamic Revolution’s nuclear program was never peaceful. It was a murderous fanatic’s vision for destroying the enemies of his ideology, rooted in war, restarted in a conflict in which he used children to detonate land mines, and meant for mass murder on a terrible scale.

The nuclear agreement has holes big enough to drive trucks through, but its biggest hole is the refusal of its supporters to acknowledge the history, ideology and agenda of Iran’s murderous tyrants. Like so many previous efforts at appeasement, the agreement assumes that Islam is a religion of peace.

The ideology and history of Iran’s Islamic Revolution tells us that it is an empire of blood.

The agreement asks us to choose between two possibilities. Either Iran has spent a huge fortune and nearly gone to war to slightly lower its already low electricity rates or it wants a nuclear bomb.

The deal assumes that Iran wants lower electricity rates. Iran’s constitution tells us that it wants Jihad. And unlike Obama, Iran’s leaders can be trusted to live up to their Constitution.

Re-posted with permission from the Sultan Knish blog. If you have not met Daniel Greenfield, add him to your blogroll. He is always provacative, and always interesting. He also blogs regularly at Front Page Magazine.



I, Pencil. Extended Commentary: Creative Destruction by The Elephant's Child
July 26, 2015, 1:29 pm
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, Capitalism | Tags: , ,

One more short lesson to make you think about things differently.



I, Pencil, Extended Commentary: Spontaneous Order by The Elephant's Child
July 26, 2015, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, Capitalism | Tags: , ,

Another short economic lesson in the way things work.



I Pencil, The Movie by The Elephant's Child

The old favorite free enterprise story, in a brand new movie. An explanation of commerce, by the simple story of how a pencil is made.



The Iran Deal Actively Helps Iran to Perfect Its Nuclear Program by The Elephant's Child

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Omni Ceren writes from The Israel Project, a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the Media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East:

The Iran Deal commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal. On a political level it means the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress. Instead of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.  On a policy level it means Iran’s breakout time will be constantly shrinking.

The commitments across the JCPOA obligate a range of global powers:

Russian sponsorship/cooperation on nuclear research at Fordow — The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) will be converted into a nuclear, physics, and technology centre and international collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. The Joint Commission will be informed in advance of the specific projects that will be undertaken at Fordow…The transition to stable isotope production of these cascades at FFEP will be conducted in joint partnership between the Russian Federation and Iran on the basis of arrangements to be mutually agreed upon.

European sponsorship of nuclear security, including training against sabotage — E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices…Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.

International sponsorship/cooperation of Iranian fuel fabrication, which will help Iran complete its mastery of fuel cycle, making Iran’s program harder more opaque and difficult to regulate — The Joint Commission will establish a Technical Working Group with the goal of enabling fuel to be fabricated in Iran while adhering to the agreed stockpile parameters… This Technical Working Group will also, within one year, work to develop objective technical criteria for assessing whether fabricated fuel and its intermediate products can be readily converted to UF6.

This deal does the opposite of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. It funds, protects, and perfects the nuclear program.



The Real Ugliness of Planned Parenthood. by The Elephant's Child

RAMclr-072315-fetal-IBD-COLOR-FINAL.jpg.cmsBy now, you have probably seen or heard of the undercover video of the Senior Director of Medical Services released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group. Deborah Nucatola, an abortion doctor, had a conversation over a quite nice salad and wine lunch with two people  posing as representatives of a company trafficking in body parts of aborted fetuses.

The video exposes the animating principle behind the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood, a tax-payer supported industry. They do not consider abortion as any more problematic than cosmetic surgery.

There’s a lot of pretense at Planned Parenthood. They oppose the use of ultrasounds when the purpose is to reveal the humanity of the child, but use ultrasound to determine which parts of the baby to crush to preserve the desired parts. It’s ugly.  A second video has been released with another Planned Parenthood executive bargaining over prices for the fetal parts. Supporters of Planned Parenthood extol their other services like mammograms,  but its been well established that they don’t actually do mammograms.

The Left is heavily invested in Planned Parenthood, and in abortion, and the media have avoided any mention of the story, except to insist that the Center for Medical Progress is some kind of crazy pro-life group, and the video is false and the attack illegal. A reporter tried to ask a question of Josh Earnest, but was silenced with just an emphatic NO. Obama’s Department of Justice is planning to investigate, not Planned Parenthood for sales of body parts, but of the group that busted Planned Parenthood.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, made the claim that the trade in body parts was a service to scientific research, but embryonic tissue for stem cells is old discredited science, and the gold standard is now adult stem cells.

Health and Human Services rejected an expedited Planned Parenthood Freedom of Information Request for documents and communications relevant to payment or compensation of fees from Mary Hasson of the Federalist. HHS said it didn’t fit the public’s “urgent” right to know.

“Further, in order to meet second prong of the compelling need standard, the requested information must be the type of information that has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly, and ordinarily refers to a breaking news story of general public interest.”

There are more videos to come, and the Left is in panic mode. Or perhaps “stonewall mode.” The Left has a lot invested in total sexual freedom for all, but I’m getting pretty tired of school teachers having sex with their underage students, and gender-neutral bathrooms, among other things.

Black Americans are about 12.6 percent of the U.S. Population, but they have 35.4 percent of all abortions.  On average 1,876 black babies are aborted every day. That is just terribly sad.




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