I say "Obama administration's" because Obama is the one who got the earmark for it put into the stimulus. It's all Obama and Dick Durbin.
The Bush administration nixed it because it was going to cost too much money for too little benefit; but now it's back, and it's changed from a coal gasification experiment to an experiment in burning coal with pure oxygen:
"In the new design, the plant would be fed pure oxygen and burn coal, and the exhaust gas would consist of almost pure carbon dioxide."
#1: There is more than carbon in coal. There's a whole bunch of other things in it. Sulfur, for one. If you want "pure carbon dioxide" to come out, you're going to have to reduce that coal to coke first; and making coke is dirty because you take coal and bake out all the impurities, leaving only carbon. If you burn coke with pure oxygen, you'll get carbon dioxide. If you burn coal with pure oxygen, you'll get carbon dioxide, water, all sorts of sulfur compounds, and God alone knows what else.
#2: Even assuming that's all correct, where is the damn oxygen coming from? You can't go mine the stuff; you have to separate it from air or water or somewhere, and that takes energy. So instead of starting with a fuel and burning it in air, you're starting with a fuel and an oxidizer, into which you had to put energy, which makes the power generated cost more.
Meanwhile, we have seventy years' worth of experience with nuclear power, which generates no exhaust whatsoever. But oh no, we can't use nuclear power, because it's bad.
God damn it, Democrats are morons!
* * *
It's hot out. It's 1:40 AM and it's hot. Which means tomorrow (today) will be beastly.
* * *
I could not keep my eyes open and fell asleep around 8:30. I woke up at 10, and tried to get back to sleep, but couldn't; and so I found myself heading out to get a gyro.
Dean's Gyros is open until 2 AM. They serve a variety of Italian-style food (beef, sausage, sub sandwiches, etc) and fast food (burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc) and, of course, gyros. The restaurant is in the old A&W Root Beer restaurant building. It was a drive-in; and it used to be that across the street was a drive-in theater; there's a community center there now since drive ins have largely gone the way of the dodo.
Seems to me that the drive-in theater ought to be coming into its own now. Think about it: modern cars have massive stereos which would do a very nice job of reproducing movie sound; just broadcast it on FM or something. (Oh, but someone might record the movie's sound track! Can't have that! *sigh*)
...anyway I last saw a movie at that drive-in theater when I was about 5. It's been gone a long time. Dean's still has the long pavillion of the drive-in restaurant, though now there are a few picnic tables for outdoor dining and there's no in-car service any more. The architecture is late 1950s-early 1960s, of course.
It's not as good as the gyro place that used to be at the nearest mall, though. Athens Gyros moved to Richton Park and I haven't been to their new location. I last ate at their mall location in 2004 and they moved not long afterwards. They had the best french fries--the big, thick kind, cooked only after you ordered them, so they were hot and fresh. I miss that.
Dean's sells a "gyro plate" which is essentially the makings of 2 gyros and a big wad of french fries. They're also cooked to order, but they're the skinny kind and they always come out too greasy for my taste. This time I said, "Hold the fries." I don't need the grease and starch, anyway.
* * *
Jerry Pournelle is sure that if the results of the election in November are ambiguous, we're going to get another Depression.
He links this article by a small businessman who talks about his employee, whom he names "Sally". Sally earns $59,000 per year and the business pays a total of $74,000 per year to employ her. Of the $74,000 paid by the business, Sally takes home $44,000 in pay and $12,000 in benefits.
It all leads to this conclusion:
A life in business is filled with uncertainties, but I can be quite sure that every time I hire someone my obligations to the government go up. From where I sit, the government's message is unmistakable: Creating a new job carries a punishing price.And that is why unemployment remains high, ladies and gentlemen.