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Monday, March 31, 2003

THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE CHILD KILLERS

thepete20030331 (10k image)Actually, that title is a bit of a misnomer as there was no actual confirmation that Marines killed children, but we do know that US Marines in Iraq fired on them. Here's why, Iraqis, in their desperation to fight back the American onslaught have done what many people call the unthinkable, they armed children. What's even more unthinkable is that Marines, once they discovered who the enemy combatant was, kept on firing "defending themselves". Here's a direct quote from a North Carolina ABC affilliate's website on what happened in the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah:

Garvin said the Marines had faced the first wave of the attack by the Iraqi troops. During the fighting, Iraqi soldiers used women as shields and gave weapons to children. "Unfortunately some of the children have been firing at our Marines and our Marines have been forced to defend themselves," he said.
Choices, choices, shoot children or get court martialled? One would hope that would be an obvious choice, but US Marines went the other way. Let me guess: The marines were just following orders? Well, that's no longer an excuse, now that rumors have been circulating about two British soldiers who have refused to fight in Iraq and are reportedly being sent home to Britian to possibly face court-martial. Here's a snippet from Yahoo UK News:

Two British soldiers have been sent home from the Gulf for refusing to fight in a war involving the deaths of civilians, according to a solicitor who advises troops.
They weren't even upset with having to fire on children - they didn't want to kill civilians. The article does go on to quote a spokeswoman for the UK's Ministry of Defence who explained that they have no evidence that any soldiers had been sent home from Iraq or refusing to fight, but that's pretty clearly just official policy. The morning Iraqi TV claimed to have US POWs, the US Military explained that they were not missing any personnel. Hours later, Iraqi TV showed us the POWs - the US Military had lied, understandably.

Check out the ABC 11 article on Marines firing on Iraqi armed children here.
Read the article on the British soldiers refusing to fight here.

If either of the links have gone bad, check out page 2...



From WTVD, ABC Affilliate in Raleigh, North Carolina:

ABC 11 Exclusive: Camp Lejeune Marines Wounded in Nasiriyah Fighting



ABC 11's Keith Garvin reports at least 25 Marines from Camp Lejeune were wounded during urban combat in the city of Nasiriyah.


"We are just now hearing our first missile launches and explosions for the first time in the last two hours or so," Garvin reported just after 2:00 a.m. Thursday in Baghdad (6:00pm ET Wednesday). "Camp Lejeune Marines outside the city of An Nasiriyah began a battle about six hours ago after commanders learned about 2,000 Iraqi troops were advancing toward the camp."

Garvin spoke live over the phone as explosions were heard in the background. "We have some civilians who live behind us, where the camp is set up, and the commanders noticed some suspicious activity. They had begun digging bunkers, and when the commanders asked why they were doing that, they said that they had heard or felt that something bad was going to happen tonight." Garvin said that after commanders check with intelligence and reconnaissance crews, they learned of the Iraqi plan to attack.

Garvin says he and photographer Dave Anderson were called in to a briefing by Lt. Col. Tom Gobin around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday Baghdad time. "He told us about the plot, he told us that there would be a number of artillery units supporting us, and they thought that we would be able to quell this uprising, and as he was telling us that, shots just rang out of nowhere," Garvin said.

Explosions continued as Garvin spoke. "I hope you all can hear this because it's really quite powerful," Garvin said. "You can feel these blasts, which I believe are only about five or six miles away, you can feel them all the way into your stomach. They picked up about 20 minutes ago after not seeing any activity for about the past two hours or so, which could tell us that these troops which were laying low may be trying to advance on this camp again."

"Camp Lejeune Marines who are out in the field engaged in house-to-house combat defended their terrority as well as they could," Garvin said. "Unfortunately, we have gotten an update and there appears to be at least 25 Camp Lejeune Marines who have been wounded in the battle inside An Nasiriyah. Also, about 15 Iraqi nationals; we don't know if they are soldiers or civilians, but they have been brought to this medical facility. The problem is, there's no moon out, it's also been very overcast all day, so the Army, which is responsible for evacuating wounded soldiers and wounded enemy prisoners of war out, they have not been able to fly, so the medical staff has been forced to take the wounded to larger facilities by ground. They've had to place them in ambulances and they haven't been able to get them out as quickly as possible."

Garvin later reported at 11:00pm ET that none of the wounded Marines had died, that they had left his camp and "looked pretty good" when they left.

Garvin said the Marines had faced the first wave of the attack by the Iraqi troops. During the fighting, Iraqi soldiers used women as shields and gave weapons to children. "Unfortunately some of the children have been firing at our Marines and our Marines have been forced to defend themselves," he said.

Garvin also said the fighting was intense enough that Marines called for help. "They were inside the city fighting and they were almost being overrun. They called in for some artillery." Garvin reported "a good two hours" of missile launches and artillery firing took place.

Online producer: Shaun Chavis Benchi





Last Updated: Mar 26, 2003



From Yahoo UK News:

UK soldiers sent home from Iraq 'for refusing to fight'

Two British soldiers have been sent home from the Gulf for refusing to fight in a war involving the deaths of civilians, according to a solicitor who advises troops.

Justin Hugheston-Roberts says the soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester, Essex, told their commanding officers they would not take part in the military action.

Mr Hugheston-Roberts, chairman of Forces Law, said they could be thrown out of the Army or have to face a court martial. It is understood they are a private and an air technician.

Mr Hugheston-Roberts said his organisation, which links service personnel with specialist solicitors across the country, had been approached by a number of people serving in the current conflict.

He said: "We had a number of enquiries from services personnel saying we want to leave now. I am acting for a client who was returned from theatre a matter of a couple of weeks ago.

"In previous conflicts we have had all personnel from all aspects of the military contact the network and find out how they can get out of the services. Normally this is just prior to the conflict."

He said he could not comment further on his client who has been returned from the Gulf, but said the case was "completely dissimilar" to that of the two soldiers.

A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Defence said: "We have no evidence that anybody has been sent back for refusing to fight.

"We do get soldiers sent back all the time from theatre for various reasons such as medical, welfare and disciplinary things that need to be dealt with back in the units."

Personnel serving in the Gulf from 16 Air Assault Brigade include 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, 216 Signal Squadron and 16 Close Support Medical Regiment.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Ah the terrors of web design!

I've been using this great blogging script for months now and all of the sudden it's stopped working partially. It refuses to update some of the pages once I change the templates. It will change some of the pages, but not all of them. Very strange. My apartment is roasting, so I'm not in the best mood to deal with this, but if I stop now, I'll never get through it all... anyone have an old air conditioner they're not doing anything with?

Well, I think I've figured a way around the problem, but things are still a bit shakey - I'm concerned that this will happen in the other sections of my website that use this script. Basically, it just decided to stop updating all my "attached files" which are files not directly connected to the script, but that I use codes the script recognizes in those files. The script is supposed to automatically check those files, but suddenly, no go. I swear by Greymatter, but now, I'm not so sure it's as cool as it claims. However, even if just it's basic services function, it's still a great script.

Friday, March 28, 2003

THE 5 MINUTE SHOW BREAKS DOWN THE IRAQ ATTACK!


Click here for previous episodes!
THE 5 MINUTE SHOW EPISODE 12
IS READY TO FLY!

This week, The 5 Minute Show breaks down the truth behind the Iraqi people and why they're playing so hard to liberate. Download today!
Each episode is under 10 mbs in Real Media
but is between 10 & 15 mbs in Quicktime...

STREAM REAL MEDIA EPISODE 12
DL REAL MEDIA EPISODE 12
DL/STREAM QUICKTIME EPISODE 12
(Quicktime version not recommended -
it's file-size is huge and has crappy sound!)

stream last week's Real Media episode
dl last week's Real Media episode
dl/stream last week's Quicktime episode
(Quicktime version not recommended -
it's file-size is huge and has crappy sound!)

ThePete is your host!

This week's title!

This week's guest!

LOOK!! IT'S THE 5 MINUTE SHOW TICKER!!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

SADDAM GAVE $170,000 TO DETROIT CHURCH

thepete20030327a (7k image)Seen here in a picture taken in 1980, Saddam Hussein, yes THAT Saddam Hussein travelled to the US for undisclosed reasons back when he was the US Government's middle eastern darling. According to an article at WNDU.com, he met with Father Jacob Yasso who explained to Saddam that his church was in debt for $170,000. Saddam simply replied that he would cover that debt. According to this same article, Hussein went on to donate more money to several churches in the area.

The point here is not to say that Saddam is neccesarily a good guy, just because he donated some money to some churches, but to say that people who do nice things aren't neccesarily good guys, either. Think about that, the next time Phillip Morris donates money to battered women's shelters or US surgeons operate on Iraqi wounded...

Check out the original article at WNDU.com.

From WNDU.com:


Saddam Hussein: Honorary citizen of Detroit, Michigan


Posted: 03/26/2003 04:09 pm
Years before Saddam Hussein became an enemy to the United States, he was reportedly seen as a friend and made an honorary Detroit citizen.

In 1980 when Saddam Hussein was on good terms with America, he was quite the giver. Hussein donated money to help several churches in the motor city, Detroit.

There are pictures of a meeting between a Detroit priest and Saddam Hussein when he accepted the donation.

Father Jacob Yasso of the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church says, "He said, 'We hear you have a debt on your church'. I said, 'Yes Mr. President'. He said, 'How much?'. I said '$170,000'. He said, 'I'll pay it off for you'."

Father Yasso returned the favor at that same meeting 23 years ago. He gave Hussein a key to the city of Detroit making him an honorary citizen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

IF AN IRAQI MARKET IS BOMBED AND NO US MEDIA COVERS IT, DID IT HAPPEN?

That's the question of the hour as Britain's Sky News reports on their web site that two US missiles apparently missed their target and tore into a Baghdad market and an apartment building killing 15 Iraqi civilians Wednesday morning (3/26 Iraqi-time). The funny thing is, CNN hasn't touched this story. And apparently, neither have any other mainstream western news sources.thepete20030326a (9k image)
In this time of war, it's difficult to decide what to cover, but one thing journalists should definitely NOT do is ignore when the so-called "good-guys" screw up. The truth is the truth. It's that simple. The other day when watching CNN on Television, viewers were informed that while Iraqi officials were threatening to display dead US soldiers and US POWs on TV, the US Government claimed that they were missing no personnel. However, a handful of hours later and Iraqi officials made good on their promise. The US Government had lied to the press - there were troops MIA - but did CNN point out that sometimes the Government and the military have to lie to protect operations? No.

It's fine to watch CNN and other American news outlets, but just be sure to balance it out with news sources from other countries. Because balance is just something you won't get from reporters in America. Sadly, enough...

Please check out the Sky News article here. If it's gone, please check out page 2 to read the text of the article.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Okay... getting there...

Okay, TheTagBoard is back on the main page and I'll be changing around the text links above the latest entry in the next day or two. Then I have to work on the rest of the sites. Lots to do... hey, anyone have a 2nd PC they're not using? I'll buy it cheap of ya! Heh. Sorry, I've got so much to do, I could use the extra computing power. Soooo busy... editing video, my web sites, too much! (I'm also supposed to be a writer! SHEESH!)

Anyway, that's it for now - don't expect too many more changes for a while. I still have to work out where TheBeauty add will go... Oh well, a perfectionist's work is never done!

Yes, that's right, I am a masochist.

Once again, I have endeavored (sp???) to redesign my main page with the concept of simplicty at it's center. ALAS, I think I'm still not quite there. DAMN IT. For now it will have to do...

TheTagBoard has been moved to a pop-up - just click "TheTagBoard" in the main title bar over this entry to get to it. Also, I added a video of the moment and audio of the moment to accent the picture of the moment. Overall, I like to think this version is more simple (better) than the last. Also, I like to think it's better looking. Please, someone, leave a comment agreeing with me... I am ready to throw my web site out the window...

More video coming soon, I promise. Plus an episode of the 5 Minute Show withOUT any protest footage!! (It will talk about the war, though!) Let's just hope I can shoot it, edit it while editing my other projects and doing the dishes and doing my laundry... ugh...

All right, good night... (yes, I KNOW it's 6am!! Leave me alone!!)

Monday, March 24, 2003

Help ThePete! (Please!)



Link to ThePete.Com!
ThePete.Com - STUFF!
Wish Lists:
ThinkGeek
Caffeine and gadgets to help ThePete's cool crap fetish...

Amazon.Com
Books, videos, comics...

Amazon.Co.UK
Books, videos from the UK! (Don't worry, they deliver to the US!)

Or just buy stuff from ThePeteStuff Store!

Friends of ThePete.Com!

Check out these great sites run by Friends of ThePete.Com!

SierraRein.Com
The OFFICIAL site for singer/actor extraordinaire Sierra Rein. Visit and marvel at her beauty/talent/humor/brains!

Teenage Wasteland
My good friend (and fellow writer) Jen's website where you'll find various Rock -N- Roll stuff, a wallpaper or two and Jen's fine artwork. (She doesn't work on this page at all anymore, though... 4/24/5) Check out her new page at Deviant Art!

www.TIMTOON.com
Pal Tim's site featuring Farscape stuff, personal pics and (most importantly) the WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Page! Stop on by!

The-Romeros.com
Computer guru pal Alejandro's site.

Becky's Live Journal
My pal (and fellow MSTie) Becky's web log - she updates it quite regularly. Also check out Becky's Artist Archives and Becky's Chicken Scratches for Becky's art - much better than she makes it sound!

The Blog of the D'angelo Family
Fellow MSTie and email pal Chad's web log! Check it out!

Craphound.com
Fellow (& more successful) scifi writer Cory Doctorow's cool retro-futura site. Also visit BoingBoing.net to check out the directory of wonderful things Cory helps run.

Sparacin.com
This is my step-dad's business site. Got a life story you want written as a novel? HE'S YOUR MAN!

MPAC TV
My step-sister Emilie doesn't have a web page (she doesn't even have a computer!!) but she works for a public access TV station that does. If you're really clever you might find her picture on the site, too!

Stennieville.com
My pal Heidi's web site. Check out her blog, her movie reviews AND MORE!

StarTrekAuthor.com
My pal Jill's site. Yes, she has actually written Star Trek Books.

LisaRein.com
My future sister-in-law, insanely intelligent Internet guru and singer's web site. Also check out OnLisaReinsRadar.com
for stuff she wants YOU to know about!

Foxxie!!
This is my step-sister Marjorie's page for her dog Foxxie. The page is a bit hokey, but Foxxie's so cuuuuute!

Groovetown
My old friend Rick's site based around the classic British SciFi sitcom Red Dwarf. He also runs Crapola Inc another RD site. Check them both out!

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Quick LA protest clip up from the Oscars!

ThePete, here... Well, sorry this is so minimal. I've got almost two hours of footage to get through and a lot of capping. I did cap the final excitement for the afternoon. At approximately 6:15pm, LAPD in riot gear decided to clear us out of our little protest section and began running after us. I'm not sure how serious they were about arresting us, but I didn't stick around to find out. Check out the below Real Media clip to see why I won't be getting any cinematography awards...

The first person you see in the clip is a guy who was arrested the day before at another rally in Hollywood - this one at the CNN building. The rest is pretty self-explanatory...

cop chase clip 3mb streaming Real Media.

More clips coming soon! Please comment if you have any thoughts whatsoever.

ANTI-WAR PROTEST FOOTAGE ON THE 5 MINUTE SHOW

Hi, ThePete here... When I'm not posting articles here, I am busy with the rest of my web site. One of the things I do is shoot a weekly show called "The 5 Minute Show". Most of the episodes are dumb fun, but the last four have been much more serious and feature footage I shot at the big anti-war rally in Hollywood back on February 15. Please check out the episodes - hey, they're only five minutes a pop - and I've got more footage on the way. I shot stuff on the 20th and I plan on being at the protest within a block from the Oscars on the 23rd, as well. I'll be posting clips as I can cut them together. There's been so much going on, it's been very difficult to work out what to write about.

Guest-starring...All links here are streaming Real Media, but you can download them or Quicktime versions by checking out The 5 Minute Show Home Page. Just remember, I'm no Jon Stewart (and neither is my budget!). Here are the episodes of The 5 Minute Show:

THEPETE GOES TO (ANTI)WAR IN EP. 7 OF THE 5 MINUTE SHOW

THEPETE STILL WAGING ANTI-WAR IN EP8 of THE 5 MINUTE SHOW

THEPETE & LA VS. BUSH & WAR IN EP 9 OF THE 5 MINUTE SHOW

EP. 10 of THE 5 MINUTE SHOW - VIDAL, PATRIOT ACT 2 & MORE

And here's the episode I shot the day the war broke:
IRAQ ATTACK IS BAD on Ep11 OF THE 5 MINUTE SHOW

Thursday, March 20, 2003

IRAQ ATTACK = BAD! Find out why on T5MS!


Click here for previous episodes!
THE 5 MINUTE SHOW EPISODE 11
FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN!

The Iraq Attack is on and it's bad - download this week's episode now to find out why ThePete thinks so. (It's not what you think!)

Each episode is under 10 mbs in Real Media
but is between 10 & 15 mbs in Quicktime...

STREAM REAL MEDIA EPISODE 11
DL REAL MEDIA EPISODE 11
DL/STREAM QUICKTIME EPISODE 11
(Quicktime version not recommended -
it's file-size is huge and has crappy sound!)

stream last week's Real Media episode
dl last week's Real Media episode
dl/stream last week's Quicktime episode
(Quicktime version not recommended -
it's file-size is huge and has crappy sound!)

ThePete is your host!

This week's guest! (Well, not really...)

Visit the UN web site!

Tune in for all of the surprises!!

War...

Gotta love King George - he gets in office under questionable circumstances, within months is fielding his first international crisis (China and a US spy plane), months after that, 911 happens. Months after that, Afghanistan is invaded and the world is promised a democratic government where the Taliban were (which it never gets). Months after that, Osama was still free. Months after that, we still don't have hard facts resulting from any investigations into how 911 was allowed to happen. Months later we are distracted from all that other important stuff by a war with Iraq.

Nice.

A special war-time edition of The 5 Minute Show is coming and believe it or not, it is funny. At least, I think so...

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

One last batch of changes!

Yep, I couldn't resist. I just had to make some more changes. But I really expect these to be the last for a while. I really don't think I can simplify my site(s) any more than I have. Here's how it breaks down:

ThePete.Com = All of my personal stuff - TheBlog, personal pics, home vids, tagboard, webcams, etc.

FAP = Everything creatively professional about me. The 5 Minute Show, my OJ Docu, my comics, that sort of thing.

KnowThings.Org = This is my info/news clearing house page. I'm looking for likeminded writers to help me cover the news that mainstream sites let fall through the cracks. Let me know if you're interested in helping!

KE = Kirque Enterprises - this is my distribution arm. Kirque builds and hosts web sites, encodes and authors DVDs, etc. (this page has not been built yet, so don't bother clicking on the link... it'll come in the next day or so.)

Have I forgotten anything? Let me know!!! I hope all this makes sense - please let me know what you think!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2003

We lost 2 of our pets tonight...

Yep, and I know they were only mice, but it's still sad to lose them. We're not sure how old either of them were, but Destroyah was old and Mosura was genetically inferior - so he was smaller than the rest naturally - because of that, we couldn't be sure of what age he was. But now both of them have died. Leaving our menagerie depressed and smaller. TheFiancee and I bid a teary farewell as we buried Mosura and Destroyah in the largest patch of dirt we could find out behind our apartment building. (Burying pets while living in the city sucks.)

Mosura and Destroyah, we love you guys!

Friday, March 7, 2003

FLASHBACK: UC BERKELEY BREAKS THROUGH TO CHEAP SOLAR CELLS

Back in March of 2002, the University of California: Berkeley posted a press release at their web site announcing that they had discovered a way to make solar cells in a cup, rather than in so-called 'clean rooms' or vacuum chambers that up the cost of producing solar cells. Check out the link below to read the press release from UC Berkely or check out page 2 if the link has gone bad and to check out a CNN.com article that is no longer available on the site.

UCBerkely press release: "Cheap, plastic solar cells may be on the horizon, thanks to new technology developed by UC Berkeley, LBNL chemists"



Originally from the UC Berkely Website:

Cheap, plastic solar cells may be on the horizon, thanks to new technology developed by UC Berkeley, LBNL chemists


28 March 2002

By Bob Sanders, Media Relations

Berkeley - University of California, Berkeley, chemists have found a way to make cheap plastic solar cells flexible enough to paint onto any surface and potentially able to provide electricity for wearable electronics or other low-power devices.

The group's first crude solar cells have achieved efficiencies of 1.7 percent, far less than the 10 percent efficiencies of today's standard commercial photovoltaics. The best solar cells, which are very expensive semiconductor laminates, convert, at most, 35 percent of the sun's energy into electricity.


A panel of eight plastic solar cells based on inorganic nanorods and semiconducting polymers. The shiny ovals are the aluminum back electrodes of the individual solar cells.

"Our efficiency is not good enough yet by about a factor of 10, but this technology has the potential to do a lot better," said A. Paul Alivisatos, professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and a member of the Materials Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "There is a pretty clear path for us to take to make this perform much better."

Alivisatos and his co-authors, graduate student Wendy U. Huynh and post-doctoral fellow Janke J. Dittmer, report their development in the March 29 issue of Science.

"The beauty of this is that you could put solar cells directly on plastic, which has unlimited flexibility," Dittmer said. "This opens up all sorts of new applications, like putting solar cells on clothing to power LEDs, radios or small computer processors."

The solar cell they have created is actually a hybrid, comprised of tiny nanorods dispersed in an organic polymer or plastic. A layer only 200 nanometers thick is sandwiched between electrodes, and can produce, at present, about 0.7 volts. The electrode layers and nanorod/polymer layers could be applied in separate coats, making production fairly easy. And unlike today's semiconductor-based photovoltaic devices, plastic solar cells can be manufactured in solution in a beaker without the need for clean rooms or vacuum chambers.

"Today's high-efficiency solar cells require very sophisticated processing inside a clean room and complex engineering to make the semiconductor sandwiches," Alivisatos said. "And because they are baked inside a vacuum chamber, they have to be made relatively small."

The team's process for making hybrid plastic solar cells involves none of this.

"We use a much dirtier process that makes it cheap," Huynh said.

The technology takes advantage of recent advances in nanotechnology, specifically the production of nanocrystals and nanorods pioneered by Alivisatos and his laboratory colleagues. These are chemically pure clusters of from 100 to 100,000 atoms with dimensions on the order of a nanometer, or a billionth of a meter. Because of their small size, they exhibit unusual and interesting properties governed by quantum mechanics, such as the absorption of different colors of light depending upon their size.



Schematic diagram of a hybrid "plastic" solar cell with a nanorod/polymer layer sandwiched between two electrodes. The middle layer, a mere 200 nanometers thick, is a jumble of nanorods embedded in the semiconducting polymer.


It was only two years ago that a UC Berkeley team led by Alivisatos found a way to make nanorods of a reliable size out of cadmium selenide, a semiconducting material. Conventional semiconductor solar cells are made of polycrystalline silicon or, in the case of the highest efficiency ones, crystalline gallium arsenide.

Huynh and Dittmer manufactured nanorods in a beaker containing cadmium selenide, aiming for rods of a diameter - 7 nanometers - to absorb as much sunlight as possible. They also aimed for nanorods as long as possible - in this case, 60 nanometers. They then mixed the nanorods with a plastic semiconductor, called P3HT - poly-(3-hexylthiophene) - and coated a transparent electrode with the mixture. The thickness, 200 nanometers - a thousandth the thickness of a human hair - is a factor of 10 less than the micron-thickness of semiconductor solar cells. An aluminum coating acting as the back electrode completed the device.

The nanorods act like wires. When they absorb light of a specific wavelength, they generate an electron plus an electron hole - a vacancy in the crystal that moves around just like an electron. The electron travels the length of the rod until it is collected by the aluminum electrode. The hole is transferred to the plastic, which is known as a hole-carrier, and conveyed to the electrode, creating a current.

P3HT and similar plastic semiconductors currently are a hot area of research in solar cell technology, but by themselves these plastics are lucky to achieve light-conversion efficiencies of several percent.

"All solar cells using plastic semiconductors have been stuck at two percent efficiency, but we have that much at the beginning of our research," Huynh said. "I think we can do so much better than plastic electronics."

"The advantage of hybrid materials consisting of inorganic semiconductors and organic polymers is that potentially you get the best of both worlds," Dittmer added. "Inorganic semiconductors offer excellent, well-established electronic properties and they are very well suited as solar cell materials. Polymers offer the advantage of solution processing at room temperature, which is cheaper and allows for using fully flexible substrates, such as plastics."

Visiting scientist Keith Barnham, professor of physics at Imperial College, London, and an expert on high-efficiency solar cells, agreed.

"This is exciting, cheap technology if they can get the efficiency up to 10 percent, which I think they will, in time," Barnham said. "Paul's approach is a very promising way to get around the problem of the efficiency of plastic solar cells."

Some of the obvious improvements include better light collection and concentration, which already are employed in commercial solar cells. But Alivisatos and his colleagues hope to make significant improvements in the plastic/nanorod mix, too, ideally packing the nanorods closer together, perpendicular to the electrodes, using minimal polymer, or even none - the nanorods would transfer their electrons more directly to the electrode. In their first-generation solar cells, the nanorods are jumbled up in the polymer, leading to losses of current via electron-hole recombination and thus lower efficiency.

They also hope to tune the nanorods to absorb different colors to span the spectrum of sunlight. An eventual solar cell might have three layers, each made of nanorods that absorb at different wavelengths.

"For this to really find widespread use, we will have to get up to around 10 percent efficiency," Alivisatos said. "But we think it's very doable."

The work was funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy.

A panel of eight plastic solar cells based on inorganic nanorods and semiconducting polymers. The shiny ovals are the aluminum back electrodes of the individual solar cells.

Schematic diagram of a hybrid "plastic" solar cell with a nanorod/polymer layer sandwiched between two electrodes. The middle layer, a mere 200 nanometers thick, is a jumble of nanorods embedded in the semiconducting polymer.



From Reuters.com and CNN.com:

Group makes plastic solar energy cells

March 29, 2002 Posted: 9:46 AM EST (1446 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Cheap, plastic solar cells that can be painted onto just about any surface could provide power for a range of portable and even wearable electronic devices, scientists said on Thursday.

A team at the University of California Berkeley said they had come up with a first generation of plastic solar cells, which could someday replace the bulky and expensive silicon-based cells used widely now.

"Our efficiency is not good enough yet by about a factor of 10, but this technology has the potential to do a lot better," Paul Alivisatos, a professor of chemistry who led the study, said in a statement.

"There is a pretty clear path for us to take to make this perform much better."

Alivisatos and his team, reporting in the journal Science, said they had created a hybrid solar cell, made of tiny nanorods dispersed in plastic. Sandwiched between electrodes, the hair-thin layer produces about 0.7 volts, they said.

They can be made "quick and dirty" in a laboratory beaker without the need for clean rooms or vacuum chambers, the researchers said.

"Today's high-efficiency solar cells require very sophisticated processing inside a clean room and complex engineering to make the semiconductor sandwiches," Alivisatos said. "And because they are baked inside a vacuum chamber, they have to be made relatively small."

"The beauty of this is that you could put solar cells directly on plastic, which has unlimited flexibility," added Janke Dittmer, who also worked on the study.

"This opens up all sorts of new applications, like putting solar cells on clothing to power LEDs (light-emitting diodes), radios or small computer processors."


Most solar panels used today are too bulky and expensive to be used with portable devices.


Copyright 2002 Reuters.

911 FLASHBACK - 911 TERRORIST ISSUED VISA!

This one is from March 13, 2002 and before anyone is accused of being a person who should know better, there is little doubt that such a typical SNAFU could take place inside the government. But one would think that after the events of 9/11/01, the INS and the rest of the USG would scour their offices for any references to the terrorists aboard those four flights. Of course, this is old news, now, but if you're interested, check out the link below to read the original article over at Washingtonpost.com. If the link goes bad, check out page 2.

The original article: "Terrorist Pilots' Student Visas Arrive"

From WashingtonPost.com:

Terrorist Pilots' Student Visas Arrive

Officials Blame 'Antiquated' System for Delay of Paperwork

By Dan Eggen and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 13, 2002; Page A01

Exactly six months after terrorists Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi flew two jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Florida flight school that trained the men received paperwork showing that their student visas had been approved.

The two suicide hijackers had applied for the visas through their flight school, Huffman Aviation International, in August 2000. But because of backlogs and an antiquated processing system at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, notification of the approval did not arrive at the Venice, Fla., flight school until Monday.

The belated receipt of the documents underscores the chronic problems that continue to plague the beleaguered INS -- the target of strenuous reform efforts since the Sept. 11 attacks -- and prompted howls of outrage yesterday from Capitol Hill.

"This shows once again the complete incompetence of the immigration service to enforce our laws and protect our borders," said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who has co-sponsored legislation to break up the agency. "If you look at the chronology of this, it shows why the INS has to be dismantled and put back together again."

INS and Justice Department officials acknowledged yesterday that the delayed mailings were embarrassing, but stressed that the change to student visas for Atta and Alshehhi was actually approved last summer. The pair had entered the United States on tourist visas.

In addition, the INS said in a statement, "when the applications were approved, the INS had no information indicating that Atta or Alshehhi had ties to terrorist organizations."

The records received by Huffman, first reported by CNN, show that Atta's visa was approved July 17 and Alshehhi's was approved Aug. 9. The visa approvals came well after the two would-be hijackers had completed their training course at Huffman, which cost $27,300 each and ended in January 2001.

That means it took the INS nearly a year to process the visa applications after they were submitted by a Huffman official in August 2000, and seven months more to return the forms to the flight school. The schools are not required to deny instruction to foreign nationals while the visa applicants wait for an INS decision, officials said.

Huffman owner Rudi Dekkers said he feels vindicated by receipt of the forms, because they prove his school followed INS guidelines.

"It's very strange," Dekkers said. "I have no idea why it took so long."

INS officials said in a statement last night that the agency "regrets the late arrival of notifications to the school," and blamed the delay on an "antiquated, inaccurate, untimely" and inefficient paper-based processing system. The INS is switching over to a computer-based system, which was first mandated by Congress as part of an immigration reform package in 1996.

"How can these guys get training before they're approved to get training? That's a legitimate issue," one senior Justice official said. "But it's important to note that these guys were approved long before anyone in law enforcement knew they had ties to terrorist groups."

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), head of a congressional caucus that seeks reduced immigration, said the agency is "completely and totally dysfunctional.

"The INS is the Mickey Mouse Club of federal agencies, but this actually would indicate that's an insult to Mickey Mouse," Tancredo said. "I do not know what straw is possibly going to be the one that will break this back. The pile is so high now you can't see over it."

A spokeswoman for ACS Inc., the contractor that runs the London, Ky., processing center that mailed the paperwork to Huffman, said that INS rules allow the company to wait six months before sending approved student visa applications to flight schools. "There was no delay," said Lesley Pool. "We perform our services according to their dictates."

INS and Justice officials said last night that the company's latest contract, announced last fall, reduces the deadline to 30 days, officials said.

Ben Ferro, a former INS district administrator who now runs a consulting firm, said the Atta and Alshehhi cases reflect how the immigration service has lost control of its own documents.

"What happened here is an embarrassment and worse," Ferro said. "Clearly INS doesn't discriminate in its backlogs and delays. Everyone gets delayed, even dead people."


© 2002 The Washington Post Company

911 CREEPY FLASHBACK - CASH CO-INKY-DINK

ThePete, here. I'm going to be posting some articles I've been keeping on my hard drive since 911 since I kept them with this site in mind, but I just haven't had time to post them, until now. First up, we have a little coincidence (I'm sure that's all that it is) that I'm sure we've all heard about. See, if you fold an American twenty dollar bill just right, you create what some describe to be the image of the Twin Towers just after they had both been struck by airplanes. Click the image below for a bigger version:

91120dollar (135k image)

Kooky, ain't it?

As I recall, this image originally appeared on the now defunct ArtBell.com.