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Friday, February 13, 2009

Cocaine now Cheaper than Beer and Wine

A line of cocaine is now cheaper than a pint of lager or a glass of wine, official figures have disclosed.

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Cocaine cheaper than lager and wine as drug price falls by half
45 kilos of Cocaine Photo: PA

The Home Office has admitted that the street price of both cocaine and heroin has fallen by nearly half in the last ten years, making the most dangerous illegal drugs cheaper than they have ever been.

Based on reports from police forces, the Home Office said that cocaine is now being sold for as little as £20 a gram in some parts of the country.

The most common price for the drug is £40 per gram. Home Office figures for 1998 show the average price was £77.

A gram of heroin can now be bought for as little as £25, with the average price somewhere between £40 and £50 per gram. In 1998, the average was £74.

The Home Office figures are based on data collected from police forces and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

According to DrugScope, a charity that provides research and advice on drugs policy, gram of cocaine can make between 10 and 20 lines for snorting, depending on its strength.

That means a line of cocaine can cost as little as £1, with an average price per line of between £2 and £4.

The average price of a pint of lager is around £2.75, although some pub chains have reacted to the credit crunch by cutting the price of a pint as low as 99p. A glass of wine typically costs £3.50.

The figures were uncovered by the Tories, who said they proved that Labour had failed to stem the flow of Class A drugs into the UK.

James Brokenshire, the Conservative shadow home affairs minister, called the figures "startling."

He said: "These startling figures show the reality of drug use in Britain. Price falls of this nature indicate that the supply of hard drugs into this country has jumped. It's a serious indictment of Labour's failure to combat drug crime and stem the flow of drugs onto our streets."

Less cocaine is being intercepted on Britain's borders. The Home Office figures last year showed that the total weight of cocaine seized actually fell by 15 per cent a year, and it has halved in five years.

In 2003, 6,813 kg of cocaine was seized by police and customs officers in England and Wales. In 2006/07, it was 3,191kg. The last time cocaine seizures were smaller was 1999.

The Home Office suggested that drug prices may be falling partly because fewer people are buying drugs.

A spokesperson said: "A reduction in price may be associated with increased competition or reduced demand, not just increased availability.

"The British Crime Survey data shows that among 16-59 year olds Class A drug use in the past year declined from 3.4% in 2006/07 to 3.0% in 2007/08.

"In relation to cocaine the average purity at street level has declined continuously for a number of years, from 51% in 2003 to 34% in 2007."

May I Have This Dance? Neigh... (Seriously, Great Pic) — Stallions fighting on North Dakota reservation. Enlargeable, wallpaper.

The World's Best Piano Playing Cat

Features all-new footage and more duets. Better than the original! This is not a trick taught to Nora. She began sitting at the piano at about one-year-old. She's almost four now. She plays only when the mood strikes her, which is usually several time a times a day for short periods.

© 2007/2008 Yow!/Alexander, Nora The Piano Cat, LLC

A DVD of Nora's YouTube videos in full-size (for the big screen) is now available on or on The three videos included on the DVD are "Nora: Practice Makes Purr-fect," "Nora: The Sequel," and "Nora Calls The Piano Tuner."

Joaquin Phoenix's Rap Career Is Not A Hoax

Joaquin Phoenix's Rap Career Is Not A Hoax
I've sat in a room with Joaquin Phoenix, smelled his cigarette smoke and seen through the dark shades to the once-familiar eyes underneath. And no, I still have no idea what the hell is going on with him. But, and I swear I'm not just saying this because I might wind up in his documentary, I'm convinced he's not a hoax.

Surely you've heard about it all by now-- the slurred red carpet announcement that he was done acting, the messy Las Vegas rap debut, and especially last night's disastrous Letterman appearance. Joaquin Phoenix's career has taken a sharp left turn, to a place that apparently bans razors and combs and considers a rap career a perfectly viable option for a white, Oscar-nominated actor raised by hippies.

Yesterday my online colleagues and I were gathered for the junket for Two Lovers the movie that Phoenix is ostensibly out promoting. What you saw on Letterman is essentially what we got-- a shambling, mumbling cipher, masked by sunglasses and facial hair, who showed no real interest in talking about the movie he was being paid to promote. It's unfair to accuse him of drug use, but it's a fair guess that some were involved. Because Casey Affleck and his crew were there filming the interview for the documentary about Phoenix's new career, we indulged him in his desire to talk about rapping, and maybe because of that, we got more out of him than Letterman did. He was talkative, almost friendly, admitting he's planning to collaborate with Diddy and talking about his plans for dance songs, even "sexy songs," on his rap album. He mentioned how much he hates promoting films, which we had pretty much guessed, but also trashed acting in general, saying that talking about your emotional connection to your character is just something you say "when you're trying to get nominated."

The only bit of that open disdain he showed Letterman-- and Letterman shoved right back at him-- came when one reporter dared to ask the question on everyone's mind: basically, "Is this a put on?" Phoenix acted as if he'd been slapped, as if he hadn't heard the question in dozens of interviews already. "It's hard not to get offended," he responded, as if his dedication to rap throughout his life should be enough evidence that this is all for real. And while he seemed to shrug it off, and the interview proceeded however bizarrely from there, Affleck jumped in at the end, telling the reporter she was so busy being "savvy" that she wasn't able to accept the honesty behind it (at least, I think that's what he was going for). I'm not sure who's drinking the Kool-Aid and who's serving it, but neither man seems capable of understanding the main reaction this whole rap career has gotten: total skepticism..

The junket proceeded from there, and we talked to Two Lovers director James Gray and co-star Vinessa Shaw, both of whom seemed baffled but otherwise unwilling to talk about Phoenix's behavior. Just when we thought it was OK to go, an hour after we'd expected thanks to Phoenix's late arrival, Casey Affleck came back in, sat us back down, and asked us to explain just why we didn't believe that his brother-in-law Joaquin was being anything less than genuine.

Where to begin, right? Casey listened attentively as the eight or so journalists left tried to make our case, citing everything from Joaquin's weird appearance and slurred speech to the checkered history of white rappers. But at no point did he seem to drop his position that we were the crazy ones, that people change careers all the time and Joaquin's rap career is no less unbelievable than, say, Scarlett Johansson dropping an album. Why couldn't we just be happy for him and let him do his thing? Haven't we ourselves ever wanted to do something different? (To prove this point, he actually went around the room and had us list all the jobs we've had before, and what we really want to be doing).

But amid the genuine dismay he seemed to have at our cynical questions, Casey gave an explanation that may have cracked the case. He blamed reality TV for our conception that everything has to be 100% fake or 100% real-- "there's a million shades of gray in-between." And that, more than anything seems to be the answer we're looking for. Joaquin Phoenix really does want to be a rapper, but he also really wants the attention that comes from appearing to have a breakdown in public. I told Casey that I was skeptical of how publicized the whole thing is, how Joaquin announced his retirement on the red carpet, rapped in Vegas for the first time only weeks later, and now has a documentary crew following him, assuring that we'll be hearing about MC JP or whatever for at least the next year. But given that Joaquin has willingly participated in the publicity tour for Two Lovers, all while barely talking about the movie itself, the publicity seems to be what it's all about. If he had cut an album in the privacy of his home and told us about it six months later, that would be beside the point. It's about the rapping, but it's also about subverting every expectation we have of the stern-jawed, Oscar-nominated actor.

So is it a stunt, or is it for real? As Casey hinted, it's a little bit of both. Joaquin Phoenix is never going to "break character," or admit the rapping was all a hoax, because it's not. Phoenix really does want to be a rapper, but who knows if it's because that's his lifelong artistic dream, or because it's the last thing we would have expected. The rapping, the beard, the Casey Affleck documentary-- it's all part of a package telling us "You think you know Joaquin Phoenix, but you have no fucking idea."

I was exhausted at the end of the day, slightly in shock that I'd spent the last hour being grilled by Casey Affleck, and more sure than ever that, whatever else is going on, we're not being punk'd by Joaquin Phoenix. Whether it's drugs talking, or an actual nervous breakdown, or a Britney-esque desire to distance himself as much as possible from his matinee idol potential, Phoenix feels everything he's doing as genuinely as we might have thought he felt his characters in his movies. Acting isn't really him, he told us, but this-- whatever this is-- is real. For lack of a better option, I choose to believe him.

Germany Aims Big with a 960-Megawatt Offshore Wind Farm

by Kristie Wilson

rwe innogy, enova wind farm, german offshore wind farm, renewable energy, offshore wind turbines, wind farm, sustainable design, 960 megawatt wind farm

When it comes to offshore wind farms in the North Sea, bigger is certainly better! RWE Innogy, a German-based company, recently acquired the rights to a 960 Megawatt offshore wind project from ENOVA Energieanlagen GmbH, a subsidiary of the ENOVA Group. The offshore wind farm, named Innogy Nordsee 1, is anticipated to run just under 4,000 full-load hours and with the ability to supply over 3 TWh (Terawatt-hours) of electricity per year! Consisting of up to 250 wind turbines planned, each with a capacity of 5 to 6 Megawatts, this will be Germany’s largest offshore wind farm.

rwe innogy, enova wind farm, german offshore wind farm, renewable energy, offshore wind turbines, wind farm, sustainable design, 960 megawatt wind farm

This gigantic offshore wind farm will span an area of around 56 square-miles at a location just 25 miles north of the North Sea island of Juist. RWE Innogy and Enova are investing approximately €2.8 billion into the project. Pending approval, its initial preparations will start in 2010 and its first wind turbines could start running as early as 2011. The project expected to be completed by 2015.

RWE’s construction of Innogy Nordsee 1 marks an important step towards achieving the climate and protection targets set by Germany and EU. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, the wind farm alone will avoid approximately 2.6 million tones of CO2 annually—a pretty nice number for a country who has pledged a key role in reducing emissions for the EU. RWE has other ambitious wind farm projects planned for countries such as Poland and Wales, and with competitors from neighboring countries, it doesn’t seem like RWE has any plans to slow down anytime soon.

RWE states: Some 1000 MW of wind power on the high seas – that is the largest single project RWE has undertaken so far in the area of renewables. Even in these times of economic crisis, RWE Innogy is consciously stepping up its investment pace.”

+ RWE Innogy

Via Treehugger

rwe innogy, enova wind farm, german offshore wind farm, renewable energy, offshore wind turbines, wind farm, sustainable design, 960 megawatt wind farmLeft: Wind Farm at North Hoyle. Right: Construction of the Rhyl Flats offshore wind farm

rwe innogy, enova wind farm, german offshore wind farm, renewable energy, offshore wind turbines, wind farm, sustainable design, 960 megawatt wind farm

Biggest Solar Deal Ever Announced — We're Talking Gigawatts

By Alexis Madrigal Email


The largest series of solar installations in history, more than 1,300 megawatts, is planned for the desert outside Los Angeles, according to a new deal between the utility Southern California Edison and solar power plant maker, BrightSource.

The momentous deal will deliver more electricity than even the largest nuclear plant, spread out among seven facilities, the first of which will start up in 2013. When fully operational, the companies say the facility will provide enough electricity to power 845,000 homes — more than exist in San Francisco — though estimates like that are notoriously squirrely.

The technology isn't the familiar photovoltaics — the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity — but solar thermal power, which concentrates the sun's rays to create steam in a boiler and spin a turbine.

"We do see solar as the large untapped resource, particularly in Southern California," said Stuart Hemphill, vice president of renewable energy and power at Southern California Edison. "It's barely tapped and we're eager to see it expand in our portfolio."

BrightSource is the reincarnation of Luz International, which built the only currently operating solar thermal facility during the 1980s in the Mojave Desert. After natural gas and energy prices plunged in 1985, that operation became unprofitable. The group's engineers and founders moved the business to Israel, where they continued to work on their technology.

The new deal breaks the company's own record for the largest ever solar deal. The new installations, when completed, will produce 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Previously, they'd cut a deal to deliver 900 megawatts of power to the Northern California utility, PG&E.

"Coupled with our earlier partnership with PG&E, this agreement proves that the energy industry recognizes the important role that solar thermal will play in the energy future," John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource, said in a press conference with reporters.

While Brightsource is a leader in the field, a variety of other companies compete in the solar thermal space. and other investors have backed eSolar's with $130 million funding. Abu Dhabi's clean-tech fund, Masdar, has funded a $1.2 billion solar thermal company called Torresol. Yet another player, Abengoa, recently signed a $4 billion deal with Arizona Public Utilities, and Stirling Energy Systems, a company that has adapted the Stirling Engine, a 200-year-old invention, for concentrated solar power, even pulled in a $100 million investment.

The first of the seven installations will be in Ivanpah, California and will be rated at 100 megawatts of peak power. The companies expect it to produce 286,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year. When all the installations are finished, they'll stretch over 10,500 acres of land.

Southern California Edison's Hemphill said that the new plants would provide a valuable hedge against volatile natural gas prices, noting that his company had seen natural gas prices as low as $4 per thousand million cubic feet (a standard industry measure) and as high as $16. Given the variability of natural gas pricing, Hemphill said that his company did not expect the solar thermal electricity to exceed the market cost of electricity in California.

The 1980s-era solar thermal plants use the oldest solar thermal technology around, known as a parabolic trough. Mirrors shaped like a paper-towel roll cut in half concentrate the sun's rays on a liquid. That heat can be transformed into various types of energy. The Luz fields made electricity, but Frank Shuman built a plant based on this principle to pump water in Egypt in the first decade of the 20th century.

The new design sounds more exciting. Mirrors that track the sun — heliostats — sit in a massive field around a tower with a boiler. All those mirrors concentrate the sun's heat on the boiler, which makes steam and drives a turbine.

Solar thermal is seen as a promising source of energy for city-scale power because it works on very well established principles. Photovoltaics have come down in price — and thin-film plastic solar cells could get even cheaper — but the conversion of sunlight to electricity remains a novel source of energy. The first working cells were only built half a century ago, and they were truly something new in the world.

Steam-driven turbines, on the other hand, make almost 90 percent of the world's electricity and their ancestry stretches back to the start of the Industrial Revolution. Solar thermal engineers, then, can use the knowledge gained from more than a century of tinkering at coal, natural gas, and nuclear fission plants.

Baby Scorpions? Awww HELLLLLLLL No...

FBI To Tackle Baffling Super Bowl Porn Case

By Rick Chandler

Never fear America: The FBI is making sure that there will never again be an incident of Super Bowl TV porn. However, all anthrax letters will be delivered as usual.

Don't tell me that you've already forgotten how about 30 seconds of a porn movie made its way onto the Super Bowl broadcast shown to about 80,000 Comcast cable subscribers in the Tucson area. Comcast is saying that it was "a malicious act" perpetrated by an outside party (those terrorist bastards!), and have vowed to catch the culprits.

But so far, the hacker(s) have eluded the net. So in comes the FBI's renowned TV porn squad.

"We have shared all of our information on this situation with the FBI and will continue to provide our full cooperation to them throughout their investigation," company spokeswoman Kelle Maslyn said in a statement e-mailed to the Star.

Meanwhile, on Tristan Kingsley's web site (NSFW):

So as you all may have guessed I have been getting bombarded about the incident involving me and a porn clip being shown during the Super Bowl. Im not going to lie, I don't mind everyone asking how I feel about what happend or asking my opinion on it. But the one thing I do mind is some have been asking questions about my kids. Yes I do have kids and that is all anyone in the public needs to know. Please do NOT ask me their names. Do NOT ask me where they live. Do NOT ask me how often I see them. Those are personal things about MINORS that is no ones business but mine!

Then, just below that statement, a graphic with the headline:

Holy s**t! Watch me play with myself!

FBI Investigating Cable Porn Intrusion [Arizona Daily Star]

Another Reason to Upgrade to First Class

This is why flies First Class or Private....

Dutch Company One Step Closer to Private Moon Mission

Odyssey Moon secures Dutch payload.

A spectrometer meant to fly to Mars on a European mission in 2016 will get to the Moon first. The Dutch team that is building the instrument last week announced it would send a scaled-up version, dubbed MoonShot, to the lunar surface by 2011 with Odyssey Moon, a company headquartered in the Isle of Man, UK.

The MoonOne lander aims to fly cargo to the Moon for cash.The MoonOne lander aims to fly cargo to the Moon for cash.Odyssey Moon

If it works, the private MoonOne lander and its successors could serve scientists much as a commercial trucking company serves wholesalers, providing a platform to ferry science instruments and other payloads to the lunar surface.

"The intention is to bring on a new age," says Alan Stern, science mission director for Odyssey Moon and former science chief at NASA. That could mean new opportunities for scientists whose instruments were cut or scaled back in government missions, or whose nations do not have their own lunar spacecraft. "It's an ongoing business that will make sense many years in the future," Stern says.

MoonShot was originally designed to look for organic compounds in the Martian soil using two different types of laser-based spectrometry. The version that will go to Mars on the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission has been cut back to include only a Raman spectrometer, which uses a laser beam to detect chemical signatures, including organic compounds, in surface samples. The version flying privately to the Moon, however, will also have a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, which will scan the lunar soil and can detect heavy metals. "You shine the laser and just find out what's there," says Erik Laan, an engineer who helped build the instrument at TNO Science and Industry in Delft, the Netherlands.

MoonShot would be the first Dutch instrument on the lunar surface. A consortium of European companies, including Philips Applied Technologies, Dutch consultants Space Horizon, the Free University in Amsterdam and the Delft University of Technology, will pitch in to pay Odyssey Moon an unspecified amount — although less than US$10 million — to transport the instrument.

The MoonOne lander is already slated to carry two other commercial payloads. These include a precursor to the International Lunar Observatory, a communications dish at the lunar south pole envisioned by a Hawaii-based non-profit organization, and packages from Texas-based company Celestis, which acts as a broker for ferrying cremated remains and other relics to the Moon.

Odyssey Moon has also signed up Paul Spudis, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, who serves as the company's chief scientist. And it has partnered with NASA to model its lunar lander after the US space agency's common spacecraft bus, which uses a modular design that can be manipulated into either a lander or an orbiter.

Robert Richards, Odyssey Moon's founder, describes it as a logistics company with a business model similar to that of FedEx. "We want to get customer packages to the Moon," he says, "and we don't really care what we use to do it as long as it gets there reliably and cost-effectively." Eventually, such private craft might end up helping to resupply government-initiated efforts, such as the proposed International Lunar Network, a series of stations containing scientific instruments that will be positioned at different places across the lunar surface.

Odyssey Moon and 15 other teams are also vying for the Google Lunar X Prize, a US$20-million race to be the first privately funded spacecraft to relay high-definition video, images and data from a lunar lander back to Earth. The teams vary in their backgrounds, interests and long-term goals. A team named Next Giant Leap, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Space Systems Laboratory and MicroSat Systems of Littleton, Colorado, among others, is focusing on meeting the prize's minimum criteria and has no plans yet to develop a commercial craft of its own. Astrobotic Technology, founded by robotics specialist William Whittaker of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, plans to launch exploratory missions, first to the Apollo 11 site and then to the lunar poles.

Competitors for the Google Lunar X Prize have until 31 December 2014 to stake their claim on the cash awards and the Moon.

Ferrari FXX Under Some Seriously Hard Braking

We love Ferrari. We love the Enzo. We LOVE the FXX. We love fire and glowing red brakes. There's nothing in this picture that's not full of win. Did we mention we LOVE the FXX?

Why Can't We Take This To LeMons?

Bonus Shot Since We Love Ya:

Matt Farah with Garage 419 checks out the Cavallino Classic Ferrari Track Day in Palm Beach, Florida and checks out the Ferrari FXX here.

[ via carlounge]

Beer and the president: A new political reality?

Beer with Obama

Barack Obama shares a beer toast with a host of supporters at Bethlehem Brew Works in Bethlehem, Pa. as he campaigns for president early in 2008. (Philadelphia Inquirer photo by David Swanson / April 20, 2008)

It seems a waste, but people keep spilling beer on America's political stage.

Just as the nation had begun to black out memories of the overused campaign term "Joe Six-Pack," an Indiana woman this week suggested to President Obama that he sit down for a beer with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. The president, knowing the importance of presidential beer liking, wisely replied that he's "always up for a beer."

Somehow the humble beer, and the ability to sit down and drink one, has been elevated from a totem of the tailgater to a prerequisite for the presidency.

"Beer has become kind of the cultural leveler in our society," noted Ken Janda, professor emeritus of political science at Northwestern University. "It can go across all classes of society – it's a symbol of equality. You'd never say, 'He's a nice guy to have a glass of wine with.'"

At least you'd never say that about someone you wanted to be president.

This past campaign involved ample references to average, beer-drinking Americans and concerns about which candidate would best get along with them, as if the Oval Office might be turned into an after-hours bar for longshoremen. Hillary Clinton at one point drank a shot of whiskey and a beer with a group of Hoosiers, just to flaunt her love of malt beverages and people who aren't as rich as she is.

And let's not forget the previous presidential campaign in which about 60 percent of undecided voters conceded they'd rather have a beer with George W. Bush than with John Kerry. (The irony there, of course, was that Bush doesn't drink and Kerry, if he had a couple beers, might have actually become interesting.)

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Americans hoisted their presidents off a pedestal and plunked them down on a bar stool, but presidential scholar Bert Rockman posits it may have begun with President Eisenhower. He was certainly one of the first presidents widely referred to by a nickname – in his case, Ike – marking a decided shift away from public reverence toward the office.

With the increase in television coverage, John F. Kennedy became a media darling, and most presidents that followed – think Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton – trended toward some form of folksy charm.

George W. Bush seemed to mark the culmination of our perception of the president as a regular guy, and by 2005 he was duly satirized in The Onion under the headline: "Long-Awaited Beer With Bush Really Awkward, Voter Reports."

In the fake story, the voter recounts: "Then George mentioned that he used to be a cheerleader at Yale. I didn't know what to say to that one, so I just drank the rest of my beer real fast."

Real-life beer aficionados are pleased to see their beverage of choice fermenting its way into the world of politics, even if they can't fully explain the phenomenon.

"I don't know exactly what that special quality is," said Patrick Gallagher, a Chicago-based Internet marketer and founder of the Web site "Obviously its got alcohol, so there's a draw there."


Gallagher also noted that craft beers and microbreweries have introduced beer to an even broader demographic, cementing its status as a drink embraced by an overwhelming majority of Americans. So perhaps in seeking a woman or man of the people these days, it's not so far-fetched that they be judged in part on their ability to imbibe communally.

Gallagher certainly doesn't think so. If he were to belly up to a bar with Obama, he'd order a locally brewed Three Floyd's Alpha King Pale Ale.

"It would be interesting to see if the president has a particular taste, like a style of beer or a particular brand," Gallagher daydreamed. "I know his preferences toward food run pretty fancy. I have to believe he's probably had some pretty good beers."

House Passes Revised Stimulus, Now on to Senate

NEW YORK ( -- In a 246 to 183 vote largely along party lines, the House of Representatives on Friday passed a $787.2 billion economic recovery package that was drawn up, amended and negotiated in record time.

No Republicans voted for the bill, while seven Democrats voted against it. When the House voted on its own version of a stimulus bill a few weeks ago, no Republicans voted for that measure and 11 Democrats had also voted against it.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure Friday evening. It, too, is expected to pass the bill, but with no more than three Republicans supporting it.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

"The goal at the heart of this plan is to create jobs. Not just any jobs, but jobs doing the work America needs done: repairing our infrastructure, modernizing our schools and hospitals, and promoting the clean, alternative energy sources that will help us finally declare independence from foreign oil," President Obama said Friday morning.

The Obama economic team estimates the stimulus plan will create or save between 3 million and 4 million jobs.

"We've done something today that's transformational for the nation," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a press conference after the vote.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wisc., characterized the bill as "the largest change in domestic policy since the 1930s."

The bill's likely final passage nonetheless represents far less than the bipartisan victory Obama had hoped for weeks ago, a hope he tabled as it became clear that Republicans and some fiscally conservative Democrats were adamantly opposed to the size and contents of the bill.

Republican critics believe there are more targeted and effective ways to create jobs than the measures in the bill, including more spending on infrastructure and more tax relief.

"Republicans are not about saying 'No' but about saying 'Yes' to solutions that put Americans back to work," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., during a last round of debate on Friday. "[This legislation] will not grow our economy. It will grow our government."

The compromise bill was crafted after intensive negotiations in recent days between the House, Senate and White House, although Republicans said repeatedly they felt excluded from the process. And on Friday, several said they did not think it was fair that they were being asked to vote on a 1,000-page-plus bill that was posted online only late Thursday night.

How the bill breaks down

The package devotes $308.3 billion -- or 39% -- to appropriations spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That includes $120 billion on infrastructure and science and more than $30 billion on energy-related infrastructure projects, according to key congressional committees.

It devotes another $267 billion -- or 34% -- on direct spending, including increased unemployment benefits and food stamps, CBO said.

And it provides $212 billion -- or 27% -- for tax breaks for individuals and businesses, although the biggest piece of that is for individuals. (Here's a quick breakdown of those breaks.)

Depending on how tax measures are categorized, the percentage of the bill devoted to tax relief is 35%, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Unlike the CBO, the committee counts all portions of tax credits that are refundable. A refundable credit is one that may be paid to tax filers even if the credit exceeds a tax filer's liability. In other words, it is money the government needs to spend. The CBO, by contrast, treats that money as an outlay.

Republicans have advocated for more tax relief in the bill -- they wanted at least 40% -- and they often oppose tax credits going to those who pay less in income tax than they receive in refunds.

Democrats counter that the lowest-income families do pay money into the system by way of payroll tax for Social Security and through sales taxes. And they note that it is those low-income families most likely to quickly spend any tax relief they get, thereby making it more stimulative for the economy.

What it can - and can't do

For months, economists -- both liberal and conservative -- have urged lawmakers to act quickly to help stem the economic downturn. They argue that while tax cuts can be put out more quickly than infrastructure spending, they may not be as stimulative as spending because tax filers are likely to save at least a portion of what they receive.

There also has been debate over how large the total package should be. Many economists think it should be larger -- to help combat what is expected to be a $2 trillion shortfall in the country's output this year and next. But at this point, though they're not enamored with every provision in the bill -- they say it's necessary to do something.

Proponents of the bill aren't promising the economic recovery package will be a panacea for the economy. "No one thinks this is the answer," said House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

But, they say, it's needed to stem the downturn and ease the financial strains hurting Americans. Indeed, Obama's economic team last month said they expect that the unemployment rate likely will go up in the near term but having a stimulus package could bring it down to around 7% by the end of 2010. That's slightly below the rate of 7.6% today.

Iceland’s Gorgeous Passive Solar Hof House

by Alexandra Kain

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

Deep in the northern chill of Iceland, just outside the arctic circle, the Hof House sits snugly within its landscape. Built on an existing estate, Studio Granada Architects salvaged whatever materials possible from the site to be incorporated into the new residence, converting telegraph poles into a sun screen and basalt pillars into stepping stones. Even the grass on the green roof came from local site leftovers after clearing way for its foundation. Designed for the extreme weather conditions of the Skagafjörður Fjord, the Hof House relies on passive solar design, geothermal heating, and some pretty hefty concrete walls.

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

The Hof House’s exterior cedar walls hug the massive concrete structural walls and will age gracefully with the passing seasons. The hexagonal shape formed by slices of the salvaged basalt pillars are repeated inside, bringing a continuity of design from the outside in. Geothermal heating comes up from the ground, warming the stone floors and providing heat and electricity throughout the house. The remaining energy needs are sufficed by hydroelectric power. The windows are oriented to not only capture the Southern sun, but also to create a frame for the magnificent surroundings of the cliff islands of Drangey and Málmey and the hills of Þórðarhöfði.

Studio Granada’s Hof House has been nominated for and awarded myriad prizes for its design, including the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture: the Mies van der Rohe Award for 2009.

+ Studio Granada Architects

Via Noticias Arquitectura

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

hof house, studio granada architects, sustainable architecture, green building, green roof, geothermal heating, locally-sourced reclaimed materials

The First-Timer's Guide to Building a Computer from Scratch

If you've cracked open your PC before to install a new hard drive or TV capture card, but you've never built a whole new system from the ground up, it's not as difficult as you might think.

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Best Store Front Ever: The Guitar Store

Here are some photos of our purpose-built new guitar showroom in central Southampton:

Artificial limbs get more control

Feb 10 - A new type of surgery may give amputees better control over their artificial arms, allowing them to point a finger, grasp a baseball bat or even give someone a pinch.Jesse Sullivan, 61, demonstrates advanced, multi-degree control of the...

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UK Government drugs adviser wants to downgrade LSD

LSD, the powerful hallucinogenic drug made famous by The Beatles, should be downgraded from a Class A drug, according to the Government's drugs adviser.

The news has emerged after the Professor David Nutt was ordered to apologise by the Home Secretary for saying that taking ecstasy was no worse than riding a horse.

Prof Nutt is chairman of the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which is set to recommend that ecstasy should be downgraded from A to B.

In a radio interview last year, months before he became chairman of the council, Prof Nutt disclosed that he also favoured downgrading LSD from A to B.

He said: "There are several drugs that are in class A and probably should not be there, like ecstasy and LSD. There are other drugs that should be up the scale.

"Ecstasy and LSD which tend to cause little dependence and relatively moderate degrees of personal damage are probably too highly classified."

LSD is ranked as a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The maximum penalty for supplying the drug is life imprisonment.

Prof Nutt, who took over as chairman of the council last November, went on to call for a major overhaul of the drugs classification rules in Britain.

He said: "I think it is time to have a complete review of all the drug laws. And I would like to have that in the UK."

Prof Nutt said he was content that drugs like "heroin, crack, cocaine and metamphetamine pure" should remain as Class A drugs.

He told Radio New Zealand: "It is quite hard to move drugs out of classes. In the UK we have has these class system now since 1971.

"Only one drug has ever been moved down a class and a couple have moved up. Cannabis moved down and opiates moved up."

Prof Nutt said that if alcohol emerged as a substance in modern Britain it would be classified as an illegal Class B drug.

He said: "If alcohol was suddenly to emerge in society now and it was suddenly assessed as other drugs of abuse it would be rated as a B class drug and therefore not be made legal."

The Daily Telegraph disclosed last week how Prof Nutt had written in an academic journal that taking the drug was no more dangerous than an addiction to horse riding.

In the House of Commons on Monday, Jacqui Smith told MPs that his comments sent the wrong message to young people about the dangers of drugs.

She said: "I made clear to Prof Nutt that I felt his comments went beyond the scientific advice that I expect of him as the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs."

Breakthough stemcell surgery could end need for transplants

Heart disease patients in Britain could soon take part in a revolutionary stem cell surgery trial that could change the nature of heart surgery and ultimately end the need for transplants.

Operation: Trials for revolutionary stem cell surgery in  UK 'within a year'
Heart disease affects more than a million people in the UK and kills around 120,000 people a year Photo: GETTY

It is believed that British patents could take the pioneering treatment, in which a patient's own cells are extracted and grown in a laboratory, in as little as a year.

Scientists have worked out a technique where human bone marrow cells are turned into human heart stem cells and then injected into the heart.

Laboratory grown heart stem cells were initially extensively tested on animals and trials on humans in Europe are due to start later this month.

Dr Jonathan Hill, a consultant cardiologist at London's King's College Hospital, is hoping to perform trials on British patients next year in conjunction with King's College London University.

"I have seen the results of the trials and they are very encouraging," he said. "We are negotiating to carry out human trials in the UK."

Professor Sian Harding, of Imperial College London, said being able to convert bone marrow stem cells into heart stem cell was a "big leap forward" in finding an "effective" treatment for heart failure.

"Placing heart stem cells into the heart to repair has a very good chance of working because the stem cells are the patient's own there are no problems with rejection," she said.

Prof Harding is working on turning embryo stem cells into heart stem cells but said her research was "still years away" from being used in patients.

Dr Duncan Dymond, a consultant cardiologist at London's Bart's Hospital, added: "Turning human stem cells into human heart cells is very exciting news.

"People with bad heart failure often lead a wretched life confined to home and unable to get out and about. If you are lucky you might get a heart transplant but many simply die before their time."

Last month, a method of cloning specialist versions of heart stem cells - known as "progenitor" cells - found in small quantities in human hearts received an international innovation award.

Last year, the Daily Telegraph disclosed how two heart attack patients in Britain had stem cells taken from bone marrow injected into their hearts in a bid to repair damaged tissue.

The most recent process was developed at the Mayo Clinic research centre in Minnesota.

As part of the planned human trials, 40 millilitres of bone marrow will be taken from a volunteer's hips.

The bone marrow is then grown in a laboratory into human heart stem cells using a special 'growth factor' protein.

The growth factor delivers a chemical signal to the stem cells to turn them from bone marrow cells into heart cells.

These cells are then infused into the patient's heart via a catheter in the groin and an improvement in a patient's condition is expected within a couple of weeks.

The development was disclosed during a major stem cell conference in New York and has been submitted to a leading medical journal.

Dr Christian Homsy of Cardio3 Biosciences - the company which is developing human heart stem cells - said: "Human heart stem cells repaired damaged areas of mice hearts in our trials. And we are convinced that we can do the same in humans.

"It is a very straightforward procedure and we would expect to see a patient's health to change quite rapidly over a period of several weeks to a couple of months. In the mouse trials it was quite quick but in humans we don't know yet."

Heart disease affects more than a million people in the UK and kills around 120,000 people a year.

Holocaust-denying Bishop refuses to recant his 'Jews were not gassed' claims

February 11, 5:03 PM
by J. Doug Gill, Strange News Examiner

Bishop Robert Williamson (AP)
Last month, The Vatican lifted the excommunication of four bishops who belong to the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X.

Among the group was Bishop Robert Williamson, who just four days prior to The Vatican’s ruling told Swedish television that he didn’t believe The Holocaust took place – at least not to the degree that history conveys.

The rage that followed was predictable. Jewish groups around the world are expressing outrage at the comments, and many members of the Catholic Church have voiced equal disgust.

Aware of the tempest Williamson has brought on the Church, The Vatican has called on Bishop to recant his denial before he can be reinstated.

And while reports say that Williamson has apologized to Pope Benedict XVI, he has refused to comply with the retraction order.

“It is about historical evidence, not about emotions,” Williamson told the German magazine Der Spiegel, “And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time.”

Among the comments the Bishop refused to repudiate were his claims that only 200,000 – 300,000 Jews were killed during World War II, and that none of them had been gassed.

When pressed by the Spiegel writer to take it upon himself to visit Auschwitz, Williamson replied: “No, I will not travel to Auschwitz. I've ordered the book by Jean-Claude Pressac. It's called ‘Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers.’ A printout is now being sent to me, and I will read it and study it.”

Perhaps the good Bishop should start with a copy of “The Diary of Anne Frank” and work his way up.

You can read the whole Crazy SPIEGEL Article Here

Watchmen Screened and Reviewed (Stage 5 Spoiler Alert)

By Kellvin Chavez on February 11, 2009

Kellvin here giving the Latino Review readers what they are accustomed to around here, some breaking news!

One of our faithful followers last night got to see the final cut of the highly anticipated film "Watchmen," in Los Angeles.

I am hoping this movie is going to be huge. When I first heard about it; I have to admit I had not read the graphic novel. So like the true student of the film that I am, I went out and did my research by purchasing a copy my hard earned dinero!

The book was awesome, and he first thing I thought was “How are they going to pull this off?” its no wonder why this film could not be done 20 years ago. There just was not enough technology around that could do this story justice.

Since the studio announced that Watchmen was going to be made, the Internet has been flooded with fan boy discussion about who would direct it, and who would play The Watchmen, and would the film be faithful to the novel? Well according to our loyal follower, Bentley Mustafa, yes, yes, and YES!

Now before we dive into this, I want to warn you that there will be huge spoilers, so if you do not want to know what’s in the film, stop reading now…. otherwise, sit your ass down and get ready for some Watchmen 411!

Here’s what Bentley Mustafa has to say about the screening.

click here to read more (SPOILERS AHEAD) | digg story

The Opening of a Ancient mummies revealed in Egypt!


Egyptian archaeologists have found more than 20 mummies in a burial chamber dating back at least 2,600 years.

5 Things You Didn't Know: AK-47

By Michael Hodges

Man holding an AK-47 - Credit:

Guns have always been a fascinating topic in America. From who's using them to what model, make and brand they are, guns have become a staple in our modern society. Now, whether that's a sad or thrilling fact, we've decided to let our readers in on some interesting facts about one of America's most loved (and hated) assault rifles: the AK-47.

With a new book on the market entitled AK-47: The Story of the People's Gun, Michael Hodges is an expert on this particular weapon, and we got Hodges to let us in on a few little-known facts about the AK-47 while researching his work.

1- The inventor of the AK-47 did not profit from the gun

Although by some estimates there are 100 million AK-47-style assault rifles in circulation around the world, the gun's inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov, did not become rich (unlike Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the American M16 assault rifle, who died a wealthy man). Communist states had no patents, and until its collapse in 1991, Kalashnikov was simply an employee of the Soviet Union. “I invented a weapon to save the motherland, to save the state from fascism,” he said. “My career has been dedicated to my country.”

Despite that country awarding him the Hero of Socialist Labor medal and many other accolades, this particular Socialist hero, who just happened to change the world, started life as an enemy of the Soviet Union. Kalashnikov narrowly escaped being shot by Stalin's special police after his family was denounced as Kulaks in 1932, and exiled to Siberia. Kalashnikov escaped again when a Panzer shell blew him from his tank in 1941, as the Soviets fought desperately to halt the Nazi advance on Moscow.

2- The AK-47 is the perfect weapon for children

The AK-47 can be stripped in under a minute and cleaned quickly in almost any climatic condition. Even if it isn’t cleaned, an AK-47 is still more likely to fire than any of its rivals given similar treatment on the battlefield. With only eight moving parts the AK-47 is cheap to manufacture and easy to use -- so easy in fact that children can be taught how to properly handle this weapon in a single hour. Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal picked up his first AK-47 when he was 9 years old. A fully loaded AK-47 weighs four kilograms: “I don’t know how I lifted the AK when I was tired. It was so heavy,” he remembers. “We only had a few AKs but we weren’t scared, it was like a game with toy guns. When the fighting starts you can put the gun down and run away, or pull the trigger. Once you’ve done that you are hooked; it makes you think that no one can touch you. Once you've fired an AK-47 you become brave.”

3- America may have given bin Laden his first AK-47

Since 1998, Osama bin Laden has regularly included an AK-47 in the propaganda videos he releases after terrorist outrages. Consequently, the gun has come to represent the global jihad, and AK-47 is an integral part of the regime at fundamentalist camps, as far apart as the English home counties and the jungles of the Philippines.

These groups and their adherents are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and America -- yet it is highly likely that it was Israel and America that inadvertently put an AK-47 into bin Laden’s hands. When the Israel Defense Forces invaded Lebanon in 1982 to “crush” the Palestinian Liberation Organization they captured thousands of AK-47s.These guns found their way, via the CIA and the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency, to the Mujahadeen resisting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It is probable that amongst them would have been the AK-47 that equips bin Laden.

4- The AK-47 is the U.S. army’s most resilient enemy

U.S. forces first came into large-scale contact with the AK-47 during the Vietnam War. Their own M16s malfunctioned in the heat and damp of the jungle, but the Chinese-supplied AK-47s used by the communists continued to fire. Consequently, thousands of GIs picked up AK-47s from fallen Viet Cong guerrillas. This led Americans to open fire on their own side because they presumed the distinctive pop-pop-pop sound of an AK-47 revealed an enemy position. So many GIs threw away their guns in favor of AK-47s that a House of Representatives hearing in 1971 discovered that the U.S. Army attempted to stop the media reporting the phenomenon. Today, nearly 40 years later, in the sand and heat of Iraq, American soldiers are once again giving up their own U.S.-manufactured weapons in favor of the AK-47.

5- The AK-47 is the weapon of choice for U.S. mass murderers

On January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdey walked into the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, armed with a Chinese-manufactured AK-47. It was fitted with a barrel magazine holding 75 rounds -- both of which he bought legally over a gun-shop counter. When he walked out again five children were dead and 29 were injured. In December 1997, Arturo Reyes Torres entered his former place of work, the Caltrans Maintenance Yard, with an AK-47, killed four and wounded two. There are many more examples of AK-47 murders in the U.S. The online Urban Dictionary defines “Columbine” like so: “The constant bullying of the preppies and jocks has caused him to pick up his AK-47 and go Columbine on everyone.”

Ironically, the Columbine killers did not use AK-47s, but it doesn’t matter; in America gun crime is now perceived as AK crime.

rifle-ing through history

From the killing grounds of Sadr City to the murderous barrios of Bogotá, from the battlefields of Somalia to the ghettos of the United States, the AK-47 dominates the world. Invented by a Russian tank commander at the end of World War II, by rights it should be in the dustbin of history. However, such was the genius of his design that 60 years later -- for millions of unfortunate people around the world, and scores of countries wracked by conflict -- Mikhail Kalashnikov's iconic assault rifle is both the present and, tragically, the future.

To learn even more about the AK-47, check out Michael Hodges' book, AK-47: The Story of the People's Gun.

iPhone Push Notification Server tied to Snow Leopard Server

Despite licensing the proprietary ActiveSync Exchange Server protocol from Microsoft for use with the iPhone, Apple is building its own Push Notification Server for messaging services in both the iPhone and Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server using open, interoperable standards.

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JAGUAR PICTURE: First Seen in Central Mexico Since 1900

jaguar picture

February 11, 2009—The largest cat in the Americas is alive and well in the heart of Mexico, scientists say.

Three photographs of a male jaguar and exactly 132 poop samples (including the one above, released February 10) are the first known evidence of the predator since the early 1900s.

The big cat was snapped by a camera trap in the Sierra Nanchititla Natural Reserve.

(See photos of a jaguar and rare short-eared dog caught in a camera trap in Peru.)

Jaguars have disappeared from much of Mexico as humans have chopped up their habitat and sometimes killed the animals for the illegal wildlife trade.

Concerned that the big cat was locally extinct, an expedition team set out into the 260 square mile (674 square kilometer) reserve between 2002 and 2004.

The team talked to villagers within the study area, but no one had reported seeing the elusive animal.

That may be because the cats, which were photographed at 6,053 feet (1,845 meters), are forced by their diminishing habitat to travel across higher ground, said study leader Octavio Monroy-Vilchis of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico.

—Christine Dell'Amore

Photograph by Octavio Monroy-Vilchis et al/ SINC

IBM Expands Efficiency Offerings

The computing giant is expanding its set of tools and services to help companies track and reduce energy use and the associated greenhouse-gas emissions.
Bullet Arrow February 13, 2009

IBM is getting strategic with its efforts to help clients track and reduce their energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions – and turn a profit in the effort.

So far IBM has named one client – United Kingdom-based construction group Morgan Sindall – for the service, though Riddleberger said others from around the world are signing up.

"The focus for companies is the ability to gain control over their operations ... to understand where they are and position themselves to reduce those costs, reduce those emissions, so their business is fundamentally sustainable," he said.

IBM has been making a big push in energy efficiency and carbon "footprint" reduction for years (see IBM Gives Extra Credits), but it's far from the only one doing so. For giants like Hewlett Packard and Microsoft and startups like Planet Metrics and Carbonetworks, helping other people cut carbon emissions is emerging as a growth business.

That makes sense, given that the push to cut emissions is increasingly backed with the potential for financial pain or gain. Europe has had a cap-and-trade system for years, and President Barack Obama has said he wants to institute one in the United States as well (see Carbon Tax a Better Idea?).

In the meantime, two regional cap-and-trade programs have emerged in the United States. And a number of private exchanges - the Chicago Climate Exchange and American Carbon in the United States and others around the world - are emerging to serve these government-imposed markets.

Overall, carbon markets grew to $118 billion at the end of last year, and could grow to $150 billion by the end of 2009 and as much as $500 billion by 2012, according to New Carbon Finance, a unit of market research firm New Energy Finance.

Beyond meeting regulated caps on emissions and greening a company's corporate image, cutting on energy use also saves money. For an average cost of $300,000 to $500,000, IBM's new consulting service can cut a company's overall energy use by 30 to 50 percent, he said.

NanoSolar breaks Ground on 1MW Plant, Launched German Panel Factory

The CIGS startup's CEO provides an update of the company's production and project development plans in response to a scathing story in the magazine Photon International, which says Nanosolar has had little to show for.

Nanosolar on Thursday provided a photo showing the construction activity for a German power plant featuring its panels.

Nanosolar and Beck Energy began building a 1-megawatt solar power plant in Germany last October, a delay that was caused by the permitting process and poor weather conditions, said Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen Thursday

Roscheisen provided some updates of the company's progress in manufacturing and power plant development in response to a critical story in the January issue of Photon International. Roscheisen disputed several assertions made in the article, "Nanosolar: No news from the world champion in blowing smoke," contending that the magazine relied on "outdated quotes and information."
The article said Nanosolar and Beck Energy faced a significant delay in building the 1-megawatt power plant, which was supposed to be built on a former landfill in eastern Germany between May and November last year. It's not clear when the writer visited the site in Luckenwalde, but the story said, "And with 2009 upon us: the sign is the only thing at the construction site."
The San Jose, Calif.-based thin-film startup announced the power plant project in December 2007, when it also said it had started commercial shipment of its copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) panels to Beck, its first customer (see Nanosolar Chooses German Town for Solar Plant and Nanosolar Begins Production).

Roscheisen on Thursday provided a photo showing the construction activity for "one of our European solar power plants," (see above) and wrote in an email reply that construction in Luckenwalde began last October "and in November active construction was taking place." He said the installation work shown in the photo is taking place in Germany, but declined to name the city.

Roscheisen also declined to say when the project will be completed, saying the construction schedule is determined by the installer.

The Photon article said Nanosolar was supposed to start commercial production in 2007, but has little to show for since. At a Photon conference in San Francisco last December, the article said, Roscheisen announced that the start of mass production at Nanosolar's panel assembly factory, also in Luckenwalde, would be delayed until March this year. Roscheisen was quoted to say that the company planned to "officially inaugurate our production on March 24 in Berlin." Luckenwalde is just south of Berlin.

Roscheisen said the March date wasn't referring to a manufacturing milestone but an event timed for the visit of Germany's environmental minister and European Union officials.

"Irrespective of this date, the factory is already operating," Roscheisen wrote. All the tools for the factory were "up and running since the end of last year." In the past, Nanosolar assembled its CIGS thin-films into panels at its much smaller assembly line in San Jose, Calif.

The factory construction is completed to accommodate a production capacity of 620 megawatts. But the company is running in "one-shift mode only -- this is sufficient for the time being due to the massive capacity of this factory," Roscheisen wrote. He declined to say when the factory will start operating around the clock.

He reiterated his statement from December 2007 that the company had started shipping commercial panels by then. The company had been making CIGS cells for panel assembly in San Jose, Calif.

"Throughout 2008, we completed a first array of installations and our operations team managed to scale capacity by a factor of 10 by year-end ... and we continue to be on a roll! (Much of our production still isn't all that visible to the public at this moment given that all of our initial installations are all behind private fences and in plants)," Roscheisen wrote. He declined to disclose the amount of the installed capacity.

Nanosolar would expand its panel production capability in the United States if the U.S. economy improves to boost the domestic solar energy demand, he said.

The company has continued to expand its CIGS cell production at its San Jose factory, Roscheisen said. Last year, he said the company would use some of the $300 million he had raised to build a cell factory with 430 megawatts in production capacity (see Nanosolar Confirms $300M Funding).

The company's plan is to build out the San Jose factory to make it its cell production hub that would have more than 430 megawatts of capacity, Roscheisen wrote. Roscheisen declined to disclose the current manufacturing capacity and production rate at the San Jose cell factory.

Nanosolar expects to sell most of its solar panels in Europe this year. The company previously had talked about building a 10-megawatt power plant in Luckenwalde (see Nanosolar to Build 10MW Power Plant). A local Germany newspaper said Nanosolar was teaming up with Beck to build the power plant.

But that project is no longer a priority, Roscheisen said. Nanosolar has several other power plant projects under developing for this year, and those projects are moving faster than the 10-megawatt project, he added.

He declined to disclose more details about those new projects, except to say that they are located in France, Italy and Germany.

Bullet Arrow February 12, 2009