PG&E beams power from spaaaaaaace

Space Solar Power

PG&E is seeking approval from state regulators for a power purchase agreement with Solaren Corp., a Southern California company that has contracted to deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power over a 15 year period.

Solaren says it plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E's power grid.

I haven't found anything that explains how the power transfer works, anyone know? Is it an orbital death ray that heats a boiler on the ground, or what?

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Bigwheel 9

Previously.

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Grim Meathook Somalia

You are being lied to about pirates

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply.

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation - and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

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LANDMARK TOMATO FOR SALE!

San Francisco, South of Market icon for sale.

After serving for 18 years as a SOMA landmark for San Franciscans, the giant tomato is available for sale. It is huge and ready to be hung or displayed by the buyer. It is hollow metal and in great condition. Original cost was $5,000. Asking price: $1,500. The tomato is still hanging at 489 Third Street, San Francisco (cross street Bryant).
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DNA Lounge: Wherein Green Day plays, and RealVideo is on the chopping block.

Photos are up of Thursday's last-minute Green Day show. Yeah, Green Day! How did that happen, you're probably wondering? Long story: They called us the night before and asked. Ok, it's not such a long story.

We had to cancel an event that we had scheduled for that night, and it's always a drag to have to do that, but the event we had was probably going to only get a hundred people, and Green Day sold out in 15 minutes on the day of the show. What are you gonna do?

It was a fantastic show. They played for almost three hours, including the entirety of their not-yet-released new album.

The sound quality was amazing. I don't think I've ever heard it sound so good in here.

My favorite part was when an 8-year-old kid climbed from his parent's shoulders onto the stage and Billie Joe said to him, "Go crowd surf, little man!" and he did. People were able to hold him up with one hand because he was so tiny.

My second favorite part was when Billie Joe forgot the lyrics to a song ("We've got a lot of songs!" he said) and pulled a girl up out of the audience to sing it for him. She wasn't a great singer, but she did know all the words!

We got some press on this one: New York Times, NME, and an Oakland Tribune article that was picked up in many other papers.


Like I mentioned last week, the RealVideo webcast has been (mostly) down for the last week or so, because the machine that runs it lost a drive and I haven't been able to talk myself in to the level of Linux-based self-abuse that would be required to get it working again. I did try moving RealVideo on to another machine (making the kiosk server do double duty as the video encoder) but that machine just isn't fast enough to do both. And audio isn't working on it. And you remember how I love diagnosing Linux audio problems.

So, I see two options here, really:

  1. One of you friendly people donate to me a modern, fast, Linux-capable PC to run this junk on; or
  2. I just call it quits on RealVideo and assume that Justin.tv is good enough.

I don't have access to any logs that would tell me the relative popularity of either the Justin.tv or RealVideo streams, so I can't really tell whether anyone is watching either of them. If there is anyone out there who can think of a reason to keep the RealVideo stream going at all, please speak up now.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein ABC's abuses are on the front page of the Chronicle!

We're on the front page of the SF Chronicle today! It's a great article about how ABC is attacking all of the other all-ages clubs in San Francisco for other non-alcohol-related reasons, like food sales and hours of operation.

State goes after legendary all-ages music clubs

A teenager's first concert is a rite of passage of sorts, and in San Francisco, that rite often is undertaken at one of the city's inexpensive, small, all-ages music clubs - a type of business that owners warn might not survive much longer because of new enforcement efforts by state alcohol officials. [...]

Those venues could be forced to close, owners say, if the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, better known as ABC, continues to impose rules that club attorneys argue are legally questionable and often unrelated to booze or safety issues.

Some of the clubs say they only recently learned about the new rules, which are not written into state law and haven't been enforced in the past.

For example, ABC has decreed that at least half of the clubs' revenue must come from food sales. The agency also is taking issue with minor operating changes, such as one club's decision to open an hour later.

In almost every case, the San Francisco clubs who have been battling ABC have the support of neighbors and local leaders.

The article doesn't mention DNA Lounge specifically, but this is absolutely the same fight that we're in. Though they're going after us with a ridiculous "lewdness" charge, they're going after all of the other clubs for whatever technicality they can find. There is a clear pattern of abuse of power here.

Also, we just filed our official appeal of our permit revocation to the ABC appeals board:

The grounds for this appeal are that (a) the department has proceeded without, or in excess of, its jurisdiction; (b) the department has not proceeded in the manner required by law; (c) the decision is not supported by the findings; (d) the findings are not supported by substantial evidence in the light of the whole record; (e) there is relevant evidence, which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing before the department, and (f) ABC Rules 143.2 and 143.3 are unconstitutional.
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DNA Lounge: Wherein the camera goes click and entropy takes its toll.

Photos are up of the Hubba Hubba Revue St. Patricks Day show.

Also, someone sent me some scans of a few DNA Lounge flyers from the eighties, so I added a page for those (linked to from the 1985-1999 calendar page.)

The RealVideo and "slideshow" webcasts are down (though the Flash-based webcast is still up). The drive died on the RealVideo encoder machine, and I really can't motivate myself to screw around with it, so it might be down for a while. Presumably everybody is watching the Flash version these days anyway. It may be time to just give up on Real. Then there would be one less computer in here that I'd have to think about. That would be nice.

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