WordPress 5.0 launches with no drama

This was maybe the most contentious WordPress launch yet. Many on social media thought it wasn’t ready. There was much gnashing of teeth. However, three days after the launch there appears to be few if any issues. Everything is going smoothly. 2-3 million sites are already running 5.0. Yay!

WordPress 5.0 has a new editor called Gutenberg. It’s a big deal. Everything is a block; paragraphs, images, embeds, layouts, etc. Blocks are easy to use, powerful, can be embedded in other blocks, and moved around easily.

I’ve been using a beta of the Gutenberg editor since May. It’s way better than the Classic editor (which can still be used.) Gutenberg plugins like Atomic Blocks and Caxton add even more functionality and editor blocks.

Coming versions of WordPress will expand Gutenberg into themes, widgets, and plugins. Everything will be modular, everything will work using the same WordPress core code blocks. No more rogue plugins that break things or incompatibilities between plugins.

Get your WordPress site ready for Gutenberg now. Installed plugins need to be tested and verified against the WordPress Repository to determine what version of WordPress they’ve been tested up to. Plugins that haven’t been updated for a while may have issues and might need replacements.

Going forward, themes will need to do all configuration in Appearance / Customizer. If a theme has its own config panels it’s not Gutenberg-compatible. This isn’t an issue yet but may be in 2019. WordPress and JetPack already have hundreds of Gutenberg-ready themes.

Phase 2 of Gutenberg will bring block-style editing to widgets, menus, and themes.

WordPress just took a huge step forward and is planning for the next 15 years. Contact me if you have any questions or want a Gutenberg tune-up for your site.

Mueller is coming for Trump

Mueller

“And for all those little piggies, life is getting worse.” Hey, Donald Trump, Mueller has amassed huge evidence against you on a multitude of crimes. Many of your former associates are informing against you, and no doubt against your corrupt kids too. Sucks to be a corrupt traitor, doesn’t it?

Trump criminality includes financial crimes, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, campaign finance felonies, taking money from foreign powers in violation of the law. It’s all surfacing. And Trump can’t stop the investigations now. There are too many of them coming from too many places.


Flynn
Mueller is recommending no prison time for disgraced General Flynn because of his “substantial assistance.” Flynn turned into a greedy, whoring, corrupt pig after being fired by Obama. Faced with prison and bankruptcy (he’s not wealthy) he choose to cooperate.

Manafort
Provided info to Trump after pretending to cooperate with prosecutors and thus could easily die in prison. They key point here is Mueller can prove this because of Manafort’s text messages. Let that sink in. Manafort is so dim that he thought texts were somehow safe. Mueller has Manafort’s texts, emails, phone calls, and much more. And that will incriminate many more people. Also, Manafort lied about his ties with Konstantin Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence.

Cohen
Has provided info to Mueller on “Russia-related matters core to its investigation.” Cohen also says Trump told him to make the illegal payments to the women nd Trump lied to voters about Russia financial ties. Trump wanted Trump Moscow Tower. His credit is so horrible that only a Moscow bank would finance the deal. That bank is blocked from doing so because of sanctions. That’s why Trump wanted sanctions lifted.

Trump Org execs
Allen Weisselberg, longtime CFO of Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors. He knows everything about
corrupt Trump finances.


A flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election.

Mueller is coming. And he is clearly coming for Trump. Not simply for obstructing justice but for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win an election. This is a scandal unlike any America has ever seen.

Using silicon in tanks to store renewable energy

Silicon tanks for renewable energy storage

Concentrated Solar Power, which uses heat from the sun to run turbines to create electricity, has long stored excess heat in molten salt to power turbines at night. MIT researchers have used that idea as a concept for a new way to store heat that is cheaper than any other grid-scale energy storage and it can use any form of renewable energy, not just CSP. This could be a seriously big deal.

This new system stores excess heat in tanks of silicon, which can withstand heat up to 4,000 degrees, much hotter than the 1,000 degree limit for molten salt. More heat means more power for creating electricity. And it can use excess energy from solar PV or wind to heat the silicon. It is cheaper than pumped hydro, which currently is the least expensive way to store grid-scale energy. (Batteries are way more expensive.)

The system would consist of a large, heavily insulated, 10-meter-wide tank made from graphite and filled with liquid silicon, kept at a “cold” temperature of almost 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. A bank of tubes, exposed to heating elements, then connects this cold tank to a second, “hot” tank. When electricity from the town’s solar cells comes into the system, this energy is converted to heat in the heating elements. Meanwhile, liquid silicon is pumped out of the cold tank and further heats up as it passes through the bank of tubes exposed to the heating elements, and into the hot tank, where the thermal energy is now stored at a much higher temperature of about 4,300 F.

When electricity is needed, say, after the sun has set, the hot liquid silicon—so hot that it’s glowing white—is pumped through an array of tubes that emit that light. Specialized solar cells, known as multijunction photovoltaics, then turn that light into electricity, which can be supplied to the town’s grid. The now-cooled silicon can be pumped back into the cold tank until the next round of storage—acting effectively as a large rechargeable battery.

The system would consist of a large, heavily insulated, 10-meter-wide tank made from graphite and filled with liquid silicon, kept at a “cold” temperature of almost 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. A bank of tubes, exposed to heating elements, then connects this cold tank to a second, “hot” tank. When electricity from the town’s solar cells comes into the system, this energy is converted to heat in the heating elements. Meanwhile, liquid silicon is pumped out of the cold tank and further heats up as it passes through the bank of tubes exposed to the heating elements, and into the hot tank, where the thermal energy is now stored at a much higher temperature of about 4,300 F.
When electricity is needed, say, after the sun has set, the hot liquid silicon—so hot that it’s glowing white—is pumped through an array of tubes that emit that light. Specialized solar cells, known as multijunction photovoltaics, then turn that light into electricity, which can be supplied to the town’s grid. The now-cooled silicon can be pumped back into the cold tank until the next round of storage—acting effectively as a large rechargeable battery.

Koch Brothers horseshoes. Paris riots

Yellow Vest movement twet

Twitter is a valuable source for intelligent well-documented research using tweetstreams, as witness these two examples.

Were the Paris riots just homegrown leaderless discontent or did someone exploit and jack that discontent? Because the far right sure seems to be involved.

Spiked Online, which morphed out of a supposed Marxist group and which pretends to be edgy leftie but really isn’t, got $300k from from the Koch Brothers. How convenient. Got horseshoes?

Both of these tweet threads document what they are saying. Sure, there’s lots of babble and noise on Twitter. And plenty of gems too.

Sacramento Delta water deal backed by Sen. Feinstein, McCarthy

Sacramento River Delta Credit: SacramentoRiverDelta.net

California’s biggest water problem has always been too many people, too much agriculture, and too little water to supply everyone. Ground Zero for this is the Sacramento Delta. Send too much water south and fish and fishing in the Delta suffer. Send too little water and Central Valley agriculture and southern California may have water shortages. There is no easy answer here. Allocating water for one area means other areas gets less water. 

The big news is Sen. Feinstein, House Majority Speaker McCarthy, and outgoing Governor Brown are supporting extension of a federal law to send more water south. The extension would need to be passed this month and is designed, at least in part, to block the State Water Resources Control Board from keeping more water in the Delta.

Yes, it’s convoluted. And environmentalists oppose it.

The WIIN Act also gives the federal government’s Central Valley Project and the State Water Project more operational flexibility to increase water deliveries at certain times of year to the south state through the massive pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, leaving less water in the system for Chinook salmon and other endangered species.

The ability to pump more water has become a key demand of local water agencies that are in the midst of trying to negotiate a water flow agreement for the lower San Joaquin River watershed.

Doug Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the outgoing Democratic governor is cooperating with the Republicans in an effort to keep the Trump administration from backing away from his controversial Delta tunnels proposal. “This appears to be a quid pro quo where the governor trades away our salmon and thousands of fishing jobs for his stupid Delta tunnels,” Obegi said.