Energy Vault. Storing renewable energy using concrete blocks

Energy Vault

Energy Vault plans to use excess solar and wind energy to construct a tower of huge concrete blocks. When electricity is needed, the blocks are lowered and the resultant kinetic energy creates electricity. One tower can create energy for hours, and it can store it indefinitely, which is a huge plus. Response times are very fast too.

This is similar to pumped hydro, where water is pumped uphill to a reservoir and released to power turbines when electricity is needed. SoftBank impressed enough with the idea to put $110 million into it. They like the plan because it’s simple and proven, “fifth-grade physics.”

Energy Vault’s consists of an almost 400-foot tall, six-armed crane with custom-built concrete blocks weighing almost 35 metric tons each. As solar or wind energy is siphoned into an Energy Vault tower, an A.I. directs the concrete blocks to rise up.

Then, according to the company’s website, the blocks are “returned to the ground and the kinetic energy generated from the falling brick is turned back into electricity.”

That kinetic energy then turns a motor, which passes through an inverter, sending the energy back into the grid. Energy Vault claims the process had a “round-trip efficiency between 80 to 90 [percent].”“We at the Vision Fund want to come in when a technology is proven and it’s ready to scale. That’s what’s so exciting about this technology. It’s not a science problem. It’s fifth-grade physics.”

Whataboutism is the enemy of toppling Trump


If we want to take down Trump, it needs to be full throttle. That’s why this RSN article by my friend William Boardman about impeachment seems weak tea to me. It barely favors impeachment, and has lots of qualifiers and whataboutism. No. That’s not how we destroy Trump politically. And he needs to be destroyed.

It’s unfortunately common on the hard left to say there are few differences between Democratic and Republican parties. Impeachment and Trump’s criminality blows all that up. Yeah, as it turns out, there are really big differences. And we are seeing these differences quite clearly now. Adam Schiff just said what has come before was just warming up. The really insane battles are ahead. I’ve no doubt Trump will fall. However the more who work solidly for that the better.

Yes, I know Democrats have done horrible things. However that is irrelevant to Trump’s criminality and contempt for rule of law. Also, the far left, especially the socialist and Marxist left, has been useless on Trump, something I discussed in a previous blog post. And I was in one of those groups once and thus do know the territory. At at time they should be organizing hard against an extremist right wing racist in the White House they are doing nothing. Part of the problem is whataboutism.

Never Trump started on Twitter. Some Never Trumpers on Twitter now have PACs, write books, and are on cable news – and routinely get credible death threats, have had their wives and children threatened with violence and rape. One had his home invaded by cops with tape over their badges who threatened his kids. And yet they persist. So I’m not interested in theoretical discussions or whataboutism.

From Boardman’s article:

“In the real world, Ukraine got its military aid (late) and the Ukrainian president did not get any White House visit. That would be a quid pro nunc.”

No, even offering a quid pro quo, as Trump did, is a felony. Full stop. This is not a legal gray area. It’s quite clear under campaign finance law.

“Whether anyone’s investigating the Bidens remains unclear, no matter how deserved.”

Ukraine prosecutor did investigate and found nothing. Saying Hunter Biden getting $50k a month for consulting (which is routine DC stinky) is somehow akin to what Trump is doing is whataboutism, and unhelpful because it detracts from taking down Trump.

“To the extent that the official impeachment inquiry is designed to protect Joe Biden, it’s yet another corrupt Democratic Party scheme designed to interfere with an election and defraud the American public.”

Huh? Impeachment is just a devious ploy to get Biden elected? And interferes with an election? The process of impeachment is in the Constitution. So how can starting impeachment be interfering?

There can be no progressive agenda until Trump is gone. So, unchain the war dogs. And do whatever it takes to topple him.

Joker. The Movie. Disturbing, unsettling, stunning

Joker. The Movie. Tweet

The Joker is not a straightforward movie with a clear plot and a resolution at the end. It’s murky and violent. Lots of hot takes have already been made, many of them negative. However, even these mostly say the movie is darkly attractive and Joaquin Phoenix is astonishing as the Joker.

Rex Reed’s review says “A movie that borders on genius – repellent, dark, terrifying, disgusting, brilliant and unforgettable.” We watch as nonentity Arthur Fleck morphs into a monster. He’s seriously mentally ill. And is continually broken by society. He’s not a sympathetic character at all, and the movie is not a left-wing polemic.

“What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? You get what you fuckin’ deserve!” says Fleck to a talk show host on the air during the crucial scene in the movie.

Hot takes (not mine) include:

It might encourage incels who are sitting alone in mom’s basement rage-posting about something to act out their misfit dark fantasies. Then there will be slaughter. Thus Joker is irresponsible.

See what happens when populism goes crazy in the streets? Surely not every rich powerful person is bad! This is said even though the movie is non-political in any traditional sense.

The movie is complete nihilism. Why should anyone care about this trash person?

That’s maybe the point. Take care of the supposed trash people and maybe then things won’t go screaming off the rails.

More felonies from Trump and cohorts. Ukraine, China, more.

Trump. Ukraine diplomat texts about coverup

Revelations today: Trump fired Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch because they thought she was interfering with their Biden vendetta. Top envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker texted that Trump was withholding security to Ukraine until they “investigated” Biden. Both are testifying before House committees.

Let’s be clear. Asking a foreign power or person to interfere in a presidential election is completely illegal. Also today on the White House lawn while cameras recorded it, Trump demanded China find damaging info on Biden, or else. This is also illegal and is also many felonies.

The dam of support for Trump is crumbling. Let’s keep pushing and fighting. Because for the next several months it’s just gonna be a tsunami of bad news from Trump. Even a Fox News poll says voters are “exhausted” by Trump.

Crazy to withhold security assistance’ to Ukraine for political campaign:

Top US diplomat. In newly disclosed text messages shared with Congress, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine writes to a group of other American diplomats that “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Trump publicly urges China to investigate Bidens amid impeachment inquiry.

Despite Trump’s accusations of corruption, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the former vice president or his son.

The whistleblower reportedly alleged that Volker was one of the officials attempting to “contain the damage” of the scandal by advising Ukrainians on how to handle the requests of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani—who has publicly admitted to pushing for corruption investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. The whistleblower also reportedly claimed Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington earlier than expected because of “pressure” from then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who had spoken to Giuliani about the investigations and “collusion.”

Yovanovitch, who was recalled months earlier than expected in May 2019, was accused by Giuliani without evidence of trying to undermine the President and blocking efforts to investigate Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden. According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the matter said that State Department officials were told that her removal was “a priority” for Trump.

Socialist parties in US mostly studiously ignoring Trump

U.S. socialist parties

You might think socialist parties in the US would mobilize against a racist deranged criminal in the White House as a perfect example of all that is wrong with America.

Nope. Instead these socialist parties are almost entirely not organizing on Trump corruption but instead are focusing on other issues, the more obscure the better.

I checked every socialist site on this Wikipedia page. The sites are almost completely ignoring Trump. DSA has a minor post about Bernie, but other than that the sites are crickets about the Orange Toddler in the White House.

The Wikipedia page didn’t list Workers World, PSL, or RCP. WW and PSL had nothing on Trump.

RCP did have a deranged rant, and I quote “Last night, the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy “Piglosi” Pelosi initiated impeachment proceedings against Donald “Mein Trumpf” Trump.”

Yeah, that’ll really get people motivated. And, of course, RCP ended their rant by urging readers to join their Communist cult focused on leader Bob Avakian.

The articles on these socialist / Marxist sites could have been written 10, 20, 30, 50 years ago. Only the names and events are different. It’s like a freaking time capsule. Glorious Workers Revolution is imminent. Right.

The real question though is why they mostly refuse to mobilize against an extremist right-wing threat. I mean, supposedly they live to confront such things.

1) They don’t really care about organizing, except to build their little bitty group.

2) The groups are infiltrated by govt informants, agent provocateurs, etc. This is not paranoia but I think obvious fact.

3) Lost in Marxist dogma, they don’t understand the current world and keep trying to jam what is happening into their sacred concepts, which are inerrant.

Most seem to function to channel genuine dissent into dead ends where it is neutralized.

DSA might be genuinely different. It’s too soon to tell.