Gene Ray and Thoughts on Current Events

Before I get into my usual discussion this week, I would like to congratulate my good friend Gene Ray on being selected to join the CONNECT Hall of Fame. This is a great honor, and I am very pleased that CONNECT is recognizing Gene’s contributions to San Diego’s technology industry, which are many. I hope to attend the awards luncheon on March 31st at the Estancia La Jolla if I possibly can.

I have been reading a selection of newspapers every day to keep up with current events. Here are some of the things that have recently caught my attention.

  • It appears that a large group of Republican politicians are beginning to jockey for position in the next Presidential campaign, which is now gaining momentum. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of most of the people who have been named thus far as likely candidates. Hopefully someone will come along who will get me excited. But I haven’t seen him or her yet.

    In my opinion, Rick Santorum looks like the best candidate, but I don’t know if he will run for President. I hope he does. I will keep a close eye on the upcoming campaign to see what happens.

  • I was surprised to learn that Pakistan is currently going through an energy crisis, and that this is greatly increasing internal pressure on the government. Apparently, the Pakistani authorities are imposing rigid electricity cuts, rolling blackouts, and gasoline rationing to try to stretch their dwindling energy supplies. Businesses are reducing production as a result, employees are being laid off, and many small businesses are closing.

    Pakistan is under enough pressure as it is, and this added problem could very well tip Pakistan’s balance towards revolution or civil war. Already, protesters are causing problems for the government. This could give al-Qaeda an opportunity to make gains in the country, which could have very bad consequences for this nuclear-armed country, and the region as a whole.

  • Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that the Oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis) can within their bodies convert solar energy from the sun into electricity. Apparently the hornets use pigments in the brown and yellow stripes within their bodies to absorb and store light, and then trigger a photovoltaic effect as xanthopterin in the hornets’ yellow stripes biochemically transforms ultraviolet B light into electricity.

    If scientists can figure out a way to scale the chemical reaction in a cost-effective way, this discovery could lead to a significant and sustainable new source of electricity.

It has been cold and rainy here in San Diego. I will be very happy when winter ends and spring takes over in earnest.

— Bob