Slashdot has an excited item about a new catalyst that turns CO2 dissolved in water into ethanol. CO2 To Ethanol In One Step With Cheap Catalyst Sounds great, right?

Not so fast: if I understand it (corrections welcomed!) the paper itself warns it still takes too much energy to be worthwhile:

We report an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO2 with high selectivity for ethanol. The overpotential (which might be lowered with the proper electrolyte, and by separating the hydrogen production to another catalyst) probably precludes economic viability for this catalyst, but the high selectivity for a 12-electron reaction suggests that nanostructured surfaces with multiple reactive sites in close proximity can yield novel reaction mechanisms. This suggests that the synergistic effect from interactions between Cu and CNS presents a novel strategy for designing highly selective electrocatalysts.

Guess we haven’t solved global warming yet.

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Surreal Indeed


This is the same guy who said Obama smells of sulfur.

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Bully Pulpit

I don’t much care for the start of this Clinton campaign video, but it ends very strong.

PS. I apologize for the fact that after the video ends, it segues straight into another one about Indiana. I couldn’t find one that didn’t.

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Personal Notes

Recently I’ve been posting pretty much nothing but videos. There two reasons. First, to the limited extent I’ve had spare time, I’ve been spending it reading political news with more horror than inspiration. Second, there hasn’t been much spare time: I just sent in a revised first draft of an article that will in due course be published by the Arizona Law Review. Meanwhile I also did a first draft of a conference proposal on some AI issues to send to a co-author. And, last week I discovered that the other conference proposal, on a privacy issue, that I thought was due at the end of this week turns out to be in fact a call for finished papers. Fortunately, I’d already started, but getting to the finish line is taking most of my time at present and seems likely to do so through the coming weekend. After that, another large privacy-related project looms in the distance. Meanwhile, of course, Jotwell is humming along. We recently started a new Contracts section.

I just had to turn down an invitation to speak on AI and robotics in Hong Kong next month because I couldn’t find enough times for all the makeup classes on such short notice. That hurt, as I’d have loved to go. But if you were maybe thinking of asking me to come talk about the exciting things I’m working on, some of which I’ll blog about when they are a little more baked, please be aware I’m on writing leave next semester, and I will have much more flexibility than usual–and, I hope, more work product too.

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will.i.am Does Trump

To be honest, will.i.am’s election video didn’t work for me. Maybe my expectations were too high, given that I usually like his stuff. But being as it’s a cultural event, here it is anyway.

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TIME to Go


Trump once said on the campaign trail that he would approve of torture as President, “even if it doesn’t work.” With four weeks left to Election Day, he seemed to be testing the proposition on the public.

Inside Donald Trump’s Total Meltdown | TIME.

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Obama Passes the ‘Sniff Test’

Not to be confused with Trump’s sniffing problem. The background to this video is that radio talk show host Alex Jones claimed on his show that President and Mrs. Obama are literally demons and smell of sulfur.

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