Monthly Archives: April 2023

Vote Castro in the April 25 Coral Gables Runoff (Can You Say that in Miami?)

May I suggest a vote for Melissa Castro in the runoff election for the upcoming Coral Gables Commission election? The reasons haven’t changed from my earlier recommendation: although Ivette Arango O’Doski is the sort of youngish, smart, person it is good to see get involved in local politics, she’s running with, and bankrolled by, the wrong crowd–her supporters and backers are more pro-development than I feel comfortable with.  Plus, while the election in the first round of Ariel Fernandez to the seat in Group V is a blow to the attempt to create a pro-development Mayoral electoral and money machine, it would be good to finish the job.

Absentee ballots have dropped. If you are planning to vote by mail, I’d send yours back right away given the state of the mails. Far better, though, I think to vote early, or drop off your ballot in person at the early voting site.  The early voting and early drop-off opportunities are at the War Memorial Youth Center,  405 University Drive.  Early voting and dropoff will be next weekend only: Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23 from 7a.m. to 7p.m.  I’m very happy to report that instead of hiding the drop box on the back side of the building as they had done a year ago, for the first round of voting this year at least it was right on the front side, just a bit East of the main entrance, on University Drive. Much easier to find!

If you plan to vote in person on election day April 25, 2023, here is the Coral Gables General Biennial Runoff Election Polling Place List.

Turnout in the main election was an uninspiring 20.92%.  Normally turnout drops significantly in run-offs. That means that if you do vote, your ballot counts that much more than usual.

Posted in Coral Gables | 5 Comments

Electric Lunch

Click for larger imageBetter than science fiction:

A team of researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT-Italian Institute of Technology) has created a totally edible and rechargeable battery, starting from materials that are normally consumed as part of our daily diet. The proof-of-concept battery cell has been described in a paper, recently published in the Advanced Materials journal. The possible applications are in health diagnostics, food quality monitoring and edible soft robotics.

Spotted via Completely Edible Rechargeable Battery Created;

Actually, of course, we won’t feed the robot the edible cells, we’ll eat them ourselves as part of medical devices and maybe ultimately food-quality monitors. As I.K. Ilic, V.Galli, L. Lamanna, P. Cataldi, L. Pasquale, V.F. Annese, A. Athanassiou, M. Caironi. An Edible Rechargeable Battery. Advanced Materials (2023) explains:

In this paper, we present the first edible rechargeable battery based only on organic redox-active materials. All the materials used in the formation of the battery are common food ingredients and additives that humans can eat without harm in large amounts, >100 mg per day. First, we prepared a composite of redox-active food additives and ingredients with activated carbon, a conductive food additive. This allows electrons to flow to and from the redox-active centers. Upon testing the electrochemical performance of these composites, we established two alternatives for cathode and anode materials. We chose the highest and the lowest redox reduction potential materials, namely riboflavin (vitamin B2) and quercetin, and assembled the battery using edible current collectors and packaging. Such a battery can be used to power edible electronic devices operating outside the human body, as well as those operating inside, once the packaging is adjusted for the application. While rechargeable properties of the battery might not be useful for short-lived applications inside the human body, edible devices operating outside the human body can be recharged, prolonging their lifetime. This long-sought achievement not only enables the development of edible electronics, but can also pave the way for the replacement of commercial batteries in ingestible devices, reducing their risk upon ingestion.

Q: How do you classify the role of an edible-battery tester?
A: It’s a high-power job.

Posted in Robots, Science/Medicine, Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Comments Off on Electric Lunch

Coral Gables Commission Election Results

All the votes are in!  Registered Voters: 33,002; Ballots Counted: 6,903; Voter Turnout: 20.92%
Click for larger imageCongratulations to Ariel Fernandez who is elected Commissioner in Group IV for a four-year term.  Let the fireworks begin?

Ivette O’Doski led the pack in Group IV, but with 47.26% that is not quite enough to prevent a run-off election against Melissa Castro who–despite having a much smaller campaign budget–managed to get 39.43% of the vote (that’s just under 8% less than O’Doski).  There will be a runoff between the two on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.  So either way, there will be a second woman on the five-person Commission.

Here’s the voting info from the City’s web page.

  • Coral Gables General Biennial Runoff Election Polling Place List
  • Voter Registration Due (Runoff Election Only): Monday, March 27 (Register online) [Yes, it does seem weird to have the deadline fall before we knew we’d need a runoff.]
  • Request for Vote-By-Mail Ballot Due (Runoff Election Only): Saturday, April 15 (Request a VMB ballot online) [That’s in 4 days, folks!]
  • Runoff Election (Early Voting/Mail-in Ballot Dropoff): Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23 | 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. | War Memorial Youth Center, 405 University Drive

Notably, in Group IV, Jackson Rip Holmes was leading Sean McGrover by a vote just before the last tranche of vote-by-mail ballots got counted.  That would have been something.

Overall, I think these results are something of a rebuke for the idea of a developer-financed slate as organized by Mayor Lago–and for the politically ambitious Mayor himself. Although if O’Doski wins the runoff, I guess it will be fairer to call it a partial rebuke?

Posted in Coral Gables | Comments Off on Coral Gables Commission Election Results

New 9/11 Revelations Further Implicate the Saudis–and US Efforts to Protect the Saudis

For years now, local muckraker The Florida Bulldog has been, well, doggedly digging into the back story of 9/11, especially the long-running and increasingly substantiated claims of secret Saudi links to the terrorists. Now in Ex-FBI agents accuse top CIA, FBI officials of 9/11 coverup; CIA said to use Saudis, others for illegal domestic spy operations Dan Christensen has new revelations:

Weeks before 9/11, an angry New York FBI agent nearly “came over the table” at CIA officials who were blocking him from obtaining intelligence about two al Qaeda terrorists who would soon take part in hijacking an American Airlines passenger jet and crashing it into the Pentagon.

“Someone is going to die,” the counterterrorism agent wrote in a bitter email shortly after the 2001 encounter.

That astonishing account, and many others, are contained in a sworn declaration by Donald Canestraro, an investigator for the Office of Military Commissions, part of the Department of Defense’s Military Commissions Defense Organization. It is dated July 20, 2021.


The 22-page declaration, first obtained by the national security website Spytalk, is not confidential, but rather it’s marked CUI – Controlled Unclassified Information. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency defines CUI as “government created or owned information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations and government wide policies.”

The declaration by Donald C. Canestraro, linked above, is full of stuff to warm the heart of anyone who thinks the CIA uses foreign cut-outs to do things it lacks legal authority to do, and of course lots of testimony suggesting various nefarious activities by the Saudis. It also describes some US officials’ desire to keep the 9/11 Commission in the dark about the Saudi ties. Legally, a great deal of this declaration is hearsay, since it describes what a plethora of informants told the US investigator authoring the deposition. But it is very hard to imagine why he would make any of it up much less swear to it under oath; in some cases I suppose one can imagine motives for the pseudonymized informants (“CS-1” to “CS-23”) to shade things. Overall, it seems like pretty good hearsay from the look of it, but I imagine it will be mostly unjustly ignored.

Posted in 9/11 & Aftermath | Comments Off on New 9/11 Revelations Further Implicate the Saudis–and US Efforts to Protect the Saudis

A Simple Choice

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” — West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943) (Robert H. Jackson, J.).


I’ll tell you what you can talk about in school — DeSantis to expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all grades.

Justice Jackson

Justice Robert Jackson

Wrong Choice

Choose wisely.

Posted in 2024 Election, The American Orban | Comments Off on A Simple Choice

Democracy Takes Another One on the Chin in Tennessee

Tennessee has a bad gerrymandering problem in which cities (with black people) get cut up to be swamped by white rural districts. This produced a legislature with an even larger than natural Republican majority.

A week after the shootings in Nashville, three Democratic members of the legislature took part in a demonstration on the floor of the House in favor of better gun laws and safer schools. They made noise. No one was threatened or injured. Nothing was broken. Except democracy: the House is now voting on whether to expel the ‘Tennessee 3’ — two Black men and one White woman (one of only 11 in the state House) for “lack of decorum”. Details at the Washington Post, and some impressive short videos at Mother Jones on Twitter.

For all the weird and and unpleasant things in politics this week, this one bothers me the most.

Update: Lots of info at The Tennessean web site. Among the facts I learned – Rep. Jones was expelled but not Rep. Johnson. The difference might be because he’s Black and she’s White — indeed Johnson herself raised the possibility. Or it might be because he had a megaphone and she did not; the megaphone may have been due to the fact that, as Rep. Sam McKenzie, explained, “Republican leadership has repeatedly cut off Democrats’ microphones during debate”.

Posted in Politics: US | Comments Off on Democracy Takes Another One on the Chin in Tennessee