Ah...did in 3 plus minutes at 68 yrs old which any "new" comic couldnt
even fathom of thinking nor delivering. George Carlin is
still the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever
Well, I was tagged by Glenda to answer these questions!
(1) One book that changed your life?
really a shame that I can't recall this book. I read it in my small
school's library and unlike any other textbooks, it was breath-taking
I remember it, young men were invited to a mysterous place to do some
big-game hunting. After a fancy meal and a good night's sleep, they
were awakened and told that they were going to be the big-game being
hunted. The story then told of their experiences and how they survived.
I don't think it was the book, just the experience of learning that
books don't have to be like textbooks - Reading can be fun! I've been a
friend of books ever since.
(2) One book you have read more than once?
This is a little sad, but the book I read a little bit everyday is "HTML for the World Wide Web by Elizabeth Castro."
(3) One book you would want on a desert island?
one is a little funny, I would want "The Complete Cartoons of The New
Yorker". It would be even greater with a CD player to also be able to
look at the 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine.
(4) One book that made you laugh?
The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams
(5) One book that made you cry?
Big boys don't cry, but a book that shattered my belief in technology is "The Day The Phones Stopped" by Leonard Lee.
Human error or computer malfunction? January 15, 1990 nearly half of
AT&T long distance lines around the nation were disabled for almost
nine hours. In 1988 the USS Vincennes accidently shot down an Iranian
airliner killing 290 passengers on board. On Dec 3, 1990, eight people
died when a Northwest DC-9 wandered onto the wrong runway. In 1986, two
cancer patients at a Texas hospital were killed when they accidently
received lethal doses of radiation. And so on...
(6) One book you wish you had written?
That would have to be "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll
a story of a unbelievable ingenious astronomer who trapped a spy ring,
that was reporting to the KGB, and had been hacking US missile bases
and satellites, using a simple teletype connected to his lab's
(7) One book you wish had never been written?
I'm not one to censor books, but I would have to say Mein Kampf by Adolph Hilter
(8) One book you are currently reading?
I have a few started, but Fiasco by Thomas Hicks the American Military Adventure in Iraq is first in line.
(9) One book you've been meaning to read?
The Pretext For War by James Bamford a fearless account of the failures of America's intellengence agencies and the Bush's Administration's calculated efforts to sell a war to the American people.
(10) And tag five bloggers to do this, too.
I won't tag any bloggers to do this, but I invite all readers to give it a try
That's my list! Not a beauty contest, just books - I like that.
At the close of his commencement speech before 250
graduates (and 4000 others) at tiny Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. on
Saturday, satirist Stephen Colbert left them with a piece of advice:
Get your own TV show. "It pays well," he observed, "the hours are great
and you have fans. Eventually, some nice people will give you an
honorary degree for doing jack squat."
This advice could be crucial, for earlier he had
observed: "I don't know if they've told you what's been happening in
the world while you've been matriculating. The world is waiting for you
people with a club....They are playing for KEEPS out there, folks."
Colbert, who slipped in and out of his rightwing
blowhard TV persona on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” received
an overwhelmingly positive response compared with the mixed reaction at
the recent White House Correspondents Dinner. Afterward, students
presented him with a purple “Veritasiness Tour” t-shirt (which
translates, very roughly, as "truthiness").
He had opened his speech with: "My name is Stephen
Colbert, but I actually play someone on television named Stephen
Colbert, who looks like me, and talks like me, but who says things with
a straight face he doesn't mean."
In that vein, Colbert considered the immigration
debate: "It’s time for illegal immigrants to go — right after they
finish (building) those walls." People keep saying immigrants built
America, "but here's the thing, it's built now. I think it was finished
in the '70s sometime. From this point it's only a touch-up and repair
His suggestions for securing the U.S.-Mexico border
went beyond walls to include moats, fiery moats and fiery moats with
He added that the border with Canada also has to be
secure so Canadians cannot bring their "skunky beer" into the country.
He backed English as the official language of the United States — "God
wrote (the Bible) in English for a reason: So it could be taught in our
Noting the college was founded by abolitionists,
Colbert came out against slavery. "I just hope the mainstream media
gives me credit for the stand I’ve taken today," he said.
Recently picked as one of the 100 Most Influential
People by Time magazine, Colbert quipped: "If you do the math, there
are 6.5 billion people in the world. That means that today I am here
representing 65 million people. That's as big as some countries. What
country has about 65 million people? Iran? Iran has 65 million people.
So, for all intents and purposes, I'm here representing Iran today.
Colbert, 42, graduated from Northwestern University in
Evanston 20 years ago. He said that instead of a diploma on his
commencement day, he got a scrap of paper, which informed him he had an
incomplete in one class. He said he happily waved it in the photos with
his parents that day. At the next graduation, half a year later, he
didn’t receive his diploma because of a library fine, he claimed.
He closed his speech on an apparently semi-serious
note, urging the grads to learn how to say "yes." He noted that saying
yes will sometimes get them in trouble or make them look like a fool.
But he added: "Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young
people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly
cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing
from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a
self-imposed blinder, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it
will hurt us or disappoint us.
"Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things.
Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. Yes is
for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.
This movie needs a cameo from Harrison Ford. Just a quick shot of a man
in an airplane seat shaking his head and saying, "Snakes. Why does it
always have to be snakes?"
Who needs advertising when you've got a really dumb title for your movie? Snakes on a Plane is still five months from takeoff but has already been declared the "worst film of 2006" by Wired magazine, according to a Wikipedia entry, anyway. Think that will hurt its opening-weekend box office? Not a chance.
As the hot topic in online movie circles, Snakes (or SOAP) is inspiring the blogosphere to create freelance movie trailers, posters and story lines. In online vernacular, it's one of the hotest memes since TheBlair Witch Project. Star Samuel L. Jackson, who threatened to quit when someone proposed changing the name of the movie to Pacific Air Flight 121,
signed up for the project based on the name alone.
I just hope no snakes were harmed in the making of this film. And maybe
a William Castle touch would be nice: "In Viper-Vision with
Cobra-Rama!!" People can read comments and blogs all over the internet about this fabulous
movie and they will make you laugh SOOO much . Anyone know what
rating it will be? You need to see this movie.
Plot Outline: On board a flight over the Pacific
Ocean, an assassin, bent on killing a passenger who's a witness in
protective custody, lets loose a crate full of deadly snakes.
For the posters to
come, may we suggest this headline: "You've read the title. Why see the
Advancing the science of Ceramic's engineering - 6-inches/drop!
tape measure, a stepladder and an anxious crowd of ceramic students
looking on, the official Mug Drop Contest recently shattered the dreams
of indestructible chalices.
Meanwhile the winning cup, made of a tough ceramic composite by students from the University of Missouri-Rolla, left a dent in the pavement.
The long-established team crushed the
competition—nearly 20 other undergraduate schools. Newcomers New Mexico
Tech placed second with their clay cup.
Keramos, a fraternity of students studying ceramics,
has sponsored the Mug Drop for more than two decades. This year’s
competition was held at the American Ceramic Society’s annual meeting
in Cocoa Beach, FL in January.
Entrants abide by a slew of rules. The mug must be
made solely of ceramics, have a handle, and be fired to a minimum
temperature of 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
To prove the materials aren't toxic, students have to drink out of their mug in front of a judge before the drop.
"A winning mug takes ingenuity, creativity and a
really strong material," said Keramos president Matt Dejneka, a
materials scientist at Corning Incorporated.
Similar to a high-jump competition, contestants can
pass on dropping their mug at shorter heights and enter at their chosen
elevation. The contest starts with a dead-drop at 6 inches above
ground, and increases in 6-inch increments to a maximum height of 12
To move on to the next drop, the mug mustn't leak.
Brimming with strategy
New Mexico Tech took second place with a cup made of
New Mexican stoneware clay and full of strategy. They designed a
sacrificial bulbous bottom that broke on their first attempt, safely
moving the protected inner-mug on to its next and final round.
But without the cushioning of the double bottom, New
Mexico Tech couldn't match the 12-foot drop of the University of
Missouri-Rolla (UMR) mug. Jeff Rodelas and his UMR teammates entered
the blue-ribbon mug that dropped unscathed. They depended on the
tried-and-true mug design of their predecessors.
"Simplicity is the key. Every year we can rely on this design that can perform pretty well," Rodelas told LiveScience. "We're trying to come up with a way to make the mug better with new materials."
The team made the hardy winning mugs out of aluminum
oxide and zirconium oxide. Zirconium in another form, cubic zirconia,
looks a lot like diamonds and is used in jewelry. Aluminum oxide makes
a sturdy artificial hip. The zirconium oxide in the mug makes the
aluminum oxide tougher to crack.
Now the group is looking at silicon dioxide fiber used on space shuttles for possible inclusion in future mugs.
The society holds the mug drop competition and a
ceramic golf ball and golf club competition each year at its annual
meeting, said Hammetter, who also is a manager at Sandia National
"That is a tradition that has been going on at
least the 20 years that I have been involved" with the society,
Hammetter said. "It's kind of neat."
The competitions typically draw big crowds and
give students a chance to show their ingenuity in front of ceramics
manufacturers and other future employers — such as national
laboratories, Hammetter said.
"Ceramics are a class of materials that have
been around since ancient times," he said. "People usually think of
them in terms of pots or whitewear like porcelain. But they're also
used in structural things: automotives, space shuttle tiles and
Contestants generally try to design mugs out of high-tech materials so they won't break.
Only one member of a team was required to
successfully drop his or her mug from each height, so some of the UMR students
were able to minimize damage to their personal mugs until the later
Sheena Foster of UMR says she got the
"most-dropped mug" award.
"My mug was kind of a sacrificial mug in the
team effort," says Foster, a junior in ceramic engineering from Camdenton,
Mo. "I dropped it from every height. I think it eventually broke at about
nine feet and was
Contestants were allowed to continue, as long
as their mugs could still hold
Jeffrey Rodelas, also from Camdenton, says his
mug never even chipped and, in fact, "it actually dented the asphalt a few
After designing and strategy meetings, it took
the UMR students about two weeks to create their mugs in anticipation of the
contest. The mugs were made in a slip-cast mold and heated to 1,550 degrees
Rodelas, a senior in ceramic engineering, says
the keys to making a strong ceramic mug are to keep the handle small and make
sure all of the surface edges are
Winning teams don't get any big prizes, but they do get recognition, Hammetter said.
"They'll probably get their pictures in the Ceramic Society magazine," he said. "That's good advertising for the school."
Not again... I was tagged by Tina @ Fuzzy and Blue. I hate these things because I get a "brain cramp" trying to think of clever little things, and then feel disgusted because I overlooked hundreds of better choices I should have thought about instead. 1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies? Usually color, BUT all film noir movies can ONLY be enjoyed the way they were filmed in black and white especially "Good Night and Good Luck". Ted Turner should be drawn and quartered for colorizing Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Blue Dahlia (1946) , The Third Man (1949), and D.O.A. (1949) among others.
2: What is the 1 single subject that bores you to near-death?Anything that can be heard coming from George Bush, Dick Cheney and Fox News.
3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music? MP3s, after all the 'good CD songs' have been ripped and burned to CDs or downloaded to my iPod.
You are handed one 1st class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world
and $10 million cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and
not tell anyone where you are going â€¦ Ever. This includes family,
friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?Nope, I can't see that happening.
5: Seriously, what do you consider the world's most pressing issue now? Lethal Violence and the will and means to deliver it on fellow humans like in GUNS, BOMBS and LANDMINES.
6: How would you rectify the world's most pressing issue?Make a "New Rule #1", No one can have any kind of weapon more lethal than a stick, stone or fist. The budget of the giant Military-Industrial-Complex recycled into free nursing homes for the elderly, free hospitals for children and channeled into food-production to eliminate the world's hunger.
7: You are given the chance to go back and change 1 thing in your life; what would that be?I guess it would have been to choose to be "richer and better looking" instead of merely studly and intelligent.
8: You are given the chance to go back and change 1 event in world history, what would that be?I can go with Tina on this one. I would render Barbara and George H. Walker Bush infertile. But I could also live with a miscarriage or an abortion as well!
9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole' Opry â€“Which do you choose? WOW, that's pretty much a toss-up! I would go to the Grand Ole' Opry to see Willie Nelson and the Opera for the Student Prince to hear 'Drink, drink, drink' or Carmen to hear the 'Toreado Song' are just a few on a very short-list of possibilities.
10: What is the 1 great unsolved crime of all time you'd like to solve? What ever happend in 1947 around Roswell, New Mexico when something crashed, or was shot down.
11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal? George Orwell. A fine pork roast with all the trimmings. "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more tasty than others".
You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below
us, and above us there is only sky â€” what's the 1st immoral thing you
might do to celebrate this fact?Very little, but "Give Peace A Chance" and "All You Need is Love" comes to mind for starters
For the moment, I won't tag anybody else, but don't anybody mess with me, OK!
A Newly Electric Green – Sustainable Energy, Resources and Design
Power generation based on the "motion of the ocean" offers
significant long-term value, and arguably could eventually displace
solar and wind generation for large-scale renewable energy projects.
Hydrokinetic power (encompassing wave, current and tidal power) doesn't
have the "intermittency"
problems facing solar and wind, nor are there as many issues about
ruined views and overrun landscape. Costs remain high, however. There
are numerousoceanpowerprojects in testing,
and while most show promise, I don't believe we've yet seen the real
breakout project putting ocean power at the front of the renewable
The latest contender is the "Manchester Bobber,"
an ocean power platform design from the University of Manchester. The
up-and-down motion of the water surface drives a generator; a full-size
unit should be able to produce a mean power output of around 5
[Professor Peter Stansby, co-inventor of
the Manchester Bobber :] "Energy from the sea may be extracted in many
ways and harnessing the energy from the bobbing motion of the sea is
not a new idea. It is the hydrodynamics of the float employed by the
Manchester Bobber that provides the vital connection to generating
The devices unique features include:
The vulnerable mechanical and
electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above
sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility. All mechanical and electrical
components are readily available, resulting in high reliability
compared to other devices, with a large number of more sophisticated
components. The Manchester Bobber will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment.The ability to maintain and
repair specific 'Bobber' generators (independent of others in a linked
group) means that generation supply to the network can continue
One interesting proposal
is that the Bobbers be built on decommissioned oil rigs. Aside from
reducing the construction costs, this idea has a significant symbolic
Phase 1 tests of a 1/100th working model completed early this year,
and Phase 2 tests of a 1/10th scale version are now underway. The
university group is working on a preliminary design of the full-size
version, and hope to have a time frame for construction by the end of
I believe that hydro energy production is even more promising than wind
or solar because it is more concentrated energy source. It is also a
steady source of power as opposed to the intermittancy of wind and
solar. Another benefit is the proximity of large urban centres to large
bodies of water.
There is a rather odd side to human nature. Take a problem, present
it to the audience in its maximum horror and suggest it is about to
happen, then ameliorate it a little, and tell everyone how the world is
not nearly as bad as it is painted. And everyone agrees that things
are looking up. But you are still facing a very bad situation - only
the way the news has been presented makes it seem that there is no
longer a problem.
Consider that, just yesterday, Texas was facing the third worst storm
in known history and things looked very dire. The storm has now got
just a bit less intense and folk are already talking about Houston
having "missed the bullet." All of a sudden a Category 4 hurricane
becomes news enough to ease oil prices.
We have seen this over the past year with oil prices themselves. Prices
rise from $30 to $40 to $50 and then they fall back $3 and we discuss
the "collapse of the price of oil." It rises to $60 and then $70 and
then slips $4 and suddenly "the crisis is over."
The worst case scenario for U.S. oil and gas infrastructure after
Hurricane Rita reaches land could have gasoline supplies strained
further than they already are and prices reaching record levels, some
analysts said on Thursday. Other analysts say prices have the
"Rita effect" built in and that once the storm clears land, refineries
will come back, imports will start to arrive and prices will decline.
until Hurricane Rita reaches land, the impact it has on U.S. Gulf Coast
energy infrastructure and on the price of gasoline and heating oil
remains a wildcard. Hurricane Rita, now downgraded to a Category
4 storm, has veered toward the east and now is expected to make
landfall early Saturday just north of Houston, Texas, shifting the
focus away from refineries in Corpus Christi and toward the Louisiana
blew a big hole in the product market. If Rita doubles that, we are in
for some serious problems," said Jamal Qureshi, an oil analyst at
Washington-based PFC Energy. Already tight U.S. refining capacity
was strained further after four refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi
closed after flood damage from Katrina, sending the average price of a
gallon to a record $3.06 a gallon.
"This could be almost worse
than Katrina because there are 4 million barrels of refining in Texas
areas, much more than there was in New Orleans," said Tim Evans,
analyst at IFR Energy Services in New York. "(Texas) is the other major
refining heart," he said, adding that Rita will be a stress test for
Gulf Coast refineries.
Lack of power has kept the Louisiana
refineries closed for more than three weeks, so any sustained closure
of Texas area refineries will hit supplies of gasoline and heating oil
needed for winter fuel. But some analysts think that Rita won't have that much of a sustained effect. "The
market has already bid up the price of gasoline. It's been buy the
rumor and sell the fact," said Sarah Emerson, director of petroleum at
Boston-based ESAI Inc.
the storm neared, Texas refiners intensified efforts to prepare for the
hurricane by shutting down operations, taking down about 29 percent of
U.S. total refining capacity. According to Qureshi, the best case
scenario would be 2 million bpd of refining capacity out for four or
five days. The worst case, he said, is if a big chunk of refining
capacity is out for weeks or months, much like Katrina knocked out four
refineries in Louisiana, which are still not back in operation after
more than three weeks.
"The market is certainly tightened by this
event," said IFR's Evans, who said he wouldn't be surprised to see
gasoline stocks fall substantially but with demand limited by a
slowdown of gasoline demand which has fallen to 6.5 pct below August
levels over the past two weeks.
But some industry observers think
that there will be a big difference between Rita and Katrina, which
wreaked havoc on Louisiana and Mississippi. "After Katrina, there
were a bunch of refineries which didn't sustain structural damage but
couldn't turn the power back on," ESAI's Emerson said. While Houston
isn't below sea level like New Orleans, it still can see some damage
from flooding. "Houston
isn't as vulnerable, but there could still be dangerous storm surges,"
said Aaron Brady, analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
It has been fairly easy for FEMA to meet the needs they have to hand
out water, and to hire (purportedly at $24/hr with 16 hours days
allowed and a credit card for all expenses) a sufficient work force for
that purpose. Unfortunately for the real work in getting the oil and
natural gas supplies on hand for the winter they will likely be less
lucky. Unfortunately for the real work in getting the oil and natural gas
supplies on hand for the winter they will likely be less lucky. The
nation and the universities which carry the responsibility to train the
technical support that must underpin our economy, has fallen into the
management trap of purely meeting the immediate need. Petroleum
Engineering Departments are high cost, and have not been strongly
supported by an industry that has been more remiss than many in funding
the research and development that it now has need of. Thus Departments
have closed, and support infrastructure has declined.
And no one expects folks in Boston to go without heat this winter.
However, we might expect fewer to heat their offices or homes to the
borderline-sweltering temperatures that are not uncommon. And maybe the
the usually-sweltering winter temperatures on busses and trains could
be cranked down to something reflecting the way people actually dress
in wintertime. And maybe a few people might close off some rooms in
their palatial houses (compared to any other part of the world). And no one needs to travel a
hundred miles to a fifth-grade hockey game, maybe others would
other adjustments. None of this would all be bad, though, of course,
adjustments are not indefinitely scalable. Still we have the
impacts of global warming and country debt load to
add to the mix of energy shortages. Both will probably make the
rebuilding of the coast
and energy infrastructure problematic.
During the anthrax episode, the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tommy Thompson repeatedly provided incorrect information to the news
media on the number of spores required to produce an infection. The
same misinformation was often repeated by public health authorities.
Failure to communicate the fact that the risks from even a small number
of spores could result in infection may have contributed to the deaths
of two postal employees at the Brentwood facility in Washington, DC.
from those who should know better is also occurring in the aftermath of
hurricane Katrina. DHHS Secretary Leavitt, for example, has warned of
the risk of "typhoid and cholera" as a result of contaminated water,
while others have talked generally of mosquito-borne disease and the
hazards caused by dead people and animals. It is time to separate the
real risks from the phantom risks.
Diarrheal disease from
contaminated water is a concern, but not cholera and probably not
typhoid. In order to get these diseases the water has to be
contaminated with the organisms that cause those diseases,
neither of which is endemic in that region. What is more likely is
gastroenteritis or hepatitis A from enteric viruses or bacteria. Most
are spread by the fecal-oral route, which means they are not spread
directly person to person. If they get in a contaminated, piped water
supply they can cause an epidemic, because piped water is an efficient
way to distribute pathogens to a population. But localized
contamination of flood waters is not. Individuals can get serious
diarrheal disease and even die of consequent dehydration, but there is
not likely to be a point source epidemic of cholera or typhoid or even
diarrheal disease, only sporadic cases (which may be relatively
numerous but not epidemic in nature). Lack of clean water and food can
produce a risk of diarrhea and dehydration and must be attended to
quickly, but not to prevent an epidemic.
Similarly the presence
of dead animals and people is not a health hazard. Dead animals
decompose naturally in the environment. Unless they were infected with
a contagious organism before death, they will not themselves become the
source of disease. The persistent concern in mass disasters over
unburied bodies is an urban myth. Mass disasters like floods rarely
cause epidemic disease and to suggest otherwise results in misplaced
concern and potential diversion of resources from more important issues.
Mosquito-borne illness is a potential concern for some, but needs to be
properly understood. Being bitten by mosquitoes is not a health hazard.
The mosquitoes themselves must be vectors for a pathogenic agent like
malaria or West Nile. Almost all malaria cases in the US are in people
exposed and infected elsewhere who travel to this country and become
sick shortly after arriving. We do not have endemic malaria, at least
not at this point (global warming might change that, of course). West
Nile is a possibility, because there are an unknown number of infected
birds and possibly other animals in that region. However the mosquitoes
that multiply in the wake of the flooding have to be the kind that both
bite infected birds and bite humans. We don't know what the disaster
did to the ecological niches of the potentially infected animal
population nor do we know whether any increase in s specific mosquito
population will be in the kind of "bridge vector" capable of biting
both humans and whatever existing infected animals are around. So even
a huge increase in the mosquito population does not necessarily, or
even probably, mean an outbreak of West Nile or other mosquito-borne
illnesses.This is important because the fear of "an epidemic" might
encourage interventions that themselves carry undue risk, such as
broadcast spraying of pesticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes
reproduce exponential quickly and these techniques have not been shown
to interrupt the transmission of human disease. They have the potential
to just add one more biologically active toxin to the environment.
biggest health hazards may well be those we would classify under
"injury." Heat-related illness might be at the top of the list here. As
body core temperatures rise above 105 degrees F., mortality increases
quickly. The high heat and humidity of the area, coupled with
dehydration are a significant health hazard that requires intervention
by providing fluids and cooler shelters. The many sources of physical
injury, whether from feral animals (snakes, alligators, etc.), sharp
metal debris, falls and injuries in an environment where the hazards
are numerous and not easily visible can result in substantial
accumulated morbidity and even mortality. The only remedy is removal of
people to a safer environment, which should be the top priority. this
is also true for the many chronically ill and vulnerable people who
require medication, external support from power dependent devices and
The situation is complex but the bottom line here is simple: mobilize
resources to remove people from the area as quickly as possible, while
providing fresh food and water to those waiting evacuation. This is
something a well-organized military force, like the National Guard,
should have been equipped to do from the outset. If they can plan how
to put hundreds of thousands of soldiers to invade an area in a twelve
hour period, they can also plan how to remove civilians in a three day
I hope you don't mind getting mail
from your designees, I figure a little feedback is always healthy. When
I first heard that evolution wasn't just a natural process, but was
actually all done on purpose, I was kind of pleased by the idea. It was
nice to know there was somebody out there looking out for us. Or well,
I guess you're not a person, but a being, anyway. I try to think the
best of beings.
So, I appreciate all the good stuff you've done.
Flowers, songbirds, sex, all very nice. Or, mostly nice. But the more I
thought a bout it, the more I started to get, I don't know how to say
this any more nicely, kind of disappointed in a few things. So if
you'll just give me a moment of your time, here are some things you
might want to reconsider.
Are you really looking out for us
after all? For one thing, you really ought to stop intelligently
designing those bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics. Evidently you
originally designed the bacteria to kill us and make us sick, and I'm
sure you had your reasons. Intelligent doesn't have to mean nice. So
now you're probably a little annoyed with us for coming up with ways to
kill the the bugs first, but give us a break! It seems to me if we
start to figure out how to stay alive for a while, you should just
accept that. We get to design things too, okay? Same goes for HIV.
What's that all about anyway? It was bad enough you intelligently
designed it in the first place, now you keep redesigning it so the
drugs don't work. Enough already. And then there's the flu virus. Don't
get me started with that one. Don't you have anything better to do?
Then there's the whole question of the human body. It has a lot of great
features, but a few of them just seem -- sorry to have to say this, but
it's true -- not very intelligent. To begin with, there's that stupid
appendix, that doesn't seem to do anything except get infected. Then
there's the birth canal. It's not a problem for me personally but it is
for at leat half of my friends. It's too small for the baby's head,
causes no end of trouble. I could go on and on with that. The lower
back. I don't expect perfection, everything has to wear out and break
down eventually, but there are some pretty obvious improvements you
could make there.
Then, as if an appendix isn't bad
enough, you made it even worse by giving me a solitary cecal
diverticulum. Damn near killed me, for no good reason that I can
see.Then there are allergies. Multiple sclerosis. Schizophrenia.
Huntington's disease. Neurofibromatosis. These appear to be
manufacturing defects, rather than design flaws per se, but
shouldn't you exercise better oversight? (By the way, can you give me
the name and phone number of the being in charge of manufacturing? Or
at least the mailing address? I promise I'll be civil.) The quality of
the product is a reflection on you, after all, and I'd think you'd take
more pride in it.
Next, I don't want to call you a
hypocrite, but I hear that you get really, really angry when people
kill those innocent preborn babies. But then I read that you do it
yourself! Specifically, out of 100 zygotes, about 50 fail to implant in
the uterus and uhh, well, there goes a Sacred Human Life down the
toilet. Of the remaining 50, 30% (that's 15) are simply sloughed off in
what appears to be a normal, perhaps late, menstrual cycle and the
woman probably will never know that she was preganant. The remaining 35
embryos will last at least 35 days, after which pregnancy may be
recognized. Of these, 25% will die in utero,
perhaps recognized as a miscarriage. That leaves about 26 of the
original 100 innocent preborn babies unslain by you. So why is it okay
for you, and not for us? Just asking.
Now, there are some
things that bother some people that are okay with me. For instance, I
have nothing against beetles. You're entitled to your obsessions. It's
kind of ridiculous that the whales keep stranding themselves on the
beach but it's not my problem. And kudzu is a major pain but I guess
it's our own fault for putting it where it doesn't belong. (That's
still no excuse for poison ivy.)
Anyhow, just a few
thoughts, I hope you don't mind. I know I've mostly been pretty
critical, but I hope you'll take it professioally, not personally. If
you're interested, I have some more ideas.
After weeks of exhaustive testing, Motor Trend editors
Toyota Prius to be a user-friendly gas/electric hybrid capable of
delivering an impressive 60 miles per gallon in city driving. However,
all this is related to larger issues we as a people have with
technology. It's all about the grand gesture -- Bush promises to dump
billions into the hydrogen economy, which is still decades away. The
Space Shuttle should have been retired or evolved away ten years ago
minimum, but we needs our bipeds in space. Our biggest threat now is
loose nukes, but we spend pennies on that while pissing money up a rope
to build our magical missile defense space shield. Instead automakers promise
hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars
won't be widely available for years and would require a vast
infrastructure of new fueling stations. "They'd rather work on something that won't be
in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff,".
"They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back,
essentially." But Ron Gremban says that such a car is parked in his garage, right now.
It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid,
but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret — a stack of 18
brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra
electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.
Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.
Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel
efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during
braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by
plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco
suburb — all for about a quarter.
He's part of a small but growing movement.
"Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen
known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg. With mass-production, the high battery cost would come down a lot.
Green Car Congress writes about
a very cool project by Canadian engineer Steve Lapp who modified his
2001 Prius by installing solar panels on the roof. It is admitted that
the car is still a rough prototype, but so far the fuel economy
improvement are of 10%, a respectable figure; for reference, Honda completely redesigned the Honda Civic engine for the 2006 model
and achieved a 6% increase in fuel economy (the comparison is not quite
fair, but I just want to point out that it can take lots of engineering
efforts to gain even a few percents). "Lapp’s modelling predicts a
10%–20% fuel efficiency improvement for the 270 watts of PV (to be
bumped up to 360 watts with the additional of a fourth panel)".
...the fact that [current Toyota hybrids] can run on electricity
alone, with their gasoline engines off, offers the opportunity to
provide them with more electricity and therefore drive further with the
gasoline engine off.
Electricity can be provided from the electrical grid by charging
an onboard battery, and depending on where that electricity comes from,
it will have various emissions associated with it. [The plug-in
concept.] However if it is provided from renewable energy sources, such
as photovoltaic panels, then it is "green".
This begs the question of why not put the PV panels directly on a
hybrid car and generate electricity onboard while the car is parked
outside, or even while driving. The general reaction of people to this
idea is that there could not be enough energy striking the roof of a
car to provide enough electricity to drive any meaningful distance.
This is where the incredible efficiency of the hybrid car must be
taken into account. To drive a hybrid car about 1 km, takes about the
same electricity as to light a 150 watt bulb for one hour! The point is
not to drive the car using only solar power, but to effectively use
solar power to improve gasoline fuel efficiency.
How much gasoline can this photovoltaic hybrid car save? Well let’s
look at the energy available from the sun on the roof of the car. For
June and July in Kingston Ontario, about 6 kWh of energy from the sun
strikes each square meter of horizontal surface. If we install 2 square
meters of photovoltaic panels on the car and we collect 10% of the
energy from the sun as electricity (well within present PV efficiency),
we can theoretically go about 8 km each day on just the sun’s energy.
If we drive 24 km on a sunny day, that is enough to reduce our gasoline
consumption by 33%. This would take the Prius from 5.0 l/100km [47 mpg]
to 3.3 l/100km [71.2 mpg].
While the big focus today is on battery-assisted hybrids, research is going into the use of
supercapacitors to offer a regenerative power boost. Able to quickly
charge and discharge, supercapacitors could be used in place of
batteries in some applications, or as an additional energy source to
add power when a vehicle is climbing hills. Check this article for more info. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for the übercapacitor, on which Bosch is working with Doctor Emmett Brown.
Our man Bruno, at the University of
Michigan’s Automotive Research
Center, hipped us to the fact that the EPA has been playing around with
hydraulic drive systems for a while. He notes, “They work especiall
well for larger vehicles, where batteries are becoming very expensive.
Also, the large mass of SUVs & delivery trucks requires a very high
rate of energy charge & discharge, which is where hydraulic
accumulators excel in comparison to batteries.” We still wonder why
this system hasn’t been adapted to cars, as it seems to us that while
hydraulic fluid can be made recyclable, batteries inherently cause lots
of waste. Not to mention that the electrocution factor’s a lot lower
when hydraulics are involved.
Of all the inanities uttered by former Bush press secretary Ari
Fleischer, perhaps none was more inane than his May 2001 assertion that
burning fossil fuels was part of the "blessed" American way of life.
Those driving giant cars, he suggested, were not only exercising some
fundamental right of citizenship but proclaiming American
After 9/11, Hummers became a cocky symbol of American greatness.
Driving the biggest, baddest, least-fuel-efficient car on the planet
was tantamount to giving the finger to environmentalists, Arianna Huffington,
and all those who suggested that the involvement of Saudi citizens in
the attacks should lead us to rethink our dependence on foreign oil.
You could be an active home-front warrior by buying an expensive
Hummer—imitating our troops in Iraq and stimulating the economy at the
same time. (Hummers also come in handy in case you need to mount a
motorized assault on the Stop-n-Shop.)
Comparing the Prius and the Hummer is like comparing apples and oranges, or apples and watermelons. Since the new 2004 model was introduced in the fall, the Prius has
been stomping the Hummer. In November 2003, the Prius outsold the H2 by
a 2-to-1 margin, according to Autodata. In January 2004, Prius sales
were up 82 percent from January 2003.
For the 2004 model year,
Toyota initially boosted production 50 percent to 36,000. But demand
has been strong enough that production has already been increased to
47,000. And that's still not enough. My Toyota dealer doesn't have a
Prius on the lot and says that interested purchasers must put down a
deposit today and wait six months. By contrast, my local Hummer dealer
has several on the lot.
The demand for the Prius is pushing Toyota to install hybrid technology
in other models, including SUVs. Also, it's spurring other automakers
to adapt hybrid motors. Apparently, there's even a hybrid version of
the Hummer in the works.