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Using materials efficiently


Page 17 of the July 2001 issue of Popular Science shows a metal can with a honeycomb pattern of indentations on it, formed by water pressure. Invented by Frank Mirtsch, this technique is claimed to provide enough strength to allow 20–40% less material to be used. So why hasn’t some smart government bought the patent, and then given the technology away to anyone that wants to use it? It seems to me that doing so could greatly aid the environment.

Disaster communications breakdowns


I’m not convinced that our government is doing the right things to make sure our public agencies have reliable communications that will work in a disaster. The trend towards fancy trunked radio systems in the 800MHz band may simply be making already incompatible systems even more incompatible and far more unlikely to work during a major disaster.

Articles on this topic that you should read include “Interoperability Of Public Safety Communication Systems” (Popular Communications, November 2002), Fixing A Communications Breakdown, and Lessons Learned After September 11th.

Corn-Fed Gas


So, will the use of Ethanol raise gas prices? A Reuters news story says, ethanol will boost prices—while a recent story in the Contra Costa Times cites CA energy officials as saying it won’t raise gas prices.

Who is behind the anti-war protests?


Authoritarian Opportunists Who Cozy Up To Genocidal Dictators—for Peace has tracked down the orginizations behind the ANSWER anti-war group, and the list may surprise you.

The False Promise of Hydrogen


Paul Georgia writes in the National Review about the facts of hydrogen production and use—that it is very inefficient and creates more pollution than burning gasoline (at least when created using electricity generated by fossil fuel). It could make sense if we could produce it using nuclear power, but not by any other means.

Why we know Iraq is lying


In the New York Times, national security advisor Condoleezza Rice explains why Iraq is not believable in its protestation that it has no weapons of mass destruction.

Asteroid impact forecast


NASA has a new Web page devoted to predicting the risk of asteroid impacts with the Earth. Unfortunately, the page lists only the risks associated with asteroids we have found—not those that may be on a collision course that we haven’t seen yet.

Cut the state payroll


When a private sector business finds itself faced with a budget deficit, the standard response is to cut costs, lay off workers, and close money-wasting divisions. Product prices are also usually reduced in order to compete better and fuel demand. So why can’t California do the same, instead of the opposite? A bunch of my co-workers are now without jobs because their magazine, New Architect, is no more. It is way past time for the state to shut down entire agencies that are not earning their keep or are duplicating functions of other local, state, and federal agencies.

The San Mateo Daily News asked just this question in its January 10th editorial, Cut the payrol. The paper couldn’t help pointing out that one of Gov. Davis’ first appointments was of Steve Peace—author of the fraudulent energy deregulation—as his chief financial officer.

Enviros get defensive about “Skeptical Environmentalist”


A reader pointed me to this nearly year-old article about the environmentalist attacks against statistician Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. I’m posting this oldish link because of its timeliness. You should also read Mr. Lomborg’s response to the latest attack on him—a danish scientific community claim that his work is not science. This group uses the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as an example of proper science—a body that bases scientific proclamations on a vote of its members. A majority vote does not constitute scientific proof.

Activist Cash


Thanks to Tim from Santa Rosa for pointing out, which profiles groups which they feel are anti-consumer, detailing their financial information and political viewpoints. For instance, the site shows that the NRDC received more than $11 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts from 1991–2000—and more than $4 million from the EPA from 1996–2001.