Maiello: Defeat the Press
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
CleanCarCalculator.com grew out of a homework assignment for Energy and Resource Productivity, a graduate course at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management taught by Professor Sangwon Suh. Initially, the assignment asked students to compare two vehicles—one conventional gas engine and one high-efficiency—in terms of their total lifetime costs. This net present value (NPV) calculation unearthed surprising results. Most of the students had anticipated that purchasing a high-efficiency vehicle, such as a Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt, would cost more over the lifetime of the vehicle (i.e. that savings from the higher fuel efficiency would not be enough to offset the higher upfront cost of the vehicle). Instead, we were surprised to not only find that established hybrids paid themselves back in fuel savings, but that newly released vehicles, such as the Volt and Leaf, were also extremely affordable.
First, the San Francisco Chronicle sheds light on the Republicans anti-GM, anti-Tesla, anti-anything Obama strategy:
GM Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has complained about the political atmosphere that surrounds the Volt.
"Sometimes I feel bad for President Obama," he said this month after an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. "This car was designed and committed to well before he was president, and it's called the 'Obamacar.' It's not the Obama car. I'm proud and I'm pleased that he thinks highly of it, but it's all on us. It's not a political issue."
The automaker accused Republicans and the media of hyping claims that the car caught fire during testing, which forced temporary layoffs at the Volt plant in Detroit.
Tesla, which received a $465 million Department of Energy loan, has dropped pursuit of new federal loans, raised private cash and plans in July to start deliveries of its $50,000 S car, claiming it is on its way to the mass car market.
"We applied during the Bush administration, and we were approved under the Obama administration, so as far as we're concerned, we at least had a bipartisan relationship for the loan," said Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes. "We got one of first loans and we used it to build the car that is now going into production in a U.S.-based facility. ... I'd like to think we're pretty much a case study on what the loan program was designed to do."
The Infrastructurist blog shut down in January—but not because we have been paying more attention to our aging infrastructure.
Rivers and canals carry an enormous amount of goods through the hinterlands—coal, grain, fuel oil. Water transport is cheaper than railroads, and far cheaper than trucking. Monongahela or "falling banks," was the native American name for one such river, and we have built a series of manmade structures intended to keep it navigable by large vessels. At what is now Pittsburgh, the Mon joins with the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River, which is in turn the largest tributary of the Mississippi. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has posted two parts of a four part series on the locks and dams along nearby rivers. [Read more]
In Spring are two American tennis tournaments, each of which likes to be known as the fifth major. Both include both the men's and women's tours at the same time, which does give them the feel of a major, but they have 96 player fields instead of 128, and offer 1000 ranking points to the winners instead of 2000. Still, they're big tournaments.
The Indian Wells Masters, now officially called the BNP Paribas Open, was the Pacific Life Open (with lots of whale ads) from 2002 to 2008, and has had almost a dozen names over the last 38 years. I associate Banque Nationale de Paris and BNP Paribas with the French Open at Roland Garros, but BNP Paribas is now the largest bank in the world, so I guess they can sponsor a tournament anywhere. The Miami Masters, or Sony Ericsson Open, started out many names ago as the Lipton, and is often just called Key Biscayne. Larry Ellis of Oracle now owns the Indian Wells event, and former top ten player Butch Buchholz started the Key Biscayne event. [Read more]
A Winnipeg couple is shaking their heads, wondering why they got a ticket for talking on a cellphone while driving — when they don't own a cellphone.
Laszlo Piszker and his wife, Margaret, were pulled over by two city police officers in the 2500 block of Portage Avenue on Friday.
Piszker was handed a $199.80 ticket, even after he urged the officers to search him and the car for any sign of a cellphone.
"I told them, 'Do whatever it takes. There's no phone in here; never has been. I don't know anything about the phone.' But they won't have it," ...
Immediately after getting the ticket, the couple went to a nearby police station to complain.
Piszker said the officer there laughed and suggested the ticket was likely issued to fill a quota. [Read more]
Yesterday, local news reported that a 13 year old NE Baltimore girl was missing. She had gone off to a skating barn, but hadn't come back. Her family turned out to search the neighborhood, and her older brother found her body under some trash in an alley. That sounded fishy, and I wondered to myself if he knew where to look, but today the case took another turn.
The headline Police: Girl Found Dead Was Playing With Gun makes it sound like she shot herself, but her family said she was afraid of guns: [Read more]
A 13-year-old girl reported missing in northeast Baltimore over the weekend was playing with a gun with a friend when it fired, killing her, police said Monday afternoon.
Family members identified the victim as Monae Turnage. Police said the teenager was accidentally shot by a .22-caliber rifle that she and her friends were playing with.
Two boys, ages 12 and 13, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. ...
The family said the juveniles pretended to be upset over Monae's disappearance, joining in the search for her and eventually guiding her 16-year-old brother to her body, which was found under some plastic trash bags on Sunday in the 1600 block of Cliftview Avenue.
During his keynote speech at the Energy Innovation Summit, Dr Steven Chu cited an ARPA-E grant recipient, Envia Systems, which has announced, "a more energy-dense lithium ion battery that it says will be cheaper than today's batteries and allow for an electric car with a 300-mile range." [Read more]
TransCanada is moving ahead with the Southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil, and synthetic oil from tar sands, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the refineries and ports near the Gulf of Mexico. A White House press release stated: [Read more]
The President welcomes today's news that TransCanada plans to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico. As the President made clear in January, we support the company's interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production.
I watched a brief video on Motley Fool last weekend to the effect that Tesla Motors is a good investment while Zipcar has probably grown to its upper limit within walkable urban cities. But I'd be concerned about the bricked Roadster battery reports, which are getting fierce on both sides. A dogpile search shows dozens of stories like "Tesla Downplays Danger of Bricked Battery" and some that ridicule anyone that wouldn't already know that batteries will discharge. Meanwhile, self-proclaimed experts on Slashdot swear that LIon batteries couldn't possibly be fully discharged because they found an old cell phone once and recharged it. [Read more]
Gasoline is expensive, getting more expensive, and that threatens our wide-ranging American way of life, y'all. The conservative solution seems to be drill, baby, drill and frack, baby, frack and pipeline, baby, pipeline. Others are looking for the big technological breakthrough—the dilithium crystals that will keep the Starship America on its continuing mission.
In his latest Technological Update, Tom Whipple feels that there are two possible sources of energy that might replace fossil fuels. The bad news is that one is hydrogen. The worse news is that the other is cold fusion. Whipple is being cautious in his writing, but he still gives LENR more credence than do most of us: [Read more]
In UT: No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing, Rigzone lets fracking off the hook:
No direct connection has been found between hydraulic fracturing and reports of groundwater contamination, according to a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas of Austin.
The study found that many of the problems linked to hydraulic fracturing are related to common oil and gas drilling operations such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.
Researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground split or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than hydraulic fracturing per se, said Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project.
"These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing," Groat said in a statement.
My massage therapist now rides a big black Yuba Mundo cargo bike, or longtail, like the one in the video above. While I was on the table he raved about the financial advantages of ditching his car, skipping the bus and cycling around town. He had even let his Zipcar membership lapse. He likes riding in an upright posture, because it takes stress off his arms, which are his tools. He's been riding all winter, which has been mild, but I do see people riding in the snow. I haven't been willing to try that, even though Dmitry Orlov says it is common enough elsewhere: [Read more]
An email from 350.org warns that the Keystone XL pipeline project is already being revived. You can sign a petition against that action here. While we follow the unfortunate death of Whitney Houston or the trial from the unfortunate death of Yeardley Love, or even the GOP Primary follies, oil interests are trying to pull a fast one:
Senate Trying To Sneak The Keystone XL Pipeline Onto Obama's Desk Through An Unrelated Bill [Read more]
After last month's decision by the Obama administration to reject the 1,700-mile-route of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Republican lawmakers are trying to revive the controversial project by attaching it to transportation legislation.
The promoters of the Australian Open should be awfully pleased. Often—too often—the women's final in a major is a dud. Usually the semis are better matches, and one player freezes up to play a bad match in the final. But even though the 2012 women's final was a 6-3, 6-0 rout, a new Number One was crowned, and the match wasn't completely awful. Maria Sharapova wasn't dumping serves into the net, was returning well, and hit a few winners—she was simply led into a boatload of errors. The NY Times' Straight Sets blog offered the theory that Victoria Azarenka won mostly because she hit with more topspin than Sharapova. Even though she obviously does hit with topspin, Sharapova is considered a flat hitter in the modern game. My feeling was that Azarenka covered the court a lot better than Sharapova, while hitting the ball just as powerfully (and shrieking just as loudly).
The men's semifinals were excellent, and the final may be one for the ages. The Atlantic speculates that this final may portend the new look of men's tennis: as an endurance sport. Even given that both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal took a lot of time between points, the match took almost six hours, and many of the points involved over twenty shots, even thirty shots. A popular tennis coach once noted that, statistically speaking, for the average player the point will end on the next shot. For these guys, it seems that no matter how well they hit the ball, the point will go on at least another six shots. Part of that is because the tennis authorities have slowed down the courts, and part of that is because these guys are very fast and very fit, and part is because they are hitting with extremely exaggerated topspin. [Read more]
While watching various matches of the Australian Open, we were bombarded by those videos from the Corn Refiner's Association claiming that your body can't tell the difference between cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - so they must be the same. But consider that your body can't tell the difference between air and carbon monoxide, either, and low concentrations of CO will kill you. [Read more]
Yesterday, the New York Times' Straight Sets blog raved about the intensity of the Nadal-Federer semifinal, but this morning's match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray was a dogfight. I woke up at 4:30AM to a score of Djokovic leading 6-3, 3-5, but Novak fell behind on serve and was broken to lose the second set. All even.
The third set was very tight. The first game, Djokovic serving, took over ten minutes. Murray was serving crisply and controlling the baseline rallies with tightly-angled forehands. Reportedly suffering from a "stuffy nose," Djokovic looked tired and far less confident than usual. He wasn't serving that well, and repeatedly had to fight back to hold his own service games. Nole did well to reach a tiebreak, but couldn't hold off Murray. Andy only needed to keep going and take the fourth set. Crikey, even Ivan Lendl cracked a smile. [Read more]