I've been reading a lot lately about alternative energy, and I find that some people have a bizarre view of it. They think that clean energy technology should have to compete with traditional energy in the free market. They decry subsidies, variability, and higher prices because those things are anti-competitive. That's wrong-headed, and here's why.
There is a revolution afoot for electric vehicles. Check that. There is a revolution afoot for passenger vehicles. If the technology plays out as it promises to over the next few years, there will be a paradigm shift in the automotive world not seen since the invention of the electric starter motor. How fitting, actually.
Sure, you could get yourself a Bugatti Veyron or a Lamborghini Murciélago, but all your friends would just sneer at such an obvious show of ostentatious. To really impress them, you should put the bulk of your vast fortune in sensible investments and buy your adrenaline cheap. A motorcycle is the obvious choice for cheap speed, but motorcycles have one major drawback: they raise your chances of becoming an organ donor to uncomfortable levels. So what's a sane human being to do for fun without intentionally risking his or her neck? What kind of fun can you have on four wheels for under, say, $40 grand?
The world of car manufacturers is a complicated one. The corporations want to obscure some of their lines to maintain brand separation, but also want to keep you somewhat aware of them so as to leverage the history and goodwill they've tried so hard to attain over the years. BMW didn't need any special British technology to build a cheap runabout like the Mini, but it did need the name in order to give them an excuse to make a cheap runabout in the first place and to have their car be seen as the next generation of the classic Mini.
Having figured the high definition disk format war has come to an end, I got a Playstation 3 (40 GB) to play Blu-Ray disks. Not having owned a game console since the Sega Dreamcast back in 2000, what I found surprised me in several ways.
On Saturday, the brother-sister team of Jacob Bennitt (12) and Alexandra Lohse (10) of Bremen, Indiana, proved that youth and brains can beat a mystery that stumped police detectives and private investigators for more than 12 years. They discovered the secret of the missing rare coins and jewelry hidden by eccentric real estate developer Edgar Barndagle in 1994.
Time travel stories usually focus on weird science, like fading from existence one limb at a time, and some questionable paradoxes, like becoming your own great-grandfather. But a secondary plotline often has characters trying to use the opportunity to become rich. Assuming wealth—and not becoming your own grandfather—was your goal, what's the best thing you could take along with you to the past?
Why that store clerk doesn’t care
We find ourselves today in the last, violent throes of the service industry. Oh, it will limp along for decades more, the stragglers and the holdouts desperately clinging to old practices. But the truth is that already you are a foolish person if you venture into an establishment of commerce in this society expecting anything of the workers there but pure mechanical efficiency or apathy.
I was in the market for a new laptop computer and, altho I'm employed by a corporation that has a relationship with Lenovo, I decided I wanted to buy from someone else since I got pinched by Lenovo's deceptive rebate program last time. I chose Dell, for all the obvious reasons, but as I got close to the point of purchase, a question arose that Dell's website couldn't answer. I decided I'd better check with a human about the resolution of the LCD screen I wanted. Nice idea.
This article originally ran on April 3, 2005
Today is Vernal Daylight Saving Time Day, that day that most of the country—much of the world, in fact—pretends to be accomplishing something by moving its clocks forward one hour. What is the point of this? Why not just get up an hour earlier if it matters to your job?
Here's the basic problem: the only reason for daylight saving time is to save energy.* Businesses use somewhat more energy when it is dark, of course. There are much better ways to save energy that don't screw up everyone's sleep patterns.
Want to clean up Congress? Give them more money
When Bill Clinton left the White House to his successor, he had arranged with Congress a pay raise for the president. Cost of living increases had driven many federal jobs salaries up close to his $200 thousand annual salary. Congress members vote themselves raises regularly, and they certainly don't wait for the next senator or representative to succeed them for it to go into effect. Of course, voters often complain about this, pretty much every time Congress votes themselves a pay raise, even tho US government employees, from the president on down, make lousy money. Lousy. And DC is an expensive place to live in.
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