Business & Industry

Does the Energy Bill Provide a Much-Needed Jolt?

Critics charge that the newly signed bill will do little to reduce current gas prices or reliance on foreign oil while proponents point out that it will benefit the environment. Who's right? Last week, President Bush signed the country's first comprehensive energy bill (it's 1,724 pages long) in more than a decade. While he called it vital to the U.S. economy, he acknowledged that it offered no...

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Business & Industry

Should We Have a Cow Over Cow Pollution?

Factory dairies have a beef with an air district in California which claims that dairy cows, not cars, are the biggest single source of smog-forming gases. Time to clear the air: Over the last six years, California's San Joaquin Valley has held the dubious distinction of being home to the smoggiest air in the country, reports this LA Times article. Now, government officials have identified one of...

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Business & Industry

Does Industry Money Taint Research?

Can researchers remain truly objective when their work is funded by industry? Experts argue over the influence of business interests in the occupational and environmental health field: In recent months, medical research has been rocked by scandal. There was the uproar over undisclosed deadly side effects of arthritis drugs and the debacle involving falsified data by a medical professor at the...

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Business & Industry

Light Friday: The We're-Heading-Into-The-Abyss Special Edition

Hey, did you hear? Tom Cruise is headed to the Moon on a remote-controlled lawnmower! The Latest Robotics and Hybrid Technologies Combined for… (Drum roll, please!) …Lawnmowers? Yep, lawnmowers. For only $3,299, one can sit on one's ever-widening butt and mow the lawn via remote control. The RCLM 2006 C-Class for commercial applications 'has evolved from three generations of high-tech...

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Business & Industry

The Moon/Mars Mission: "Take-Off Is Planned for the Year 2020, or Later if They Let Dubya Do the Final Countdown from 10 to Lift-Off."

With media coverage of the recent Discovery mission fresh in our minds, let's consider primarily the Moon element of President George W. Bush's plan to send astronauts to Mars. The headline quote is from an article in The Guardian, UK, entitled Bush's Mars Plan Attacked. (Referenced below, that article is hysterically funny and so well done that I won't quibble about years: 2018 vs. 2020). We all...

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Business & Industry

Is the Mobile Workforce Working?

Flash back to 2001. In an IEEE article called Managing a Mobile Workforce, author Terrance Malkinson took a futuristic look at the workplace. "The rules of business are going to change. Employers will have boundaryless access to the world's finest resources: the most skilled labor, the most advanced technology, and a large customer and supplier base. Rapid advances in digital technology are...

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Business & Industry

This Just In: U.S.-China Trade Deficit Shifts for the Better

In one fell swoop, the U.S.-China trade deficit has shifted due to a just-inked deal between four Chinese airlines and Boeing. Has it shifted enough, however? According to PBS, former President Bill Clinton is responsible for opening the doors of trade between the U.S. and China. "Most Republicans and Democrats agreed that trade with China would be a boon for America." That was in the late 1990s....

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Business & Industry

Note to Microsoft Marketers

You've all heard about Longhorn, I'm sure: the next major version of the Windows OS. Let's take a moment to sit back and calmly reflect. Consider some of the statements made on the Microsoft Vista (formerly Longhorn) website: Windows Vista detects hardware problems before they occur; reduces the frequency of incidents in which applications stop responding or the PC needs to be restarted; and...

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Business & Industry

Light Friday: Mountainous Toilets, Weird Engineering, and Triumph Spitfire as Woman

"The engineering challenges are in trying to build [Australia's highest toilet] in such a remote location and at that elevation." The above is a quote from Australia's National Parks and Wildlife Service alpine area manager Andrew Harrigan. According to this article, the approximately 60,000 climbers of the country's Mount Kosciuszko will soon be able to stop off at just over 7,300 feet to use...

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Business & Industry

"Hybrids? I Got a Million of 'Em."

The above quote is from Jim Press, Toyota's U.S. president and chief operating officer. (Well, not really.) But that's his goal for early next-decade. In an article here a few months back, I lauded the viability of hybrid vehicles. Wow. I'm so far ahead of my time. (Well, not really.) Not only has Toyota announced a new, bigger, better push for hybrids, but also bigger, better hybrids. According...

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