In one of the first examples of a U.S. company offering money to encourage employees to buy environmentally friendly vehicles, a California software firm says it will give its employees $5,000 apiece toward the purchase of such cars.
Hyperion Solutions Corp., based in Santa Clara, Calif., will provide the reimbursement for vehicles that achieve 45 miles per gallon or more in the federal government's highway fuel-economy rating and that meet a strict low-emissions standard. Currently, the only generally available vehicles on sale in the U.S. that qualify on both counts are hybrid gasoline-and-electric-powered cars from Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. Hyperion counts many car companies, including Honda and Toyota, among its customers.
Initially, Hyperion has budgeted $1 million a year for the program, enough to incentivize the purchases of 200 cars annually. All of Hyperion's 2,500 employees globally, including 1,500 in the U.S., are eligible.
Well, $5000 is certainly a hefty incentive. Most people who want to buy these hybrids should be able to get many accesories included in that price! How do you think this will turn out?
ITConversations.com serves up free audio presentations on technology related topics. I've checked talks on climate change and web services, a lecture by Malcom Gladwell... and have a big list of others I'm looking forward to listening to.
They have an RSS feed that sends you a descrption and link to the talk... or you can set up filters, and have the file zapped right onto your computer. Super Super cool.
Over at Eschaton, Hecate points to a UC Berkeley study.
We all know this: First there is the truth, then there are the lies and then there is statistics. (Caution: pdf file) As for this particular issue, I am not saying that there should not be more studies. In fact, the news is that GAO is undertaking a study following the requests of several congressmembers. What I am concerned about are just these regression analysis that, IMHO, indicate nothing but the way in which the data was massaged. The need is to have comprehensive studies looking at different aspects of the problem, and THEN coming to a conclusion.
Can we start to put together a resource of links where we think that spurious causation is being used to make a point on which the authors have already made up their mind?
A new line of corn-based plastics, called polylactides or PLA, has begun to land on supermarket shelves. Its strongest selling points are that it fully degrades in 47 days, doesn't emit toxic fumes when incinerated, and requires 20 to 50 percent less fossil fuel to manufacture than regular plastics.
Most information says that the products, depending on form and function, cost 10-25% more but use 40%-60% less fossil fuel (i.e. oil). The technology has in-roads with those granola grocers (Wild Oats, etc) and got a great publicity trial run at the 2002 Winter Games. To me, this sounds like a great investment.
From a policy perspecitive, if energy independence is your goal, I believe plastics in the #3 industry (behind transportation and agriculture) on the oil-use scale. Since the ethanol additive is controversial both from an effectiveness perspective and a pork perspective, maybe a better way to appease the Iowa caucuses is to help nudge this technology along. I'd prefer hands off all around, but, hey, if you're picking...
What struck me as strange at first is that they claim this measure is needed because the state is collection LESS in gas taxes due to hybrids. Now, I haven't seen the numbers yet... but my guess is that growth in the Golden State's SUV market is at least keeping gas tax revenue on even ground.
Anyways, Oregon is considering legislation for a similar program, and a pilot test will be run in 2005.
The plan, which still requires legislative approval there, would put a $100 global- positioning-system device in every new car in Oregon. The device would beam drivers' in-state mileage to a satellite, which would then send the information to the service station where the driver is refueling so the proper tax can be levied at the pump.
I mean, come on. This is a bit ridiculous. Also from the article
In October, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of an RFID chip that could be implanted under a patient's skin and would carry a number that linked to the patient's medical records.
My main beef with these RFID/GPS tracking technologies is the potential for massive abuse. I always think of situations of extreme state repression and ethnic cleansing, Hitler's Germany, Soviet Union, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, N. Korea, and on and on. These tracking and identifying technologies would be very useful to the leaders perpetrating the atrocities in these countries. And while this is an extreme case - we need to really think about the value of making people-tracking technologies a mandatory and pervasive part of our lives.
I'm dead set against this trend.
More mundanely, I wouldn't have had 10% as much fun as I did senior year in high school if I had one of those damn chips! Ahhh well.... , we would paid some geeks to carry around our RFID badges anyways... I take that back :)
They interview dozens of experts who analyze the major components of the case for war and stack them against the evidence that existed at the time. Its a very accomplished and expert group of people, all "establishment" people. Civil servants, diplomats, weapons inspectors, CIA analysts, agents and station chiefs among others.
I wish that this was the documentary that everyone went to see about the war, instead of Mike Moore's F 9/11. Its not a flashy movie... much more a serious sit down with technology policy analysts.
I Highly recommended Uncovered for anyone interested in getting into the details of this, would be great to show for a TPP event.
Bell said that a reduction of 10 parts per billion, or roughly 35 percent of the average ground-level ozone on any particular day, could save an average of 4,000 lives per year in the 95 urban areas. "This actually underestimates the total impact of ozone on mortality, because it only captures the mortality impact associated with high ozone levels in the past few days, not the impact associated with a lifetime exposure to high ozone levels," said Bell. "This reduction of ozone is modest given available technology."
The primary sources of ozone pollution are vehicles, industrial sources and power plants. Bell said by driving less, taking public transportation, reducing energy consumption and staying indoors on hot days when the ozone level is high would lessen ozone-related mortality and improve the health of people who suffer from respiratory illness.
Keyhole. was recently bought by Google. It is a breathtaking piece of software. You can download a 7-day free trial. I wonder how much more resolution they actually have in the pro versions. Just mind boggling amount of information.