"This is not redistribution in the sense of you take money away from one guy who's working real hard, and give it away to someone who's not working at all."
In fact, that is exactly what Alaska's Permanent Fund dividend payments do. Each year since 1976, "[a]t least 25 percent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, royalty sales proceeds, federal mineral revenue-sharing payments and bonuses" taken in by the state — predominantly from the oil industry — are "placed in a permanent fund." A portion of that fund's annual earnings are "transferred to the State's dividend fund," which is then divided among Alaskans in the form of yearly dividend checks.
And Alaska—we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It's to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans.
By Goldfarb's own definition, Palin is a "Wealth Spreader."
Interviewed on MSNBC today, former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein criticized Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for choosing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate:
I think it has very much undermined the whole question of John McCain's judgment. You know what most Americans I think realized is that you don't offer a job, let alone the vice presidency, to a person after one job interview. Even at McDonald's, you're interviewed three times before you get a job.
On whether Palin is ready to be president "in an emergency on day one," Duberstein noted, "People have resoundedly said `don't think so.'" Watch it:
Lawrence Eagleburger, secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush, said yesterday that Palin is not qualified.
Last night, right-wing columnist Bill Kristol was Jon Stewart's guest on "The Daily Show." They argued over whether Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has changed, and Kristol dismissed Stewart's criticism by saying he was reading the New York Times too much. "Bill, you work for the New York Times!" Stewart reminded him. Watch it:
Today, the AP is reporting that according to a close aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi government "wants to eliminate any chance U.S. forces will stay" in Iraq "after 2011 under a proposed security pact." But also yesterday, al-Maliki took issue with calling the agreement a "security pact":
Al-Maliki, meanwhile, met with a leading Shiite politician late Thursday to discuss the deal. Government television quoted the prime minister as describing the agreement as a framework for the pullout of U.S. forces and the regulation of "their activities within the rest of the time they're here."
"We don't call it a security pact but an agreement to withdraw the troops and organize their activities during the period of their presence in Iraq," al-Maliki was quoted as saying.
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said yesterday that "there is a 20 percent to 30 percent chance" the two sides will come to an agreement.
Without an agreement or an extension of the UN mandate authorizing the presence of U.S. troops, the American military "would have to suspend all operations in Iraq" after Dec. 31, 2009.
In a new interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha said that Syria is "doing everything possible within our means" to stop insurgents from crossing into Iraq, and decried the recent U.S. strike into Syria as a "terrorist, criminal act." Most interestingly, Moutapha said that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) personally assured him that a McCain presidency would open up a dialogue with Syria:
FP: U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama says that he would be willing to sit down with states that are now considered enemies of the United States. Is that encouraging to you?
IM: I have reason to believe that even if [Senator John] McCain becomes president of the United States, he will also be inclined to sit and talk with Syria. I can tell you this on the record: Senator Joe Lieberman, who is supposed to be very close to McCain, has said this explicitly and very clearly to me personally.
This is a startling revelation, considering McCain and Lieberman have attacked politicians who have sought to engage Syria diplomatically:
— McCain adviser Max Boot denounced the Israeli government for engaging Syria, casting it as a betrayal of Lebanon. "John McCain is not going to betray the lawfully elected government of Lebanon," Boot said.
— Lieberman joined the conservative attack machine in slamming Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria in 2007. "I believe her visit to Syria was a mistake, that it was bad for the United States of America," Lieberman said. "And I say this because we're in a war. We're in a war against the Islamic terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-01. Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism."
At the Al Smith Dinner Meeting, Sen Obama reminded Sen McCain that he agreed to attend this Meeting "without Preconditions!"
Wow! Next, Sen. McCain might meet with the French President, remember "Freedom Fries" in the U.S. Congress? VP Palin is already talking with the French President, or was that a joke? Doesn't she have anyone to screen incoming phone calls? There a huge number of Robocalls nowadays, does she answer her phone, by herself? Was the operator fired for lack of funds? Wow! "Two More Days" and she will go back to Alaska and to safely shoot bears from airplanes, her favorite form of shooting. Brown Bears, not Polar Bears, we hope, the White House just put them in the "Endangered Species" List -just in time. I am sure she does not want to be accused of "Abuse of Power", again.
WASHINGTON - Nuclear power is a risky source of energy that comes with many hidden costs, said an environmental analyst and long-time leader in the U.S. environmental movement Tuesday.
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, said the "flawed economics" of nuclear power are placing unforeseen burdens on taxpayers: the costs related to the construction of nuclear plants, the disposal of nuclear waste, the decommissioning of old plants, and security in case of an accident all contribute to the price the world pays for nuclear power. Wind energy is a more economically sound option, said Brown.
The apparent cost of nuclear power is the cost of construction and fuel for nuclear plants, and this price is rising. The estimated construction cost of a nuclear reactor two years ago was between $2 and $4 billion. Now it is $7 billion, in part because of the rising cost of steel and cement, Brown said.
The price of fuel for nuclear power plants is also on the rise. Uranium now costs $60 per pound, compared to $10 at the beginning of the decade. This increase is due to the depletion of easily mined sites rich in ore, Brown said. Companies now have to dig deeper to find uranium, and the uranium content of the ore has dropped.
Brown said that when calculating the true cost of nuclear power, factors such as waste disposal, insurance in case of an accident, and decommissioning costs once a plant is worn out have to be included.
Brown mentioned the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, where the United States plans to store the radioactive waste from its 104 nuclear reactors, as an example of unforeseen costs of nuclear power. Yucca Mountain is located 90 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The cost of this repository, estimated at $58 billion in 2001, has climbed to $96 billion.
"Not only is Yucca Mountain over budget, it is 19 years behind schedule," said Brown. "It was originally supposed to be ready to accept waste in 1998 and it now is scheduled for 2017. It's not even certain that it will ever be completed."
The lack of a permanent waste storage facility is a security risk and security costs are usually not included in financial analyses either, said Brown. There are 121 temporary facilities in 39 states, and it is difficult to monitor and provide adequate security for all the sites. He cautioned that this distribution leaves the sites vulnerable to leakage, as well as possible terrorist attacks.
"There is a growing risk of radioactive material getting into the wrong hands," Brown said. He said there were 250 incidents last year of nuclear material being lost or stolen, and a lot was never recovered.
Another risk of nuclear power, according to Brown, is the danger of another accident like Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Sandia National Laboratory estimates that a worst-case scenario accident would cost $700 billion, "roughly the size of the fiscal bail out that congress passed a few weeks ago," said Brown. The cap on liability for U.S. nuclear power plants was set at $10 billion by the government, so in the case of such an accident the excess cost would be born by tax payers.
The cost of decommissioning older nuclear reactors can tip the balance sheet too. Reactors have an average life expectancy of about 40 years. Since the first plant opened in 1954, over 100 reactors have been closed, but many have not completed the decommissioning process, said Brown. According to a 2004 International Atomic Energy Agency report, the decommissioning cost for each reactor will range from $250 to $500 million, not including the cost of removing and disposing of the waste.
A report by nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider said recently that about 90 nuclear reactors are set to close within the next seven years. With only 36 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, Brown notes that world nuclear power generation could drop by 10 percent by 2015. With this "aging of the nuclear fleet," nuclear power generation could hit a sharp decline as more aging reactors close.
"What we're looking at is a half century of growth being replaced by what could be decades of decline," said Brown.
Comparing nuclear power with wind, Brown pointed out that nuclear power already costs twice as much as electricity produced from the wind, not including the additional costs he cited.
"If we look at the economics comparing nuclear with wind, a dollar invested in wind produces more energy, leads to a greater reduction in carbon emissions, and creates more jobs than one invested in nuclear power," said Brown.
Environmental research and activist groups, including the Center for American Progress, Greenpeace, and the Worldwatch Institute, are pressing the next administration in Washington to support multibillion-dollar "green jobs" programs to spur the U.S. economy while slowing the onset of global climate change. Each group's plan calls for a significant increase in government support for renewable energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy released the first national wind resource inventory in 1991, which highlighted the potential of three states -- North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas -- to satisfy the country's electricity needs through wind energy. Brown said that since then, wind turbine technology has improved and he estimated that these three states now have enough potential wind energy to satisfy the country's entire energy needs, not just electricity.
"Wind is the most mature of the renewable energy sources," said Brown. "Emphasizing the creation of new jobs with investments in renewables and efficiency is the way we want to go."
The so-called "investment in research" does not apply to wind power. Europe is already mass producing high power windmills. The Queen of England bought a 7.5 MegaWatt windmill for her estate, surplus goes to the grid and the Power company pays.
Romania is building a 600 MegaWatt Windmill farm, China next?
Read details on these in Postings 640, 672 and 771.
The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. From glacial periods
(or "ice ages") where ice covered significant portions of the
Earth to interglacial periods where ice retreated to the poles or melted
entirely - the climate has continuously changed.
Scientists have been able to piece together a picture of the Earth's climate
dating back decades to millions of years ago by analyzing a number of surrogate,
or "proxy," measures
of climate such as ice cores, boreholes,
tree rings, glacier lengths, pollen remains, and ocean sediments, and by
studying changes in the Earth's orbit around
Causes of Change Prior to the Industrial Era (pre-1780)
Known causes, "drivers" or "forcings" of
past climate change include:
in the Earth's orbit: Changes in the shape of the Earth's
orbit (or eccentricity) as well
as the Earth's
tilt and precession affect
the amount of sunlight received on the Earth's surface. These orbital
processes -- which function in cycles of 100,000 (eccentricity), 41,000
(tilt), and 19,000
to 23,000 (precession) years -- are thought to be the most significant
drivers of ice ages according to the theory of Mulitin
a Serbian mathematician (1879-1958). The National Aeronautics and Space
Administration's (NASA) Earth Observatory offers
additional information about orbital
variations and the Milankovitch Theory.
in the sun's intensity: Changes occurring within (or inside)
the sun can affect the intensity of the sunlight that reaches the Earth's
surface. The intensity of the sunlight can cause either warming (for
stronger solar intensity) or cooling (for weaker solar intensity). According
solar activity from the 1400s to the 1700s was likely a key factor in the "Little
Ice Age" which resulted in a slight cooling of North America, Europe
and probably other areas around the globe. (See additional discussion under
The Last 2,000 Years.)
Volcanic eruptions: Volcanoes can affect the climate
because they can emit aerosols and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Aerosol emissions: Volcanic aerosols tend to block
sunlight and contribute to short term cooling. Aerosols do not produce
long-term change because they leave the atmosphere not long after they
are emitted. According to the United
States Geological Survey (USGS), the eruption of the Tambora Volcano in Indonesia in 1815 lowered
global temperatures by as much as 5ºF and historical accounts in New
England describe 1816 as "the year without a summer."
dioxide emissions: Volcanoes also emit carbon dioxide (CO2),
a greenhouse gas, which has a warming effect. For about two-thirds
last 400 million years, geologic evidence suggests CO2 levels
and temperatures were considerably higher than present. One theory is
that volcanic eruptions from rapid sea floor spreading elevated CO2 concentrations,
enhancing the greenhouse effect and raising temperatures. However, the
evidence for this theory is not conclusive and there are
explanations for historic CO2 levels (NRC,
2005). While volcanoes may
have raised pre-historic CO2 levels
and temperatures, according to the USGS
Volcano Hazards Program,
human activities now emit 130 times as much CO2 as
volcanoes (whose emissions are relatively modest compared to some
climate change "drivers" often trigger additional changes
or "feedbacks" within the climate system that can amplify or
dampen the climate's initial response to them (whether the response
is warming or cooling). For example:
Changes in greenhouse gas concentrations: The
heating or cooling of the Earth's
surface can cause changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. For example,
when global temperatures become warmer, carbon dioxide is released from
the oceans. When changes in the Earth's orbit trigger a warm (or
interglacial) period, increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide may
amplify the warming by enhancing the greenhouse effect. When temperatures
become cooler, CO2 enters the ocean and
contributes to additional cooling. During at least the last 650,000 years,
CO2 levels have
tended to track the glacial cycles (IPCC, 2007). That
is, during warm interglacial periods, CO2 levels
have been high and during cool glacial periods, CO2 levels
have been low (see Figure 1).
1: Fluctuations in temperature (red line) and in the atmospheric
concentration of carbon dioxide (yellow) over the past 649,000 years.
The vertical red bar at the end is the increase in atmospheric carbon
dioxide levels over the past two centuries and before 2007. Click on
thumbnail for a full-size image and references.
Changes in ocean currents: The heating or cooling
of the Earth's
surface can cause changes in ocean currents. Because ocean currents play
a significant role in distributing heat around the Earth, changes in
these currents can bring about significant changes in climate from region
Studies of the Earth's previous climate suggest periods of stability
as well as periods of rapid change. Recent climate research suggests:
Interglacial climates (such as the present) tend to be more stable
than cooler, glacial climates. For example, the climate during the current
and previous interglacials
(known as the Holocene and Eemian interglacials) has been more stable
than the most recent glacial period (known as the Last Glacial Maximum).
This glacial period was characterized by a long string of widespread,
large and abrupt climate changes (NRC, 2002).
Abrupt or rapid climate changes tend to frequently accompany transitions
between glacial and interglacial periods (and vice versa). For example,
a significant part of the Northern Hemisphere (particularly around Greenland)
may have experienced warming ratesof 14-28ºF over several decades during and after the most recent ice age (IPCC, 2007).
While abrupt climate changes have occurred throughout
history, human civilization arose during a period of relative climate
the last 2,000 years, the climate has been relatively stable.
Scientists have identified three departures from this stability, known
as the Medieval Climate Anomaly (also referred to as the Medieval Warm
Period), the Little Ice Age and the Industrial Era:
The Medieval Climate Anomaly: Between
roughly 900 and 1300 AD, evidence suggests Europe, Greenland and Asia
experienced relative warmth.
While historical accounts and other evidence document the warmth that
occurred in some regions, the geographical extent, magnitude and timing
of the warmth
during this period is uncertain (NRC, 2006). The
American West experienced very dry conditions around this time.
The Little Ice Age: A wide variety of evidence supports
the global existence of a "Little Ice Age" (this was not
a true "ice age" since major ice sheets did not develop)
between about 1500 and 1850
(NRC, 2006). Average temperatures were possibly up to
2ºF colder than
today, but varied by region.
The Industrial Era: An
additional warm period has emerged in the last 100 years, coinciding
with substantially increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human
activities (see Recent Climate Change for more information).
Prior to the Industrial Era, the Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age had defined the upper and lower boundaries
of the climate's recent natural variability and are a reflection of changes
in climate drivers (the sun's variability and volcanic activity)
and the climate's internal variability (referring to random changes
in the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans).
The issue of whether
the temperature rise of last 100 years crossed over the warm limit of
the boundary defined by the Medieval Climate Anomaly has been a controversial topic in the science community. The
National Academy of Sciences recently completed a study to assess the efforts
to reconstruct temperatures of the past one to two millennia (see Figure 2) and
place the Earth's current warming in historical context (NRC,
There is a high level of confidence that the global average temperature
during the last few decades was warmer than any comparable period during
the last 400 years.
Present evidence suggests that temperatures at many, but not
all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than any
period of comparable length since A.D. 900. However, uncertainties
associated with this statement increase substantially backward in time.
Very little confidence can be assigned to estimates of hemisphere
average or global average temperature prior to A.D. 900 due to limited
data coverage and challenges in analyzing older data.
Our best and brightest have brought us to this brink.
It's as if a financial Manhattan Project were hatched in the last decade, in which the brightest business minds in the world gathered in some dark dungeon filled with computers whirring with mathematical formulas for credit and risk assessment.
Unlike the whiz kids on the West Coast, whose crazy ideas produce actual products — laptops, iPhones, or GPS for your car — our business brainiacs created a shadow banking industry played out on a Playstation.
It was understood by few. Unknown to most.
It was a game built around fear.
Lenders seek to minimize risk by taking out insurance against defaults.
This insurance is called many things: hedges, futures, options, credit default swaps. They are forms of derivatives, "financial securities whose value is derived from another `underlying' financial security," according to the Financial Pipeline. "Derivatives can be used for hedging, protecting against financial risk, or can be used to speculate on the movement of commodity or security prices, interest rates or the levels of financial indices."
Insurance we can understand, even appreciate. But betting whether the insurance will be paid is akin to investing in whether your neighbor's house burns. Normal people would think that's sick.
What began as an aversion to risk ended up being an addiction to the thrill of risk.
Derivatives were concocted that were bets on the bets, whether the speculators were right or wrong. And there was a whole lot of hedging and betting on those bundles of risky mortgages.
The housing bubble burst over a year ago. But the financial markets didn't freeze or the stock market crash until it was revealed that these default swaps exceeded the gross domestic product of the world — $60 trillion.
Richard Anthony, chairman and chief executive of Columbus-based regional bank Synovus Financial Corp., said, "The speculation and the betting on these swaps that created excessive speculation undermined our financial system."
Anthony says we engaged in activity we couldn't understand. That's something our parents warned us against.
Doug Williams, president and chief executive of Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bank, spent his formative banking years at Wachovia, before it became "Second Union," which led to its downfall. He was chief risk manager.
"The derivative market is at the nexus of the credit crunch," he said. It represents "financial engineering at its worst."
An attempt in the previous decade to regulate this "dark market" failed. Now, the SEC chairman is urging Congress to shine some light into the dungeon where our best and brightest mainlined risk.
Their addiction has become our Great Recession.
"We outsmarted ourselves," Williams said.
Let's hope more sober minds can lead us through the recovery process.
In recent days both the Washington Post and the New York Times have lionized Brooksley E. Born, who during her 1996 to 1999 tenure as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) pushed to regulate the trading of derivatives. "A decade ago, long before the financial calamity now sweeping the world, the federal government's economic brain trust heard a clarion warning and declared in unison: You're wrong," a Post article from today opened."
That "clarion warning," said the story, was issued by Born and was "met with hostility" by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin[Obama's Advisor -BayPointMike] and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr.—"all Wall Street legends, all opponents to varying degrees of tighter regulation of the financial system that had earned them wealth and power."
If there's a silver lining to the economic crash, it's seeing stuffed shirts like Greenspan and Rubin have their reputations brought down to earth. But the current hagiography of Born is a bit ironic, given that her "clarion warning" seems to have been pretty much ignored by the press back at the time, when it mattered.
During her heroic three-year stint as head of the CFTC, the New York Times mentioned Born's role there 17 times, according to a Nexis search. Seven of those mentions came in filler items that noted her appointment or departure from the agency.
There was very little detailed coverage of Born's struggle to regulate derivatives trading. Instead, there was the usual "fair and balanced" coverage in which all points of view are given equal weight, making it impossible to draw any informed conclusions.
Typical was a Times piece on May 8, 1998, "A Federal Turf War Over Derivatives Control." It quoted Born as saying, "What we're doing is trying to ascertain whether our own regulations remain appropriate, given the changes that have occurred in the market over the last five years." That was followed by a counterpoint position from an executive at J .P. Morgan & Company. Banks and other financial institutions "opposed tighter regulation of the market, arguing that such changes threaten to crimp innovation and drive the market offshore," the story summarized.
Coverage at the "Post" was similarly sparse and neutered. "Born's supporters, including some members of Congress, believed she was willing to stand up to the likes of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin," read a 1999 piece that noted her retirement from the agency. "Born's detractors saw her suggestions as an attempt to grab more regulatory authority for her agency."
I might have missed something, but I couldn't find any editorials from either of the newspapers applauding Born's efforts at the CFTC. And incidentally, Born's name does not appear in the index of Bob Woodward's 2000 book, "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom." Nor does the word "derivatives."
The subtitle of today's Post piece describes it as "the story of how Washington didn't catch up to Wall Street." But the media didn't do a very good job of keeping up either.
Update: A reader, Luca Menato, just alerted me to Born's Wikipedia entry. It effectively begins with the Times story about her from last week.
Bombardier Receives Contract from Land Transport Authority of Singapore for 219 Driverless Metro Cars Valued at Approximately 298 Million Euros
November 7, 2008 — Berlin Transportation
Bombardier - The World's Number One Metro Vehicle Supplier - Already Has Orders for Over 3,300 MOVIA Cars for Cities Such As London, Shanghai and New Delhi, Amongst Others
Bombardier Transportation announced today that it has received an order for 219 driverless BOMBARDIERMOVIA metro cars from the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA). The contract is valued at approximately million 298 million euros ($380 million US / S$571 million) for the design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly, testing, commissioning and delivery of the driverless MOVIA metro vehicles consisting of 3-car trainsets. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2012 and to be completed in mid 2016.
The driverless metro cars will cater to the Singapore Downtown Line Stages I, II and III which will run fully underground. The 40-km long line will transport almost half a million passengers every day, thus further enhancing commuter mobility, and also helping promote a greener mode of transportation for Singapore.
The proposed MOVIA metro vehicles integrate the world's most advanced technologies in metro vehicle manufacturing. The vehicles are able to operate under a fully automated mode and have high capacity aluminium carbodies developed from a standardised platform, ensuring a high degree of reliability, safety and low life-cycle cost. The trains are designed for a maximum design speed of 90km/h and a maximum operational speed of 80km/h. The MOVIA metro vehicles are environmentally-friendly through the use of the latest propulsion technology with low energy consumption, optimised performance and are also up to 90% recyclable.
Kristian Mikkelsen, President, Business Unit Asia, Passengers Division, Bombardier Transportation said: "Singapore is renowned for its world-class transportation system and we are proud to provide our state-of-the-art vehicles for the Singapore Downtown Line. Our status as the world's number one metro supplier is supported by the fact that we provide metro cars to many major cities around the world, such as New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Shanghai, New Delhi, amongst many others. We believe our proven and reliable vehicles as well as our responsive and cooperative management style will meet the expectations of LTA."
He added, "Bombardier has proposed a high quality product at excellent value to Singapore and we are excited and at the same time humbled to have LTA as our newest customer for our MOVIA driverless metro vehicles. This contract is definitely a significant milestone for Bombardier and our presence in Asia. We are committed to ensuring the delivery of the vehicles and establishing a reputable footprint in Singapore and the region, as well as around the world. We look forward to employing more local expertise to support the introduction of the new fleet into the network."
Note to Editors:
Photo:BOMBARDIERMOVIA metro cars for the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) AboutBombardier Metro vehicles Bombardier is the number one supplier of metro vehicles worldwide. More than 3,300 MOVIA metro cars have already been ordered from the company to date. Bombardier metros are vital elements for mobility in cities like New York, Montreal, Toronto, Paris, London, Berlin, Bucharest, Stockholm, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, New Delhi and many others. In Asia, Bombardier metro cars are in service with operators in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In June 2006, Bombardier celebrated the delivery of its 1,000th metro car to customers in Guangzhou Province.
About Bombardier Transportation Bombardier Transportation has its global headquarters in Berlin, Germany with a presence in over 60 countries. It has an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide. The Group offers the broadest product portfolio and is recognized as the leader in the global rail sector.
About Bombardier A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008, were $17.5 billion US, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
BOMBARDIER and MOVIA are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.
Why is the United States lagging in ground transportation? We have old technology in cars, trucks and rails.
We ARE Number One in Air transportation with the Boeing 787, the world's most efficient, first flight in 2009. The Boeing 747-8 the most cost-effective cargo and large passenger airplane.
The Douglas/Boeing C-17 the best cargo airplane able to land in unprepared runways at high altitude, just the airplane that will be needed to help the 1.5 Billion people that are totally unprepared for Global Warming and will need emergency help for water and to build dams to capture water from the Himalaya Glaciers.
Perhaps we can avoid the same emergency if we start building dams and desalination plants in California but there is too much ignorance on Global Warming.
Do we need a really big major catastrophe? Like an 8-year drought in the West and 8,000 lightning strikes that ignite 842 wildfires in two days, like it did this year?
Few know California has the lowest Average lightning strike rates in the nation: 0.5 hits per sq. Km. Not the second lowest but the lowest. The swarm of tornadoes in the midwest is also unprecedented! But, Global Warming will not be accepted until SFO is partially flooded.
CALIFORNIA VOTERS took an incredible leap of faith in approving Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond authorization to start building a high-speed rail system.
Let's hope the state is not too quick to actually start selling the general obligation bonds. At the very least, legislators should wait until there is actually a business plan for the 700-mile railroad, which is expected to cost around $43 billion.
Perhaps the plan could start with a realistic cost estimate of laying 700 miles of special track that can support trains travelling in excess of 200 mph. It is virtually assured that $43 billion will not be nearly enough to complete the project.
More likely, such a system would cost double that amount or more. It is expected to cost $6 billion to build a BART line just 16 miles from Fremont to San Jose.
Then the business plan might want to consider exactly the route of the train. Union Pacific Railroad has told the state's High-Speed Rail Authority it won't sell its rights-of-way. Does this mean another route will have to be chosen, or will eminent domain be used?
Next, the business plan will have to provide some realistic numbers regarding ridership. In far easier projections, BART came up short in its forecasts of ridership to SFO and to eastern Contra Costa County.
To be successful, a high-speed train system would have to carry tens of thousands of passengers on scores of trains every day.
To do so, it will have to compete with airfares and passenger cars. Fares on similar trains in Europe and Japan are higher than airfares along the Bay Area-Los Angeles area corridor.
Just how many trains will have to run to accommodate enough passengers to pay for the operating costs of the system, much less make a profit that could attract private investment?
Where will such investment come from without a solid business plan, or even with one?
Prop. 1A says bond proceeds may be used to provide only up to one-half of the total cost of construction of tracks and stations. Where is the rest of the money to come from?
Significant private investment seems highly unlikely as does getting billions of dollars in federal funding for a highly questionable high-speed rail system.
California has a huge budget deficit and a record high bonded indebtedness, which would increase by nearly $10 billion if the rail bonds are sold.
This state has far more pressing transportation needs, such as highway construction and maintenance, better metropolitan rail and bus service, and retrofitting bridges and overpasses.
Just because voters have authorized the sale of high-speed rail bonds does not require the state to sell them.
At the very least a credible business plan and commitment of matching private and federal funds should be obtained before any Prop. 1A bonds are sold.
A similar investment for the Toyota/GM NUMMI plant to build Prius cars in Fremont would make far more sense and there is no doubt the bonds would attract investors from Europe and Japan. The Toyota officers said recently they are interested in doing that but an State-backed bond would, no doubt, seal the deal.
Perhaps, after the 9.98 Billion are wasted and they come back to ask for $40 Billion more, we will be faced with the choice of sinking $40 Billion more or, admit our error and stop the waste. Of course, all the politicians that supported the bond will be long gone and nobody will remember their names.
High Speed Rail will be a "Poster Child" of the Economic Tsunami, during the Great Depression, it was the apocryphal story of people hired to shove dirt from one side of the road to the other, one half in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction.
Like so many others have said before, "we shall see!" Does anybody remember the East Bay Bridge went from $400 Million to $5.65 Billion in price? Will be surprised again? And, later, again? Is Alzheimer's affecting the middle age?
The federal government announced on Monday an overhaul of its bailout of the insurance giant American International Group, saying it would purchase $40 billion of the company's stock, after signs that the initial bailout was putting too much strain on the company.
In a joint statement, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury said the move was necessary "to keep the company strong and facilitate its ability to complete its restructuring process successfully." The new measures, they said, would help the company and promote market stability while protecting the interests of the federal government and taxpayers.
A.I.G. reported a loss on Monday of $24.47 billion, or $9.05 a share, in the third quarter, after a profit of $3.09 billion, or $1.19 a share, a year ago. The results included pretax losses of $18.31 billion from the declining value of A.I.G.'s investments.
Neel T. Kashkari, the assistant secretary of the Treasury who heads the Office of Financial Stability, said in a speech Monday morning that the new A.I.G. plan "was necessary to maintain the stability of our financial system."
A.I.G. shares were 8 percent higher, to $2.28 near the close of trading Monday. In the revised bailout, the Treasury Department will use the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion financial system rescue plan, to buy $40 billion of newly issued A.I.G. preferred shares.
The government created an $85 billion emergency credit line in September to keep A.I.G. from toppling and added $38 billion more in early October when it became clear that the original amount was not enough. As part of the revision, the Federal Reserve said it would reduce that credit line to $60 billion.
When the reorganized deal is complete, taxpayers will have invested and lent a total of $150 billion to A.I.G., the most the government has ever directed to a single private enterprise. It is a stark reversal of the government's assurance that its earlier moves had stemmed the bleeding at A.I.G. But Fed officials said the $40 billion investment would allow them to reduce their exposure to $112 billion from $152 billion, and improve the condition of the collateral for its loan. The revised deal will probably intensify the debate in Washington over why some companies should be saved while others are left to wither.
Congress had authorized the Treasury to use the $700 billion to shore up financial companies. But just this weekend, Democratic leaders in Congress called on the Bush administration to drop its opposition to using some of that money to rescue Detroit automakers.
The government's original emergency line of credit, while saving A.I.G. from seeking bankruptcy protection for a time, now appears to have accelerated the company's problems. The government's original short-term loan came with a high interest rate — about 14 percent — which forced the company into a fire sale of its assets and reduced its ability to pay back the loan, putting its future in jeopardy.
The Fed said Monday that it would reduce the interest rate on that credit facility to three-month Libor plus 3 percentage points from the current rate of three-month Libor plus 8.50 points. Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is a commonly used index that tracks the rates banks charge when they lend to one another. The fee on undrawn funds will be reduced to 0.75 point from the current rate of 8.5 points.
Federal Reserve officials said they had held discussions with A.I.G. management since they struck the original deal in mid-September. At the time, the government did not have the authority to make direct investments in financial companies. Now that they do, they say they believe that the approach is a more prudent way of stabilizing companies.
The new deal makes the government a long-term investor in A.I.G., something that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had said he hoped to avoid.
The government will also spend $30 billion to help A.I.G. buy up a type of security called collateralized debt obligations that the company had agreed to insure against default. The securities are now held by institutional investors.
As their insurer, A.I.G has been forced to put up large amounts of cash as collateral as the global economy has soured and the securities seemed increasingly likely to default.
The new arrangement calls for A.I.G. to put the securities into a new entity, effectively removing them from the company's balance sheet.
A.I.G. would contribute $5 billion to the entity, which would buy $70 billion of the securities at 50 cents on the dollar, or $35 billion. The remaining $30 billion of the purchase price would come from the government.
Finally, the government will invest another $22.5 billion in A.I.G. to help the company buy residential mortgage-backed securities that it also insured, and similarly place them into another entity off the company's balance sheet. A.I.G. will put up $1 billion itself.
The goal of both programs is to create separate entities to buy and hold the most toxic assets A.I.G. had promised to insure, so that if their value continues to fall A.I.G. will not have to include those losses in its bottom line. The company has argued that the securities' falling value does not necessarily mean it has suffered a financial loss.
Once A.I.G. buys the securities back from its trading partners, it will no longer have to provide cash as collateral under the terms of its insurance contracts — and collateral has been eating up more of A.I.G.'s cash than anything else since the broad financial crisis began.
A.I.G. negotiated the original $85 billion revolving credit line with the Federal Reserve after its efforts to raise money from private lenders failed in the panic of mid-September. The amount that it needed ballooned in a few days, as counterparties to A.I.G.'s insurance on complex debt securities laid claim to whatever collateral they could get.
People briefed on the negotiations said before the announcement Monday that the $85 billion was thought at the time to be the maximum amount that A.I.G. would need, including a little extra for a cushion. In exchange for making the loan, the Fed was promised a 79.9 percent stake in A.I.G..
The Fed and the Treasury Department said Monday that the federal government "intends to exit its support of A.I.G. over time in a disciplined manner consistent with maximizing the value of its investments and promoting financial stability."
Edward Liddy, the insurance executive brought in to lead the company out of the crisis, initially said he believed the Fed money would be like water pouring into a bathtub — a lot might be needed at first, but eventually the tub would be filled and the faucet could be turned off.
Since then, A.I.G. has needed more money than expected, and it has not been able to sell subsidiaries quickly enough to pay down the loan as required.
In addition to the $85 billion Fed loan and the $38 billion special lending facility, A.I.G. recently said it had been granted access to the Fed's commercial-paper program, which is available to all companies that issued commercial paper before the credit markets seized up. A.I.G. can borrow up to $20.9 billion under the program.
On Sunday night, Mr. Paulson briefed a representative of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team on the revised plan, according to senior Treasury officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The officials said the $40 billion A.I.G. investment is separate from the $250 billion the Treasury has earmarked for buying stakes in banks.
That leaves the Treasury $60 billion to work with, as the first allotment of the $700 billion program was $350 billion. The officials said they had chosen to freeze the A.I.G. bonus pool, rather than eliminate bonuses altogether, because the company needed the flexibility to retain its existing management.
The officials also said they had heard from insurers and companies in other industries about possible capital injections, and that they did not rule out making such investments. But they said that A.I.G., as a systemically important company, was clearly a special case.
Even as the government works to solidify A.I.G.'s finances, elected officials have been demanding a fuller accounting of the company's business practices and executive pay structure. The arrangement announced Monday requires that A.I.G. limit executive pay and perks and freeze the size of the annual bonus pool for the top 70 company executives. In October, the New York State attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, reached an agreement forcing A.I.G. to freeze payments to former executives.
"I find it hard to conceive of a situation that you could justify a performance bonus for management that virtually bankrupted the company," Mr. Cuomo said after the agreement was made.
The move followed the revelation, in a Congressional hearing convened by Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, that the former head of A.I.G.'s troubled financial products unit, Joseph Cassano, had been put on a retainer of $1 million a month after being dismissed in February.
Mr. Waxman and Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, have demanded that A.I.G. provide a more detailed accounting of its credit derivatives business.
Regional meeting on November 19 - RSVP now! Learn about the issues, meet other advocates, and hear great speakers
What's the topic for this regional meeting? We'll be discussing a key roadblock to walkable communities and transportation choices: "level of service" analysis.
Ironically, some environmental requirements can create real roadblocks
for transit, bicycling, and transit-oriented development. Almost every
roadway change, new development project, or neighborhood planning
process uses a Level of Service (LOS) analysis to measure the
performance of the transportation system for the convenience of cars.
But LOS completely ignores how places that create great access for
pedestrians and cyclists and have good transit nearby actually make
streets a lot better for cars, plus benefit all of us in many other
Join guest speakers Jason Patton from the City of Oakland, Rachel Hiatt
from San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and Hans Larsen
from the City of San Jose as they discuss the problems with LOS, the
California Environmental Quality Act, and propose alternative
Where's the meeting? The meeting will be held at 85 2nd St. in
the Sierra Club's 3rd floor conference room. The closest MUNI/BART
station is Montgomery.
How do I RSVP? Please RSVP if you plan to attend so that we have enough seating and food by emailing rsvp@... or by calling Ebonie at 510-740-3150. Dinner will be provided.
What are TransForm's regional meetings?
Regional meetings are a great way to connect
with TransForm, learn more about transportation and land use issues,
meet like-minded advocates, and hear from representatives of
organizations working on similar issues. Regional meetings often have
high profile speakers or several people presenting on a mix of Bay Area
topics. Regional meetings are free and open to the public. Spread the
TransForm typically holds an orientation starting at 5:00pm before the
regional meetings for those who are new to TransForm or the issues.
................................................................................................. Marta Lindsey, Communications and Development Director TransForm
(Formerly TALC, the Transportation and Land Use Coalition)
405 14th Street, Suite 606
Oakland, CA 94612
510.740.3150x321 www.TransFormCA.org .................................................................................................
TransForm works to create world-class
public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and
beyond. We build diverse coalitions, influence policy, and develop
innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the
To contact TRANSFORM: 405 14th Street, Suite 605
Oakland, CA 94612
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- to SUBSCRIBE, send an email to: <info@...>.
Be sure to include your full mailing address and organization name,
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The inspiring and transformative choice by the American people to elect
Barack Obama as our 44th president lays the foundation for another
fateful choice that he -- and we -- must make this January to begin an
emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly
growing threat posed by the climate crisis.
The electrifying redemption of America's revolutionary declaration that
all human beings are born equal sets the stage for the renewal of
United States leadership in a world that desperately needs to protect
its primary endowment: the integrity and livability of the planet.
The world authority on the climate crisis, the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, after 20 years of detailed study and four unanimous
reports, now says that the evidence is "unequivocal." To those who are
still tempted to dismiss the increasingly urgent alarms from scientists
around the world, ignore the melting of the north polar ice cap and all
of the other apocalyptic warnings from the planet itself, and who roll
their eyes at the very mention of this existential threat to the future
of the human species, please wake up. Our children and grandchildren
need you to hear and recognize the truth of our situation, before it is
Here is the good news: the bold steps that are needed to solve the
climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in
order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis.
Economists across the spectrum -- including Martin Feldstein and
Lawrence Summers -- agree that large and rapid investments in a
jobs-intensive infrastructure initiative is the best way to revive our
economy in a quick and sustainable way. Many also agree that our
economy will fall behind if we continue spending hundreds of billions
of dollars on foreign oil every year. Moreover, national security
experts in both parties agree that we face a dangerous strategic
vulnerability if the world suddenly loses access to Middle Eastern oil.
As Abraham Lincoln said during America's darkest hour, "The occasion is
piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our
case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." In our present case,
thinking anew requires discarding an outdated and fatally flawed
definition of the problem we face.
Thirty-five years ago this past week, President Richard Nixon created
Project Independence, which set a national goal that, within seven
years, the United States would develop "the potential to meet our own
energy needs without depending on any foreign energy sources." His
statement came three weeks after the Arab oil embargo had sent prices
skyrocketing and woke America to the dangers of dependence on foreign
oil. And -- not coincidentally -- it came only three years after United
States domestic oil production had peaked.
At the time, the United States imported less than a third of its oil
from foreign countries. Yet today, after all six of the presidents
succeeding Nixon repeated some version of his goal, our dependence has
doubled from one-third to nearly two-thirds -- and many feel that
global oil production is at or near its peak.
Some still see this as a problem of domestic production. If we could
only increase oil and coal production at home, they argue, then we
wouldn't have to rely on imports from the Middle East. Some have come
up with even dirtier and more expensive new ways to extract the same
old fuels, like coal liquids, oil shale, tar sands and "clean coal"
But in every case, the resources in question are much too expensive or
polluting, or, in the case of "clean coal," too imaginary to make a
difference in protecting either our national security or the global
climate. Indeed, those who spend hundreds of millions promoting "clean
coal" technology consistently omit the fact that there is little
investment and not a single large-scale demonstration project in the
United States for capturing and safely burying all of this pollution.
If the coal industry can make good on this promise, then I'm all for
it. But until that day comes, we simply cannot any longer base the
strategy for human survival on a cynical and self-interested illusion.
Here's what we can do -- now: we can make an immediate and large
strategic investment to put people to work replacing 19th-century
energy technologies that depend on dangerous and expensive carbon-based
fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free
forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth.
What follows is a five-part plan to repower America with a commitment
to producing 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources
within 10 years. It is a plan that would simultaneously move us toward
solutions to the climate crisis and the economic crisis -- and create
millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced.
First, the new president and the new Congress should offer large-scale
investment in incentives for the construction of concentrated solar
thermal plants in the Southwestern deserts, wind farms in the corridor
stretching from Texas to the Dakotas and advanced plants in geothermal
hot spots that could produce large amounts of electricity.
Second, we should begin the planning and construction of a unified
national smart grid for the transport of renewable electricity from the
rural places where it is mostly generated to the cities where it is
mostly used. New high-voltage, low-loss underground lines can be
designed with "smart" features that provide consumers with
sophisticated information and easy-to-use tools for conserving
electricity, eliminating inefficiency and reducing their energy bills.
The cost of this modern grid -- $400 billion over 10 years -- pales in
comparison with the annual loss to American business of $120 billion
due to the cascading failures that are endemic to our current
balkanized and antiquated electricity lines.
Third, we should help America's automobile industry (not only the Big
Three but the innovative new startup companies as well) to convert
quickly to plug-in hybrids that can run on the renewable electricity
that will be available as the rest of this plan matures. In combination
with the unified grid, a nationwide fleet of plug-in hybrids would also
help to solve the problem of electricity storage. Think about it: with
this sort of grid, cars could be charged during off-peak energy-use
hours; during peak hours, when fewer cars are on the road, they could
contribute their electricity back into the national grid.
Fourth, we should embark on a nationwide effort to retrofit buildings
with better insulation and energy-efficient windows and lighting.
Approximately 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United
States come from buildings -- and stopping that pollution saves money
for homeowners and businesses. This initiative should be coupled with
the proposal in Congress to help Americans who are burdened by
mortgages that exceed the value of their homes.
Fifth, the United States should lead the way by putting a price on
carbon here at home, and by leading the world's efforts to replace the
Kyoto treaty next year in Copenhagen with a more effective treaty that
caps global carbon dioxide emissions and encourages nations to invest
together in efficient ways to reduce global warming pollution quickly,
including by sharply reducing deforestation.
Of course, the best way -- indeed the only way -- to secure a global
agreement to safeguard our future is by re-establishing the United
States as the country with the moral and political authority to lead
the world toward a solution.
Looking ahead, I have great hope that we will have the courage to
embrace the changes necessary to save our economy, our planet and
In an earlier transformative era in American history, President John F.
Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon within 10
years. Eight years and two months later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the
lunar surface. The average age of the systems engineers cheering on
Apollo 11 from the Houston control room that day was 26, which means
that their average age when President Kennedy announced the challenge
This year similarly saw the rise of young Americans, whose enthusiasm
electrified Barack Obama's campaign. There is little doubt that this
same group of energized youth will play an essential role in this
project to secure our national future, once again turning seemingly
impossible goals into inspiring success.
Gore, the vice president from 1993 to 2001, was the co-recipient of the
Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He founded the Alliance for Climate
Protection and, as a businessman, invests in alternative energy
Light Rail Vehicles: Moving People – Shaping Cities
Across the world, the demand for new trams and light rail systems that beat urban congestion and improve accessibility has never been greater.
Leading the light rail sector, the BOMBARDIERFLEXITY family encompasses the industry's most complete portfolio of tram and light rail solutions, ranging from 100% low floor trams to high-capacity light rail vehicles as well as dual-mode solutions.
Improving urban transport systems
Cities all over the world are seeking sustainable public transport systems offering safe, comfortable and effective mobility that perfectly integrates into their urban landscape.
Bombardier Transportation possesses the knowledge and experience needed to provide transport operators with continuous support in the development and implementation of reliable and efficient tram and light rail solutions to meet a city's unique requirements.
FLEXITY – what our trams and light rail vehicles offer:
High operational reliability and efficiency
Adaptability to individual urban conditions
Characteristic and forward-looking industrial designs
Integration into the existing transport network
Low-floor technology – accessibility and convenience for all
Comfortable, safe and secure for passengers.
Bombardier has supplied more than 2,500 trams and light rail vehicles to approximately 100 cities in more than 20 countries across the globe.
Spectrum skipping: This Motorola radio was tested by the FCC to determine whether it can find occupied frequencies of spectrum. It was also tested to determine the appropriate amount of power to use to avoid interfering with signals from television stations and wireless microphones. Credit: Motorola
If you believe some radio researchers and engineers, within the next couple of years, high-bandwidth, far-reaching wireless Internet signals will soon blanket the nation. Thanks to a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week, megahertz frequency bands that were previously allocated to television broadcasters will be opened to other device manufacturers. The frequency liberation means that future wireless gadgets will be able to blast tens of megabits per second of data over hundreds of kilometers. They will cover previously unreachable parts of the country with Internet signals, enable faster Web browsing on mobile devices, and even make in-car Internet and car-to-car wireless communication more realistic.
The FCC announcement essentially lets wireless take advantage of unused frequencies in between channels used by broadcast television, so-called white spaces. "The announcement that the FCC will allow white-space devices has a lot of people feeling like this is a beginning of a wireless revolution," says Anant Sahai, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.
For years, researchers have been toying with radios that are smart enough to hop from one frequency to another, leaving occupied channels undisturbed--an approach known as cognitive radio. But until the FCC made its announcement, cognitive-radio research was a purely academic pursuit. "You could do all the research you wanted on it," Sahai says, "but it was still illegal."
With the FCC decision, however, researchers and companies finally have the opportunity to turn prototypes into products, knowing that the gadgets could hit the market in the next couple of years. Companies including Motorola, Phillips, and Microsoft have all tested prototypes with mixed results and hope to have robust white-space devices soon.
Motorola is one of the first companies to have developed a white-space radio device that meets the basic requirements of the FCC. The device is smart enough to find and operate on free frequencies in its vicinity while controlling the strength of signals to keep them from interfering with those from other devices using nearby frequencies.
There are still lingering concerns over interference, however. This is one of the main reasons why white spaces have been off limits until now. Broadcast companies, which fund a huge lobby in Washington, were not keen on sharing their airwaves, and musicians were concerned that future white-space devices would interfere with performances using wireless microphones.
Motorola's radio finds occupied frequencies by accessing a database of registered television stations and wireless devices within its vicinity, which it determines by using GPS. Steve Sharkey, Motorola's policy director, notes that the device has a secondary way of finding free signals that involves just "listening" to the airwaves and scoping out free space. Sharkey believes that combining both methods will provide the best results.
Motorola's early tests show that there's still work to be done. During an FCC trial in October, Motorola's device, which is about the size of a suitcase and can currently only receive signals, was able to find some but not all of the allocated frequencies in its vicinity. "These aren't ready to go," admits Sharkey. "They are more developmental devices, and the idea of the test is to demonstrate the basic technologies and help the FCC understand all the interactions [between transmissions]."
While eventually it may be possible to shrink down a white-space radio to the size of a cell phone, Sharkey says that Motorola is more focused on bypassing wired Internet technology by providing broadband to rural areas and providing point-to-point wireless antennas.
Other companies are more reticent to talk about their white-space plans, but Jake Ward, spokesperson for the Wireless Innovation Alliance, a consortium of companies that helped convince the FCC to open up white spaces, says that these companies have a wide range of motives. For example, computer manufacturers such as Dell may want to build broadband wireless Internet cards that are faster and have more range than existing ones do. Software companies like Microsoft could be interested in building software and applications for new devices. And an Internet giant like Google may simply want to push Internet coverage to increase the number of people who see Google ads. "Each company has its own interests," Ward says, "but the underlying principle is that higher connectivity is better for everybody."
Ward describes one white-space application as "mind blowing": sending high-definition television signals from one room to another within a house. "You have a TiVo, a DVD player, a cable box, and three high-definition TVs," he says. "Using a white-space device, you could beam those signals anywhere, to any TV."
Of course, technical and policy challenges still remain. "Right now, a device capable of moving around to different frequencies at will is very expensive," notes UC Berkeley's Sahai. But he suspects that economies of scale will lead to affordable devices within the next couple of years. Additionally, he says, regulations need to be established to ensure that devices consistently avoid causing interference. Ultimately, however, Sahai sees no shortage of demand for the wireless spectrum. "If you build it better and faster and easy to deploy, then the applications will come," he says.
System On A Chip (SOC) - Credit: Central News Agency
(PhysOrg.com) -- A world-wide expert on wireless communications, Professor Jri Lee of the National Taiwan University (NTU) and UCLA PhD conferred has created a system on a chip (SOC) with transmission speeds 100 times faster than WiFi and 350 times faster than 3.5G cell phones. Professor Jri Lee's team broke the speed record with the SoC design which is about 1/10th the size and cost of existing chips. Preliminary figures indicate the SoC chip can be massed-produced for less than $1 per unit.
A demonstration of Professor Lee´s SoC chip was conducted recently at NTU. The system on a chip combines Front-End Circuits and an antenna array to reach the ultimate transmission speed. In practice the SoC chip can download a 4-GB video in about 10 seconds. The same video would take up to 2-hours using WiFi, 1.5-hours using ADSL and 4.5-hours using Bluetooth to complete the download.
According to Professor Lee, as reported by Taiwan News, the new chip can be used to connect to all domestic audio-visual components like television, stereo, video recorder and transmit to TV screens anywhere in the home instantaneously. In airports and train stations, the SOC could download an entire movie to a cell phone in a couple of seconds and upload thousands of pictures from a digital camera to a computer in a blink of the eye.
Professor Jri Lee´s team at the National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Electrical Engineering introduction of the SoC chip edges out U.C. Berkeley and IBM´s researchers who are working on a similar solution. The SoC can be used by cell phones and digital cameras as long as the corresponding hardware is developed.
NTU and Professor Lee´s team is in the process of applying for a patent. Professor Lee´s academic career began at NTU. He achieved a combined Master´s degree and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. His work experience includes Cognet Microsystems in Los Angeles and Intel Corporation where his work included the SONET OC-192 and OC-48 transceivers. Since 2004, he has been Assistant Professor of electrical engineering at NTU and serves on various committees pertaining to broadband data communication, solid state circuits and other interest areas.
Crisis Hits Tech Sector With Layoffs as Sales Slump
Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
The historic Clock Tower at the heart of Sun Microsystems Agnews campus in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday. Sun Microsystems announced a broad restructuring that could see up to 6,000 employees lose their jobs.
Joining a rapidly growing list of technology companies reeling from the financial turmoil, Sun Microsystems, which sells server computers, has started a broad overhaul in which up to 6,000 employees could lose their jobs.
Before the stock market opened Friday, Sun disclosed that it would lay off 5,000 to 6,000 workers, or 15 percent to 18 percent of its work force. The company, already dealing with layoffs announced in May, expects to save $700 million to $800 million a year as a result of the moves, while also taking up to $600 million in charges in the next 12 months.
"The focus here is to eliminate some of the inefficiencies that have made it hard to do business with Sun," said Jonathan I. Schwartz, chief executive at Sun, adding that a "new economic reality" had taken hold in the market. Sun shares were up about 3.9 percent in afternoon trading.
In the last two weeks, several of the technology industry's biggest names have issued dire forecasts.
Last week, Cisco Systems, the largest provider of network equipment, warned that sales in its current quarter could drop 10 percent. Intel, the world's largest producer of chips used in PCs and servers, added to the gloom this week saying its sales for the current quarter could plummet as much as 19 percent as both consumer and corporate customers had pulled back on technology spending.
While many of the companies focus on corporate sales, others closer to consumer markets are suffering as well. Qualcomm, which makes chips used in cellphones, said mobile device makers have suddenly cut back on their orders. Nokia, a large cellphone maker, confirmed as much Friday by lowering its industrywide sales outlook for the fourth quarter and announcing further cost cuts in 2009.
For many companies, the sudden drop in orders started in October and worsened in November.
"Even during the 2000 bust, the decline was more measured," said Ashok Kumar, an analyst with Collins Stewart. "This seems to be going into a free fall."
Sun's change in strategy follows a period of intense scrutiny for Sun and Mr. Schwartz as the company has fought longer-term problems. Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has battled for years to offset a slow, steady decline in its primary high-end server business.
Defending those sales has become more difficult as Sun's customers on Wall Street curtailed their technology spending because of the financial turmoil. Sun is more dependent on Wall Street business than rivals like I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
"We were certainly the first to enter this," Mr. Schwartz said, "and I would like to believe we will be the first to exit it."
Late last month, Sun reported a first-quarter loss of $1.68 billion and a 7 percent year-over-year drop in revenue to $2.99 billion. At the time, Sun cautioned that it would probably reorganize to bring costs in line.
While Sun has talked of a "new reality," its investors have been reacting to the company's larger issues for some time. Sun's shares have lost more than 80 percent of their value in the last year, reducing the company's market value to $3 billion.
In its last fiscal year, Sun posted revenue of $13.8 billion and has $2 billion in cash.
Southeastern Asset Management, an investment firm based in Memphis, has increased its stake in Sun to more than 20 percent in the last year. Recently, it disclosed an intention to talk with Sun's management and possibly other companies about the ways to make the most of Sun's assets, which include a vast software intellectual property portfolio.
In addition, Relational Investors, founded by the activist investor Ralph V. Whitworth, has purchased close to 15 million shares of Sun since the end of June, giving it close to a 3 percent stake in the company.
Mr. Schwartz maintained that these large Sun investors agree with the company's strategy. "I just met with Ralph," Mr. Schwartz said. "We're all focused on the same thing."
Sun's management continues to remain optimistic when speaking about the company's future, pointing to a number of fast-growing hardware and software businesses. The company has spent the last few years developing products and acquiring software makers, leaving it with what many analysts consider a strong portfolio. The major challenge has been expanding these businesses at a rate strong enough to offset declining sales from Sun's traditional businesses.
In an effort to move forward, Sun has realigned its management structure to create a pair of software organizations aimed at different parts of the technology market. The moves include the resignation of Rich Green, formerly executive vice president in charge of Sun's software business. Mr. Green returned to Sun just two years ago in a bid to inject new life into the company's software business.
Sun has bet on an open-source software strategy where it offers free access to top products such as its Solaris operating system and MySQL database. The company argues that this model increases interest in its products and can translate into hardware sales.
With plenty of cash on hand and a sympathetic board, Sun has rejected calls for more radical action, like selling off part of its hardware business or going private.
Analysts, however, remain concerned that Sun's costs are too high given current economic conditions and the ongoing decline in sales.
"This by itself is not enough," Shebly Seyrafi, an analyst with Calyon Securities, said.
Mr. Schwartz declined to delve into all of the specific areas where Sun's job cuts will occur, although he did say that the sales group would be affected.
"We are not canceling products or exiting businesses," Mr. Schwartz said, adding that Sun remained committed to using the open-source strategy as a way of trying to attract business.
"We are going to go plow the market and auger it open with the world's most compelling price tag," he said.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama famously made the Web a pillar of his campaign, so it is not surprising that the man called the nation's first "wired" president has championed the idea of an open Internet.
And that is what Sprint Nextel Chief Executive Dan Hesse said recently "should scare" the telecom industry the most.
Republican lawmakers and technology regulators have fought the idea of an open Internet, or Net neutrality, calling it a "solution in search of a problem." But it is widely expected that Obama will make Net neutrality and access to broadband in rural and poor areas a key part of his agenda to close economic divides and help spur job creation.
The task of translating Net neutrality — the notion put forth by academics that network operators should be banned from slowing, blocking or degrading Internet content and technologies — could most likely fall under the Federal Communications Commission, business leaders and analysts said.
The FCC has been criticized by consumer groups for trailing technology changes in the marketplace by grappling with reforms on landline programs and falling short on consumer protections and rules for wireless operators.
Under the Obama administration, however, many high-tech leaders and analysts say the agency first formed to hand out broadcast licenses will be more important than ever.
"There is going to be a sea change. Technology has been primarily ignored by the Bush administration, but Obama from the beginning made it a central part of his push for change," said Maura Corbett, a partner at Qorvis, a tech public relations firm.
"He understands that technology has a multiplier effect on the economy and that is something we've never needed more right now," Corbett said.
The telecom industry has become more consolidated, with giants AT&T, Verizon and Comcast dominating Internet, landline phone, wireless services. The nation has dropped to 15th place in international ranking for broadband access, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Obama's Technology and Innovation plan, put forth in the campaign, addressed providing broadband access to underserved areas. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has tried to do that by reforming a $7 billion federal program for phone lines so that it would also apply to broadband service.
Yet reforming the program, which has vocal critics in both parties, has been difficult, analysts said.
"It's the elephant in the room," said Joe Farren, spokesman for CTIA, a wireless trade group. "This is an intersection of the old and new but there may be a unique opportunity to change the fund and refocus it on providing consumers with what they want and need — wireless and broadband."
On Net neutrality, there is pressure from Congress and the FCC to address the issue. Richard Wiley, a partner at law firm Wiley Rein, said in a panel at a conference Thursday that Net neutrality regulation could include additional guidelines on broadband management that would ban discrimination against technologies that transfer Web content.
The FCC punished Comcast last summer for deliberately slowing the transfer of video files with software application BitTorrent, an order that the cable operator has appealed in court.
BAGHDAD — The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is systematically dismissing oversight officials who were installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration, which had hoped to bring Western standards of accountability to the notoriously opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy here.
The dismissals, which were confirmed by senior Iraqi and American government officials on Sunday and Monday, come as estimates of official Iraqi corruption soar. One Iraqi former chief investigator recently testified before Congress that $13 billion in reconstruction funds from the United States has been lost to fraud, embezzlement, theft and waste by Iraqi government officials.
The moves have not been publicly announced by Mr. Maliki's government, but word of them has begun to circulate through the layers of Iraqi bureaucracy as Parliament prepares to vote on the long-awaited security agreement. That pact sets the terms for continued American presence here after the United Nations mandate expires Dec. 31, but also amounts to a framework for a steady reduction in the scale of that presence. Such a change will undoubtedly lessen American oversight of Iraqi institutions.
Each of Iraq's 30 cabinet-level ministries has one inspector general, supported by varying budgets and staffing.
How many of the ministries have received orders to dismiss their inspectors is a matter of disagreement among Iraqi governmental officials, but their estimates range from a handful to as high as 17. Several senior Iraqi and American officials agreed that 7 to 9 inspectors have already been fired or forced into retirement. In one case, at the Ministry of Education, the post became vacant when the inspector general died.
Senior Iraqi officials and a number of the dismissed officials, many of whom asked not to be named for fear of government reprisals, said inspectors have already fired in the Ministries of Water Resources; Culture, Youth and Sport; and Trade. In addition, the inspectors have been removed from the cabinet-level Central Bank of Iraq, and from two religious offices, the Sunni and Christian Endowments, whose leaders carry the rank of deputy minister.
One senior Iraqi official said that the list also included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the ministry's public affairs office denied that on Monday.
Three senior advisers to Mr. Maliki declined to comment substantively when contacted about the dismissals. "Definitely I know about it, all the details," said Yasseen Majid, a press adviser to the prime minister. "But you know all the story, so why are you asking me? It's not my specialty, it's an administrative issue."
But Dr. Adel Muhsin, Mr. Maliki's coordinator of anticorruption organizations and himself the inspector general at the Health Ministry, said any suggestion that there was political motivation for the dismissals was false.
"This is absolutely completely nonsense," Dr. Muhsin said. The cabinet committee that recommended the changes, he said, "are mainly professional people, not political people. Therefore the selections, it is 100 percent based on professionalism."
The United States Embassy in Baghdad did not respond to a request for comment on the dismissals on Monday.
But Stuart Bowen, who leads an independent oversight office in Washington, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and who is currently working in Iraq, said he knew of six of the dismissals. He said the inspectors general were vulnerable because once they were created, the United States provided little support and training for what was a startling concept for a bureaucracy shaped by the secrecy and corruption of the Saddam Hussein era.
Whatever the precise tally, the steps are provoking charges that Mr. Maliki, who has never been an advocate of having his government's inner workings scrutinized, will either leave the posts vacant or stack them with supporters of his party, Dawa. The secrecy surrounding the moves has only magnified suspicions that the government aims to cripple the oversight mechanisms put in place after the invasion.
"The government put a publicity blackout on it so they can do anything they like," said Sheik Sabah al-Saeidi, a Shiite lawmaker with the Fadhila party who heads the Integrity Committee in the Iraqi Parliament.
When Parliament recently proposed a law formalizing the professional requirements that must be met by a candidate for inspector general, Mr. Saeidi said, Mr. Maliki's cabinet strongly opposed it.
"They want it to become a political appointment," Mr. Saeidi said of the oversight position. "They are trying to restrict anticorruption efforts all over the country."
At least two of the officials who were forced out are Christian women, Hana Shakuri of the Ministry of Culture and Samia Youssef Sha'ia of the Christian Endowment. But most are simply senior Sunni and Shiite technocrats who have been at their posts for years and in several cases were originally appointed in 2004 by Paul Bremer, the top administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority.
New Jobless Claims Reach A 16-Year High, U.S. Says
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 20, 2008
WASHINGTON — New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to a 16-year high, the Labor Department said Thursday, providing more evidence of a rapidly weakening job market.
The government said new applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 from a downwardly revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week. That was much higher than economists' expectations of 505,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.
The department said that was also the highest level of claims since July 1992, when the economy was coming out of a recession. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out fluctuations, was even worse: it rose to 506,500, the highest in more than 25 years.
In addition, the number of people continuing to claim unemployment insurance rose sharply for the third straight week to more than four million, the highest since December 1982, when the economy was in a recession. Those figures partly reflect growth in the labor force, which has increased by about half since the early 1980s.
The unemployment rate in October was 6.5 percent, and last year it averaged 4.6 percent.
The Federal Reserve released projections on Wednesday that the jobless rate will climb to 7.1 to 7.6 percent next year, according to documents from the Fed's Oct. 29 closed-door deliberations on interest rate policy.
In another economic report, a private research group said the economy's health declined further in October as stocks, building permits and consumer expectations all fell.
The Conference Board says its monthly forecast of future economic activity declined 0.8 percent in October, worse than the 0.6 percent decrease expected by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
The index, which weighs indicators like manufacturers' new orders and supplier deliveries, has fallen four of the last six months. It rose slightly in September, thanks to federal interventions that increased the money supply.
Senate Extends Benefits
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Senate passed and sent to President Bush on Thursday legislation to extend jobless benefits for people who have been unemployed for a prolonged period in an economy that is losing jobs.
By voice vote, the Senate passed the bill, which had already been approved by the House.
Bush is expected to sign the measure into law.
The bill would give seven more weeks of government unemployment payments to workers who have exhausted their current jobless benefits. For those in states with the highest unemployment rates, an additional 20 weeks would be allowed.
PUTTING WIND POWER'S EFFECT ON BIRDS IN PERSPECTIVE
Copyright 2003 by Mick Sagrillo
Electricity generated from renewable energy resources is an environmentally-preferred alternative to conventionally produced electricity from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Many people believe that wind turbines should be part of the solution to a healthier environment, not part of the problem.
Over the past fifteen years, a number of reports have appeared in the popular press about wind turbines killing birds. Some writers have gone so far as to dub wind generators "raptor-matics" and "cuisinarts of the sky". Unfortunately, some of these articles have been used as "evidence" to stop the construction of a wind generator in someone's back yard. The reports of dead birds create a dilemma. Do wind generators really kill birds? If so, how serious is the problem?
A confused public oftentimes does not know what to believe. Many people participate in the U.S.'s second largest past time, bird watching. Other's are truly concerned about the environment and what they perceive as yet another assault on our fragile ecosystem. Unwittingly, they rally behind the few ill-informed obstructionists who have realized that the perception of bird mortality due to wind turbines is a hot button issue, with the power to bring construction to a halt.
Birds live a tenuous existence. There are any number of things that can cause their individual deaths or collective demise. For example, bird collisions with objects in nature are a rather common occurrence, and young birds are quite clumsy when it comes to landing on a perch after flight. As a result, about 30% of total first-year bird deaths are attributed to natural collisions.
By far, the largest causes of mortality among birds include loss of habitat due to human infringement, environmental despoliation, and collisions with man-made objects. Since wind turbines fall into the last category, it is worthwhile to examine other human causes of avian deaths and compare these to mortality from wind turbines.
Death by….Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.1 Many of the affected birds are those with large wingspans, including raptors and waterfowl. While attempting to land on power lines and poles, birds are sometimes electrocuted when their wings span between two hot wires. Many other birds are killed as their flight paths intersect the power lines strung between poles and towers. One report states that: "for some types of birds, power line collisions appear to be a significant source of mortality."2
Death by….Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.3 As more vehicles share the roadway, and our automotive society becomes more pervasive, these numbers will only increase. Our dependence on oil has taken its toll on birds too. Even the relatively high incidence of bird kills at Altamont Pass (about 92 per year) pales in comparison to the number of birds killed from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. In fact, according to author Paul Gipe, the Altamont Pass wind farm would have to operate for 500 to 1000 years to "achieve" the same mortality level as the Exxon Valdez event in 1989.
Death by….Tall building and residential house windows also claim their share of birds. Some of the five million tall buildings in U.S. cities have been documented as being a chronic mortality problem for migrating birds. There are more than 100 million houses in the U.S. House windows are more of a problem for birds in rural areas than in cities or towns. While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.4
Death by….Lighted communication towers turn out to be one of the more serious problems for birds, especially for migratory species that fly at night. One study began its conclusion with, "It is apparent from the analysis of the data that significant numbers of birds are dying in collisions with communications towers, their guy wires, and related structures."5 Another report states, "The main environmental problem we are watching out for with telecommunication towers are the deaths of birds and bats."6
Death by…. This is not news, as bird collisions with lighted television and radio towers have been documented for over 50 years. Some towers are responsible for very high episodic fatalities. One television transmitter tower in Eau Claire, WI, was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 birds on each of 24 consecutive nights. A "record 30,000 birds were estimated killed on one night" at this same tower.7 In Kansas, 10,000 birds were killed in one night by a telecommunications tower.8 Numerous large bird kills, while not as dramatic as the examples cited above, continue to occur across the country at telecommunication tower sites.
The number of telecommunication towers in the U.S. currently exceeds 77,000, and this number could easily double by 2010. The rush to construction is being driven mainly by our use of cell phones, and to a lesser extent by the impending switch to digital television and radio. Current mortality estimates due to telecommunication towers are 40 to 50 million birds per year.9 The proliferation of these towers in the near future will only exacerbate this situation.
Death by….Agricultural pesticides are "conservatively estimated" to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10 These numbers do not account for avian mortality associated with other pesticide applications, such as on golf courses. Nor do they take into consideration secondary losses due to pesticide use as these toxic chemicals travel up the food chain. This includes poisoning due to birds ingesting sprayed insects, the intended target of the pesticides.
Death by….Cats, both feral and housecats, also take their toll on birds. A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report states that, "recent research suggests that rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year."11
There are other studies on the impacts of jet engines, smoke stacks, bridges, and any number of other human structures and activities that threaten birds on a daily basis. Together, human infrastructure and industrial activities are responsible for one to four million bird deaths per day!
But what about wind turbines?
Commercial wind turbines
Since the mid-1980's, a number of research organizations, universities, and consultants have conducted studies on avian mortality due to wind turbines. In the U.S., these studies were prompted because of the relatively high number of raptors that were found dead at the Altamont Pass Wind Farms near San Francisco.
After dozens of studies spanning nearly two decades, we now know that the Altamont Pass situation is unusual in the U.S. The high raptor mortality there was the result of a convergence of factors, some of which were due to the bad siting in the local ecosystem while others were due to the wind turbine and tower technology used at the time. In fact, a very different situation exists not far away at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farms near Palm Springs. A 1986 study found that 69 million birds flew though the San Gorgonio Pass during the Spring and Fall migrations. During both migrating seasons, only 38 dead birds were found during that typical year, representing only 0.00006% of the migrating population.
A report recently prepared for the Bonneville Power Administration in the Northwest U.S. states that "raptor mortality has been absent to very low at all newer generation wind plants studied in the U.S. This and other information regarding wind turbine design and wind plant/wind turbine siting strongly suggests that the level of raptor mortality observed at Altamont Pass is quite unique."12
The National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) completed a comparison of wind farm avian mortality with bird mortality caused by other man-made structures in the U.S.
The NWCC did not conduct its own study, but analyzed all of the research done to date on various causes of avian mortality, including commercial wind farm turbines. They report that "data collected outside California indicate an average of 1.83 avian fatalities per turbine (for all species combined), and 0.006 raptor fatalities per turbine per year. Based on current projections of 3,500 operational wind turbines in the US by the end of 2001, excluding California, the total annual mortality was estimated at approximately 6,400 bird fatalities per year for all species combined."13
This report states that its intent is to "put avian mortality associated with windpower development into perspective with other significant sources of avian collision mortality across the United States."14 The NWCC reports that: "Based on current estimates, windplant related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States."15 That is, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S.
Back in Wisconsin
My home state of Wisconsin is a good example of current research. In December of 2002, the report "Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin" was released. The study was completed by Robert Howe and Amy Wolf of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and William Evans. Their study covered a two-year period between 1999 and 2001, in the area surrounding the 31 turbines operating in Kewaunee County by Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E) and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Corporation.
The report found that over the study period, 25 bird carcasses were found at the sites. The report states that "the resulting mortality rate of 1.29 birds/tower/year is close to the nationwide estimate of 2.19 birds/tower.16- The report further states, "While bird collisions do occur (with commercial wind turbines) the impacts on global populations appear to be relatively minor, especially in comparison with other human-related causes of mortality such as communications towers, collisions with buildings, and vehicles collisions. This is especially true for small scale facilities like the MG&E and WPS wind farms in Kewaunee County."17
The report goes on to say, "previous studies suggest that the frequency of avian collisions with wind turbines is low, and the impact of wind power on bird populations today is negligible. Our study provides little evidence to refute this claim."18
So, while wind farms are responsible for the deaths of some birds, when put into the perspective of other causes of avian mortality, the impact is quite low. In other words, bird mortality at wind farms, compared to other human-related causes of bird mortality, is biologically and statistically insignificant. There is no evidence that birds are routinely being battered out of the air by rotating wind turbine blades as postulated by some in the popular press.
Home-sized wind systems
How does all of this impact the homeowner who wishes to secure a building permit to install a wind generator and tower on his or her property? They will likely still be quizzed by zoning officials or a concerned public with little to go on but the sensational headlines in the regional press. But while the press may or may not get the facts right, peoples' concerns are real, and need to be addressed with factual information such as is presented here.
While there have been any number of studies done on bird mortality caused by commercial wind installations, none have been done on the impact of home-sized wind systems on birds. The reason? It is just not an issue, especially when "big" wind's impact on birds is considered biologically insignificant.
When confronted with the question of why there were no studies done on home-sized wind systems and birds, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources person familiar with these issues responded, "it is not even on the radar screen." There has never been a report or documentation of a home-sized wind turbine killing birds in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, or any other government or research organization for that matter, just does not have the financial resources to conduct a study just because a zoning official requests it, especially given the lack of evidence nationwide that any problem exists with home-sized turbines. Based on our best available information, the relatively smaller blades and short tower heights of residential wind energy systems do not present a threat to birds.
1. National Wind Coordinating Committee Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States (NWCC), p. 10. 2. NWCC, p. 10. 3. NWCC, p. 8. 4. Tower Kill p. 2. 5. Communication Towers: A Deadly Hazard To Birds p. 19. 6. Battered By Airwaves p. 6. 7. Battered By Airwaves p. 4. 8. Communication Tower Guidelines Could Protect Migrating Birds p. 2. 9. NWCC p. 12. 10. The Environmental and Economic Costs of Pesticide Use p. 1. 11. Cats and Wildlife: A Conservation Dilemma p. 2. 12. Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality information from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments p. 7. 13. NWCC p. 2. 14. NWCC p. 1. 15. NWCC p. 2. 16. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 68. 17. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 75. 18. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 67.
Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States; National Wind Coordinating Committee; West, Inc.; August, 2001
Battered By Airwaves; Wendy K. Weisenel; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; October, 2002.
Cats and Wildlife: A Conservation Dilemma; John S. Coleman, Stanley A. Temple, and Scott R. Craven; University of Wisconsin-Extension; 1997.
Communication Towers: A Deadly Hazard To Birds; Gavin G. Shire, Karen Brown, and Gerald Winegrad; American Bird Conservancy; Jume, 2000.
Communication Tower Guidelines Could Protect Migrating Birds; Cat Laazaroff; Environmental News Service; 2002.
Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin; Robert W. Howe, William Evans, and Amy T. Wolf; November, 2002.
Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality information from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments; West, Inc.; December, 2002
The Environmental and Economic Costs of Pesticide; David Pimentel and H. Acquay; Bioscience; November, 1992.
Tower Kill; Joe Eaton; Earth Island Journal; Winter, 2003.
This video was presented by the Program NOW in PBS.org It is hard to believe, except I was studying the subject in Los Angeles when they promised that electric cars woul have to be two percent and a couple of years later, TEN (10) Percent of ALL cars in California, according to state rules.
Do any, none or all Congress members know about it?
"Federal regulators approved a radical plan to stabilize Citigroup in an arrangement in which the government could soak up billions of dollars in losses at the struggling bank, the government announcedlate Sunday night," reports The Times's Eric Dash.
"Whether this latest rescue plan will help calm the markets is uncertain, given the stress in the financial system caused by losses at Citigroup and other banks. Each previous government effort initially seemed to reassure investors, leading to optimism that the banking system had steadied. But those hopes faded as the economic outlook worsened, raising worries that more bank loans were turning sour."
If you want an idea of just how bad Citigroup's position was on Friday, just take a look at the term sheet of the deal announced on Sunday night. After the $309 billion of toxic assets have been ring-fenced, Citigroup will take the first $29 billion of losses. Citi will continue to take 10% of the losses after that, too, but the lion's share of the second $5 billion of losses will be taken by Treasury, using TARP funds. In return for taking on that $5 billion of contingent losses, Treasury will receive $4 billion of preferred stock, paying 8% interest per year, up front.
In other words, the deal is essentially pricing in the expectation that Citi's toxic assets are worth much less than Citi has valued them at — so much less, indeed, that Treasury (a/k/a the taxpayer) is probably going to have to pay out the full $5 billion, even after Citi has lost a further $30 billion over and above the write-downs it's taken already.
Note key element of the deal is that the Federal government will guarantee $300 billion of Citi assets, a much bigger number than had been leaked earlier, with a rather convoluted loss-sharing arrangement, but the bottom line is that Citi is at risk for at most $40 billion. Citi also gets a $20 billion equity injection, on slightly more onerous terms than the initial TARP investments, but still more favorable than Warren Buffett's investment in Goldman. Oh, and it appears there will be NO management changes.
I do not see how GM can be denied a rescue now (not that that outcome is really in doubt, merely how much pain will be inflicted on management and the UAW).
Up until a couple of days ago, Citigroup was insisting that they were very adequately capitalized, thankyouverymuch. But tonight they accepted $20 billion in fresh capital. So either (a) their position deteriorated a lot in the past 48 hours, (b) the government's terms were so spectacularly generous that they figured they'd be stupid to turn it down, (c) Paulson insisted they take it even though they didn't want it, or (d) they've been lying. Which do you think it is?
Sen. Barack Obama Pledges Space Advocacy By Patrick Peterson FLORIDA TODAY posted: 8 August 2008
TITUSVILLE - Sen. Barack Obama promised not to cut NASA funding and said Saturday at a town hall meeting he will rely on Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and revered astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn to help form his space policy.
"Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world once again and is going to help grow the economy right here in Brevard County," said the presumptive Democratic nominee, speaking to a crowd of 1,400 at Brevard Community College's Titusville campus.
Obama has changed an earlier position, in which he planned to delay the Constellation program five years and use up to $5 billion from the NASA budget for education.
"Here's what I'm committing to: Continue Constellation. We're going to close the gap (between the end of shuttle flight and the next program, Constellation). We may have additional shuttle flights," he said.
"My commitment is to seamless transition, where we're utilizing the space station in an intelligent way, and we're preparing for the next generation of space travel."
In an interview with FLORIDA TODAY after the speech, Obama would not detail whether he plans to change President Bush's vision of returning to the moon and going to Mars. Obama also would not pledge to sign a $2 billion increase to NASA's $17 billion budget. The proposal might save some of the 3,400 jobs that are expected to be lost at Kennedy Space Center.
"I don't want to give clear figures yet. I want to have a thorough evaluation of a combination of manned and unmanned missions, what kind of exploration would be the most appropriate, and I want the budget to follow the plan. I'd want to see the proposal first," he said.
With appearances Friday and Saturday in Central Florida, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain and Obama are battling head to head for votes in the crucial Interstate 4 technology corridor of Florida. McCain spoke at the Urban League convention Friday in Orlando, and Obama also was scheduled to speak Saturday to the organization.
In Titusville, Obama entered the town hall meeting with Nelson as the audience pounded on the bleachers and cheered.
"Yes, we can!" the crowd chanted.
"I've been working Barack, telling him it's the I-4 corridor of Florida that will make a difference," Nelson said.
The presidential candidate began by pointing out that gas and food prices are soaring, job losses continue and the average American's income has decreased by $1,000 in the past eight years. "Are you better off now than you were four years ago or eight years ago?" he asked the crowd.
"No!" they shouted.
Obama outlined a short-term relief plan that includes a $1,000 tax reduction for 95 percent of Americans, an additional mortgage interest deduction, no income taxes for seniors who earn $50,000 or less and equal pay for equal work for women. He also plans a $50 billion stimulus proposal: Half would go to local governments, and half would go to build roads and bridges.
These programs would be paid for by taxes on windfall profits of oil companies and by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations.
"All those things are just in the short term. We've got to bring back our long-term prosperity," he said. "I have often said that this election is a defining moment in our history."
What matters is that he said "We may have additional shuttle flights,"
He did not say that manned trips to Mars and a return to the Moon were needed or worth their cost. When he announces his technical advisors we will know whether he thinks that, based on all we know now on Mars and the Moon we need to continue to build a totally new and hugely expensive rocket to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars. The total cost is over $25 Billion (2007 Dlls).
Published findings show nothing worthwhile that could not be studied with instruments mounted in unmanned robot ground vehicles and reduce costs by factor of about 10,000 -robots travel one way and Astonauts read instruments that can be read from Earth. Most of what we know about Mars came from a land rover vehicle. China plans a robot on the Moon by 2017. Should we race them, too? Why? Consider this: If there were gold nuggets on the Moon or diamonds on the surface of Mars, it would be more costly to bring pick them and bring them, than their price, if mined from Earth. Of course, an auction would bring millions but not Billions.
Groups of monks and working people took a vaccine and both reacted to the vaccine and produced the anti-bodies to fight the virus from the vaccine, monks made more anti-bodies, earlier and faster.
People with stomach cancer were found to have a virus; a drug was used to kill the virus but, later, they found that many people also had the same virus but, it did not caused cancer in them. Analysis of patient data showed they had been under severe stress and that altered the virus into producing cancer. No explanation was given on why the patient's stress data was collected! Did they suspect stress data could be important? Why? Other data in other studies?
The Soviet started a study in the evolution of Silver foxes and selected those that showed a calm temperament for breeding. But, Communism fell and the U.S. paid to continue the study. In 30 years, they had a dog-like Silver fox with a single color replaced their spotted fur and barked instead of biting to intimidate and stopped baying; this is surprising to those that assume evolution is extremely slow.
A recent Radiocarbon study showed the age of the oldest human, in South Africa, is Fifty percent older than previously thought, around 180,000 years old, while initial generations lived about 20 years.
Many Norwegians with breast cancer, had no traces of it a few years later, without any treatment -at all. New data showed in Nov. 25th, 2008, the lowest level of all kinds of cancer rates in the U.S. -ever.
For extra points, how is the above related to the following?
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. 1. Be Proactive, 2. Begin with the End in Mind, 3. Put First Things First, 4. Think Win/Win, 5. Seek to Understand, Then to be Understood, (St. Francis Prayer?) 6. Synergy (Creative Cooperation), 7. Sharpen Saw (Balanced Renewal). Mr. Covey also wrote "Principle-Centered Leadership".
"Principles are Intellectual Habits"-Aristotle 350 BC.
A problem with habits is that few wonder how we got them and, some, assume they were "inherited". Music schools have "genius" players polish their skills, daily, for many hours -a few notes at a time.
The Bible says God created man -not how. "The Bible teaches how to go to Heaven, not how the Heavens go."-Cardinal Beronius. Possible Implications of the four Medical Experiments listed:
Stress changed the DNA of a virus into one that causes cancer, serenity promotes the production of healing anti-bodies and peaceful behavior changed the DNA and inherited habits of Silver foxes. Can attitude improve our health? Should we seek peace and serenity?
The "Immune System" in the brain detects any type of a new infection or virus and fights it with the exact chemical that kills it or alters its DNA to make it produce stomach cancer -or not! Our brain copes with many illnesses, like "colds" or bite poisons from animals and insects and send the appropriate cure.
There were no pharmacies for the first 180,000 years and people depended on healing from herbs, bark, roots, leaves, flowers, etc.
The first medical textbook, a compilation of herbs and other cures was by Ibn Sina (Avicenna, 980-1037, Persian, born in current Afghanistan). European Schools of Medicine used his textbook for 500 years, the longest use of a Science textbook anywhere. The Arab Empire had the first Medical Schools. The bible is not a scientific textbook.
If we take drugs, could that interfere with the detection and responses of our "Immune System"?
Brain links (tubes thinner than hair: "synapses") send drugs and electric signals -we have 100 Trillion. There is no instrument fine enough to cut one, and only one synapses.
In an MRI study subjects worked the same problem before and after sleep and the MRI showed they used different parts of the brain each time -the brain, doctors said, "restructures itself" while we sleep.
Link cuts (lobotomy, still legal in some states and nations) is pointless, no function of a single link has been identified. Results are judged on the basis of patient self-evaluation (or not) ignoring that there are no pain sensors within the brain, or on the basis of cost or convenience. Nations that practice lobotomies on the mentally ill, assert there is much comfort for the patient and a reduction in the cost of caring for them.
Studies show our brain is more active while we sleep than when we are awake. What's it doing?
The implications are that our brain's Immune System can detect and make the right drug to deal with foreign dangers and deliver it to the exact place, anywhere, anytime, if we do not confuse it, too much.
Remember: For 180,000 years our Immune System, by itself, kept humans alive in spite natural and man-made poisons and world populations continue to grows in longevity and numbers -faster than pharmacies.
Old cure fails, New one, with limited use, seems to work.
From Wikipedia: [Comments in square brackets, emphasis added].
In psychology a "complex" is an important group of unconscious associations connected by a recognizable theme, or a strong unconscious impulse lying behind an individual's otherwise mysterious condition: the detail varies widely from theory to theory.
However their existence is widely agreed upon in the area of depth psychology at least, being instrumental in the systems of both Freud and Jung. They are generally a way of mapping the psyche, [as if immutable] and are crucial theoretical items of common reference found in therapy.
The term "complex," or "feeling-toned complex of ideas," was adopted by Carl Jung when he was still a close associate of Sigmund Freud (Theodor Ziehen is credited with coining the term in 1898.) Jung described a "complex" as a 'node' in the unconscious; it may be imagined as a knot of unconscious feelings and beliefs, detectable indirectly, through behavior that is puzzling or hard to account for. [i.e., if action patterns seem unreasonable, call it a "complex"?]
Jung found evidence for complexes early in his career, in the word association tests conducted at Zurich University, 1900-08. In the word association tests, a researcher read a list of words to each subject, who was asked to say, as quickly as possible, the first thing that came to mind in response to each word. Researchers timed subjects' responses, and noted any unusual reactions--hesitations, slips of the tongue, signs of emotion. Jung was interested in patterns he detected in subjects' responses, hinting at unconscious feelings and beliefs. [they measure habitual response speed]
For Jung, complexes may be conscious, partly conscious, or unconscious... related to traumatic experiences, or not. There are many kinds of complex, but at the core of a complex is a universal pattern of experience, or archetype. Key complexes Jung wrote about were the anima (node of unconscious beliefs and feelings in a man's psyche relating to the opposite gender) and animus (the corresponding complex in a woman's psyche); and the shadow (Jung's term embracing any aspect of psyche which has been excluded from conscious awareness).
Many Jungian complexes appear in complementary pairs: for example, the puer, or eternal youth, often appears in relationship to the senex, or archetypal old man. A puer complex might manifest as an individual's unconscious dread of growing up [somtimes called the "Peter Pan Complex"], or losing one's ideals or freedom; a senex complex, might be in some who, without knowing why, are driven to act out an "old man" role, in creative or destructive ways.
Only when a complex leads to destructive behavior is it seen as pathological; otherwise, a Jungian view of psyche accepts the presence of diverse complexes in ordinary health.
Dr. Jung defined the ego as one complex among many. "By ego I understand a complex of ideas... Hence I also speak of an ego-complex... the ego.... merely being a complex among many." Jung understood complexes as splinter psyches. "Today we can take it as moderately certain that complexes are in fact 'splinter psyches'."
One of the key differences between Jungian and Freudian theory is that Jung posits several different kinds of complex, emphasizes duality or plurality rather than unity as a basic condition of the human psyche [plurality - many causes for one action, obviously we are complex].
Freud held the Oedipus complexuniversal--reflecting developmental challenges that face every child--and was the central complex in most or all psychopathology. [seems like the product of his inventing mind, with an Invention Complex?] Once Jung broke from Freud, they went their ways, forming their own disciplines, there was a brief movement in some of Freud's circle to remove all of Jung's work and terminology from their school of psychoanalysis. Freud refused -the term "complex" stayed.
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If a habit overpowers a weakened habit of deliberately using our will, i.e. making a choice; we will behave like inhuman slaves to our habits, active habits formed over time, by fears, impulses, training, reflexes, practice, vices, hormones, games, virtues, ageing, rewards, etc., but not by choice.
Reflex-like habits, drugs, obsessions and no habitual control of emotions may make us slaves to our habits. Some avoid the use of the word "Habit" and replace it with habitual "Complex" like in the "Cinderella Complex" Or: "Women's Hidden Fear of Independence" by Colette Downling on the habitual fear of some women.
Downling wrote in Acknowledgments: "my own psychoanalyst, Stephen Bresking, is undoubtedly central to the development of my own independence.... Lowell Miller was the second adult in my life. (It is interesting, now, to look back on the fact that it was not a woman who refused to support my dependent ways; it was two men.)". Actions are driven by Hormones, "Scripts" learnt in childhood, etc.
Vice and virtue require intent and choice, but the addictive effects, fines, habits and jail terms, the consequences, stay with us. Only free humans can make free deliberate choices.
Q.: Considering all qualifiers used or implied to derive plausible explanations, should we trust Psychology? Note: There is no evidence of even one single cure using the long-term, highly expensive, one-on-one Psychological Theories or ideas of Dr. Freud. Not One!
The best alternative is based on ideas proposed by Dr. Viktor E. Fankl. In Auschwitz he lost his parents, wife, children, uncles and aunts but he noticed some prisoners managed to keep their sanity and conviviality in spite of everything but others did not so, he decided to make an effort to find out what kept some people sane in such an insane prison.
Essentially, he noticed that those able to cope had found some way to find a meaning in this prison and make sense out of their misfortune. Further readings made it clear that for him the "meaning" of something is very similar to what others mean when they say "Now, THAT makes sense to me!"
For example, for some, their religious beliefs provide all the "purpose" or "meaning" of life they need to find peace and serenity, or what others may call "happiness and tranquility". All these words are symbols for an emotional reaction and while we can establish or accept one concept or meaning for the word "ten" to mean 10, it is not possible for us to ever know what others may, at any one time or instance, mean by an emotion.
There is no such thing as 2.0 or 2.5 Happiness but we may use any adjective, while we talk to ourselves -only.
Susan Elizabeth Rice, a key adviser on foreign policy to Barack Obama during his campaign for the presidency, is a member of the advisory committee for the Obama transition and has been mentioned for several positions in President-elect Obama's administration, including deputy national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms. Rice spent eight years at the White House and the State Department under President Clinton. She was a member of the National Security Council staff, first as director for international organizations and peacekeeping, and then as a special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs. From 1997 to 2001, she was assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She has special expertise in the problems posed by weak and failed states, global poverty and transnational security threats.
A protégé of Madeleine K. Albright when Ms. Albright was secretary of state, Ms. Rice catapulted over more veteran officials in 1997 when she was given the job as assistant secretary of state. She also has had experience with Al Qaeda — Ms. Rice was the top diplomat for African issues during the 1998 terrorist bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
She has been a member of Mr. Obama's inner circle for more than two years. She showed early loyalty to him despite her ties to the Clinton administration, signing on with Mr. Obama at a time when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was presumed to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
She potentially faces tough questioning, however, because of her role in American policy toward Rwanda during the 1994 genocide when she was a member of a Clinton administration team that kept the United States on the sidelines. She told The Atlantic Monthly in 2001 that she had learned a lesson: "I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required."
She and Condoleezza Rice, the current secretary of state, are both female African-American foreign policy experts who have ties to Stanford University, but they are not related.
She was born on Nov. 17, 1964, and is the daughter of a former governor on the Federal Reserve Board. She earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford and both a master's degree and a doctorate in international relations from New College at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. After the Clinton administration, Ms. Rice was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and was also a foreign policy adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004. She is married to Ian Cameron, the Canadian-born executive producer of ABC News's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." They have two children.