Custom Search


Campbell Mithun charting familiar waters at Aquatennial
For 38 years, the milk carton boat race has been a mainstay of the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration.

This year, representatives of the agency that came up with the idea are finally going to take part in it.

In 1971, the St. Paul-based Milk Foundation of the Twin Cities, a client of Minneapolis agency Campbell Mithun, needed a publicity stunt to promote consumption of milk.

Executives from the ad agency gathered in a Minneapolis hotel over a weekend and emerged with a concept: Milk carton boat races at the Aquatennial, the nautically-themed summer festival that helps Minneapolitans forget about road construction. (At about that same time, Campbell Mithun also created the “Every Body Needs Milk” tag line to help dairy companies promote youth milk consumption.)

Asked about the response to the agency’s Aquatennial milk carton boat race idea, Steve Gordon, senior vice president and management supervisor for the firm, said, “It was insane. There were hundreds of entries.”

According to a story in the September 1971 edition of trade publication Dairy & Ice Cream Field, more than 50,000 spectators gathered at Lake Calhoun to watch 1,321 milk carton boats race.

This year, to help celebrate the firm’s 75th birthday, Campbell Mithun executives decided to participate in the race themselves. So on Sunday, a milk carton boat that employees have been assembling in the underground parking ramp below the Campbell Mithun Tower will set sail on Lake Calhoun.

“We’ve never entered (the milk carton boat race) before, and we came up with the thing,” said Gordon, who has worked at Campbell Mithun since 1972.

He said 60 to 70 employees of the agency will have worked on the boat, which contains products or corporate logos of such agency clients as General Mills, H&R Block, Land O’Lakes Inc., Toro Co. and Wonder Bread, by the time it is launched.

They work on the boat between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., assembling sections of the milk carton boat before they are transported to the south shore of Lake Calhoun to be readied for the race.

About 1,800 cartons were used to build the boat, which includes a fake Toro snow-thrower fashioned from milk cartons positioned above two huge pontoons made from milk carton affixd to each other with paraffin and with tape around the perimeter.

The buoyancy of the cartons should support the craft’s captain, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer Don Kvam, and his crew, for a short time.

“I’m told that every one of these boats eventually sinks,” Gordon noted.

Original Source :

Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy

Will Media Report Gore's Stake in Electricity Conversion?

As my fellow NewsBuster Amy Ridenour accurately reported, global warming obsessed media are predictably gushing over Nobel Laureate Al Gore's call for America to completely convert all of its electricity production to solar, wind, and other renewable sources by 2018 (photo courtesy AFP).

As they gush, fawn, and genuflect, will press members dare to point out that Gore is heavily invested in companies which manufacture that which he's recommending America convert to?

After all, as NewsBusters reported on April 11, Gore admitted his financial stake in such things to an audience in Monterey, California, back in March (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 15:00):

There are a lot of great investments you can make. If you are investing in tar sands, or shale oil, then you have a portfolio that is crammed with sub-prime carbon assets. And it is based on an old model. Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and their legs collapse. Developing tar sands and coal shale is the equivalent. Here are just a few of the investments I personally think make sense. I have a stake in these so I’ll have a disclaimer there. But geo-thermal concentrating solar, advanced photovoltaics, efficiency, and conservation.

As Gore spoke these words, pictures of electric cars, windmills and solar panels appeared in multiple slides on the screen with company names at the bottom such as Amyris (biofuels), Altra (biofuels), Bloom Energy (solid oxide fuel cells), Mascoma (cellulosic biofuels), GreatPoint Energy (catalytic gasification), Miasole (solar cells), Ausra (utility scale solar panels), GEM (battery operated cars), Smart (electric cars), and AltaRock Energy (geothermal power).

Now, seven months later, he's proposing:

Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the Earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses. And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of U.S. electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest, most efficient, and best way to start using all of this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power, and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

Check. Invested in all that!

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a unified national grid by helping our struggling auto companies switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars and save those auto jobs and renew our auto companies.

Check. Invested in that, too!

Will media members EVER make this connection and report it? Or, is that too much like journalism?

Original Source :

Bite Of Seattle

Bite Of Seattle

27th Bite of Seattle returns to its roots, offers smaller tastes

Can the Bite of Seattle get its "bite" back? Perhaps you've had this experience: You arrive at Seattle Center to chow down with a half-million...

Can the Bite of Seattle get its "bite" back?

Perhaps you've had this experience: You arrive at Seattle Center to chow down with a half-million of your closest friends, thinking the "Bite" will be your chance to nibble a little this and a little that from a variety of eateries.

Instead, you find that to get the really good stuff, you have to shell out six or seven bucks for an entrée-sized portion or a combo plate, using up your appetite and budget pretty quickly.

Take heart: As the 27th annual edition of the Bite of Seattle opens at 11 a.m. today, backers of the event are responding to your plight — and, in a way, getting back to their roots.

"A lot of people have told us they'd like to go back to more of a tasting," said Cindy Stohr of Festivals Inc., which produces the event. In response, at least five restaurants will be featured in a "Just a Bite!" section where small tastes go for $3.75.

In addition, many of the other 50-some restaurant booths will offer at least one item for less than the maximum $7, and each booth is required to have a "right bite" item, particularly light or healthful.

Stohr acknowledged that the "Just a Bite!" section, which will be north of the International Fountain, features only a small percentage of the participating restaurants. But if the concept is successful, it will likely be expanded in future years.

The Bite itself, anticipating some 450,000 people this year, is a far different event than the one that debuted at Green Lake in 1982, drawing 75,000. The goal of that inaugural was to expose Seattle residents to some of the city's finer establishments, enticing people to visit the restaurants themselves, which at the time were struggling through a recession.

Over the years, the percentage of high-end and independent restaurants has slid, replaced with chains, casual-dining restaurants and special-event concessionaires. Some independent restaurateurs, Stohr said, found it impossible to deal with the high-volume logistics of the Bite and still run their own restaurants.

Panda Express and California Pizza Kitchen, both new this year, represent that shift. Thursday, workers were busy at both booths installing signs and equipment.

"We're really not sure what to expect," said Justin Jordan, who manages the California Pizza Kitchen at Northgate. He said he landed the spot at this year's Bite because last year's pizza vendor bowed out.

"We'll try to be ready for anything," Jordan said.

While setting up the pizza oven in the booth near the International Fountain, Jordan saw one thing that he particularly liked: a side window of his booth opens directly to the event's beer garden, giving him access to a captive audience.

At the Panda Express booth, David Lim, the area manager, said his company decided to try out the Bite after participating in last summer's Freedom Fair in Tacoma. "I think we are ready for a bigger event," said Lim. He anticipates 5,000 to 6,000 customers a day to line up for his orange chicken, egg rolls and Beijing beef.

A variety of high-profile restaurants are represented in an area called "The Alley," where a $9.50 admission gets a meal of seven samples, and proceeds benefit Food Lifeline.

Among the Bite's most faithful participants is 19-year veteran Robert St. Thomas, who will again serve thousands of portions of his New Orleans Cookery offerings, highlighted by a gumbo of scallops, shrimp, crab, chicken, fish, sausage and crawfish tails.

St. Thomas doesn't have a restaurant but has served Cajun fare at up to 40 events a year across the country. Now that he's 61, though, he's cutting back to 25.

The Bite of Seattle is one of his favorites, but this is a difficult year, he said. "The price of food is up. The price of fuel is way up. Everybody's struggling."

Bite backers appear likely to have one thing in their favor this year: perfect weather.

Stohr said rain cut last year's attendance to about 375,000. And she's encouraged that temperatures are forecast to top out in the 70s. "When it gets in the high 80s or up around 90, people don't want to eat. They just want to lie in the grass and drink water."

Original Source :

Solar Cars Race To Promote Renewable Technologies

Solar Cars Race To Promote Renewable TechnologiesSIOUX FALLS, S.D. -

Even as U.S. oil refiners scramble to increase the flow of Canadian crude from Alberta to Texas, a caravan of futuristic solar cars is racing that 2,400-mile route in reverse to show what transportation could look like without a drop of oil or gas.

The sleek solar-powered sports cars competing in the North American Solar Challenge always turn heads, but with price tags that can climb well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, don't expect to see them parked in your local car dealer lot anytime soon.

"I don't think so," said Daniel Uhlord, a member of the SolarWorld 1 team from Hochschule Bochum University in Germany. "They're not quite up for the challenge of everyday life."

But solar could still play a significant role in a future transportation society less dependent on oil.

Uhlord and others envision an electric "solar assisted" car with cell-phone-like batteries that charge in the morning sun while you sip your coffee, then recharge in a parking lot while you toil away at work.

The cars racing to Canada this week are essentially electric cars - albeit super-efficient versions that tap into the power of the sun, said race director Dan Eberle.

The state-of-the-art technology found in their motors, batteries, control systems and electronics could one-day find their way into a hybrid or fully electric commuter vehicle.

"Instead of having solar panels on the car, you have a solar panel at home or a solar panel at work," Eberle said. "You drive in, plug in, charge it and then drive without carrying the solar panel along."

The North American Solar Challenge, last run in 2005, aims to promote solar and renewable technologies. The 15 race teams took off from Texas this past Sunday and are expected to arrive in Calgary on Tuesday.

SolarWorld 1, weighing in at 450 pounds at a cost of about $750,000, can cruise at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, but racers are required to obey local traffic laws along the mostly rural route.

Each driver is escorted by a pair of pit-crew vans filled with engineers monitoring a cadre of statistics. Teams constantly work to improve the efficiency of the solar arrays, batteries, power converters and motors, but Uhlord said a solar car's most important aspect is its aerodynamics.

In preparation for last year's World Solar Challenge race across Australia, the German team had to decide on a small valve to inflate the front tire and whether to use a straight pin or one with an angle. That tiny detail made a difference of more than an hour in the team's final time, he said.

Cars use two-way radios to chat with their pit crews, and the German team added a small technological touch to keep drivers humming along.

"You can also hook up an iPod to it," Uhlord said. "It will dim out or fade out the music when you talk or somebody else talks and everything's integrated into the helmet."

Original Source :



Sweet Smell of CDARS

Hey, Big Saver, it's now possible to receive up to $50 million in FDIC coverage through multiple CDs handled at one bank.

The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service – CDARS, or "cedars," like the trees – saves running around town and dealing with several banks to keep your CDs below the $100,000 threshold for FDIC coverage. Through the program, your funds are split into amounts below the FDIC limit and divided among member banks to ensure full coverage.

CDARS is a deposit placement service offered through the Promontory Interfinancial Network. It's designed to help community and regional banks attract and retain large deposits.

Here's how CDARS works:

  • You make deposits through a single member bank.
  • Your funds are divided into CDs of less than $100,000 each to ensure that principal and interest receive full FDIC insurance coverage.
  • The CDs are issued to member banks in the Promontory Interfinancial Network.
  • When funds are sent out of one bank, an equal amount is sent to the originating bank from other members of the network. This keeps the entire amount of the deposit in the community of origin while assuring full FDIC coverage.
  • A bank making CDARS transactions can select its own interest rate and therefore doesn't have to pay an artificially high national brokered rate to attract new funds.
  • The smart customer therefore shops around for the best rate.
  • The customer deals with one bank, receives one monthly statement and earns a single interest rate.

In general, local or regional banks offer the CDARS program while major banks such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Wachovia (WB) do not. The CDARS program is available through about 2,000 banks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia – think Apple Bank for Savings in New York, Bank of Houston or Northrim Bank in Anchorage, Alaska.

The American Bankers Association has endorsed the product, saying "CDARS allows banks to offer customers security as well as the convenience of one-stop shopping. It's good for banks, depositors and the economy."

Putting your money in a CDARS account means you won’t have to spend the night outside your bank to get your money out like those who lined up outside IndyMac (IMB)

Original Source :

Science Friday

Science Friday

This week Science Friday has loaded up some of the best science news for you including an update on Mars’s Phoenix Lander, plans of some rogue NASA engineers, cannibalistic red spots on Jupiter, our galaxies hottest spot, and a lunar transit caught on tape. All this plus our video of the week: Revenge of the Nerd Girls and gadget of the week: Top 5 real Trek gadgets.

Phoenix Computer Has Mind Of Its Own, Collects Martian Ice
The computer aboard the Phoenix Lander exhibited some quick thinking last week by shutting down its robotic arm after receiving a command that could have permanently damaged it. The lander apparently did it’s best to find a workaround first, however, but ultimately determined that any further movement would have bent its wrist out of shape. That left NASA engineers scrambling yesterday to come up with some new instructions to send to the lander, and they’re now simply waiting to see if they meet with the robot’s approval. The lander has used its arm in recent days to clear away loose soil from a subsurface layer of hard-frozen material and create a large enough area to use the motorized rasp in a trench informally named “Snow White.” Now, a powered rasp on the back of the robotic arm scoop successfully drilled into the frozen soil and loosened material that was collected in the lander’s scoop. Soon, scientists will have results of the first samples of this Martian ice.

Phoenix’s robotic arm rasps the ice

Rogue NASA Engineers Team Up With Retirees to Secretly Develop Alternative Moon Rocket
A handful of rogue NASA engineers have gone underground and spent their spare time working on a rocket dubbed “Jupiter”—an alternative that they believe will be “safer, cheaper and easier to build” than the two Ares spacecraft currently slated for upcoming lunar missions. The NASA establishment dismisses the new design, saying it won’t work. It seems unlikely that the Jupiter plan is going to fly this late in the game. Now, if something goes wrong with the Ares flights, those anonymous designers will be muttering to themselves, “I told you so.”

NASA’s design (left) and Jupiter (right)

Three Red Spots Mix It Up On Jupiter
A new sequence of Hubble images offers a planetary game of Pac-Man among three red spots clustered in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The time series shows the passage of the “Red Spot Jr.” in a band of clouds below the Great Red Spot. This is the second time, since turning red, it has skirted past its big brother apparently unscathed. “Baby red spot,” which is in the same latitudinal band as the Great Red Spot, gets ever closer to the Great Red Spot until it is caught up in its anticyclonic spin. See a time lapse video of this event.

Three red spots on Jupiter eat each other

The New Hottest Spot in the Milky Way
Two days ago, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope revealed an image of what could be the brightest star in our galaxy: Wolf-Rayet star WR 102ka or, more fondly, the “Peony nebula” star. Astronomers say that it burns with the light intensity of 3.2 million suns — but that’s a rough estimate, and one that might even stretch to 4 or 5 million suns.

Wolf-Rayet star as bright as 3.2 million suns

Lunar Transit of Earth Caught on Tape
On May 29th NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft was wandering around space at 23,000 miles per hour, taking a time-lapse photo of the moon passing in front of the earth. We don’t have many cameras like this in space, so this is a unique view of the Earth-Moon system. The video was captured during Deep Impact’s mission called EPOXI, whose first adventure was to bury a probe into a comet.
Though 31 million miles sounds like a long way away, in the grand scheme of things, that spacecraft was right next to us.

Gadget of the Week: CNET’s Top 5 Real Trek Gadgets
Instead of bring you one gadget, this week we’ve got five! CNET TV counts down today’s 5 best real technologies from Star Trek and demonstrates another example of life emulating science fiction.

Video of the Week: Revenge of the Nerd Girls

Science Quickies
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.

Original Source :

Starbucks Closure List

Starbucks releases full list of store closures; four in Birmingham included

Starbucks has released the full list of 600 underperforming stores it plans to close across the country, including four in Birmingham and 12 total in Alabama.

The company announced earlier this month that it will close the underperforming stores by the first half of its 2009 fiscal year in an effort to transform the company.

The four Birmingham stores slated for closure include one in Roebuck Plaza, one at University Boulevard and 20th Street South, one in SoHo Square in Homewood and one on Rocky Ridge Road, a news release said.

Other Alabama cities affected include five in Mobile, one in Gulf Shores, one in Huntsville and one in Orange Beach.

California will lose 88 stores and Florida will lose 59 - the two hardest-hit states. Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee will close 13 each. Washington State, where the company was founded, will see 19 close.

According to the news release, partners in the stores have been notified of the closure.

Starbucks said it now expects to open fewer than 200 new company-operated stores in its 2009 fiscal year.

Original Source :

JVC GR DA30 Camcorder

JVC GR DA30 Camcorder

Looking for an easy to use yet affordable camcorder to capture your family's memories? The JVC GR-DA30 is one to consider with its simple functions and design.

Features such as NightAlive and 3 Dimension noise reduction brighten up low light images, leaving you free to focus on capturing the moment instead of worrying about navigating buttons and screens.

The non-traditional 2.4" V Slide LCD moves up and down on the back of the camcorder allowing you to see what you're filming no matter what angle you choose to shoot from.

DC Comics' "Watchmen"

DC Comics' "Watchmen"

Warner Premiere's Motion Comics Launches with Highly Anticipated Debut Episodes of "Watchmen" and "Batman: Mad Love"

BURBANK, Calif., Jul 18, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Premiere announced today a new way for graphic novel fans to connect with their favorite characters and the stories they know and love through short-form digital content. "Warner Premiere's Motion Comics" draw on a massive amount of source material to bring a visually engaging experience to life through the use of subtle movements, voice-overs, sweeping music scores and stunning comic book artwork. The highly anticipated debut episode of DC Comics' "Watchmen" is now available exclusively as a free iTunes download for the next two weeks via Entertainment Weekly's website ( Beginning August 2, the debut "Watchmen" Motion Comic will be available on the iTunes Store ( for purchase and download for $1.99. In addition, the Eisner Award-winning "Batman: Mad Love" starring Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn can be downloaded to own from Xbox Live and available on Verizon Wireless' V CAST Video service starting July 22. A full lineup of "Warner Premiere's Motion Comics" and release dates will be announced shortly after Comic-Con.

Watchmen - Motion Comic

"Watchmen" takes viewers through the critically acclaimed DC Comics and Hugo award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Set in 1985 at the height of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, costumed avengers have been banned with the exception of two - The Comedian and Rorschach. During this time the mysterious murder of a United States government official named Edward Blake occurs in New York, possibly by Soviet Communists. It is later confirmed that Blake is actually a costumed avenger - The Comedian. The news of the murder is discovered by his fellow costumed avenger, Rorschach, who sets out to discover the murderer.

During his search viewers discover whether Rorschach is really insane or if he's uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians. On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives. But what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet. Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story -- the story of The Watchmen.

In the July 18 edition of Entertainment Weekly fans will find a special link through ( that provides access to the episode via iTunes. Additional episodes for purchase will also be made available via iTunes and other distribution partners in the coming months leading to the theatrical release of Watchmen in 2009.

Batman: Mad Love

"Batman: Mad Love" is taken directly from the pages of the Eisner Award-winning single issue graphic novel by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The story revolves around The Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn who is madly in love with him. She uses crime to demonstrate her love for her "Puddin'" and sets out to commit the ultimate act of love - killing Batman.
The "Batman: Mad Love" Motion Comic will be available to purchase from Xbox Live and viewing on mobile phones enabled for Verizon Wireless' V CAST Video service starting July 22. "Batman: Mad Love" episodes will also be available from other distribution partners in the coming months.

Sign up for Comic-Con Updates from Warner Bros.

To get the latest information on Warner Bros. activities during Comic-Con, go to the official WAP portal: Fans can also sign up for text alerts to Warner Bros. Entertainment events, free downloads and more by sending a text message with the word COMIC to 58671. Standard carrier rates may apply.

About Warner Premiere

Warner Premiere is Warner Bros. Entertainment's new production company focused on the development, production and marketing of feature-length-DVD and short-form digital content for this growing space. Warner Premiere is committed to being at the creative forefront in the evolution of quality product in the direct-to-consumer business, creating material that exemplifies the commitment to story, production and brand equity for which Warner Bros. is known.

About Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) was founded in October 2005 to manage Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group's electronic distribution streams over existing, new and emerging digital platforms, including pay-per-view, electronic sell-through, transactional video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand, wireless and more. WBDD also oversees the WBHEG's worldwide digital strategy, partnerships in digital services and emerging new clients and business activities in the digital space.

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment/videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and transactional VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.

About DC Comics

DC Comics, which has been in continuous publication for more than 70 years, is the world's largest English-language publisher of comics and the home of some of the world's most recognized icons, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Sandman. DC Comics has a long history of innovative publishing and is a unique asset in the media world for both Warner Bros. Entertainment and parent company Time Warner. DC characters permeate pop culture around the world through comic books, graphic novels, blockbuster feature films, live-action and animated television series, direct-to-video releases, online entertainment and consumer product licensing and marketing agreements.

Original Source :{EAB68E13-FD5E-47E3-A816-CF56AAC2E700}&dist=hppr

David Blume Alcohol Can Be Gas

David Blume Alcohol Can Be Gas

Gas Prices Got You Down? Don't Get Mad ... Get Ethanol!

Businesses and Consumers Discover That Virtually All Fuel-Injected Cars Can Run on E-50 Without Conversion. IIEA Member Postings Identify Which Unmodified Cars Can Run Even Higher Blends as People Switch from Gas to Ethanol SANTA CRUZ, Calif., July 15

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Institute
for Ecological Agriculture, (IIEA) announced today that it is receiving
continual reports from business and consumer members across the country that
are successfully converting from gas to Ethanol (and various blends such as
E85) as a preferred alternative to paying unprecedented gas prices and for
combating climate change concerns.

According to David Arkin, AIA, of Arkin Tilt Architects, a LEED accredited
architect in Albany, CA, "Ethanol can be part of one's path to a carbon
neutral lifestyle. It costs less than gasoline, is readily available, and --
when grown and produced properly -- can help combat climate change through
both its clean emissions and the potential to sequester carbon. Here in
Northern California we run on locally produced ethanol distilled from waste
products, through our membership in the Green Energy Network (GEN)."

Recently David and his wife and partner Anni Tilt converted their 2000
Audi A4 1.8 Turbo Wagon to run on Ethanol, (the basic process cost $400.00 for
parts and labor, though they opted to add a KoldBan ether start kit for an
additional $800 in order to start and run on E98). Opting to drive instead of
fly to Wisconsin for David's parents' anniversary, the 5 travelers (plus dog
and rooftop cargo box) made the trip running on a blend of Ethanol and gas.
"We chose to blend gasoline with the Ethanol to maintain the best mileage
performance. Reviewing the trip we noted our average mileage was in the high
20s, with an average cost of around $3.75 per gallon of fuel (we did find E85
for as low as $2.85 a gallon along the way). Once east of the Rockies we had
no trouble locating stations selling Ethanol. Had Permaculture-based Ethanol
been available we'd have done the whole trip on E85 or E98."

Like David Arkin, Michael A. Shapiro, (Owner/Operator of Ecab a Blue Cab
Assoc member in Chicago, IL.) became very concerned about the impact gas was
having on the environment as well as his business operating costs. "Every time
my cars go to the pump I'm losing money," Mr. Shapiro stated. "Though David
tells us that any car can be converted to run E50 or E85 for $50-$400, I
decided to experiment with hybrid fuel blends rather than trade in my fleet of
cabs for new cars or undergo a costly modification. To my great delight (and
as David Blume had stated) I found that I could run my cars on E50 and then
after a short time increase it to E85 (providing better mileage, burning
cleaner and costing me far less per gallon than gasoline) with no conversion
required at all."

Along with thousands of other converts to clean renewable fuels, Michael
and David have attended David Blume's Ethanol Conversion and Production talks
and have bought copies of the renewable energy expert and author's new book
Alcohol Can Be A Gas (ACBAG) ( as a resource
and guide for their energy transformation.

Consumers and Businesses Switch to Ethanol

"David provides fantastic guidance and his insights and information make
such a compelling case for Ethanol, I was willing to test it," Mr. Shapiro
continued. "I moved my fleet to E85 and for a while I was able to run my cabs
on $2.99 - $3.49 E-85 while gas was running $4.25. Fuel prices keep changing,
but I estimate I will be saving my company around $3,600.00 a year, per cab
running Ethanol and the whole time I will be reducing my fleet's carbon
footprint, which is one of my main goals."

During a recent test Mr. Shapiro documented that moving several of his
cars back to gas caused the cars to run hotter, get worse mileage and the auto
engine warning lights came on. "As soon as I blended Ethanol back into the
mix, the engines cooled, quieted and the lights went off. David told me that
in many cars newer than 2000 there is intelligence in the engine to discern
fuel type and to adjust burn-throughput automatically. He is right. I haven't
needed any mechanical assistance to run blended fuels or to optimize
performance," he concluded.

Mr. Arkin added, "David Blume's book is an incredible source of
experience, information and inspiration. As one who designs alternative
buildings, I have a healthy skepticism and a need to thoroughly research
things before trying them. ACBAG is one of the most comprehensive resources
I've found for complete and accurate information. From the outset I accepted
that I was using my car as a guinea pig of sorts, and was responsible for any
consequences. David, his book, and (Blume's student) Damon Knutson of GEN all
helped make my conversion possible, and I couldn't have done this without

"If everyone used 30% ethanol in their unmodified cars we would be able to
cease buying any oil from the Middle East, ending our dependence, our crushing
military expenditures there, and our National Guard could be brought home from
Iraq," said David Blume. "Converting completely to US made ethanol would make
our economy literally bombproof to the explosive price increases we can expect
oil to sustain as it runs out. The icing on this cake is that alcohol can be
produced for less than $1.50 a gallon by small scale entrepreneurs or even
individuals from a wide variety of crops or waste products we describe in our
book. I am showing groups and organizations all over the world that making
alcohol is simple, cost effective and good for the environment. As a result
every day contractors, farmers, consumers, entrepreneurs, fleet owners, and
even governments are calling and writing to tell us about their successes
converting from fossil fuels."

About David Blume:

Mr. Blume will be featured on a special 3 hour interview on Coast to Coast
Radio with George Noory this Thursday 7/17 and will be speaking at the
following coming conferences and events:

EORenew/SolWest Fair - July 25, 26, 27 - Canyon City, OR

SolFest - August 16 - 17 - Hopland, CA

* The University of Guadalajara, Mexico - August 23rd conference plenary

Renewable Energy Roundup Sept 13 - 14 Carson City, NV.

MidAtlantic Renewable Energy Association Conference - September
- Kutztown, PA

For more information contact:

Tom Harvey - theCommunications - (530) 257-3533

Original Source :,467959.shtml

North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel Gets A Face Lift

North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel Gets A Face Lift

Dubbed The Worst Building in the History of Mankind by Esquire Magazine in January, 2008, the unfinished and never occupied 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel is reportedly back under construction after a 16-year lull.

Reuters has the latest stirrings of life in the carcass that dominates the skyline of that beautiful Stalinist paradise, Pyongyang.

There were reportedly questions raised about whether the hotel was structurally sound and a few believed completing the structure could cause it to collapse.

But, according to foreign residents in Pyongyang, Egypt's Orascom group has recently begun refurbishing the top floors of the three-sided pyramid-shaped hotel whose 330-metre (1,083 ft) frame dominates the Pyongyang skyline.

The firm has put glass panels into the concrete shell, installed telecommunications antennas — even though the North forbids its citizens to own mobile phones — and put up an artist's impression of what it will look like.

It would cost up to $2-billion to finish the Ryugyong Hotel and make it safe, according to estimates in South Korean media. That is equivalent to about 10 percent of the North's annual economic output.

Also, you may be familiar with the name Orascom, if you follow sales of wireless spectrum in Canada anyway. It's the telecom arm of Weather Investments, which is controlled by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawaris, who has partnered with the biggest winner in the latest wireless spectrum auction:

Globalive Communications Corp, which is poised to become a national wireless player with the exception of Quebec, is backed by the $14-billion clout of Weather Investments and Orascom Telecom Holdings, two companies that have a total of 95 million wireless subscribers around the world, including substantial holdings in the developed markets of Italy and Greece.

"Orascom and Weather may not be household names in Canada, but they have more subscribers than AT&T," Mr. Ghose said.

Photo: The concrete bulk of the Ryuguong.Teruaki Ueno/Reuters

See a tourists video of the vast, abandoned structure below

Original Source :

Peloponnesian War

Peloponnesian War

America Is Not a Post-Anything

In the last 20 years, we were lectured constantly about "post-industrial" America.

Experts proclaimed that the United States had evolved into an "information society" of "high-tech jobs." The traditional sources of American strength -- manufacturing, the production of food and fuel, and the assembling of cars and trucks -- were apparently passé. Instead, others less fortunate abroad were to do those more grubby tasks, while Americans, with their BlackBerrys and laptops, funded, organized, lectured and critiqued them.

Illegal aliens might cook our meals or change our children's diapers to free us up for far more important tasks of litigation, finance and environmental review. The Chinese would make everything from our shoes to our phones. The Japanese would supply us with quality high-end goods like cars and cameras. The Africans, Arabs, Iranians, Russians and Venezuelans would drill oil in nasty, dirty places so we wouldn't have to.

Even our food -- which would be always in season -- would increasingly be shipped in from Mexico and South America.

Refined Americans became more concerned over questions of gender, race and class justice in our universities and courtrooms, as if the chief problem were only dividing the American pie equitably, rather than expanding it.

The real source of American wealth apparently was the mere fact that we were Americans. Therefore, the rest of the world should naturally loan us money to sustain our envied lifestyle. Our homes got bigger, and we bought and sold them more as investments than as places to raise our families.

Our top graduates opted for Wall Street, insurance, law, journalism and academia. Why not, when laws made it more conducive to invest and trade, but harder and less lucrative to build, drill, farm and manufacture?

American universities bragged that they were teaching the world how to design and engineer -- as our own kids gravitated to law and management schools. We relied on a paternalistic government to regulate what we shouldn't do rather than turn to our best and brightest private citizens to show us what we could.

Alas, no successful civilization in history -- Greece, Rome, England, France, the list goes on -- ever found prosperity through its bureaucrats and lawyers.

The result of all this growing American laxity and condescension so far is mixed.

The good news, aside from the fact that Americans have never had it so good, is that millions in China are no longer starving. Japan talks of marketing hybrid cars, not re-establishing its old "Co-Prosperity Sphere." The Persian Gulf looks more like Las Vegas than the badlands of Waziristan. Billions in the new globalized world are now emulating the American middle class, which, for all the caricatures, still represents freedom and affluence for so many.

The downside, of course, is a growing collective panic here at home, over whether such undeniable progress is sustainable when America is up to its neck in debt, dependent on foreign energy and plagued by self-doubt and inaction.

Our 21st-century paralysis is surprising. The United States is not materially exhausted. We sit atop trillions of dollars worth of untapped oil, gas, coal, shale and tar sands.

America could mine more uranium, and reprocess fuels to build hundreds of nuclear plants. American agriculture is blessed with the world's best soils, most developed irrigation systems, and most productive and astute farmers.

There is as much sun and wind in the western United States as anywhere in the world. We have plenty of natural resources and the know-how to make all the wood, steel and cement products we need.

A new, hungrier generation of Americans will have to want to reclaim our pre-eminence and change the national attitude. It must be ready to pay off generations of debt rather than borrow, build rather than sue, and drill rather than whine.

It's time to honor rather than avoid and outsource physical labor. Our children are healthy enough to cut our own lawns and pick our fruit. Let's also hope they want to hear a lot more about Gen. David Petraeus' success, and a lot less of Madonna's latest psychodramas.

But just as importantly, what Americans need now is leadership to get moving again -- rather than more platitudes about hope, squabbling about race and gender, and endless rhetoric about who is really a maverick or a true conservative or the most liberal. What we need to know from our two presidential candidates are specifics about how to jumpstart America.

So, how many more barrels of oil, refineries and megawatts will America produce --and when and how? How much debt will the next administration retire -- and when and how. How and when will our schools return to knowledge-based rather than the present (and failing) therapeutic curriculum?

Americans, in short, should be tired of hearing that we are a post-industrial, postmodern, post-anything society. Instead, we want to be known again as a can-do producer nation that sweats as much as it thinks. And the confident presidential candidate who can best assure us of that will surely win this election.

Original Source :

Batman Villains

Batman Villains
Who Should Be the Villain in Batman 3?
The reviews are in for The Dark Knight, and they're nearly unanimous in their praise for Heath Ledger's terrifying portrayal of the Joker. Ledger's performance in Christopher Nolan's follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins has even spawned a grass-roots Oscar campaign for the deceased actor, aimed at making him the first posthumous winner since Network's Peter Finch was crowned Best Actor in 1977.

A sequel to The Dark Knight is an utter certainty, but which villain might Christian Bale face in a third Batman flick? Check out our new feature, "Batman Villains & Casting Speculation," and weigh in on who you think should be the Caped Crusader's next foe.

Original Source :