Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hydrogen Blows (RA)

My topic research source was the documentary "Who killed the Electric Car?"

The documentary follows the conception, production, and recall of General Motor's EV1 electric vehicle that was introduced to the California market in the mid 90s.

Naturally, topics included a number of suspects for the termination of domestic EV (electric vehicle) including; General Motors, Oil Companies, California Air Resource Board (C.A.R.B), the Federal Government, and U.S. Consumers.

Chris Paine (writer / director) approaches the need for electric car technology from an predominately environmental perspective, giving statistics on southern California smog data and related health issues before addressing the issue of the demand and qualifications of the EV1. A majority of the information regarding the hindrance of the EV1 project suggests that GM is the primary suspect in the failure of the electric movement for various reasons.
1. Their advertising was extremely limited and inconsistent with previously successful advertising strategies
2. The EV1 was only available to the market under a lease option; when the lease expired no extensions were granted and all EV1 vehicles where impounded and crushed.
3. Markets that produced the highest amount of consumer demand and waiting list potential were closed down first so that market demand could be downplayed to the C.A.R.B.
4. Initial EV1 models were equipped with outdated battery systems in spite of more efficient technology available to GM.
5. A document from 1995 clearly expressed that the challenge to GM was how to control and discourage an overwhelming market acceptance to the EV concept

The area that I'll be focusing my efforts is on how the auto industry with the assistance of the federal government created this carrot on a stick alternative of Hydrogen Cell Cars.

Paine exposes that although the electric car is ready today the Hydrogen Cell has perpetually been 10-15 years away from production since the early 90s. The average car currently costs $1000000, hydrogen fuel cell stations are limited and inconvenient when compared with the plug in feature of the EV1. The amount of energy needed to run the vehicle is 4 times greater than electric, and the problem of hydrogen storage has not been solved by the industry.

The discontinuation of all hydrogen cell research, or at lease federally assisted research, in favor of hybrid systems is the focus of my topic.

That being said how much to devote to why hydrogen cell systems are lame as opposed to why hybrid systems that are achieving 148 mpg is so cool will need to be considered.

And that is 415 words. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Risk Worth Taking

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then technically I've exceed the requirements for todays assignment; dont you think? Sit, look, and ponder.
Well, I think points for originality and shear cheek should be awarded, at any rate. But that's probably why I rarely get put in charge, isn't it?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Julie Andrew's Unsung Song (Free Write)

“Dear friend, we are here today to counsel you that the time to stop being offended is now." - Elder D. Bednar (Apostle)

No doubt the above advice is something we all need to take seriously and sensibly; but in spite of my greatest and most noble efforts there are still a number of things in this world (and in this county) that make my blood boil and and my eye twitch (the right one, at least) in malevolent disgust. Perhaps by sharing these things we you, loyal readers (thou shalt not snicker) they will become less offensive over time; so let it be written, so let it be done. Amen.

  1. Popped Collars
  2. Presumptuous and unapologetic pedestrians
  3. Bug eye sunglasses
  4. MmmBop
  5. Paulie Shore
  6. Hearing people say "that one movie with Paulie Shore" on campus
  7. Guys who wear pajama pants into the Cougareat
  8. The Maverick Monster
  9. Salesmen who use the missionary tactic of "build a relationship of trust" in the Wilk or Mall
  10. Vegans
  11. Unschool
  12. European swim trunks
  13. Sycophants
  14. Rhombuses ( crafty little devils)
  15. People who use parenthesizes excessively....
  16. The Real World and other MTV atrocities
  17. Hippies
  18. People who talk on their cell phones so that the whole world is keen on 50% of the conversation
  19. Inadvertently meeting Americans in a foreign country
  20. Being surrounded by gigantic black spiders with nothing but a pump action pellet gun for protection and a broken down dune buggy (a dream you wouldn't soon forget either, I guarantee it)
  21. Latter Day Pharisees
  22. iAnything, or at least the notion that something promoted as counterculture can also be mainstream simultaneously.
  23. Esurance
  24. Ulcers
  25. Mountain Standard Time
  26. Awkward Silences
  27. .........................
  28. People who don't get witty jokes
  29. Guys who sing in public places, when they have no business doing so there or anywhere else for that matter.
  30. And finally, to round things out - the word "paradigm"
Well, it's not exactly raindrops on roses but I do feel considerably better than I did beforehand, in fact had I had room for a 31 it would have been "people who complain about too much", nevertheless we all have those certain things that just push the right button, and if you're lucky you'll find yourself in painful proximity to a person who inadvertently, yet skillfully, can push all of them in a choreographed symphony of blistering insanity; Aaah C'est la vie.....

Oh yeah, almost forgot #32 - French ________ (insert word here, excluding toast)

I'd be interested to what the rest of you folk find irksome ~ perhaps a "Top 5" or something

Thursday, February 21, 2008



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cruising at 2:20 a.m. (Rhetorical Analysis)

Stone Temple Pilots: Big Empty off their 1994 album "Purple"

Sing-along Lyrics

Drivin' faster in my car
falling farther from just what we are
smoke a cigarette and lie some more
these conversations kill
falling faster in my car
Time to take her home
her dizzy head is conscience laden
time to take a ride
it leaves today no conversation
time to take her home
her dizzy head is conscience laden
time to wait too long
to wait too long
these conversations kill

To much walkin', shoes worn thin
too much trippin' and my soul's worn thin
time to catch a ride
it leaves today, her name is what it means
to much walkin', shoe's worn thin

(Chorus 2x)

Unlike visual art like paintings, sculptures, etc. musical and specifically lyrical interpretation can be extremely liberal and broad allowing for multiple translations often giving more insight to the individual and not the composer's intentions. That being said, I find little comfort in divulging my interpretation in this Rorschachian experiment. Nevertheless, this song is kickin' and I create a little mental picture for the proper consumption of the piece.

Drugs, Girls, and Loss. Basically every rock song includes at least one to two of these key ingredients, "Big Empty" scores 3/3 for these criteria and even adds fast cars into the mix. The result - ubertestosteronecoolness (oh it's a word, don't cha know)

This was a perfect fit to the soundtrack of "The Crow" that had such gritty dreamlike quality to it. Each verse peaks with the crescendoing chorus before sinking back into the hazy stew of somber reflection and piercing single string guitar picking. Then there is the instrumental bridge that begins at 3:13 and over the next 35 seconds slowly simmers (hows that for a metaphor?) to an eventual overload of emotional riffs and drum beats.

For "some" (nice and vague), it's the perfect song for the open road in the middle of the night , whether around town or cross country and thoughts of personal reflection coupled with sleep depraved apathy are at their most inviting and sleep just isn't an option. All the more lucky are you if you're driving a car with a standard transmission thus allowing for timely shifting and high RPMs. However, should you be lacking a functional fuel pump like "some" of us, you might be reduced to making the shifting sounds with your lips like a 5 year old, possibly bringing unwanted attention to "yourself"; doing so in a supermarket with your cart up and down the aisles is ill advised, 2am or otherwise.

7 points for naming the source of the adjacent picture ---->

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Of Mustache and Men

1 In the beginning (mid 2007) there was the beard.
2 And the bearer of the beard trimmed it to a fashion and saw that it was good.
3 And the Bearded did groom it and wash it and set a border around about it to guard it against his enemies.
4 And for a season, the Bearded did take rest from his labors and departed into a far off land.
5 And after some time, the Bearded returned and found his face shaven and razor-burned, and pale from lack of light, for his enemies had come in the night and taken from him that which was most precious to him in the name of their honor code.
6 And the former Bearded one wept for he saw that his labor was in ruin and his face barren and lo his sorrow was great;
7 And it came to pass, that the Shaven did go forth once again and did sow root in the middle of the face thereof, and did nurture it, and hedged it, and styled it with the tools that he had made of his own hands.
8 And not many days thereafter, his labor was complete; And because his work was not like unto that which he had done prior, he gave it a new name.
9 And the Shaven called it, mustache. Which is to say, guardian of the lip, after the language of his forefathers.
10 And it came to pass, that the mustache did prosper exceedingly in the land; at least so thought the Mustacher.
11 But his enemies did come down again from the hills and from their hiding places disguised in a manner similar to that of the Mustacher; and lo they did work in all manner of abominations and whoredoms, convincing the people of the land that the mustache was the source and power of their iniquities, which were many.
12 And behold, the people knew not the true mustache from the impostor and because they did thus fear so, they did cast them all into the fires, and into pits, and into lions dens; and this they did in their hearts and in their minds and in shifty eyes.
13 And fearing the loss of his own ego, the Mustacher did depart thence from the land into the wilderness northward called Canada; and there he did find peace and sanctuary.

- The Gospel of Yanni, Chapter 5

Ok, but seriously guys, I'm fully aware of what the "stache" looks like; I do have mirror you know. But my condescension and self sacrifice has been the means to a much grander experiment and social observation. Having been on campus consistently now for over 6 weeks, I have discovered infallible proof of the following;

Guys with mustaches can't be nice EVER, only creepy.

At least for those of us who are a) single b) under 35 and c) in happy valley
There is not a hallway you can stroll, no door you can open for someone else, nor lollipop you can offer to little kids out of the back of a van without getting those oh-so-blatant eyes of mistrust. {That being said sometimes sarcasm and satire can even turn around and bite you if you're not too careful(come on, people)}

So where does this perception come from? Well I'm glad you asked, because A-holes throughout history have been abusing their mustache privileges and causing all sorts of negative externalities (side effects) on us modern folk.

Example A: Adolf Hitler.
Not only did this fascist hurt the image of mustache, HE KILLED A WHOLE STYLE!!! Though not my favorite, who knows where the this cut could have been without 60 years of maltreatment.

Example B: Joe Stalin. And he looks like such a lovable Dedushka, doesn't he? But nooooo, genocide was his Christmas gift to all the good little boys and girls

Example C: John Wilkes Booth. Talk about cheap tactics, shooting the president from behind while he's out at the theater. No wonder people don't want you opening doors for them, they're afraid you wack em over the head with a blackjack.

Example D: Jeffrey Dahmer, A bit more of a contemperary creepy mustache serial killer guy look, complete no less with over-sized glasses and a slight smirk.

But just as there are traitors to the cause there are those defending it as well,
Sir Tom Selleck has done more for the mustache in the last 30 years than any human being, bar none. Friend, we salute you. And Albert Einstein? Well you may have an IQ of 180, but you're still a little freaky, thanks for relativity though, that was pretty sweet.

In this world of proclaimed tolerance, I implore you dear reader to look down deep and see the mustache toting man for who he really is - a kindred spirit, worthy of the same justices and confidence of any other man... unless he really is driving a van and has a lisp, in which case run, just run the other way, screaming bloody murder... or better yet, if he's writing insane blogs on Valentine's Day Eve, that should raise a few red flags; but that's just my opinion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Technique: Further down the Rabbit Hole

My original WATCO was centered around the idea of what would happen as more and more children leave the public school system for private schools. It was based on a simple economic model of competition, supply and demand, and free market principles. After several half hours of research apparently I'm talking about vouchers, although I saw the subject sounding a lot cooler in my head. The Voucher program got it's face blown off by the people of Utah in 07; so my immediate relevance has somewhat been shaken considering that Utah Legislators wont touch the subject at all this year. Perhaps I can find a state that is approaching a voucher related vote and position them as an audience. From my brief look at the Utah plan I think the majority of parents agree with the concept of free choice for education, but they don't think their public school systems are so far lost that they're willing to shell out more money for a voucher system.
As of now my position is that vouchers could, with the right regulation and negotiations be awesome, but the execution may be too costly and produce marginal benefits.

It's like unemployment or pollution. You will NEVER get below 3% unemployment and you will NEVER reduce emissions to 0, the cost would increase exponentially the closer you came to these limits; some kids are going to be failures, it's simple statistics. No matter how many computers, or teacher student ratio improvements, or standardize tests you throw at them, some will get "left behind". That being said, the effects that the mere threat of vouchers (a flawed system) has on parent and public awareness of public schools (a FLAWED system) in and of itself has tremendous benefits in reform. Monopolies are bad (public schools with teachers having virtually unlimited job security), unions are bad (NEA), and increased government intervention is bad. No wonder more parents are home schooling their kids (a flawed and naive system)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Techical: Education Brainstorm

I'm not sure what this is supposed to look like, but I'm going to play word association for this topic, with each word in the list being the immediate association with the one prior to it. I kind of have a direction but perhaps this will lead to uncharted and heartier waters. Enjoy.

Private Schools.
Cost/Benefit Analysis.
Quantitative Results.
U.S. vs. The World.
Cultural Influence.
Bilingualism, advantages.
Structured vs. Liberal approaches.
Military School.

Well, we're 6 feet closer to nowhere than when we started. In general I'm not interested in the U.S. federal education system, it's simply too big, too slow, and too unchangeable. However, lack of interest doesn't rule out necessity of topic selection, now does it? An associate of mine (yes, once upon a time I had associates, or at least I walked around like I did) once mentioned it was his dream to create a private school that would resemble a business school more so than an elementary school. Economics, real estate, finance, accounting, and law would be more common curriculum over the sciences, arts, etc. No single system is the answer for every child, mailable though they may be. The best way to reform public schools is to give them competition and the more options that become available and accessible to parents, the more tax dollars get routed to the private sector and force Washington to really accomplish something.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mixed Martial Arts: Sensible Brutality (FREE WRITE)

A bag of M&M's and a glass of milk. That's my brain trust for this evening's topic.

In the beginning there was an idea. Locker room talk of which discipline of martial arts was superior and what would happen if you put conflicting styles against one another. Boxer vs. Sumo, Wrestler vs. Muay Thai? These questions become dollars for the young entrepreneurs of the UFC in the first ever, "no rules", pay-per-view tournament. It was bare knuckle fights with the option of knock out, tap out, or referee intervention and the results were stunning. Three years into the sport, John McCain received a video tape of a UFC bout and attempted to get the company banned from exhibition opportunities in all 50 states. "Barbarism" was one of his favorite words in his crusade against the young sport. What's hypocritical about this is that McCain was a fan of traditional boxing, which research has shown to be a far more "brutal" and, dare I say, savage option for fighters of fortune. Granted there is more blood, faster action, and hightened aggression in a mixed martial arts fight there is the single most key principle, that when a man is knocked out, the fight is immediately over, end of story, and fights never last over 25 minutes In boxing a man can go over 40 minutes of constant trauma to the brain, get knocked down and thus, knocked out, several times and still be allowed to fight. One need only listen to a rant from Sylvester Stallone to understand what permanent brain damage can do to someone.

Because of all the political pressure over the last 15 years there have been modifications to the sport. Gloves are worn, crotch shots and hits to the back of the skull have been made illegal, weight classes were introduced and excessive blood loss or impaired vision can lead to a fights end. Late last year McCain even reversed his original stated opinion, though considering his presidential election hopes, little anyone says in his position is believable. Fighters are far more versed in defending themselves against a number of attacks and submissions and generally have longer careers than traditional boxers. Although MMA has lost some of its original appeal and the variety of fighters has become watered down, the sport is still growing and a number of competitor companies such as Pride and WEC is proof of the increased demand for this style of fighting.
In the end, guys like watching other guys beat the crap out of each other.

Pictured Left, and by left I mean right: Brian Stann, 1st Lieutenant USMC, MMA light heavyweight contender, certifiable Capt. Awesome.