Browsed by
Month: February 2008

Big Talkers

Big Talkers

It was a busy week for Fedspeak. Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke presented the FOMC’s forecast in his semiannual testimony to the House Financial Services Committee regarding the economy’s health and overview of monetary policy. He emphasized the downside risks to growth and made it implicitly clear of the 99.99% chance the FOMC will cut rates at its March 18th meeting. Mr. Bernanke never came out and mentioned the “R” word during the testimony, but he did note the concerns caused by weakening Read more [...]
The US is Too Slow to adopt International Standards

The US is Too Slow to adopt International Standards

The reality is that there are well over 100, perhaps hundreds, of IEC standards are in use, or under evaluation for use, in the US.  (See ANSI Standards Search or UL standards catalog.)  Why has taken many years and work is still needed for the use of IEC standards to achieve even the current level in the US?    The primary reason is:   History - there is a long history behind the existing extensive inventory of standards Read more [...]
Thanks to WFB, Jr.

Thanks to WFB, Jr.

A brief respite from our daily efforts on behalf of electrical manufacturers to pay tribute to William F. Buckley, Jr., who died yesterday at age 82. Wonderful tributes litter the World Wide Web, from the White House and the New York Times to the Economist and his own National Review. (The WSJ blog has a nice collection of comments from some notable writers and politicos.) Probably best known for his anti-communism, Buckley was also a committed free marketer -- the two Read more [...]
Florida Power Outage

Florida Power Outage

Yesterday’s blackout in Florida provides another reminder that our economy is dependent on its electricity supply. While described as a “massive inconvenience” rather than an emergency situation, the outages did shut businesses and snarl traffic. The NERC disturbance report should be quite interesting. At a minimum, the grid is operated in a way to withstand the failure of any one element, which in this case, began with a substation fire. As a credit to the operators, the outage was restored in Read more [...]
Does America Need a Hug?

Does America Need a Hug?

If you saw the Oscars Sunday night, you’ll remember Jon Stewart’s psychological take on the dark, depressing slate of movies up for awards this year: “Does this town need a hug?” With more and more depressing economic and financial headlines these days, maybe the country needs a hug as well. Pounded by news about mortgage foreclosures, credit crunches, and corporate layoffs -- and constantly reminded of our dire economic predicament by presidential candidates -- Americans have shut their Read more [...]
For Less than $2 You Can Protect Your Child from Shocks and Burns

For Less than $2 You Can Protect Your Child from Shocks and Burns

Nearly 2,400 children each year – seven children a day – are treated in hospitals for shocks and burns from electrical outlets. Most of these injuries are the result of small children placing ordinary household items into the outlets with disastrous consequences. However, using tamper-resistant outlets as required in the new 2008 National Electrical Code could all but eliminate this hazard says the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Tamper-resistant outlets look Read more [...]
Circuits in Verse

Circuits in Verse

At one point in his latest book, Pontoon, Garrison Keillor recites “Sunshine in the Night: A History of the Electrification of Lake Wobegon and Environs”, a locally epic saga by a semi-retired utility executive who wiles his days away composing: The glimmering lights of the little town Shone like a beacon for miles around To many a farmhouse in the gloom And folks who sat in shadowy room And tried to read by kerosene lamp Like soldiers in some foreign camp Cast their eyes Read more [...]
What’s Next, the Return of Disco Music?

What’s Next, the Return of Disco Music?

“They” always say bad news comes in droves. Well this week was certainly a case in point for economic data as weak reports came in for a variety of indicators ranging from housing to regional manufacturing activity. In addition, the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the minutes to their most recent monetary policy meeting. The minutes show that the Fed is likely geared to cut interest rates further due to the persistence of downside risks, but also showed members being very concerned that Read more [...]
Medicare Coverage Decision on CCTA is bad for patients…

Medicare Coverage Decision on CCTA is bad for patients…

Medicare patients and their doctors are up in arms about a proposed decision that could halt seniors’ access to heart scans.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued a proposed National Coverage Decision (NCD) for Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA), putting patients with heart disease at risk. CCTA is a diagnostic noninvasive medical imaging tool used to detect Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), the most common type of heart disease--and the number Read more [...]
A Glimpse Abroad

A Glimpse Abroad

Have you noticed what's been going on in South Africa (SA)? Just a brief reminder that developing countries are also grappling with energy demand and efficiency issues. In a nutshell, the richest nation in Africa is experiencing an electric power crisis similar to what we saw in California at the turn of the century. As demand for electricity has risen, the public utility, Eskom, has not built more generating capacity and infrastructure to keep up. Now they Read more [...]