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Month: May 2008

The Inflation Specter Cometh

The Inflation Specter Cometh

Although the oft-heard complaint "Everything is just more expensive these days" is off the mark (think computers, clothing, etc.), inflation concerns have crept back into the forefront. Even a few members of the Fed's Open Market Committee have piped up about the potential for rising inflation expectations. Last week's data release on wholesale prices in April highlighted the risks inflation still poses to the economy. Underneath the surface of what was generally a tame reading Read more [...]
What Could They Be Thinking?

What Could They Be Thinking?

How long before we won’t be able to afford to “fill 'er up” and get to work? How long before the Federal Gov mandates companies begin utilizing telecommuting schemes as a way to limit gasoline consumption and extend oil supplies? Even van pools and buses will be severely impacted if a forecast $12-$15 gallon becomes fact. Reports of $200/barrel by this time next year are being bantered about on talk radio. I’ve heard it suggested that $7-$8/gallon is very possible by year's end. Read more [...]
Happy “World Trade Week”…

Happy “World Trade Week”…

I must admit to not having known that the U.S. Government officially salutes such a thing, ironically first proclaimed by FDR in 1933 during the depths of Depression-era mangled international commerce. For more on the May 19-23 festivities see: http://trade.gov/press/publications/newsletters/ita_0408/world-trade-week_0408.asp Perhaps last week I was a bit preoccupied by the latest, distinctly unpromising developments on the free trade front, including: • Presidential candidates who continue Read more [...]
DICOM Turns 25 (Or, is it 15?)

DICOM Turns 25 (Or, is it 15?)

Of course, if you don’t know what DICOM is, you probably don’t care whether it turned 25 or 15 – unless you’ve had or might need a CT scan, an electrocardiogram, an MRI, some radiation therapy, an X-ray, or an ultrasound exam.  DICOM, which stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine, is the name of an independent, international standard whose primary purpose is to enable each piece of medical imaging equipment to work with other ones – no matter which company manufactured Read more [...]
Hurricane Season!

Hurricane Season!

Hurricane season in the Atlantic starts this coming Sunday -- a span of year that often proves as busy for electric utilities (and electrical equipment) as it does for weathermen. Government forecasters are predicting a more active-than-usual hurricane season, with as many as 9 hurricanes, half of which could be major (Category 3, 4, or 5). Of course, certain groups will claim that this is a result of global warming. They probably didn't see the recent report (did you?) by federal research meteorologist Read more [...]
Did You Know?…

Did You Know?…

Did you know that May, in addition to being Electrical Safety Month, is World Trade Month? And today is actually the final day of World Trade Week? This morning, in honor of the occasion, President Bush reminded us of some very clear concepts, including that many U.S. jobs and pay levels rely on U.S. manufacturers' and service providers' ability and competitiveness in exporting. You may see a snippet of coverage on your evening news tonight, with the President flanked picturesquely Read more [...]
A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

This weekend marks the start of the summer driving season (although one could be forgiven for not noticing, given recent weather conditions). Crude oil prices spiked to more than $135 per barrel on Wednesday and regular grade gasoline is touching $4 per gallon in many parts of the country.  One commodity not in scarce supply, though, is analysis of the reasons for the dramatic price rises seen in recent weeks - see here and here (subscription req'd) - and their ramifications not only for Read more [...]
Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

NEMA, SBIC, NIBS, HPBC, DOE, DOD, GSA. The first and the last three are easily recognized in this forest of acronyms, but what about the other three, and what do they mean to NEMA members? SBIC is the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council . Its trademarked “Beyond Green” encompasses factors in buildings that include energy efficiency, sustainability, productivity, safety and security, accessibility -- in short, components of a high performance building. SBIC in conjunction with NIBS, the National Read more [...]
Putting Substance Over Form in the Green Movement

Putting Substance Over Form in the Green Movement

"Depending on people to make a hard choice every day -- don't turn on the lights so much -- is a less-promising solution than getting people to make a hard choice once, [for example, paying more for a high-efficiency bulb] and thereafter having the 'save energy' decision be automatic." Travis Reynolds, graduate student, University of Washington That quote appeared in an article in the WaPo this past weekend -- a far more candid perspective on the shortcomings of Read more [...]
The Greens have another arrow in their quiver

The Greens have another arrow in their quiver

As reported in the Washington Times, The Bush administration yesterday (May 14) declared global warming a threat to polar bears but took steps to ensure that the long-awaited decision would not threaten businesses and oil drilling that environmentalists blame for the species' decline. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the depletion of sea ice — the bears' habitat — puts the animal at risk of becoming endangered in the "foreseeable future," the standard for such designations Read more [...]