Browsed by
Month: October 2008

From Spenders to Savers?

From Spenders to Savers?

As I mentioned in a previous post, if recent trends continue this could end up being a lousy Christmas shopping season. Data released over the past two days make this outlook even more likely and point to the increased likelihood of further retrenchment in consumer spending during the fourth quarter. According to yesterday's GDP release, consumer spending fell at the fastest rate in 28 years in the third quarter and suggests the U.S. is slated for its first consumer-led recession since the lowly Read more [...]
Change your clocks, change your batteries

Change your clocks, change your batteries

Daylight savings time ends this weekend, so while you change your clocks to enjoy an extra hour of sleep, make sure that you also change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Regular testing of these important life safety devices is recommended by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Most alarms installed today have a life span of about 5-10 years, depending on alarm. If your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide device is older than that, it is time to think about replacing the Read more [...]
Would You Recognize a Crisis When You See It?

Would You Recognize a Crisis When You See It?

The complexity of financial instruments (credit default swaps, commercial paper, etc.) makes understanding the current economic situation very difficult for all but the most highly-versed financial professional. However, the sheer size and scope of the global banking industry contribute to the inability in appreciating the consequences of the ongoing credit crisis. During the second quarter of 2008, data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) showed international banking activity dropped Read more [...]
SEMI Gets It!

SEMI Gets It!

Recently, the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) released an article announcing the publication of a white paper prepared by its SEMI PV Group.  This group supports SEMI members "serving the crystalline and thin film photovoltaic (PV) supply chains."  In describing the "Perfect Industry," the paper rightly looks to standards (along with materials and process innovation and productivity improvements) as a means for accelerated cost reductions, identifies Read more [...]
Operation Change-Out

Operation Change-Out

Since April 22, 2008, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been working in concert with the Department of Defense (DOD) on "Operation Change Out." This joint effort aims to replace standard incandescent lamps in military housing with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).  Just last week, some of the results have been released, and thus far 359,268 CFLs have been repleaced in 40,951 housing units reducing energy-usage by 100 million kilowatt-hours, which will save the DOD approximately $11 Read more [...]
Way Beyond Tunnel Vision

Way Beyond Tunnel Vision

Despite my already having undergone several parathyroid gland tests, the endocrinologist still couldn’t figure out why the calcium levels in my blood are high, so she told me it was time for an MRI scan – “I hope you aren’t claustrophobic”. Well, it’s not every day that you get to be a crash test dummy for a NEMA product – especially, by coincidence, after paying my annual life insurance premium earlier in the morning -- and so I took proper precautions. Specifically, to cover my eyes I took Read more [...]
Lower Income Households Win with SMART GRID

Lower Income Households Win with SMART GRID

On October 23, 2008, NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) hosted a U.S. Department of Energy E-Forum on Smart Grid. The title of the E-Forum was Smart Grid – What is the Value Proposition for Consumers? I had the opportunity to attend this excellent web-based seminar. The meeting announcement and the seminar presentations can be viewed from the Smart Grid page of NEMA’s website. I left the seminar with two primary observations: Even well informed, Smart Grid proponents continue Read more [...]
What Goes Up…

What Goes Up…

It was only a few months ago analysts were talking about the possibility of $200/barrel crude oil and $5 to $6/gallon gasoline. Oh, how things have changed in such a short amount of time. Expectations for global demand across the entire complex of commodities have been ratcheted down significantly in response to the credit market crisis and the very real possibility of a protracted global recession. Demand destruction is evident in crude oil and prices at the gas pump, but energy commodities aren't Read more [...]
2007…..2012……2017 WHERE DID THE TIME GO??

2007…..2012……2017 WHERE DID THE TIME GO??

Interestingly enough, we all tend to put things off until the last minute. Individuals do this, companies do this and even nations do this.There are two CANENA developed standards that have been published for more than 18 months. To date however, no products have been evaluated to these new standards.Those companies that presently manufacture certain Industrial Control Equipment to UL 508 need to be reminded that the transition period for compliance from the UL 508 to the newly published 2007 UL Read more [...]
EU Electromechanical Shock Protectors Not Fully Protective

EU Electromechanical Shock Protectors Not Fully Protective

In the recent ElectroIndustry article [September 2008 Issue, "International Standards: A Look Back to the Future"] there is a highlight of an important distinction between GFCIs and RCDs.  However the explanation - "...each technology can ultimately comply with the basic requirements in both North American and IEC product standards,..." - is not entirely accurate.   Sticking with the basic differential current threshold, we have the 30 mA vs. 5 mA debate which is Read more [...]