Bloomberg Business reports that Mercedes has found with the many options that go into today's automobiles, automation can't keep up. The flexibility of a well-trained human work force is going to reduce the time it takes to assemble a car from 60 days to 30. It seems possible that eventually a normal customer might be able to have a car built from the tires up to his unique specifications.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
While denying climate science, Exxon took steps to cope with the coming climate change that they very well knew was coming. And this was back in the 80’s!
Exxon and its affiliates set about “raising the decks of offshore platforms, protecting pipelines from increasing coastal erosion, and designing helipads, pipelines, and roads in a warming and buckling Arctic.” In other words, the company started climate-proofing its facilities to head off a future its own scientists knew was inevitable.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Researchers have successfully generated methanol from atmospheric CO2 at a fairly low temperature. Previous method have required high CO2 concentrations and high temperatures. They expect to be able to scale the demonstration up to industrial levels in 5 to 10 years. It can't compete with $30 per barrel oil, but it would be a way to produce a carbon-neutral fuel cycle.
Mothers of gay Mormons combat the institutional discrimination of the Church. Not only are homosexuals not welcome in the Church, but neither are their families. It stuns me that the leadership could think that this is a good thing.
Monday, February 01, 2016
Some myths die hard.
...statistically, it's more likely that someone with a concealed carry permit will set out to commit mass murder than prevent it.
a 2014 study from the University of California–San Francisco found that people who owned a gun were three times as likely to kill themselves as non-firearm owners; by comparison, the annual per capita risk of death during a home invasion is 0.0000002 percent. Hell, even toddlers killed more people than terrorists in 2015. Guns are used far more often for killing than for self-defense, despite the fact that some 63 percent of Americans think guns make them safer.
Only seven of the 160 of the mass shootings that took place between 2000 and 2013 ended because of some would-be Rambo came to the rescue
More than half (56 percent) were terminated by the shooter who either took his or her own life, simply stopped shooting or fled the scene. Another 26 percent ended in the traditional Hollywood-like fashion with the shooter and law enforcement personnel exchanging gunfire and in nearly all of those situations the shooter ended up either wounded or dead. In 13 percent of the shooting situations, the shooter was successfully disarmed and restrained by unarmed civilians, and in 3 percent of the incidents the shooter was confronted by armed civilians, of whom four were on-duty security guards and one person was just your average "good guy" who happened to be carrying a gun.
I'm glad to know that driving a car is safer than having a firearm. Maybe we need to license gun owners and require them to have appropriate insurance and registration. Just a thought.
In one's zeal to protect public health, one should be really careful about using bad science. The short-term publicity rarely outweighs the damage done to the credibility of one's position when one plays fast-and-loose with the data.
A common substitute for BPA has problems. Given the complex chemical reactions possible with long-chain polymers, we should be cautious about using plastics in our food processing equipment and packaging. Well-behaved things like stainless steel and glass seem so much more attractive.
It's long been said that C-section babies suffer because they lose out on a good inoculation of gut bacteria. It's amazing how long it's taken for someone to be serious about providing them what they miss. This seems like such an obvious solution.