Friday, December 22, 2006

Things you can do with $100 Billion
Just $2.5 Billion provides wind power for a million homes

As Congress prepares to debate a supplemental $100 billion expenditure for the war in Iraq, there is news coming out of Southern California concerning a $4 Billion project to create a 50 square mile windfarm that will generate power for a million homes. The initial phase of the project will provide about 1.5 megawatts. The ultimate potential is 4.5 megawatts, or enough to replace two nuclear power plants.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

IRAQ: Revolt of the Generals

For about a year, more and more senior military leaders have been increasing open criticism of the Bush administration's Iraq strategy. This is now turning into an open rebellion. While President Bush seems to be on the verge of asking for more troops in Iraq, his generals might not go along with the idea. According to a new article on

But the Chiefs finally "have found their manhood," in the words of one military officer. They are beginning to challenge, in private for the most part, the political leadership to a degree unprecedented in this Administration. According to Pentagon sources, the senior officers are demanding that the White House finally come up with a definable and achieveable military strategy for Iraq. "We would not surge without a purpose," Army Chief Gen. Pete Schoomaker said bluntly to reporters last week. "And that purpose should be measurable."

I did a Google search on "revolt of the generals" and came up with about 30,000 hits. Surprisingly, I added "Iraq" to this search, and still came up with 28,000 plus. Open criticism of civilian leadership by senior military officers is not the norm. Historically, it is notable by the exceptions, with the most noteworthy being the Revolt of the Admirals in 1949.

In 1949, senior naval policy-makers objected to a shift in focus and funding away from the Navy and towards the (then-new) Air Force. Specifically, the Navy objected to the cancellation of the supercarrier U.S.S. United States in favor of funding for intercontinental bombers such as the B-36 and the nuclear weapons that they would carry. Ironically, within a year of the revolt of the admirals, the U.S. would be enmeshed in a war in Korea. In that war, the B-36 and much of the Navy's top hardware would not be used.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Smart Scientists:
Rove vs. Rover - the Sniff Test is a Dead Heat

A group of scientists lead by Noam Sobel at the University of California, Berkley have been conducting experiments to see if humans can smell as well as dogs. Note: I said WELL and not GOOD, "well" being the adverb, and "good" being the adjective. Dr. Sobel believes that the human sense of smell is under-rated, and with a little training people can top their canine companions. Here's a description of the experiment as described at

As a part of the study the boffins first laid down a 10-metre-long trail of chocolate essential oil in a grass field.

They then blindfolded 32 Berkeley undergraduates, blocked their ears and set them loose in the field to try to track the scent. Each student got three chances to track the scent in ten minutes.

Because it's posted at, the story has to be true. I don't know what excites me more, the fact that I might be able to read the daily fireplug news with my beagle, or the thought that Berkley students (who will soon be making double my salary)had to get down on all fours and sniff the ground blindfolded to pass Psychology class.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Saturn Plant that Time Forgot - GM didn't
What in Spring Hill is this?

General Motors announced that it is planning on investing $255 million in its idle Saturn Plant in Spring Hill Tennessee even though it has no (announced) products to build there. The Ion recently ceased production, and the minivan that was going to be built there was cancelled. General Motors doesn't have the cash to just throw it around willy-nilly, so what could be going on behind the scenes? Here are some possibilities.

1. An unannounced, super-secret, black-budget kind of project, perhaps a stealthy mach-4 spy car called "Aurora".

2. GM wants to spruce up the plant prior to selling it to another car-maker, Nissan Perhaps?

3. GM wants cash up front from the state of Tennessee. When time comes to pony up the GM investment - that's where a certain chap named Eleven comes in and lowers the hammer.

Animal of the Week:
61 Flavors of Opossum

Most people are told that the opossum is the only marsupial that is native to the Western Hemisphere. Okay, but did you know that there are about 61 species of opossum? Only one is native to the United States, the Virginia Opossum. Purists hate it when we call them "possums". Possums live in Australia they say. Whatever you call them, they sure are good eatin'.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lexus LS460: Park your car Like Toonces

The Lexus LS460 will park itself, just not very well. Check out this video from

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

FDCPA Cheatsheet

What was that section number again?

Here's a quick reference page from
Livonia, Michigan vs. Georgetown, Kentucky
Old vs. New in the Auto Industry

The New York Times has published a great compare/contrast piece between Livonia, Michigan, which has been hit hard by the decline of the traditional auto industry, and Georgetown, Kentucky, the center of U.S. auto production for Toyota.

You need a free registration to view the article linked here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Electric Car's Not Dead
It's Just Restin'

Read all about the Tesla.,0,7930203.story?coll=la-home-headlines
GMAC Completes Sale of 51% of GMAC
$10 Billion Cash Infusion

General Motors completed the sale of a 51% interest in GMAC to private Equity Fund Cerebus Group. As part of the deal, General motors will get up to $10.5 billion in cash this year. Four billion more will be paid to GM over the next three years.
More info is available at this Detroit News link.
Kerkorian Sells his GM Shares

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian quietly sold all of his General Motors stock in a series of transactions over the past week. By selling the shares privately, the market wasn't substantially upset. It appears that Mr. Kerkorian made a profit on the sale, but he didn't make a killing. He also did not bring the institutional changes that he sought.