Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BREVITAS

WORD

Music washes away the dust of every day life - Art Blakey

Among the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is the entire California parks system, and by extension, state parks throughout the nation. California was the focus because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had suggested closing 48 parks because of a budget shortfall, an idea which he has since taken off the table. But the ailing infrastructure at and flagging investment in state parks is an issue that affects states across the country, National Trust president Richard Moe told USA Today. Daily Green

David Houle - I speak to 2-4 groups of CEOs every month. As a futurist, I am increasingly being asked by these groups about what the future of energy looks like as most businesses are getting whacked by the dramatic rise in energy prices. When they hear that high energy prices are the new normal, they groan. I immediately launch into strategies that they can immediately implement that will not only lower costs, but will also mobilize employees and allow them to promote to customers and suppliers that they are being green.

The first thing to do is to conduct an energy audit, usually provided by the local energy company, and if not them, then an energy audit firm. Establish the baseline of energy consumption on an annual basis for every facility. The next step is to mobilize the employees to help lower energy use. For example, if a company spent $100,000 last year on electricity, set the goal of $85,000 for this year. State that the company will split savings 50/50 with the employees. So, if electric costs are lowered by $15,000 then $7,500 will go to the employees as a year end ‘conservation bonus'. The company will save the same amount. It will amazing how much more lights will get turned off when people leave rooms. I promise the CEOs that they all have someone at the company that will immediately get involved and work to mobilize the other employees. Scientific Blogging

A judge in Tucson has tossed out alcohol breath tests in 49 DUI cases and a defense attorney says the ruling could have widespread implications. City Court Judge Thomas Berning's ruling says the breath tests are inadmissible because the company that makes the machine hasn't made its inner workings available to the defense. James Nesci, one of the defense attorneys involved in the cases, says there are 50 to 70 pending cases before other judges that were waiting for Berning's ruling. The ruling doesn't dismiss the cases entirely, just the breath tests. - Arizona Central

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has announced that a group led by Spanish infrastructure operator Abertis Infraestructuras SA and Citigroup Inc. had won bidding for the 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a cash offer of $12.8 billion. Ralph Nader called the proposed corporatization of the Pennsylvania Turnpike an unconscionable "long-term giveaway to big banks and foreign corporations. Governor Rendell's proposed deal is a license to print money for the big banks and foreign investors. We cannot maintain a national highway network if key segments are leased to the highest bidder. Pennsylvania is taking a minuscule up-front payment in return for a large downstream private profit over three-quarters of "a century (until 2083) to a foreign company which is being handed a captive customer base."

Landlords in Paris are offering reduced rent for apartments in exchange for sex. Hard-up students are being targeted and some are taking up the lease agreement. The sex-as-rent phenomenon looks to be on the rise in France. Some link it to the French housing crisis. Property prices in Paris have soared in recent years, making it impossible for many people to afford accommodation. Russia Today

The Spitzer problem has now gone into the second generation. Four black men are suing Eliot Spitzer's father for their treatment while working as doormen and porters at a Manhattan building he owned. According to the men, "Each of us was terminated within two weeks of each other, for no apparent reason. In each case termination was preceded by an orchestrated campaign of harassment that was designed to induce the four of us to quit. This campaign of harassment included the assignment for doormen to clean the building toilets with a toothbrush, in once case being told "your kind should be use to it by now," and "clean it good, boy" by his supervisor.

Strange Maps On January 10, 1992, a container holding almost 29,000 plastic bath toys spills off a cargo ship into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and breaks open. The unsinkable toys, which were en route from Hong Kong to Tacoma (Washington), include a lot of iconic yellow rubber ducks that have since been caught up in the world's ocean currents and continue turning up on the most improbable shores. . . The toys, or ‘Friendly Floatees', as they became known, made their first landfall in mid November of 1992, when the counter-clockwise Subpolar Gyre started dumping the yellow rubber ducks (and blue turtles, red beavers and green frogs) on Alaskan shores. It took the ducks about three years to drift full circle on the Gyre - scientists calculate they drift 50% faster than the water in the current itself. They turned up all over the Pacific: Japan, Hawaii, North America and Australia. . . Between 1995 and 2000, they slowly drift eastward, frozen in the arctic ice, at a rate of 1 mile per day. In the new millennium, the ducks started reaching the North Atlantic, being sighted from the shores of Maine to Massachusetts. . . In 2003, the plastic toys reached the shores of the Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland.

Overheard in DC On the corner of 22nd and G near George Washington University: "Girl on phone: "Yeah, he couldn't get it up, so we just watched "Schindler's List" instead." - Eavesdrop DC

FOO FIGHTERS 2008 TOUR RIDER

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