Saturday, February 18, 2006

The News: CNN

From the land of inattentive drivers: here is a CNN video news article about a training film for police officers put together by the International Association of Police Chiefs. The second most common cause of death to officers is being struck by other vehicles while outside their cars making routine traffic stops; the first cause is car on car traffic accidents.

This video is quite stunning and surely shows clips where people have died. Two clips are extraordinary for the damage they don’t do. The very first one in the report involves an officer bending over talking to a driver through the window and being grazed on the backside by a car, sending his citation booklet flying. The second shows an officer instructing a woman to stand away from her vehicle to be safer. 10 seconds later her car is rammed by another.

Some of these situations are extra meaningful to me. They remind me of the time a car came quite close to me while I was biking on the sidewalk up a steep hill. Also, there is evidence at my office that I see daily, of a car jumping the curb crossing the sidewalk and running into a planter outside the front of the building. I suppose there were no pedestrians in the way during that unfortunate incident.

From the land of brilliant inventors: (thanks to MinusCar reader /KT for pointing me to this) Dean Kamen, the man who invented the Segway, is hard at work again. This time on two machines, one that can purify water…any water! and another than can generate 1kW of electricity by burning cow dung. The implication this has for the less developed nations and villagers is incredible, especially given the business model being employed for the machines implementation. You’ll have to read the article for details.

In a world where I wish each household would (or is it a fear that each household will need to) meet its own energy needs this machine sounds pretty useful. Reduce its carbon emissions by converting it to operate on concentrated sunlight or heat from the wind and I’ll buy two.

How much power is 1kW? The article claims 70 efficient light bulbs. Yeah, I have 70 light bulbs in my home so I might have to give up something…I think I hear my television volunteering to go first.

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