Thursday, May 22, 2008
A state Health Department proposal that medical-marijuana patients be allowed more than 2 pounds of pot every two months took law enforcement by surprise and prompted the governor to tell health officials to start over. Now patients are the ones being ignored, while cops take control over medical treatments.
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Posted by gjblass at 2:13 PM
ooger, Kitty and Mousey, along with their friend Gregory PIke.
Posted by gjblass at 1:55 PM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Domestic flight delays cost the industry and passengers $40.7 billion in 2007, according to the Joint Economic Committee from the House and Senate, which released a report Thursday.
As part of this overall cost from the delays, passengers lost an estimated $12 billion worth of time that would otherwise have been spent on business and play, said the committee report.
These late flights cost airlines $19.1 billion in extra staffing, fuel and maintenance costs - mainly from planes idling at the gate but also from taxiing delays and from circling airports in holding patterns, according to the report.
The cost to airlines includes $1.6 billion in fuel costs, as idling planes wasted 740 million gallons of jet fuel, the report said, releasing more than seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air. This was based on the 2007 average wholesale fuel cost of $2.15 per gallon.
The committee also said that delays caused $9.6 billion in "spillover costs" to other industries that rely on air traffic, like restaurants, hotels, retailers and public transportation.
The Air Transport Association, a trade group that represents the airline industry, was not immediately available for comment.
The study, based on an analysis of 10 million domestic flights, said more than 20% of all flight time last year was wasted on delays. It said most delays were caused by other flights arriving late.
While some delays are "unavoidable" because of weather and mechanical problems, "the staggering levels of delays experienced in 2007 and the significant costs these delays had on the U.S. economy are troublesome," read a statement from the bipartisan committee, chaired by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY.
The report is the latest bit of bad news for a battered industry, whose top players include Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500), United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AMR, Fortune 500). Carriers have have been raising ticket prices and attaching fees to basic services to try and minimize losses, and Delta and Northwest Airlines (NWA, Fortune 500) are working on a potential $3.1 billion merger.
Some of the nation's busiest airports caused the biggest drag on air travel, said the committee, with Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International accounting for nearly 19 million delayed passenger hours, with nearly 18 million hours for Chicago O'Hare International and more than 12 million hours for Dallas-Fort Worth International.
From a passenger perspective, the worst offender was the comparatively tiny New Castle County Airport in Delaware, which averaged 55 minutes of delay per passenger in 2007, compared to 16 minutes per passenger at the Atlanta airport. By this measure, the best airport was Honolulu International, with an average of five minutes delay for passenger.
The committee said traffic will only get more crowded, putting further strains on the industry. The report said that flight volume is up 43% since 1998, and is projected to keep increasing 2.7% annually, from 689 million passengers currently, to more than 1.1 billion in 2025.
The report blamed "seven long years of laissez-faire government policies," including a failure to convert the nationwide radar system for aviation tracking to a system based on satellites. The committee said that congestion could be alleviated by opening military air space off the eastern seaboard for commercial traffic.
"Opening up a portion of this underutilized space would allow commercial airlines to avoid congested areas over New York City, Washington, Atlanta and Florida or bypass bad weather when it arises on the east coast, thus significantly reducing delays," said the report.
But if anyone's to blame for delays, it's Congress, according to Michael Derchin, an airline industry analyst for FTN Midwest Securities Corp.
"They've not funded the [Federal Aviation Administration] and the air traffic control system, which is using 1960s technology," he said. "The fix is to get the air traffic control system fixed. It's now at a point where it's a crisis, and now Congress is blaming everyone else, and they're the ones who started it to begin with."
Posted by Chismillionaire at 1:43 PM
The 1880’s to the 1940’s were the golden age for barbershops. During this time, men socialized in all male hangouts, and barbershops rivaled saloons in popularity. Visiting the barbershop was a weekly, and sometimes daily habit. Men would stop in not only for a haircut and a shave, but also to fraternize with friends and chew the fat.
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Posted by gjblass at 1:41 PM
New diesels will get better mileage and have cleaner emissions than your average car. Pictured above: 2009 Jetta SportWagen 2L TDI Clean Diesel.
Later this year (see the timeline below), we will finally begin to see an influx of new model diesels in the United States. While diesels make up 50% of the market share of vehicles in Europe, they’re still trying to shrug off the stigma of being dirty, noisy beasts here in the US. So what changed?
What are “clean” diesels?
In 2006, the EPA required the introduction of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), which removed a major polluting component of diesel fuel. Since sulfur would damage advanced emissions control systems, ULSD paved the way for better emissions control technology.
As early as August, we will start to see a new era of diesels that employ new technology to meet the strictest emissions standards in the world—BIN5/LEV II—which are enforced by 5 US states: California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and Vermont. BIN5/LEV II standards severely cap nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions (0.05 g/mile), one of the two tailpipe pollutants that have given diesels a bad rap (that and particulate matter).
Newer filters in these emissions systems trap particulate matter, while each model uses it’s own method to process NOx. Several models, including those from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, will require the maintenance of a six- to eight-gallon tank of urea. The ammonia-rich solution (for example: Mercedes BlueTEC) is injected into exhaust to neutralize smog-forming nitrogen oxides. Since the urea tanks only require replenishing every 12,000 miles or so, inconvenience seems minimal, and some models, like Honda and VW diesels, meet emissions requirements without them.
While you might expect most of these diesels to get exceptional mileage, some of them do surprisingly poor. For example, the Mercedes and Audi models only get around 18/25 MPG (making this a good reason to continue to avoid SUVs). I know that the new emissions technology is supposed to negatively affect mileage, but 25 MPG is unimpressive, considering that VW’s Jetta BlueTDI got a road tested 60 MPG.
While the high price of diesel fuel is eating into some of the economic advantage of buying a new diesel vehicle, the difference is offset by mileage gains of 25 to 40% over comparable gas models. You might not see too much difference in sticker prices, either. Some models could cost $1,500 to $3,500 more for this new emissions control technology, but VW says it’s Jetta SportWagens could cost $2,000 less. Also be on the lookout for Federal tax credits that could be as large as $3,400 per vehicle.
When can we expect to see clean diesels in the US? Here’s the timeline:
- When: August 2008
- Models: 2009 Jetta BlueTDI sedans and SportWagens
- Engine: 2-liter turbodiesel in-line 4
- Est. Mileage: 33/46 m.p.g. Sedan road tested at 60 MPG.
- Est. Base Price: $22,000 to $25,000
- When: November 2008
- Models: Mercedes-Benz ML320 Bluetec, other GL-, ML- and R-Class sport crossover utilities (and someday: Vision GLK BlueTec diesel hybrid).
- Engine: 3-liter turbodiesel V-6
- EPA Mileage: 18/24 m.p.g.
- Est. Base Price: $46,000
- When: Fall 2008
- Models: 335d sedan and X5 35d sport wagon
- Engine: variable twin-turbo 6-cylinder
- Est. Mileage: ?
- Est. Base Price: ?
- When: January 2009
- Models: Q7 3.0 TDI utility wagon
- Engine: 3-liter turbodiesel V-6
- Est. Mileage: 18/25 m.p.g.
- Est. Base Price: $53,000
5. Honda (yes it’s true)
- When: 2009
- Models: Acura TSX sedan, other models could follow
- Engine: 2.2-liter i-DTEC
- Est. Mileage: 34/53 MPG
- Est. Base Price: ?
- When: 2009
- Models: Jeep Grand Cherokee
7. General Motors/Ford/Dodge
- When: 2009 or 2010
- Models: Light-duty pickup trucks
- When: 2010
- Models: Maxima sedan
- When: 2010
- Models: Legacy sedan or Outback wagon
- Engine: 2-liter turbodiesel flat 4
- Est. Mileage: 33/47 m.p.g. (Outback)
- Est. Base Price: $28,000 (Outback)
Header Photo Credit: VW
For more, see: Diesel Engines Clean Up for an Encore (New York Times)
Posted by gjblass at 1:38 PM
Feeling a little cramped in your thousand square foot Manhattan apartment? Got a few extra million to blow? If so, you too can join the elite of the elite and buy your very own private island.
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Posted by gjblass at 1:35 PM
Woman Stripped by Mechanical Shovel - Watch more free videos
This is pretty much a construction worker's dream come true. On Italian TV a guy uses a giant mechanical shovel to slowly strip off a woman's clothes. She doesn't get naked but it's still pretty cool.
Posted by gjblass at 1:19 PM
Posted by gjblass at 1:11 PM
Posted by gjblass at 1:01 PM
Everyone has been there. Holding a cold beer in one hand while searching through drawers hoping to find anything that will work as a bottle opener. Well here are some great tips on how to avoid the panic and keep on drinking.
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Posted by gjblass at 12:52 PM
We've explained in the past what some of the Worst Money-Saving Tips were, but now we're showing off some of our favorite websites that can save you money.
These recession-like symptoms the economy is producing, look as if they will continue for a while, with some analysts predicting we won't see a bottom till the end of 2009. So prepare yourself by banking some extra dough with these 9 helpful sites:
1. Fat Wallet - This is a community of people constantly searching for hot deals to save you money. If someone heard that K-Mart is giving away $100 lamps for only $25, you'll hear it in the forums section. The site also offers a handy price comparison tool for purchases you are considering.
2. Flyertalk - Remember that guy who bought all that pudding and scammed a frequent flyer promotion?...He was all over the news for his genius plan back in 1999. Well he is a legend over at Flyertalk. This site will keep you up to date on everything frequent flyer related. How to combine deals and where you can get the most bang for your buck. It has also been reported that airline executives monitor the site to find out customers' chief complaints and desires. I have a feeling it has something to do with cheap tickets.
3. The Coupon Clippers - If clipping coupons makes you feel like an old granny, then this should help out a bit. Log on to the site and let them do all the clipping and finding deals for you. Just search for your favorite grocery items and order the coupons to be delivered. They charge a small handling fee for delivery, but this could be a good bet to save some time and money. Coupon proponents claim you can trim 50% of your grocery bill by using coupons.
4. Coupons.com - These guys own the coupon world, or at least just the domain name. If you're not into paying for shipping and handling fees at the Coupon Clippers, check this site. Great looking site with a lot of coupons in your local area which you can print out from home. There's just one annoying catch. You have to install this 'coupon printer', which I'm not a fan of.
5. Coupon Mountain - Maybe the best coupon site around. No registration required, and they provide direct links to where you can use the coupon to make the . That Coupon Mountain gold digger mascot is absolutely priceless too, look at his little hat and sack of money. Did he steal that?
6. Amazon Gold Box - You gotta love this, even a huge corporate retail site like Amazon is getting into the fray with a deal page. Their Gold Box feature will let you know about items that are selling at huge discounts. The side scroll button is also a great way to view dozens of items quickly with just a few clicks.
7. Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder - This site aggregates from a number of 'free stuff' sites on the internet and compiles their results for you with direct links. Free subscriptions to magazines are abundant, I even saw one for TV Guide. And who would want to pass up a free sample of Teddy Grahams? Have you no soul?
8. SlickDeals - Probably the most popular deal site on the internet. Similar to Fat Wallet, but claims to have livelier forums and more frequent updates. I like the new Deal Alert feature that allows you to ignore alerts you're not interested in. For the last time, no more Playtex/Midol coupons!
9. Travel Zoo - This page is one of the best places to compare flight and other travel options. Unlike all those other annoying travel sites, you don't have to keep reentering your travel info after each search. They also offer a cool newsletter e-mail sent each Wednesday listing some of the best offers on cruises, flights, and vacation packages. If you really like this site, you can even trade its stock which was going for $110 per share back in 2005.
Are there any other deal/money-saving sites you use regularly? Let us hear them in the comments section.
Also check out:
GetRichSlowly: 21 Money Saving Sites, January 21, 2008
Posted by gjblass at 12:33 PM
Posted by gjblass at 12:31 PM
Here are 8 types of people you’ll find inside a Starbucks that are guaranteed to annoy the shit out of you.
8. Manager Who Refuses to Recognize the Words Small, Medium, and Large
I understand, you’re a corporate guy and thus must abide by company policies by calling the different sizes by their Starbucks Christian names of Venti, Grande, etc…. But if I ask you for a small, don’t act like I’m speaking to you in that Native American langauge we used in World War II to deliver coded messages. You’re familiar with the sizes small, medium and large, and if you’re not, then you might want to change underwear because there’s a good chance there’s a sizeable amount of shit in them due to your inability to grasp the concept of wiping your asshole after defecating.
7. Intern Who is Buying for the Entire Office
Wearing an all-white or striped button down shirt, this guy shows up with a legal pad full of hastily scribbled orders. “Yeah, I’m gonna need 24 tall skinny soy lattes with sugar free hazelnut extra hot…and 32 grande no caff cappuccinos with light whip cream, sugar free hazelnut and vanilla with white chocolate mocha. And 14 grande supremos with a triple shot, sugar free vanilla, extra white mocha, no whip, no foam and an extra drizzle. Oh, and can I get a smiley face on the bottom of all those?” And he knows if one of these orders is screwed up, it’s going to cost him a chance at the a full-time gig as assistant editor where he can bring coffee to even more important people. So instead of just grabbing his bags and leaving, he inspects all 70-odd cups in his 17 flimsy cardboard holders. If you get behind this guy, you may as well give up any hopes of getting a cup of joe in your lifetime. You’re better off flying to Colombia, slitting Juan Valdez’s throat and stealing his coffee-harvesting burro.
6. The Writer Who Wants You to Know They’re a Writer
Being a writer is a pretty cool occupation, but unfortunately you can’t tell someone’s a writer just by looking at them. And having to tell someone you’re a writer is way less impressive. Therefore, these people go to the busiest Starbucks and pop open their iMac, making sure their screen is clearly displaying a full page of text (or clear screenplay format for those in Los Angeles). Their next step is to make sure they’re facing away from where everyone goes to pick up their drinks while staring at the screen while remembering to take deep breaths which will indicate to others that deep and creative thought that normal minds are not capable of, is taking place. Who gives a shit if an asshole and his mac have spent six hours taking up a table normally reserved for four people, it’s important you know that they’re juggling a complex story about a boy in Alaska who comes of age and befriends a bear. That’s right, they’re creating that using only their minds!
5. Overly Happy Line Greeter/Order Taker
At some point, the Starbucks Corporation realized that their growing legions of employees didn’t have the best people skills. Their answer was to create their own version of the Wal-Mart Greeter who also takes your order. But since they don’t pay shit, you end up having some G.E.D.-havin’ dumbass or an excruciatingly-lonely elderly woman force their brand of corporate chit-chat down your throat. Instead of waiting to pay for your overpriced chai in peace, you have to deal with: “Goooooood morning today! How are you? Some kinda weather we’re having isn’t it? I wish I was outside in the park! Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s sooooo sunny! And what’s better for you than a nice big dose of Mr. Sun! Maybe some coffee? Ha! So, what can we get you today? Need a little pick-me-up? You do! I think we ALL could use one, yes we could! YES WE COULD! Anyway, I’ll get this chai order right up for you. What’s your name? Terry? That’s my cousin’s name! Small world. Yes. It. Is. Small world indeed….Hi! And how are you doing today?!?!”
4. Complicated Order Guy Who Needs his Coffee Right The F*&K Now.
When you order coffee, it shouldn’t sound like you’re giving the pass code to a missile defense system. If you’re lactose intolerant, on a strict diet, and can’t handle a full dose of caffeine, how about instead of ordering a “non-fat, grande, soy chai latte with a half shot of espresso and no foam” and then stand in front of the pick up window and pace like one of Michael Vick’s pitbulls watching Vick pull out the rape stand after losing a fight, you just grab a glass of god damn water and drink that. Last I checked that won’t give you exploding diarrhea or anxiety… unless you’re at the Starbucks in Tijuana.
3. The Guy Who Hates Starbucks But Goes There Every Day
Armed with armchair political rants, this guy is the world’s biggest bore and the world’s biggest hypocrite combined into one big uber-shithead. He won’t shut up about how Starbucks is bad for the environment and how they’re taking over the world and how their coffee totally “doesn’t taste like the gourmet stuff downtown.” But when you bring up the fact that he’s ranting about Starbucks while he’s actually inside a Starbucks, his crappy hippie-wannabe excuses just start piling up. “Well, here’s the thing, I just didn’t have time to make it over to my usual coffee place. You know the one way over on 2nd Ave? Yeah, it’s one of the last mom and pop coffee shops in the area. I toooootally love that place. It’s so real. I was on my way over there, but the traffic was a killer, so I was totally forced to get my fix at this place. I mean, the rich get richer, right? That’s the law of the land. I totally can’t stand that I have to come here, but that’s what they do. They tie your hands, man. These big corporations. They just own you. They’re everywhere. Can you hand me one of those Splenda?”
2. Study Groups
Hey, screw the library with all it’s “room” and “group space.” It makes way more sense to go to an incredibly busy and crowded Starbucks with tables that have insufficient space to lay your books. Everyone knows you have a poli-sci midterm, mostly because they can hear every fucking thing you’re saying because you’re yelling so that you can be heard over a frappucino being made. If you could, would you hold a study group session in a Turkish prison? Because Starbucks is basically the same thing, except with less gay sex, and a little bit better coffee.
1. The Person Who Peruses the DVD Section As If They Might Purchase.
It’s really great when you’re waiting in line behind somebody only to realize that they’re not in line, but instead deciding whether or not they want to purchase the “Pursuit of Happyness” DVD. “Gee what’s this movie Pursuit of Happyness about? I didn’t hear of it last summer when it grossed over 100 million dollars. Even though I’ve come here for coffee, I should carefully peruse the back cover to find out more about it!” Also, please don’t pick up a copy of “Akeelah and the Bee” as if you were going to buy it. No one buys that movie. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not even a real movie, it was just a box cover created by a group of white Starbucks executives so that customers could hold it in their hands and pretend to read the back, giving the impression to those around them that they’re progressive thinkers who seek out and enjoy films with African American casts.
Posted by gjblass at 12:26 PM
A living wall, also referred to as a green wall, vertical garden, or sky farm, is usually part of a building and consists of some sort of vegetation. These types of gardens are sometimes referred to as urban gardening, because they are well-suited for an urban environment where space on the ground is very limited but vertical space is plentiful.
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Posted by gjblass at 12:25 PM
The wraps have been taken off the new version of the XO laptop designed for schoolchildren in developing countries.The revamped machine created by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project looks like an e-book and has had its price slashed to $75 per device.
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Posted by gjblass at 12:23 PM