Wednesday, March 30, 2005

  Words With No Meaning

Look, folks. FOX news continued use of the pseudo-term "homicide bomber" is just silly. It basically shows that their desire to appear politically proactive is far greater than their desire to be accurate, let alone "fair and balanced".

Without going into the politics of the matter, a little over three years ago Donald Rumsfeld announced that he "felt" the term "suicide bomber" gave to much "credibility" (his words) to terrorists who employed suicide tactics. For that reason, he announced this administration would henceforth use the term "homicide bomber". Ok, I'm all about discrediting terrorists. I'm also somewhat open to the idea of making political statements against groups who support or carry out terrorist activity. But I have to draw the line at Orwellian Doublespeak in daily briefings to the press. In a word, that would be ungood.

Worse still, the one news organization that claims to stand on the single pillar of objectivity, chose to adopt this verbal non-entity and to this day uses it in its daily broadcasts. Rumsfeld is a politician. I'll give him a pass on making silly statements. I'm used to that. But FOX is a news and information service. Why does this bother me? Because "homicide bomber" is at best redundant and at worst devoid of any informative context.

If a bomber is taken to mean "one who bombs" or more accurately "one who employs an explosive device in an effort to destroy or kill" then "homicide bomber" is embarrassingly redundant. It is the equivalent of calling Jack The Ripper a "homicide stabber". By that definition, Timothy McVeigh is a "homicide bomber". He did bomb a building in Oklahoma. He did commit homicide. Show me any contradiction there, I dare you.

Folks, the "suicide" in "suicide bomber" is to set aside those who blow themselves up in the process of blowing up others from those who merely blow things up. It is important that, when a bomber kills our soldiers in Iraq, that I know whether the bomber took his own life in the process or - as is often the case - the bomber detonated an I.E.D. from a safe distance and escaped possibly to kill again. Using the meaningless term homicide bomber actually deprives me of critical contextual information I need form opinions about events around the globe.

So, I would ask that in the interest of objective and accurate reporting that the FOX news network stop its use of the imaginary term "homicide bomber" and employ words found in Webster instead. That would only be the fair and balanced thing to do.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

  Why Indeed

"You get the same problem with lightbulbs. Why innovate and makes better ones when the current ones burn out often enough to keep you in buisness?"

Why indeed?

Because mass production doesn't SELL items, demand does.

Six years ago, I purchased 15+ compact fluorescent bulbs to light my new apartment. Since then, my monthly electric bill has been consistantly $25 lower than it was with incandescent bulbs. Those bulbs have yet to burn out and they have moved with me twice - all fifteen, all still working to this day. The oldest one is actually seven years old.

Yet compact fluorescents have hit the market big time and LED lighting was introduced last year and will overtake florescent sales easily by 2015. Remember, the market is driven by demand. We demanded compact fluorescent bulbs and the incandescent manufacturers came through with white efficient bulbs that last 5-12 years. We now demand LED interior lighting and most premium lighting outlets sell LED sets for indirect lighting fixtures. GE has an 'Edison' socket LED lamp that will hit the market this year. GE predicts sales to be in the millions of units. Those units are pricey now but so were compact fluorescents when they first shipped.

The market is driven by demand, not greed. If consumers show a willingness to buy something, manufacturers will produce that product. If there is low or no demand, that product isn't produced no matter how wonderful. The myth of a gas-controlled economy is easily debunked by the fact that the oil industry long ago diversified away from petroleum. If oil stopped being pumped today, Exxon would be (and is already) in the ethanol or H2 market tomorrow. Chrysler is going to introduce their first fuel cell vehicle this decade should hybrid demand stay elevated - and all indications are that it will. Also keep in mind that Ford is one of the top electric vehicle manufacturers worldwide and plans to keep that dominance in the face of climbing petroleum prices.

Look people, there are 6.6 billion people on earth. If Auto manufacturers produced a popular electric car that lasted 20 years or more, it would take decades for that demand to be fulfilled. By then the first cars would be wearing out and even more efficient models would be on the way. Even today, Detroit doesn't sell new cars because old ones wear out. Detroit sells new cars because people get tired of their cars after 2- 5 years. My Honda has 219,000 miles on it (original engine) and runs quite well. All I ask for is a car that runs that same 200,000 miles without having to gut the engine. Someone will still sell me new seats, mud flaps and cup holders.

Still need proof that there is no conspiracy to keep consumer items unreliable? Ask yourself this: when was the last time you bought a new refrigerator. My last one was a GE and came to me already 20 years old and still lives and breathes in Highland Park, CA. My Whirlpool washing machine is 30 years old and has survived two generations of my family. My GE dryer was given to me by a friend and no electrician alive can recognize the make and model of the door switch. The market is driven by demand. You can't sell items people won't buy.

And that is why.


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