10,000 MPG Car, Iraq All About Oil,
Top Scientist Bribed By Corporations
Revealing News Articles
December 13, 2006
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. These news articles include revealing information on a 10,000 MPG car, the Iraq War being all about oil, a top scientist bribed by major corporations, and more. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Vehicle mileage estimates get real
December 12, 2006, Los Angeles Times
That 55-mile-per-gallon hybrid car you've been eyeing may end up being a 44-mpg hybrid. The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a new system Monday for evaluating fuel economy that will lower mileage estimates for most vehicles. On average, vehicles rated under the 2008 method will post a 12% drop in city gasoline mileage and an 8% decline in highway mileage. With the new testing requirements, the EPA is attempting to come up with estimates that more closely reflect the real-world mileage motorists can expect when they purchase a vehicle. Under the current system ... actual mileage is often far lower than the posted EPA ratings. Hybrids will be hit harder because the new test eliminates some of the all-electric driving that helped them produce impressive results. A recent study ... found that the average mileage for passenger cars and light trucks was about 14% less than EPA estimates. The mileage for gas-electric hybrids probably will be 20% to 30% lower than present estimates for city driving and 10% to 20% lower on the highway. These vehicles quickly lose their all-electric advantage when operated in cold weather or quickly accelerated. The new EPA mileage estimates won't harm automakers' ability to meet federal rules requiring an industrywide average fuel economy of 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 21 mpg for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans.
Note: The government could easily mandate higher gas mileage, but has not significantly raised the bar in almost 20 years. Why? The current average mileage for all cars is less than the mileage of the 1908 Model T. With all of the incredibly technological advances in other fields, how is this possible? For more on this vital topic, click here and here. Toyota came out with a hybrid that got 100 mpg in 2002. For what happened to it, click here. And to learn how a Toyota Prius can be converted to get 100 miles per gallon, click here.
Car achieves almost 10,000 miles per gallon
July 16, 1999, BBC News
A car driven by a 10-year-old and built at a French school has set a new world record for fuel efficiency. The Microjoule team managed the equivalent of 9,845 miles per gallon while driving for 10 miles around Silverstone race track in the UK. More than 100 teams competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. Their one goal was to see how far they can get these amazing machines to travel on a minuscule amount of fuel. While we might be delirious if we managed 40 miles (64 kilometres) to the gallon (4.5 litres) pottering about town in our super minis, these people are not happy until they have seen the mileometer click through the thousands. The teams have a choice of petrol or diesel, with solar assistance permitted for the first time this year. A car is allowed three 40-minute runs. It must average at least 15 mph (24 kph) after which the stewards at the meeting calculate the machine's fuel efficiency. "The top fuel teams do about 10 miles, which is six laps on the club circuit at Silverstone," says the event's fuel manager Geoff Houlbrook. "They do that on less than 10 millilitres which is just two teaspoons of fuel." The entries come from all over Europe. Some teams use advanced materials like titanium and carbon fibre. Some of the machines built by schoolchildren are made from parts of old sewing and washing machines. "It's fun but it's also science," says BBC Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell. "It's like an experiment with people learning how to save energy."
Note: Some of these amazing vehicles are "built by schoolchildren," yet the auto industry can't come up with a car that get's 100 mpg? Granted these cars are slow and small, but if they can get almost 10,000 mpg, don't you think similar technology could be used to get at least several hundred mpg in regular cars? For why car mileage hasn't increased much since the 1908 Model T got 25 mpg, click here and here.
The 9/11 Truth Movement's Dangers
December 10, 2006, CBS News/The Nation
Tens of millions of Americans really believe their government was complicit in the murder of 3,000 of their fellow citizens. The government these Americans suspect of complicity in 9/11 has acquired a justified reputation for deception: weapons of mass destruction, secret prisons, illegal wiretapping. The Truth Movement's recent growth can be largely attributed to the Internet-distributed documentary "Loose Change." It's been viewed over the Internet millions of times. Complementing "Loose Change" are the more highbrow offerings of a handful of writers and scholars, many of whom are associated with Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Two of these academics, retired theologian David Ray Griffin and retired Brigham Young University physics professor Steven Jones, have written books and articles that serve as the movement's canon. The Truth Movement's relationship to the truth may be tenuous, but that it is a movement is no longer in doubt. For the Administration, "conspiracy" is a tremendously useful term, and can be applied even in the most seemingly bizarre conditions to declare an inquiry or criticism out of bounds. Of course, the ommission report was something of a whitewash – Bush would only be interviewed in the presence of Dick Cheney, the commission was denied access to other key witnesses, and ... a meeting convened by George Tenet the summer before the attacks to warn Condoleezza Rice about al Qaeda's plotting ... was nowhere mentioned in the report. It's hard to blame people for thinking we're not getting the whole story. For six years, the government has prevaricated and the press has largely failed to point out this simple truth.
Note: Though this article belittles the 9/11 movement, there is abundant evidence to support the claim that the 9/11 Commission was a whitewash and the attacks may have been orchestrated. For more, click here.
Nobel Winner Urges Defeat Of Poverty
December 10, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
Economist Muhammad Yunus ... received the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday for his efforts to relieve poverty as a cornerstone for building peace. Yunus, 66, often called the banker to the poor, shared the coveted award with his creation, Grameen Bank, for helping people, even beggars, rise above poverty by giving them microcredit – small, usually unsecured loans. The Bangladeshi economist is the developer and founder of the concept of microcredit. In his Nobel lecture Yunus said the world must overcome poverty if it ever wants to achieve peace. "We must address the root causes of terrorism to end it for all time to come. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor people is a better strategy than spending it on guns," he said. Grameen Bank, set up in 1983, was the first lender to provide microcredit, giving very small loans to poor Bangladeshis who did not qualify for loans from conventional banks. No collateral is needed, and repayment is based on an honour system, with nearly a 100 percent repayment rate. Yunus said the idea has spread around the world, with similar programmes in almost every country. "Grameen Bank gives loans to nearly seven million poor people, 97 per cent of them are women, in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh," said Yunus. Villagers, many of whom have benefited from Grameen Bank's small-loan programs [watched the Nobel ceremony] in groups at local shops. "We are so happy, wish we could all have gone there," said Samida Begum, talking by telephone from Kelia village. Begum runs a phone call shop started with a Grameen Bank loan almost 18 years ago. Her family also owns a poultry shop started with a loan from Grameen.
Note: If you are interested in a wonderful, empowering, secure vehicle in which to place your investments that helps to directly pull families out of poverty in a big way through microcredit and microloans, click here.
Industry 'paid top cancer expert'
December 8, 2006, BBC News
The scientist who first linked smoking to lung cancer was [later] paid by a chemicals firm while investigating cancer risks in the industry. Professor Sir Richard Doll held a consultancy post with US firm Monsanto for more than 20 years. The BBC has seen private letters which show that Sir Richard ... received a US$1,500-a-day consultancy fee from Monsanto in the mid-1980s. During that time he investigated the potential cancer causing properties of the powerful herbicide Agent Orange, made by the company. Sir Richard [argued] that there was no evidence that Agent Orange caused cancer. Professor Lennart Hardell, of the Oncology Department at University Hospital Orebro, Sweden, has also studied the potential hazards posed by Agent Orange. He was one of the scientists whose work was dismissed by Sir Richard. He said: "It's quite OK to have contacts with industry, but you should be fair and say 'well, I'm [working] as a consultant for Monsanto." Further documents obtained by The Guardian newspaper allegedly show that Sir Richard was also paid a £15,000 fee by the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and chemicals companies Dow Chemicals and ICI for a review of vinyl chloride, used in plastics, which largely cleared the chemical of any link with cancers apart from liver cancer. Sir Richard's views on the chemical were used by the manufacturers' trade association to defend it for more than a decade.
It's still about oil in Iraq
December 8, 2006, Los Angeles Times
While the Bush administration, the media and nearly all the Democrats still refuse to explain the war in Iraq in terms of oil, the ever-pragmatic members of the Iraq Study Group share no such reticence. Page 1, Chapter 1 ... lays out Iraq's importance: "It has the world's second-largest known oil reserves." The report makes visible to everyone the elephant in the room: that we are fighting, killing and dying in a war for oil. Recommendation No. 63 ... calls on the U.S. to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." This is an echo of calls made [by] the U.S. State Department's Oil and Energy Working Group, meeting between December 2002 and April 2003. Iraq "should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war." Its preferred method of privatization was a form of oil contract called a production-sharing agreement. These agreements are ... rejected by all the top oil producers in the Middle East because they grant greater control and more profits to the companies than the governments. For any degree of oil privatization to take place ... Iraq has to amend its constitution. Recommendation No. 26 of the Iraq Study Group calls for a review of the constitution to be "pursued on an urgent basis." Petroleum Economist magazine later reported that U.S. oil companies considered passage of the new oil law more important than increased security. Further, the Iraq Study Group would commit U.S. troops to Iraq for several more years to ... provide security for Iraq's oil infrastructure. We can thank the Iraq Study Group for making its case publicly. It is now our turn to decide if we wish to spill more blood for oil.
Note: For more on corporate complicity in fomenting war exposed by a top U.S. general, click here.
Kucinich Plans Another Presidential Bid
December 11, 2006, CBS News/Associated Press
Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said Monday he is planning another bid because his party isn't pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war. The liberal, anti-war Ohio congressman said he was inspired to run because he disagrees with the way some of his fellow Democrats are handling the war, including approval of a proposal to spend $160 billion more on the conflict. "Democrats were swept into power on Nov. 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq," said Kucinich, 60. "Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in policies and direction, the Democratic congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war." The anti-war message was also the cornerstone of Kucinich's 2004 bid, which drew support from some Hollywood celebrities. His previous presidential proposals also have included a national peace department and a single-payer, universal health care system.
Note: Coverage of the occasional successes of Dennis Kucinich in the 2004 Democratic primary campaign were clearly suppressed. When Kucinich took second place in Hawaii with 26% of the vote, almost twice the 14% of John Edwards, most major media gave Edwards name, but didn't even mention Kucinich, saying only that a "third candidate" took second place. The media seem not to like anti-war candidates.
Sweeping Changes Expected in Voting by 2008 Election
December 8, 2006, New York Times
By the 2008 presidential election, voters around the country are likely to see sweeping changes in how they cast their ballots and how those ballots are counted. New federal guidelines, along with legislation given a strong chance to pass in Congress next year, will probably combine to make the paperless voting machines obsolete. Motivated in part by voting problems during the midterm elections last month, the changes are a result of a growing skepticism among local and state election officials, federal legislators and the scientific community about the reliability and security of the paperless touch-screen machines used by about 30 percent of American voters. Various forms of vote-counting software used around the country ... will for the first time be inspected by federal authorities, and the code could be made public. Last year, New Mexico spent $14 million to replace its touch screens. Other states are spending millions more to retrofit the machines to add paper trails. Because some printers malfunctioned last month, election commissioners in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland, said last week that they were considering scrapping their new $17 million system of touch-screen machines. Under changes approved by the Election Assistance Commission yesterday, voting machine manufacturers would have to make their crucial software code available to federal inspectors. The code is now checked mainly by private testing laboratories paid by the manufacturers.
Note: How is it possible that the government allowed voting machine companies to keep their software secret even from the government? We may never know how many votes were manipulated. For more, click here.
Insiders' stock sale-purchase ratio widens
December 7, 2006, Chicago Tribune/Bloomberg
Stock sales by America's corporate leaders exceeded purchases last month by the widest ratio in nearly 20 years. Executives sold $63.18 of shares for every $1 they bought in November, the largest ratio since at least January 1987. U.S. securities laws require company executives and directors to disclose stock purchases or sales within two business days. Insiders sold $8.4 billion in shares last month, according to data compiled from SEC filings. Buying was ... $133 million. The overall insider-selling amount was the fifth-highest since 1987. Selling peaked at $13.9 billion in March 2000. The data have "value for investors," said Wayne Reisner at Carret Asset Management in New York. "It's people who are very familiar with their company and their stock." Insiders executed 6.34 sales transactions for each purchase transaction in the eight weeks ended Dec. 1. That's up from 2.45 in the period ended Aug. 4 and above the ratio of 2.25 he considers neutral for the market. Microsoft ranked first among U.S. companies, with $594.2 million in sales by insiders in November. Seagate Technology and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. ranked second and third, at $311.8 million and $224.2 million, respectively. Google Inc. was fourth, at $182.1 million.
Note: Isn't it interesting that the NASDAQ stock index reached it's all-time high in March 2000, the exact month executive stock selling hit its record, and just prior to the huge NASDAQ crash. Is it possible that corporate executives knew something the rest of us didn't?
World's wealth gap grows; poorest half has 1% of assets
December 5, 2006, Denver Post
The richest 2 percent of adults still own more than half of the world's household wealth, perpetuating a yawning global gap between rich and poor, according to research published Tuesday. The report from the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research shows that in 2000 the richest 1 percent of adults - most of whom live in Europe or the United States - owned 40 percent of global assets. The richest 10 percent of adults accounted for 85 percent of assets. By contrast, the bottom 50 percent of the world's adult population owned barely 1 percent of the world's wealth. "Income inequality has been rising for the past 20 to 25 years, and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth," said James Davies, a professor of economics at the University of Western Ontario, one of the report's authors. But ... there are some hopeful signs: China and India, which are developing rapidly, are gaining wealth, and in countries such as Bangladesh, the spread of microcredit institutions is helping people increase their personal wealth.
Note: If you are interested in a secure vehicle in which to place your investments which helps to directly pull families out of poverty in a big way through microcredit and microloans, click here.
Pentagon resists pleas for help in Afghan opium fight
December 5, 2006, Los Angeles Times
The Pentagon ... has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade. Military units in Afghanistan largely overlook drug bazaars, rebuff some requests to take U.S. drug agents on raids and do little to counter the organized crime syndicates shipping the drug to Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the United States. Poppy cultivation has exploded, increasing by more than half this year. Afghanistan supplies about 92% of the world's opium. "It is surprising to me that we have allowed things to get to the point that they have," said ... a former top State Department counter-narcotics official. Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said that Afghanistan's flourishing opium trade is a law enforcement problem, not a military one. The opium trade is one-third of the country's economy. Several dozen kingpins ... have become more brazen, richer and powerful. [They] openly run huge opium bazaars and labs that turn opium into heroin. [The] head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said ... that the location of major drug operations were "well-known to us and to the authorities." The Pentagon has balked at drug interdiction efforts even when it had the resources, said a former senior U.S. anti-drug official. "There were [drug] convoys where military people looked the other way," the former official said. "DEA would identify a lab to go hit or a storage facility and [the Pentagon] would find a reason to ground the helicopters." A recent congressional report said the DEA asked the Pentagon for airlifts on 26 occasions in 2005, and the requests were denied in all but three cases.
Note: Some observers and insiders believe the reason Afghanistan was attacked is because the Taliban had virtually stopped the opium trade in 2001. For reliable evidence supporting these allegations, click here.
Tech Watch: Forecasting Pain
December 2006 Issue, Popular Mechanics
No longer a gleam in the Pentagon's eye, ray guns – or radiofrequency (RF) weapons, to be exact – officially have arrived. As troops are increasingly forced to serve as an ad hoc police force, nonlethal weapons have become a priority for the military. The Department of Defense is currently testing the Active Denial System (ADS), which fires pain-inducing beams of 95-GHz radio waves, for deployment on ground vehicles. This surface heating doesn't actually burn the target, but is painful enough to force a retreat. While the military continues to investigate the safety of RF-based weapons, defense contractor Raytheon has released Silent Guardian, a stripped-down version of the ADS, marketed to law enforcement and security providers as well as to the military. Using a joystick and a targeting screen, operators can induce pain from over 250 yards away, as opposed to more than 500 yards with the ADS. Unlike its longer-ranged counterpart, Silent Guardian is available now. As futuristic – and frightening – as the ADS "pain ray" sounds, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is funding an even more ambitious use of RF energy. Researchers at the University of Nevada are investigating the feasibility of a method that would immobilize targets without causing pain. Rather than heating the subject's skin, this approach would use microwaves at 0.75 to 6 GHz to affect skeletal muscle contractions. This project is still in the beginning stages. The ADS, on the other hand, is already a painful reality.
Note: For lots more concerning information on non-lethal weapons, click here.
LA actor regrets copying election memos
November 22, 2006, BusinessWeek
During the past two years, [Actor Stephen] Heller tapped the family savings and lost two jobs while fighting charges that he took copies of documents from a law firm where he worked. Prosecutors said he copied more than 500 pages of documents, including memos suggesting Diebold may have broken state law by providing Alameda County with electronic voting machines that hadn't been certified by state officials. Soon after, Heller gave the documents to Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, which was involved in a lawsuit claiming Diebold used uncertified software in 17 counties. Harris then turned them over to the secretary of state and the Oakland Tribune. Heller was sentenced Monday to three years probation and ordered to pay his former law firm $10,000 in restitution. The records detailed potential problems with electronic voting machines made by Diebold. Heller was hailed by digital rights and political activists as a whistle-blower who tried to do the right thing. Some observers believe prosecuting Heller could prevent other people from revealing potential flaws with electronic voting systems. Some of Diebold's machines failed to work properly in the March 2004 primary election. Two months later, then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertified 14,000 Diebold electronic voting machines. [Shelley's] lawsuit was eventually joined by the state attorney general's office. Diebold settled for $2.6 million last year. Heller hopes his case will bring about changes and prevent corporations from keeping details of election equipment and software secret. "The only thing that should be secret is our ballots," Heller said.
Note: So a whistleblower who exposes major corruption later proven to be true is fined and penalized. What kind of system is this? For lots more, click here.
Special Note: For a CBS news clip on YouTube showing that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centers very likely could have been stopped, click here.
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10,000 MPG Car, Iraq All About Oil, Top Scientist Bribed By Corporations