SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) -- The Disruptor: EEStor
The Innovation: A ceramic power source for electric cars that could blow away the combustion engine
The Disrupted: Oil companies and carmakers that don't climb aboard
Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008.
EEStor's device is not technically a battery because no chemicals are involved. In fact, it contains no hazardous materials whatsoever. Yet it acts like a battery in that it stores electricity. If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon.
And we mean power a car. "A four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari," Clifford predicts. In contrast, his first electric car, the Zenn, which debuted in August and is powered by a more conventional battery, can't go much faster than a moped and takes hours to charge.
The cost of the engine itself depends on how much energy it can store; an EEStor-powered engine with a range roughly equivalent to that of a gasoline-powered car would cost about $5,200. That's a slight premium over the cost of the gas engine and the other parts the device would replace -- the gas tank, exhaust system, and drivetrain. But getting rid of the need to buy gas should more than make up for the extra cost of an EEStor-powered car.
EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch. According to a patent issued in April, the device is made of a ceramic powder coated with aluminum oxide and glass. A bank of these ceramic batteries could be used at "electrical energy stations" where people on the road could charge up.
EEStor is backed by VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the company's founders are engineers Richard Weir and Carl Nelson. CEO Weir, a former IBM-er, won't comment, but his son, Tom, an EEStor VP, acknowledges, "That is pretty much why we are here today, to compete with the internal combustion engine." He also hints that his engine technology is not just for the small passenger vehicles that Clifford is aiming at, but could easily replace the 300-horsepower brutes in today's SUVs. That would make it appealing to automakers like GM (Charts) and Ford (Charts), who are seeing sales of their gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks begin to tank because of exorbitant fuel prices.
Basically, playboy want this charity to change names, cancel, whatever based on the argument that an event which supports a childrens charity will somehow tarnish the image of a pornographic empire...good one Hugh. ----- http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3791154a10,00.html ----- Playboy wields might to axe Chch ball 09 September 2006 By VICKI ANDERSON
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has got his cravat in a knot over a planned fundraiser for a Christchurch children's charity, claiming it will tarnish the Playboy empire's name.
Craig Douglas, the organiser of the Playboy Ball to be held at the Civic in Manchester Street next Saturday, has received a letter from a Wellington legal firm acting on behalf of Playboy Enterprises International demanding the cancellation of the event.
The ball is being held to raise funds for Koru Care Christchurch.
The letter objects to Douglas's use of the word "playboy" and "bunny themes" and claims the event breaches Playboy's trademark.
"We're not trying to pass off on their intellectual property in any way, shape or form," Douglas said.
"They have an issue with the rabbit-head device. That's funny – you can't put a patent on a rabbit-head device. You can buy rabbit ears at the $2 Shop. Rabbits have them. What are they going to do?
"And anyone can call themselves a playboy. I'm not; I'm happily married."
The ball will see Manchester Street closed to traffic and bright with the glare from paparazzi snapping the 550 people expected to attend. Entertainment will be provided by a local band called, ironically, Hefner, and members of 48 May.
The guest list includes master of ceremonies Mike King, Winston Peters, Marc Ellis, Matthew Ridge, Aja Rock, Byron Kelleher, Corey Flynn, Australia's Outback Jack, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, and Vicky Lee, once a Playboy Bunny.
The lawyer's letter says: "Your use of the Playboy trademark and bunny theme trades off our client's reputation and is likely to tarnish that reputation."
Douglas, a former youth minister, laughs at the thought of tarnishing the reputation of the Playboy empire, known for its magazines featuring naked women.
"This event is going to be lavish and exquisite. It's all about class," he said.
"We wrote to them eight months ago, and got their permission. Apparently, the person who wrote back to us had no authorisation to tell us that it was OK, but as far as we're concerned, we're covered.
"We sent an invitation to Hugh Hefner personally. We didn't think he'd turn up. We just hoped he'd possibly sign it, and send it back so we could auction it off.
"No way are we cancelling."
Proceeds from an auction at the ball, including a pair of Carter's underwear, will go to Koru Care Christchurch, a charitable trust devoted to making dreams come true for hundreds of sick and disabled New Zealand children.
Chris George, chairman of Koru Care Christchurch, was not aware of the bunny-ear row when approached by The Press.
"All I know is that some of the proceeds are coming to us. It's not an event run by Koru Care Christchurch. It's to help fundraise for our next trip," he said.
"We spend 11-months-a-year fundraising to take these kids away to Disneyland. It is hard work, but to look at the eyes of the kids when we go away makes it all worthwhile.
"These children would never get the opportunity to go away if it wasn't for fundraising events like this".
When approached by The Press for comment, patent and trademark attorney for Playboy Enterprises International Kate McHaffie said: "The short answer is that I can't tell you anything without getting instructions from my client, so that's a `no comment'."
As a follow up to the recent poll here about Bob Geldof's comments regarding NZ's level of foreign aid, here's a pretty picture: ( New Zealand's Official Development Assistance as a percentage of GNICollapse ) The average for OECD countries is 0.47%, we're contributing barely over half that amount. New Zealand has promised 0.35% by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015, targets which the Government of the day will probably sweep under the carpet by the time these dates roll round.
Old US plan to invade NZ revealed 18 July 2006 By EDWARD GAY
The United States planned to invade Auckland almost a century ago if the emerging superpower had gone to war with Japan, then a British ally, a US intelligence document reveals.
The document includes intelligence reports on North Head, Fort Takapuna and Mt Victoria. It recommends the Manukau Harbour as the best invasion point.
The plan involved landing heavy guns on Rangitoto Island to shell forts on the North Shore.
Although the document was declassified by US authorities in 1972, little has been reported up to now. Military historian Peter Corbett has published an article in the February 2002 edition of Forts and Works, a specialist military historian journal.
"To the best of my knowledge it hasn't been reported by the media, probably because they don't know about it," says Mr Corbett, who is convinced of the document's authenticity.
The document - titled: Naval War Plan for the Attack of Auckland, New Zealand - includes information on the water supply, public transport network and climate.
Mr Corbett says the intelligence report was compiled by the US at a time when Great Britain and Japan were allied by a treaty.
The US and Japan had potentially conflictig interests in the Pacific, he says.
"They realised that if it had come to war then they would have had to fight in these regions," he says.
And if the US had gone to war with Japan, Great Britain could have been dragged in on the side of Japan. The ports of New Zealand and Australia would then be important strategic bases, Mr Corbett says.
Intelligence for the report was gathered during the visit of the Great White Fleet to Auckland over six days in August of 1908.
The fleet included 16 state-of-the-art battleships and visited Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Manila and Yokohama during its time in the South East Pacific.
"Basically it was a classic `stick this in your face'. It was a demonstration to the Japanese," he says.
Conservation Department historian and archaeologist David Veart says the document was produced at a time when there was a fear of the "Yellow Peril".
"A conflict in the Pacific between Japan and America was going to happen at some stage.
"The Americans were playing out war game scenarios with the British all over the globe."
Mr Corbett obtained the document from a US military historian after coming across references to the report in other documents.
"I've always been fascinated by warships and I grew up as a boy in Devonport and I suppose it had to get to me in the end," Mr Corbett says.
The American Consulate General's office was contacted to verify the document but said it does not have "any historical expertise in this area".
The North Shore Times has now contacted the Naval Historical Centre and National Archives and Records in the US and is awaiting a reply.
'Law Council Of Australia president John North said that if the Government tried to ban customary law from being applied, it would discriminate against Aborigines and contravene federal racial discrimination laws.
"What the Government is saying is impractical and would automatically result in more harsh sentencing being imposed on a particular group," he said.'
If customary law is banned from being taken into consideration when aboriginies are being sentenced in an Australian court, it means it would result in a more harsh sentence being imposed on a particular group than the current system imposes. Basically, instead of saying 'you raped a 14 year old girl, have one month in prison', it says 'you raped a 14 year old girl, you can be prosecuted the same as any other australian.'
FFS, I'm glad the Maoris haven't built and retained their own customary laws x_x not to the point of the Australian aboriginies anyway.
Unmanned aerial vehicles have soared the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq for years, spotting enemy encampments, protecting military bases, and even launching missile attacks against suspected terrorists.
Now UAVs may be landing in the United States.
A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring.
"We need additional technology to supplement manned aircraft surveillance and current ground assets to ensure more effective monitoring of United States territory," Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner at Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Bureau, told the House Transportation subcommittee.
Kostelnik was talking about patrolling U.S. borders and ports from altitudes around 12,000 feet, an automated operation that's currently under way in Arizona. But that's only the beginning of the potential of surveillance from the sky.
In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report," one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air--close enough to identify faces--and many more uses, such as the aerial detection of marijuana fields, are planned.
That raises not just privacy concerns, but also safety concerns because of the possibility of collisions with commercial and general aviation aircraft.
"They're a legitimate user of the airspace and they need to play by the same rules as everyone else," Melissa Rudinger, vice president of regulatory affairs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said in a telephone interview.
Pilots undergo extensive training on collision detection and avoidance. Planes that fly at night are required to have certain types of lights, for instance. Operating an aircraft near busy airports (in government parlance, "Class B" airports) requires a transponder that broadcasts its altitude. And during all flights that take place in poor weather or higher than 18,000 feet above sea level, the pilot must be in radio contact with controllers.
No such anti-collision rules apply to UAVs. Rudinger is concerned that UAVs--either remote-controlled or autonomous drones--will pose a safety threat to pilots and their passengers. She's not that worried about larger UAVs operated by the military that have sophisticated radar systems, but about smaller ones that have limited equipment and potentially inexperienced ground controllers.
"The FAA needs to define what is a UAV," Rudinger said. "And they need to regulate it just like they do any other aircraft, and integrate it into the system. The problem is the technology has advanced, and there are no regulations that talk about how to certify these aircraft, how to certify the operator, and how to operate in the national airspace system."
For its part, the FAA says it's created a UAV "program office" to come up with new rules of the sky. Preliminary standards for "sense and avoid" UAV avionics are expected in three to four years.
"Currently there is no recognized technology solution that could make these aircraft capable of meeting regulatory requirements for 'see and avoid,' and 'command and control,'" said Nick Sabatini, associate FAA administrator for aviation safety. "Further, some unmanned aircraft will likely never receive unrestricted access to (U.S. airspace) due to the limited amount of avionics it can carry because of weight, such as transponders, that can be installed in a vehicle itself weighing just a few ounces."
Complicating the question of how to deal with UAVs is the fact that there are so many different varieties of them. Some are essentially large model aircraft and weigh only a few ounces or pounds, while some military models are the size of a Boeing 737. Most are designed to sip fuel slowly, so they have long flight times and low airspeeds--meaning that they could be flying at the same altitude as a jet aircraft but at half the speed.
Egging on Congress and the FAA are manufacturers of UAVs, who see a lucrative market in domestic surveillance and aerial photography.
"It is quite easy to envision a future in which (UAVs), unaffected by pilot fatigue, provide 24-7 border and port surveillance to protect against terrorist intrusion," said Mike Heintz on behalf of the UNITE Alliance which represents Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. "Other examples are limited only by our imagination
A federal judge today banned the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution by Pennsylvania's Dover Area School District, saying the practice violated the constitutional ban on teaching religion in public schools.
The ruling by US District Judge John Jones dealt a blow to US Christian conservatives who have been pressing for the teaching of creationism in schools and who played a significant role in the re-election of President George W Bush
"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in a public school classroom," Jones wrote in a 139-page opinion.
I feel that this revelation is long overdue. Intelligent Design is not a biological theory, and has no place in biology, or science classes anywhere in the world. If it were a religious studies class, or some kind of 'science vs religion' paper, it would be more than appropriate to discuss. I mean, its called the Theory of Evolution for a reason, because its a theory. Its much like atomic theory. It's not solidly 'proven science', but its generally accepted. Evolution is less widely accepted, because of the 'gaps' in the historical record, but its still only a theory. I don't think the theory of intelligent design deserves a place alongside the study of the effects of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere or the boiling point of mercury. Its just not a scientific theory.
Garry Evans paints a picture of a sector in crisis: GPs are excluded from maternity care; obstetricians are aging or leaving the country; midwives are taking on more and more complex cases, but have inadequate training; and midwife shortages mean pregnant women in some areas are struggling to find anyone to deliver their babies.
First of all, GP's are not excluded from maternity care - All pregnacy-related doctors visits are free - You just dont need a doctor, just because you're pregnant (in a normal situation, if you're having one child at a time and dont have insane medical conditions...).
Seccond, all midwives in the country have to have both A:Training under government regulations, and B:Sit state finals for registration, as well as yearly reveiws of practice.
...called for an urgent review of the whole system, including:
* reintegration of family doctors into maternity services to allow more joint care
Why is this needed? People had been having babies without doctors for thousands of years, and they've been fine. Birth is a natural thing, and the chance of getting sick or dying in childbirth is -tiny-. I guess with the PHO's, GP's need something new to bitch about why they're not making yet more money.
"The use of a stingray, and a tingleray at election meetings and a very hot ray which can pass through walls is not acceptable. Candidates should have the use of a Council car."
He's right, tinglerays aren't very acceptable. He presents some other critisms while still remaining on topic about the 'hot rays'
"Let's have a look at some of the broken promises of the last election. Despite being recently tarsealed, the manholes in Bletsoe Avenue between Selwyn and Strickland Streets have not been sealed around with P1 grade seal resulting in noise when traffic rides over them to the annoyance of Bletsoe Avenue residents. The Cheviot Street bus stop on Selwyn Street has been marked, then blacked out. The stop is still there, but has not been re-marked. The bus stop on the school side of the road has been marked. I also seek police neighbourhood enquiries as to whom is using a hot ray in Cheviot Street."
Obviously, if you cared about your health, you'd elect him to be on the Canterbury Health Board aswell!
"There is no such thing as schizophrenia, the syndrome is all done with transmitting bugs and electronic devices, mostly by a team of political people, and it is an easy fall back diagnosis for psychiatrists. It is my intention to seek the word schizophrenia be scrapped, and also scrap aural dysfunction or aural disease as well.
In these days of x-rays, microwave ovens, fishing sonar, gamma rays etc, the telephone line blocking of complaints to the police, and the telephoning of police, when a person goes to the police station, that the person is acting strangely and the precedent for Police to totally refuse to carry out any neighbourhood enquiries, but only offer a trip to Hillmorton mental prison-hospital is not acceptable.
I state in good faith that to the best of my knowledge and belief, as at the date of my consenting to nomination that I have no conflict(s) of interest with the Canterbury District Health Board. I state in good faith that to the best of my knowledge and belief, as at the date of my consenting to nomination that I do not believe that conflict(s) of interest with the Canterbury District Health Board are likely to arise in the future."
He's also running for community board,
"What with people in our area almost universally being refused a warrant of fitness when their vehicle is in quite good order, many people are now walking home with heavy groceries. While the Council is ardent on parking tickets, it is not so ardent on enforcing overhanging growth notices on people who ignore council notices to cut back growth overhanging street berms and street footpaths against the front fence of the house. I will chip away to get something done about this."
Apparently the whole story goes...
This guy lives on Cheviot street, and he lost his warrant of fitness for his car, and has to take the bus, and thinks neighbours are using a hotray to spy on him. He went to the police about it, and they told him to go to Hilmorton
Does anyone else feel the need to wrap themselfs in tin foil and walk up and down Cheviot Street waving a hairdryer?
If you're interested, here's the text of my email:
To (the) Muslim community of Auckland and NZ in general -
I'm sure that you being Muslims, and I an atheist and a secular humanist, we will often disagree on a number of things. However, I don't think the right of all New Zealanders to live free of persecution is one of these. Yesterday you experienced petty hatred, I hope tomorrow you will experience the moral support of other New Zealanders, and I'll start by offering mine.