Daily Archives: August 1, 2011

Debt deal offers only small blessings for economy

By David Lawder – The tentative deal to avoid a crushing debt default is at best a mild relief for the U.S. economy that nearly stalled in the first half of the year and has yet to show signs of any realistic pickup.

“This will have minimal impact on the economy. The cuts are not there for the first couple of years, which really makes you wonder if they’re really going to happen at all,” said Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland.

Economists were stunned on Friday (7/29/11) when data showed the U.S. economy grew just 0.4 percent in the first three months of this year — perilously close to contraction — and picked up unimpressively to 1.3 percent in the second quarter. more> http://tinyurl.com/3umeaz4




By Ralph Jarvis – Scientists estimate that roughly 3000 individuals existed 50,000 years ago. They survived by adaptation to change, ability to understand consequences of doing nothing, and a willingness to prudently experiment.

Now, let’s fast forward to the 21st century. It is estimated that we have a population of about 7 billion people. So why is this important? Well, for starters, mankind is truly in jeopardy of extinction within the next 100 to 200 years.

We are still using 18th-century accounting practices that only recognizes sales, costs and assets. Before we get into an argument, it is true that please business accounting principles have been updated and standardized for the last 200 years. Nonetheless, profitability is inherently calculated on the cost of resources, cost of production, and fulfilling market needs without regard to the consequences of resource depletion. more> http://tinyurl.com/3jvowyb

How Do We Engineer Autos for 54.5 MPG?

By Alexander Wolfe – The Obama administration has cut its 2025 fuel economy target for automakers from 56.2 miles per gallon to 54.5 mpg. Shaving 1.7 mpg from the goal is apparently garnering early positive response from Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, and Hyundai.  Nevertheless, tough technical impediments remain towards meeting such a high Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) bar.

My point is, while 40 mpg is mostly achievable, the 50-plus mpg benchmark is, to force an analogy, a gas station too far. Still, if we attack the challenge on multiple fronts, we can get close. Listed below are the areas we’ll have to attack.

  • Materials
  • Form Factor
  • Powertrains
  • Tires
  • Fuel
  • IVHS (Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems)

more> http://tinyurl.com/3gzhjws