Stateside With Rosalea: Miscellany
Although the Bay's natural air-conditioner (fog off the Pacific Ocean) has now kicked in, the days around the last weekend in June were dominated by a big old high sitting off the coast, raising temperatures and lowering the ability of air to move freely. The local air quality management authority declared Thursday, Friday and Monday "Spare the Air" days.
And because they were the first three Spare the Air days of summer, all public transit in the Bay Area was free. Getting cars off the streets and freeways is one of the major ways to reduce air pollution, and if pollution can be kept within federally mandated guidelines, then the transit operators remain eligible for government funding.
Read about Spare the Air and other anti-pollution initiatives at http://www.sparetheair.org/
::GW WUZ HAIR::
My free trips to work continued for the rest of the week because we had one of the new hydrogen fuel cell buses on our route--so new that it didn't yet have the farebox installed. Besides the H2O conversion technology, the bus uses its own braking and slowing to store electricity in the fuel cell for future use. It's as silent as a lamb when at a standstill.
Recalling that on a recent trip to Sacramento our beloved leader was taken on a tour of these buses, I had a quick squizz for any graffiti he might have Sharpie-d onto the bus seat or scratched into the window. You know, just a nice friendly touch so we'd feel right at home in the magic bus!
Speaking of magic, a new movie asks who waved the wand that made the electric car disappear. The problem with the electric car from the US business model perspective is that it doesn't create a reliance on anything other than the electricity that already gushes out of everyone's home outlet. There's no need for the kind of distribution network that hydrogen fuel cell technology demands, for example.
I believe China will be the technology leader on this one. The electric bike has been refined and developed over decades of experimentation there, and the Chinese have a far better attitude towards design. Even in something as simple as a kitchen broom or a floor mop, Chinese-made products are superior because the designers/makers of them take into account the way the tool is used.
By contrast, the US concentrates on creating sweepers and mops that look snazzy and have a constant need for consumables to keep them in operating condition. Within a year, a new model has been brought out that uses different cloths or sponges, and the old consumables are taken off the shelves so you're forced to buy the next useless thing.
The Japanese PM's visit to Graceland reminded me of that scene in the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch, where Lilo's visitor gets to perform Elvis songs. All that was missing was GWB's red mumu. What's next? A trip to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tennessee, for Kim Song Il if he'll just lay down those arms?