News and Notes: 6-20-2008

Written by Paul Zannucci on 7:53 AM

From NewScientist: Scrapping 'mpg' could boost sales of greener cars

What they are wanting to go to is a system that shows how many gallons per 100 miles a car uses: "For instance, trading in an SUV that travels 10 miles for every gallon of fuel for another that can go 20 miles, saves 5 gallons on a 100 mile journey. However, trading a small 25-mpg car for a 50-mpg car saves only 2 gallons per 100 miles travelled."

They also suggest that the car seller should try to help you understand the math: "The researchers also think consumers could make more informed choices if...dealerships helped them make the correct calculations."

First of all, dealerships are well known for helping you understand math, are they not? I'm sure they would take a few extra moments away from convincing you that you just made a financial deal Warren Buffet would be amazed by to help you calculate how much your new mini-van was going to cost you at the pump.

Why not just put the cost of fuel per year and month based on the average mileage driven at the current cost of fuel (you could provide a table so that you don't have to change the sticker all the time). For instance, at $4 per gallon, my 12 MPG Jeep costs $4000 per year to run for 12,000 miles, the national average. If, on the other hand, I bought the 29 MPG Escape Hybrid, it would cost me $1655 per year for gas. That would save me $2345 per year, or $195 per month, on gas. If people think about it in those terms, as impacting their monthly budgets, it could actually change buying decisions.
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From CNN: McCain attacks Obama for opting out of public financing

In (an) e-mail, Obama said the public campaign financing system allowed "special interests [to] drown out the voices of the American people" and asked his supporters to "declare our independence from a broken system."

Conveniently, now that Obama has raked in major cash, he sees things a little differently than he did just a few months ago:

QUESTION: “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”
OBAMA: “Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (r-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Midwest Democracy Network Presidential Candidate Questionnaire: The Responses Of John Edwards And Barack Obama,” Midwest Democracy Network, Released 11/27/07)
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From Yahoo News: Scientists believe Mars lander exposed ice crumbs

"Crumbs of bright material initially photographed in the trench later vanished, meaning they must have been frozen water that vaporized after being exposed, Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a statement."

Good thing they spent a lot of money putting all sorts of sophisticated instruments on that lander. The soil dug out of the trench was found to NOT contain any water. Now if ET can just walk past the camera, we'll know if there's life on Mars.
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From International Herald Tribune (NYT): U.S. says exercise by Israel seemed directed at Iran

"Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities."

There's been no word that I know of from Barack Obama who hasn't ruled out, and in fact seems to prefer, an alliance with Iran.
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From CNS: Dems Challenge Bush on Executive Ban on Offshore Drilling

In typical Democrat fashion, they didn't actually address the issue but just spit back a pile of half-truths and liberal rhetoric. President's Bush's call on Wednesday for Congress to lift its 27-year moratorium on offshore drilling is an "example of typical Bush White House politics," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) told Cybercast News Service Thursday.
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