24 June 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

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Evil Airline Scum and Carbon Monoxide

Conservation of Text Strikes Again

The Airlines

Richard Factor quote about airline rules in "Middle Seat" column in the Wall Street Journal Scott McCartney writes a column for the Wall Street Journal.  The "Middle Seat Mailbox" is a potpourri of reader comments and his replies.  Whenever appropriate, i.e., whenever the subject of "airline rules" comes up, I send a pithy comment.  He doesn't know I have an "Evil Airline Scum" softkey!  Here's more of this "Double Jeopardy" mailbox column.

Carbon Monoxide

Another hobbyhorse of mine is, of course, the PriUPS.  I sent a slightly less dyspeptic comment to Science News in response to an interesting article they published.  This article made the point

Richard Factor letter to Science News about small generators and carbon monoxide

that the cheap generators which are the natural competition to the PriUPS project generate a lot of carbon monoxide.  This is a subject I've covered at some length on the PriUPS site, where I noted that the Prius, among its many virtues, emits very little CO.  In fact, I measured it as precisely zero in a brief test. 

One of the major criticisms of PriUPS is that these little generators are very inexpensive, so why go to all the trouble and expense of hooking up your car to your house when you can supply power for just a few hundred dollars.  I normally counter that argument with the obvious fact that if you already have the car, it will cost you little, and the equally-obvious but often-ignored fact that if you're going to hook up the generator to the house, the actual electrical work will cost neither more nor less than it will with the PriUPS.

With the publication of the Science News article, I can point to an additional argument:  The small generator can poison or kill you.  That is, I could if I were an alarmist.  If people were dying right and left from portable generators, I think we might have read more about it by now.  But you can hardly blame me for using the article as an opportunity to respond and to get a little publicity for my project.

Credit Card Monopolists

I have no correspondence to show about another of my rabble-rousing activitiescomplaining about the credit card company contracts that make it impossible to compete with them while allowing them to tax the entire economy.  Perhaps in my correspondence I have been sufficiently vitriolic but not entertaining enough.  Or vice versa.  I'll keep trying.

Bird Words

Photo of Wagner's Finches Supreme birdseed package Have you ever had a palaver with a parson about "pileated"?  I have.  I know nothing about birds, but I love bird words and bird names.  Here's today's sighting, as the bird feeder was refilled.  I guess I'm not surprised about the usual marketing and packaging excess for even the most mundane of products, such as birdseed.  It's just something I never thought about until my housemate installed a television set for Snookie the cat.

Do you suppose this is ever served with grackle gravy?

NP:  "The Great Mistake" - The Bevis Frond

Richard Factor

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