Monthly Archives: May 2011

New Polymers Lead to “Clean” Toxic Waste

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Some blue polymers, called “DeconGel” were introduced in 2009 and are now providing a safe, efficient way to clean up hazardous waste spills from Hungarian toxic alkali sludge through nuclear waste from Japan‘s March earthquake.  The story of the invention of this product is right from a text book: “Mistake leads to new industry.”

Read more at CNN Money.

More Government Snitches Coming to Your Vehicle

Current (2008) logo for the United States Nati...

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Maybe it’s better put as “Your Vehicle Snitches on You More.”  The wonderful ODB-II port on our cars has gone beyond letting your car’s mechanic know which parts are bad or which pollution-control laws your car has been violating.  There are cases in Canada and now Michigan where the police have been extracting information from cars to issue tickets and to provide as evidence in court.  (Check out ODB-III, which makes things much worse.)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to call for mandatory installation of “black boxes” in automobiles in June, and engineering groups are weighing in on which data the boxes should collect and who should access it.

“When the vehicle crashes, we want to make sure that the first person who gets access to the data is the owner,” says Tom Kowalick, chairman of IEEE Global Standards for Motor Vehicle EDRs, as well as an author of seven books on EDR technology. “Right now, no data is secure. There are 20,000 tow-aways in America every day, and none of them has secure data.”

Read the Full Story at Design News.

New, Government-Funded Video Games Coming Our Way

Opera singer Sondra Radvanovsky sings at the N...

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As if there wasn’t enough news about government waste at every level, here’s a new story just out:

The National Endowment for the Arts has declared Video Games a Valid Form of Art!

In case you haven’t been keeping track, the US Federal government has already spent more than $4,000,000,000 on what it calls “art.”

Specifically, the revisions for Arts in Media guidelines now state “all available media platforms such as the internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.” Grantees can expect funding from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the platform and complexity of the project.

United States Negotiating Secret Agreement to Store Passenger Data for 15 Years

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Can you believe we had to find out about this from a UK-based Newspaper?  The Guardian is reporting that it obtained a “restricted” draft of an agreement between Washington and Brussels that would allow the US to retain all passenger information about anyone who flies between the UK and the US for 15 years.

They will be keeping everything — Names, Address, Credit Card Numbers, Credit Information, Ethnic Origin, Political Opinions, and details of Health and Sex Life.  Everything they can get their hands on.  Absolutely amazing.  Or maybe not…

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