October 28, 2006 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Philosophy, Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment








Attach a string to a point on a curve. Extend the string so that it is tangent to the curve at the point of attachment. Then wind the string up, keeping it always taut. The locus of points traced out by the end of the string is called the involute of the original curve, and the original curve is called the evolute of its involute. This process is illustrated above for a circle.

Although a curve has a unique evolute, it has infinitely
involutes corresponding to different choices of initial point. An involute can also be thought of as any curve orthogonal
to all the tangents to a given curve.

The following table lists the involutes of some common curves, some of which are illustrated above.

curve involute
astroid 1/2
times as large
cardioid 3
times as large
a spiral
equal cycloid
deltoid 1/3
times as large
unnamed curve
smaller epicycloid
similar hypocycloid
logarithmic spiral involute another logarithmic spiral
or nephroid 2 times as large
semicubical parabola involute half a parabola


October 28, 2006 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Economics, Financial, Globalization, History | Leave a comment





Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923

By Hans F. Sennholz

“Mises Daily Article”

Posted on10/28/2006

This article is excerpted from the book
The Age of Inflation

The German inflation of 1914–1923 had an inconspicuous
beginning, a creeping rate of one to two percent. On the first day of the war, the German
Reichsbank, like the other central banks of the belligerent powers, suspended
redeemability of its notes in order to prevent a run on its gold reserves.

Like all the other banks, it offered assistance to the central government in financing
the war effort. Since taxes are always unpopular, the German government preferred to
borrow the needed amounts of money rather than raise its taxes substantially. To this end
it was readily assisted by the Reichsbank, which discounted most treasury obligations.

A growing percentage of government debt thus found its way into the vaults of the
central bank and an equivalent amount of printing press money into people’s cash holdings.
In short, the central bank was monetizing the growing government debt.

By the end of the war the amount of money in circulation had risen fourfold and prices
some 140 percent. Yet the German mark had suffered no more than the British pound, was
somewhat weaker than the American dollar but stronger than the French franc. Five years
later, in December 1923, the Reichsbank had issued 496.5 quintillion marks, each of which
had fallen to one-trillionth of its 1914 gold value.[1]

How stupendous! Practically every economic good and service was costing trillions of
marks. The American dollar was quoted at 4.2 trillion marks, the American penny at 42
billion marks. How could a European nation that prided itself on its high levels of
education and scholarly knowledge suffer such a thorough destruction of its money? Who
would inflict on a great nation such evil which had ominous economic, social, and
political ramifications not only for Germany but for the whole world? Was it the victors
of World War I who, in diabolical revenge, devastated the vanquished country through
ruinous financial manipulation and plunder? Every mark was printed by Germans and issued
by a central bank that was governed by Germans under a government that was purely German.
It was German political parties, such as the Socialists, the Catholic Centre Party, and
the Democrats, forming various coalition governments, that were solely responsible for the
policies they conducted. Of course, admission of responsibility for any calamity cannot be
expected from any political party.

How could a European nation that prided itself on its
high levels of education and scholarly knowledge suffer such a thorough destruction of its

The reasoning that led these parties to inflate the national currency at such
astronomical rates is not only interesting for economic historians, but also very
revealing of the rationale for monetary destruction. The doctrines and theories that led
to the German monetary destruction have since then caused destruction in many other
countries. In fact, they may be at work right now all over the western world. In our
judgment, four erroneous doctrines or theories guided the German monetary authorities in
those baleful years.

No Inflation in Germany

The most amazing economic sophism that was advanced by eminent financiers, politicians,
and economists endeavored to show that there was neither monetary nor credit inflation in
Germany. These experts readily admitted that the nominal amount of paper money issued was
indeed enormous. But the real value of all currency in circulation, that is, the
gold value in terms of gold or goods prices, they argued, was much lower than before the
war or than that of other industrial countries.

Minister of Finance and celebrated economist Helfferich repeatedly assured his nation
that there was no inflation in Germany since the total value of currency in circulation,
when measured in gold, was covered by the gold reserves in the Reichsbank at a much higher
ratio than before the war.[2] President of the
Reichsbank Havenstein categorically denied that the central bank had inflated the German
currency. He was convinced that it followed a restrictive policy since its portfolio was
worth, in gold marks, less than half its 1913 holdings.

Professor Julius Wolf wrote in the summer of 1922: “In proportion to the need,
less money circulates in Germany now than before the war. This statement may cause
surprise, but it is correct. The circulation is now 15–20 times that of pre-war days,
whilst prices have risen 40–50times.”[3] Similarly
Professor Elster reassured his people that “however enormous may be the apparent rise
in the circulation in 1922, actually the figures show a decline.”[4]

The Statistical Bureau of the German government even calculated the real values of the
per capita circulation in various countries. It, too, concluded that there was a shortage
of currency in Germany, but a great deal of inflation abroad.

Gold value of monies in
circulation, gold marks per person















United States of America



Source: Wirtschaft und Statistjk, 1923, No. 1.

(To arrive at US dollar amounts these figures should be divided by 4.2)

Of course, this fantastic conclusion drawn by monetary authorities and experts bore
ominous consequences for millions of people. Through devious sophisms it simply removed
the cause of disaster from individual responsibility and thus also all limits to the
issuance of more paper money.

The source of this momentous error probably lies in the ignorance of one of the most
important determinants of money value, which is the very attitude of people toward money.
For one reason or another people may vary their cash holdings. An increase in cash
holdings by many people tends to raise the exchange value of money; reduction in cash
holdings tends to lower it. Now in order to change radically their cash holdings,
individuals must have cogent reasons. They naturally enlarge their holdings whenever they
anticipate rising money value as, for instance, in a depression. And they reduce their
holdings whenever they expect declining money value. In the German hyperinflation they
reduced their holdings to an absolute minimum and finally avoided any possession at all.
It is obvious that goods prices must then rise faster and the value of money depreciate
faster than the rate of money creation. If the value of individual cash holdings declines
faster than the rate of money printing, the value of the total stock of money must also
depreciate faster than this rate. This is so well understood that even the mathematical
economists emphasize the money “velocity” in their equations and calculations of
money value.[5]
But the German monetary authorities were unaware of such basic principles of human action.

For Health, Education, Welfare, and Full Employment

Immediately after the war the German government, under the leadership of the Socialist
Party, embarked upon heavy expenditures for health, education, and welfare. The demands on
the treasury were extremely heavy anyway because of demobilization expenses, the demands
of the Armistice, the disorders of the revolution, and the staggering deficits of the
nationalized industries, especially the railroads, postal services, telephone, and
telegraph. Public administration by the new men raised to power by the revolution,
nevertheless, was extravagant, as the resources made available by the creation of new
money were apparently unlimited. A number of measures for the nationalization of certain
industries (e.g., the coal, electrical, and potash industries) were introduced, but failed
to become law. The eight-hour day was enacted, and labor unions were given many legal
immunities and privileges. In fact, a system of labor councils was set up which authorized
the workers in each enterprise to elect representatives who shared in the management of
the company! While government expenditures rose by leaps and bounds, the revenue suffered
a gradual decline until, in October 1923, only 0.8 percent of government expenses were
covered by tax revenues. For the period from 1914 to 1923 scarcely fifteen percent of the
expenses were covered by means of taxes. In the final phase of the inflation the German
government experienced a complete atrophy of the fiscal system.

In October 1923, only 0.8% of government expenses were
covered by tax revenues.

The depreciation of the currency brought about the destruction of taxable wealth in the
form of mortgages, bonds, annuities, and pensions, which in turn reduced government
revenue. Some speculators reaped spectacular profits from the depreciation, but they
easily evaded the tax collector. Moreover, the fiscal policies of the socialist government
were openly hostile toward capital and frequently endeavored to impose confiscatory
capital levies upon all wealth. Secretary of the Treasury Erzberger even vowed that
“in the future Germany the rich should be no more.”[6] Consequently a
massive “flight of capital” from Germany developed as all classes of savers
invested their money in foreign bank accounts, currencies bills, securities, etc. Much
taxable wealth was removed from the grasp of tax collectors.

Finally, the rapid depreciation of currency greatly reduced all tax liabilities during
the time interval between the taxable transaction and the date of tax payment. The
taxpayer usually paid a sum whose real value was greatly reduced by inflation.
Nevertheless, government expenditure accelerated while revenue in terms of real value
continued to decline. The growing deficits then were met with even larger quantities of
printing press money, which in turn generated ever larger deficits. The German monetary
authorities, in fact, were trapped in a vicious circle from which they did not know how,
nor have the courage, to extricate themselves.

The leading monetary authority, Dr. Helfferich, even warned his people against the dire
consequences of monetary stabilization.

To follow the good counsel of stopping the printing of notes would mean refusing to
economic life the circulating medium necessary for transactions, payments of salaries and
wages, etc. It would mean that in a very short time the entire public, and above all the
Reich, could no longer pay merchants, employees, or workers. In a few weeks, besides the
printing of notes, factories, mines, railways, and post offices, national and local
government, in short, all national and economic life would be stopped.[7]

The Balance of Payments and the Treaty of Versailles

Throughout the period of the inflation the most popular explanation of the monetary
depreciation laid the blame on an unfavorable balance of payments, which in turn was
blamed on the payment of reparations and other burdens imposed by the Treaty of
Versailles. To most German writers and politicians, the government deficits and the paper
inflation were not the causes but the consequences of the external depreciation of the

The wide popularity of this explanation which charged the victorious allies with full
responsibility for the German disaster bore ominous implications for the future. Its
simplicity made it appealing to the masses of economically ignorant people whose
chauvinism and nationalism always make the idea of foreign intrigue and conspiracy so
palatable. The intellectual and political leaders who actively propagated the doctrine
were sowing the seeds for the whirlwind they reaped a decade later.

The wide popularity of this explanation which charged
the victorious allies with full responsibility for the German disaster bore ominous
implications for the future.

During those baleful years, Germany actually procured gratuitously from abroad large
quantities of raw materials and foodstuffs. According to various authoritative estimates,
foreign individuals and banks bought at least sixty billion paper marks which the
Reichsbank had floated abroad at an average price of one-fourth gold mark for a paper
mark. The depreciation of the mark to one-trillionth of its earlier value repudiated these
foreign claims to German goods. Thus foreigners suffered losses of some fifteen billion
gold marks, or some $3.5 billion US dollars, which was eight times more than Germany had
paid in foreign exchange on account of reparations.

But even if it had been true that excessive burdens had been thrust on Germany by the
Allies, there was no need for any monetary depreciation. Both phenomena are entirely
independent. If excessive burdens are placed on a government, whether they be foreign or
domestic, that government must raise taxes, or borrow some funds, or curtail other
expenditures. Excessive reparation payments may necessitate greatly higher taxes on the
populace, or large loans that reduce the supply of savings for industry and commerce, or
painful cuts in government service and employment. The standards of living of the people
thus burdened will probably be depressed — unless the reduction of bureaucracy should
release new productive energy. But the value of money is not affected by the reparation
burden unless economic productivity is impaired by the fund-raising.

Once government has achieved the necessary budgetary surplus the payment of reparations
is a simple matter of exchange. The treasury buys the necessary gold or foreign exchange
from its central bank and delivers it to the recipient government. The loss of gold or
foreign exchange then necessitates a corresponding reduction of central bank money, which
in turn tends to depress goods prices. Lower goods prices encourage more exports while
they discourage imports, that is, generate what is commonly called a “favorable
balance of payments” or new influx of gold and foreign exchange. In short, there can
be no shortage of gold or foreign exchange as long as the central bank refrains from
inflation and monetary depreciation. The German monetary authorities flatly denied this
economic reasoning. Instead, they preferred to lament about the excessive burdens thrust
onto Germany and the unfavorable balance of payments generated thereby. In 1923 they added
yet another factor: the French occupation of the Ruhr district. The Central Statistical
Office put it this way:

The fundamental cause of the dislocation of the German monetary system is the
disequilibrium of the balance of payments. The disturbance of the national finances and
the inflation are in their turn the consequences of the depreciation of the currency. The
depreciation of the currency upset the Budget balance, and determined with an inevitable
a divergence between income and expenditure, which provoked the upheaval.[8]

Again I quote Dr. Helfferich:

Inflation and the collapse of the exchange are children of the same parent: the
impossibility of paying the tributes imposed on us. The problem of restoring the
circulation is not a technical or banking problem; it is, in the last analysis, the
problem of the equilibrium between the burden and the capacity of the German economy for
supporting this burden.[9]

Even American economists echoed the German theory. Professor Williams presented this
causal order: “Reparation payments, depreciating exchanges, rising import and export
prices, rising domestic prices, consequent budgeting deficits, and at the same time an
increased demand for bank credit; and finally increased note-issue.”[10] Professor
Angell contended that “The reality of the type of analysis which runs from the
balance of payments and the exchanges to general prices and the increased issue of
paper seems to be definitely established.”[11]

Speculators Did It

When all other explanations are exhausted, modern governments usually fall back on the
speculator, who is held responsible for all economic and social evils. What the witch was
to medieval man, what the capitalist is to socialists and communists, the speculator is to
most politicians and statesmen: the embodiment of evil. He is said to be imbued with
ruthless and fickle selfishness that is capable of wrecking the national economy,
government plans, and, in the case of German inflation, the national currency. No matter
how blatantly contradictory this explanation may be, it is most popular with government
authorities in search of a convenient explanation for the failure of their own policies.

The same German officials who denied the very existence of inflation lamented the
depreciation caused by speculators, or they blamed the Allied reparation burdens and
simultaneously denounced speculators for the depreciation. Dr. Havenstein, the President
of the Reichsbank, embracing every conceivable theory that exculpated his policies, also
pointed at the speculators. Before a parliamentary committee he testified: “On the
28th of March began the attack on the foreign exchange market. In very numerous classes of
the German economy, from that day onwards, thought was all for personal interests and not
for the needs of the country.”[12]

In a chorus the newspapers chanted the charge:

According to all appearances the fall of the mark did not have its origin in the New
York exchange, from which it may be concluded that in Germany there was active speculation
directed towards the continual rise of the dollar.

We are witnessing a rapid increase in the number of those who speculate on the fall of
the mark and who are acquiring vested interests in a continual depreciation.

The enormous speculation on the rise of the American dollar is an open secret. People
who, having regard to their age, their inexperience, and their lack of responsibility, do
not deserve support, have nevertheless secured the help of financiers, who are thinking
exclusively of their own immediate interests.

Those who have studied seriously the conditions of the money market state that the
movement against the German mark remained on the whole independent of foreign markets for
more than six months. It is the German bears, helped by the inaction of the Reichsbank,
who have forced the collapse in the exchange.

In its broadest sense speculation is present in every economic action that makes
provision for an uncertain future. The student who studies aeronautical engineering
speculates on the future demand for his services. The businessman who enlarges his
inventory speculates on a profitable market in the future. The housewife who hoards sugar
speculates on the availability of sugar in the future. The buyer or seller of goods or
securities hopes to make a profit from future changes in prices. All such actions reflect
a natural motivation of free men to improve their material well-being or, at least, to
avert losses.

When speculators observe or anticipate more inflation and monetary depreciation they
naturally endeavor to sell the depreciating currency and buy goods or foreign exchange
that do not depreciate. They are preserving their working capital. Thus they are promoting
not only their own interests but also those of society, which benefits from the
preservation of productive capital. The government that is actively destroying the
currency is injuring the national interest — successful speculators are safeguarding
it. Surely the speculators who sold German marks and bought US dollars were proved to be
right in the end.

What the witch was to medieval man, what the capitalist
is to socialists and communists, the speculator is to most politicians and statesmen: the
embodiment of evil.

The worldwide inflation that is engulfing the western world now springs from similar
doctrines and theories. There is no Treaty of Versailles and no reparation payments that
can be blamed for the present inflation. But in many countries of Central and Western
Europe the responsibility for monetary depreciation is squarely laid on American
balance-of-payments deficits that are flooding those countries with US dollars. While
European monetary authorities are actively inflating and depreciating their own currencies
— although at slower rates than their American counterparts — they are pointing
at the US balance of payments as the ultimate cause of their currency depreciation.
As in the German hyperinflation, foreign intrigue and artifice are said to be at
work again.

American officials and politicians are quick to lay the blame for US difficulties on
foreign intrigue, especially that of “the Arabs.” Since the formation of the oil
producers’ cartel and the significant boost in oil prices, US balance-of-payments deficits
and the dollar weakness in foreign exchange markets are charged explicitly to the Arab
countries. Lest any suspicion should fall on the US monetary authorities, the American
people themselves come in for some of the blame. Their use of “excessive”
quantities of foreign oil is said to contribute to the balance-of-payments deficits and
the dollar weakness. Therefore, our political leaders and economic authorities are
debating the desirability of special taxes that would reduce the consumption of foreign
oil. After the Arab blow at economic well-being the US government is readying its blow for
the sake of financial stability.

Again the speculators are charged for a share of the blame American investors who buy
foreign securities or make direct foreign investments are said to be largely responsible
for the outflow of US funds and the loss of gold, which is creating an unfavorable balance
of payments and weakening the dollar. Moreover, Americans who prefer foreign products over
homemade products or choose to travel abroad rather than stay at home are decried as
selfish and unpatriotic. Numerous regulations imposed by the very monetary authorities who
perpetrate the inflation aim to prevent speculation in order to save the dollar.

The specious argument that denies the presence of any inflation in terms of purchasing
power or gold value has, in our judgment, not yet been raised. But it must be expected to
emerge in later phases of the inflation when our authorities will be desperate for any
argument that promises to exculpate them.

Hans F. Sennholz, Professor Emeritus Grove City College is an Adjunct Scholar of the
Mises Institute. See his articles.
Comment on the blog.

This article is excerpted from the book The
Age of Inflation


Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, The Economics of Inflation (Third impression, New
York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1968), p. 440.

[2] Kar1
Helfferich, Das Geld (Leipzig: C. L. Hirschfeld, 1923 [1910]), p. 646.

[3] Julius
Wolf, Markkurs Reparationen und russisches Geschäft (Stuttgart F. Enke Verlag,
1922), p.10.

[4] Karl
Elster, Von der Mark sur Reichsmark (Jena C. Fischer 1923) p 167.

[5] Compare
Chapter I, The Value of Money.

[6] Compare
Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, The Economics of Inflation, op cit, p. 55.

[7] Das
Geld, op cit.,
p 650.

Statistisches Reichsamt, Deutschlands Wirtschaftslage (Berlin, March 1923), p. 24.

“Die Autonomie der Reichsbank,” Berliner-Bösen-Courier, April 4, 1922,
p. 1.

[10] John
Henry Williams, “German Foreign Trade and the Reparations Payments,” Quarterly
Journal of Economics,
Vol. 36, (May 1922), p. 503.

[11] James
W. Angell, The Theory of International Prices (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard
University Press, 1926), p. 195.

[12] Quoted
by Costantino Bresciani-Turroni, op. cit., p. 63.

[13] Das
Berlin, May 22, 1923, p. 1.

Hyperinflation in Germany, 1914-1923

Mises Daily Article

Saturday, October 28, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Art, Books, Globalization, History, Philosophy, Science & Technology | Leave a comment






Edge 194

EDGE 194 - links, graphics, video - is available online at:

Published by EDGE Foundation, Inc., 5 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022

Friday, October 27, 2006
Genova, 26 ottobre - 7 novembre

It's that time of year and all roads lead to Genoa and the city-wide Festival
della Scienza 2006 which opens today. Edge will be there once again, staging a
panel discussion on "The Expanding Third Culture" (see essay below) with Seth
Lloyd, Robert Trivers, and Gloria Origgi on Tuesday, October 31st at 3:00 pm.
Numerous other Edge contributors will also be present during the two week

Edge Panel at Festival della Scienza, Genoa
"The Expanding Third Culture"
Seth Lloyd, Gloria Origgi, Robert Trivers; moderator, John Brockman
Tuesday, October 31, 3:00pm
Palazzo Ducale - Sala del Maggior Consiglio
P.zza Matteotti 9
[click here]

[Download a pdf of the Festival della Scienza program]


By John Brockman

Just as science-that is, reliable methods for obtaining knowledge-has encroached
on areas formerly considered to belong to the humanities (such as psychology),
science is also encroaching on the social sciences, especially economics,
geography, history, and political science. Not just the broad observation-based
and statistical methods of the historical sciences but also detailed techniques
of the conventional sciences (such as genetics and molecular biology and animal
behavior) are proving essential for tackling problems in the social sciences.
Science is the most accurate way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it
is the human spirit, the role of great men in history, or the structure of DNA.
Humanities scholars and historians who spurn it condemn themselves to
second-rate status and produce unreliable results.

By Richard Dawkins

Either Jesus had a father or he didn't. The question is a scientific one, and
scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same
is true of any miracle - and the deliberate and intentional creation of the
universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either
it happened or it didn't. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state
of uncertainty we can put a probability on it - an estimate that may change as
more information comes in. Humanity's best estimate of the probability of divine
creation dropped steeply in 1859

when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during
the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory
in the nineteenth century to established fact today.
The Chamberlain tactic of snuggling up to 'sensible' religion, in order to
present a united front against ('intelligent design') creationists, is fine if
your central concern is the battle for evolution. That is a valid central
concern, and I salute those who press it, such as Eugenie Scott in Evolution
versus Creationism. But if you are concerned with the stupendous scientific
question of whether the universe was created by a supernatural intelligence or
not, the lines are drawn completely differently. On this larger issue,
fundamentalists are united with 'moderate' religion on one side, and I find
myself on the other.


By Brian Greene

...some have argued that if, after decades of research involving thousands of
scientists, the theory is still a work in progress, it's time to give up. But to
suggest dropping research on the most promising approach to unification because
the work has failed to meet an arbitrary timetable for complete success is,
well, silly.

I have worked on string theory for more than 20 years because I believe it
provides the most powerful framework for constructing the long-sought unified
theory. Nonetheless, should an inconsistency be found, or should future studies
reveal an insuperable barrier to making contact with experimental data, or
should new discoveries reveal a superior approach, I'd change my research focus,
and I have little doubt that most string theorists would too.

But this hasn't happened.


October 25, 2006

War & Peace
By Michael Shermer

Was Darwin's approach to science and religion healthy and logical? To answer
that question I devised a three-tiered model on the relationship of science and

1. CONFLICTING-WORLDS MODEL. This "warfare" model holds that science and
religion are mutually exclusive ways of knowing, where one is right and the
other is wrong. In this model, the findings of modern science are always a
potential threat to one's faith and thus they must be carefully vetted against
religious truths before acceptance; likewise, the tenets of religion are always
a potential threat to science and thus they must be viewed skeptically.

2. SAME-WORLDS MODEL. More conciliatory in its nature, this position holds that
science and religion are two ways of examining the same reality; as science
progresses to a deeper understanding of the natural world it will reveal that
many ancient religious tenets are true.

3. SEPARATE-WORLDS MODEL. On this tier science and religion are neither in
conflict nor in agreement. Today it is the job of science to explain the natural
world, making obsolete ancient religious sagas of origins and creation. Yet,
religion thrives because it still serves a useful purpose as an institution for
social cohesiveness and as a guide to finding personal meaning and spirituality.


October 18, 2006

Entrepreneur Puts Himself Up for Study In Genetic 'Tell-All'

Dr. Venter Wants to Be First To Have His DNA Mapped; Risk of Blindness Revealed

Page A1

J. Craig Venter, a biologist and brash entrepreneur, started a recent day with a
bowl of oatmeal and skim milk. Since he is genetically predisposed to heart
disease, he added "just a little" brown sugar. By the end of the day, Dr. Venter
was informed he's got a gene that quadruples his risk of going blind.

Life can be that way when you study your own DNA.

Dr. Venter, 60 years old, is best known for his role in the scientific fight to
be the first to decipher the full sequence of the human genome, the billions of
DNA letters, or chemical building blocks, that make up the average human's
genetic code. In the late 1990s, he headed a private company, Celera Genomics,
which tried to finish the task before the Human Genome Project, a public-sector
effort paid for by the U.S. government and others. Both sides reached a
negotiated "tie" announced by the White House in 2000.

After Dr. Venter was ousted by Celera, in a dispute over business strategy, he
revealed a big secret. More than half the DNA decoded by Celera was his own. Now
he heads up his own scientific center, the nonprofit J. Craig Venter Institute
in Rockville, Md. One major activity over recent months: completing the decoding
of Dr. Venter's genome.


October 9, 2006
I'm a Celebrity, Get My Sequence!
By Kevin Davies

COMMENTARY | Two years ago, the X Prize Foundation awarded $10 million for the
first sub-orbital spaceflight. Now, a new prize -- the Archon X Prize for
Genomics -- has been formally established. The foundation will award a cool $10
million to the person or team that cracks the much-hyped "$1,000 Genome"
threshold for affordable, personal DNA sequencing.

The prize, underwritten a multi-million dollar donation by Archon Minerals
president Stewart Blusson, will go to the team that sequences the genomes of 100
people in 10 days, although unresolved for now is how complete those sequences
should be. Will the bar be set at 90 percent, 99 percent, 99.9 percent, or

...X Prize Foundation chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis said at a press
conference that he wanted to make DNA relevant to people by finding "celebrities
and leaders of industry willing to do this." Does this mean we can now expect a
crush of celebrities lobbying to join the genome list? After all, who could
resist the lure of their own personal genome, the ultimate 21st-century fashion
accessory? Paris Hilton or Tom Cruise? David Beckham or Terrell Owens?

Diamandis says reassuringly that additional members of the Genome 100 will also
include "ordinary people" - presumably he means paupers lacking multi-million
dollar bank accounts -- with some chosen by medical charities such as the March
of Dimes. They will join a select club of sequenced human genomes headed by
Craig Venter, the former Celera chief who donated his own DNA during the initial
genome assembly six years ago, and James Watson, who is having his DNA unraveled
by 454.

Celebrity sequencing will attract a lot of publicity for the X Prize, but it
risks trivializing the significance of genomic medicine. In only the rarest
cases - such as certain forms of heart disease or cancer - will trawling through
an individual sequence pinpoint flaws that underlie specific medical
manifestations. The implications of personal genomics require a lot more public
debate than they've been given so far.
There is one silver lining in the Genome 100 however - the urgency that it will
lend the cause of genetic privacy. At Harvard Medical School, George Church has
taken great lengths to protect the anonymity of subjects volunteering for his
personal genome project.

By contrast, if Larry King finds his health insurance premiums soaring if any
glitches in his sequence become apparent, he might have something to say about
it. The latest effort to ban genetic discrimination passed the Senate
unanimously, but remains tied up in the House of Representatives.

Celebrities have had a powerful influence in the halls of Congress in raising
awareness of medical concerns such as breast cancer, AIDS, and stem cell
research. Maybe the Genome 100 gimmick is just what proponents of genetic
non-discrimination needed.

Oct 17, 2006

Stephen Colbert Interviews Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, argues that there is no God. He'll
have an eternity in hell to prove it.


October 14,2006
Entangled in the Matrix Net

YouTube is a conspiracy theorist's dream, as the number of clips that claim the
collapse of the World Trade Center was a setup attest to. This democratization
continues on Google Video (soon to swallow YouTube whole and complete its
domination), which offers a number of feature documentaries including one called
The Net by German filmmaker Lutz Dammbeck. The Net recently screened at the
Vancouver International Film Festival, but you can watch it free on the Web as
many times as you would like.

This documentary explores the curious relationship between the development of
the Internet and Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a. the Unabomber).

Mr. Dammbeck interviews several influential people, including John Brockman and
Stewart Brand (old hippies turned founding members of the digerati); Robert
Taylor, who helped to initiate the Arapanet (the precursor to the Internet); and
the 90-year-old father of cybernetics, Heinz von Foerster, who offers up a few
wry observations about the nature of reality itself.

Along the way, there are also traipses through Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness
Theorem, the Macy Conferences, Theodor Adorno's Authoritarian Personality, the
connection between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the military,
Norbert Wiener and cybernetics, Henry A. Murray and the LSD experiments at
Harvard and crazy old Mr. Kaczynksi with his terror of mind control and

Are you lost yet? I've watched the film a few times, and I'm still not quite
sure what it all means, or if it means anything at all. Like the Internet
itself, the bewildering density of information requires careful sorting.

But one idea does jump out. John Brockman paraphrases a quote from Doubt and
Certainty in Science: A Biologist's Reflections on the Brain by J.Z. Young that
states: "We create tools and then we mould ourselves through our use of them."

In the brave new world of Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, et al., what does this
mean? If we create technology and then become what we have created, have we now
succeeded in making Jackass World?...

...So, are you being controlled by an elite group of cyber-hippies and ex-CIA
military types without even knowing it? Or, as Theodor Adorno believed, lulled
into a state of passivity and pseudo-individualization by pop culture. Or are
you part of what Marshall McLuhan heralded as the new dawn in which "we have
extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both
space and time as far as our planet is concerned."

[See the trailer: ]


October 14, 2006

What I want for Christmas anti-religion rant
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

A BOOK that rejects religion and argues for the non- existence of God is heading
to be the No 1 bestseller for Christmas.

Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion is at the top of the bestseller chart of the
online bookseller Amazon, and is climbing up The Times bestseller chart.

With Professor Dawkins about to travel to the US to publicise the book, sources
in online sales say that his atheistic rant against all things religious is
already trumping celebrity biographies and could take the top slot at the
festival that celebrates the birth of the founder of Christianity.

Transworld, its publisher, has had to run several reprints since the book was
published just over two weeks ago. More than 100,000 copies have now been
printed, making it the year's top-selling science book.

An Oxford science professor, Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, uses The God
Delusion to mount a bitter attack on religion in all its incarnations.

He argues that monotheism and polytheism are equally absurd and attempts to
knock down the 13th-century "proofs" for the existence of God drawn up by Thomas

He attacks more modern concepts such as the "God of the gaps", condemns
Creationism and blames religion itself rather than religious extremism for
manifestations of fundamentalism, such as suicide bombers in Islam.

In the book he writes: "Some people have views of God that are so broad and
flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for
him. One hears it said that 'God is the ultimate' or 'God is our better nature'
or 'God is the universe'.

"Of course, like any other word, the word 'God' can be given any meaning we
like. If you want to say that 'God is energy', then you can find God in a lump
of coal."

Rival science author Stephen Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College
London, whose latest book The Single Helix is due to be published soon, said:
"The polls tell us there could be 20 million Creationists in Britain.

"Twenty million people will not need a yule log this Christmas, they will be
able to burn Dawkins's book instead. Personally, I do not care if they burn my
own books, as long as they buy them first." ...


EDGE 194 - links, graphics, video - is available online at:

John Brockman, Editor and Publisher
Russell Weinberger, Associate Publisher
Karla Taylor, Editorial Assistant

EDGE Foundation, Inc.

Published by EDGE Foundation, Inc., 5 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022

EDGE Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit private operating foundation under Section
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Edge 194: Festival della Scienza | Brockman | Dawkins | Greene



Friday, October 27, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Oil & Gas, Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment






FUEL CELL CONNECTION – October 2006 Issue

Fuel Cell Connection/Fuel Cell Catalyst


PDF Versions of Fuel Cell Connection are posted at

UNSUBSCRIBE using the link at the bottom of this email.



FUEL CELL CONNECTION – October 2006 Issue



* SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

* DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

* FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

* New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

* Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power




News on U.S. Government Fuel Cell Programs

1. SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

2. NASA to Field Test Eight Fuel Cells at Lab Facility

3. USPS Expands Testing of GM Fuel Cell Vehicles

4. ORNL Research Enables Easier Hydrogen Flow

5. DOE Releases $3 Billion Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

RFP / Solicitation News

6. NSF HBCU-UP Grants Available

7. ONR BAA Includes UPS Requirement for Mobile Command and Control System

8. DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

9. Fuel Cell Systems Included as Category in NextEnergy Lab Competition

Contract / Funding Awards

10. FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

11. Minority Universities Receive Fuel Cell Funding from DOE

12. PEDA Awards Grant for 2-MW Fuel Cell Power Plant Project

13. Missile Defense Agency Awards $1.25 Million for Fuel Cell Research

14. Air Force Places $4.0 Order for Millennium Cell Fuel Cartridges

15. Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Selects Fuel Cell Providers

16. NSF Awards $76 Million for Science and Technology Centers

State Activities

17. New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

18. Virginia Expands Systems Eligible for Net-Metering

Industry Headlines

19. Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power

20. Ford, BP Open Hydrogen Fueling Station in Taylor, Michigan

21. ReliOn Fuel Cell Receives CE Certification

22. FuelCell Energy to Install Power Plant Running on Milk-Processing Waste

University Activities

23. University Fuel Cell Roundup


About Fuel Cell Connection

Subscribe at


News on U.S. Government Fuel Cell Programs



1. SECA SOFC Prototype Exceeds DOE Target Performance Specifications

A 6-kW prototype SOFC system developed by General Electric through the Solid-State
Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Program has exceeded DOE’s key performance
specifications for both efficiency and potential for low cost. The prototype achieved 49%
efficiency, well above the minimum program requirement of 35%. The system has the
potential to achieve close to
50% efficiency using
coal as fuel


2. NASA to Field Test Eight Fuel Cells at Lab Facility

The NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, will perform a field test of eight
next-generation GenSys® fuel cell systems from Plug Power. The units will provide
grid-connected power for portions of the lab facility. The project, which is expected to
begin in November, is being funded by the Ohio Department of Development’s Third
Frontier Fuel Cell Program.


3. USPS Expands Testing of GM Fuel Cell Vehicles

The U.S. Postal Service is expanding its testing of General Motors fuel cell vehicles
by adding a HydroGen3 fuel cell minivan to its fleet in Irvine, California. The minivan
will be the first fuel cell vehicle to be used in regular postal delivery service on the
West Coast.


4. ORNL Research Enables
Easier Hydrogen Flow

Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) could help distribute hydrogen more efficiently to service stations in the
future. A team of ORNL researchers has found fiber-reinforced polymer material
significantly reduces embrittlement created in metallic materials and can reduce the
number of welds and joints needed for delivering fuel.


5. DOE Releases $3 Billion Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

The Department of Energy has released its Climate Change Technology Program Strategic
Plan, detailing approximately $3 billion in federal spending for climate technology
research, development, demonstration and deployment. The plan examines hydrogen, energy
efficiency, and renewable energy among a variety of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas


RFP/Solicitation News



6. NSF HBCU-UP Grants Available

The National Science Foundation is accepting applications for grants through its
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), which will
fund Implementation Projects, Planning Projects, Education Research Projects and Targeted
Infusion Projects for undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics
(STEM) degree programs. Approximately $7 million in FY 2007 funding is anticipated, to be
split between 17 awardees. Optional letters of intent are due November 14, 2006. Full
proposals are due December 15, 2006.


7. ONR BAA Includes UPS Requirement for Mobile Command and Control System

The Office of Naval Research has issued a Broad Agency Announcement for Mobile Modular Command
and Control (M2C2) Prototype Enhancement. Responses are sought to investigate the
feasibility and practicability of improving technology developed and demonstrated under a
previous BAA. Research areas include electrical power generation and management, as well
as an uninterruptible power supply for computers and network equipment. Awards will take
the form of Cost Plus Fixed Fee contracts. Deadline for proposals is November 21, 2006.


8. DOE Science Office 2007 SBIR/STTR Solicitation Includes Hydrogen Program Area

DOE’s Office of Science issued its 2007 Small Business Innovation Research/Small
Business Technology Transfer program solicitation, which includes a program area focused
on Hydrogen Delivery and Production. Sub-topics are: Off-Board Hydrogen Bulk Storage;
Hydrogen Liquefaction; Hydrogen Compression; and Hydrogen Production. Phase I grants will
receive up to $100,000. Approximately $36 million is expected to be available for new
Phase I awards under this solicitation. Deadline for proposals is November 21, 2006.


9. Fuel Cell Systems Included as Category in NextEnergy Lab Competition

NextEnergy announced a Lab Competition, inviting teams to compete for a start-up award
package valued at $100,000. Qualifying categories of team plans include fuel cells and
other alternative energy systems. The winning team will receive a $25,000 cash infusion
plus lab space, consulting assistance, marketing exposure and a variety of other business
services worth another $75,000. Applications are due by November 24, 2006.


Contract / Funding Awards



10. FTA Awards $49 Million in Grants for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Development

The Federal Transit Authority announced $49 million in federal grants for projects to
explore new ways to successfully commercialize hydrogen fuel cell buses. The grants were
made possible through the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development Program, which was
part of the recently enacted Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity
Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Among those selected to receive grants is the
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which will receive $8.4 million to lead
its project team in the development and in-service evaluation of hybrid fuel cell buses.


11. Minority Universities Receive Fuel Cell Funding from DOE

The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy has awarded grants to four
institutions through its Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority
Institutions (HBCU/OMI) program. The four awards totaled $715,000. Two of the projects
will focus on low-temperature SOFCs and membranes for hydrogen separation.


12. PEDA Awards Grant for 2-MW Fuel Cell Power Plant Project

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) granted HydroGen Corporation
$250,000 to support the application of a 2-MW fuel cell power plant in an industrial
environment. HydroGen will work with U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works on the project,
which will use hydrogen-rich gases resulting from the steel-making process.


13. Missile Defense Agency
Awards $1.25 Million for Fuel Cell Research

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $1.25 million
follow-on-contract to Proton Energy Systems for continued development of regenerative fuel
cell technology for high altitude airships. MDA says the prototype will demonstrate the
engineering feasibility and potential utility of an unmanned, untethered, gas-filled
airship that can fly at 70,000 feet.


14. Air Force Places $4.0 Order for Millennium Cell Fuel Cartridges

The U.S. Air Force has placed a $4.0 million order for Millennium Cell’s sodium
borohydride based fuel cartridge technology. The Air Force will use the technology to
address higher energy density targets for future soldier power sources.


15. Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Selects Fuel Cell Providers

The Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge has selected Jadoo Power Systems and its
technology partner, Millennium Cell, as providers of technology that will be integrated
into multiple locations throughout the city and at the University of South Carolina.
Sponsored projects include use of fuel cells by emergency responders as well as
professional TV broadcasters.


16. NSF Awards $76 Million
for Science and Technology Centers

The National Science Foundation has awarded $76 million to fund multi-university collaborations in support of
cross-disciplinary centers that address four areas: next-generation polymers, climate
modeling, microbial oceanography and coastal environments. The NSF Science and Technology
Center for Layered Polymeric Systems will be headquartered at Case Western Reserve
University and will focus on a layering process that can combine otherwise incompatible
polymers. The funding for the centers will be spread out over the next five years.


State Activities



17. New York State Launches Project to Demonstrate Hydrogen from Hydropower

New York Governor George E. Pataki announced plans for a $21 million
hydropower-to-hydrogen initiative. The hydrogen would fuel vehicles and transit buses,
with potential sites at Niagara Falls State Park and at Western New York locations
operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.


18. Virginia Expands Systems Eligible for Net-Metering

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has expanded the state’s net-metering rules to include all systems that generate electricity
using renewable energy, now defined as energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water,
sustainable biomass, energy from waste, wave motion, tides, and geothermal power.
The state allows residential customers with systems up to 10 kW and
nonresidential customers with systems up to 500 kW to net meter.


Industry Headlines



19. Successful Field Trials in South Africa Lead to Follow-On Orders for Plug Power

Successful field trials of Plug Powers GenCore® fuel cell system for a leading South
African wireless provider have led to an order for 120 additional units to be installed at
more than 30 cell phone site locations throughout South Africa. During the 6-month field
trial, the fuel cell responded to 121 power failures at a wireless base station.


20. Ford, BP Open Hydrogen Fueling Station in Taylor, Michigan

Ford and BP opened a hydrogen fueling station in Taylor, Michigan, which will fuel a
fleet of Ford Focus fuel cell vehicles being used by the city as official vehicles. Ford
also announced it would begin deliveries of hydrogen-powered buses in late-2006.


21. ReliOn Fuel Cell Receives CE Certification

ReliOn has received CE approval for its T-1000 and T-2000 fuel cell products, which
provide backup power between 600 Watts and 12 kilowatts to communications applications.
The CE certification means a company has met all applicable performance and safety
requirements for the European Union.


22. FuelCell Energy to Install Power Plant Running on Milk-Processing Waste

FuelCell Energy announced it will supply a 750-kW Direct FuelCell® power plant to the
city of Tulare, California, where it will be used to produce electricity using milk
processing waste from large food processor plants. By purchasing the ultra-clean fuel cell
power plant, the city does not have to purchase $600,000 of Emission Reduction Credits,
which would be required if the city had installed traditional on-site power equipment.


University Activities



23. University Fuel Cell Roundup

(summaries contributed by Kathy Haq, Dir. of Outreach and Communications, National Fuel
Cell Research Center, UC Irvine,

Charles Clark, director of corporate and government relations for the University of
Akron; Martin Abraham, dean of the graduate school and professor of chemical and
environmental engineering at the University of Toledo; and John Lannutti, professor of
materials science and engineering at The Ohio State University are among the individuals
recently elected to the board of directors of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition. [14-Sept-2006,
PR Newswire US]

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built
ceramic microreactors for the
on-site reforming of
hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen
for use in fuel
cells and other portable power sources. Applications include power supplies for small
appliances and laptop computers, and on-site rechargers for battery packs used by the
“The catalytic reforming of
hydrocarbon fuels offers a nice solution to supplying hydrogen to fuel cells while
avoiding safety and storage issues related to gaseous hydrogen,”
said Paul Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Illinois
and corresponding author of a paper accepted for publication in the journal Lab on a Chip, and posted on its Web site. “The
performance of our integrated, high-temperature microreactors surpasses that of other fuel
reformer systems,” Kenis said. “Our microreactors are superior in both hydrogen
production and in long-term stability.” Kenis and his group are now attempting to
reform other, higher hydrocarbon fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.
Space Daily]

Minhua Shao, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in electrochemistry at Stony Brook
University in New York, has won the second annual Dr. Mow Shiah Lin Scholarship. The Asian
Pacific American Association at the U.S. Department of Energy’s
Brookhaven National Laboratory initiated the
scholarship, which consists of $1,000 and a plaque, to honor the late distinguished
Brookhaven Lab scientist for which it is named. Shao, who earned a B.S. in chemistry in
1999 and a M.S. in electrochemistry in 2002, both from Xiamen University in China,
currently works with senior chemist Radoslav Adzic at Brookhaven. Shao’s research focuses
on designing and developing platinum-free or low-platinum electrocatalysts that will
significantly lower the cost of fuel cells. [06-Oct-2006, Brookhaven
National Laboratory

Jerry Y.S. Lin, professor and department chair of chemical engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, recently was
appointed to the board of directors for Alchemy Enterprises, Ltd. Dr. Lin ? considered an
expert in inorganic membranes, solid oxide fuel cells, adsorption and catalysis ? also
will chair the board’s
Technology Committee. Alchemy is an
alternative energy company that is developing a new electric power cell technology it
believes will generate and manage electricity to power a broad range of applications.
Business Wire]

Researchers from the University of Minnesota-Rochester and Rochester Public Utilities
are pairing a fuel cell and a geothermal heating/cooling system at a new laboratory at
Quarry Hill Nature Center to find out how much better they are in tandem. Late this month,
university researcher Jim Licari and three other university scientists start testing a
research system housed at the lab. Electric utilities, the university, and heating and
ventilating manufacturer Trane from La Crosse, Wis., are underwriting the $147,000
project. If the Hybrid Energy System proves to be beneficial, it could be licensed to a
commercial firm and produced for the home-heating market, said Jim Walters, RPU’s customer
relations director. The study itself should be done by the end of 2007 but could be
extended six months depending upon discoveries along the way, Licari said. [18-Oct-2006,
Post-Bulletin (Rochester,

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has assigned a patent to
Texas A&M University System, College Station, for
a method of converting natural gas to olefins. The process for converting natural gas to an olefin includes heating the gas to a selected range of temperature to convert a
fraction of the gas stream to reactive hydrocarbons, primarily ethylene or acetylene, and
reacting with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst to produce the olefin, usually
ethylene.” An abstract of the invention, released by the Patent Office, said: “A
portion of the incoming natural gas may be used to heat the remainder of the natural gas
to the selected range of temperature. Hydrogen resulting from the reactions may be used to
make electricity in a fuel cell. Alternatively, hydrogen may be burned to heat the natural
gas to the selected range of temperature. The process was developed by Kenneth R. Hall,
Aydin Akgerman and Rayford G. Anthony, all from College Station, Texas, and Jerry A.
Bullin and Philip T. Eubank, both of Bryan, Texas. They were issued U.S. Patent No.
7,119,240. [19-Oct-2006,
US Fed News]




Press releases and story ideas may be forwarded to Bernadette Geyer, editor, for
consideration at fuelcellconnection@

Subscribe at


About Fuel Cell Connection


The Sponsors

US Fuel Cell Council — The US Fuel Cell Council is the business
association for anyone seeking to foster the commercialization of fuel cells in the United
States. Our membership includes producers of all types of fuel cells, as well as major
suppliers and customers. The Council is member driven, with eight active Working Groups
focusing on: Codes & Standards; Transportation; Power Generation; Portable Power;
Stack Materials and Components; Sustainability; Government Affairs; and Education &
Marketing. The Council provides its members with an opportunity to develop policies and
directions for the fuel cell industry, and also gives every member the chance to benefit
from one-on-one interaction with colleagues and opinion leaders important to the industry.
Members also have access to exclusive data, studies, reports and analyses prepared by the
Council, and access to the “Members Only” section of its web site. (

National Fuel Cell Research Center — The mission of the NFCRC is
to promote and support the genesis of a fuel cell industry by providing technological
leadership within a vigorous program of research, development and demonstration. By
serving as a locus for academic talent of the highest caliber and a non-profit site for
the objective evaluation and improvement of industrial products, NFCRC’s goal is to become
a focal point for advancing fuel cell technology. By supporting industrial research and
development, creating partnerships with State and Federal agencies, including the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) and California Energy Commission (CEC), and overcoming key
technical obstacles to fuel cell utilization, the NFCRC can become an invaluable
technological incubator for the fuel cell industry. (

National Energy Technology Laboratory — The National Energy
Technology Laboratory is federally owned and operated. Its mission is “We Solve
National Energy and Environmental Problems.” NETL performs, procures, and partners in
technical research, development, and demonstration to advance technology into the
commercial marketplace, thereby benefiting the environment, contributing to U.S.
employment, and advancing the position of U.S. industries in the global market. (

Fuel Cell Connection – October 2006

Fuel Cell Connection/Fuel Cell Catalyst

Friday, October 27, 2006


October 28, 2006 at 3:39 am | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, USA | Leave a comment





Tales of the South Pacific

Tales of the South Pacific

Tales of the South Pacific is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories written by James A. Michener in 1946 [based upon his observations while stationed as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy on the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides islands.

The stories about World War II in and surrounding the Pacific Islands Coral Sea are inter-connected by recurring characters and several loose plot lines (the Solomon Islands campaign and a fictitious amphibious invasion) but focus on interactions between Americans and a variety of colonial, immigrant and native characters. The musical play
South Pacific (which opened on Broadway on April 7, 1949), by Rodgers and Hammerstein, was based on these stories.

James A. Michener

February 3, 1907October 16, 1997

James Albert Michener (February 3,
1907October 16, 1997) was the American author of such books as Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source,
The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas, and Poland. The majority of his over 40 titles are sweeping sagas covering the lives of many generations in a particular geographic locale and incorporate historical facts into the story as well. His non-fiction works include the 1992 memoir The World is My Home and Sports in America.

Michener wrote that he did not know who his parents were or exactly when and where he was born. He was raised by an adoptive mother, Mabel Michener, in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Some people later argued that Mabel was in fact his biological mother but he refused to talk about that. He graduated with highest honors from Swarthmore College, where he played basketball, in 1929. He later attended the Colorado State Teachers College (in Greeley, Colorado), earned his master’s degree, then taught there for several years. He also taught at Harvard University. His writing career began during World War II, during which, as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, he was assigned to the South Pacific Ocean as a naval historian. His notes and impressions were later turned into Tales of the South Pacific, his first book, which was the basis for the Broadway and film musical South Pacific. It was published when he was 40. In the late 1950s, Michener began working as a roving editor for Readers Guide. He gave up that work in 1970.

Michener was a very popular writer during his life-time and his novels sold an
estimated 75 million copies worldwide [1]. His novel Hawaii (published in 1959)
was based on extensive historical research. Nearly all his subsequent novels were based on detailed historical, cultural, even geological research.

He was married three times. His second wife was Vange Nord (married in 1948). Michener met his third wife Mari Yoriko Sabusawa at a luncheon in Chicago and
they were married in 1955 (the same year as his divorce from Ms. Nord). His novel Sayonara is pseudo-autobiographical.
He had no children. He gave away a great deal of the money he earned. He contributed more than $100 million to universities, libraries, museums, and other charitable causes.

On January 10, 1977, he was
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
by Gerald R. Ford.

In 1996, State House Press published “James A. Michener:
A Bibliography” compiled by David A. Groseclose. It contains over 2,500 entries from 1923 to 1995 including magazine articles, forewords, books, and other works.

In his final years, he lived in Austin, Texas, and,
aside from being a prominent celebrity fan of the Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team, he founded an MFA program now named the Michener Center for Writers. In October 1997, Michener ended his daily dialysis treatment and as a result he died not long after. He was 90 years old.

Books/Works by James A. Michener

  • A Century of Sonnets
  • (1997)

  • About Centennial
  • : Some Notes on the Novel (1978)

    Alaska (1988)

    The Bridge at Andau

    The Bridges at

    Caravans (1963)




  • Collectors, Forgers – And A Writer: A Memoir
  • (1983)

    The Covenant

  • Creatures of the Kingdom
  • (1993)

    The Drifters

  • The Eagle and The Raven
  • (1990)

  • The Fires of Spring]]
  • (1949), semi-autobiographical

  • The Floating World
  • (1954)

  • The Future of the Social Studies (“The Problem of the Social Studies”)

  • (1939) Editor

    Hawaii (1959)

    Iberia (1968)

    Journey (1989)

  • Kent State: What Happened and Why
  • (1971)

    Legacy (1987)

  • Literary Reflections
  • (1993)

    Mexico (1992)

  • Miracle in Seville
  • (1995)

  • My Lost Mexico
  • (1992)

  • The Novel
  • (1991)

  • Pilgrimage: A Memoir of Poland and Rome
  • (1990)

    Poland (1983)

  • Presidential Lottery
  • (1969)

  • The Quality of Life
  • (1970)

  • Rascals in Paradise
  • (1957)

    Recessional (1994)

  • Report of the Country Chairman
  • (1961)

  • Return to Paradise
  • (1951)

  • Sayonara (1954)
  • Six Days in Havana
  • (1989)

  • The Source
  • Space (1982)
  • Sports in America
  • (1976)

  • Tales of the
    South Pacific
  • Texas (1985)
  • This Noble Land
  • (1996)

  • Ventures in Editing

  • The Voice of Asia
  • (1951)

  • William Penn
  • (1994)

  • The World is My Home
  • (1992)

  • Years of Infamy
  • See also

    List of bestselling novels in
    the United States

    major movies developed from Michener books

    Edward Rutherford


  • “I am right now in the middle of a difficult writing project. And it’s just as difficult now as when I started. But when I get up in the morning I am really qualified to say, ‘Well, Jim, it isn’t going too well, but there is nobody on the block who is better able to wrestle with it than you are, so lets get on with it.”
  • “I think young people ought to seek that experience that is going to knock them off center.”
  • “I had been educated with free scholarships. I went to nine different universities,
    always at public expense, and when you have that experience, you are almost obligated to
    give it back. It’s as simple as that.”
  • “I decided (after listening to a “talk radio” commentator who abused,
    vilified, and scorned every noble cause to which I had devoted my entire life that) I was
    both a humanist and a liberal,
    each of the most dangerous and vilified type. I am a humanist because I think humanity
    can, with constant moral guidance, create a reasonably decent society. I am terrified of
    restrictive religious doctrine, having learned from history that when men who adhere to
    any form of it are in control, common men like me are in peril. I do not believe that pure reason can solve the perceptual problems unless it is modified by poetry and art and social vision. So I am a humanist. And if you want to charge me with being the most virulent kind—a secular humanist—I accept the accusation.”—Interview, Parade magazine, November 24, 1991.
  • External links

    Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: James A. Michener

    books with covers

  • Academy of Achievement Profile
  • Academy of Achievement Biography
  • Academy of Achievement Interview
  • Academy of Achievement Photo Gallery
  • James A. Michener Library at
    the University of Northern Colorado

    James A.
    Michener Society

    James A. Michener
    Special Collection: David A. Groseclose

    James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

    Center for Writers

    audio interview with James Michener
    by Don Swaim


    October 28, 2006 at 2:53 am | Posted in Military, Science & Technology, USA | Leave a comment





    November 2006


    November CCTopics


    “This year, we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of our proud Service – born of
    revolutionary ideas, forged in combat, and proven through decades of progress and
    achievement. In doing so, we pause to reflect on our remarkable heritage, reaffirm our
    commitment to today’s fight, and resolve to continually expand our reach toward our
    limitless horizons.”

    — From the joint SECAF/CSAF Letter to Airmen: Air Force Heritage

    To read the entire Letter to Airmen, go to


    Air Force Strategic Plan Released

    The Air Force Strategic Plan articulates the Air Force mission and can be viewed at
    The plan focuses on the three priorities the Air Force has had over the last few years:
    winning the war on terrorism, developing Airmen, and recapitalizing the aging air fleet.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Cyberspace Dominance, the Information Mosaic and Precision Strike

    Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne spoke to the Precision Strike Association
    Oct. 19 at Johns Hopkins University. During his speech, the secretary addressed the issues
    of cyberspace dominance, the “information mosaic,” and the future of precision
    strike. Secretary Wynne reflected on the evolution of these issues and posed pointed
    questions to the audience concerning these issues and their future in military operations.

    To read the entire speech, go to


    Letter to Airmen highlights Air Force Memorial dedication

    In his latest “Letter to Airmen,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael
    Moseley discusses the two-day Air Force Memorial Dedication and the start of the year-long
    commemoration of the Air Force 60th anniversary.

    General Moseley said that the Memorial is a symbol of the people and technologies that
    have made the U.S. Air Force the world’s preeminent air, space and cyberspace force.

    He encouraged Airmen to read the speeches given at the dedication ceremony which are
    attachments to the “Letter to Airmen,” released Oct. 20.

    View the letter and attachments at

    Hate Groups, Gangs Not Acceptable to Air Force

    Department of Defense and Air Force policies prohibit active participation in any
    activity that promotes the objectives of organizations and groups that attempt to
    illegally discriminate or otherwise deprive individuals of their civil rights. This could
    include participating in public demonstrations, fund raising, recruiting, organizing,
    leading or training in support of such organizations.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Reading List Announced

    The new Chief of Staff professional reading list encourages Airmen toward pursuing
    knowledge that grounds them in history, sustains them in today’s flight, and propels
    them toward our limitless horizon. I encourage you to begin reading books from this list
    and, as the slogan says, “Read it, learn it, live it!”

    For the full story, go to

    To access the complete reading list, go to




    Reductions Necessary to Recapitalize Today’s Service

    Reducing the number of Airmen in the service is absolutely necessary to recapitalize
    today’s force. Overall, about 40,000 people will leave the service over the next three
    years. The money saved will go toward recapitalizing the service’s aging aircraft and

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Two New Programs Guide Enlisted Force Shaping

    A date of separation rollback and a limited active-duty service commitment waiver, join
    the current tools of reducing the number of accessions into the enlisted force, career job
    reservations and the NCO retraining program.

    The DOS rollback applies to enlisted Airmen with certain re-enlistment ineligibility
    codes or assignment availability codes. These individuals will be required to separate
    from the force by March 15, 2007. The DOS rollback specifically affects Airmen with less
    than 14 years or more than 20 years of service.

    The LADSC Waiver Program allows retirement-eligible master and technical sergeants in
    overage AFSCs to have all or portions of an extension waived and voluntarily retire by
    Sept. 1, 2007. Waivers can be granted for extensions due to promotion, PCS, attending
    professional military education, technical training, Air Force educational leave of
    absence, and Bootstrap.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at



    Newest ‘Chief’s View’ deals with enlisted development plan

    Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley addresses the newest page on the
    Air Force Portal Web site, “My Enlisted Development

    Plan,” in his latest Chief’s View video,

    The site offers one-stop shopping for enlisted Airmen’s education, training, leadership
    and job experiences.

    To visit the website, go to the Air Force Portal, click on “Life and Career,”
    and then on “Learning and Development.”

    Some Airmen Can Carry Over ‘Use or Lose’ Leave

    Airmen who were recalled from or unable to take annual leave this past year for reasons
    such as support for contingency operations may be allowed to accumulate more than the
    normal 60 days after the fiscal year ends. Special leave accrual carry over also applies
    to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members who performed full-time training or
    other full-time duties for 30 days or more. Airmen who lost leave may carry over the
    following leave amounts:

    — Up to 120 days for Airmen deployed or assigned to hostile fire/imminent danger pay

    — Up to 120 days for Airmen impacted by significant and unforeseen operational mission
    requirements as a result of Hurricane Katrina; and

    — Up to 90 days for Airmen who deployed or were assigned to other than hostile
    fire/imminent danger locations.

    Additionally, Airmen who lost leave as a consequence of assignments in support of
    contingency operations as of Sept. 30, 2006, are authorized restoration of the leave they
    lost. Those Airmen who meet the criteria for having excess leave should contact their
    local military personnel flight customer service element for additional guidance, such as
    eligibility to carry over leave beyond the following fiscal year.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Fall 2006 Quarterly Issue of Airman Available

    Read about how basic military training is evolving to create Airmen warriors, discover
    the meaning behind the Air Force Memorial’s design, and tag along with provincial
    reconstruction teams as they work to restore hope and fight terrorism in Afghanistan.

    These features and more highlight the fall quarterly issue of Airman magazine, now
    available in print and online at

    Proactive Airmen Get Jump on Passport Process

    The process to get the Department of State-issued document takes three to six weeks
    because of mailing, screening and coordination through official channels in Washington,
    D.C. Until completed, it prevents Airmen from deploying to countries that require one.

    Airmen can look at the DOD foreign clearance guide at, which lists documents needed
    for travel to each country. Airmen should look at the passport process as part of their
    predeployment checklist and start gathering any missing documentation.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Overseas quarterly assignment listing available

    The Enlisted Quarterly Assignment Listing for overseas requirements for the July to
    September 2007 cycle will be available Nov. 3. Airmen need to update their preferences by
    Nov. 17 and will be notified of their selection by Dec. 15. For more information, read the
    Air Force Print News story at

    Career Enlisted Aviators Positions Open

    The Air Force has immediate openings for in-flight refueling (boom operators), flight
    engineers, loadmasters, airborne mission systems, airborne battle management, flight
    attendants, aerial gunners and airborne cryptologic linguists. Interested Airmen are
    encouraged to visit the Virtual MPF retraining site or the career enlisted aviator Web
    site for more information.

    Defense Department to Review Military Awards Program

    In an effort to provide clarity in awards standards across the military services, the
    Defense Department has begun a comprehensive review of military awards and decorations.
    This review will result in revision of DOD Instruction 1348.33-M, the Manual of Military
    Decorations and Awards. The review will focus on several specific areas where
    discrepancies among the different branches of the military have come to light. These
    include the criteria for “V” devices and Purple Heart Medals. Another area that
    will be addressed is the definition of the theater of operations when it comes to
    expeditionary medals.

    A working group consisting of representatives from each service, the Joint Staff and
    the Institute of Heraldry will form the core of the comprehensive review effort, which is
    expected to last about six months. If the services achieve a consensus, DOD will be able
    to move quickly with publication of the new instruction.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


    “Today’s Air Force” will begin to air on the Pentagon Channel and Armed
    Forces Radio and Television Service the first week in November. This 30-minute weekly
    broadcast will highlight the efforts of America’s Airmen.


    Air Force Reserve Changes Officer Promotion System

    Air Force Reserve Command is changing its officer promotion system to meet future total
    force requirements. In one change, the command will combine Selected Reserve (Categories A
    and B) and Participating Individual Ready Reserve, or PIRR, (Category E) officers into a
    single promotion group. Under force shaping actions, the Air Force Reserve will shift some
    of its member authorizations from paid positions in the Selected Reserve to non-paid
    status in the PIRR.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    Air Force Reserve to Operate With More Reservists

    The fiscal 2007 Defense Appropriations Act funds an end-strength of 74,900 reservists,
    which is 900 additional reservists from last year. The new legislation also approves
    10,214 full-time air reserve technicians and 2,707 full-time active Guard and Reserve
    members. The defense bill funds a 2.2 percent across-the-board military pay raise for
    active and Reserve forces as requested in the president’s budget earlier this year.

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


    DOD to Resume Anthrax Vaccinations

    The Department of Defense announced a resumption of the mandatory Anthrax Vaccine
    Immunization Program for military members, emergency-essential DOD civilians and
    contractors, based on defined geographic areas or roles. For the most part, mandatory
    vaccinations are limited to military units designated for homeland bioterrorism defense
    and to U.S. forces assigned to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and Korea.

    For more information on the anthrax vaccination program, visit or

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at

    New Tricare Standard Handbook Released

    Tricare officials are making a handbook available to all beneficiaries covered under
    Tricare Standard. Beneficiaries now may ask for copies of the Tricare Standard handbook or
    the summary of beneficiary costs flyer from their regional contractors or from a local
    Tricare Service Center, or view the documents on the Tricare Smart Site at
    Basic information on Tricare Standard is available at

    For more information, read the Air Force Print News story at


    AAFES Reminds TKS Cell Phone Customers About Contract Termination Provisions

    In Germany, TKS customers who opted for a cell phone two-year contract, instead of the
    prepaid options, were provided a contract obtained by TKS through the off-base German
    provider, T-Mobile. These two year contracts require a three-month written cancellation
    notice. When the two-year period is up, T-Mobile will automatically extend the contract in
    six-month increments. Additionally, if the T-Mobile two year contract is not cancelled and
    gets extended for the new six-month period, T-Mobile still requires the same three-month
    written notice to terminate during the six-month extension.

    To view recent AAFES press releases, go to

    Escaping the Burden of Credit Card Debt

    A good rule to follow when looking to purchase anything is that if you don’t know when
    or how you will pay for an item, then you probably can’t afford the item and shouldn’t
    “charge it.” Here are some tips to help if you are already in debt:

    1. Stop spending. The first step is to reduce your use and dependence on credit cards.
    Cut up all but one card with the best terms

    2. Get on a budget. You need to know where your money is going before you know how much
    you can pay toward your cards.

    3. Establish an emergency fund. Establishing $500 to $1,000 in savings will provide a
    safety net for life’s little emergencies.

    4. Find the hidden money. Luxuries such as premium cable/satellite, internet and cell
    phone packages are not necessary for survival.

    5. Pay your highest-dollar cards first. List each of your credit cards, their interest
    rates, and their minimum payments. Pay the minimum balance on the lower interest cards,
    and then pay the maximum you can afford to the highest interest card.

    6. Make two payments a month. Each payday send a payment to the highest rate credit
    card company.

    7. Consider finding extra income. A part-time job can help accelerate your debt
    repayment. Even just a few hours a week can provide a boost.

    8. Seek help. Your base Airman and Family Readiness Centers have certified financial
    counselors on staff ready and willing to help you.

    Read the commentary at

    A better way to save: Keep money interest-growing TSP

    Saving for retirement is a good idea regardless of age. The Thrift Savings Plan can
    help. One of the largest benefits to the TSP is that it is a tax-deferred account, meaning
    all money placed in it is done so before taxes are calculated. TSP gives investors a range
    of investment options through five basic funds. Another benefit to the TSP is individuals
    may take out loans from their account while they are in the military.

    For more information on the TSP, visit

    Read the commentary at


    Memorial Dedication Launched 60th Anniversary Observance

    The Air Force Memorial officially opened Oct. 14, kicking off the 60th anniversary
    observance. Located on a three-acre promontory next to Arlington National Cemetery and a
    short walk from the Pentagon, the memorial is composed of three bold and graceful spires
    soaring skyward to a height of 270 feet. The memorial honors the millions of men and women
    who have served in the Air Force and its predecessor organizations.

    Visit the Air Force Memorial Foundation at

    For the Air Force Print News story, go to

    Air Force Link will provide news and stories at


    “A good head and a good heart are a formidable combination.”

    — Nelson Mandela, recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and former President of
    South Africa (1994 – 1999)


    Air Force Link

    Air Force Crossroads

    Air Force One Source

    Air Force Personnel Center

    Air Reserve Personnel Center

    Air Force First Sergeant Link

    Base Realignment and Closure 2005

    Defense Link


    U.S. Government website

    Federal Voting Assistance Program


    Nov. 2, 1971 — Titan IIIC rockets launched the first two Defense Satellite
    Communications System Phase II satellites into synchronous orbits.

    Nov. 7, 1907 — Signal Corps allotted $25,000 to purchase an airplane.

    Nov. 8, 1950 — First all-jet plane aerial combat in history took place over Korea. A
    U.S. Air Force F–80 Shooting Star, piloted by Lt. Russell J. Brown, downed a North
    Korean MiG–15.

    Nov. 9, 1967 — Enemy gunners shot down a helicopter piloted by Capt. Gerald O. Young
    during efforts to rescue an Army reconnaissance team near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam.
    Captain Young’s bravery earned the Medal of Honor.

    Nov. 9, 1967 – January 1968 — Capt. Lance P. Sijan ejected from his F–4C
    Phantom over North Vietnam and successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks. The
    enemy eventually captured him, but he managed to escape. Captain Sijan received the Medal
    of Honor posthumously.

    Nov. 17, 1961 — The first successful launch of a Minuteman ICBM missile from an
    underground silo took place at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The re-entry vehicle hit the target
    area 3,000 miles downrange.

    Nov. 22, 1952 — While leading a flight of four F–80 Shooting Star fighters
    dive-bombing enemy gun positions, Maj. Charles J. Loring crashed his damaged aircraft into
    enemy emplacements. Major Loring received the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice.

    Nov. 25, 1956 — Tech. Sgt. R.J. Patton made the first successful polar parachute jump.

    Nov. 26, 1968 — Piloting a UH–1F helicopter, 1st Lt. James P. Fleming exposed his
    aircraft to intense hostile fire while rescuing a special forces reconnaissance patrol,
    eventually receiving the Medal of Honor for his gallantry.

    Nov. 29, 1951 — Air Force announced development of the XB-52, its first all-jet heavy

    Nov. 29, 1975 — The first Red Flag exercise began at Nellis AFB, Nev., ushering in a
    new era of highly realistic air combat training for USAF pilots.

    For more information of Air Force history and heritage, visit the Air Force Link
    history section at

    Air Force mission — The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to deliver sovereign options
    for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests — to fly and
    fight in air, space and cyberspace.

    Air Force core competencies — Developing Airmen, technology-to-warfighting and
    integrating operations.

    Air Force distinctive capabilities — Air and space superiority, global attack, rapid
    global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority and agile combat support.

    We are trying a new format for the monthly Commander's Call Topics.
    Attached is a Word document for the November edition. 

    If you experience any difficulties receiving or opening the attachment, please send an e-mail to and reference "November CCT" in the subject line.

    Air Force core values — Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we

    The Air Force News Agency produces Commander’s Call Topics monthly. For questions
    or comments about this or any other AFNEWS product, send e-mail to

    To subscribe to Air Force news and information products online, go to

    USAFNEWS November CCTopics

    Attachment: CCT2006_Nov.doc
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    Friday, October 27, 2006

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