A Bowlful of Cherries

Celebrating Matty and Noah

Archive for June 2004

The hat is where it’s at. Like father, like son.

hat is where it's at hat again once more hat

Written by Donna

27 Jun 2004 at 855pm

Posted in Misc.

Upright citizen.

upright citizen

Written by Donna

26 Jun 2004 at 1001pm

Posted in Misc.

Children, all of us.

matty on the mat

Matty at play.

matty dressed up

Mike & Donna at play.

Written by Donna

26 Jun 2004 at 957pm

Posted in Misc.

Look Ma, No …

Last year, the D.C. City Council passed a measure fining folks $100 if they get caught driving a car and talking on their cell phone without a hands-free device. That measure goes into effect 01 July 2004.

From The Washington Post:

Under the law, drivers will be permitted to hold a phone only to make emergency calls, to dial a call, or to power the phone on or off. The city will suspend fines for first-time offenders who submit proof that they have acquired a hands-free device….

If drivers from other jurisdictions fail to pay their tickets, they could lose their driver’s licenses because of reciprocity agreements with Maryland, Virginia, and other states, said Anne Witt, director of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

(What’s next? Seatbelts?)

Also on 01 July 2004, New Jersey will also implement a statewide law that restricts motorists’ use of cell phones. New York state has required the use of hands-free cell phones since 2001. So if you’re visiting, be sure to purchase a headset.

There’s some concern that there isn’t sufficient research proving that hands-free devices make driving safer. The law, while a start, doesn’t address the chief distraction: a driver’s phone conversation. You know, when you’re calling your bookie, it’s hard to see the road during an apoplectic fit.

Written by Michael

25 Jun 2004 at 951am

Posted in Misc.

Customer Appreciation Day

Do you work for the government? Head to nearest Borders this weekend. There’s a 20% sale for all public service workers.

Written by Michael

25 Jun 2004 at 924am

Posted in Misc.

But the Air Was Clean

Last summer’s power outage in the U.S. Northeast was an economic disaster, with more than 100 power plants shut down. There was one happy consequence: Almost overnight, the air became cleaner. On 15 August 2003, 24 hours into the blackout, researchers monitoring air quality with small planes sent one flying over a rural town in central Pennsylvania, downwind of shutdown power plants. The data from PA was compared with same-day data from Northern Virginia and western Maryland, outside the blackout area, and with data from central Pennsylvania from a day in 2002 when wind and temperature conditions were similar.

What the researchers found astounded them: Visibility had increased by some 20 miles, as light-scattering particles were reduced by 70 percent. Sulfur dioxide levels were reduced by 90 percent, and ozone was down by about 50 percent. Dr. Lackson Marufu said the group had expected to find cleaner air with no power plants going, since power plants are a major contributor to smog. The surprise “was the extent that they influenced the regional air quality.”

Am I advocating wholesale shutdowns of power plants? Nah. I like my A/C, too. But it is time for power companies in the Midwest to stop pretending they have little to no impact on air quality.

Written by Michael

24 Jun 2004 at 905am

Posted in Misc.

The Negotiator

Bennett Riley oversees both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation. He’s a cowboy-turned-lawyer and longtime advocate for property rights and against government regulation and hardly seemed like a good choice for water czar (unlike Floyd Dominy). But he’s done well: he fought for a Colorado River accord over the objections of many farmers and landowners — Raley succeeded in getting California to agree to wean itself from overuse of the Colorado River, a plan started during the Clinton administration. He also devised the Water 2025 program, which stresses conservation, efficiency, and water markets as ways to help western states through the expected water shortages in coming years. Building dams is not the way to provide water for the West. With a new study claiming the current drought in the western U.S. is the worst in 500 years, Riley says the West may be nearing the first-ever cut in the amount of water that can be drawn from the Colorado River.

Written by Michael

23 Jun 2004 at 809am

Posted in Misc.