March 4, 2013

AP Writers’ Headline and Intro Nearly Go Into Euphoria Over Nominal Year-Over-Year Increase in Feb. Vehicle Sales

Readers here can attempt to fill in the blank in the next paragraph, and will get to see the correct answer after the jump.

In their coverage of U.S. vehicle sales in February, Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin at the Associated press, aka the Administration’s Press, wrote the following in an item headlied “US AUTO SALES POWER AHEAD IN FEBRUARY”: “Americans want new cars and trucks, and they’re not letting higher gas prices or political dysfunction stand in their way. New car and truck sales were up ___ percent in February as rising home construction and cheap financing kept the U.S. auto recovery on track.” So by how much did car sales in February 2013 exceed the level seen in February 2012?

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Napolitano Statement on Air Travel Delays Directly Contradicted by Airport Officials

According to the first paragraph of Alicia’s Caldwell’s report today at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration’s Press, Homeland Security Secretary Janey Napolitano told attendees at a Politico breakfast this morning (Politico’s coverage is here) that, in Caldwell’s words, “U.S. airports, including Los Angeles International and O’Hare International in Chicago, are already experiencing delays as a result of automatic federal spending cuts.” Additionally, again in Caldwell’s words, “she expects a cascading effect during the week, with wait times expected to double in worst cases.”

Well, either someone forgot to tell airport spokesperson and the travel industry to fall in line, or said officials are refusing, according to follow-up stories at the Politico and the UK Telegraph. Notably, the AP had no such follow-up story at its national site as of 10 p.m. ET tonight, but did have a story by Pauline Jelinek (“HOW BUDGET CUTS COULD AFFECT YOU”) published at the about the same time as the two follow-ups just noted dutifully echoing Napolitano’s talking points. Excerpts from both follow-up stories are after the jump.

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AP’s Crutsinger: ‘Only Impediment (to Economic Growth) May Be Government Spending Cuts’

On Thursday, the government reported that the economy didn’t contract by a tiny annualized 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 as originally reported. Instead, the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by an equally tiny 0.1 percent. Expectations had been that the revision would go positive by an annualized 0.5 percent.

According to Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, “the only impediment” to the economy resuming annualized growth of 2 percent or so (which is actually unimpressive in historical context) “may be the across-the-board government spending cuts that kick in Friday – especially if those cuts remain in place for months.” In Crutsinger’s world, the payroll tax increase which kicked in on January 1, gas prices which have risen nationally to about $3.70 per gallon from $3.25 in the past 45 days, and troubling January and early-February sales results at Wal-Mart don’t matter. There’s also an obvious problem seen in his third and fourth paragraphs (bolds are mine):

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Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030413)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Self-cleaning clothing: wear without wear

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Natick, Massachusetts (HT to Bill Sloat):

Feb. 25, 2013

Imagine a world without dirty clothes. Quoc Truong, physical scientist at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, wants to make that a reality.

“As a single father of four, I fully understand the rationale for self-cleaning clothing, especially when I look back to the time when my children were younger,” Truong said. “So, when former Army General John Caldwell challenged me to come up with clothing that our Soldiers won’t have to wash, I thought that was a great and stimulating challenge.”

Soldiers cannot avoid getting their uniforms dirty while carrying out their missions, especially on the battlefield. Laundering clothes is time-consuming, adds to the logistics burden on the force, and is not always available to forward-deployed Soldiers, who may come into contact with mud, dirt, water, and an assortment of contaminants such as petroleum, oils, and chemicals.

The fabric Truong helped create has a special durable, super-repellent coating with “dual micro- and nano-size architecture.” When this special coating is applied onto clothing, it will give the surface of the clothing a low critical surface energy, or surface tension. When this surface tension is lower than that of the surface tensions of harmful, toxic liquid chemicals, the toxic chemicals would roll off the fabric on contact. Additionally, fabrics that are coated with this special super-repellent coating showed minimal to no attraction to dust and dirt.

“With minimal or no attractions to dirt and other contaminants, textiles’ frequent launderings will not be necessary, and wash-free clothing could be developed,” Truong said.

Earlier researchers studied microscopic, naturally non-stick surfaces such as the leaves of the lotus and lily flowers, duck feathers, and the feet of a floating water bug, known as the water strider. They found a uniform, repeating “pimples” structure, and they also observed liquid drops’ contact angle as they sit on these micro- and/or nano-structures.

“We go one step further to make our self-cleaning clothing with a special surface coating to resist wetting by oil and dangerous chemicals,” said Truong, who wanted to apply these findings to benefit Soldiers.

Truong submitted a Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, topic on Development and Applications of superoleophobic coatings for textile applications in 2007 based on earlier work on self-cleaning, but more importantly, it was based on Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s recent breakthrough discovery about designing superoleophobic surfaces.

By leveraging MIT’s technical findings, Truong believed he could develop self-cleaning clothing for Soldiers. …

Go here for the rest of the story.