30th January 2012

Japan Pics – Round One

Well I’ve been in Japan for a few days now and thought I’d post up a few pictures I’ve snapped so far walking around like a tourist nerd. Boom.

More to come when I have time.

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30th January 2012

Woman Saved From Oncoming Train, Car Dies

This is the stuff film noir, or nightmares are made of. Except that it happened yesterday, some 30 miles from where I had lived for many years.  A woman made a wrong turn and was pulled out of her car moments before a train smashed it.

Yesterday afternoon, a woman from Islandia, Long Island, drove down Brentwood Road in Bayshore in her Volkswagen Jetta. After entering the railroad crossing of the Long Island Railroad, she turned left and ended up on the railroad tracks. She could not free her car. If you inspect the picture (brought to you by Google Streetview) you will see why.

Police arrived at the scene. The police contacted the Long Island Railroad to warn them of the car in the tracks. The railroad replied that a train was coming. The cops asked to stop the train. The railroad was unable to.

The cops pulled the driver from the car, and all three ran for their lives. Newsday picks up the story:

“Moments later, as they ran to safety, the train smashed into the Jetta, sending it “flying across the tracks,” according to police. No one was injured on the train or in the immediate vicinity, police said.”

Why did the lady make a sharp left turn on a railroad crossing? This might explain it:

“Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police later charged the driver of the car with driving while intoxicated.” 

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30th January 2012

Solar windows 1, Prius mirrors 0

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, comes this from California… Solar windows 1, Prius mirror housings 0.

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30th January 2012

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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29th January 2012

Redesigned Fiat Strada Pickup Heads to Europe From Brazil

Just the Facts:

  • Fiat has begun shipping its Brazil-built Strada pickup to Europe.
  • Prices on this ultra-compact truck start from the equivalent of $16,900.
  • The redesigned Strada series includes a new crew-cab body style.


TURIN, Italy — Fiat has begun shipping its redesigned Strada compact pickup from Brazil to Europe.

The ultra-compact, car-based Strada pickup gets revised sheet metal and a new cabin design, as well as a larger cargo bed and a new crew-cab body style. In Europe, it will be offered in three body styles (regular, extended and crew) with short and long beds. Fiat will sell it in three trim levels — Working, Trekking and Adventure.

Prices range from the equivalent of $16,900 for the Strada Working Single Cab model to $20,975 for the Strada Adventure Crew Cab.

Power is supplied by a 1.3-liter MultiJet turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that makes 95 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.

Inside Line says: Not the most attractive small pickup we’ve ever laid eyes on, but with its fuel-efficient diesel engine and affordable price tag, the Strada seems as if it could be a match for the U.S., too.

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29th January 2012

Help Raise $100,000 for Cars Cares


Super Bowl XLVI will once again have millions of people tuning in … for the commercials. Between the Manning/Brady showdown you’ll see Cars.com’s commercial, “Confident You.” While the commercial is playing, use the popular mobile application Shazam to tag it and Cars.com will donate $1 to one of seven deserving charities.

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