Selasa, 31 Oktober 2017

Hydrogen Economy Waiting on Technology to Catch Up

We have certainly heard a lot about the hydrogen economy and what it will mean for the United States of America and how it will change things to come. All this seems so spectacular that you would swear you are living in a Sci Fi virtual reality game. Indeed that maybe coming forthwith also. We see many companies launching plans to build hydrogen run automobiles. Honda, Ford and even BMW yet is this really doable?

Well yes it is doable, but there are issues with hydrogen storage and the fact that it leaks unless stored at very low temperatures. Why does the hydrogen fuel need to be kept at lower temps due to leakage you ask? Well, remember its Periodical Table Chart Ranking.

Now these issues will disappear soon with Carbon nano-tubes technologies come about and they figure out inexpensive and safe ways of manufacturing, so we can use them for the fuel tanks to hold the hydrogen fuel in without leaking out. Otherwise a full tank of hydrogen would leak out significantly in about three-days.

As these new technologies come online and it will be very soon as even this month there were several new breakthroughs, which came about; we will see the Hydrogen Economy emerge. These new technologies indeed will change our addiction to Middle Eastern foreign oil forever and change the way we use fuel.

Jumat, 27 Oktober 2017

Energy Experts to Settle Gas Price Issue on Global Trade

Iran, India, and Pakistan recently agreed to delegate experts who would assume the task of resolving the price issue that has been affecting the global trade deal on gas planned by the three countries. According to resources, the huge pipeline project would transport natural gas from Iran to India with a distance of more than 2,500 km. If negotiations would go well, the project could start in 2007. Although the global trade deal was aimed for the benefit of the three parties, both Pakistan and India could not still agree with Iran as regards the price of gas supplies. The three nations, then, agreed to delegate independent energy experts in order to study the situation and come up with a plausible pricing solution.

Under the global trade deal, Iran wanted the gas prices to depend on the changes in the international energy markets. However, both India and Pakistan wanted the gas prices to be fixed. The huge project is reported to cost around $7 billion.

The global trade deal was first proposed ten years ago. But negotiations have stalled due to disagreements in terms of pricing. That was why the three countries decided to appoint special officials in order to settle the issue. The energy experts, who have not yet been selected until now, have the duty to come up with an effective solution during the next 4 to 5 weeks.

The three parties would then resume their discussions on the global trade deal, basing it on the new pricing formula. What is not clear though is whether the decision of the consultants will bind the three countries together. It is possible that one of them may still step out of the deal.

M. S. Srinivasan, India's Petroleum Secretary, said that there was still a disagreement between the two sides as regards gas prices. He added that all the three countries needed to be flexible in order to push through with the global trade deal on gas. Mr. Srinivasan though said that all the three sides remained bullish. While Iran said that it could trade its gas supplies elsewhere, both India and Pakistan responded by saying that they could also seek for other foreign suppliers.

If the global trade deal on gas materialized, India would be able to purchase up to 60 million cubic meters per day while Pakistan could buy as much as 30 million. The energy demand of both India and Pakistan are expected to increase by 50% in the succeeding years. The pipeline project would also be very advantageous for Pakistan since the nation could gain millions of dollars from transit fees. It must be noted that last May, negotiations among the three countries stalled due to the disagreement on gas. But if the issue would be resolved, the construction could begin next year while the operations could start in 2011. Previously, the United States had rejected the proposed global trade deal due to the strategic and financial benefits it would give Iran. However during his visit to Pakistan last March, President George W. Bush showed signs that the US had already dropped its opposition to the project.

Jumat, 22 September 2017

Colorful Things - Understanding Cultural Differences

Why are bright, colorful things so cheerful and why is America so afraid of them? I've spent my whole life becoming fascinated by color and its combinations, from finger-paintings to oil paintings to colorful gemstone jewelry. I've often wondered why so many cultures embrace and celebrate color while my own seems to suppress and marginalize it. In Mexico, colorful living is standard practice, a way of releasing control over their lives and giving it back to God. In America, only rebels live colorfully: artists, bohemians, hippies. Here, a colorful outfit is a sign of a dangerous mind, of an impulsive rule-breaker, of someone living on the fringe of society.

My mom had us playing with color as far back as I can remember. She'd set us up at the kitchen table with watercolors or crayons and we'd just go to town for hours! I remember that new boxes of sharp crayons or pristine, unmuddied watercolor sets were the most exciting presents. I used to get so distressed when, in my haste, I'd muddied up a once bright yellow pan of watercolor. Mom would always swoop in with a napkin and resuscitate my sunny friend. I suppose that this early training predisposed me to a love of colorful things.

I know that color exists in America, but the "adult" and the "professional" and the normal rhythm of our society lean toward quiet, somber, dignified colors. The next time you're in a crowd - look around - most outfits are composed of dark blues, grays, blacks, white, beige, khaki and forest and olive greens with the occasional red accent thrown in. Take a look at all those cars out on our roads - they paint the same picture. In the next neighborhood you drive around - check out the house colors - equally drab. A culture of people who, by and large, play it safe and follow the rules and believe in protocol and proper conduct. Good news for personal safety, bad news for beauty.

By contrast, in Mexico (not the only colorful country, but it's the one I know best,) color runs rampant. There are just as many pink or green houses as white ones. There are even houses painted all three of those colors! Color is everywhere, even the normally boring plastic housewares are a riot of pink, purple, orange, red, blue, yellow and green. I read somewhere that this flagrant use of color in Mexico started as a way of living closer to God. "Let go and let God," if you will. It's a letting go of control over your environment, an act of recognizing that existence is, ultimately, out of our hands. The wonderful colors found everywhere in Mexican society are a natural extension of their whole cultural attitude of freedom and taking chances.

It's strange to me, how in America, "colorful" is at once marginalized and admired. When children say they want to grow up to be artists, most parents try to steer them toward something more "respectable" with tales of the starving artist and of doing something with your life. (Thank goodness my parents aren't like that, because they would have been awfully disappointed!) People in really colorful outfits are seen as eccentric at best, freaks at worst. While at the same time, works of art are bought for millions of dollars and people lament their inability to be artistic (as if it was the exclusive dominion of a few gifted souls.)

Boy am I glad I married someone from Mexico so I could be closer to such a colorful culture. I need color like other people need T.V. or heroin. Funny thing is that my Mexican is actually quite fond of subdued colors for big things like walls and vehicles and for his own outfits. His American wife is always sprinkling the house with orange afghans and lime-green pillows and pinning magenta silk flowers to his nice, brown, deer head. Poor guy.

How do you all feel about the cultural color divide? Am I completely off my rocker, do you think that America is plenty colorful thank-you-very-much? I don't mean to say that America is devoid of color or of lovers of color. I'm simply suggesting that the whole of our society tends to lean toward a more homogeneous and safe color palette, and maybe that's an indication of our underlying societal rules and expectations. Brighten up, America!

Kamis, 14 September 2017

What You Say and Do Anonymously Is the True Measure of Who You Are

Have you ever read the on-line comments which are posted anonymously at the end of news stories? I sometimes wonder if the person writing their comments would have the courage to attach his or her name to them. Are these comments true reflections of the individual or an alter ego? I also wonder why it is I'm sometimes mesmerized by what is written.

Some comments are insights into what the general population is thinking and feeling politically. Comments for or against Obama are there for everyone to see even if it isn't relevant. For instance, a posting after a story on the current hurricane system blamed Obama for the weather. I figured whoever wrote it was a Democrat being facetious about his or her view that Obama is blamed for everything.

You'll also see a post which has you wondering whether or not the writer's first language is English or if s/he is just ignorant. For example, one poster said something about the issue not being "black and white." Another interjected, "Why do you have to bring race into everything." Another followed up with insulting the second person's intellect for not knowing a common expression.

I'm appalled at what is written after some tragic stories. Someone is killed in a horrendous and hard to believe manner and many posters make jokes about the death. Everyone once in a while another person will declare those making comments are insensitive clods and demand to know what is wrong with them.

When a peace officer is killed or severely wounded the written expressions run from "May God be with him" to "He deserved what he got." It is easy to identify those who have either had an altercation with the police or don't trust them and those who are in full support of them.

Another insight into this sample of society is how many people give thumbs up or down to a comment. There are a few people who will give thumbs down to anything that mentions God, or a particular political figure. Here in Houston we have many undocumented or illegal aliens. One man, at least I assume this is a man, will follow any story containing a Hispanic sounding name with, "Is he legal?" This got a large majority thumbs down when the story was of a soldier killed in the service of his country.

We can pretend to be someone we're not when in public. It is in the privacy of our own homes, that which we do in secret, and the comments made anonymously that are the true measure of who we are. If the postings in the on-line news stories are any indication, there are many very angry, very scared and extremely insecure people. There are also those filled with compassion.

Why do I read these comments? As a student of human nature they fascinate me.

Jumat, 01 September 2017

Understanding Empathy in the Culturally Diverse Workplace

Diversity in the work place opens up a multiplicity of opportunity when it comes to embracing different culture and broadening horizons in the face of client relations. It can pose a challenge, however, to mesh these differences in a way that allows for effective communication and cooperation in a team of coworkers if not handled properly. The key to successfully maintaining proper communication is through the use of empathy practices among staff and leadership.

What is empathy?

In everyday use of the term, empathy refers to the action of putting one's self in another's shoes. Attempting to understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspective of another, however, is an art that requires some amount of skill. Keeping an open mind is the first step to practicing empathy and opening doors to effective communication. Empathy requires practice, and quite a bit of education to pull off-especially in a workplace that embraces a higher level of formality.

Practical exercises to strengthen empathy are key to a successful workplace.

Because diversity is such an essential asset to the workplace, providing practical ways for your employees to practice empathy is incredibly important. There are many methods employees can use to do this, many of which are incredibly simple. Providing a casual atmosphere for teambuilding - whether within the workplace or at an outside venue such as a retreat-will give coworkers the opportunity to educate their colleagues on life history and background, which opens the floor for discussion on particular cultures represented in the diversity of the group. Facilitating open discussion is essential for education and success.

How can empathy be practiced through communication?

In a diverse workplace, it is possible that conflicts may arise due to error in communication. Differences in perspective and communication style, however, do not automatically relegate a problem to a failure. By approaching your employees and facilitating a discussion that addresses and acknowledges the viewpoints of both parties, you may be able to resolve disputes in a manner that will naturally provide the opportunity for empathy in communication.

Practicing empathy in any group of diverse individuals is a great way to avoid conflict and embrace an atmosphere that will allow any group to feel comfortable and flourish. Once you understand how to improve this skill, communication between both coworkers and clients will be more successful.