The Incontiguous Brick

August 30, 2009

How Detroit Killed the Inflatable Car

The Inflatable Car

The Inflatable Car

I am a huge fan of new ideas and inovative technology.  XP Vehicles is developing an inflatable car that is an absolutely phenomenal idea.  If you don’t want one for yourself then that is fine.  You can’t deny that a car made out of “airbags” (the same polymer materials used to cushion NASA’s rovers when they landed on Mars) is a pretty cool idea.  Especially when that car uses no gasoline and gets over 125 miles per battery charge. Not to mention the company’s claim that you can drive the car off a cliff without serious injury, and that it will float in a flood or tsunami.

But the Department of Energy says…


 Here is an excerpt from an email I received from XP Vehicles:
“Detroit” wants XP Vehicles stopped!

The DOE reviewers, mostly from “Detroit”, have turned down XP’s loan application in favor of “Detroit” players. Are we a nation where innovation and great ideas win support or where great influence buyers win the support? If you want an XP Vehicle, call Congress now and ask for action!

In the next 48 hours you will see a Press Release sent out by XP Vehicles after we were contacted by the Department of Energy and informed that our application was being rejected. We have been told that most of the smaller, advanced technology electric car companies’ applications are being rejected in favor of Ford, Nissan and GM applicants. XP was told it was rejected because it did not use E85 gasoline and was not building millions of cars.

As stated in our Press Release, we have no problem with the federal government supporting our traditional automotive industry, we do have a problem with absolutely no support for smaller companies who have not made the mistakes of the Detroit Three and are just trying to get new technology on the roads today and available to consumers. Americans deserve the opportunity and right to make the right choices and start reducing our energy consumption and air pollution TODAY.

If America, and the world, wants a car that goes an almost unlimited range via hot-swap cartridges, costs less than $20,000.00, uses no gasoline, is easy to repair, easy to build, saves your life better than any other car, is faster than competing solutions, does not require an extension cord, uses electricity and creates green jobs; then we hope they will let Congress hear their voices.

XP Vehicles needs your help. If you want to support them you can send the below letter to your congressman:


Letter of Support


The Honorable John Doe

U.S. House of Representatives/United States Senate

Washington, DC 20515/20510

Dear Representative/Senator Doe:

As your constituent and a firm supporter of our nation’s environment and energy independence, I was extremely disappointed in the recent announcement made by the U.S. Department of Energy to reject a comprehensive and thorough Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan application submitted by the California-based company XP Vehicles. Their innovative car technology has produced a vehicle capable of delivering about 125 miles per one battery pack charge and uses no gasoline. I cannot understand why the Energy Department is not willing to fund a car that goes an almost unlimited range via hot-swap cartridges, costs less than $20,000.00, uses no gasoline, is easy to repair, easy to build, saves your life better than any other car, is faster than competing solutions, does not require an extension cord, uses electricity and creates green jobs. I hope that you have the same questions and would be willing to phone or write Secretary Chu and ask him directly.

While I realize that some of these loan monies should go to established and traditional automotive companies, I find it unbelievable that the Department is not being more forward-thinking and allocating some of their investment in the future.Again, as your constituent, I am asking you to call or write Secretary Chu and ask him to reconsider the loan application submitted by XP Vehicles.

We need to invest in companies that are working on advanced technology to develop more fuel efficient, safer vehicles and will put Americans back to work in “greener” jobs. If you have any questions or would like a sample letter to send to Secretary Chu, feel free to contact XP Vehicles’ Washington Lobbyist Janet Kopenhaver at 703-528-7822 or via email at Thank you in advance for supporting advanced technology, less dependence on foreign oil and a cleaner environment.

Sincerely,YOUR NAME


Will this make a diference?  Probably not.  But at least you will have tried.


August 7, 2009

Why not model a Govenrnment Health Care plan after the FAA?

The FAA model brings up an interesting example in support of government run health care.


There is a definite problem with the current healthcare system. If you have private insurance and get become very sick, the insurance company has an strong motivation to find a way to cancel your policy. Although this makes sense for the companies bottom line, it is not exactly what I would call insurance. Most of us would like to imagine that “insurance” means: any means of guaranteeing against loss or harm. But this goes away when it is a for profit industry that does not want to pay for loss or harm. And quite frankly, if I was an invester in an insurance company, I wouldn’t want them to cut into their profit to pay for your illness either.


However, the idea of the government providing for our health care sends chills up the spines of most conservatives and many liberals. Do we really trust the government with our lives? I argue that you already do… every time you board an airplane in the United States you are trusting the FAA.


Here is one way to model the field of medicine after the FAA and it just might work:


Doctor Pay:

ATC controllers are highly paid and they make more money at larger airports (so rewarded for skill and hard work), have very demanding requirements, little room for error and are government employees. Maybe that is not such a bad model for doctors. Rather than pay them through hospitals that are billing insurance companies, why not have well compensated doctors (perhaps in a similar organizational structure as military doctors) that are paid a wage from the public coffers. Just like air traffic controllers who work at an airport but not for the airport (paid by FAA), doctors could work at hospitals but not for the hospital.

Medical School:

Obviously, we still want to attract the best and brightest to be doctors. Medical school is tough. It will stay tough. Right now it is expensive and tough and that means only people with wealthy families can become doctors (not always the brightest) or people willing to incur massive debt. This requires very high pay later to cover loans. Why not have medical education free and based solely on merit. If you are good enough to get in and finish the program, you are in the club. If not, see you later (and you owe for the ammount spent on you). No amount of money will get you in, rich boy. That makes it more like the Naval Academy which generally produces good officers.

Hospitals and clinics:

Offer free treatment to any citizen (taxpayer) and get reimbursed from the government for treatment. This is still competitive because people have a choice where they go to see the doctor. Provide a crappy facility and you get less patients at your door = less money. Patients that are not citizens can also be seen but will be billed at the same rate that the government would have paid. The non-citizen can utilize a private health insurance provider if they choose or can pay out of pocket.

Alternative Plan:
How about combining health insurance with life and disability, so the company has a financial incentive to keep you alive and healthy?

April 22, 2009

Credit Card Games

Filed under: Money,Ramblings — iknowkeith @ 3:20 pm

I have a Discover card that I have had for many years. It has a decent interest rate (5.9%) and I use it for emergencies. The other day I received a letter from Discover informing me that the rate was going up to 12.99% and if I didn’t like it I could pay off my balance a leave. This applies to all new purchases and outstanding balances. I owe about a $1000 so I would rather not pay it all right now but the new rate is crap.

discover1I called them to complain and see what we could work out. They said the new rate was being instituted “across the board” for everybody and they would send me the paperwork to appeal it. Because I have never missed a payment I could probably negotiate a lower rate than 13%.

But here is the kicker… the guy on the phone said the new rate is “due to the economy.” Seriously? The new rate is Prime Rate + 9.74% (=12.99%). So the increase is not due to the economy because that would mean the Prime Rate had gone up. The increase is not because I am a high risk borrower because nothing in my life or bill paying practices have changed. The new rate of 12.99% is because they know they can get away with it and most of their customers will chalk it up the the bad economy and take it in the shorts.

Think about it. Why 9.74% and not something else? Because that plus Prime is just under 13% and “12 something” sounds less criminal than 13. It has nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with taking advantage of the consumer by playing the headlines. The letter states, “our decision to make this change was based on the higher cost of doing business due to the challenging economic environment.”  Again, that would be Prime Rate and it has not gone up.  In fact, Prime Rate is much lower than it has been in years.


Discover is not hurting anymore than EXXON was hurting when gas prices were high. Discover does not make high risk home loans or anything of that nature. They only do credit cards and online bill paying. Discover’s stock is low but their P/E ratio is hanging around 4. They are showing a sizeable profit already and now Discover is going for the gold by jacking up the rates. Their profits in 2008 equaled close to $1 billion.

Discover Card… I call Bull $hit!

April 2, 2009

Man records encounter with TSA

Filed under: Our World,politics,TSA,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 3:18 pm

I wish there was a way to require a basic ethics class for all government/public service employees. Something that covers the principles of freedom, democracy, liberty, privacy and our constitution that our laws our based on. I don’t think enough people understand how our country is supposed to work anymore.

note: FOX news actually had a story with substance and worth my time! Shocking!

March 27, 2009

The Trillion Dollar Spider

Filed under: Humor,Money,politics,Wordpress Political Blogs — iknowkeith @ 10:11 am


YAY! Problem solved! I knew it wasn’t that difficult to get this national debt thing under control.
If this seems silly… think about this next time the Federal Reserve says its time to increase the money supply.

February 8, 2009

uh oh.

Filed under: Money,politics,Wordpress Political Blogs — iknowkeith @ 8:41 am


This graph is from

January 30, 2009

Recipe for Disaster?

Filed under: Money — iknowkeith @ 4:07 pm

I’m no economist but tell me if this sounds bad…

Shop all the time with you credit card.
Spend more than you make.
Use the amount you are spending as a measure of wealth and get more credit cards.

How would that work out for you?

Now look at this


The U.S. has run a trade deficit for decades.

Therefore we buy more than we sell overseas.

We can do this because people loan us money.

They loan us money because our economy is so strong.

Its strength is based mostly on how much we spend.



January 27, 2009

Mercury, Autism and Junk Food

Filed under: Warnings — iknowkeith @ 9:32 pm

What do all these have is common? For one thing… they are not related to vaccines.

You would have to have been in a cave to have not heard about the controversy over mercury laced vaccines causing autism in children.  The LA times told us last year that “the prevalence of autism in California children continued to rise after most vaccine manufacturers started to remove the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in 1999, suggesting that the chemical was not a primary cause of the disorder, according to a study released Monday.”
Okay, so they took out the mercury in vaccines but autism rates are still going up. And it is believed that mercury causes autism. What could it be?

What about food? Stay with me here, we might be on to something…

In the Washington Post today, “almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.”

Uh oh…

Mercury is toxic in any form and is definitely not what you want in your food. Heavy or prolonged exposure can do irreversible damage, particularly in fetuses, infants, and young children. Young’s Syndrome is believed to be a long term consequence of early childhood mercury poisoning. It is also a possible cause of Autism.

So that’s why they call it junk food! I always thought it was because it makes you fat and fills your arteries with crud. It is actually poisonous.

What should you do? That’s easy. Just do exactly what you should have already been doing all along. Read the food labels and whenever you see “high fructose corn syrup” replace the words with “poison” and put it back on the shelf (unless you are shopping for someone you hate, then buy it).

January 23, 2009

Homeland Security High

Filed under: Our World,School,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 3:36 pm

Sound like a “B” movie that you don’t want to watch?  Well, you are half right… you don’t want to watch.  The bad news is that is not a movie.  It is a real high school in Delaware set to open its doors in 2010.temp00000005

Students will be called cadets, will wear uniforms, and will follow courses of study in special weapons and tactics, prison guarding, and professional demolition, among others. The languages taught in the school will include Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. Physical training will be a big part, with daily after-school exercise programs already planned.

The tone of the “first responder” high school will be that of a military or police academy, complete with uniforms and daily physical training during and after school.

Read more here:
Charter high school to specialize in Homeland Security

So… do they get extra credit for turning in their neighbors?

January 18, 2009


Filed under: Life,politics,Ramblings — iknowkeith @ 10:47 pm

I love the irony of our modern world… Especially when government gets involved.

After years of attempting to eradicate the very existence of marijuana, it might be the one plant that saves humanity.

Scientists in Italy and the U.K. have recently discovered substances in marijuana that show promise for fighting deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, including so-called “superbugs,” without causing the drug’s mood-altering effects.  Great going “War on Drugs”  Maybe we should have a “War on education” so these dang “scientists” will stop embarrassing our policy makers with new discoveries.

But the irony doesn’t end there…

Mere days before a new law goes into effect banning the sale of all children’s products that have not been tested to be lead free a new medical discovery changes the game.  The slow build-up of lead over a long term exposure is likely to cause serious developmental problems in children.   A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop anemia, muscle weakness and brain damage.  Where poisoning occurs, it is usually gradual, with small amounts of the metal accumulating over a long period of time.

Now South Korean scientists may have found a way to remove dangerous heavy metals such as lead from blood by using specially designed
magnetic receptors.  The scare is over.  It isn’t so much that lead toys, paint, etc. is not a bad thing.  But now, lead may not be an untreatable threat to little ones. 

Once again, government may be jumping in to save us when we weren’t really drowning. Once again, you gotta love the irony.

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