I now have actual proof, and intend to share it right here and now, that contrary to past criticism bordering on harassment, this blog attracts any number of alert, intelligent and involved readers. Specifically, last week I reported that a reader had contacted me to ask what I knew about a new process that was being developed to turn nuclear waste sludge into glass. And as you may recall, I told that reader (in this very blog last week) that I would look into it and report back. As any longtime reader knows, I take my job seriously. But before I could even do any investigating, alert and intelligent reader Matthew Tangeman left a comment on the blog site not only verifying that reality of this effort … nuclear waste to glass … but he had actually worked on the design of machinery (for DOE projects) to do just this in the past. You can read his comments at the bottom of last week’s blog if you are interested.
As promised, however, I did do a little research and there is indeed a massive plant being built just outside of Richland, Wash., that when completed is supposed to convert radioactive waste to glass. The project has had its problems, not the least of which is some enormous cost overruns, but is moving forward. Some of the technology being utilized is ground-breaking to say the least. I did find one article about the plant and will gladly send it to you if you email a request for it (firstname.lastname@example.org). So it is for real and most of you can say you heard it here first.
So now … I think some of you who have accused me of “slapstick journalism” in the past owe me an apology. These weekly blogs are informative, intelligent, and in some ways cutting-edge. You know, though, now that I think about it, do you think the glass will have a funny green glow to it after they process it? And if it does, would you really want that in your building or car? Hmmmmmm.
Last One – for Now
If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I try to stay away from political issues … except when I make fun of my own local and state officials. However, after last week’s comments about Chris Christie, I received about eight or nine emails and one phone call regarding the recently indicted former Virginia governor and his wife, Bob and Maureen McDonnell. And here is my only comment … if he were in Illinois and a Democrat, he would have never been indicted. And, while I think he and his wife acted poorly, from what I have read, they will not be convicted of a crime, unless some jury just decides to teach him (and perhaps vicariously, all politicians) a lesson in good behavior.
Almost Unanimous – and a Huge Victory!
And we in the glass industry need to give thanks to those who brought about this big win. I refer here to what was known as Addendum 189.1 to the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) energy code which would have greatly reduced the amount of “allowable prescriptive window area” in the exterior walls (facades) of new buildings. What had become commonly referred to as “The Battle for the Wall” sent shivers through the industry which was already struggling due to the country’s economic situation. But the glass industry rallied together in a way that I had not witnessed in my 40 years in the business. The Glass Association of North America (GANA) under the direction of codes consultant Thomas Culp lead the effort and were strongly and constantly supported by USGlass magazine editorials, updates and announcements. Ah, the power of the press.
In acknowledging the victory, Tom Culp stated, “Altogether we had the support of 126 individual companies and 13 associations representing probably well over 2,500 companies big and small, which is tremendous. This was a big win for all of us.” Added Deb Levy, publisher of USGlass, “We, as an industry, need to remember how effective we are when we work together. It was an awesome effort with equally awesome results.”
Oh, and the final vote by the ASHRAE group … 18-1-1. Almost unanimous.
I’m Gonna Scream
… at the next person who calls me and says “so is it cold enough for you yet?” It was 19 degrees below zero last night in my area west of Chicago so yes, it is cold enough for me! No need to call or email to remind me.
I’m sure you’ve heard about it but in case you have been on vacation or buried in your home because of all of the snow and cold, the Oxfam International Organization, a left-leaning British humanitarian group, released a study that indicated that the 85 wealthiest people in the world have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50 percent of the global population … 3.5 billion people. Further, according to the report, the world’s richest 1 percent control (possess) 46 percent of the world’s total wealth. I am not a socialist and all of this recent talk about wealth re-distribution actually worries me a bit. But I think the real issue here, as the report makes quite clear, is that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening every year. The middle class seems to be disappearing and the poor really are getting poorer. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Not sure what the answer is but this trend is not good for our country. Nothing good can come from this.
Now This Is Interesting
According to a recently released consumer survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, 17% of all American workers expect to be laid off in 2014. This was a 2-percent increase from the June number. On top of this, the report stated that approximately 22 percent of employed Americans plan on switching jobs voluntarily during the year. So about 40 percent of the American work force is assuming that they will not be working for the company they are currently working for by the end of this year. I find this absolutely amazing. And costly as well.
The Broken Tomato Update
Well, this came as a surprise but I think it’s kinda cute so I am going to share some of it with you. Specifically, I have now received six photos of various people reading The Broken Tomato. And one reader, Dave Cain (Milburn Cain & Co. of Villa Park, Ill.) put a picture (of the book) on his Facebook page saying that he had bought a copy for his wife to read while she was in the hospital recovering from the same stem cell procedure I had just gone through. Again, a real surprise but very nice of all of you. Thanks much!!!
Okay, sports fans, just four days from the big one. The Superbowl, that is. And I just want to make a few comments, not necessarily because I know what I’m talking about here but when it comes to sports, it is okay for even the most uninformed to have an opinion or two and offer up commentary. After all, isn’t virtually everyone a Monday morning quarterback … and not just about sporting matters?
So here are my thoughts. I picked Denver to go all the way and when they were getting ready to face the Patriots a couple of weeks ago, I took some criticism and had a few people wager against me. Now, I am not hearing a peep … no one ventured forth to bet on the Seahawks (and remember my maximum wager is only $1). Typically it is said that defense wins championships in football and the Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL this past season. However, Denver had the best offense in the NFL. So in some ways, it is a classic match-up of defense against offense. Being from Chicago and a Bears fan, I too would normally go with the defensive side of things, but Denver is just too strong offensively and I think they will prevail. My wager offer is still open however! Double or nothing Tom Minnon?
The Quotable Thing
This week’s quote comes from Amy Newling. I just wish she would have sent it to me (and I would have taken it to heart) about 30 years ago. The originator (author) is unknown.
“Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”
Have a Wonderful Week, Everyone!