Goodyear turning to soybeans to make longer lasting tires

Goodyear Tire and Rubber is working on a new technology that can help make its tires less expensive to produce and last longer and it involves something that the U.S. has plenty of – soybeans.

Goodyear researchers have found that using soybean oil in the manufacturing process can extend the tread life of tires and significantly reduce the amount of petroleum required, “up to seven million gallons each year” for the company as a whole. Adding soy to rubber compounds in tire production, the company says, has proven to improve the mixing process, and creates a better rubber compound. The soy helps the rubber blend easier with the silica, a basic component of ordinary beach sand and an integral tire ingredient…

…Adding soy, Goodyear says, could enhance its already strong reputation for quality. Goodyear has consistently been a top pick in…tire ratings. Therefore, a 10-percent increase to tread life could play well with consumers looking to get more miles for their tire bucks.

“Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment.” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer, in a statement.

Looks as if these critters could be available in the marketplace in 3 more years. Saving money is always useful. Saving money on lower initial cost – and extended life and mileage is a bonus.

As climate change grows, parasites may get nastier


A really silly tree frog

Parasites look set to become more virulent because of climate change, according to a study showing that frogs suffer more infections from a fungus when exposed to unexpected swings in temperatures.

Parasites, which include tapeworms, the tiny organisms that cause malaria and funguses, may be more nimble at adapting to climatic shifts than the animals they live on since they are smaller and grow more quickly, scientists said.

“Increases in climate variability are likely to make it easier for parasites to infect their hosts,” Thomas Raffel of Oakland University…told Reuters, based on findings about frogs and a sometimes deadly skin fungus.

“We think this could exacerbate the effects of some disease,” he said of the report he led with colleagues at the University of South Florida. It will be published in Monday’s edition of the journal Nature Climate Change…

Few…studies have considered the effects of climate variability or predictability on disease, despite it being likely that hosts and parasites will have differential responses to climatic shifts,” they wrote…

Based on factors including their size, life expectancy and factors such as their metabolisms, the scientists said frogs probably took 10 times as long as fungus to get used to unexpected temperature changes, a process known as acclimation.

Raffel said that more tests were needed of other parasites and hosts to confirm the findings. “This study was only done on an single tropical frog species,” he said.

Unforeseen consequences lead back to the crap we human beings force upon this planet’s environment forever. The time for taking responsibility is past due.

God and Gay marriage: What Chick-fil-A might learn from Marriott

From a conversation between Diane Brady and Bill Marriott:

In Marriott’s personal life, marriage is something reserved for a man and a woman. But he has long been reluctant to impose that view on the company his father founded. Not only could that crimp the company’s $12 billion in sales, it might demoralize employees working in more than 3,700 Marriott properties worldwide. With Mitt Romney’s presidential run and same-sex marriage in the headlines, we spoke about his stance as Mormon leaders were being held up for scrutiny again.

“This church helped me raise a family and has brought great joy and happiness to my life,” he told me. But that didn’t mean gay employees had any less status at Marriott. “We have to take care of our people, regardless of their sexual orientation or anything else,” he said. “We are an American Church. We have all the American values: the values of hard work, the values of integrity, the values of fairness and respect.” Marriott has both a deep faith and a deep understanding of his responsibility as a leader. Many of his shareholders, customers, and employees don’t belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their values matter, too…

As a result, when his church actively campaigned against same-sex marriage in California, neither Marriott nor the hotel chain donated any money to the cause. Instead, he stepped into the drama by publicly reinforcing his company’s commitment to gay rights through domestic partners benefits and services aimed at gay couples.

Contrast that with the approach of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. His company is also committed to treating gay employees and customers at its 1,608 outlets with the same “honor, dignity, and respect” as everyone else gets. “Going forward,” the company says, “our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

But that statement didn’t come from the mouth of Cathy or any other senior executive at the Atlanta-based fast-food chain. In fact, it’s nowhere to be found on the company website. It is tucked amid the ads for peach milkshakes and Cow Appreciation Day on the company’s Facebook (FB) page. Go to Dan Cathy’s Twitter feed and there are cheerful references to great food and his great evening with celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart. The issue of gay marriage doesn’t come up…

The issue isn’t that Dan Cathy disapproves of gay marriage; that’s hardly a shocker in a business so infused with Baptist values that its outlets are closed on Sundays. The problem is that he crossed the line in letting his faith become less about inspiration than alienation. Not only did he openly condemn the beliefs of a big chunk of Chick-fil-A’s audience, he implied that their views are unpatriotic and even put the country at risk. Divorce rates being what they are, praising the men in his family for “still being on their first wives” probably didn’t win him many friends, either.

Boycotting a company led by a sectarian fool certainly is easier than walking away from dealing with someone who can see further than his church’s walls.

Supporting a company with American constitutional principles – regardless of religion – isn’t even a tough choice.

Nuns seek dialogue with Vatican — Vatican wants obedience


Sister Florence Deacon and Sister Pat Farrell

The leaders of the nation’s largest group of nuns sidestepped a confrontation with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, announcing Friday that they would “dialogue” with the archbishop appointed by the Vatican to take over their group, but not “compromise the integrity” of their mission.

Pat Farrell, the departing president of the nuns’ group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said at a news conference that the members of her organization wanted to be “recognized as equal in the church,” to have their style of religious life “respected and affirmed,” and to help create a climate in which everyone in the church can talk about “issues that are very complicated.”

“Their expectation is that open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the church leadership and women religious,” the nuns said in a statement, “but also to creating more possibilities for the laity, and particularly for women, to have a voice in the church.”

…Cardinal William J. Levada, an American who until June was in charge of the church’s doctrinal office, called the nuns’ approach a “dialogue of the deaf.”

The Catholic Church wants women to listen and obey – end of discussion.

The decision to seek a dialogue came after more than 900 nuns spent four days doing what they call “listening to the Holy Spirit” inside a hotel ballroom. They represent about 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the United States. They were responding to an edict issued in April by Cardinal Levada’s office, which ordered three American bishops to rewrite the Leadership Conference’s statutes, evaluate its programs and publications, and revise its liturgies and rituals.

The standoff between the Vatican and the nuns has become a proxy for the struggle between the church’s right and left flanks. As the nuns were reminded this week, many Catholics who want to see their church reformed are looking to the nuns to be their voice.

Like the American politics these nuns reflect, the confrontation is between reactionaries whose ideology resides in a mythical world somewhere in the distant past when the population as a whole and women in particular obeyed a small group of self-centered men.

These religious women represent an essential spirit of humanity long recognized by the breadth of American society, willing to confront demagogues who fear democracy, civil rights, equal opportunity – characteristics long honored in the United States in word if not in deed.

Aides to Republican Congressman busted forging election petitions


What Republican election fraud really looks like

Four staffers of former U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia were charged today in connection with the false nominating petitions that led to McCotter’s departure from Congress…

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette…He said the petition forgeries and cut-and-paste jobs on the petitions “would make an elementary art teacher cringe.”

Schuette said the McCotter staffers also likely did the same thing in the 2008 elections, using 2006 petition signatures.

“Let me tell you this, we find any other evidence, we’ll review it in the same painstaking … thorough fashion,” Schuette said at a late-morning news conference.

Schuette blasted McCotter for being “asleep at the switch,” and providing no guidance to his staffers…”They acted above the law as if it didn’t apply to them,” Schuette said.

There is no specific evidence that McCotter was involved in the petition fraud, so the former congressman, who resigned in July, was not charged.

“Their motive is immaterial,” Schuette said. “They set a standard of conduct that is disgraceful.”

RTFA for all the delightful details.

It is pretty hilarious that in an electoral season characterized by Republican officials in every state trying to get senior citizens, poor people, minorities thrown off the voting rolls because they are more likely to vote for Democrats, one of the biggest election frauds in the country is perpetrated by clowns working for a Republican Congressman.

Here in New Mexico, our Secretary of State did her big – “I think there are tens of thousands of illegals registered and voting…” – and after she finished wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars she discovered exactly 19 people who probably registered to vote because they thought they were eligible – but, still never had voted.

This crap never ends.