Links 9/18/09

Unhealthy men ‘may lose 10 years’ BBC.

Here comes the Z5 Jerusalem Post (hat tip reader John D). Saves gas and reduces air pollution.

Some fires are best left to burn out William White, Financial Times (hat tip reader Don B)

BlackRock’s Fink Says Obama Loan Rules Threaten Mortgage Market Bloomberg (hat tip reader Scott). Read past the lobbying and focus on the wee paragraph on the HELOC exposure at the big banks.

Alternative Headlines for 2009 Tim Iacono

Fed Clarifies QE Policy – Sort Of Bruce Krasting

More on the Tasck Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development Conference Linda Beale

Nervous Macro Man

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Barbara). How I feel right now:


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  1. Skippy

    “beware: this is a remake of an old scam The Z5 looks like a rip-off of the “Tornado Air Management System that has been around for quite a while. The Tornado and the Z5 are both scams. On today’s cars the air/fuel mixture ratio of 14.7 to 1 is electronically controlled by the vehicles fuel management. These devices at best do nothing because the fuel management system will compensate for any changes made to the air flow to keep the fuel ratio at 14.7 : 1 If anything these devices will make fuel economy and emissions worse and may eventually void your vehicles warranty..”

    Or any material used to inhance the property of the air before combustion would have little effect, the speed of air flow over this device would allow zero time to condition it.

    Skippy…static metalic object takes your money is about all, red hot CDSs, get your red hot CDSs.

    1. Richard Smith

      Yup. Looks like a mail order scam. They work by offering you a money back guarantee with a deadline. If you manage to beat the deadline, they will give you about half your money back, citing postage costs (have a think whether that stacks up). In all other scenarios (miss deadline, dumb enough to convince yourself it works, completely fail to fit the Mythical Device) they get to keep *all* your money.

      Some penis enlargement scams work a similar way (they send you back a cheque drawn on account PENIS ENLARGEMENT CORP – REFUND and assume you’ll be too embarrassed to cash it). Or so I’m told.

    2. IF

      The problem is that Yves wants to believe in technological progress. Sigh. Even by an 18 year old that admits knowing little about engines and makes the sweeping claim “the Z5 will theoretically work with any type of engine, from huge electric turbines to home generators.” Emission reduction and gasoline consumption reduction in electric turbines? Mhh.

  2. Paul

    Grasshoppers, has Yves taught you nothing? A 16 year old invented a device that improves the transfer of money into his account. Sure, it’s a version of an old one, but it works.

  3. Peripheral Visionary

    Scientists and environmentalists have been pushing to let natural forest fires burn for quite some time now, at least the last couple of decades. But their efforts have been undermined by developers, who have found development in wilderness areas, particularly of high-end retirement homes, to be enormously profitable. With so much new development on the boundary of, or right in the middle of, areas at high risk for forest fires, there isn’t much of a choice but to try and fight the fires.

    The scientists and environmentalists are right, of course; the fires do refresh the natural environment, and in many places are a necessary part of the ecosystem. The government doesn’t have very good options for handling the situation, however, as most zoning and development permits are handled at the local level, where there are immense pressures to raise tax revenues and provide employment. One potential area to adjust might be insurance; if insurers took the risk of fire damage into account, homes built in high-risk areas might (like homes in “hurricane country”) carry a high enough insurance premium that developing in at-risk areas would be less profitable. The other solution, of course, would be to put the clamp down on development in Federally administered (National Forest) lands, and put a stop to land swaps (which invariably disadvantage the government and result in prime lands being dropped into the laps of developers for far less than what they are worth.)

  4. charlottemom

    Of course the Z5 is a scam…how so…let’s break down the elements:

    1) product not currently registered/independently approved..z5 currently pursuing patent (really?)
    2) young, honorable enough salesman (soon to serve in IDF)
    3) weirdly selected, limited sales venues – Turkey (?) in US (only via internet)
    4) more on salesman — hardworking, inventive AND no background or training in conbustible engines

    Most importantly 5) we want it be so..we want to believe this will work..the buyer’s powerful belief in magical thinking

    Thanks for the chuckle…I can’t wait to see this product on late night infomercials.

  5. charlottemom

    who removed the comments that z5 product is a SCAM! I though NC was posting Z5 piece for comedic relief.

  6. rj

    Regarding the Z5. As an engineer for an engine company, I always bang my head on the wall of how the general public knows nothing or are clueless about emissions and fuel economy, because they are two completely contradictory goals. If you want one, it makes the other worse. You want great fuel economy? Okay, that means combusting as much fuel as you can in the power cylinder. But if you combust more fuel, you create more exhaust gases and that creates more emissions. You want less emissions? Okay, that means not burning as much fuel in the power cylinder and the air is cleaner because you did not combust as much fuel. But that kills your fuel economy. And less fuel economy means more fuel has to get shipped here which means emissions are worse because you have a barge shipping fuel and it certainly creates a lot of emissions. Has anyone told the Government of California this with their stupid laws?

  7. Ed

    “”We’ve shown that men at age 50 who smoke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can expect to survive to 74 years of age, while those who have none of these risk factors can expect to live until 83.”

    Am I the only one whose reaction was that this wasn’t that bad (and I don’t smoke). The lost nine years are coming of what seems to be the worst part of a person’s life, in terms of quality of life. I’m honestly pretty indifferent as to whether I die at 74 or 83, though it would be nice to make it to the 70s.

    I find the “you don’t want to get a hole in your throat” argument much stronger.

  8. Chris M

    @ rj:

    As a shade-tree mechanic who has done his share of hot-rodding both carbureted and fuel injected engines, I find your explanation completely and bafflingly wrong. “[T]he air is cleaner because you did not combust as much fuel. But that kills your fuel economy.” Huh? “in the power cylinder” LOL! Did you maybe mean “combustion chamber”? I find it amusing that “an engineer for an engine company” doesn’t seem to know common engine terms. The only thing I can think of that might be close to your point, is that running an engine too lean (more air, less fuel) gives better fuel economy, but worse emissions. Specifically, the NOX emissions are higher due to the higher combustion temperature of a lean mixture. Some people now talk about CO2 emissions, which simply tracks with fuel consumption. But that’s not really a pollutant as most people think of it. It’s an unavoidable byproduct of the combustion. It cracks me up when people who complain about others’ cluelessness, are actually clueless themselves. Of course the Z5 is a also a scam. In the old days it was fuel line magnets and 100mpg carburetors. With modern fuel injection, the scammers have turned to airflow gimmicks.

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