2007 World Green Car is Blue(tec)

I am a big fan of Bluetec diesel technology. Not only are these cars capable of delivering fuel economy equivalent to hybrids, they are doing so while providing impressive performance in a true luxury package. Diesel technology also scales to larger vehicles like buses and trucks, where hybrid technology has been ineffectual.

The Bluetec equipped E320 Mercedes was awarded the 2007 World Green Car by a group of automotive journalists. This award is even more impressive when you consider that the other vehicles in the list of finalists included BMW’s hydrogen powered 7 Series and Volkswagen’s impressive Polo Bluemotion, a 62mpg diesel that can be had for $20k. VW’s Passat Bluemotion is equally impressive.

The E320 BLUETEC achieves significantly better fuel mileage and longer cruising range (up to 700 miles) than a comparable gasoline-powered luxury car, but more important, it does it without the usual tradeoffs of diesel ownership. Additionally, the E320 BLUETEC is an impressive performance car, powered by 3.0-liter V6 with 208 horsepower and 400 lb-FT. of torque accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 6.6 seconds.

While most of the coverage of clean auto technology coverage focuses on hybrids, there are a range of technologies emerging from automotive R&D groups that deserve attention because when you stack the two side-by-side the Bluetec diesel will come out ahead.

This also underscores the dangers of governments attempting to shift consumption patterns based on worthy goals but less than objective analysis fueled by popularity contest motivated politicians. California’s perversion of the HOV lanes for a few manufacturers hybrids immediately comes to mind, but also the egregious tax breaks, paid for by everyone else, given out to offset the fat premiums these vehicles carry.

This is also a good time to point out that the diesel powered Audi R10 is once again cleaning up in the American Le Mans Series. Last year the Audi team went undefeated, finishing many races 1-2, which led the race organizers to put restrictions on the Audi cars to level the playing field with the gasoline powered peers. Despite the smaller fuel tank and mandated increased weight, the Audi’s are once again undefeated this season, and show no weaknesses.

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Talking Japanese

Somehow the "Three Laws" just sounds cooler, plus they are certainly easier to remember.

Three laws, the robotics experts say, are nowhere near sufficient to ensure human safety in a world where cleaning, carrying and even cooking could one day be performed by machines. So the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has drafted a hugely complex set of proposals for keeping robots in check.

When I read things like this out of Japan I really worry about that country. Besides, haven’t they seen The Terminator or The Matrix? Ultimately, mankind will have to rise up against the machines.

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New Blogger on the Block

Mike Prosceno is one of my former colleagues from SAP who had been threatening to enter the blogosphere for some time and after a good amount of prodding from other bloggers he has finally gone out and done it. Accidentally on Purpose is his blog, give him some link love.

So much gets written and discussed about why you should care about social media, the number of large and small companies not employing social media, and what social media may or may not mean to the future of how we engage with one another in our personal and business lives. While I will leave the personal aspect alone, I will try to address the business side, at least from the corporate communications perspective.

Now there is something you need to know about Mike that makes his entry into the blogosphere more interesting than most. He was my partner in crime to bring blogging to SAP in a more mainstream way than I would have been able to do alone. I often get credit alone for bringing bloggers to Sapphire, but that is simply not accurate.

The backstory is that I mentioned bringing bloggers to Sapphire in a hallway conversation (virtual, he is located in Philly) and he said "great idea, who would you invite?" and I gave Mike a list of names, most of whom were my friends. Mike pushed through the necessary executive approvals, organized the logistics, and most importantly, paid for the program. BTW, there are many people, e.g. Steve Mann, who provided a huge amount of support and cover so I don’t want anyone to think it wasn’t a great team effort.

Mike also justified the program after the first event and then used that to fund additional blogger events around TechEd and other Sapphires, including the upcoming on in Atlanta that I will be attending as a blogger instead of as an employee.

This promises to be an interesting new blog if for no other reason than it being written by a professional marketing communications executive who has bona fides with the enterprise software blogging community. I hope he’ll keep it up because the discussions that generate from it should be really substantive versus the theoretical that we most often get about this topic.

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Life vs. Living

Bill Gross’ latest newletter on housing prices, interest rates and bond yields is worth reading (when are they not?). However, trapped in here was an interesting observation about the virtual worlds.

Am I really suggesting that life might lie within “2001’s” HAL as well as on Walden Pond? Modernity is certainly moving in that direction. There is an online virtual world of its own called Second Life, one of many metaverses that can now be accessed via the Internet. On it, or in it, inhabitants can create another life for themselves that goes beyond just the playing of a video game. Inhabitants are displayed as avatars capable of communicating and relating to other avatars in cyberspace. They can walk, cohabit, start businesses, buy homes – in short do just about anything someone can do “out there.” An IBM spokesman, whose company is leading this invasion into a second world, is quoted in the Financial Times as saying “These are real people. Sometimes people see an avatar and think they are watching an animated movie. They are not. Behind every avatar there is a person.” Have you messed up your first life? Why not try a second one. Get a different job, buy another house, become the Henny Youngman of cyberspace – “take my wife – please” – and exchange her for a new one. Success and that illusive happiness can be just around the virtual corner. All very confusing isn’t it. Old worlders would say it’s just a game, because you can’t touch its images. New worlders would say it’s a reality because everything’s just bits of information streaming into a consciousness. They might not have had computers at Thoreau’s Walden Pond, but they do in 2007, and the mystery of life and what defines living somehow has become ever more complex.

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