Friday, December 22, 2006

Sniffing out some local stories

Please stand by, more blogging to come. There has been a great deal of nanotech news to comment on recently, but I'm holding my tongue for now. Meanwhile, just as a side note: As the above photograph indicates, it's kind of a relief to be working again for a paper publication, where your words can lend some inspiration to any occasion.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Career stabilizers deployed

My career has traversed through many twists and turns and has met with too many dead ends and blind alleys over the past few years. Therefore, it is refreshing for me to get back to basics. I am a reporter covering technology and manufacturing for the Oakland Business Review in suburban Detroit. And, like my own career, the story of Metro Detroit is one of continuous change that must be met with continuous adaptation in search of stability.

This blog will remain devoted to nanotech, and I will likely launch a new blog devoted to my new beats. But, as a preview, here is a snippet of one of my first stories for the Business Review.

In a drizzle-drenched parking lot attached to a dull block of buildings on an aesthetically challenged warehouse side of the tracks in Ferndale, Scott Thornton shows a new driver how to fire up the comparatively colorful two-seater he says he's about to churn out of his factory by the hundreds.

The key turns. And ... "click."

Yes, that's "click." Not "vrooooomm, purrrr!" Just "click," and the engine is "running." Can't even call it running, really. It's just ... on.

Thornton points out the "gas gauge ... or, electricity gauge," correcting himself. Wiper, fan, radio and a mysterious black button. Press that baby, and the hot little neon-lamp of a car kicks into a "turbo boost," of sorts, doubling its speed.

But don't expect to feel any cheek-rippling g-force. The speedometer goes up to 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 mph), but the top speed on the Kurrent electric vehicle is 25 mph in Michigan, by law. And the engine is programmed to go no faster.

Laugh all you want, but while the old internal combustion-based auto companies eject workers out the exhaust, Thornton says his company is about to fill his factory with 50-70 new employees, assembling pieces of the energy future. More here

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back to Life: Cubicled

My son thought the letter W would come in handy at work. I think he's right.