Innovative Solutions __________July 2005
In this issue
-- Feature Article: Global Warming - Why Should I Care?
-- Personal News: Pikes's Peak
-- On the Lighter Side: Dilbert Quotes Contest
-- Article Policy

Welcome to the July 2005 edition of Innovative Solutions, the monthly newsletter from Innovative Thermal Solutions. If you find this information interesting or useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.
In the past two newsletters, I have used two different approaches for the feature article. In one case the full article is included in the newsletter (as it is this month). Last month I included a brief introduction and a web link to the full article. Both were well received, but I'd like to know which you prefer. If you have a preference, please let me know. Just hit "reply" to this email and give me your preference.

Word count approx. 1300
Reading time approx. 6 minutes.

Feature Article: Global Warming - Why Should I Care?
I attended the recent ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) meeting and technical conference in Denver, CO. One of the things I always like to do at these technical conferences is attend the session devoted to an update of the current issues impacting our industry. This time there was a session devoted explicitly to global climate change. I got to the huge ballroom early so I could get a good seat for the presentations and as the first speaker took the stand, frankly I was shocked to look around and count less than 50 people in attendance. Clearly our industry is not taking the issue of global climate change very seriously. Now, if you are my age, you remember the scientific warnings in the 60's about the coming ice age. So I'll admit I have been somewhat slow to warm to the idea of global climate change (formerly called global warming, pun intended). But, as time goes by better data and more research support the prediction of increasing global temperatures. This global temperature increase as the result of greenhouse warming has a potentially devastating impact on global climate. Therefore, we should all take the issue very seriously and at a minimum monitor very closely the private and public policies of the US and countries around the world. I forecast that as the science becomes clearer in "the next few years", this issue will have a major impact on each of us personally and on each of our businesses and the products we design and manufacture.

The difficulty is defining "the next few years". What is the timeframe we should be concerned about? There is one timeframe already defined by the Kyoto protocol. And that timeframe is now - we are already behind. Of course, the US has not signed up to adhere to the Kyoto agreement, so that doesn't really concern us. Or does it? These decisions are too often politically motivated more than scientifically motivated. We all know that our commitment to the Kyoto agreement could change with the next presidential election. That is in November 2008 - a little over three years away. President Bush has been very consistent in his position and policy relative to climate change. But, even though many people seem unaware, we do have an official US policy regarding climate change. Basically it calls for an 18% reduction in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions. See the links at the end of the article for more information on US policy. The policy also calls for a reevaluation of our progress relative to our reduction goal in 2012. Given the interest I see in our industry and other industries, I think it highly likely that we will come nowhere near that 18% reduction in the rate of growth, let alone actually reduce emission levels like most of the rest of the world is calling for. That being the case, it is not unreasonable to expect a new and much tougher policy on emissions on or before 2012, only seven years from now. So I think that reasonably defines "the next few years". If you aren't going to retire before 2012, then you can expect a great deal of pressure on you, your products and your business to reduce emissions in the next three to seven years. Given the life cycle of most products, three to seven years goes by in a hurry.

At the very least be an informed business leader and informed citizen. Make up your own mind about the validity of the data and the likelihood, timeframe and severity of impact on your business. Hopefully the next time you have the opportunity to hear some of the world's foremost experts speak on global climate change, like I had in Denver, the room won't be empty.

The official US policy on global climate change:

The Gleneagles Communiqué - the official communiqué from the July 2005 G8 meeting:

Gateway to global change data and information:

US Department of State fact sheet on global change:

National Climatic Data Center:

Personal News: Pikes's Peak
We took advantage of our trip to ASHRAE's summer meeting in Denver to, among other things, engage in some research into grape varieties being grown in Colorado, and to visit Pike's Peak, a sightseeing destination with a breathtaking view, and the site of one of the most unusual race courses in the world.

My brother-in-law volunteered to drive us up (and back down) the 19 mile road cut into the mountainside in his Dodge Ram Diesel Pickup. Its most important feature for this trek was not its power, but its low gear. In the race course section of the road (more about that later) there are 156 "gravel turns", most of them hairpin tight. There are no guardrails, providing either an unrestricted panoramic view or moments of sheer terror depending on how you feel about dangling on the edge of very high places. I loved the view, Linda was more in the sheer terror camp.

The top of the peak is a lofty 14,110 feet above sea level. At this point if you were in an aircraft FAA regulations require crew and passengers to go on oxygen, but apparently if you are just walking around the top of the mountain or driving a car on a road with no guardrails, it's OK to just get woozy. The view is fantastic. There aren't many places in the world where you can drive to the peak of a 14,000+ foot mountain.

The round trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours for normal people. But for some reason there were people who decided it might be fun to race cars up that two lane gravel road. The inaugural race was in 1916, with the winner turning in a time of 20 minutes, 55.6 seconds. Since then drivers have cut the time in half, with the current record holder, Rod Millen of New Zealand, coming in at 10:04.06 for the 12.4 mile course (average speed 73.9 mph!). You'd have to drive it yourself, creeping around those corners and still feeling the adrenaline, to really appreciate the skill, courage, and perhaps slight degree of insanity it would take to drive it at those speeds.

If you are near Pike's Peak I recommend going to the top. You can drive your own car, or take the train and be able to watch the view without worrying about the road.

Read more about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb

On the Lighter Side: Dilbert Quotes Contest
Here are a few winners from a recently published "Dilbert quotes" contest:
(although we have been unable to authenticate the source of the contest, which was identified only as "a magazine")

What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping)

This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it. (Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

"We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees." (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

For a full list of the finalists, go here:

Article Policy
© 2005 Innovative Thermal Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You are free to use material from the Innovative Solutions newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read: "By Bob Utter of Innovative Thermal Solutions. Please visit Bob's web site at for additional articles and resources on engineering services and new product development." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

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