Thursday, April 15, 2010

Utah Earthquake pushes number of 2010 large quakes to 27

The 4.9 Richter Scale Utah Earthquake that hit Thursday night is the largest in that state in 75 years according to The Vancouver Sun, and pushes the number of large earthquakes to 27 for 2010 and on page to continue to the 92 significant earthquakes (quakes over 4 on the Richter Scale) projected for this year by this blogger.

That is a record pace.

The Utah Earthquake hit at 5:59:38 PM according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was centered five miles from and a mile below Randolph, UT, and 77 miles from Salt Lake City. The "light" earthquake didn't cause much damage or injuries and the Salt Lake Tribune reports it as if it's no big deal.

In fact, the Salt Lake Tribune goes on to report a gross inaccuracy:

The six major earthquakes occurring in the first four months of 2010 puts they year within normal range. There were 18 major quakes from April 15, 2009, to April 14, 2010, which is a number scientists say is within expectations.

That's wrong, and this space wonders if the Salt Lake Tribune is afraid to report the truth. The fact is over that period of time there were 80 large earthquakes, not 18, major quakes using the 2009 and 2010 information to date, and that's using USGS data available from its website.

The Salt Lake Tribune should stop playing games with the facts and report the information as the USGS presents it: a large quake is over 4 on the Richter Scale. The Salt Lake Tribune just mentions "large quakes" but does not define what they are.

The USGS earthquake numbers point to a problem, at least for anyone willing to look at them.

Stay tuned.

Waste Management v. Recology in SF a battle with national implications

Waste Management is angry
Waste Management v. Recology for the right to dump San Francisco waste is a battle with national implications. Why? It essentially pits one giant garbage firm, Waste Management, against it's much smaller competitor Recology and may pave the way for other local firms to have more success in competing against national organizations in the waste business. Waste Management is 43,400 employees in size; Recology, formerly NorCal Waste Systems, has 2,100.

This blogger normally doesn't pay much attention to local trash, preferring the national celebrity brand, but a political battle between two established companies, and the fact that a lot of people from various sides have talked about it without any provocation, caused this space to wade into an argument such that regardless of what is stated, and how reasonable it may be, the other side - or some other side - is bound to be pissed off.

But the reason for the attention from this space was a March 30,2010 San Francisco Bay Guardian (SFBG) article that claimed Waste Management was "Oakland-based"; an online check revealed Waste Management was not Oakland-based but headquartered (another word for "based") in Houston, Texas at 1001 Fannin St.,Ste. 4000.

What giant Waste Management has is an Oakland office, but that's to have a local political face to help land SF Bay Area work. It's just smart business, but Waste Management is not based in Oakland.

Nothing against the media legend that is Bruce Brugmann at all, but the SFBG really went to town in attacking one side against the other. The SFBG made Waste Management look like a local, environmentally-concerned organization, against, well, Recology.

What happened was that Recology tentatively won a contract with the City and County of San Francisco to haul San Francisco's unrecycled trash by train to its Ostrum Road Landfill in Yuba County, starting in 2015, according to Kevin Fagan of The San Francisco Chronicle. The organization they beat for this right by vote of the San Francisco Commission on the Environment was Waste Management, which currently takes the San Francisco trash to Livermore's Altamont landfill area that it owns. Recology has an alternative proposal that takes the trash to Yuba County.

What's interesting is the SFBG went through the scoring for the proposals submitted and nitpicked what scores Recology was given and claimed the process seemed to have some "subjectivity." Any judgement by any government committee is generally subjective, save for one part: cost. Recology's proposal was less expensive than that from Waste Management.

The San Francisco Commission on the Environment made a daring decision: to go with the less expensive Recology proposal. Daring, because the San Francisco Commission on the Environment screwed with a huge value chain of interests, from Waste Management's Altamont landfill to the City of Livermore and the County of Alameda, which make money from it, to The Sierra Club, who has a monetary grant-making interest in the revenue generated from the Altamont Landfill.

Now here comes Recology to screw it all up. In doing so, the attacks on Recology reveal an environmental industrial complex active in Northern California and that seems to block out new organizations from working within it. Recology was fortunate in that it already has a hand in the collection of the garbage in San Francisco, but believes it can do a better job by establishing a fully controlled and more cost effective transport system than what exists by Recology's working with Waste Management.

Recology issued the more cost effective proposal and a brave San Francisco Commission on the Environment picked them. In short, it gave a really local firm a chance to grow rather than be hampered by the environmental industrial complex. Waste Management is not a true local firm; the attempts to make it look as if it is are unfortunate. If Recology can do a better job, and the San Francisco Commission on the Environment thinks it can, give the San Francisco firm a chance.

Of course, it's not that easy; here comes the defenders of the San Francisco environmental industrial complex, here them roar, and all to protect their money.

Stay tuned.

NFL Draft: Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, blasts Tim Tebow, Bill Parcells

This from the "you should always know a cell phone camcorder's around if you're a celebrity" file. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was caught on camcorder issuing a drunken blast about Tim Tebow just days before the 2010 NFL Draft.

The video above shows Jerry Jones in a rant at some party or bar that involved drinking; Jones ranted on about now-former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach and Miami Dolphins President Bill Parcells and Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow. Someone with a cell phone camcorder caught Jones talking and talking.

The video is hard to hear, so this blogger will turn to the ESPN interpretation: Jones said this:

"Bill's not worth a [expletive]," the video shows Jones saying. After some conversation with an unidentified man off-camera, the video continues with Jones saying, "... to get this [expletive] stadium, I need to bring his [butt] in."

In the video, Jones also said, and ESPN did not report, that Tim Tebow "couldn't get on the field" and said other disparaging remarks about Tebow after someone asked him why a team like Jacksonville (rumored to be interested in Tebow in the 2010 NFL Draft) would draft him, if only to sell t-shirts.

Clearly Jerry Jones should have known better. He's a public figure. To say that he was in a bar, or any other place, does not matter. This would have never happen under the Cowboys of then-owner Clint Murchison and Head Coach Tom Landry.

But it also may reveal how some NFL owners really feel about Tim Tebow.

Stay tuned.

IRS tax day freebies 2010 at Starbucks, Cinnabon; help the homeless

Today is April 15th, IRS Tax Day. That day where people get their last files together to make a list of fiscal expenditures and get their tax report in to the government before midnight.

While today may be a day of dread, fear not, for it's also a time of IRS tax day freebies 2010. Now the trouble is while this is a national trend, not enough retailers or eateries are actually sending out press releases announcing a marketing effort. If this blogger were in the restaurant business, everyone would get a free drink if they purchased a meal and could prove they just filed their taxes.

Now there is one company that seems to get "IRS tax day freebies 2010:" Starbucks. If you bring in a reusable mug on April 15th, or today, you get a free brewed coffee according to their website. Cinnabon, who makes those great, big cinnamon rolls with the thick frosting on top, is also part of IRS tax day freebies 2010.

Between 6 PM and 8 PM at Cinnabon, you can get two free cupcake bites to, as the website reports, "make it less taxing." But if you do this, I personally ask that you give your free cupcake bites to someone who needs food. It's personally sad to see people sitting or begging and know that retailers have these freebees that someone homeless generally doesn't know about.

So if you see someone near by, think about them.

Stay tuned.

iPhone app and Twitter for Small Luxury Hotels of The World

See: small luxury hotels, luxury hotels of the world, iphone app hotels, twitter small luxury hotels

If you think that hotels don't get tech and social networks and aren't willing to try, think again. Small Luxury Hotels of The World, a collection of over 500 hotels in 70 countries has both a Twitter page @SLHLuxuryHotels and an iPhone app. But if you're wondering just what a "Small Luxury Hotel of The World" looks like, here's one in my 2007 video of my trip to New York City to appear as a guest on CNN's Roland Martin Debate This Show:

That hotel at 1:24 is called the Jumeirah Essex House and it's next to Central Park and just a few blocks from CNN's New York studios in The Time Warner Center. It was the first seven-star hotel this blogger ever stayed in, thanks to CNN.

It's not hard to understand why Small Luxury Hotels of The World like the Jumeirah Essex House are so popular, and why a Twitter page and an iPhone app (no blogs or other social network systems so far) are so helpful to the fans of the hotel brand.

While the Twitter page only has 1,259 followers, it has more followers than @SLHLuxuryHotels is following, which is a healthy follower to followed ratio for future growth. Where @SLHLuxuryHotels can grow is by tweeting about subjects beyond the realm of the hotel, thus picking up more Twitter followers. Still, the Twitter use and the frequency of tweets is a great start.

The Small Luxury Hotels of The World iPhone app is both cool and useful and its free. You can find and call to book a room at any one of the hotels in their system right from your iPhone. Then you can share what you've found with your social network contacts.

CNN introduced me to Small Luxury Hotels of The World like the Jumeirah Essex House before this iPhone app; you can bet that when I buy a Verizon iPhone, the Small Luxury Hotels of The World iPhone app is one of the first I'm going to use.

Stay tuned.