My take on things that matter: soccer, F1, politics, financial markets, current events, new technologies, etc.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Honda Natural Gas Civic GX On Sale in New York State

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., today announced the availability of the 2007 Honda Civic GX for the New York State market. The Civic GX will be on sale at five Honda dealers on Long Island and fourteen additional dealers throughout the state, marking the first time the Civic GX is available for retail sale outside of California. The Civic GX is the only dedicated natural gas-powered passenger car available to retail customers in the United States.

The 2007 Civic GX, which achieves an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 28/39 miles per gasoline-gallon equivalent, carries an MSRP of $24,590. Currently natural gas is approximately 30 percent less expensive than gasoline when purchased at a refueling station, and approximately 50 percent cheaper than gasoline when supplied by a 'Phill', the convenient natural gas home refueling appliance.

2007 Civic GX buyers are eligible for a Federal tax credit of $4,000 for the car and an additional $1,000 in tax credits for the purchase and installation of 'Phill'. (The Phill appliance can refuel the sedan overnight, drawing natural gas from an existing home supply line.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Update on Solar Energy

Kyocera announced today that it has achieved a new world record of 18.5% energy conversion efficiency for a 15cm x 15cm multicrystalline silicon solar cell. The achievement represents the latest in a series of advances by Kyocera, which in 1985 became the first manufacturer to commercialize multicrystalline silicon solar cell technology. Prior records for energy conversion efficiency in multicrystalline cells of this size were also set by Kyocera, including 14.5% in 1989, 17.1% in 1996, and 17.7% in 2004.

In other solar news:

-- Google will begin installation of 1.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels at their Mountain View campus (or enough to power 1,000 California homes). The world's largest dedicated solar-powered generation station is a 12-megawatt facility in Arnstein, Germany, near Frankfurt. The top U.S. dedicated solar facility generates 4.6 megawatts and sits in the Arizona desert near Tucson.

-- Under a new agreement, Evergreen Solar, Inc. will ship approximately $100 million of photovoltaic (PV) modules to Mainstream Energy over the next four years. This agreement is Evergreen Solar's sixth major contract in the past 12 months. The value of these six contracts totals more than $700 million over the next five years.

-- SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of the world's highest efficiency, commercially available solar cells and solar panels, today announced its newest solar panel, offering significantly higher power output and conversion efficiency than its current products. The new SPR-315 solar panel utilizes the company's newly developed 22-percent-efficient Gen 2 solar cells and carries a rated power output of 315 watts.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bring on DC United

In what was essentially a playoff elimination game, the New York Red Bulls beat the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 Saturday night at Giants Stadium to claim the fourth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls will host rival D.C. United next Saturday at 2 p.m. in the opening leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.

Go ahead, buy your playoff tickets now and let's knock DC United out. Let the Bruce era begin with a trip to the playoff finals.

Liverpool FC fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone"

You'll Never Walk Alone

One of the best clips I founds of Liverpool FC fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone"

Sun sets on Djorkaeff's stellar career

This Saturday, when the Red Bulls will fight for their playoff lives against the Kansas City Wizards where a win, and only a win, will secure the final spot in the postseason, Djorkaeff will be playing the final regular season game of his glorious career.

"I'm really excited not just because it will be my last game for the regular season, but it'll be very important for the team, too, to play for the playoffs," Djorkaeff said.

Djorkaeff's career eventually brought him through top leagues and clubs around Europe including, Monaco, Paris Saint Germain and Inter Milan. He was successful in each place, leading his teams to championships. This success was no different when Djorkaeff suited up for 'Les Blues.' Along with the World Cup win, Djorkaeff was able to help France to a European Championship (2000) and a Confederations Cup (2001).

With New York, which signed him last season after four years in the English Premiership with Bolton and Blackburn, "The Snake," as he is nicknamed, continued to slither through opposing defenses. Djorkaeff was the team's most valuable player, scoring 10 goals and adding seven assists in 24 matches in 2005. He played a key role in the team's race for a playoff spot last season, netting the game-winner vs. D.C. United on Oct. 8 in a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium.

When Djorkaeff decided to hang up his boots earlier this season, he was able to make the choice confidently.


Youri, thanks for the memories!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Change a Light Bulb

If every household in America changed just one traditional light bulb to a energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb at home, combined efforts would save 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year or $526 million a year in electric expenses. This would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.

CFL light bulbs use 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs and last up to ten times longer. Replacing a 60-watt incandescent with a 13-watt CFL can save consumers at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. CFLs last longer and come in different sizes and shapes to fit almost any fixture. Additionally, CFLs produce about 70% less heat than standard incandescent bulbs, so they are safer to operate.

Take the "Change a Light" Pledge

157,055 people like you have taken this important step. Collectively, they have pledged to change 320,965 bulbs. That means we will avoid using 90,512,130 kWh of energy and prevent 142,829,425 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mitsubishi to sell electric vehicle in the U.S.

Tokyo, October 11, 2006 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has built a new research vehicle, the Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (MiEV)*1 for a next-generation EV development project.

Mitsubishi says the electric car has a top speed of 80 mph and can travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Search over $12 Trillion of federal spending for free, a new transparency website created by OMB Watch, lets you search over $12 Trillion of federal spending for free.

-- Top 100 Recipients of Federal Contract Awards for FY 2005

-- Top 100 Recipients of Federal Assistance for FY 2005

Diego Armando Maradona


Diego Armando Maradona, the former Argentine soccer player, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time. During an international career that included 91 caps and 34 goals, he played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, leading the Argentina national team to victory over West Germany in 1986.

Oh, the good old days :)

MLS Cup montage 1996-2004

MLS Cup montage 1996-2004

Ready for the 2006 MLS Playoffs? This will get you in the mood.


Do-or-die: NY Red Bulls face must-win match

After 31 MLS regular season games, the idea behind the 32nd is simple: Win and you're in.

NY Red Bulls (8-11-12, 36 points) will play the final match of the MLS season this Saturday night against Kansas City (10-13-8, 38) at Giants Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET) . Three points against the Wizards, who are two points ahead of the Red Bulls going into the final weekend of the regular season, and New York is in.

Fans who purchase tickets to that match will be offered the preferred price of $15 per ticket to the Bulls’ potential first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals, which will be held at Giants Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. against D.C. United. The offer is available exclusively by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER and it ends on October 13th at 5:00 P.M. ET.

Here's a nice summary of 10 years of NY regular season finales

Remember, the Red Bulls will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs with a win against the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at Giants Stadium.

Come out and cheer on the Red Bulls!!!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

E85 Stations Hit the 1,000 Mark

There are now 1,000 publicly and privately accessed E85 fueling locations throughout the United States according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC). That number represents about 0.6% of the number of gasoline fueling stations in the US (170,000).

The number of E85 stations has grown significantly in just a short period of time. Below is an approximation of how many E85 outlets were in operation over the past several years:

January 2003: 100
January 2004: 150
January 2005: 285
January 2006: 600

In October of 2005, the station count was 438; the number has more than doubled in 12 months!

Online Searches for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Decrease with Price of Gas

US consumer searches for fuel-efficient vehicles have started to decline according to the most recent Consumer Search Index report.

Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris and Honda Insight top the list of new and used vehicles with the largest decline in search volume over the past month. While searches for fuel-efficient vehicles have declined, searches for large luxury SUVs have increased significantly. The Hummer H2 and H3, Infiniti QX56, Cadillac Escalade and BMW X5 all made the list of used cars with the largest increase in searches over the past month.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


What does Jim Cramer think about oil stocks?

It's hard to say. . .


1/6/06 - Exxon Mobil (XOM): Here's a company that gets so many undeserved accolades that it makes me sick. It hasn't grown its assets -- crude in the ground, my friends -- for years and has played the role of oil bank all too well. I believe it deserves a lower multiple than almost any oil company

8/2/06- Cramer says that the Merrill Lynch analyst who downgraded HAL was wrong, and believes that natural gas will be going up. He suggests buying VLO, because he believes that it is on its way up.

8/3/06 - Bullish calls: XOM and COP. Cramer says that COP is the best company in the sector.

8/7/06 - Cramer says that oil is not going back down soon, and that no one seems to be using alternative fuels yet. Cramer likes BHI and CVX.

8/8/06 - Cramer says that ALJ and VLO are good buys to get revenge at the pump. In spite of the fact that many analysts claim that oil will go down, Cramer does not see it happening. "Own an oil stock," he says.

8/10/06 - Bullish calls: VLO and DVN. DVN, 'I regard that as the cheapest energy play in America. BuyBuyBuy!' Also on 8/10, Cramer decries the fall of oil on Thursday as "stupid and wrong" and suggests buying XOM on weakness.

8/15/06 - Bullish calls: BP and XOM.

8/17/06 - ' ...move into Valero.' Consol Energy (CNX):'The prospects are fabulous. ... I say 'mon back.'

8/21/06 - People thought oil was coming down, but it's not.

9/5/06 - A major discovery of oil in the Gulf of Mexico not only means big gains for CVX and DVN, but will bring the entire market up, according to Cramer

9/20/06 - Oil's up. Sell oil. It really is that bad. Now that we are in the home stretch of the quarter, every portfolio manager and his brother wants to sell oil and buy tech -- any oil, any tech.

9/21/06 - Tomorrow sell the oils, with abandon. Today, let them glow.

9/21/06 - Since oil is falling, Cramer is taking a look at CVX which was up 2% on Thursday but warns that Friday is the day to sell since the tide is turning against crude oil.

9/26/06 - Although there are some who believe that the "exquisite moment" to pick up oil again is near Cramer insists that the bottom will not occur in oil until it reaches $56 a barrel. Cramer said that OXY was a '"proxy" and that it "should be somewhere between $35 and here ($46.21). He doesn't recommend the sector.

9/27/06 - This morning, a couple of firms upgraded the refiners, which should begin to put a bottom in the oils themselves.

9/27/06 - Cramer notes the performance of CVX which is up 5% as oil continues to decline and will probably fall below $60.

9/29/06 - "The only oils that I want to own right here are CVX and BP"

10/3/06 - Jim said he would pick up Devon and sell BP.


Hopefully you were able to make "mad money" following his recommendations :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

September 2006 - car sales stats

Acura –5.64% at 16,323 (9/05: 16,634)
Audi 2% at 8,004 (9/05: 7,854)
BMW –11.31% at 20,339 (9/05: 22,052)
Buick –11.1% at 19,463 (9/05: 21,050)
Cadillac 17.8% at 20,217 (9/05: 16,507)
Chevrolet –10.6% at 190,825 (9/05: 205,238)
Chrysler 0.0% at 47,211 (9/05: 45,546)
Dodge –20.8% at 79,784 (9/05: 96,890)
Ford 3.26% at 204,070 (9/05: 190,012)
GMC 1.1% at 39,141 (9/05: 37,233)
Honda –8.1% at 99,903 (9/05: 104,529)
HUMMER 11.6% at 6,739 (9/05: 5,806)
Hyundai –16% at 33,384 (9/05: 38,214)
Infiniti –9.8% at 10,378 (9/05: 11,062)
Isuzu 16.6% at 1,397 (9/05: 1,152)
Jaguar –47.8% at 1,158 (9/05: 2,135)
Jeep 21.62% at 41,893 (9/05: 33,120)
Land Rover 2.61% at 3,469 (9/05: 3,425)
Lexus 12.1% at 25,700 (9/05: 22,036)
Lincoln –26.91% at 7,362 (9/05: 9,686)
Mazda 2.19% at 20,261 (9/05: 19,918)
Mercedes 8.86% at 19,873 (9/05: 17,552)
Mercury –5.77% at 13,117 (9/05: 13,385)
MINI –5.84% at 2,964 (9/05: 3,027)
Mitsubishi 9.24% at 10,287 (9/05: 9,054)
Nissan –9.1% at 77,962 (9/05: 82,478)
Pontiac –13.6% at 37,376 (9/05: 41,597)
Porsche –.61% at 2,339 (9/05: 2,263)
Saab 48.8% at 3,069 (9/05: 1,983)
Saturn 4.4% at 20,153 (9/05: 18,569)
Subaru –3.67% at 16,128 (9/05: 16,100)
Suzuki 7.0% at 7,940 (9/05: 7,131)
Toyota 21.28% at 197,250 (9/05: 156,381)
Volkswagen –10.79% at 20,082 (9/05: 21,646)
Volvo –2.24% at 9,672 (9/05: 9,514)