Monday, January 08, 2007

Smell in NYC, smell over Bluetooth

Reuters reported: A mysterious, powerful smell of natural gas throughout much of Manhattan forced evacuations of some buildings and a temporary suspension of a commuter train service on Monday [Jan. 8, 2007] morning as authorities scrambled to determine the source.

IPBiz notes: Natural gas itself (alkanes) has no smell. What smells is a sulfur-compound added by the gas company for the purpose of detection.

Brian Williams on NBC on January 8 also spoke of the "smell of natural gas." No one knows where it came from.

Update: Charles Sturcken, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection, said Tuesday that his agency was pretty sure the source of the smell was along New Jersey's industrialized waterfront, just across the Hudson River from New York. "The way we tracked the dispersion of the smell and the prevailing winds indicates that it came from New Jersey, somewhere near Secaucus," Sturcken said.

Separately, of NBC on Jan. 8, there was some discussion of the origin of this winter's warm temperatures in the northeast (70 deg on Sat., Jan. 6). NBC first presented Dennis Feltgen of NOAA, who said "El Nino, El Nino, ...." Then, NBC brought in Stephen Schneider of Stanford, who raised the global warming, carbon dioxide issue. [Schneider appeared a bit older on NBC than on his website.] This presentation was a bit different from the now classic, Dan Rather CBS presentation on a perpetual motion machine. Separately, one notes that Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz's prediction of a severe winter for Philadelphia have proved entirely wrong. It's El Nino, Glenn.

UPDATE: A bit of a controversy over how tv weathermen cover global warming has been brewing. One pro-global warming advocate suggested removing the AMS "Seal of Approval" from broadcast meteorologists (TV weathermen) who disagree. AMS certified ABC-TV weatherman James Spann disagreed with Heidi Cullen. Spann, who has been in the weather business since 1978 noted "I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype" and he says that climate alarmism is driven by huge research grants that become "the motivation for a scientific conclusion."

Separately, InformationWeek has some comments on the Bluetooth matter:

The Washington Research Foundation, founded to help the state's universities commercialize research, last week sued Nokia, Panasonic, and Samsung in a U.S. District Court, saying the phone makers' use of Bluetooth violates a patent for a radio frequency receiver technology awarded to a University of Washington scientist. [IPBiz note: the inventor was an undergrad at UW in EE.] Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Toshiba founded a group in 1998 to manage the Bluetooth standard, aiming for a royalty-free standard to allow short-range transmission of digital voice and data.

If Bluetooth users are forced to pay royalties, they could be significant, says Bruce Sunstein, a patent lawyer with Bromberg & Sunstein, because the patent "is not just a pie in the sky and has merit." One thing we learned from watching the four-year Research In Motion-NTP patent case over wireless e-mail technology is that patent lawsuits drag on. Sunstein predicts at least three years to get it settled--potentially casting a dark cloud over Bluetooth all the while.


NLJ on 18 Feb 09: Regarding Motorola's Bluetooth headsets, a federal judge in Los Angeles approved a preliminary settlement on Feb. 9 that provides no economic recoveries for putative class members. Bluetooth Headset Products Liability Litigation, No. MDL-1822 (C.D. Calif.).


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