Six cool ones

Out of more than 100 entries in this year's BFGoodrich Commercial Truck Tires “Cool Rigs” Calendar Contest, six have been judged the “coolest rigs.” Pictured is our favorite, the flame-bedecked tractor entered by Mathew Justiana of Ft. Wayne, IN. “The time these drivers put into beautifying their rigs is obvious with just one glance,” notes Randy Clark, vp-marketing for Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “We're thrilled with the winners but as always, it wasn't an easy choice.” Each winner got 10 free BFGoodrich tires, a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses and, of course, inclusion of their rig in the '02 calendar.

Keeping it clean

Keeping it “clean” is key to good sportsmanship. No wonder the vehicles General Motors is providing for next month's Olympic Winter Games in Utah include 200 bi-fueled (gasoline and CNG) full-size vans for shuttling athletes about. The General says the Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans it will have on hand “produce little evaporative emissions when fueled by CNG (compressed natural gas).” That ought to make it a tad easier for the Olympians to appreciate the thin but clear mountain air above Salt Lake City.

Tunnel of love?

Originally built to test Boeing airplane parts — way back in 1938 — the University of Washington's Kirsten Wind Tunnel in Seattle has been used by Kenworth Truck Co. for over 25 years. Over that time, the OEM's engineers have managed to cut the aerodynamic drag of KWs by nearly 35%.

“Without the wind tunnel,” reports David Warren, asst. chief engineer for advanced concepts, “Kenworth wouldn't be where we're at today. It's given us a leadership position in aerodynamic truck design, which pays our customers back in the form of better fuel economy.”

Talk about light bulbs going off…

The folks promoting a new book, At Work with Thomas Edison: 10 Business Lessons from America's Greatest Innovator, by Blaine McCormick (Entrepreneur Press, 2001), were kind enough to send us some gems about the genius of Menlo Park, NJ.

Here are two especially illuminating:

1) Edison wasn't the first to invent an electric light bulb. But he was the first to effectively market one.

2) Weaknesses can be turned to advantages. The quite deaf Edison invented the phonograph and perfected the telephone receiver.

Fish story

What does it take to rescue stranded sea life? How about a 98,000-gal. hospital pool, trained marine biologists and a converted Army truck? That's what the Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) of Baltimore's National Aquarium has assembled to rescue, rehabilitate and release marine mammals back into the wild. The twin-axle “ambulance” can handle anything up to a pygmy sperm whale, which can tip the scales at over several thousand pounds.

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