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The Sad, The Silly And The Serious

7/16/2009 02:43:00 PM

There are three interesting stories in the news today.One is sad, one is silly and the jury is still out on the third, but it has some serious potential.

The sad story is that iconic America retailer Sears is losing the naming rights to the Sears Tower in Chicago. Sears has not had an office in the building since the early 1990s. The new name is the Willis Tower, after Willis Group, a London-based insurance/financial company. I suppose this is payback for an American buying the London Bridge and moving it to Arizona.

The silly story, according to PC World, is that Bill Gates has taken out a series of patents on a technology that would slow hurricane formation by using barges to pump cold water from the ocean depths up to the surface. Hurricanes gain strength from warm water, which is why they form in the tropics and tend to fall apart the farther north they travel. USA Today does a good job examining the idea.

While this certainly sounds feasible in theory, I’m not sure how well the sea creatures that need warm water to survive will handle a sudden drop in their environment’s temperature. And according to Accuweather, hurricanes do play a very useful role in keeping the planet’s atmosphere properly balanced, so stopping them might be a mistake.

The potentially serious story comes from Best Buy. The CE retailer is considering selling electric cars. Not radio-controlled toys, but the real thing. At first glance, this may seemed far-fetched. After all, the only connection such a car would have with its other merchandise is electricity, but there is a precedent. Best Buy’s late competitor Circuit City did pretty well with its used-car subsidiary CarMax.

In addition, Best Buy knows how to make new technology appealing to the average consumer. After all, explaining why 1080p is better then 1080i and 720p is no easy task. This type of salesmanship is sorely lacking in car dealerships, at least according to my car-buying experiences.

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