A key piece of Boone Pickens' “Pickens Plan,” which aims to make the United States less reliant on foreign oil, is the conversion of trucking fleets to run on compressed natural gas. That's happening more and more. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Lowe's, Procter & Gamble and United Parcel Service are among the companies ramping up their switch away from diesel fuel. P&G wants to have 20 percent of its fleet on natural gas in two years; presently 7 percent is. UPS intends to buy 1,000 natural gas-fueled trucks by the end of the year. The Journal says inexpensive natural gas gets some of the credit, along with new natural gas engines that are capable of powering heavy-duty trucks. The head of Waste Management Inc. told the newspaper that about 90 percent of its future truck purchases will be those fueled by natural gas. Changing “would be a big gamble ... if we thought it was going to flip back to diesel being cheaper,” he said. “But as far out as we can see, we think you are going to have lower gas prices and higher diesel prices.”
Court sense down under
Let's hear it for Australia's highest court, which this week denied a workers' compensation claim filed by a government employee who was injured while having sex. The sex occurred in a motel room during a business trip. A glass light fixture above the bed fell and struck the woman in the face, injuring her nose and mouth. She sought compensation for an on-the-job injury and initially was granted it before further investigation revealed the circumstances. In overturning a lower-court ruling, the nation's High Court ruled 4-1 that the woman's employer hadn't induced or encouraged her to have sex, and therefore the Australian government's insurer didn't have to compensate her. The Associated Press reported that the ruling “could have ramifications for other federal employees who claim compensation for unconventional work-related mishaps.” Here's hoping so. And to the four like-minded members of the High Court we say, good on ya mates.
Doctors who care for children in this country are worried about kids being overexposed — not to sunlight, but to technology. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines this week encouraging parents to ban electronic media at mealtimes and when the kids go to bed. The academy has long been concerned about American kids spending too much time in front of the television. Now youngsters hunker down with their cellphones, tablets and laptops to text, tweet or study. In addition to a no-device rule at the dinner table or in bed, the physicians' group recommends setting family rules regarding use of the Internet and social media. As importantly, the doctors said parents need to live by the same rules, to set a good example. Well, they can hope, can't they?