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Newsbytes...Cool Biz hot offices...DOD contracting...minority spies...and the military guide to terrorism

Newsbytes... So how hot could your office be? How about if the AC was set -- by mandate -- at 88 degrees? Well, that's exactly what they did this summer in Japan to combat global warming. NPR's science reporter David Kestenbaum had a story on NPR this morning about Japan's Cool Biz initiative, which was launched June 1, 2005. Essentially, they turned the AC warming to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.
    The Environment Ministry published a help sheet with suggestions of how to dress during the summer. Koike came up with the idea of stickers that said, in essence, "Excuse my attire, I'm doing Cool Biz." And it worked. Air conditioners were turned up to higher temperatures in all government buildings, saving electricity. As a result, half a million tons of CO2 that would have normally been released into the atmosphere, was not. And the second year — 2006 — Koike says the number of companies and numbers of businessmen who participated in the Cool Biz initiative expanded enormously. The participation numbers doubled or tripled, cutting about 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions. "That is equivalent to half of the Tokyo area's CO2 emissions of a month," Kioke says.

Businesses have come up with Cool Biz wear -- suits that are much lighter for the warmer offices. So, are we ready for this? Survey says...BZZZZZ! Each year in FCW's Best and Worst Agency survey, the temperature of the office is a topic that always comes up -- either too hot, or too cold. I'm only imagining if the office temperature was 88 degrees. A number of interesting stories in the papers over the past few days, which I'm just getting around to reading. Via Slate.com's Today's Papers...
    the Post's Walter Pincus takes a look at how complicated (and expensive) war-time contracting can be. In a contract to provide a 34-person security team, Blackwater was actually a subcontractor to a subcontractor of another subcontractor. Of course, each company has to make some sort of profit so the costs kept getting inflated. Although it could be considered a simplistic way to look at things, it is still interesting to note that Gen. David Petraeus' daily salary "comes out to less than half the fee charged by Blackwater for its senior manager of a 34-man security team."

And this:
    USA Today leads with word that a record number of minorities have been offered jobs as undercover spies for the CIA. Approximately 27 percent of this year's recruits are minorities, compared with 13 percent in 2006. The outgoing leader of the National Clandestine Service acknowledged the agency will fall at least three years short of President Bush's goal of a 50 percent increase in undercover agents by 2010.

Finally, from the Federation of American Scientists:
    MILITARY GUIDE TO TERRORISM 2007 U.S. Army intelligence has issued an updated version of its handbook on terrorism in the 21st century. "The handbook is a high level terrorism primer that includes an overview of the history of terrorism, descriptions of terrorist behaviors and motivations, a review of terrorist group organizations, and the threat posed to our forces, both in the United States and overseas." Two of the four supplements to the handbook, one on case studies in terrorism and one on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, have also been recently updated.

Posted on Oct 02, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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