15 December 2006

Would you hyphen it?

From the headline you have to ask yourself if this press release from Battelle is about a new type of fuel cell, or a new way of making, or even designing, fuel cells.

The title "BATTELLE DEBUTS MULTI-PURPOSE FUEL CELL GENERATOR" could mean that they have a fuel cell that generates electricity for many purposes, or it could be a new generator of fuel cells.

It might help to add a hyphen in "fuel cell". Come to think of it, why not just drop the "generator"? Anyone who understands the term "fuel cell" will know what this is all about. Fuel cells are, by definition, generators of electricity.

Do not copy this press release

I have been looking for an example of this puzzling phenomenon for a while. The press release that you cannot copy. I have found this lot of Press Releases. Retrieve any of the PDF files beneath the links and you will find that you can't copy and paste text from the file.

The press releases come from a company called Acacia Research Corporation, part of which "develops, acquires, and licenses patented technologies".

Now the whole idea of a press release is that people will reproduce it, preferably using as much of it as possible. What possesses someone to put out a press release with security such that you cannot even extract text? Is this also why they break another rule of good communications and do not offer an html version of their press releases?

I have written to the company for their take on this. No reply yet. Maybe they have broken another law of good communications by ignoring emails.

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12 December 2006

Is solar power pissing in the wind?

What are we to make of this proud press release proclaiming that altPOWER Inc. Installs 1.1 MW of Solar Power? Are they serious. A megawatt and they boast?

Younger readers may not know that we went through an energy crisis in the 1970s. Then there was a rush into "renewable" energy when we faced the threat of a world without oil. Now it is climate change that makes us turn to the Sun, although talk of "peak oil" suggests that that one isn't dead either.

Megawatts are for minnows. After 30 years, you would hope that we had got beyond such piddling amounts. We need gigawatts, and lots of them.

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