The Smoking Optional Room


I recently enjoyed a short getaway with my wife.  We had reserved a room at a hotel and had requested a non-smoking room.  Upon check in the gentleman at the front desk told us that the hotel was very busy.  He informed us that the room they had available for us was a smoking optional room.

This is a fantastic piece of marketing word play.  Unless there is category of rooms in which smoking is required, my understanding is that all smoking rooms are in fact smoking optional. But by adding that one word optional to the label for the room, the image of the room is somewhat transformed.  The term smoking room conjures up images of a room that smells like an ashtray and is littered with tiny burn marks on the furniture.  By contrast, a smoking optional room is a room in which you have options.  The occupant of the smoking optional room has a freedom that the occupant of the non-smoking room does not possess; the freedom to partake in a multitude of delightful tobacco products.

This phraseology, while creative and even a bit cute, is no doubt an attempt to make the room seem more acceptable to non-smokers when no non-smoking rooms are available for their stay.  Perhaps some non-smokers, despite previous convictions to refrain from the habit, are at least compelled to not completely rule out the option of smoking should they choose to pickup the habit during their stay.

After a polite request, and some discussion with the manager on duty, we were placed in a smoking prohibited room.  But I appreciate that we were afforded the option of smoking.

Formula One Cars to Go Hybrid

F1Formula One (F1) racing appears to stand in contrast with current global trends. The fuel thirsty high performance vehicles thumb their nose at modern practical automotive trends of fuel frugality. However, Formula One racing is in transforming in a way that will make it a leader in high performance fuel efficient technology. Max Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for Formula One racing, sent a letter to the Formula One community laying out a process for Formula One race cars to become hybrids[1].  The process is already underway.

Mosley said: “Formula One is becoming unsustainable. The major manufacturers are currently employing up to 1000 people to put two cars on the grid. This is clearly unacceptable at a time when all these companies are facing difficult market conditions.

Also, with attention on energy problems world-wide, Formula One cannot afford to be profligate in its use of fuel.”

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Two Free Applications to Improve Your Tech Security

laptopsecureWant to increase the security of your online accounts and sensitive data? Here are a couple of free applications that I have found useful.
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Energy Storage: From Gasoline to Ultracapacitors

Energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Scientists have accepted this theory of conservation of energy for ages[1].  But this theory seems to be in juxtaposition with the conventional thought of energy being a scarce resource.  If energy cannot be created or destroyed, why are we always scrambling to find new sources of energy?  While energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can change form.  And there are only certain forms of energy that we can practically harness for use.  One of those forms is potential energy[2].  How we work with potential energy, transport it and harness its potential, is an area of significant evolution in science.

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Two Face’s Take on Punishment: Dish it Out By Chance

twofaceA couple of days ago I posted part one of my article examining whether our method of punishing criminals leads to imprisonment based on what are seemingly random events. If you haven’t read that article and you have some time, you can check it out here:  Do We Imprison People Randomly? Without having read that article, what follows may lack context and may make little sense.

Last night I was watching the recent DVD release “The Dark Knight”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must see. It’s about as good as it gets if you like action or super hero movies. But if you fall into that category, you’ve probably already seem this film, so the point is moot.

Towards the end of the movie, the rookie villain Two Face holds a gun to a young boys head and prepares to flip a coin to determine the boy’s fate. As he holds the coin in his hand he says:

“The world is cruel. And the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased. Unprejudiced. Fair.”

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Do We Imprison People Randomly?

Punishing Consequences or State of Mind: An Examination of the Driving Force Behind the Criteria Used for Criminal Punishment – PART 1

On a pleasant spring day, two men go out hunting. They both have a history of heart problems and have both had a heart attack within the past year. As they are walking through the forest a loud bang from another hunter startles them and triggers another heart attack in each hunter. Their fingers involuntarily clench the triggers of their rifles. One of them fires a stray bullet into the dirt. The other fires a bullet that travels two-hundred feet to where another hunter is hiding the bushes. The stray bullet strikes this third hunter in the head. Should the hunter responsible for discharging the bullet that ultimately killed a person be punished differently from the hunter that shot the bullet into the ground? Stated differently, as a society, how do the mere consequences of a defendant’s actions bear on our punishment of his crime?

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