New Worlds: Keeping petrol pure

Despite government efforts to prevent dilution of gasoline and diesel before it is sold at the pump, this crime has become a national epidemic.

By
October 9, 2005 10:45

Despite government efforts to prevent dilution of gasoline and diesel before it is sold at the pump, this crime has become a national epidemic. Diluted gasoline not only means theft, but when water or another substance is added, it can cause serious damage to your car engine. Now an agreement between an Israeli company named Telematix and the British firm Petronet will make it possible to prevent dilution of precious petrol, whose price is rising daily. Petronet has developed a "unique" technology for monitoring gasoline shipments that electronically locks the fuel companies' gasoline. The computerized system makes possible monitoring by all the petrol companies simultaneously or separately from the control centers of each company. The application is based on electronic lock technology developed by Telematix, which is a subsidiary of Ituran, an Israeli company that specializes in global positioning systems to find stolen vehicles. Telematix uses satellites not only to locate the gasoline tankers in real time but also to report on the condition of electronic locks and whether they have been opened. The two companies say this cooperation will lead to rapid penetration of the local and the world market, with expected sales worth tens of millions of dollars a year. The system has been successfully tried out in South America and Southeast Asia. Israel was chosen as the next proving ground, and the Infrastructure Ministry will soon issue a directive that requires all gasoline tankers to be equipped with electronic locks. INFO AGAINST BRAIN DRAIN The Ministry of Science and Technology has established a one-stop central information site for visiting scientists and research students. Located at http://eracareers.most.gov.il, it is intended to help them recruit post-docs and graduate students as well as help them to obtain information on potential research openings in Europe. According to Joe van Zwaren, director of exact sciences at the ministry, the service is being offered in conjunction with the countries' universities as part of a European-wide initiative to improve researcher mobility within Europe. The goal is to halt the brain drain from Europe by retaining European researcher's within the EC commission boundaries including Israel, of course and to increase the flow of non-European international scientists into Europe. BGU MEDICAL LIBRARY UPGRADED A new "Digital Resources Area" was recently inaugurated at the medical library of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The equipment includes 12 workstations, allowing students and medical personnel to retrieve information, search databases and use different medical programs for study and research; one workstation for rapid searching of the library's catalog; and wireless transmitters enabling the use of personal laptop computers. It was donated by Sally Ben-Saul in memory of her husband Yehezkel and her son Natan. BAD MONOGRAMS DON'T SPELL R.I.P. People who are superstitious about their initials can stop worrying. California scientists who took the trouble to study the names of people who died in California from 1905 to 2005 have proven scientifically that monograms have no connection to mortality. Their work, published in a recent edition of Psychosomatic Medicine, contradicts earlier evidence that having a "bad" monogram, such as PIG or ZIT, makes one likely to die at a younger age than someone blessed with initials such as ACE, WOW or JOY. Stilian Morrison and Gary Smith asked a group of students and faculty at Pomona College in Claremont, California, to rank the initials that they would be most and least happy to have. The top positive initials in descending order were ACE, ICE, JOY, VIP, CEO, GEM, FLY, FOX, HIP, WIT and WIN. The top negative initials included KKK, DIE, ZIT, PIG, DUM, RAT, SOB, GAS, BAD, HOR, BUM and SIN. The researchers analyzed mortality data of white, non-Hispanic people who died from 1960 to 2003 and for all races from 1905 to 1959. They looked at a total of 4,201 males with positive initials, 6,485 males with negative initials, 2,798 females with positive initials and 4,533 females with negative initials. Grouping the people by year of birth, the researchers compared average age of death. Males with negative initials lived slightly longer, on average, than those with positive initials, and the reverse was true of females, though neither difference was statistically significant. The 1999 study, reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, had found that males with positive initials lived 4.5 more years than a control group of males with neutral initials, while males with negative initials live 2.8 fewer years. The earlier study had also found that females with positive initials lived 3.4 more years than those in the neutral group. One problem with making such comparisons is how language usage and slang expressions change over time; 50 years ago, ICE and FLY were not considered compliments. However, in this new research, evidence failed to support the theory that monogram equals destiny. Morrison and Smith attribute the new findings to grouping records by year of birth, rather than by year of death, which they say can be misleading if the frequency of specific initial choices changes over time. The Pomona researchers said they decided to do the study because the reported effects at average age of death of the first study "were implausibly large. It shouldn't be out there that if you give kids the initials 'LUV,' they'll live seven years longer."


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