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The Catalyst

|Friday, Sep. 05, 2014

For half of the great American experiment’s history, we were not known for moving around. In our first 100-plus years it wasn’t uncommon for someone to be born, live and die all without leaving the same 8-mile radius. True, settlers moved west constantly, but always in small numbers as compared to the entire population.

“Disruptive” Technologies

|Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Before they ever visited a new car dealer’s showroom, many people shopping for new cars 20 years ago often read reviews in Car & Driver of new products that might interest them. Some potential buyers would stop by their local convenience store and purchase an invoice book, showing what new car dealers paid for any given vehicle. And then many called their local banker or credit union to find out what the NADA Used Car Guide showed as their current vehicle’s wholesale trade-in value.

The 1990s vs. Now

|Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Nine years ago I was having a problem with the constant reporting that the world had hit Peak Oil, or was on the verge of it. Reporters were blaming many factors for oil’s soaring price; the large oil reserve discoveries were ending, and third-world countries’ new demand was growing for the quickly shrinking production of crude. Then too, there was the 500-pound gorilla that had entered the room, China. Oil that had gone begging for buyers just six years earlier at $10 a barrel was now selling for nearly five times that amount.

The Great American Road Trip

|Friday, Aug. 15, 2014

Not long ago CNN/Money online featured a story detailing Six Great American Road Trips. The first was a 900-mile journey from Grand Forks, N. Dakota, to Kalispell, Montana, on U.S. Route 2. Others included the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Great Smoky Mountains, the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, and, of course, the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco.

The Great War

|Friday, Aug. 08, 2014

One hundred years ago this week, an unprecedented world war began. The Great War, nobly named “The War to End All Wars,” in many ways altered the world completely. More remarkably, its unintended consequences still ravage the world today. They can be seen in the war now destroying Syria, in the battles in Ukraine, in the Islamist uprisings in Iraq and Egypt – even in the enmity between Iraqis in the country’s south and in the independence that the Kurds in its north demand. Russia’s continued semi-isolation from Western powers, the ongoing conflict between Iran and the U.S., and the war now being fought between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza – all are long-lived political and territorial byproducts of the Great War 100 years ago.

‘Potential’ without Perspective

|Friday, Aug. 01, 2014

Last week brought a slew of positive news for the automobile industry. Most of it sprang from analysts’ predictions that by this year’s end Americans would once again have purchased more than 16 million new vehicles. Everyone sees this as another sign that our economy is finally about to break loose and truly catch fire.

Left out of the Equation: The Driver

|Friday, Jul. 25, 2014

Has the EPA found religion? Suddenly the agency seems concerned that the methods it uses for testing fuel efficiency on new cars and trucks sold in America may not reflect real-world driving conditions. It has come to this conclusion before and, in 2008, rewrote the rules on how manufacturers need to test vehicles for mileage. After that the federal agency recalculated the fuel efficiency of vehicles from long ago, in order to show that in previous decades vehicles were even less fuel efficient than we were once told.


Friday, Jul. 18, 2014

Recently our esteemed media competitor in the eastern part of the Metroplex wrote a column about Toyota’s decision to move to the Metroplex. Its thrust was that witnessing how many pickup trucks there are in North Texas and how our citizens use them might change the way Toyota’s executives view their Tundra. Once here, when those executives see for themselves that trucks are as much a lifestyle vehicle as a mobile tool for working Texans, some believe they will demand changes to make their truck more competitive.

Massey’s is headed for the wrecking ball

| |Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014

The Fort Worth landmark, known for its chicken-fried steak and made famous in Dan Jenkins novels, will be demolished, the building’s new owner said.

Buying Direct

|Friday, Jul. 11, 2014

When Tesla came to the market and violated many states’ consumer protection laws, which require a car manufacturer to sell only through a franchised dealership, Elon Musk’s fight to overturn those laws stirred many individuals and political organizations to vocal outrage. It also demonstrated the stunningly widespread lack of basic knowledge of how large-scale industrial consumer manufacturing entities operate and earn their profits.