Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray63 [at] (Be patient, I don't check it often.)

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Monday, October 10, 2005
Science illiteracy strikes again.
Detroit's ABC affiliate reported last night about "one thing many people can do to cut their gas costs": using E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) in capable vehicles. The story went on to extol the benefits of E85, including the fact that it's about 15 cents cheaper per gallon than gasoline.

Then, at the end, almost in passing, they mentioned that "The one drawback is that you will experience a slight reduction in your vehicle’s mileage per gallon, which could range from 5% to 15%."

Ummm, let's look at the math, shall we?

According to, the cheapest gasoline in Detroit right now is $2.56 per gallon. We'll take the report's word that E85 is about 15 cents less, which would make it $2.41.

So if I buy E85, I pay 94% of the price of regular gasoline ($2.41/$2.56 = 0.9414) ... and I get 85%-95% of the mileage of regular gasoline. In other words, it's actually costing me more money, not less.

Yep, that's some consumer reporting all right.

Although it's not mentioned in the web version, the TV version also mentioned that one morning later this week, General Motors would be giving away $25 cards to the first 100 people with E85-compatible GM vehicles who came to a particular gas station. So GM is arguably helping to perpetuate the confusion.

I'm not saying that E85 is bad, you understand ... unless someone tries to convince you that it's a bargain.

As Robert Heinlein would say, TANSTAAFL -- There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Sunday, October 09, 2005
Times have changed, all right.
Dennis the Menace: Cute little rascal or budding sociopath? It depends if you're reading the strip now or back when it started. (via Robot Wisdom)