The Lexus Hybrid Car

The Lexus Corporation, Toyota’s upscale luxury automobile division, believes that hybrid automobiles are more than just environmental friendly cars – they represent a new philosophy in automobile engineering that is in tune with today’s desires for comfort and luxury while being aware of environment realities.

Based on a new ecological design concept known as Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (SULEV’s) the Lexus Corporation has devoted much time and effort into producing some of the finest and most environmental friendly hybrid vehicles produced in the world today. The Lexus hybrid fleet are built around the following model designs: the GS Hybrid, LS Hybrid, and the RX Luxury Hybrid Utility Vehicle.

While the entire Toyota hybrid auto concept has produced the leading hybrid cars sold on the market today with it’s Prius hybrid line, Lexus has gone one step further by introducing three truly luxury hybrid models which are designed to appeal not only to the most discretional consumer tastes, but to their budgets as well. All of the Lexus hybrid vehicles are designed to run cleaner and more economically than previous models, without compromising comfort and luxury. Though all models follow the purest hybrid concept of balancing performance with both an electric and gasoline engines, Lexus hybrid vehicles are supplied with larger, more powerful engines which are designed to provide maximum performance and torque without causing harmful emissions and wasteful fuel consumption.

Customers who are looking for a hybrid model in a large luxury sedan, will find the Lexus LS Prestige Hybrid Luxury Sedan to be much to their liking. The LS is equipped with a fuel burning 5 Liter V-8 engine for maximum highway performance, and a sophisticatedly designed electric engine for city driving or driving in congested areas. The ultimate engineering balance between both engines includes the recharging ability of a specially designed generator to keep the electric engine’s storage batteries at full power.

The GS 450 Hybrid Sedan has a smaller 3.5 liter V-6 engine for greater fuel economy. It is the perfect choice for those who still desire a luxury sedan while having the economy and environmental advantages of a true hybrid car.

For those wanting the economy and environmental benefits of a hybrid, but desire a four wheel drive utility vehicle, the Lexus RX 400h definitely fills the bill. This rugged five door car with a 286 hp V-6 engine is rugged enough to take you virtually anywhere; while it’s electric engine allows quiet, clean and economical driving in the most congested city or freeway driving. The RX’s features make it a true SULEV vehicle.

All three cars come with a special Electronically Controlled Continuous Variable transmission (ECVT) and all wheel ventilated disc brakes for added safety and heat dispersion during emergency stops. All the luxury features you would expect to find in a fine Lexus automobile are standard on each car, including computerized Directional Service Providers (DSP) and even vocal directional navigation systems available on demand. Fine leather upholstery is also available on all models.

Lexus’ bottom line means that you don’t have to comprise on luxury to own a state of the art hybrid car.

Hybrid Cars Green Transportation Now

The Lexus HybridGlobal warming and the high price of crude oil has made the hybrid car an ecological innovation which is gaining immensely in popularity. For those who are not yet familiar with this new concept, a hybrid vehicle is a car or other type of vehicle in which two types of power, combustion and electricity, are used to provide more fuel economy as well as less exhaust emissions. A hybrid vehicle, or parallel engine hybrid to be exact, uses both a gasoline powered engine and an electric one to provide power. The two engines are usually mounted at opposite ends of the vehicle, with the gasoline powered one in front, and the electric one in the rear. Specially designed batteries are mounted in the floor of the vehicle, and they provide power to the electric engine to power the vehicle in more congested driving situations such as heavy highway traffic or city driving. By utilizing a concept of kinetic energy and special generators, the batteries for the electric engine are constantly being charged while the vehicle is in motion.

Some hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and Lexus GS 450h, have specially designed transmissions to help conserve fuel when the gasoline engine is being used and to assist either the gasoline or electric engine with the power they need to travel at sufficient speeds on interstate highways and other motorways.

When the electric engine is being utilized to power the vehicle, not only is it more silent, but virtually no exhaust emissions are being emitted into the atmosphere, which is a great benefit against the “greenhouse effect”, largely responsible for global warming.

A hybrid car can achieve a fuel mileage capability of around 55 miles to the gallon as compared with even the most fuel efficient gasoline or diesel powered cars which average around 30-35 miles per gallon. The purpose of a hybrid drive system is two-fold: to improve fuel economy and to reduce polluting exhaust emissions of both carbon dioxide (Co2), which is the greatest contributor to global warming, and carbon monoxide which pollutes the air and harms people by reducing the blood’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. In addition to federal regulations to reduce the polluting contents of refined fuels, certain states like California have initiated very strict laws relating to exhaust emissions by restricting the amount of pollutants such as carbon monoxide from vehicles. For this reason alone, hybrid vehicles are becoming very popular in California and other states with heavy traffic congestion.

While not a perfect situation (electric or hydrogen powered cars have yet to be perfected for long range driving of at least 300 miles or 480 km) the hybrid car makes sense when gasoline sells for a average of $3.00 per gallon in America and even more in European countries. A good case in point is when New York City Mayor Bloomberg ordered several hundred hybrid SUV’s for use as taxi cabs in his city. So from a “green” or environment standpoint, the idea of the hybrid vehicle is definitely one whose time has come.

Al Gore’s global warming message reaches the Royal Palace at Oslo

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore may not yet be running again for the Presidency, but his message is definitely clear: unless immediate steps are made to protect the environment and reverse global warming, our continued life on Earth is definitely at risk. Speaking during an hour long interview on CNN’s Larry King Live program last July, Mr. Gore related in dept his opinions on how lack of intense effort on the part of the present U.S. Administration is spelling disaster to our quality of life, if not life itself.

Mr. Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, gave a not very optimistic account on how the worlds’ eco-system has been severely damaged by Man’s obsession with the use of fossil fuels and other dangerous pollutants, which, in Gore’s opinion, is largely responsible for the state of our environment, including melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves at an alarming pace. Gore’s concern for world environment problems goes back many years when he became concerned with many species of animals becoming extinct including a small species of owl that used to inhabit the redwood forest regions of Oregon and Washington State. That concern as well as for the decrease in the atmosphere’s ozone layer (that protective layer against the sun’s damaging radiation) gave him the title of “Mr. Ozone” and made him the brunt of jokes by entertainment comedians including NBC’s Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

America isn’t the only ecological culprit though, as fast developing nations such as China are consuming fossil fuels in alarming amounts with little or no ecological controls. China’s number of private automobiles alone has more than quadrupled in past five years alone; and its heavy industries have become one of the world’s prime consumers of fuels such as coal and fuel oil, and has turned this country housing more than a fifth of the world’s population into one of the worst polluted.

The melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice is expected cause the worlds oceans to rise at least 7 to 10 meters in the next 10 to 20 years. That’s enough to inundate most world coastal towns and cities, in which at least a billion of the world’s population live. Outside of the possible extinction of many varieties of animal species, including polar bears, seals and walruses, and many species of birds, The oceans themselves will be less able to support marine animals and vegetation as they will become too acid in their content, thus killing the marine vegetation on which many marine animals thrive, and reducing the water’s oxygen content by as much as 25%.

Judging from current realities regarding severe changes in our environment, particularly weather patterns, people are laughing less at “Mr. Ozone” and are now beginning to listen to his warning. An Inconvenient Truth has won Mr. Gore both an Academy Award and an Emmy, America’s most prestigious awards from both the motion picture and television industries.

And now, to crown his achievements for the benefit of Mankind, Al Gore has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize along with a special U.N. scientific panel: the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Both Gore and the IPCC will share equally in the prize which will be awarded in a special ceremony in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

Whether of not Gore does decide to throw his hat into the Democratic Party Presidential race, his message is certainly worth listening to and acting upon. Despite the current Administration’s apprehensions, a few years of ecological ‘adjustment’ is paramount, including drastic curtailment of the use of fossil fuels and switching over to more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar energy and hydrogen based fuels. If this doesn’t occur, our future on this planet, an “island we cannot leave”, may be very unpleasant indeed.

Please continue your crusade, Mr. Gore; and perhaps more and more people will listen. We simply have to listen before it will be too late.

Using Modern Sunscreen Lotions

Summertime is beach time for millions of people all over the world. Due to recent concern regarding the increase of ultraviolet radiation due to depletions in the earth’s ozone layer, sunscreen preparations had been made stronger, and terms such as UVA/UVB and SPF 15 are becoming household terms. Despite aggressive media campaigns to tell people to wear more protective clothing when outside, and especially at the beach, most of these warnings are still disregarded to a great extent, resulting in more and cases of skin damage ranging from serious sunburn to skin cancer.

Many sunscreen preparations said to protect people from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, actually offer only partial protection. There are preparations that, if used properly, do offer much more protection – providing complete instructions are followed. A good sunscreen preparation should be rated to give protection against the UVA classification of ultraviolet sunlight – the strongest classification. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and have more chance to cause skin cancer or melanoma later on. A top quality preparation should also over at least SPF 15 protection; which means that people who have applied this strength of preparation can be exposed to the sun’s rays at least 15 times longer that those without this kind of protection. While SPF 15 preparations are now considered adequate in many locations, there are countries, notably Australia, where preparations going up to SPF 45 are available. Australia is now rated as having the highest levels of solar radiation. Mediterranean countries, including Israel, are not far behind in regards to the dangers of solar thermal radiation.

Even if one goes to the beach “armed” with the strongest sunscreen preparation that money can buy, there is still no guarantee that preparation alone will give adequate protection, even if all the directions are followed as closely as possible. Even if the preparation is continuously reapplied following a dip in the ocean, those planning to spend long periods at either a beach, or outside swimming pool should limit the time that their bodies are actually exposed to the sun’s rays. Small children, who have much more sensitive skin than adults, should be covered with a bathing suit that only lets their hands an feet remain uncovered. Large beach hats should be worn by both children and adults.

As sunscreen preparations usually wash off if a person goes into the water, the sunscreen preparation should be immediately re-applied afterwards. Beach umbrellas and other means of proving shade should be used; and beach goers should drink plenty of water, as dehydration can happen very easily, especially to children. A person’s skin tone is also a very important factor regarding how long one can expose himself or herself to the sun – if at all. And most important, it is advisable to not lay in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

While many of these advisories may seem to take away from the enjoyment of a beach, lake, or pool outing, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Tanning and Burning

Tanning and BurningMany people recall that song sung at the finale for the rock musical Hair: “Let The Sunshine In”. When going to the beach, an outdoor swimming pool, or even lying on your back porch sundeck, it is a very good idea not let too much of the sunshine in – especially to your skin. Many people, especially at the beginning of the summertime beach season, are in a hurry to acquire what is known as a deep, coppery colored suntan. Whether or not you can acquire a proper suntan will depend on your skin’s pigmentation ability to acquire that lovely “Coppertone Tan” as is so often advertised on TV.

Some people, especially those with very fair skin (redheads, etc.) simply cannot acquire a proper tan no matter how much they expose themselves. In fact, overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, especially for “palefaces” can be harmful and downright dangerous. When a person becomes overexposed to the sun, a condition most commonly known as ‘sunburn’ develops. Sunburn occurs when the pigmentation in the skin, known as melanin, rises to the skin’s surface, resulting in a reddish pink color, which in severe case is actually a second degree burn. Besides the change in skin color, and accompanying discomfort, other symptoms of acute sunburn include headache, faintness, and nausea, accompanied by severe dehydration.

Treatment for moderate to severe case of sunburn includes immersing the body in a mixture of cold water and vinegar (an ‘old wives’ remedy that still works) and gently rubbing either a good quality body lotion into the affected areas; especially a lotion or cream specifically designed to treat cases of wind or sunburn. Since sunburn is actually a body burn, no less harmful than being burned by a hot object or fire, the effected top skin epidermal layer dies and later peels off in a similar manner as a reptile shedding its skin. Aloe vera based skin creams and lotions are also very good for sunburn.

Even dark complexioned people can develop sunburn; and in particular because they may tend to be exposed to sunlight for longer periods, thinking that their dark skin is really protecting them.

Proper tanning, which can also be done by laying on a tanning board under ultraviolet lighting, should be done slowly and for just a few minutes per session. A good tanning lotion, cream, or spray should be used which protects you from UVA and UVB categories of ultraviolet light (UVA being the sun’s rays) and with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. If tanning at the beach or pool, the suntan preparation should be re-applied after you go into the water – even for a few moments.

Taking care of one’s skin is very important in today’s world of depleted ozone layers and enhanced sunlight. The consequences of overexposure to the sun’s rays may only show up 10 to 15 years later with skin cancer or melanoma, which can disfigure and in some cases even kill people.

Remember, when “letting the sunshine in” it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Al Gore’s Global Warming Wake Up Call

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore may not yet be running again for the Presidency, but his message is definitely clear, unless immediate steps are made to protect the environment and reverse global warming, our continued life on Earth is definitely at risk. Speaking during a recent hour long interview on CNN’s Larry King Live program, Mr. Gore related in depth his opinions on how lack of intense effort on the part of the present U.S. Administration is spelling disaster to our quality of life, if not life itself.

Mr. Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, gave a not very optimistic account on how the worlds’ eco-system has been severely damaged by Man’s obsession with the use of fossil fuels and other dangerous pollutants, which, in Gore’s opinion, is largely responsible for the state of our environment, including melting Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves at an alarming pace. Gore’s concern for world environment problems goes back many years when he became concerned with many species of animals becoming extinct including a small species of owl that used to inhabit the redwood forest regions of Oregon and Washington State. That concern as well as for the decrease in the atmosphere’s ozone layer (that protective layer against the sun’s damaging radiation) gave him the title of “Mr. Ozone” and made him the brunt of jokes by entertainment comedians including NBC’s Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

Judging from current realities regarding severe changes in our environment, particularly weather patterns, people are laughing less at “Mr. Ozone” and are now beginning to listen to his warning. Gore’s severe criticism of the Bush Administration’s lack of attention to this increasing problem is one the former VP’s main topics these days. That President George Bush has refused to have his country join the global effort to curtail use of fossil fuels “because it would be damaging to the U.S. economy” is most likely due the President’s own family interest in the oil business, as well as that of his Vice President, Dick Chaney, whose long career with the international oil well servicing company Halliburton has been in the news several times. The Bush family also appears to have close relations with the Saudi Royal Family, from whose country the U.S. still receives nearly 20% of its total petroleum supplies. Although some current attention is beginning to filter out of the Oval Office of the White House, especially in the aftermath of American eco-disasters like Hurricane Katrina, this attention is far less than it should be to help reverse what may become an irreversible ecological trend.

America isn’t the only ecological culprit though, as fast developing nations such as China are consuming fossil fuels in alarming amounts with little or no ecological controls. China’s number of private automobiles alone has more than quadrupled in past five years alone; and its heavy industries have become one of the world’s prime consumers of fuels such as coal and fuel oil, and has turned this country housing more than a fifth of the world’s population into one of the worst polluted.

The melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice is expected cause the worlds oceans to rise at least 7 to 10 meters in the next 10 to 20 years. That’s enough to inundate most world coastal towns and cities, in which at least a billion of the world’s population live. Outside of the possible extinction of many varieties of animal species, including polar bears, seals and walruses, and many species of birds, The oceans themselves will be less able to support marine animals and vegetation as they will become too acid in their content, thus killing the marine vegetation on which many marine animals thrive, and reducing the water’s oxygen content by as much as 25%.

Whether of not Gore does decide to throw his hat into the Democratic Party Presidential race, his message is certainly worth listening to and acting upon. Despite the current Administration’s apprehensions, a few years of ecological ‘adjustment’ is paramount, including drastic curtailment of the use of fossil fuels and switching over to more environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar energy and hydrogen based fuels. If this doesn’t occur, our future on this planet, an “island we cannot leave”, may be very unpleasant indeed.

We simply have to listen before it will be too late.

Plight of Polar Bears Affects Us All

Polar bears, like the one pictured here, have now been put upon the endangered species list due to global warming. In fact, fears for their survival have become so real by prominent environmentalists, that it has now been predicted that these Arctic carnivores may become extinct in the wild by the year 2050. The Arctic ice shelf, the bear’s hunting grounds, has been receding steadily for the past 30 years. The bears depend on large ice floes for both hunting and to bare their young, which occur in the spring. It has now been estimated that since the late 1970’s the total area of summer polar ice has declined more than 20 per cent and is accelerating each year at a much faster rate.

Polar Bear PlightPolar bears depend on a steady diet of Arctic ringed seals, walruses and fish, all of which are declining or moving to other locations further north. With a decline in these food sources, polar bears will have no choice other than either to adapt to their new environmental reality – or die. And that ‘adaptation’ may force the bears to add another possible food source to their hunting forays – Man. Eskimos and other indigenous people who also live in the arctic regions, and depend on the same food sources as the polar bears may find themselves on ursus maritumus’ shopping list, as the bears loose their natural fear and apprehension and begin to approach villages and other places of human habitation to find food. People working in the far north, including oil well drillers, scientists, and other people may also be at risk, especially if they are out alone and far away from others.

Even now, with a shrinking habitat, polar bears are coming closer to settlements and are even raiding garbage dumps in search of food. While most bears are omnivorous by nature, polar bears have formerly relied on the food chain to receive their traditional diet of fresh seal meat as well as occasional whale carcasses. With present changes in their natural environment, there have even been reports of bears attacking baby beluga and narwhal whales, previously a rarity.

It’s a sad fact that many folks aren’t concerned about polar bears becoming extinct, like the pre-historic cave bear did, as long as enough remain in captivity in zoos (like the orphan baby bear in the Berlin Zoo). The bears may possibly even become another exhibit in places such as city aquariums or marine world exhibits, like beluga whales and sea otters. The truth is, though, is that the demise of such animals may be an omen in regards to our long term future on this planet – often called an island we cannot leave.

The threatened demise of ursus maritimus is only one example of the dangers that global warming is bringing upon the earth. If most of the Arctic polar ice cap melts, seas will rise at least 3 to 7 meters and most coastal cities, even those in the Mediterranean area, will find themselves under water. Hundreds – perhaps thousands of other plant and animal species will also be endangered and this will eventually threaten the future of Mankind as well. As long as fossil fuels continue to be consumed at the present rate, as is evident in many large cities, the effects of global warming, including famine and violent weather patterns, will create havoc to all of the inhabitants of our planet. There still may be time to reverse some of this threat by an international concerted effort to develop alternative energy sources. If this doesn’t happen, then not only will the polar bear one day be no more; even Mankind itself may find itself as being on the endangered species list.

The Fire – This Time Doomsday Eco-Thriller Becomes Reality

A little more than thirteen years back, A T.V. movie entitled: The Fire Next Time gave a chilling preview of what the world might be like in the year 2017, as a result of the consequences of global warming and severe depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. The movie, directed by Tom McLoughlin, depicted an environmental disaster in the United States, with much of the Continental 48 states in a disastrous situation due to severe drought, literally burning by raging forest fires, or plummeted constantly by hurricanes and similar severe storms. The film’s main characters, a Louisiana family engaged in a dwindling shrimp fishing business, have both their livelihood and their home literally destroyed by a monster hurricane similar to Hurricane Katrina which hit the city of New Orleans and much of the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, 2005.

Global warming and the so-called “greenhouse effect” are definitely issues being dealt with in our present time, 13 years after the above movie was first shown. Events happening in countries all over the world, give testimony to the present state of the earth’s environmental problems that appear to be getting worse as time goes on.

Numerous hurricanes have already created mayhem in the Caribbean. These events, combined with several typhoons and similar severe storms in Asia, have resulted in billions of dollars in property damages, economic loses, and hundreds of human lives. Huge forest and brush fires in California, Colorado, Arizona, and other western states, as well as in Australia and Southern Europe, have wrecked their havoc as well during the past few years.

Where is this all heading? Scientists and environmentalists have been warning us for some time that the continuous abuse of our environment by over use of petroleum based ‘fossil fuels’, including coal, fluorocarbons from aerosol cans, air conditioning systems and the like; would someday result in global warming, melting of glaciers and Artic/Antarctic ice caps, resulting in serious consequences to the inhabitants of this planet. Only recently, it was discovered that a huge Arctic ice shelf had broken loose off Alaska’s Northwestern coast after having been in place for more than 5,000 years. Polar animals, including whales, walruses, polar bears, and other artic creatures are now on the endangered list due to changes in their habit as a result of global warming.

This reality coincides with the recent documentary movie An Inconvenient Truth written and produced by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in which the effects of global warming were graphically noted, and the dire warnings Mr. Gore is presenting are still being unheeded by many world governments, including his own. The movie must have effected many, however, as it received an Oscar at the 2007 Academy Award ceremonies in Hollywood California.

Alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuels, fuel cells, electricity produced by natural gas and hydro-electric generators, wind and solar power, just to name a few, will result in a much better environment and eventually reduce the damage created by over-use of fossil fuels. The technology exists, and at whatever the costs, it must be implemented before it is too late to reverse the present effects of global warming.

And if not, the consequences, as noted in The Fire Next Time, and An Inconvenient Truth will result in science fiction becoming a tragic reality, for you see, we are only looking at the world in ten years time. And you don’t believe this keep watching your TV’s to see what result might be in this year’s hurricane season. Many living in Florida and New Orleans, for example, are still picking up the pieces after previous bad storms, now attributed to the effects of global warming.

Hot – and Getting Hotter! The Earth Heats Up from Global Warming

It’s a hot time in this old world all right! New scientific studies are showing worrisome findings that the earth’s temperatures are reaching the warmest they’ve been in over a million years. That’s bad news for the 6.5 billion inhabitants of this planet, as well as for most of the animals who inhabit it – especially those inhabiting colder regions. These studies show that the earth’s temperature has been rising rapidly, in the area of nearly 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.2 degrees Celsius in the past 30 years alone. The average surface temperature is now around 15-16 degrees Celsius; and if it rises another 1 degree C. serious, possible irreversible effects will occur, so said a researcher from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The higher temperatures are mostly being caused by human induced heat from burning forest land for crop planting, as well as exhaust emissions from automobiles and coal and oil burning power facilities, the researcher, James Hansen, noted. Another researcher, Alan Robock from Rutgers University, noted that further temperature rises of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius will make the earths temperature the same as at was around 3 million years ago, when the ocean levels were about 30 feet higher than they are today.

What this means for all of us, including Wally the Walrus and his pals is that life will be quite different on old Terra Firma, especially in the Earth’s Arctic regions, where effects of global warming are becoming even more accelerated. Arctic regions, where polar ice and snow actually reflected the suns rays, now have areas of dry land and open water which are absorbing solar heat. Animals such as Wally and his friends, as swell as Polar Bears, seals, and other Arctic creatures could even become extinct within the next hundred years.

How are these changes effecting people living in other areas, including here in Israel, is becoming evident with different weather patterns and temperature changes. For example: those hot, sultry, summer days (and especially nights) used to come only in about mid to late July. Now, we feel them in mid June! Winter temperatures are warmer as well, with far too many balmy, even summer-like days in mid-January. It might not be long before average summer temperatures in Israel may be similar to what they are now in countries like Kuwait and Dubai!

If the oceans do rise, even 10 or 15 feet, large coastal cities will have massive problems, especially those on the coast of large oceans including New York City, Antwerp, Hong Kong and Tokyo, may find themselves partially under water. Even Israeli coastal cities will not be immune, as some of this water will eventually find itself into the Mediterranean.

It’s not too late to try to reverse some of these trends, although these efforts will drastically affect the lives of most people with use of fossil fuels being either severely curtailed or even banned altogether. For creatures like Wally, however, these efforts may be too little – too late.