I am delighted to announce the launch of two new blogs on www.designnews.com, although I am almost embarrassed to promote them as blogs. That's because blogs often get a bad rap for being little more than an online stream of consciousness.
But while some blogs may deserve that reputation, I am confident you will find all of our blogs are less about gossip and more about substance.
In the most basic sense, a blog is nothing more than a really good content management system that allows you to organize content on a related topic, collect and aggregate feedback, and is searchable. It's especially useful for upping the frequency of reporting on a particular topic beyond what appears in print.
And so, needless to say, I am a big fan of blogs and in particular a fan of Captain Hybrid, our new blog on hybrids and electric vehicles. Not only is advanced vehicle technology a hot topic, but it's written by Chuck Murray, one of the most knowledgeable, technically savvy reporters to cover the subject and also one of the most experienced. A former mechanical engineer, Chuck has been personally following the beat for over 20 years — much of that time for Design News.
His ability to distinguish marketing hype from reality, not get snowed by the PR flacks and his dogged persistence to get down to the true technical issues became apparent more than a decade ago. That's when he proposed writing an article for Design News on the immediate coming of an electric-car revolution. His article, which ultimately turned out to be way more controversial than we had anticipated, challenged the standard view of politicians and environmentalists, many of whom discounted the diabolical engineering challenges.
Chuck's story, “Out of Juice” received the most letters of any article in the history of Design News and went on to become a finalist for a prestigious Neal Award — the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize in the world of business-to-business publications. But, more significantly — and what I am most in awe of — is that his article dug deep into the nuances of an extraordinarily complex technology. As one recognized battery expert put it: “It's (battery development) the scientific equivalent of quicksand, deceptively simple, yet enormously complex.”
Chuck once again puts battery technology into perspective this month with his cover story, page 42, on how drag racers like Mike Willmon (aka Plasma Boy) and his electric 1972 electric Datsun 1200 (aka White Zombie) is beating out gasoline-powered Chevy Corvettes and Dodge Vipers at drag strips. The trick? Hurling huge amounts of current (2,000A) into the dc motors. But just like the automotive engineers Chuck talked to back in 1998, they are all desperate for better batteries — which is, in a very real sense, the story Chuck's been covering for two decades.
Our second new blog, called “From the Newswire” features press releases, product announcements and industry news. Updated daily, this blog augments our popular “Trend Watch” and “Expo” sections of the print publication and provides an opportunity for companies to get their news out with no delay. If you have submissions for this blog, please e-mail Liz Taurasi at firstname.lastname@example.org.