Dark cars and credit cards

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Column by Jim Clark

By Jim Clark

Catching up on some news items you might have missed:

Dark cars the culprit? California is considering a ban on the sale of cars painted black and other dark colors. The theory is that dark cars need more air conditioning to stay cool and that results in the emission of more dangerous gases than white cars.

I have to wonder what would happened to hearses at the funeral homes.

And what about black and white police cars? Remember "1 Adam 12, 1 Adam 12, See the man..."? Will Reed and Malloy's buddies have to take to white cars only?

Only in California could they come up with something like this.

At least my wife and I both drive tan (or beige) cars. Don't blame us.

Meanwhile, the U.S. energy secretary is pushing to have a white roof on new homes, getting rid of dark shingles. The reasoning is roughly the same. He says it could save on your energy bills.

Say cheese, but don't smile: Thirty-one states use computer matching to make sure that a driver's license applicant doesn't have licenses in other states. But there's a problem. Smiles can cause the program which matches faces to be off a little.

Now four states (Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia) make license applicants have a “neutral facial expression” when they have their pictures taken. Indiana goes a little further … not only can't you smile, you can't wear glasses or scarves, which could also throw off the facial recognition software.

Kind of makes you wonder how “Abby” on NCIS gets all those instant facial matches on her computer.

Burning microwaves: A class action lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Cleveland alleging that General Electric microwave ovens can either turn themselves on or burst into flames. A report says that there are complaints of 13 such instances in the past six years. Found this story on newsnet5.com, and Cleveland TV station Web site.

Credit-card reform could hurt: CNBC, reporting on a credit card bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate, says it could hurt people who pay their bills on time.

"Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups," says the CNBC report.

It also points out that people who build up mileage or other rewards on credit cards, yet pay no interest because they pay on time, are “making out like a bandit.”

Finally, my thanks to Al's Morning Meeting of the Poynter Institute, which provides a lot of the information for columns like these.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen. He can be reached at editor@chieflandcitizen.com or by phone at 493-4796.