Posts tagged with "Fireworks"

‘Tanks for the memories,’ President Trump, on July 4

July 4, 2019

For a military school graduate who never served as a combatant, the July 4 Salute to America celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., could be the closest President Donald Trump ever gets to the accoutrements of armored warfare.

The event will feature displays of military hardware; flyovers by an array of jets, including Air Force One, the deployment of tanks on the Mall; and an extended pyrotechnics show.

Even more unusual for the nationwide nonpartisan celebration will be a presidential address at the Lincoln Memorial that Democrats fear will ramble across political lines into Trump’s usual campaign rally palaver.

And the expense for all of this, plus the usual concert and parade—and any repairs necessitated afterwards by damage to local roads from the tanks—will be higher than ever before.

The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration, The Washington Post reported on July 2..

The diverted park fees represent just a fraction of the extra costs the government faces as a result of the event. By comparison, former Park Service deputy director Denis P. Galvin told the Post, the entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million.

For Trump’s planned speech at the Lincoln Memorial, the White House is distributing VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees, the news outlet reported—prompting objections from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that the president has turned the annual celebration into a campaign-like event.

The Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection campaign confirmed Tuesday that they had received passes they were handing out for the event.

 “We’ve never seen anything like this,” Senator Tom Udall (New Mexico), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the interior, environment and related agencies, said in a phone interview with the Post. “No ticketed political event should be paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

Udall said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt had yet to respond to a request he and two other Senate Democrats made two weeks ago for a full accounting of how the event would be conducted and what it would cost.

The White House referred questions about the celebration to the Interior Department, which declined to comment.

Brendan Fischer, federal reform director for the Campaign Legal Center, said in an interview with the newspaper that while it may not violate federal ethics law to distribute limited tickets to the president’s speech to party contributors, “it certainly looks bad.”

Since federal appropriations law prohibits using public money for political purposes, Fischer noted, the issue will depend on what Trump says in his speech. If he refers to some of the 2020 presidential hopefuls, or polling related to the race, Trump’s reelection campaign may be required to reimburse the U.S. Treasury.

“The content of the event, and the nature of the event, is probably the determining factor,” as opposed to donors getting to see Trump up close, he said.

The  Salute to America marks the culmination of Trump’s two-year quest to mount a military-style extravaganza inspired by his visit to a Bastille Day celebration in Paris in 2017, The Washington Post reported. His previous efforts to stage a Veterans Day military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 2018 were scuttled after estimated costs ballooned to the tens of millions of dollars.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Lightning or fireworks? Ford EU develops ‘noise-cancelling kennel’ for scaredy dogs and cats

January 14, 2019

Thousands of dog lovers (and cat lovers) worldwide are clamoring for a new Ford prototype developed by the automotive company’s European engineers—although it is not available commercially and will never be taken on the road.

While “thunder jackets” and “thunder shirts” already are bestsellers—calming canine  and feline anxiety during electrical storms and other high-volume events, including fireworks celebrations—those who have been granted access to Ford’s experimental “noise-cancelling kennel” say that it would beat everything else on the market.

And pet owners are willing to pay for the new teepee-like chamber, even though it is not in production. Among the thousands of emails that Ford Europe has received is a typical one from Milla29, who begged, “Make the prototype available for potential customers? I am sure that there are thousands—if not more—people willing to buy this, even if it is just a prototype.”

According to Ford Europe’s blog page, n estimated 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks—causing distress to owners and their families too.

Graeme Hall, “The Dogfather”, a UK-based dog trainer who has helped 5,000 pets and their owners with behavioral problems, comments, “Many animals find fireworks scary—and compared to people, dogs can hear things that are four times further away, and across a much wider range of frequencies. Preparing in advance of firework displays is the key—and part of that is to identify a place where our pets feel safe and happy.”

The idea was inspired by the noise-cancelling technology that Ford has  introduced in its newest Edge SUV—ensuring a quieter journeys for drivers and passengers. When microphones pick up high levels of noise from the engine or transmission, this is counteracted using opposing sound waves from the car’s audio system.

The prototype kennel uses the same technology. Once microphones inside the prototype kennel detect the sound of the fireworks, a built-in audio system emits opposing frequencies that, in effect, cancel out the noise completely—or at least reduce it significantly. High-density cork, ideal for sound proofing was an integral part of the design.

Lyn West, brand content manager, Marketing Communications, Ford Europe, explained, “We wondered how the technologies we use in our cars could help people in other situations. Making sure dogs and their owners could enjoy a stress-free New Year’s Eve seemed like the perfect application for our Active Noise Control system, and we have a few more ideas in progress as to how our everyday lives might benefit from a little Ford know-how.”

The automaker promises that its new  noise-cancelling kennel is the first in a series of initiatives—called Interventions—that apply automotive know-how to help solve everyday problems.

Research contact: @FordEU