Spamming Their Way to Disaster

Pseudo-scientific disinformation is continually floated around the Internet. Such disinformation is often accompanied by untrue, scurrilous attacks by notorious polluters against environmental organizations and against champions for the environment (e.g.,  Al Gore).

The same group of people who swift-boated John Kerry also work for corporations whose only goal seems to be to make more money — the truth be damned, the environment be damned, human rights be damned, future generations be damned.

I recently received a bogus (spam) email from someone whom I know, and, that someone should have done a bit of diligence in checking out what they emailed me, which follows…

The message I received remains unchanged (with the exception that the original author sent the message in very large text and included one of those sappy smiley faces):

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Message sent to me:

Tom, you have probably seen this, so why did it remind me of you? How is the speaking coming along?  (signed by sender – name withheld by me)

For all of you out there in America and across the globe who have fought so hard to tackle the hideous enemy of our planet, namely carbon emissions, that bogus god you worship named “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”,  there is some really bad news that will be very painful for you to process. But it is my duty to pass it on to you anyway.

Are you sitting down?

Okay, here’s the bombshell. The current volcanic eruption going on in Iceland, since it first started spewing volcanic ash a week ago, has, to this point, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet.  Not only that, this single act of God has added emissions to the earth estimated to be 42 times more than can be corrected by the extreme human regulations proposed for annual reductions.

I know, I know…. (have a group hug)…it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up til midnight to finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, going on vacation to a city park instead of Yosemite, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your $1 light bulbs with $10 light bulbs …well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just the past week.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in the past week has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.  And, those hundreds of thousands of American jobs you helped move to Asia with expensive emissions demands on businesses… you know, the ones that are creating even more emissions than when they were creating American jobs, well that must seem really worthwhile now.

I’m so sorry. And I do wish that there was some kind of a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the brush fire season across the western U.S.A. will start in about two months and those fires will negate your efforts to reduce carbon emissions in our world for the next two years.

So, grab a Coke, give the world a hug, and have a nice day!

Especially you Al Gore,  you dip shit !

My reply to sender…

I don’t know you well enough to understand the intention behind your forwarding this to me. Out of respect to you

and your intelligence, I am reserving judgment on your intention.

It is written by someone who is quite antagonistic and probably equally as uneducated as that person is antagonistic.

It is fraught with lame argument and mistruths.

Please explain to me whether you find yourself supporting the message this writer (or writers) communicates or

whether you find it as asinine as I do.

The public speaking is going well.

Tom

To which SENDER replied…

Have no idea who wrote it or its alleged truthfulness. Just thought you would find it humorous. More interested in how you are doing so glad to hear it is going well. Oh and if you have some real data to refute the volcano stuff then send it and I’ll send it to where I got it.

Best, Sender

To which I again replied…

Dear Sender

I’m forwarding to you several web references to support the position that the volcanic plume may actually cause a cooling effect. As well, the grounding of European flights has reduced CO2 emissions significantly below the increased emissions effect caused by the volcanic eruption. I don’t have the science background or knowledge to jump on that bandwagon, and will let the science community establish that position. They are much more capable in that regard than I.

What I do know is this:

At 6+ billion population and growing, human activity and over-consumption is burdening our planet’s ability to sustain itself for human existence. Volcanoes and other natural processes will occur. We must do all we can to sustain the planet for future generations. It is the right thing, and the responsible thing to do for our progeny.

At the bottom of the “update” message you sent me originally, the message carried this paragraph:

“This message from BLANK COMPANY, and any attached files may contain information that is confidential and/or subject of legal privilege intended only for the use by the intended recipient(s). If you are not an intended recipient or a person responsible for delivering the message to an intended recipient, be advised that you have received this message in error and that any dissemination, copying or use of this message or attachment is strictly forbidden, as is the disclosure of the information therein. If you have received this message in error please notify the sender immediately and delete the message.”

I asked one of my support staff to search the website of the BLANK Company. I notice one of their clients is a rather large oil company. That company is one of those great naysayers that is constantly discrediting the community that supports the idea that global warming is a reality. Might this be a stretch to assume said oil company is behind the sending of the message? Maybe.

Also, the volcano image that was part of the message showed a source which we checked out. At http://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=6633 that email address is listed as part of a scam warning.

Please be careful in forwarding these emails. You have a highly respected reputation and your good credibility isn’t worth risking in this manner.

Tom

Helpful links referencing a possible cooling effect from the Icelandic volcano eruption:

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2010/04/could-icelands-volcano-slow-global-warming/39066/

http://magblog.audubon.org/icelandic-volcano%E2%80%99s-impact-global-warming-green-transportation-bird-watching-and-more

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Volcano%20unlikely%20slow%20global%20warming/2914585/story.html

http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/volcano-not-likely-slow-global-warming-3469098

http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/Home/31064

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/04/20/the-ash-cloud-s-silver-lining.html

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/04/16//2874939.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/19/eyjafjallajokull-volcano-climate-carbon-emissions

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When this type of communication is sent so freely and irresponsibly, it harms all of us.

That harm manifests itself in the following ways…

Many recipients of this type communication come away more confused, and rather than taking positive, sustainable actions, do nothing.

  • It encourages those who are uneducated and reactionary about our planet’s current un-sustainable condition, to be even more irresponsible in their daily actions.
  • It allows abusive, irresponsible corporations to continue their abusive, irresponsible practices.
  • It feeds those who are likely to do nothing about our planet’s current state of un-sustainability, and, even worse, continue doing harm that only degrades Mother Earth’s condition further.

When you receive messages such as the message that prompted my response and this blog, do your research, and let the sender know they are only contributing to the harm we are causing our planet and the future our children and their children will inherit.

The evidence is clear. We are burdening our planet, our garden, beyond her capacity to heal herself for our continued healthy and whole existence.

I’m currently reading Michael C. Ruppert’s Confronting Collapse. Pick up a copy for yourself and share the knowledge with others you know.

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Cleaning Up Oil With Hay

I received the link shown below from a friend yesterday, and, I’d have to agree with my friend Margie.

This is a very simple, straightforward solution to a current and continued future problem we are all facing at some level.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5SxX2EntEo]

As our recent guest blogger, Thomas Manaugh, Ph.D. exhorts, we should end our addiction to oil, and do so promptly.

However, until that day finally comes, there are some simple and effective ways to clean up the enormous mess created by oil spills, like the one now out of control in the Gulf of Mexico. This seems to be an effective and fairly “green” solution to the challenge.

Thomas Kemper is the Founder and President of Dolphin Blue, Inc.

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Oil Spill Disaster is Act One of Two-Act Tragedy

2010′s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana, is only Act One of a two-act tragedy.  The second act involves the disasters that will occur when we don’t spill oil but, rather, burn it.  We are on course toward seeing a world of increasing droughts and famines and inundation by oceans of most large cities and huge areas of land.

We need to replace oil with energy sources that will not contribute to global warming.

If BP had manned an ocean-based facility to generate green energy off the coast of Louisiana, both Act One and Act Two would be averted.  The US and other countries need to make a commitment not just to avert oil spills but, rather, soon not to allow fossil fuels to be extracted for burning.  An alternative energy plan exists in the form of “Energy Islands” — large, ocean-based facilities that provide green energy from water, wind and sun.  See the plan presented at Dolphin Blue’s website: http://www.dolphinblue.com/pg-Global-Warming-Solution-Manaugh.html .

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We Won the LWV of Texas 2010 Environmental Business Award!

Tom Kemper is the President and Founder of Dolphin Blue

It was indeed a pleasure to have been awarded the League of Women Voters of Texas 2010 Environmental Awareness Corporate Business Award.

From the introduction by Mary Vogelson, long-time LOWV member and past-President, who interspersed pseudo-Madonna lyrics “not like a virgin”, into her introductory words, referring to Dolphin Blue providing ONLY office supplies made of post consumer recycled materials (not virgin), to getting to see and hear from the other categories’ recipients, I was honored to receive such a coveted award from  such a distinguished group of politically-active women.

I was particularly impressed by my fellow recipients of The League’s Annual Environmental Awards, notably, one long-time activist from Houston, Terry Hershey, who has been advocating for the environment at least 50 years. Ms. Hershey has wrestled with the Army Corps of Engineers, enlisting support from the likes of George H.W. Bush (daddy Bush) when he was a congressman, and Houston oilman George Mitchell (Mitchell Energy). After hearing Terry speak upon receiving her award, I’d be hesitant to take her on, even at her tender age, which appeared to be well into her 80’s. her credentials in environmental volunteerism and activism are impressive.

Congratulations to my fellow recipients, in the following categories:

  • The Catherine Perrine Award — Dr. Melanie Barnes, LWV Lubbock
  • Individual Award — Terese “Terry” Hershey, Houston
  • Corporate/Business Award — Dolphin Blue, Dallas
  • Media Award — EnviroMedia, Austin
  • Nonprofit Award — Texas Master Naturalist Program
  • Public Policy Awards (Individual) — Karen Hadden, Austin
  • Public Policy Awards (Organization) — Downwinders at Risk Education Fund, Midlothian

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation in government

and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

2010 ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS AWARDEES

Catherine Perrine Award: Dr. Melanie Barnes is a Senior Research Associate and member of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Geology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  Dr. Barnes has been involved in environmental issues on a national, state, and local level for 25 years.  Through her positions as Natural Resources Director and Hazardous Waste Chair of the LWV-TX, she lobbied legislative bodies as a public citizen and a scientist.  Melanie brought the issue of a proposed high level nuclear waste site in Deaf Smith County before the citizens of West Texas by arranging a panel discussion with the U.S. Department of Energy, giving presentations at civic organization meetings, and taking field trips to the site.  Melanie was also a leader in addressing the issues associated with a low level radioactive waste site in Andrews County, Texas.  And, she was LWV-TX’s point person on nuclear energy.  Melanie’s scientific credentials give more weight to her educational and lobbying efforts, thus making her a more effective League spokesperson.

Individual: Terese “Terry” Hershey of the Houston area has devoted the past 50 years to community service, particularly centered on environmental issues. Much of her focus has been on the greater Houston area, and she was a founding board member of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and former member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.  On a national level she was a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality, National Recreation and Park Association (1979-1980 Vice-President), board member of the National Audubon Society (1977-86), and board member of the Trust for Public Land (1979-1992).

Business: Dolphin Blue is a Dallas-based, online retailer of ONLY environmentally responsible office supplies and printed paper products. Thomas Kemper started this business because he realized that recycling would not be successful unless a market was created for the recycled material. All papers provided by Dolphin Blue are post-consumer recycled, and most papers offered are 100% post-consumer recycled, being made of only waste paper fibers using NO tree fiber. Most papers offered are FSC-certified, processed chlorine free and made carbon neutral with Green-E certified renewable wind energy.

Media: EnviroMedia is a social marketing firm headquartered in San Marcos, committed to delivering authentic, ethical campaigns for clients who want to tell true environmental stories, including the Don’t Mess with Texas litter prevention campaign which achieved a 33 percent reduction in litter from 2001 to 2005.  They also directed advertising campaigns for Green Mountain Energy Company, leading to a 70 percent sales jump in 2006, and the Water IQ campaign for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which helped curb projected peak-day water consumption by an estimated 200 million gallons of water per day in 2006.  They oversaw the Dell Inc. electronics recycling strategy and in 2004, which transformed Dell from being publicly called a “laggard” to being named a “leader.” Related recycling events set records, keeping nearly 1,000 tons of unwanted computers out of landfills.

Nonprofit Education: Texas Master Naturalist Program is a network of 37 chapters with 5,300 volunteer members who work to improve public understanding of natural resource ecology and management. Originally started in 1997, it was adopted as a state program by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.  In the 10 years between 1998 and 2008, Texas Master Naturalists have volunteered over 1 million hours to natural resource and environmental projects in the state. They have impacted 90,000 acres and developed/maintained 996.5 miles of interpretive trails.  Michelle Haggerty, Naturalist Program Coordinator, Texas Parks and Wildlife, is accepting the award.

Public Policy Individual: Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, has worked tirelessly to educate the media, citizens, and local and state officials about the need for coal plant cleanup and the health impacts of toxic mercury. She built a coalition among mothers, doctors, and fishermen regarding mercury emissions. She led the grassroots advocacy effort throughout Texas against 19 proposed coal-fired electric generation plants in Texas. As a result, SEED got party status in many of the cases and got reductions in mercury emissions from coal burning power plants.  Karen envisioned and created the Solar Austin Campaign that led to Austin developing the most ambitious solar goal of any municipal utility in the country.  This program served as a model for programs in the DFW area and San Antonio.

Public Policy Non-Profit: Downwinders At-Risk Education Fund is a diverse grassroots citizen organization dedicated to reducing toxic industrial air pollution in North Texas.  Although their main focus remains on reducing the toxic emissions of the cement kilns in the Midlothian industrial complex near Dallas-Ft. Worth, they have also served over the past 12 years as a resource for citizens’ groups nationally and internationally, including Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Mexico, Montana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, New York, and Michigan. Their 2007 Campaign for Green Cement persuaded the cities and schools in the Dallas Ft. Worth area to buy cement from newer cleaner kilns. This regional boycott was a factor in TXI shutting down its four wet kilns and Ash Grove pledging to reduce pollution from its wet kilns by 300 tons a year.

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Greenstar and the State of Recycling

Tom Kemper is the president and founder of Dolphin Blue.

On April 6, 2010, almost seventeen years to the day, from the date Dolphin Blue began doing business, I had a personal tour of Greenstar North America’s Dallas MRF (materials recovery facility).

Wow, has the state of recycling changed!

Dolphin Blue was founded after I conducted the first-ever public recycling program in Dallas, in 1992.  I was busily collecting, sorting, bagging and preparing for processing, 350, 50-gallon bags of recyclable commodities for three-and-one-half weeks of the Dallas Summer Shakespeare Festival.  Unbeknownst to me WFAA TV’s environmental reporter was reporting on the evening news that the recycling collection trucks were picking up Dallas’ igloos of recyclable materials from public locations and delivering the materials right to the landfill.  That became for me an awakening that inspired me to begin a business that would provide only office supplies made from post-consumer recycled materials.  To this day Dolphin Blue is the only retailer that provides ONLY office supplies made from post-consumer recycled materials.

What I learned in that first-ever Dallas recycling effort, is that we can place all our discard materials into our blue bins to our heart’s content.  Unless we make purchases of products made from those items we place in the collection bins, all that effort to preserve or sustain our planet for our children is for naught.

Recycling, AND, purchasing products made from post-consumer recycled materials, produces many environmental and societal benefits such as:

  • Conserving the energy and raw materials used to manufacture a product.
  • Retaining healthy forests and ecologically-viable and species-diverse habitats.
  • Landfill-destined waste is eliminated, thereby reducing the need to utilize additional land for dumping our waste.
  • Preventing chlorine compounds and other carcinogens from entering vital water ecosystems reduces the risk of adverse human health effects and chemical influence on fellow species.
  • Almost half of the 83 million tons of paper generated annually still ends up in landfills.
  • When we recycle paper, CO2 emissions are significantly reduced.

As well as papers certified for 100% post-consumer recycled material, Dolphin Blue provides papers that are:

  • Made with Green-E certified renewable wind energy and made carbon neutral.
  • Processed chlorine free (whitened without chlorine or chlorine-containing compounds).
  • Manufactured using only 100% post-consumer recycled waste fibers using no virgin wood pulp.

I honestly expected to see something totally different than what I saw and heard from Trisha Davis, municipal marketing and account manager at Greenstar’s Dallas facility.  I expected to see a processing plant burdened with intake of recyclable commodities of which there is little or no opportunity for re-integration into the market.  I am pleased by what I’ve seen and heard of Greenstar’s success in recycling markets. Great job, Greenstar!

I am convinced that the vast majority of the 300 tons of material taken to Greenstar each year is reintroduced to the market.

So, that brings up a HUGE question…

If all this stuff is successfully being re-integrated into our economy, then why aren’t we seeing products that are more clearly marked, indicating the percentage of post-consumer recycled materials used to make the product?  I see many items and much packaging marked “made of recycled material” and nothing indicating the percentage of material used, or, whether it’s post-consumer or pre-consumer content.  I’ve even seen statements like “third-party certified” with no mention of who the third-party certifier might be, or, what the certification might be certifying!

That question leads me to believe that manufacturers and sellers of products are falling short in terms of stating their products’ actual content and are therefore misleading and misinforming the consumer.

It is the intent of Dolphin Blue to always educate and share knowledge with our customers and suppliers, as well as prospective customers, as to the environmental attributes and ecological value of what we provide, and who is certifying the ecological and social attributes that we so dearly value in sustaining our planet for future generations.

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Communicating the Right Message

Dolphin Blue was founded on the principle that we can all do something to assist in creating a sustainable planet for future generations.

We’ve always provided only office products that, at minimum, are certified for post consumer recycled material content, assuring the buyer that you are getting product that meets your requirements, and, that truly contributes to a sustainable planet for future generations.

It’s not often that, in my almost eighteen years of building the Dolphin Blue business, I receive such striking examples of what an entity is doing to not only contribute to sustainability, but also to articulate their actions in a very effective manner, such as the State of Pennsylvania’s online video. One of the key points discussed in this exemplary video is concerning the issue of greenwashing (a practice whereby a provider makes unsubstantiated claims regarding the environmental attributes of their product or service, such as “Third-party certified”, without naming the certifying organization, or, stating “recycled content”, without mentioning whether the recycled content is pre-consumer or post consumer, or, stating the percentage of recycled material). Without proper education, greenwashing is easily perpetrated on unknowing, unsuspecting consumers.

That is bad for the unknowing consumer and detrimental to the sustainability of our planet. It’s also ripping off our children’s future.

This exceptional presentation came to me through H2E (Hospitals for a Healthy Environment), of which Dolphin Blue is a long-time member. Please share this far and wide, so others may be able to benefit from this great presentation on Environmentally Preferable Purchasing.

Tom Kemper is the founder and president of Dolphin Blue Inc.

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Complete Conscious Consumption

When you buy something, you’re voting. You’re voting with your dollar and saying “I support this product.” But do you ever consider what you’re voting for?

Image is everything

Americans are great at selective conscious buying, especially when it comes to products affecting our image. This is why we focus on image products, products that have a significant impact when it comes to increasing our social acceptance. These impressions are superficial, and do not say much about us besides how we feel others will view our choices. There’s a good reason why we do this. These impressions are safe, they’re bland, and they allow us to appeal to the widest audience possible without jeopardizing our acceptance. We do this, however, at the expense of authenticity and a genuine connection with our values.

Cliché Consumption

What’s the difference between wearing a Nike or a Reebok sweatshirt? They may say which athlete we love, but they fail to reveal anything about our character. So are these purchases really that valuable in the long run? Just like how easily an athlete’s fan base can turn on them (oh how our opinions change overnight – ex. Tiger Woods), these purchases are trendy, fleeting, meaningless, non-exclusive, and cliché. Most importantly, they do not force us to align our beliefs with our actions.

What does this purchase say about me?

Think!So how do we bypass our selective identity crisis and make every purchase matter? It comes down to complete conscious consumption. Complete conscious consumption entails a lengthy list to consider when buying a product (this is by no means a complete list):

Where is it made?

Who benefits from its production?

What is used to make it?

What is wasted to make it?

What is created to make it?

Who makes it?

How are they treated?

How does its production affect the community?

How far does it travel?

Who sells it?

What else do they sell?

Who benefits from my purchase?

Will I use it?

How will I use it?

Will it improve lives?

Will it last?

What life does it have after my use?

Do I dispose it?

What effect will disposal have?

How will I dispose of it?

It’s a big list. More simply, we can ask “What and who has been, is, and will be affected by my purchase?” Every single product we buy, consume, and dispose of actively communicates our values. Every purchase!

The Challenge

My challenge to you is to think about this list before you make your very next purchase. Look at the country of origin, the ingredients and components, the company selling it… and ask yourself “What does this purchase say about me?” If you like your answer, then go for it. If not, I challenge you to find a better solution.

Do you like your answer?

What else can we do to make our purchases more important in our lives?

What is my list missing?

-Jeff Eyink

jeff@dolphinblue.com

Images via flickr from imchaudhry photo and fabiana zonca.

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New Developments in Clean Energy Technology

During a 60-Minutes broadcast on CBS (February 18, 2010), Bloom Energy was described as aBloom Boxmajor innovation in fuel cell technology.  The Bloom fuel cell is composed of relatively inexpensive materials, and it produces electricity from oxidation of natural gas or bio-gas.

It was claimed that an investment of $3000 in a Bloom box could be used to provide power to a residence and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  That would add up to a cost of around $300 billion in the US for residential needs and another $200 billion investment for businesses (my estimate).

The total of $500 billion would buy infrastructure to produce cleaner energy — but not clean energy.  We would still need to extract and oxidize huge amounts of natural gas because bio-gas supplies are not adequate to fuel all our energy needs.  Using natural gas does not constitute a long-term solution to either energy needs or to climate change.  We need to think about ways to eliminate the need to burn natural gas and other fossil fuels.

Another (perhaps alternative) step would be to produce electricity from (a) solar, wind, and geothermal sources on “energy farms” in America’s heartland and (b) off-shore solar, wind, wave, and tidal energy sources on “energy islands” that would be positioned in proximity to population centers near our coasts.   (See http://24-7-360.com/EnergyIsland/patappAndFigures.doc.)

Still, we would need to figure out a way to provide sufficient electricity even when the sun does not shine or when the wind does not blow.  A backup source of energy is needed.

One solution could come from recent developments in an effort to store energy in the form of elemental carbon.   Elemental carbon can be produced from carbon dioxide by a reduction process that uses clean energy.  Elemental carbon could be used like a battery, storing energy that could later be released, as needed, from oxidation to carbon dioxide; but that process would not add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, given that the carbon-dioxide-to-carbon reduction process would offset any net increase in carbon dioxide levels.

Being able to store energy as carbon and to release it without increasing overall carbon dioxide levels would allow us to use only clean energy.  The process of recycling carbon from carbon dioxide could conceivably break dependence on continually extracting and burning fossil fuels.  See this article about recycling carbon dioxide to elemental carbon and using carbon as a recyclable energy resource: http://www.carbonoffsetsdaily.com/press-release/green-carbon-dioxide-recycling-technology-emerging-in-british-columbia-a-feature-of-industry-today-on-industrialinfocom-9964.htm .

Tom Manaugh works as an inventor, an internet marketing consultant for Dolphin Blue, Inc., and a Web designer/developer in Dallas, Texas.

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