Archive for the ‘Government’ Category


Friday, 9 February 2007; 12:07

JUSTNET (Justice Technology Information Network) is part of the research and development division of the United States Department of Justice. And as we all know, police and law enforcement need all the help they can get these days. With its in-depth video demonstrations, JUSTNET serves as an “honest broker” offering support, research findings, and technological expertise to help state and local law enforcement and corrections personnel perform their duties more safely and efficiently.

If they are of interest to you, take a few minutes and watch videos on body armor, public safety radio systems, and even how to quell prison riots. There is also the Technology on the Job video [which] provides a look at some of the technologies undergoing research, development, and testing by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The technologies presented in [the] video include video evidence analysis, thermal imaging, geographic information systems, and DNA evidence.

This last highlighted video is comprised of several segments. The Distillery will first point you to the introduction. However, among others you might find the segments on Video Evidence Analysis and DNA evidence interesting. In addition, the videos are offered for both Real and Windows Media players and also in three different bandwidths. Clearly, the information is intended to be readily available to all, regardless of computer resources. Nice job, DOJ.

Home page:  JUSTNET


United States Marines

Wednesday, 7 February 2007; 9:00

The Marines have marched from the Halls of Montezuma to the advertising agencies of Madison Avenue. At least so it appears from the U.S. Marines’ very excellent web site/recruiting tool. And although the site does not open with lights and sounds, plenty are to be found within.

This site is very well designed. It is far beyond being “good enough for government work.” Subtle sounds keep dead air to a fair minimum. Louder background sounds do the same elsewhere throughout the site. Navigation around a very large site has been made quite manageable. In all, there are many little touches that take this site to excellence. And despite the war in Iraq and larger war on terror, the site certainly makes The Distillery feel All-American and very proud to be so.

Look for videos highlighting the silent drill team, combat arms, the motto Semper Fidelis, the Marine Corps bands, and many other aspects of Marine life. You will find the many videos scattered throughout the sight with just enough frequency to keep one interested and looking.

Home page:
Home page:


Gorbachev Foundation

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 10:04

He answered former President Reagan’s call to tear down this wall. In doing so, he effectively ended a war which had occupied my entire lifetime–the Cold War. But, as a man of vision and possibly ahead of his time, Mikhail Gorbachev seems not to now occupy the best of positions in Russian history. That, with the passage of a few more years, may well change–and should. There have been few men as deserving of a memorable place in recent history as Mr. Gorbachev.

Until then, we can still support Mr. Gorbachev through his Gorbachev Foundation. Even better, on March 2, 2007, you can help celebrate a great man’s 76th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Gorbachev. And, thank you.

Home page:
Home page:  Gorbachev Foundation


AquaMagic Water Generators

Tuesday, 9 January 2007; 13:25

How about a cloud in a box? Normally, The Distillery would immediately pan any manufacturer using rehashed news footage as online multimedia content. However, in the case of AquaMagic the approach works reasonably well. That is because the news footage, from disaster-struck regions here in the United States (e.g., Florida, Mississippi), works to both demonstrate the product and also adds a strong element of legitimacy. After all, there is nothing like a successful field test to tout (and sell) an excellent product.

AquaMagic’s water generators seem almost amazing. The firm’s tag line: Create water out of thin air. And, that’s exactly what the product does. It provides a source of fresh drinking water in areas where fresh water is not available or is no longer available. Such water generators are the perfect product for disaster-prone towns, cities, and governments looking to save lives, provide sanitary conditions, and protect their populaces after a disaster. How many will take advantage of this superb and novel life-saver? Unfortunately, the next disaster–natural or otherwise–may give us the answer.

Home page:  AquaMagic


Oshkosh Truck Corporation

Monday, 16 October 2006; 9:16

Because the road to freedom isn’t paved! – Oshkosh Truck Corp.

“Oshkosh” always reminds The Distillery of clothing for toddlers. However, except for bringing Tonka Toys to mind, Oshkosh Truck Corporation bears little resemblance to a children’s clothing manufacturer. Instead, it manufactures severe-duty trucks for defense, airport, municipal and concrete. (The Distillery likes the word “severe” in that description. It’s not the usual descriptor and is attention-catching.)

On the other hand, the repetitious drum beat heard on the site’s home page quickly becomes a severe hurt on one’s ears. And unlike the best of sites, there is no “Off” switch for a very irritating soundtrack. Not good, so let’s get beyond the index page as quickly as possible.

Moving on, we find Oshkosh feels Our Soldiers Deserve the Best and Oshkosh Is Honored to Deliver It. The slogans are a nice defense-related tie-in for its online advertising. The soundtrack is initially appropriate, but once again quickly grows old as it ends with the sound of machine gun fire and then repeats ad nauseum.

But, we do find Oshkosh recognizing the value of the internet for online promotion with this video of its newest severe-duty military truck. One also finds video of the world’s only electric hydrid [sic] drive designed esepcially [sic] for severe-duty trucks. In addition, there is video of the computer-controled [sic] multiplexing system that operates and diagnozes [sic] all vehicle systems.

Not to leave potential buyers asking too many of the more obvious questions, we find more video of the independent front suspension that provides three times a smoother ride in Oshkosh trucks. Additional video(s) can be found here and here, and in other places throughout the site. But before you leave, be certain to also visit Oshkosh’s TerraMax site. There you will find videos of its DARPA robotic vehicle.

In all, very nicely done–excluding the countless and inexcusable spelling errors–for an 85 year-old company that does not sell what one might consider high-tech products. However, someone at Oshkosh needs to be shown the spell-checker on their computer. Or, that’s one pathetic advertising agency that allows such obvious and embarrassing spelling errors out the door. The Distillery certainly will not ever recommend or hire that advertising firm.

The above caveat aside, it appears they make far interesting products and advertising in Wisconsin than just the state’s superb dairy products and children’s clothing. I knew there was a reason The Distillery liked that state beyond its frigid temperatures. And remember, the road to freedom isn’t paved.

Home page:  Oshkosh Truck Corporation
Home page:  TerraMax

Oshkosh Truck Corp. logo graphic

TerraMax robotic Vehicle

(And where have I been lately? Very busy with real work, having a birthday, and dealing with crazy people. But once again, SippinWhisky’s Distillery is distilling the internet’s rich media advertising. Enjoy your daily sips.) News (Minister Louis Farrakhan)

Tuesday, 19 September 2006; 14:12

I have never been entirely certain what to make of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. However, that is from a perspective of personal beliefs. What about from The Distillery’s perspective? There we find certainty. News and Minister Farrakhan clearly “get” the internet. The site is replete with multimedia content. Might this be a function of a superb orator understanding how to reach people? Quite possibly so. Of significant interest is finding Link TV, described as Television Without Borders and:

…an alternative to the narrow one-sided ‘Middle East’ reporting of CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR and others. Visit LinkTV for news from the Direct perspectives of Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Israel, etc.

The Distillery finds a virtual cornucopia of other rich media content. In fact, it finds an example of the very sort of rhetoric (September 11, 2001: Fact and fiction According to Loose Change Documentary) that gives pause to fully endorsing Minister Farrakhan, although he proclaims himself a scholar and vessel of truth. On the other hand, one finds a link to an unedited CBS 60 Minutes interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Elsewhere throughout the site, numerous and diverse webcasts, interviews, and podcasts are found.

Whatever your ideological feelings about Minister Farrakhan and his mouthpiece, News, you must agree both are instep with technology as a tool to reach (and preach to) the masses. Both make their messages more accessible than what we find from many Fortune 500 companies. Well done, Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Home page: News
Home page:  The Nation of Islam

H.M.L.Farrakhan meets Cuban leader, Fidel Castro

Weichai Power Co., Ltd. (China)

Monday, 11 September 2006; 15:16

Were The Distillery xenophobic, China would be scaring the dickens out of it right now. There is no doubt that China is becoming a dominant player in the world’s markets–military, space exploration, political, economic, and otherwise. That assessment seems very evident when looking at Weichai Power, a manufacturer of diesel engines in China’s Shandong province. One finds an interesting mix of both Oriental and Occidental at its web site.

Although the voice-over is in Chinese, the firm uses images of famous Western scientists–Archimedes, Newton, and Einstein–in an online video promotion. The Distillery finds that interesting considering all of the inventions by the Chinese themselves. (To name only a few–the abacus, paper, Indian ink, gunpowder, and the compass.) Clearly, Weichai Power is looking beyond China’s national borders and out to the larger world market for buyers of its diesel engines. And quite frankly, given labor costs in China, Weichai Power’s engines may well be excellent engines at prices western firms will have difficulty matching.

Even more, it appears the Chinese government is using the firm and their close relationship to tout China’s every-increasing modernization. For example, have a look at this television ad which highlights China’s beautiful new passenger train (powered by Weichai diesel engines), wind farms, construction projects, and modern cities. And quite frankly, that is a bit scary. Is China not doing the same as Japan by closely partnering private enterprise with government? Will that provide China essentially the same advantages enjoyed by Japanese firms with their close government and national banking ties? The likely answer is yes.

Caterpillar, meet Weichai, your newest nemesis–or partner, if you’re smart.

Home page:  Weichai Power Co., Ltd.

Weichai Power logo graphic

Weichai executives diesel graphic

“When The Levees Broke” (Spike Lee & HBO)

Thursday, 24 August 2006; 12:11

One day, Spike Lee will make a great movie. No, not “very good” like many of his previous cinematic efforts are, but a movie on par with movies made by John Huston, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola. But until then, “very good,” “superb,” “insightful,” and “excellent” must suffice as descriptors of his works.

From all The Distillery has seen and read about Spike’s most recent effort, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, he has again produced a superb film. It has that look which The Distillery finds unique and unmistakably “Spike Lee.” It is also “Spike Lee” in that he does not hold himself to a strict timetable. This HBO documentary is four hours long. Still, do the right thing and set some time aside to watch it.

Home page: When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts
Film clip (30 seconds): When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Home page: HBO

when the levees broke house boat graphic when the levees broke quote graphic Spike Lee photo graphic

“An Infrared Search for Origins” (NASA)

Thursday, 24 August 2006; 8:28

I grew up in a very small North Carolina town. My high school graduating class numbered approximately one hundred students. (However, I am a high school drop-out. And yes, I’m proud of that. High school was a waste of time.) What wasn’t a waste of time was looking up into the sky at night.

One of my fondest memories from childhood was looking up and seeing the Milky Way very clearly. It was as if someone had taken a paint brush and lightly painted a white streak across the sky from horizon to horizon. The Milky Way was a huge, faint white cloud visible at night, a cloud of stars.

Even before Hubble’s Deep Field photograph and Carl Sagan (…billions and billions of stars), I somewhat comprehended the immense vastness of space. Dear readers, if you have never clearly seen the Milky Way at night, you are missing something truly spectacular. Do try to get away from city lights and see it for yourself one day. You will not be disappointed.

Those memories are stirred by this presentation, An Infrared Search for Origins, made possible by NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope. I will let the universe speak for itself. I hope you enjoy the presentation as much as I.

Home page: An Infrared Search for Origins
Home page: Spitzer Space Telescope
Home page (Spanish): Spitzer Space Telescope
Home page: NASA

Spitzer Space Telescope graphic

Boeing: Integrated Defense Systems

Wednesday, 9 August 2006; 13:21

2005 was a banner year for weapons suppliers like Boeing and its Integrated Defense Systems division. The Distillery can find no joy in that observation.

Home page: Boeing IDS

AH-64D Apache Longbow photo graphic


Friday, 4 August 2006; 9:11

The Distillery has been found to be lacking once again. There are some products which are never considered for inclusion here. It’s not because they are disliked, it’s just they are never considered. That’s when serendipity comes to the rescue.

What about evacuation to the hospital of your choice if you are injured or sick while on vacation? Does your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card cover that? No. Even more, as we have seen with recent world events, even the American Embassy is often found lacking. That’s when MedJetAssist flies to your aid. (Why do I have visions of Mighty Mouse flying around in my head right now? Oh yea,… Here I come to save the day! Mighty Mouse is on his way!)

MedJetAssist is an emergency medical air evacuation insurance service which operates around the globe. (Great idea!) The company will fly you to any hospital in the world and also cover repatriation (if you are overseas), as long as you’re at least 150 miles from home. The service has even caught the attention of Fox News. Pricing? Very reasonable considering the service offered.

Home page: MedJetAssist

MedJetAssist logo graphic Passport graphic

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Thursday, 3 August 2006; 14:03

How much power is there in video for persons holding political offices? One person who certainly knows is The Terminator, now the governor of California. (Another was former President Ronald Reagan. This President? He’s clueless. Did you see him talking to Britain’s PM Blair with a mouth full of food? I know his mother taught him better than that.)

Have a peek at this video of Governor Schwarzenegger, a.k.a. The People’s Governor, visiting heat-beleaguered farmers in California’s Central Valley region within the past week or so. (He’s not wasting time getting those videos online, is he? As noted, he knows the power of video.) You might next have a gander at Gov. Arnold announcing the creation of the California Hall of Fame.

Great PR, Gov. Arnold. You learned a great deal from saying nothing throughout entire movies. Wait a minute. I’m mistaken. One time you did say, “I’ll be back.”

Home page: California Office of the Governor

CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Britain's PM Blair photo graphic