Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 7, 2013

VASICEK: News article 'contest' ends in tie


— They have a holiday for everything. According to holidayinsights.com, there are three minor holiday designations for today: Caramel Popcorn Day, No Housework Day, and World Health Day.

We Vasiceks don’t need a holiday to have a messy house. And the house was messy when Emil rang the door bell.

“Oh, I forgot, honey, Emil is coming over for our news article contest,” I blurted.

“No,” Marylu gasped. “Quick, let’s put this stuff behind the couch.” I helped her shovel a few newspapers and odds and ends out of eye range. She bused some coffee cups into the kitchen while I scurried to the door.

“Forget again?” Emil greeted me. “When are you going to read that book about improving your memory?” he inquired.

“I have,” I defended. I sheepishly added, “But I forgot what it said. Anyhow, I am ready for the contest.”

“Great,” he replied. Marylu graciously brought us two cups of coffee.

“Today I have some good news,” Emil began. “It’s about an important energy breakthrough. You know, water has all the energy we need. I don’t mean waterfalls and generators, I mean the hydrogen in water. It is potent stuff, but it takes too much energy to separate from the oxygen in water. But there has been a breakthrough.” He showed me the article by Len Rosen:

“‘Two chemistry professors, Curtis Berlinguette and Simon Trudel, at the University of Calgary have published a paper in the journal “Science” in the last week in which they describe their discovery, a low-cost catalyst that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The catalyst contains a combination of iron, cobalt and nickel which when exposed to a light source decomposes the water into its base components.

“‘The professors have formed a new start up company, FireWater Fuel, to commercialize their invention ... a single kilogram of hydrogen contains three times the energy of an equivalent amount of gasoline. So it makes sense to be looking at hydrogen even though up until now the cost of releasing that energy has always been prohibitive.’”

“Well, Emil, if that’s right, this is one of the biggest energy breakthroughs in our lifetime. They already use it for rocket and jet fuel. But the mainstream media probably won’t even pick this up. We can power cars with hydrogen, and we can make electricity with hydrogen — which can power about everything else. And, I hear, it burns clean. This is real big — if it really works.”

“The down side,” Emil added, “is that it is more explosive than gasoline. But if they make fuel cells with it, it may power our future cars.”

“OK, my turn. I came across another good news article about a Canadian homeless woman who returned a purse with $10,000 in it.”

“American or Canadian dollars?” Emil asked mischievously.

“Who cares? Your choice,” I retorted. I then read the article from the Canada’s National Post:

“‘She was down on her luck and living in a YWCA homeless shelter and feeling desperate; 62-years-old. She needed a break and found a purse on the street stuffed with $10,000; a woman whose first thought upon finding the loot [was] ... “How can I return this to the person it belongs to because they must be frantic to find it?”

“‘... [T]he money was reunited with its rightful owner. They met with the woman, thanked her profusely and presented her with a $500 reward.

“‘... A trust was established in the woman’s name at a local bank. Donations ... kept coming in a trickle, in dollar amounts ranging from four bucks to $1,000, and two weeks ago the Good Samaritan had enough cash in the trust to move out of the shelter and into a rent-subsidized seniors’ complex.’”

“Well, Ed, gonna be hard to pick a winner,” Emil postulated. “Both articles are amazing; there is no clear winner.”

“Agreed,” I replied. “Let’s be like the two silk worms that ended up in a tie.”

“A done deal,” Emil concluded.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.