Monthly Archives: November 2012

Detroit crime demographics

For some reason I find Detroit’s crime demographics fascinating. The city has had more professional makeovers than Sofia Loren, yet the crime rate in the city is about 12 times that of New York on a per-capita basis. What’s more telling is that the distribution has several sharp cut-offs, the most famous being Eight mile road — memorialized in a movie about Emenem — on one side of the Eight mile you have a murder rate higher than Guatemala’s on average, on the other, a relatively decent rate — similar to Brooklyn, NY. I’ve long thought that the high crime was related to the good intentions of the reformers, but I could be wrong. The data is amazing, though.

1 week of crime in Detroit with special focus on 8 mile road -- that's the horizontal cut dividing Detroit, lower from the northern suburbs. The crime area in the upper right is Royal Oak.

1 week of crime in Detroit with special focus on 8 mile road — that’s the horizontal cut dividing Detroit, lower from the northern suburbs. The crime area in the upper right is Royal Oak.

Michigan tax wrongs righted

This month, at last, the Michigan legislature began to take seriously the job of correcting some tax wrongs that needed correcting for years. The most important change: they decreased the tax on business property (only by 10% but it’s a start) and shifted the burden to a tax on business profit.

The personal property tax was paid on any equipment, inventory, or supplies that a business kept in-house. No matter if their were sales or none, a tax was due so long as a business had equipment or unsold inventory. Even in years where there were no profits or sales, money was due to the state — a tax on your dreams of somehow making a go of things. Aside from its complexity of valuing your unused supplies and inventory, the tax guaranteed that struggling businesses would fail — immediately. The governor (Granholm – glad she’s gone) claimed that taxing unused equipment and inventory protected the state coffers from the ups and downs of the business cycle, but the state was is far better shape than a struggling business when it came to the cost of borrowing. Besides, I’m not sure she was doing Michigan any favors by destroying businesses that were barely hanging on.

Governor Granholm (thank G-d she’s gone) gave out the money she collected to the right sort of people, her friends, and to targeted businesses that she liked: e.g. movie makers who made money-losing, dystopian films and left as soon as the checks cashed. The current governor, Snyder claims his aim is to eliminate the business property tax in 10 years, 10% at a time. I hope, we’ll see.

Another tax that’s now gone, at last, is the 0.8% on transactions between businesses. It wasn’t an unfair tax like the property tax, but was annoying to keep track of. What a mess. Keep up the good work, lads. Now if only they can do something about Detroit’s uncommonly high minimum wage.

Robert Buxbaum, November 20, 2012

Big new hydrogen purifier ships

We shipped out our largest hydrogen purifier to date on Thursday, one designed for use in hydrogen-powered airplanes. I’m pretty happy; lots of throughput, light weight, low pressure drop, quite durable. We had a pizza party Friday to celebrate(if we didn’t invite you, sorry). I’m already working on design improvements (lessons learned) in case we get another order, or another, similar customer. I think we could do even better in our next version.

Largest hydrogen purifier to date pressure test

Here is our latest hydrogen purifier to date being pressure tested. Output is 650 slpm; that’s 40 m3/hr, 3.5 kg/hr. The device is tied down for burst-pressure testing behind a blast fort, just in case the thing bursts during tests. So far, no failures, no leaks. I sure hope the customer pays.

here's our largest H2 purifier being burst-pressure tested

here’s our largest H2 purifier being burst-pressure tested