Let Markets Work!

Last week, as oil surged to $75/barrel and retail gasoline prices broached the $3/gallon level again, came renewed calls for the government to “do something, anything”. The thinking on this issue continues to be highly confused.

The loudest cries were for the imposition of windfall taxes on oil companies. True, the profits that the majors are generating do border on the obscene. But, exactly how would a windfall tax on oil companies reduce energy prices?

And, more fundamentally, are lower energy prices what is really good for us? Don’t we want higher prices, so as to encourage more alternative energy and energy efficiency?

Every time that our beloved government steps in to try to reduce energy prices, it further perpetuates and entrenches the “cheap energy” entitlement mentality — or what President Bush himself has called our “addiction to oil” — that we desperately need to wean. Why is it that the US consumer gets indignant about $3 gas, when prices have been twice that high in Europe for years without civic unrest?

Instead, we ought to let the energy markets work: as demand continues to increase robustly (thanks to China and India especially) and low-cost supply sources become scarcer, oil prices damn well should increase.

About the only good that is coming from this recent angst about high energy prices is the (better-late-than-never) suggestion to discontinue some subsidies to major oil companies for operating/expanding in an industry as fully mature and profitable as conventional oil/gas production and refining.

Otherwise, instead of taxing them more highly (because we’re too stupid to see high price signals as an encouragement for substitution or demand reduction), we ought to encourage the oil companies to plow their huge profits into advanced energy — perhaps a tax credit on qualified investments in innovative energy technology R&D or new energy commercialization or project development.

Then, the high energy prices would not only be directly sending price signals that the marketplace needs to see to discourage consumption, but be redirecting the enormous profits into financing the next (cleaner) energy era.

We in the cleantech arena need to speak louder, to help shift the conversation in the U.S. away from “cheap energy”, to “permanently available energy”.

Green Technology and Energy Efficiency Developments Driven by Government Support and Need for Alternative Energy Production

The renewable energy market is evolving in the US with respect to the impact of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. While concerns are increasing over how long global oil supplies will match consumer needs, the pathway is widening for companies offering technological and environmental solutions. With increasing support from a Federal level and individual States increasing their incentives for energy saving products, companies already establishing themselves in this sector are also in a position to expand their product lines and reach into new areas being promoted at a government level. SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR), Alchemy Enterprises Ltd. (OTCBB: ACHM), Encore Clean Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ECLNE) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) discuss their vision on technology, innovation and market drivers in the changing energy sector.

Encore Clean Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ECLNE) company Director Larry Shultz has said that their company’s product, the Magnetic Piston Generator is a, “heat recovery technology which converts waste heat into electricity. This technology, looking forward, is really the key to our thrust into the clean energy marketplace because what most people don’t know is that for every mega watt of electricity generated in the United States, more than a mega watt of heat goes up in smoke, either up a smoke stack or through a cooling tower.” Further he said that, “American industry is very inefficient where all of that heat is wasted. So what the MPG technology does is it converts that wasted heat into electricity whereby we can continue to harness up to 20% of that wasted energy.”

According to Julie Blunden, Vice President of External Affairs for SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR), “we think that SunPower’s growth is a good example of how public policy is helping to drive capital investment as well as technology advances. Our investors and suppliers see that the solar power market is growing rapidly in the U.S. and around the world and have supported our growth to meet that demand. Within the next decade, solar will be at a price parity with retail electricity rates in much of the developed world, offering SunPower access to the trillion dollar global electric market.”

Distributed Energy Systems Corporation (NASDAQ: DESC) President and Director Walter Schroeder says that, “innovators of energy sustainability fall into three distinct categories: manufacturers, developers or integrators.” Further to this he reveals, ”the states that are doing the most are California (who are way out ahead), New York and New Jersey. Connecticut and Massachusetts get honorable mention.”

Commenting on the position of Alchemy Enterprises Ltd., Jonathan Read, President and CEO stated that, “as we are the producers of a power source, we’re reliant on our customer to work with the states on end-user tax credits. We are actively working to position ourselves for Federal tax credits and or grants as it relates to alternative energy.” Talking about government incentives, Read explains, “there are two tiers of state and Federal tax incentives. The first is for the producer of alternative energy technologies and the second tier involves provisions and tax incentives for end users (ie. motorists), which we would partner with once our technology is fully fleshed out and proven.”

As the market grows, we are seeing companies such as Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) expanding their range of services, with the launch of a compact household cogeneration unit, which combines “the world’s smallest natural gas engine-with an efficiency configured, compact, lightweight power generation system employing Honda’s unique sine-wave inverter technology to create a compact unit suitable for residential use, boasting an energy efficiency of 85%.”

To Read “Refining Strategies to Deliver Energy Efficiency and Technology Innovation” in Full Click Here

Marketing for the Fall

Wednesday, April 26th

Richard Stuebi wrote here on Monday, “It’s the Jobs, Stupid.” It certainly is, and it’s an argument for establishing renewable energy that I wholeheartedly champion. It’s also why Kevin Phillips’ “American Theocracy”—a book not without polemic, according to The New York Times, was a rough read.

Pride goeth before the fall, writes Phillips. Unfortunately, he’s not talking about a seasonal summertime loss of self-esteem. Overlay onto the United States the catalysts for the downfalls of the former hegemonies Rome, Holland, Spain and England (imperial hubris, religious zealotry, energy dependence, and indulgence of a ‘borrower-industrial complex’ that forsakes manufacturing) to see the disturbing similarities. You might say the book is the economic/ political/ religious sister to Jared Diamond’s “Collapse.” Both ring loud alarms to rouse the public and its leaders out of stupors of fiction, denial and misdirection. Both say there is time and opportunity to change course and outcome.

As a marketer of cleantech in the U.S., I hope so.

In the U.S., says Phillips, we have a debt problem (which I cover today) as well as a dying manufacturing base (which I will cover next week).

Last week I met with Jim Welch and his staff at Sun Electric Systems, Inc., a small but successful solar energy company in Colorado, to talk about business development opportunities. Jim has been involved in solar for decades, building a solar company which he sold to Kyocera and then venturing overseas. Recently, he has met with U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, a proponent of clean energy, to deliver the message: the U.S. (and Colorado) need more manufacturing. The staff of Sun Electric Systems will be flying to Germany this June to attend Intersolar 2006, believing that the real activity in the solar sector is happening overseas.

“American Theocracy” goes a long way in explaining why Jim and his staff are heading to Europe this summer: “It’s Manufacturing, Stupid.” Before we get to the matter of manufacturing, U.S. debt deserves a good, hard look: If Jim returns from Germany with great cleantech product to sell in the U.S., as I suspect he will, who’s going to buy it? To whom will marketers be selling?

Here are a few chapter titles from Part III of “American Theocracy”: Borrowed Prosperity: Uncertain politics, and the financialization of the United States; The precarious trajectory of American debt; The emergence of the U.S. debt and credit-industrial complex; Debtor society, credit-card nation; Greed and the 1995-2005 credit bubble.

Marketers, greed and gullibility helped get us here.*

Ø “In 1980 Americans collectively put aside a net 7.4 percent of national income. By 1990 that had fallen to 4.5 percent, and by 2005 to a record-low negative savings rate.”
Ø “Noting how consumer spending accounted for more then two-thirds of the $11 trillion national economy, The New York Times summarized that ‘the machinery of American marketing, media and finance all encourage the consumption habit. Many consumers are unable to resist the overpowering mantra: spend, spend, spend.’”
Ø “Sociologist Robert Manning…detailed how banking deregulation during the late 1990s facilitated an ‘enormously successful mass marketing campaign’ that ‘dramatically altered American attitudes toward consumer credit and debt.’” (One that encourages as-yet-unemployed youth and soon-to-be retirees, as well as everyone else, to borrow like mad.)

Contrasting Phillips’ history of the debt-and-credit buildup, NPR reports this week that consumer confidence is up—the highest it’s been in four years, but that higher oil prices could put a damper on spending. It reports that the economy is strong as jobs come on line, despite the national debt and the deficit. NPR also reports that housing market indicators (as deciphered and delivered by a real estate industry spokesperson) show a cooling but strong housing market, although the inventory of unsold houses is very high.

Shake those pom-poms.

This news comes just weeks after NPR reported, in some markets, an increase in foreclosures, slowed housing price appreciation, and an increase in ‘creative’ mortgage financing (interest only loans, ARMs—$2 trillion of which will come up for renewal in two years). On the personal front, this week Citibank offered me yet another credit card. This one is pre-approved with a $100 gift card and 10,000 bonus points toward a free rewards program—and a default APR of 31.49%. Unnervingly, the time between receipt of the statement (via snail-mail) from my long-standing credit card and its due date seems to be shrinking. The credit card company recommends that I pay online to avoid possible late fee charges. Any fond feelings I once had for my credit card company—and there were some—went by the wayside years ago. Freebies can’t erase the lingering stench of usury.

So while we are encouraged to spend, spend, spend, and the mainstream news reports (almost all) things dandy, the things we buy, buy, buy are manufactured in East Asia (goods) or produced by the Middle East (oil).

Greener Miles

Greener MilesFord (F) is offering Ford owners a new way to balance their choice of automobiles with a growing need to be environmentally responsible.

As consumers find the shift difficult to make , they can feel they are making a positive contribution to a future generation of clean energy users . “Greener Miles” will allow Ford owners to go to the Web Site to determine the amount of carbon dioxide they produce in one year of driving. They can offset the negative impact by investing the equivalent dollar value in clean technology .

Ford has partnered with TerraPass http://www.terrapass.com/ funds that invest in clean energy projects like wind farms and methane capture.

If you aren’t quite ready to change your car- you can at least invest in the future green generations.

It’s the Jobs, Stupid

Advocates of renewable energy are increasingly promoting the prospects of job creation as a key reason to aggressively move to renewable energy.

One of the more publicized initiatives to link renewable energy to job creation is the Apollo Alliance. This organization recently completed a study that estimates over 3 million jobs to be created in the U.S. as a result of a major national commitment to renewable energy. Of course, the analytic approach and assumptions employed in the study can always be questioned, and the fact that organized labor is intimately involved in the Apollo Alliance raises some concerns about unbiasedness.

Nevertheless, it seems directionally clear that increased renewable energy activity is positively tied to new jobs. This notion of job creation through renewable energy may be resonating better with policy-makers and citizens than the well-worn environmental reasons, and maybe even as well as the energy security/independence rationale, for pursuing renewable energy. I’m reading and hearing of it more frequently. If it is gaining traction and has legs, it might be a useful bandwagon for clean tech supporters to jump onto.

Light metals for lighter cars

The demand for lighter cars, trucks and airplanes to reduce the fuel consumption and hence CO2 emissions is driving a whole range of R,D & C activities into composites, ceramics and light metals technology around the world. In this week’s blog I’m going to take a look at the light metal industry in Australia and showcase a couple of recent innovative Australian technologies.

Light metals category predominantly includes Aluminium, Magnesium and Titanium. These metals are found in the ores of bauxite and magnesite and the mineral sands of rutile and ilmenite in the case of titanium. A basic snapshot of Australia’s resources in light metals is as follows:

  • Aluminium – Australia has 8.5Gt of bauxite and is the worlds largest exporter of bauxite and alumina. The industry is the second largest commondotity export behind coal with export earnings of A$8.9b in 2000-01. (www.abs.gov.au)
  • Magnesium – Some industry specialists predict Australia could produce 800,000 tonnes of magnesium every year by 2020, almost double the 450,000 tonne-a-year existing world market. Australian magnesium exports could account for 50 per cent of the growth in world demand over the next 20 years. (source)
  • Titanium – According to data from Geoscience Australia and USGS, Australia has the world’s largest EDR of ilmenite and rutile with 32%, 44% respectively. Australia supplies about 40 per cent of the world’s ilmenite and about 25 per cent of its rutile. (source)

Looking to the industry and its technology – the areas of innovation exist around the following aspects of refinement and manufacturing.

  • Reducing the energy intensity of refinement,
  • Improving the refinement process,
  • Development of stronger and lighter alloys, and
  • Forming and casting techniques.

Australia has and contines to provide significant support to light metals has a significant amount of government investment. The aluminium industry has received $3 billion since the early 1990s in technological improvements, upgrades and environmental improvements and continued expenditure on new technologies and processes of around $300 million per year.

In 2001 the australian government commited to the Light Metals Action Agenda to create dynamic, internationally competitive Light Metals Industries to 2020 and beyond, reflecting worlds best practice and sustainable development. Specific aims for these industries are:

  • Aluminium to expand its domestic and export market by 30%;
  • Magnesium metal output tonnage of 800,000tpa, with exports capturing 50% of the growth in world demand over the next 20 years;
  • Titanium to develop a metal output tonnage of 25,000tpa establishing a 25% share of the global market; and
  • The downstream sector to continue in the establishment of a vibrant export oriented industry using all three metals in new innovative products.

Now for the cleantech.
The two (paraphrased articles) below present two types of technology coming out of Australia’s focus on light metals I’ve decided to look at today are a new magnesium casting technology, T-mag , and a high temperature aluminium casting treatment technology. As a result of these technologies future cars will be far lighter and stronger as a result.

T-Mag: Magnesium casting technology
source – http://www.solve.csiro.au/1105/article6.htm

The technology, called T-Mag, consistently produces high-integrity magnesium alloy castings from permanent moulds, free of the porosity and other defects that have hindered use of magnesium in the past.

A team of research engineers headed by Dr Thang Nguyen, from CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology (CMIT), has developed a new permanent-mould magnesium casting technology that promises to tame the featherweight but highly reactive metal for mass-production of vehicle components.

Barrie Finnin, leader of CMIT’s Manufacturing Technologies for Transport Theme, says T-Mag can cast lightweight magnesium-alloy engine blocks that will be only two-thirds the weight of current aluminium alloy blocks – a prospect that is already arousing the interest of high-performance car manufacturers in Europe.

It will also be possible to cast high-integrity magnesium alloy wheels. Current casting technology cannot produce wheels of sufficient integrity to be safe and practical at an acceptable cost.

cast magnesium wheel

T-Mag was developed through CSIRO’s Light Metals Flagship. A pilot-scale unit built for research and development has already produced successful demonstration castings, including alloy wheels, and magnesium alloy blocks for a 750cc, water-cooled, motorcycle engine will be cast shortly.

Oil price rises are forcing vehicle manufacturers to pursue further weight savings through use of strong, lightweight magnesium alloy components for powertrain and load-critical applications. But such applications are not economically viable with current casting technologies, Mr Finnin says. He describes T-Mag’s novel, integrated design as a critical enabling technology, with a range of applications beyond the high-pressure (HP) casting technique currently used to produce 85 per cent of the world’s magnesium alloy components.

HP casting is plagued by low as-cast yields: typically, it takes 6–7 kg of metal to produce a 3.5 kg casting. The unused metal cannot simply be recycled because remelting creates oxides and intermetallic compounds, and both the initial melting process and remelting the scrap consume large amounts of energy. “T-Mag requires only 3.7 kg of alloy for a 3.5 kg casting. This reduces recycling and energy use, and saves a lot of melt cost,” Mr Finnin says.

T-Mag could be used with a new magnesium alloy called AM-SC1 for engine blocks. Current magnesium alloys lack the mechanical properties required to operate for long times at high temperatures. However, the new AM-SC1, developed in Australia by a team including researchers from CSIRO, University of Queensland, Monash University and Australian Magnesium Corporation (now Advanced Magnesium Technologies – AMT)

Powertrain systems developer AVL in Europe has successfully trialled an engine made from the Australian alloy in a Volkswagen Lupo sedan. The alloy is being commercialised through AMT.

Mr Finnin says CSIRO will now seek industry partners to commercialise T-Mag: “We’ve only just started to talk to the market about the technology, which is so new that the patents aren’t even published yet.”

high temperature aluminium casting treatment technology
source – http://www.solve.csiro.au/0206/article7.htm

Although heat treatment is commonly used to strengthen wrought and cast aluminium parts, it cannot be used on high-pressure die castings because air bubbles trapped during casting can blistering and distort the parts, making them unusable.

A new heat-treatment technique developed at CSIRO has overcome the problem, allowing high-pressure die cast parts to be strengthened without running the risk of these metal defects.

Dr Roger Lumley, leader of a Light Metals Flagship research team at CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology (CMIT), says high-pressure die casting is commonly used as a high-volume production process in a range of sectors, particularly the automotive industry, where it is used to manufacture parts such as engine blocks, transmission housings and many small parts.

Therefore a strengthening treatment that fits with this existing process is an important development.

“Most of the aluminium parts you see when you open the bonnet of your car are aluminium high-pressure die castings,” says Dr Lumley. The process allows parts to be made quickly – up to 20 small parts a minute.

CSIRO has overcome this manufacturing hurdle by developing a process where die casts can be heat treated. Dr Lumley says this results in quite large improvements in the strength of the part with an excellent surface finish.

Trials at CSIRO’s Clayton laboratories have shown the new process can at least double the strength of high-pressure die cast parts. This means they can be lighter and still do the same task – a factor that is particularly important in the automotive industry where lighter cars use less fuel and have lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“A lot of these parts are designed for their loads and basically the stronger the material, the lighter you can make the part,” says Dr Lumley. “We would like to think that we could see a 30 per cent weight reduction.

“The die casting industry is very, very cost-sensitive, and if you can use less metal per car part, you also save money.

Sam Tartaglia, business development manager at CMIT, says the industry has sought such a technique for many years.

“This is a major advance,” says Mr Tartaglia, who until recently was a senior executive at US-based company Teksid Aluminum, a world leader in the production of aluminium castings.

“While the new techniques will improve existing parts, it will be in new product design that the benefit will be the greatest. The big advantages will come when products are designed taking into account these new material properties.

Dr Lumley says that while aluminium die casting worldwide is dominated by the automotive industry, other industries can use the new process. Examples include builders’ nail-gun casings and even door handles.

“Basically anything that requires a fairly complex and strong part to be produced quite cheaply can be made using this process,” Dr Lumley says.


Nick Bruse is the General Manager of Clean Technology Australasia Pty Ltd, the organiser of the AustralAsian Cleantech Forums and Dealer Forums, and the leading advocate of Cleantech in Australia. Nick does a weekly blog column on Cleantechblog profiling innovative Australian cleantech, energy, water and environmental technology companies.

Corporate Changes and Positioning- Home Depot Eco Options

Large corporations are now taking the movement to environmental responsibility and energy efficiency to new levels never seen before. It is no longer just to appease a small demographic customer base, but now part of corporate business plans moving forward.

HOME DEPOT INC (NYSE:HD)http://www.homedepot.com/ is addressing their customers that are “more concerned than ever about energy consumption and the quality of the air, water, forests and health of their home & environment. The Home Depot’s Eco Options brand helps customers improve homes and the environment.”

This green movement started in the 70’s, but never really gained the exposure and momentum necessary to go mainstream. It always comes down to cost and economics. As we are confronted with oil prices over $70 and we face the price hikes at the pump, the average person that represents a typical customer that may shop at Home Depot is looking for new choices being dictated by their wallets.

Customers in Home Depot can look for the symbols helping to find energy-efficient products that will lower their energy bills, or products that can improve air quality and reduce emissions that contribute to global climate changes.

Truth and Dare

Wednesday, April 19th

Easter Sunday I was working on the brae bio-bus and listening to a rock station when I heard an ad for an electric and gas utility. It made me think of Seth Godin’s 2005 book “All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World.” In that book with the catchy title (which Godin admits was meant to encourage sales), he proffers that all marketers tell not lies, necessarily, but stories. The book begins, “I’m not going to tell you the truth. I’m going to tell you a story.”

The utility that created the ad that aired Sunday will remain nameless. In 2004 I wrote about this utility’s opposition to a renewable portfolio standard that was about to be put to a vote of the people…people who are, in large part, the utility’s customer base. The lobbyist for the utility’s opposition group was as angry as hornet in a poked nest over what I had written – and he threatened legal action. I had dared put a toe in the waters of free speech during a political campaign. (To play on the trailer for Al Gore’s, “An Inconvenient Truth:” Nothing’s scarier than telling the truth.) My article was banished from the web for being ‘provocative.’ The RPS legislation was enacted by virtue of the vote.

After reading Godin’s book and the run-in with the lobbyist, I emailed Godin to ask the difference between politics and marketing. He replied…nothing; they are the same thing. Ouch. Frank Luntz in an interview with Frontline talks about the differences between selling ‘politics’ and selling soap: “the way you communicate an idea is different than the way you communicate a product. However, the way you measure [the response in both instances] is quite similar.”

Utility marketers do lots of research on customer satisfaction levels and struggle to improve them – and a vote can be informative, and unique, market research for measuring those levels around a specific issue. A vote can be analyzed right down to campaign advertising buys and voting records. Once a marketer has this information, it can tell an authentic story. Proponents of the RPS are doing exactly that. They are now reaching out in counties where the vote (and advertising) in favor of the RPS was weak. They have a good story: job creation, economic development, cleaner air, water preservation, energy security…a story that tugs at the enteric, emotions and passions.

On the other hand, the utility is running this ad. It sells nothing specific; the utility has few, if any, products. Clearly, though, it has a story to tell – and it is sticking by its pre-RPS vote story, unwavering. (This ad may even be the same one it ran before the vote.) The spokesperson in the ad says she works for the utility. This is (or was once) true. I’ve met her. She’s a bubbly actress, as well as a current (or former) employee of the utility. She says she’s standing at the site of a utility’s wind farms, and names it. Yes, the utility owns and operates this wind farm – it’s part of the utility’s voluntary premium green pricing program. She goes on to say that the utility is the country’s leading utility in wind energy. Yes, by sheer numbers, not percentage of its customer base, and according to the NREL/DOE list of premium green-priced programs, it is. (If green-priced programs are apples, grid-based energy sources are oranges – and the RPS is all about oranges.) She then says the utility doesn’t need a mandate telling it to use clean energy, because it already does – a direct shot at the RPS and an appeal to its base constituency from the vote NO campaign (the high-trust, anti-regulation, right-leaning voter segments). It’s an assertion open to debate (and articles that tick off lobbyists). Then she says something about the environment and emission controls at the utility’s pulverized coal-fired plants.

Godin wrote, “Be aware: If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and scurrilous, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse.” And Luntz told Frontline: “You cannot lie ever, because a lie destroys the credibility of the project, and the credibility is more important than anything. Credibility’s even more important than clarity. They have to believe you before they will listen to you. So you can’t lie.”

On Easter Sunday I heard the same old saw, the same old story from the utility that opposed clean energy legislation enacted by the vote of the people, its customers. Somewhere around the words mandate and environment, I couldn’t help but wonder, when is a story just a story (a Godin “lie”) and when is a story (a fib), fraud? Is this ad an authentic story, or is it a fraudulent fib? Did the utility measure the votes of the RPS? Did it determine that it and its story still had credibility? Or is it just winging it?

The utility ad would have us believe that the utility just loves clean energy technology and the environment; it just doesn’t love being told what to do, and it will do the right thing when left to its own devices. Perhaps this is the story that the utility tells itself, about itself. (Per Godin, “We tell ourselves stories that can’t possibly be true, but believing those stories allows us to function. We know we’re not telling ourselves the whole truth, but it works, so we embrace it.”) If that’s the case here, this investor-owned utility is truly disingenuous; it is a regulated monopoly/monopsony; it’s already supposed to be told what to do, in case it, or the segment of the public to which it is appealing, forgot. If the passage of the RPS legislation revealed a few things, it’s that the message (“we don’t need to be told what to do because we do it anyway”) may not have been all that effective. Furthermore, a long list of the utility’s voluntary actions (from continued opposition to the RPS in rulemaking, to dismissal or foot-dragging on wind projects and coal gasification technology, to construction of a hotly contested pulverized coal-fired plant, to resistance to demand-side management programs, to opposition to wind outside the green pricing program) doesn’t quite jive with the utility story. These actions, attitudes and behaviors do not occur in a vacuum; they are covered by mainstream media…which its customers read.

There’s a bright(ish) spot in all of this politicking. The utility is running ads supporting the RPS-mandated solar rebate program. The word is out. The rebates are here…even if the steady supply of PV panels is not. It is suggesting that it will include lots of wind in its energy portfolio going forward…though back to issue of trust, we’ve heard a whole lot of that before and have little to show for it.

In a low-trust world, when it comes to clean energy, can the utility find an authentic story or will it continue to tell the only one it wants to hear?