Friday, 28 September 2012

Post-Panamax progress

Since the last post of RTM Dias (Ship 364) on 19th September, progress has been rapid. This sequence covers 5 days (23rd to 27th September) when the ship has gone from No.3 Hold to the complete hull in the building dock.

No.3 Hold
Starboard side of No.2 Hold and transverse stool
being lifted in to place
No.2 and No.3 Hold tank-tops and ballast tanks
Bulbous bow attached
Accommodation block lifting on
Add caption
 Thanks to the KML Site Team and Asanome-san for the sequence.

The Antipodean Mariner

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The second Post-Panamax series

Ticking along quietly in the background has been the construction of two Post-Panamax bulk carriers, Ships 364 and 365, in Imari Japan. This pair will go to work in the bauxite and coal trades next year, but differ significantly from the five Post-Panamax already in service.

These designs are a variation on a standard coal carrier and are innovative for their full double hull construction. Most bulk carriers have a section of single hull between the lower hopper and topside ballast tanks. These vessels' holds have smooth sides, with all structural strength contained in the wing ballast tanks, similar to a modern double-hull oil tanker.

The operational benefits of double hull are that the cargo doesn't 'hang up' in the side structure, the vessel can carry all her water ballast in wing tanks and doesn't require a Ballast Hold.

The current schedule will see S.364 (RTM Dias) go to sea trials in November, for delivery in January and her sister-ship (RTM Flinders) in March. The Antipodean Mariner has stitched together a quick montage of progress since August, finishing with the loading of the Main Engine today (a Mitsubishi 6UEC60LS II-ECO slow-speed, 2-stroke diesel).

S.364 Engine Room and No.5 Hold Double Bottom

No.5 Hold lower stool/bulkhead and start of Hold 4

No.5 Hold enclosed, No.4 Hold starboard side lifting in to place
MHI 6UEC engine being lower into place

Thanks to Dr Paul R. and the KML Site Team for these photos.

The Antipodean Mariner

Friday, 14 September 2012

Safety at Seas: Bulk carrier structure

Another easy re-post from 'Safety at Sea' with photos from the AM's shipbuilding projects. Acknowledgements to the Author, Captain Dennis Barber and Cliff P. who has annotated some of the cross-sections of the ships under construction and has labeled the main structural components (double-click on the image to get the detail).

Antipodean Mariner

Safety At Sea Magazine Features  (6th Sept 2012), Author Captain Dennis Barbour

Bulker safety: Structural strains
A decade ago, the IMO review of bulk carrier safety noted many structural risks facing such vessels. Safety expert Dennis Barber says it is time to review the stresses and strains that bulk carrier hulls still face

The bulk carrier safety debate intensified in the closing years of the 20th century, driven by a continuing attrition of large bulk carriers, many of which disappeared without trace. In response, IMO member states formed the International Collaborative Formal Safety Assessment of Bulk Carriers (FSA), which in the first decade of this century has brought together expertise from various countries and non-governmental organisations. It carried out an intense study using formal safety assessment techniques, and from this emerged measures intended to create safer bulk carriers. Not least of these was the addition of a whole new chapter (XII) to SOLAS that was dedicated to bulk carriers.

Among the many conclusions of the study, the ultimate cause identified for major losses in bulk carriers was loss of hull integrity (LOHI). Vessels of such size could only disappear without trace if they suffered LOHI. Put simply, if a vessel fills with water, it will sink – an obvious conclusion, perhaps, which makes it all the more surprising that LOHI was neglected in regulation until the FSA released its outcomes (for details, see ‘Sink or WIM’, SAS May 2012, p24).

The lack of any distress signal in most of the more than 500 cases studied indicates that the vessels sank rapidly, so must have involved such a massive failure of the hull that the crew had no time to call for help.
The effectiveness of the FSA’s work – which has been incorporated into SOLAS Chapter XII and also elsewhere, such as in the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Unified Rules – will be tested as time passes. As it is 10 years since the FSA released the first results of its research, with a new generation of seafarers and managers operating the world fleet, it is a good time to review the FSA’s findings.

FSA findings revisited
Several dangers were addressed by the FSA. It pointed out that, structurally:
Air pipes, particularly those in the forward part of large bulk carriers, were insufficiently strong to resist the forces to which they could be exposed

Hatch covers were wholly inadequate to withstand the water pressures of over-topping (green) seas
Bulkheads in bulk carriers (as opposed to oil bulk ore carriers) were not strong enough to resist the head of water in a hold flooded to the waterline

Hull shell plating, being a single skin with limited access for close inspection, was highly vulnerable to failure
Freeboard forward was inadequate on low-freeboard vessels such as bulk carriers that were permitted to load to what are known as B-60 freeboards, similar to tankers. Standards of corrosion control were inadequate to resist the degradation that could weaken shell plating and/or other structures, with the result that they could fail catastrophically.

'Derbyshire', lost with all crew in a typhoon

In the list above the causes of failures were not fully understood. Research into hatch cover failure was, until seafarer input was sought and incorporated, preoccupied with vertical forces. The evidence from the 1980 sinking of Derbyshire suggested that the hatches collapsed under weight of water. This may have been the case and it was officially acknowledged as such, but it was far more likely that the failure of hatches and air pipes came initially from the forward side of the hatch, not from above. Large waves overtopping the forward end would have enormous momentum that would have been capable of dislodging the hatch covers and shearing off the air pipes exposed to the rush of water across the relatively unimpeded foredeck.
Examination of hatch covers that were found in the hold of the wreck suggests this was indeed the cause. The hatch cover skirt was torn out horizontally, indicating that a large force struck it from ahead. Once dislodged, the cover would have been able to fall into the aperture of the forward hold that previously it had been protecting. It is probable that it would also have been exposed to the huge mass of water bearing down on it from above, and this, together with its own weight, would have projected it into the hold.

Forecastle adds reserve buoyancy
Reintroducing the forecastle
One issue that generated much agitation among mariners for many years was the loss of the forecastle in large vessel designs. A majority of modern Capesize and many Panamax bulk carriers are ‘flush-decked’. The mitigating significance of the forecastle was identified by the FSA, but fell foul of the cost-benefit assessment part of the study. However, IACS took the view that it was worth reintroducing the forecastle. Forecastles on all new bulk carriers were imposed in unified rules that came into force on 1 January 2004. At a stroke, the mariners’ forward shelter was restored, albeit it would take several years for the flush-decked vessels to work their way out of the fleet.

A forecastle offers not only protection to the forward parts of the vessel (and incidentally to seafarers on deck) thus preventing the type of damage to forward hatches referred to above, but also provides valuable reserve buoyancy. The lack of forward reserve buoyancy was also identified in a study submitted by the China delegation at the IMO in 2001 looking at possible deficiencies in the International Convention on Loadlines. The IMO was alerted to the findings at the time of the FSA.

Mariners were not surprised. A favourite and high-scoring question in ship construction papers for the professional mariners’ exams through the greater part of the 20th century was to describe the benefits of a forecastle. It is small wonder that mariners were quick to complain and curious that the design and construction part of the industry failed to see the significance of this simple but effective measure.

This brings us to another structural issue: shell plating strength. Before the 1980s, Capesize vessels typically had a shell plating thickness of 22mm or more, but by the early 1990s this had reduced to a about 15–17mm typically, ostensibly because high-tensile (HT) steel had replaced its low-tensile (LT) equivalent. The FSA revealed that corrosion was a probable factor in failure of shell plating and hatch covers and it should be noted that a 15mm HT steel plate will corrode at the same rate as 22mm LT steel plate. The proportion of degradation, however, is far greater in the thinner plate.

Capesize bulk carrier, annotated by Cliff P.
Berthing difficulties
Modern mariners will be familiar with the marks on the sides of large vessels. The tug pushing points are an admission that the side is not strong enough to resist the force imposed by a tug unless it coincides with a bulkhead. The professionalism of tug masters is thus the main mitigation against damage in this area. In the vast majority of cases, they get it right.

Tug push marks aligned with cargo hold bulkheads
The ship’s side is not subjected solely to tug contacts, however. Design tends to concentrate on wave pressures, but this ignores other impacts such as fender pressures during berthing. Fenders fixed to the quayside are much less likely to coincide with bulkheads. If it is the case that the force of a tug pushing on side shell plating between bulkheads can cause damage, how much more potential for damage is there when the total mass of the vessel is concentrated on the single fender that inevitably is the first to make contact during berthing? A Capesize vessel regularly has a loaded displacement of up to 200,000 tonnes. If designers are relying on masters and pilots to ensure the vessel lands ‘all along’, they are almost certainly expecting the improbable.

Concentrated pressures on shell plating can also be experienced in loading ports where swells are regularly present and where even massive Capesize vessels are always on the move. The vessel’s moorings will tend to become slack as the freeboard reduces during loading. Unless kept tight – something that is very difficult during the constant movement imposed by the swells – the vessel will lose contact with the fender face. It will then begin to yaw and alternately make contact at points forward and aft of the midship line. Typically in a nine-hold Capesize bulk carrier these contact points would coincide with No 3 and No 8 hold. It is significant that a number of side shell failures have occurred in these holds.

Spreading the load
With a heavy cargo the failure could be fatal, as a hold already carrying well in excess of 20,000 tonnes of cargo in a small heap in the bottom may take on another 10,000 tonnes of water as it fills the remaining space around the cargo. With a lighter cargo, the vessel may survive. The best mitigation for these potential failures is the avoidance of hard fenders that are concentrated on too small an area of the hull. Because there is no standardisation of hull design, it is impossible to align fenders with bulkheads on the vessels, but it is possible to use large pneumatic fenders that absorb loads and spread them over a larger area – precisely why they are routinely used between large tankers during ship-to-ship transfers. The same principal could be, and in some enlightened ports is, applied between bulk carriers and quaysides.

Some shell-plating failures have occurred in the forward-most hold. This area of the hull is particularly vulnerable on vessels entering locks and docks. The gentle nudge as the bow makes contact at the lock entrance on one shoulder or the other may be transmitting enormous forces into the plating in this area, where the lines of the hull converge towards the bow. A point load exerts pressure on a part of the plating not designed to take any force other than the seas, and the beginnings of a fracture may be imposed on the steel in this area. Failure may not occur straight away, but an undetected fracture may corrode on subsequent voyages until one day the strength of the overall plating fails.

Casualties and a few near-misses have occurred when shell plating around the bow has been breached or, more spectacularly, has fallen away. Such failures are often blamed on wave action – punching into heavy seas – combined with internal corrosion.

The forepeak tank
Another compartment that has a higher likelihood of failure is the forepeak tank, which on a Capesize vessel may be capable of holding 1,200 tonnes or more of ballast water. When the vessel is loaded, this tank would normally be empty, hence the suspicion that punching forces are the primary cause of the failure. Yet if the failure in such cases is invariably caused by external wave forces pushing inwards, the question remains as to why some surviving cases been found with plates distorted outward. The explanation is simple: the primary failure may well have been brought about by punching forces, but these may only have imposed a minor fracture, not a total catastrophic failure. The empty tank would then take on water through the fracture and, though not normally warned against in the vessel’s stability book, sloshing in this tank would begin imposing increasing pressures on the corners of this triangular space as the tank fills.

When the tank is partially full, the pressures may literally blast the side out of the vessel, hence the outward distortions of the plating edges where they have been torn from the side shell. The vessel then suffers a major loss of reserve buoyancy, with the attendant risk of ‘driving under’. This may account for a large number of losses during the night, when the bridge officer is unable to see the seas flooding over the bow. The FSA introduced water ingress monitoring in forepeaks as well as holds, and masters and managers would do well to ensure the systems are tested regularly.

An initial fracture may also result from impacts such as those from swinging anchors during anchoring operations; fractures in way of anchor housings in flush-decked ships where the anchors are very close to the waterline and may cause concentrations of force during punching into seas; and abrasions of anchor chains rubbing against the hull. It is worth noting that salvors use this as a method of cutting up wrecks!

It is evident that a few ports handling Capesize vessels in remote areas use anchor dredging as a means of controlling the vessel during berthing because the ports are not provided with tugs. The damage this could cause to the modern 15mm shell plating should be fully assessed. The ships look the same from the outside as their 22mm predecessors, but the reserve of material is considerably less.

Times change, hazards remain
The high-tensile, low-lightweight ships built in the 1990s are now getting very old and many will be reaching critical strength reduction. More recent vessels will have benefited from improved IMO and IACS regulations and rules, but the hazards remain.

Hold cross section, annotated by Cliff P.
Coatings that are strong and durable have certainly improved resistance to corrosion, but natural forces can still be dangerous. Climate change and the increasing occurrence of storms of unprecedented strength may well be making waves larger. Risks could thus be increasing for these large ships that cannot, because of their length, ride over them.

Mariners clearly have a part to play in ensuring that they learn as much as possible about their ship and its limitations.

Designers can contribute by recognising that they still might not have it exactly right. They could gather data from the mariners and spend more time on ships in ‘the big testing tank’. They could try harder to match the vessels better to their environments, both at sea and in port.

Port designers should perhaps pay closer attention to the way in which they fender their quaysides. That means doing more than ‘ticking the box’ and installing a proprietary fender that its manufacturer insists is suitable. Instead, they should closely observe berthing and calculate the loadings imposed on vessels’ hulls as they make impact, bearing in mind the enormous momentum involved.

Most of all, it is important to continue the work started at the FSA in IMO and to avoid the temptation to let matters stand still as though there is nothing more to be done. When it comes to issue of LOHI, the FSA was the start, not the finish.

Captain Dennis Barber, consulting partner in Marico Marine, was the contracted specialist project manager at the UK MCA for the recommendations of the RFI into the loss of Derbyshire, serving as part of the project management team of the International Collaborative FSA for Bulk Carriers reporting to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, 2001–2004

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Safety at Sea - Cargo Competence

In the AM's company, a daily 'Safety Share' on topical marine and port matters is circulated by our HSE Manager and this one caught my eye. The AM holds an Oil Tanker Endorsement for petroleum products and crude oil. Similar endorsements are issued for chemicals, LPG, LNG and Dynamic Positioning ships to name a few.  The article's author, Chris Spencer, raises Dry cargo endorsements due to the growing complexity (or worse, ignorance) of the dangers inherent in bulk shipping.

Bulk salt: UK P&I Club
'Safety At Sea Magazine' Features, 6th Sep 2012

Bulker safety: Cargo competence

Incorrect documentation and lack of enforcement may not be the only reasons why liquefaction casualties continue. Chris Spencer explains why he feels it might be time for a dry cargo endorsement

The safety issue of the moment in the bulk carrier trade is cargo liquefaction, which has often been highlighted in SAS and by major industry associations such as Intercargo and the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG). The loss of three well-found ships along with the lives of 55 seafarers at the end of 2011 raised existing concerns to a higher level.

The recent IG requirement that owners notify their P&I insurer when loading nickel ore cargoes from ports in Indonesia and the Philippines adds weight to the assertion there is a continuing problem. Some observers have blamed malpractices by cargo interests for inaccurate documentation or lack of cargo analysis, while others point to inadequate local enforcement of regulations as being at the root of these incidents.

It is also true that some masters and operators of bulk carriers are ignorant of the dangers linked to carrying certain bulk cargoes. An analysis of the incidents in which ships have capsized or listed as a result of cargo liquefaction reveals some interesting trends. The paucity of the data draws attention to another difficulty with this phenomenon: a potential lack of transparency from the relevant flag states. Research into figures available from various sources, including Intercargo and flag state accident investigation reports, reveals that since 1999 cargo liquefaction has been responsible for the sinking, with loss of life, of at least 11 ships, yet only three of these incidents merited a flag state investigation report. The ships involved were of all sizes up to handymax bulk carriers; interestingly, all the ships were geared.

This fact should not in itself be unexpected, as the parcel size of the cargoes and the limitations of the load ports restrict the size of ships being used. Geared bulk carriers are built to provide flexibility to carry a range of cargoes including general, bagged, steel, project, timber and of course, bulk cargoes. These ships have become complex in their operation but the seafarers’ and owners’ knowledge of the carriage of these cargoes has not kept pace with this development.

The P&I clubs are asked daily for advice from owners on the carriage requirements and dangers of various dry bulk cargoes. It seems that cargo knowledge is deficient within some operations and chartering departments and also aboard their ships. This presents a real risk when, for example, chartering managers fix cargoes without knowing the hazards associated with them. This can put the master in a difficult position – should he or she continue to load the cargo that has been fixed when it may not be safe to do so? Chartering departments with appropriate cargo knowledge can consider using suitable charter party clauses to protect the owner and master. Many dry cargo operators do not provide the master with the proper guidance for carrying these diverse cargoes. An assessment of risk is an ISM requirement and the carriage of cargo presents a risk to the ship and its crew. Yet the risk cannot be assessed if the appropriate cargo knowledge is lacking on board.

Endorsement endorsed
Bulk carriers are often considered the ‘standard’ ship because they are the workhorses of the oceans. Seafarers sailing these ships need only attain the minimum certificates of competency necessary for going to sea. The time may well have come for officers on dry cargo ships to have a ‘dry cargo endorsement’. Cargo-handling officers aboard oil, chemical and gas tankers require a tanker endorsement for the respective cargo type as a statutory requirement, because there are specific dangers and hazards associated with these cargoes.

Dry cargoes are certainly not risk-free – ships and crew have been lost at sea because of shifting steel cargoes, explosions caused by the carriage of direct reduced iron (DRI) or coal cargoes and more recently from bulk cargoes that liquefy, such as fluorspar, nickel ores and iron ore fines. The huge variety of cargoes that can be carried on these multi-purpose ships may require specialised knowledge. It is significant that some of the ships that capsized as a result of cargo liquefaction did not regularly carry bulk cargo. Many surveyors will attest to cases where the officers had no previous experience of the cargo being loaded and therefore scant knowledge of the associated dangers.

Recently, I was asked by a shipowner if it was acceptable to load a bulk cargo that was liable to liquefy (where the moisture content was in excess of the transportable moisture limit) into just two holds of a bulk carrier and where the remaining three holds would have contained ‘sound’ cargo. The answer is, of course, that it is not acceptable, and even asking the question suggests a serious lack of understanding.

Introduction of a cargo endorsement should lead to a reduction in the number of lives and ships lost at sea, and fewer sea rescues, cargo claims and cargo disputes. Dry cargo endorsements would also empower masters and shipowners to stand up to the malpractices adopted by some cargo interests. The knowledge would in time filter down and benefit the industry more widely.

It is evident that oil, chemical and gas tanker dangerous cargo endorsements have helped to improve the overall safety performance of the tanker industry. Perhaps it is time for a dry cargo endorsement to be seriously considered.

A dry cargo endorsement
A dry cargo endorsement for officers responsible for cargo handling and stowage would enhance safety on bulk carriers (and general cargo ships). Training courses could include:
•  Likely dangers such as cargo shift, explosion, fire and heating, liquefaction for dry cargoes such as steel, grains, dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), coal, direct reduced iron (DRI), ore fines and concentrates
•  The actions to take in situations such as a sudden list, cargo heating or fire
•  Precautions and checks when loading cargo, information and documentation provided by cargo interests
•  Stability concerns and calculations
•  Lashing requirements and lashing strength calculations
•  Cargo care procedures, including hold cleaning, when to ventilate, maintaining hold atmosphere readings throughout the voyage (for coal cargoes, for example)
•  Dangers associated with entering enclosed spaces containing certain dry cargoes
•  Watertight integrity, hatch cover maintenance, water ingress from ballasting or bilge and ballast systems
•  Commercial guidance, bill of lading issues, charter party clauses, when to request P&I assistance.

Antipodean Mariner

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

'RTM Cook' at Newcastle

The Antipodean Mariner organised a 'school trip' instead of a Friday in the office, checking out 'RTM Cook' loading her second cargo - thermal or steaming coal - in Newcastle. Some of the original crew have changed, but the Chief Engineer, Second Engineer and Chief Officer from sea trials and delivery were still aboard, smiling at acquaintances remade.

Composite wide angle of RTM Cook, Kooragang Berth 7, Newcastle

Operationally she has worked well, lifting superior tonnages of iron ore and coal compared to standard Capesize vessels. Several technicians were standing on the wharf with us awaiting to board and fix small guarantee items.

View from the Compass Deck, waiting for the ship-loader
No.7 Hold, coatings looking good after 23,000 of iron ore being poured in
Three in a row...
Armed with notebooks and cameras full of things to improve on her sisters, we went down the gangway at 17:00 to fly home. 'RTM Cook' sailed in the early hours of Sunday morning with 152,595 tonnes of steaming coal for Map Ta Phut. Sea trials for PN67/'RTM Dampier' this week in Subic, though the AM is sitting out this dance. Next after 'RTM Dampier' is PN68/'RTM Zheng He' in November.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wealth, humility and philanthropy

For blog-followers outside Australia, Gina Rinehart inherited a mining dynasty and fortune from her father, Lang Hancock, and has parlayed it to enough billions to be irrelevant to us mere mortals. Other claims to fame are her protracted legal fight with her children to ensure her kids don't get their hand on her money.

This article is by Diana Elliot, writing in Fairfax's 'The Age' newspaper (4th September 2012), on what Gina Reinhart could learn from Warren Buffet. I liked it, hope you do too.

Rinehart needs a chat with Buffett
GINA Rinehart is Australia's richest person and last week she took a pin out of the capitalist grenade and lobbed it firmly into Australia's suburban backyards. In one fell swoop, she pitched her own talk show version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Surprisingly, her advice didn't include sitting with Eddie McGuire and answering 10 trivia questions.

"Butt out the fag, put down your beer and start bloody working!" she hollered. Exasperated at yet again having to remind Australians how much we are indebted to her for keeping us in our plasma twin-sets, she let rip. The pack hurled back. "Only 'cos your Daddy was rich!" 

Rinehart did inherit a truckload of money ($75 million to be exact) from her father, Lang Hancock. But she's pushed the turbo boost on Australia's two-speed economy beyond any of his imaginings. His "baby elephant" stuck her trunk in the air and did good. You don't build a $30 billion fortune if you don't know a thing or two about how to run a business.

The problem with Rinehart is that she's perennially got a very large chip on her shoulder. She thinks because she employs people (while bleating about how much their wages cost) that she's doing more than her share. And she's not terribly eloquent in the way she delivers her messages.

Watching her on the back of a truck, yelling into a megaphone and leading anti-mining tax chants of two syllables wasn't exactly inspiring stuff. We stared dumbfounded that anyone could be that greedy when they already had so much.

Now, while she's talking about the importance of personal exertion in amassing a fortune, she's spitting the dummy back at the punters, meaning few listen and most steady the pens for a counter-attack.

Rinehart is in a unique position to use her wealth and business acumen to inspire Australia to be better. She can leverage her influence to make change and enable her voice to be heard without resorting to railroading the Fairfax board to compulsorily pipe it through its media channels.

What Rinehart needs is to chat with Warren Buffett. Buffett is one of the richest people in the world and the epitome of the American Dream. From selling chewing gum door-to-door as a kid to becoming the most successful investor of our time, Buffett turned his dimes into billions. An eloquent and engaging speaker, Buffett is regarded as one of the world's influential thought leaders.

He's also renowned for his unfailing commitment to philanthropy. He's pledged to give away 99 per cent of his fortune upon death to charitable foundations. He invests beyond himself and his own interests, acutely aware that "the market economy creates some lopsided payoffs to participants … who may lack the right endowment of vocal chords, anatomical structure, physical strength, mental powers or inherited wealth to hit the capitalist jackpot themselves''.

Not a fan of dynastic wealth, Buffett would probably regard Rinehart as someone who has chosen her ancestors wisely and is a member of what he calls, "the lucky sperm club". Where Rinehart is brash, Buffett is humble and lives frugally. He regards money as ''consumption chips'', pieces of paper that can be turned into consumption. He is one of the founders of "philanthrocapitalism", which essentially means investing in charitable projects with an eye on a return.

Buffett presents as a man who finds genuine joy and passion in identifying latent value in things that others overlook. It applies to stocks, but also includes his desire to move some of his consumption chips to those who need it more than he does, helping them to lead richer, more productive and independent lives.

In essence, that's what Rinehart was trying to say she wants to see more Australians do. What she doesn't appreciate, and what Buffett does, is that many people in our society need a bit of a leg-up to make that happen. He cradles his hands to help people reach higher; Rinehart kicks them in the shins.

Like many of Australia's rich, Rinehart keeps a low profile on her philanthropic interests. But it would be refreshing to see her openly champion causes that may well be aligned to her vision for a more productive country in a more constructive way than she's managed in the past.

Good philanthropy builds capacity in people and organisations. It makes use of the talents of our brightest citizens, while funnelling much-needed ''consumption chips'' into innovation, research and community projects that get people aspiring to be better than they are now, even if they'll never sit on millionaire's row.

We'll butt out the ciggies and listen, Gina, if you put down the megaphone.

Diana Elliott is a freelance writer.

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