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James Dyson
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Image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer
Sir James Dyson puts on Dyson product launch with a difference: Sydney, Australia…

Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire industrial designer (not to be confused with Tony Stark from Iron Man – Marvel Comics fame) who invented the dual cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, has just finished hosting his fabulous launch event at the Sydney Theatre Co Ltd, Pier 4.

It’s understood he took a fair swipe at "competitor) robot vacuums as "pathetic" with poor suction and no navigating skills. Yes, the others suck – but not in a good way.

A lot of the (product) attention was on his latest product, a tap that can also dry your hands in about 12 seconds. Dyson, who rocketed his company to nearly 4000 staff and .5 billion in annual sales, advised he would only launch a robot vacuum when he got it right.

New product snapshot – the Dyson hybrid dryer-tap…

Robot models launched in Australia recently include the 9 Robomaid, LG’s Roboking range (9-49) and Samsung’s 9 Navibot. Dyson didn’t name and shame but was dismissive of the current lot, criticising their navigation and efficiency which meant they offered poor battery performance and cleaning ability.

"They’ve got whiskers sticking out of them – whiskers don’t clean anything they just disturb the birds," he told Fairfax Media.

"It’s a difficult job and I’m not rushing out a gimmick robot to pretend to people we’re cleaning the floor, we’re not doing that we’re doing it properly."

Robomaid is one of the robot vacuums on the market.

Despite coming up with his vacuum cleaner breakthrough in the late 1970s, it only reached the British market 10 years later, and Dyson is now a global market leader. A third of British homes now have a Dyson.

The company has also launched other innovations such as bladeless fans and an "Airblade" hand dryer that uses jets of air to scrape the water off the hands. The same sort of technology but with a far more advanced motor ("three times faster than any electric motor has gone before") powers the new hybrid dryer-taps.

Dyson has wrestled for years to prevent companies copying his designs, winning a million damages award from Hoover in 2000. Now, the main offenders are out of Asia and Dyson thinks intellectual property protection is weaker because people are getting away with copying.

"Koreans and the Chinese are copying things and I think it’s very bad," he said. "It’s said by certain people that that increases competition, actually it decreases competition because all they’re doing is copying the market leader."

He said the copycat companies could produce cheaper products because they haven’t incurred all the development costs and associated risks.

"It’s morally wrong, I think it’s legally wrong and I think it hurts the consumers because the consumer doesn’t get a choice," he said. "Intellectual property should be supported better; the law should be made stronger."

In October last year Dyson filed a lawsuit alleging a "spy" employee stole the blueprints to a £100 million (9.7 million) technology and passed them to rival Bosch.

Dyson said western countries such as Australia and Britain need to focus on educating more scientists and engineers, as they are increasingly being overtaken by countries in Asia.

"40 per cent of all graduates from Singapore are engineers," he said. "For Britain, Australia, the US and other European countries to compete in any way they’ve got to heavily arm themselves with technology."

Classy event in Sydney…

It wasn’t a cheap and nasty event, as is too often the case with product launches. Dyson impressed with wit, goodwill and loads of great food and drinks, which looked and tasted 5 star. It was a great vibe and news media was treated with respect, friendliness and delicious treats. How could we not share the story and photos far and wide across media and internet – which was no doubt another masterstroke by the colourful billionaire and his brains trust. If you have the budget – Dysons’ are well worth a close look.

Websites

Dyson Australia
www.dyson.com.au

Eva Rinaldi Photography
www.evarinaldi.com

Hispanic Heritage Month Observance
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Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mendez family championed end of educational segregation in California

LOS ANGELES — With the theme “many backgrounds, many stories,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District closed out Hispanic Heritage Month Oct. 13 at the District headquarters by hearing a first-hand account of a historic journey.

Sylvia Mendez was just 8 years old in 1943 when she and her brothers were denied enrollment in the Westminster School District in Orange County. At the time, roughly 80 percent of California school districts were segregated.

Sylvia’s father, Gonzalo, tried reasoning with the principal, the school board and finally the school district, to no-avail. He and other parents organized protests demanding an end to the segregation, ultimately filing the lawsuit.

They won their case in 1946, but the school district appealed. On April 14, 1947 the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision and California Governor Earl Warren signed a law repealing the state’s remaining school segregation statutes on June 14, 1947.

“Mendez v. Westminster School District was the precedent for Brown v. Board of Education,” said Mendez. “Seven years before the rest of the nation, California was integrated.”

The Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 does not mention the Mendez case, but it is no coincidence that two of the key players in both cases were Warren, by then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and Thurgood Marshall, the chief counsel for the NAACP in both cases.

“As she became very sick, my mother would say, ‘nobody knows about this case and that California was the first state to be integrated, seven years before the rest of the nation’ and that’s when I promised my mother I would go around the country and talk about Mendez v. Westminster,” said Mendez.

Her mother, Felicitas, died in 1998 and Mendez has kept her promise, championing the family’s story.

Mendez’s passion has been recognized in California and around the country. Two public schools are currently named after her parents. In 2007, a U.S. Postage stamp marked the 60th anniversary of the case and on Feb. 15, 2011, President Barack Obama presented Mendez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. With it, she once again joins Warren and Marshall.

“I talk to our folks a lot about passion in what they are doing; I see the passion in your eyes in what you are doing,” said District Commander Col. Mark Toy. “If we could all do that, it would be amazing.”

(USACE photo by Richard Rivera)

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