Sometimes you come upon news that enlightens, amazes, entertains, or flummoxes. Your reaction may be “that's crazy.” In these instances, “crazy” is a good thing. 


For example, how would you like to roll down the highway in your automobile and at the same time generate electricity and help the environment? In the future you might be doing this thanks to “Goodyear’s eco-tire concept packed with live green moss.” 

According to Goodyear: “Plants can generate electricity...electrons that can be captured. Meanwhile, the moss inhales carbon dioxide and releases oxygen via photosynthesis—in effect cleaning the air.”


The eco-tire has three components – a shock-absorbing hub, fanlike layers that are 3D printed using rubber powder from recycled tires, and an assembly that contains living moss. “That tire structure gathers moisture from the road surface as it rolls, funneling it through the hub and out into the assembly to the moss. The hubcap is translucent and recessed at the center to allow as much sunlight as possible to shine through.” 


It might take a decade before you see these on the road, but “in a metropolitan area with 2.5 million vehicles, if all vehicles used this tire it would absorb 4000 tons of CO2 per year and generate 3000 tons of oxygen.” The electricity from the tires would also internally power some functions in the car. Wow! That's crazy! (


As you cruise down the streets of Cadillac in the future, all the while letting your tire clean the air, some of the scenery may be in the form of palm trees. Places like Michigan, Utah, Ohio, and Canada might soon be dotted with palm trees. 

“An international team of researchers set out to learn how cold is too cold for palm trees. Upon surveying global data, they determined most palm species grow successfully in the wild if a region's coldest month is above 41.36 degrees Fahrenheit on average. A handful of cold-tolerant palms can grow in areas with a coldest month temperature above 36 degrees on average.” Thanks to climate change, scientists “note it could warm enough in the coming decades to allow palms to flourish.” Wow! Palm trees in Cadillac. That's crazy! (


Along the same lines, such a warm up has one sport worried – hockey. In fact the National Hockey League is involved with a green initiative. “This may sound like a joke, at first. What does hockey have to do with environmental policy? Well, for one thing, the game is played on ice. And frozen ponds, where so many of the league’s players learned to skate, are in trouble. The average length of the skating season may shrink by a third in eastern Canada and by 20 percent in western Canada in coming decades.” 


The NHL notes: “If you trace (hockey) back to the sort of humble beginnings it all goes back to frozen ponds. It’s such a critical part of the game and it's important that access remains available for future generations.”


The NHL is now involved in RinkWatch, which encourages citizens to monitor outdoor rinks and ponds in their neighborhoods. “More than 1,400 rinks and ponds are being tracked today, helping scientists to study the long-term effects of climate change.” Wow! That's crazy! (


With the future in mind, all of us want to live longer. Scientists have found that attending concerts is great for your health. According to a recent study: “Attending shows regularly can boost your life expectancy by a staggering nine years. If that wasn't interesting enough, results also found that just 20 minutes of live entertainment increased feelings of wellbeing by 21 percent — over double the effects of yoga (10 percent increase) and three times as much from dog walking (seven percent increase).” I went to my first concert when I was ten years old and have attended (maybe) about a bazillion shows. I figure I'll live to be around a thousand. Wow! That's crazy! (


Of course, sometimes you can live too long, just ask Lorraine Guenther. She bought an insurance policy in 1988 when she was 67, for which she has been paying $500 per year. The deal was upon her death “the benefit of $25,000 would cover her funeral and burial.”


She's now 97 and the insurance company “is telling this grandmother the cash value of her policy will dwindle away to nothing later this year, and the death benefit will be gone, too.” Says Lorraine: “They're penalizing me for living." Wow! That's crazy!



Maybe Lorraine would be better off if she moved to Romania. “Dead” is a relative term there. In one recent case, a Romanian court refused to recognize that a guy was not dead even though he appeared in court to prove he is alive and kicking. “Constantin Reliu, a 63-year-old cook, returned from Turkey in January and found out that his wife had declared him dead. Reliu tried to get his death certificate overturned in court, but his appeal was rejected because his request was filed too late." So he's alive, but officially dead. 


That sounds bad, but in Romania being dead is not enough to deny a person a driving license. “A court has declared that a man who was truly dead could get his driving license back.” The court ruled: “Valerian Vasiliu should have his license returned and be reimbursed a fine he paid for speeding. Vasiliu was fined and temporarily lost his license in March 2017, but he appealed the punishment in court and won an interim ruling. He died in October, before the ruling was final.” So, he gets his license reinstated, even though he's dead. “Police still appealed, but they lost their appeal.” I guess this means in Romania you can now drive your own hearse. Wow, That's really crazy! (


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and