Thursday, July 30, 2009

You're Gonna Get Nailed.

Great TV campaign by the State of Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

V-Bat Vertical Take Off and Landing Aircraft

I Feel Better About Our Computers

I thought we were not the norm with our three desktops and three laptops.  I guess that is not so unusual after all according to this very interesting article at ZDNet:

How many PCs are enough? 5? 10? | Tech News on ZDNet
Despite a PC market in freefall, it seems readers are still packing a fair few pieces of hardware.

Asked how many PCs - including laptops, desktops and netbooks - they own, 45 per cent of ZDNet sister site readers who responded admitted to having between three and five.

An even more hardware-heavy 32 per cent claimed to have between five and 10 computers tucked away while another six per cent 'fessed up to having more than 10 machines. And presumably very large houses and/or understanding partners.

At the low end, 11 per cent owned up to having a pair of PCs, five per cent said they own just one and a hardware-shunning one per cent said they have no PCs at all (which presumably means they responded to the poll either in the office or on a friend's hardware.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monk Parakeets

Last week my granddaughters and I bought two new birdfeeders. One is a hanging feeder and the other a platform feeder. We told the girls that we were hoping the hanging tubular one would attract some parrots. Amazingly, parrots have visited the feeder. Well, to be technically correct parakeets have visited. We have had one Black Hooded Parakeet and three Monk Parakeets. I grabbed my video camera and shooting through the kitchen window and the patio screens got this short video.

See for more info on the Monk Parakeet as an invader.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gambling the Future? Excerpts from Dave Cohen's article on ASPO-USA

Is Business-As-Usual Likely In A Peak Oil Scenario? :: ASPO-USA: Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas
2010-2020 — The Decisive Decade

If the peak oil hypothesis is correct, world oil production will likely be in decline well before 2020. During this same period, the United States may (or may not) implement a cap & trade system to rein in CO2 emissions. The proposed legislation aims to cut emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Emissions declined in 2008 following on the oil shock of 2007. The financial meltdown in 2008:Q3 guarantees a similar emissions decline in 2009.

As I described in The Reign of Error, Europe already has a cap & trade system in place. Europe’s carbon market, created under the Kyoto Protocol, has not actually resulted in reduced emissions in the Eurozone. This sleight-of-hand is due to allowable offsets whereby a putative reduction outside of Europe (e.g. in Asia, or Africa) is counted as a reduction within Europe. At best, Europe has reduced the carbon intensity of any economic growth that took place since the formation of the carbon market. The proposed cap & trade system in the United States contains the same loophole.

Assuming that peak oil occurs early in the next decade, and the currently envisioned cap & trade system, which goes into effect in 2012, is actually implemented, we can expect an overall decline in carbon emissions in the United States during the period 2010-2020. If growing emissions are a necessary condition for economic growth, as I have argued here and in The Radical Hypothesis, it follows that the American economy will shrink, not grow, in the coming decade.

If world oil production peaks, I predict most people will forget about terrifying business-as-usual climate scenarios. Instead, they will get down to the hard business of replacing oil by any means possible. If the economy is shrinking, any means necessary will be used to jump start growth. I am not so much interested in what should happen. I am interested in what will happen.

Thus, the years 2010-2020 will likely be the decisive decade of the 21st century. We should know by 2020 whether economies can grow as emissions decline. The result will define our response to anthropogenic climate change in all the decades to follow. We will know whether the consensus view espoused by Joe Romm, John Holdren and many others, as I have believed all along, is merely a politically expedient, faith-based “green jobs” guess about how things will turn out. Should that guess be proved wrong, our political leaders will run the other way.

Contact the author at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My friend Troy's Philipine Adventure

Welcome to Troys 2009 Uhaj Native Village Adventure

Rick and Cordella live next door to us and our best friends. They are an extraordinary family who live an intensive life outside their work life which in itself is intense. They travel to Honduras and work at a school for girls with their church. They are involved in a lot of other charitable organizations as well as their church. This summer, their son Troy, traveled to Banaue in the Philippines to study native woodcarving from a master wood carver there. He has documented his adventure with photos and a diary on this website. He will be coming home soon and we all are excited about hearing the details of his summer study adventure in Banaue. Barbara and I believe that this adventure and the experiences he is having are absolutely amazing. Troy has traveled half way around the planet on his own. Lived in a remote village in the Philippines and studied the art of woodcarving with only hand tools for a month. He has also hiked to remote sites and has lived in an area that has farmed the steep hillsides growing rice in terraced fields for centuries. We cannot wait to see him and hear of his adventures and we know he is anxious to return home but will miss the friends that he has made there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Images of Mass Consumption

There is a strange beauty in these images of mass consumption but also conflicting feelings of horror.  The feelings are like those when you are driving and a bad accident has occurred and you have to drive right by it. You don't want to look but something compels you to.

The Images by Chris Jordan

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy

About FARE
The Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy “FARE” is a coalition of concerned individuals, businesses, communities, associations, policy makers, non-profits, and renewable energy producers. FARE is dedicated to educating and engaging Floridians on Renewable Energy Dividends. RED's have proven to be the most wide-spread and effective legislation for the promotion of renewable energy. Support FARE today and help secure a future for Florida that includes job creation, energy independence and environmental stewardship.

Weather and NPR

Our weather has been unusually hot. High temps daily in the 90s. That is really unusual for us. Even so, our PV system has been cranking out 35 percent and up of our energy. With the AC running constantly that is not too bad. We still have a lot of work to do on conservation. When our major appliances get old enough we will replace them with Energy Star ones. We have two refrigerators and that alone should save us about 10+ KWH per day. It is more cost effective to replace inefficient appliances than it is to add more solar panels.

A couple of days ago while taking Barbara to the dentist I turned on the radio. It happened to be tuned to NPR and the Dian Rehm show. They were talking about solar energy. It was a good show with a great panel made up of:

Rob Lamkin, CEO, Cool Earth Solar

Rhone Resch, president and chief executive officer, Solar Energy Industries Association

Peter Fox-Penner, principal and chairman emeritus, The Brattle Group, an international economic consulting firm,former Department of Energy official, and author of the forthcoming Island Press book "Smart Power"

Alex Daue, Renewable Energy Coordinator with the Wilderness Society.

Something urged me to call in and boy was I shocked when they took my call. I was so surprised that my thoughts were not as organized as I would have liked them to be. I still managed to convey some of our experiences of living in a solar home and got a nice compliment from the panel. You can go to the Diane Rehm Show website and listen if you want. My call came in about two thirds of the way into the show. Click here to go to the website. The audio links are on the right.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Tiny PC

fit-PC2 Wiki

CompuLab introduces fit-PC2 – the smallest, most power-efficient Intel Atom PC to date. fit-PC2 architecture is what sets it apart from other nettop PCs - fit-PC2 is designed around the Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz and the ultra low power Intel US15W system controller hub, rather than the Atom N270 and 945G used in other nettop-PCs, thereby reducing power consumption by more than two thirds.
US15W incorporates hardware video acceleration. This allows fit-PC2 to run Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux at just 6W and to play full HD 1080p H.264 video using less than 7W.
Unique Features

The most striking feature of fit-PC2 is its size - 4" x 4.5" x 1.05" - smaller than a CD.
Fanless Operation

fit-PC2 is totally fanless - the all-aluminum case dissipates heat. This has two advantages -

o fit-PC2 is noiseless, or absolutely silent if used with a solid state disk.
o Increased reliability due to no moving parts.

Wall Wart Computer

Marvell SheevaPlug: $99 Linux PC hidden in a wall-wart - SlashGear
Marvell SheevaPlug: $99 Linux PC hidden in a wall-wart
By Chris Davies on Tuesday, Feb 24th 2009

Worth Reading?

+92 [96 votes]

Marvell have been talking up their SheevaPlug reference design, a wall-wart power plug that actually hides an entire Linux PC. Priced at $99, inside the SheevaPlug there’s an ARM-based 1.2GHz Sheeva embedded processor, 512MB of DDR2 memory, 512MB of flash storage, gigabit ethernet and USB 2.0; in fact the development kit is available now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Black-hooded Parakeet

Black-hooded Parakeet
Originally uploaded by ReinhardG
We had one of these on our bird feeder this morning. Since we use one of those weight balanced feeders, the parakeet was unable to perch without closing the cover over the seed. I heard the typical sounds of a parrot and I always try to see them even though they are fairly common in this area . To my surprise, a Nanday or Black-hooded parakeet was trying to land on the feeder. I understand that they are an invasive species but it sure was pretty.

Roar and Brake

This comment extracted from a CNET article on the Toyota Prius sure struck a nerve.  We have noticed the same thing as we drive.  People sit at a light.  The light turns green and the stomp the accelerator to get to the next light which turns red just as they arrive.  We cruise past in "old man mode" and they stomp it and brake hard at the next light as we cruise through.  It was amuzing to see someone else express this as well as this commentor on the web site did.

Chasing the Toyota Prius' 50-mpg nirvana | Green Tech - CNET News

What I do find amusing is that most traffic lights are timed for a specific road speed. I can't tell you how many times, I have been passed by a guy doing 5 over the limit. While I drive the limit. 90% of the time I find him stopped at the next light. As I roll up doing the speed limit the light turns green I don't need to brake or accelerate. I pass the guy who passed me, only to see him roar up past me again. And we repeat the process over and over, as he roars past brakes hard at the light sits, and grumbles then roars past again.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Solar Startups in the Sunshine State

Some of Central Florida's solar-power companies -
Energy Alternatives, DeLand: A former airline pilot, Sandra Williams was waiting in a long line of planes in New York when she suddenly became aware of what she calls "my long history of bad fossil-fuel karma." She whipped out a calculator and determined that she had personally been responsible for using 1.5 million gallons of gas in her aviation career. She hung up her captain's uniform and started working on a book called The Queen of Green Tells All. In 2005, she started her company and got to work installing solar water heaters in homes and businesses. Williams is seeking grants to do solar education.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Great way to use rainwater.

Rain2o: Source for Rain Water Harvesting Equipment

Would you be surprised to hear 50,000 gallons annually? That’s the answer when big and small homes are averaged together and different levels of rain fall are taken into account (see Table 1). A modest ½” of rain yields 700 gallons of rain water on a typical roof and all of that pours through your downspouts. Rain barrels are an excellent way to collect and store some of your rain water for use between rains, for example, to water your gardens using soaker hoses. The cost to set up a few rain barrels is modest and easily recouped through savings from reduced water and sewer bills.

Laser "cure" for blindness tested (BBC)

This is pretty exciting news for our older friends who may have macular degeneration.

BBC NEWS | Health | Laser 'cure' for blindness tested
Laser 'cure' for blindness tested
Elderly eye
AMD causes blurred or distorted central vision

A ground-breaking laser treatment could prevent millions of older people from going blind, experts believe.

The technique helps reverse the effects of age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in over 60s in the western world.

Developed by pioneering eye expert Professor John Marshall of King's College London, the laser returns the back of the eye to its youthful state.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Five new apps for the Iphone

Five fab apps for iPhone OS 3.0 and the new 3GS
Here's a quick look at five applications iPhone and iPod Touch owners should consider. The easiest way to track them down is by accessing the App Store on the iPhone and searching for the app title. (You can do it in iTunes, too, if you want.)