Archive for June, 2009

Wind Power Problem Acknowledgment

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I have a concern about wind power that I rarely see acknowledged. My concern is what happens to the weather when you remove enough power from the wind to power the country. This arstechnica article is the first one I’ve seen in a while to mention this.

The last issue is that, at some level, putting this many turbines in place will undoubtedly change the dynamics of the lower atmosphere, with results that are probably difficult to predict.

It also provides a key number, which I’ve been lacking. That number is, that the wind power over the US, in the gross sense holds 23 times the current energy use. This ignores issues of efficiency and distribution. Everyone seems to always claim that what we’ll harvest from wind is a drop in the bucket, but even if 1/3 of only our power came from wind, it is still a lot. I don’t consider 1/69th of the energy in the atmosphere above the whole country to be a drop in the bucket. I’m just happy someone is acknowledging this problem.

Google Reader Sharing Via Facebook

Monday, June 8th, 2009

A few weeks ago I saw on facebook that a college buddy of mine, Ed, shared a blog post he read in Google Reader. That is, he read a blog post someone wrote, via Google Reader and hit the share button on there and because it had been instructed to do so facebook add it to his news feed. I just had to have it. A few minutes later I found out how, and it’s been great.

It’s great for three reasons. First is how it works. Google Reader makes up a web page, that essentially looks like a blog, but it is of the posts that one has read instead of one has written. This page is public, and mine is here (for those of you who want to see what I share but don’t use Google Reader of Facebook. Now, that is pretty nice right there. What facebook does, is subscribe to the rss feed from that page. That means they didn’t have to contact or work with Google directly at all to get this to work. This was initially confusing, because I couldn’t figure out where to go to enable this magic. It turns out that you go to your own profile and click on “settings” below the big share button. They have similar setups for other sites too. Anyways, this is the wonderful kind of thing that open standards can buy!

But why is it so wonderful? Well that’s the second reason. Only like 2 people see what I share on Google Reader, and maybe one third of the time it’s stuff I’ve found because they shared it that I also agree is worth sharing. I also often ran across things that I wanted to share, but not with them; stories I knew they didn’t care about. I occasionally would use the built in email this option to share very cool things with the one person I knew would be interested. There were, however, still many interesting things that I wanted to share, but had no audience for. This little open standards miracle provides an audience. When it is as simple as clicking a button to share something cool with an audience, it drives one to share cool things.

The final reason builds on the second. Because now, I can easily share cool things, I have started reading more blogs. At least part of this is so that I can have more cool stuff to share. The other reason is that I found some other good ones on other strange topics I like, such as strange maps. Anyways, I’m a big fan, but it may mean less “From the Internet” posts on here.

Dad’s Stroke

Monday, June 8th, 2009

For those of you who have not already heard, about the same time as I was packing up from my Memorial Weekend camping trip, my dad suffered a stroke. Luckily, it was of the less serious variety, which unfortunetly still seems pretty serious. I found out after I was home from the camping trip. He and my mom were both at home and she was thankfully able to respond quickly. After a two day stay at the hospital it was confirmed that he was not in any short term risk of having another one; good news.

He has been home now for a few weeks resting up and getting a first hand course in how the mind works. He was especially proud, on the first day home, to remember both mine, and my mom’s names, but he couldn’t get his own until given a hint. These day’s hes doing much better than that. He started driving again recently and was working on multiplication tables.

He seems in good spirits every time I talk to him, which has been a lot more as of late. He is expected to be back to his old self in about six weeks, which is just about how long we have until our annual family trip to the Outter Banks this year. I can’t wait for that trip now, more than ever. I should probablly buy some plane tickets.

Memorial Weekend Camping Trip

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Whoops, I forgot to update for nearly a month. If there was anything interesting I did in May, I’ve clearly forgotten about it, but at the end of May Mary, Sparky, Whitney, Jake, Michael and I went camping in New Hampshire.

It was not an especially interesting place to go camping, but we found some things to do.

  • With the significant aid from Whitney and Jake I participated in my first geocach.
  • Near the geocache was possibly the most dangerous brand new half finished park I’ve ever seen. It featured Mario like bouncers, a short plastic rock climbing wall, monkey bars too tall for children, a plastic rolling log, and a multi-directional seesaw near shards of wood including upward pointing nails.
  • Went hiking to a lake that featured 3 strange drawbridge like wooden structures that went from the shore to nowhere and served no apparent purpose beyond an overly complicated dock.
  • We went star gazing. There were enough stars that it was difficult to discern the common constellations, but I was disappointed that the milky way was not visible.