Feb 27

How long before we’re all “off the grid”?

The Energy Server, otherwise known as the “Bloom Box”, is a fuel-cell that turns natural gas into electricity.   Co-founder of Bloom Energy in California, K.R. Sridhar, unveiled a car-sized unit this week that can deliver up to 100 kilowatts, or enough to power 50 homes.   With further advances, every home in the US could install a shoe-boxed size version of this server in their backyard to be self-sufficient.

While the company is focusing on business applications first, it says a $3,000 consumer version should be available within five to 10 years that would allow homeowners to unplug from the municipal grid entirely.

Companies such as Wal-Mart, Google, Coca-Cola, Ebay and FedEx are already installing Bloom generating units and using them to power their facilities.  Bloom Energy claims that businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by 40 to 100 per cent.

Link to the story that 60 Minutes did on CBS:  http://xr.com/zo6s

Feb 18

Are we sharing too much?!?

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare… Just because we have the technology to share with the world what we are thinking at any given second, or the ability to tell the world where we are at any given second…. is it really a good idea?  Just because we CAN do something, does not make it a reason we SHOULD do something.

A few programmers have put together a website to perfectly illustrate this point.  The point of the site is not to assist you in choosing a house to rob, but rather to illustrate why telling the world where you are is a BAD IDEA!

“The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home.”

Their website made me laugh out loud when I visited.  It’s name and prompts are spot-on…. Please Rob Me dot com.  Enjoy!

Feb 17

Olympic skier is the “Spam King”

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 14:  Silver medalist ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

As I was watching the Olympics tonight I began to surf the internet. I had to stop and read the story with the headline that read, “The Olympic skier known as ‘spam king’“. Take a look at the story of Dale Begg-Smith.

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Feb 14

Enjoying the Olympics

Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen, Eddie the Eagle, 1980 US Hockey team, Kristi Yamaguchi, Jamaican Bobsled Team, Apolo Ohno, Scott Hamilton, and the 1998 US Women’s Hockey team are just a few of my favorite memories of the winter Olympics over the past 30 years.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the Olympics (winter and summer) and watch them intently during every free minute.  I enjoy the personal stories, I’m in awe of the dedication of the athletes, and I shake my head at their ability to return to their sport after enduring major injuries.  This year’s Olympics is shaping up to be another great one for the ages.  Vancouver looks beautiful and has now been added to my list of places I want to visit on a future vacation.

As always, Bob Costas’s commentary is great.  I think he should be appointed as the official commentator of every Olympic games.

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Feb 10

Google’s ultra high-speed fiber network

Google Inc.

Image via Wikipedia

Have you heard?!? Google wants to test an ultra-high-speed fiber network that delivers broadband speeds of one gigabit per second, 100 times faster than the average American’s connection: Google’s experiment

That means streaming video would never stutter and we could download a full-length HD (high definition) feature film in about 5 minutes!

Now, I have to figure out how to make my small town of Solon, Iowa tempting to the folks at Google. Hmmm…. Growing community, close to the University of Iowa and University Hospitals and Clinics (many of those professionals live in Solon).

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Jan 24

Midwest softball in January

I never would have imagined that I’d be attending a high school softball game in the middle of January in the Midwest, but here I am.  My daughter, Emily, plays on a 16U team based in Eastern Iowa called the Barracudas.  This team is made up of girls from around the Eastern Iowa area who want to play year-round softball in hopes of continuing to play in college. 

We’re in Pekin, Illinois at a facility named, “Dragon’s Dome”.  It is an indoor soccer facility which is large enough to also become two softball fields on many weekends throughout the winter.  Teams have gathered from all around the Midwest to compete in the two-day tournament. 

We’ve seen several balls ricochet off the roof of the dome, but depending on where they make contact, the ball can be considered foul, in-play, or an automatic out.  If the ball hits the roof of the dome within the infield, it is counted as an out (a pop-fly that the infielders would have caught).   If it hits the roof in the outfield, the ball is in-play and remains live.   If the ball hits the roof in foul territory and ricochets into fair territory, it is considered a foul ball.  The lighting is good, the temperature is nice, and the bathrooms and food stand seem clean and well maintained.  

On Saturday, the team lost their first two games and won their third game.   Now, we’re playing our first game on Sunday morning and we’re up 6-2 in the 3rd inning.  We will continue to play games on Sunday until we lose (a potential of 5 games today).  It’s 35 degrees outside and raining, I’m inside a dome watching a high school softball game with my coat off… this is pretty cool!

Jan 19

Talking & texting while driving

Studies show that if you are talking on the phone and driving, you are 4 times more likely to get into an accident.  If you are texting and driving, you are 8 times more likely to get into an accident.  Those numbers are scary and HUGE!  When we head out to travel, we are putting ourselves out on the roads with a whole lot of drunk drivers.  More than ever before!
Everyone does it, we think we are better than average drivers or have special attention skills.  Let’s stop fooling ourselves, we cannot read, type, AND pay attention to the road.  We’re just not that good!  This study reports that 77 percent of respondents said they’ve texted or sent mobile e-mail while driving.

It’s not just young people, it’s older people too.  Everyone is doing it, including police officers, truck drivers, train engineers, bus drivers, and motorcycle riders!  Yes, I’ve seen it!

Car and Driver magazine suggests that texting and driving is more dangerous than drunk driving.

In the summer of 2009, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a headline-grabbing report showing that the act of writing a text message while behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. That “How R U doing?” can make a car crash—or near crash—23 times more likely for drivers of large trucks and six times more likely for most motorists.

Sign the “No Phone Zone Pledge” on Oprah’s website: No Phone Zone Plede


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