Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vampire Suck

Vampires love blood - always have and always will. It is like a jolt of electricity that gets them going. Even today, vampires still exist.

Certain electronics such as laptops, televisions, and especially cell phone chargers continue to draw power even when you are not using them. It is called the "vampire suck" and you can kill them at the source by using handy devices that have on/off switches.
Devices like the WattStopper and the Smart Strip Power Strip can be ordered online or used in tandem with special surge protectors. They perform the same task that basically save power by plugging your desktop, printer, and fax machine through a "smart" power strip. Smart strips can sense when electronics are idle and simple cut off the power flow to vampires. Give it a try and see the electric bills reduce over time.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The N Word

So here we are in the year 2010, and I've been thinking of some things that have been missing. Shouldn't we already have flying cars? Better infrastructure? More telecommuting? We live in a digital age and we still can't get things right such as dog food free of fertilizers or E.coli in your burgers.

To make this conversation a bit more intellectual, I'd like to discuss nuclear power. Yes, the "n" word of 2010. Many countries are scared by the potential dangers of nuclear power. I'm not talking in the form of weapons, but more so the use of energy. Honestly, they should be given the hazards of towns melting down and radioactive waste that has to be stored.

Yet one particular country is in a unique bind - France. Since the oil shocks in the mid 1970's, the nation built a network of reactors (59 to be exact as of 2008) that now produce roughly four-fifths of the country's electricity. That is pretty amazing, but why? France has no oil, no coal and thus no choice! Secondly, a majority of their political leaders are trained scientists and brilliant in various disciplines. And last but not least, they choose nuclear because quite frankly the decision-making process has been centralized. So while they might be energy independent, is it perhaps at too high of a cost or risk? Are we overlooking that the byproduct is simply radioactive and where do we store it?

Source Stats: National Geographic, 2009

The Wave Hub Project

If you haven’t heard of the Low Carbon Economic Area, then tune in because the U.K. government just invested £20 million in a project known as The Wave Hub Project. It got the thumbs up from the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) to be a groundbreaking renewable energy project to create the UK's first offshore facility to operate wave energy arrays. In simple terms, kick ass buoys that harness energy from waves/ocean currents.

Imagine this as an underwater grid. Sure, there are cables, sea beds, sand dunes and aquatic life – all of which live in harmony. The area, 1km x 2km, will have a leasing option for developers to begin installation from 2010 and going forward. Some leases will run for five years, perhaps longer; however, the kicker is each developer can generate a maximum of 4-5MW of power.

Source: BBC News, 2009