Sep 30, 2011

Farewell Friend

The storied Tevatron particle collider, the most powerful machine of its kind in the U.S. and for many years in the world, will smash its final protons and antiprotons Friday.

The collider, which broke ground in 1968 (my Dad was there, and I worked there during high school and college), which came online in 1983, accelerates particles to near light speed on a six-kilometer racetrack before steering them into head-on collisions.

 But the Tevatron has been eclipsed by Europe’s larger, more powerful Large Hadron Collider, which finally powered up two years ago after a series of delays.

In its 28 years of operation the Tevatron made countless contributions to particle physics.

Farewell Friend.

Sep 29, 2011

Philosophical Phun - Philosopy Redux!

Philosophy is a framework. This means that philosophy is an approach to questions rather than a bunch of answers to the questions themselves. Logic, a sub-discipline in philosophy, gives us a way to frame ideas so we talk about things more orderly. Philosophy can help get us nearer to what is true about the world.

  • Epistemology – this is the study of the scope, limits, and possibility of knowledge.
  • Metaphysics –  the study of the structure of the world.
  • Philosophy of Mind – here we attempt to look at what it means to say something has a mind.
  • Ethics – ethicists study the nature of the good and how humans should live based on how the good is defined.
  • Philosophy of Religion – philosophers in this discipline attempt to tackle questions like, “does God exist?,” “is there life after death?,” “is any religion true?” and “how can we believe in a good God with so much evil in the world?”
  • Logic – Logicians study arguments and the relationship between ideas.

Sep 28, 2011

Kindle Fire!

Love this, will most likely wait until after the initial release (you can pre-order, but does not ship until 11/15).  There will most likely be tweaks and Android OS updates.  I see spring purchase.

Go Here for full PopSci review.

Green Economy Board Game

A friend of CleanTechica, Scott Cooney of, has developed a green economy board game, which will be launching for the holiday season later this year. In the game, players are impact investors shooting for the best triple bottom line return on their investments in the state of Hawai’i, where, currently, 90% of the state’s electricity comes from burning diesel fuel.

Scott is doing fundraising for the game right now and you could help him out a ton by donating on Kickstarter:

I became a supporter, and think that this Kickstarter thing is a great idea.  You can go to the site and decide for yourself.  All I will say is that we have one coming for us and one for someone else that we know will appreciate it.  If you believe in being green, I hope you can be a backer at at least the $5 level.

Did you ever play Monopoly growing up? Of course, we all did. And what did you learn? That to win in life, you needed to get insanely wealthy at any cost, and run everyone else into the poor house. Times have changed, and the green economy is proving that one side winning doesn't mean another side losing. The green economy thrives on coopetition (cooperation meets competition), alliances, and bridging communities. And all those elements are incorporated into this game. After all, if you start a biofuels production company, shouldn't that help a biofuel station that someone else owns, and vice versa?
This game makes the business of green come to life in a fun, interactive way. Players are investors looking to make more than just financial returns by helping local entrepreneurs in Hawai'i develop sustainability-oriented businesses like organic farms, geothermal plants, green building companies, solar installers, and bike shops. Players are rewarded for creating green jobs, making money, and reducing Hawai'i's dependence on foreign oil, imported food, and limited landfill space, and the player with the best triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) return on their investments throughout the game wins! The game is ideal for those who are interested in sustainability as a better way to do business, and can be played by 2-6 players ages 13+.

Sep 27, 2011

Great Deeds!

"We cannot do great deeds unless we are willing to do the small things that make up the sum of greatness."
-Theodore Roosevelt

Sep 26, 2011

Future of U.S. Manned Space Flight

Boeing CST-100 Boeing
The aerospace firm is planning to send its own employees to the International Space Station on the first crewed mission of its CST-100 ship, the company said Friday. Apparently internal interviews are already ongoing, because Boeing wants its astronauts to help drive further development of the space capsule.Riding aboard an Atlas V rocket —  the CST-100 will launch three times in 2015, starting with two unmanned launches. One launch will take it into orbit and a second will involve an aborted orbit attempt, in a test of the capsule’s escape abilities should something go wrong during launch.
If all goes well, it will launch a third time with a two-person crew, who will dock it with the ISS. That would pave the way for frequent CST flights to the ISS by 2016, BBC reports.
The company has never announced a name for the vehicle, which has been dubbed CST-100 since its unveiling last year — for “crew space transportation” and 100 kilometers, which marks the internationally accepted boundary of space.
Boeing will use the Atlas V, the same rocket that sent Juno spaceward earlier this month, because of its 100 percent success rate so far — and it doesn’t hurt that Boeing is part owner of the rocket maker, United Launch Alliance. Boeing said that had no bearing on its decision, according to BBC.
Boeing is developing the capsule as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, which is seeking private space taxis to ferry astronauts to space now that the shuttles are all retired.

Sep 24, 2011

Where does you electricity dollar go???

For just $1 of electricity, the average customer can:

  • Brew over 800 cups of coffee (900-watt 10-cup coffee maker)
  • Keep a Compact Florescent Light (CFL) on for over 450 hours (27-watt CFL)
  • Wash around 25 loads of laundry (500-watt washer)
  • Spend about 40 hours on their computer (300-watt desktop computer and monitor)
  • Play over 200 of their favorite two hour movies (30-watt DVD player)

Sep 23, 2011

Risk, Not Likely!

"Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
-Joaquin Setanti

Sep 22, 2011

Nightmare or Day Dream?

Vision without action is a day dream. Action without vision is a nightmare - Japanese Proverb

I think that this summarizes our current state of affairs!

Sep 21, 2011

Alligator Diesel

The cutting room floor at a factory in Eunice, La., that processes alligator meat. The leftover fat may have a novel use.

Researchers at the Lafayette campus of the University of Louisiana are looking for green substitutes for diesel fuel. The prime one now in use is soybeans, which are used to make biodiesel oil. But soybeans are also needed for human consumption and animal feed. The United States uses 45 billion gallons of diesel a year; making just one billion gallons from soybeans would use up 21 percent of the American crop, the scientists point out.

Now the researchers think they have identified a potential source for biodiesel that currently goes straight to landfills: alligator fat, about 15 million pounds of it every year.  In a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research, Dr. Bajpai and five collaborators report on lab experiments in which they converted 61 percent of the alligator fat to liquids that would be usable in biofuel.
Some 15 million pounds could become 1.25 million gallons of fuel, with an energy content about 91 percent as great as that of petroleum diesel. A large plant could produce the fuel at $2.40 a gallon, Dr. Bajpai said, not counting the cost of the fat, which would presumably be zero, or the cost of transporting the fat to the plant.

And for each gallon of biodiesel produced, the refinery would also make a few ounces of glycerol, a chemical valuable in industry, he said.


Sep 20, 2011


Starbucks sells on average 8.2 million paper cups of coffee a day, all of which can be recycled, but most still end up in landfills.
The world’s biggest coffee chain wants to change that by convincing everyone from recycling companies to paper mills that it’s worth the effort to recycle paper cups. But the strategy has proved a hard sell, calling attention to a widespread problem in the recycling movement: Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it gets recycled.
About 25 percent of items thrown into home recycling bins are never recycled, said Susan Collins, executive director of the nonprofit group Container Recycling Institute. Oftentimes items are deemed unusable by the time they reach recycling centers because they are contaminated with food or laced with broken glass from containers that shattered in the same bin.
Currently, recycling companies want to focus on other materials, like cardboard and aluminum, for which there is an attractive resale market. That’s not the case with paper cups, forcing Starbucks to try to collect as many of its own cups as it can, strike deals with companies to recycle them, and then agree in some cases to buy back the material.
“You can collect all of this stuff,’’ said Christine Beling of the Environmental Protection Agency, who agrees with Starbucks’ approach. “But unless you have someone to buy it from you, who cares?’’
With paper cups for coffee, there is another major issue: Many recycling companies don’t have the equipment to separate the cup’s paper from its inner lining which prevents hot liquids from leaking.
To improve collections, Starbucks has been installing special bins designed to segregate coffee cups from other waste; the chain recently introduced them in all 30 of the company’s stores in the Boston area. The chain is then lining up companies that have agreed to recycle its cups, which have been made of 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber since 2006. In Massachusetts, Starbucks is working with RockTenn, with plants scattered across the United States, to collect the cups, recycle them, and sell the material to paper mills.
In some markets, such as New York and Chicago, the company is working with paper mills and recycling centers to turn some of the recycled paper cups into napkins used by Starbucks.
“The focus is often, ‘What can I do to the cup to make it more recyclable?’ ’’ said Jim Hanna, Starbucks’ director of environmental impact. “What’s more important is, ‘What can I do to the infrastructure to make these cups more recyclable?’ ’’

Sep 19, 2011

Happy Talk Like A Piiiiiiiirrrrraaaaaate Day, Arrrrrrrrrrrr!

Pirate Lingo - The Short Course
Ahoy! - "Yo!"
Avast! - "Check it out!"
Aye! - "Yes."
Arrr! - "That's right!" (often confused with arrrgh...)
Arrrgh! - "I'm VERY miffed." 

Link to their site!

Sep 17, 2011

Philosophical Phun - Denial of Death

The Denial of Death, by Earnest Becker, 1972.  His thesis (which builds on the work of Freud and Otto Rank) is that as mortal but conscious mammals, we are aware of the horrific reality that we will someday cease to exist. All of our personal investments, memories, friends, aspirations, and goals perish along with us. That truth is so immensely difficult, so all-consuming, that it dominates our psychology and is at the root of just about all of that we do.  

And its why we feel guilty. But what is guilt? Where does it come from? According to Becker, guilt is partially fed by the realization of all the life we know we’re not going to be able to live and by the fear that death my visit us on a schedule that doesn’t coincide with ours. Becker writes:

“To lie to oneself about one’s own potential development is another cause of guilt. It is one of the most insidious daily inner gnawings a person can experience. Guilt, remember, is the bind that man experiences when he is humbled and stopped in ways that he does not understand, when he is overshadowed in his energies by the world. But the misfortune of man is that he can experience this guilt in two ways: as bafflement from without and from within—by being stopped in relation to his own potential development. Guilt results from unused life, from ‘the unlived in us.’”

In a recent article for the Catholic periodical First Things, Wilfred McClay tackles the problem.  The demands on an active conscience are literally as endless as an active imagination’s ability to conjure them. The sheer number of guilt-inducing social responsibilities alone are overwhelming. Recycle more, drive less (and only a hybrid), help the poor, make sure your kids read, exercise, don’t buy a big house, do buy a small car, buy organic, buy local, buy fair trade, help the needy, walk for the cure, work more, work less, neuter and spay, vote democrat, and on and on it goes. As McClay points out, much of these are good ideas in general. But they’re presented as true moral options and choosing wrongly carries deep moral weight and because of that, guilt. Yet without a clear moral foundation on which to place the moral burden, the cognitive dissonance one must conjure up can be maddening—literally.

The bigger problem, says McClay, is that there is no clear path to alleviating all this growing guilt. We moderns have had to come up with all sorts of creative ways to salve the thousands of psychological cuts that threaten mental breakdown including inventing or transferring a certain amount of victimhood onto ourselves in order to establish a basis for excusing our intangible moral failings. The oppressor becomes the responsible one and the victim, as innocent, is released from the burden of guilt.

The reason theism works is because God’s forgiveness can allow us to bypass all the labor and burden of having to overcome the basis for our guilt (which, theists argue, we could never do anyway) and “relieve the debt” in one fell swoop, for now and for eternity. One’s guilt is relieved by believing that God has forgiven sins and this “works” as a psychological heuristic even if there actually is no God.

But this demonstrates that ideas are powerful things and if theism as an idea is powerful enough to help us manage guilt, maybe there are other ideas that are just as powerful and even more effective. 


Sep 16, 2011


Great innovation happens when most of the time we take a process-oriented and “common sense” mindset — but the process makes clear space for an “outside of process” and “passion” mindset. In business, in relationships, in life — we need both, and in the right doses. Our customers and prospects and friends and families tell us what those doses are.

Sep 15, 2011

Science Scene - Future of Container Shipping

Sensor-Packed Shipping Container
In the half-century since Malcom McLean, an entrepreneurial former trucker from North Carolina, first began packing freight onto ships in uniform steel boxes, shipping containers have transformed the way we move most of the goods on Earth. As McLean recognized, cargo with consistent dimensions becomes a commodity. Any box can go anyplace on any ship, and therefore can be moved and stored far more cheaply and quickly than cargo that comes in a hodgepodge of shapes and sizes.

How It Works

Composite Body

As strong as steel and up to five times as corrosion resistant, fiber-reinforced polymer walls make the box lighter and easier to scan than today’s containers.


Internal sensors measure humidity, atmospheric pressure, oxygen level, radiation and temperature to detect food spoilage, smuggled nuclear material or even the presence of humans inside.

Collapsible Frame

For more efficient storage and transportation when empty, the box can be folded to a quarter of its full height in just 30 seconds. The doors roll into the roof, and the walls collapse inward.

Tracking Tag

Tamper-proof RFID tags secured within the box transmit owner identification, origin, destination, inventory and travel history.

Padlock Alarm

If the container is opened at an unscheduled time, by an unauthorized person, or outside a designated trusted zone, an alarm is triggered and transmits an alert.

Tamper Protection

A small electrical current runs through mesh embedded in the composite walls. Any breach that disturbs the flow of current will send an alert to the shipper, the receiver and the authorities at the destination port.

Communications Sensor

An onboard computer draws data from monitors and sends encrypted updates by satellite or cellular network to the appropriate parties—owners, shippers, customs officials or port operators.

Sep 12, 2011

Out and About!

Off on a short business trip.  Will be back in the saddle on Thursday.

Sep 4, 2011

Vegas Baby!

We are heading off to Vegas tonight, getting some gambling, people watching, a side trip to the Grand Canyon, and basically fun, fun, fun.

Best chance of seeing what we are up to is on Facebook.

Catch you on the flip side.

Sunday Silliness - Discovery :o)

Discovery Demotivator

Sep 3, 2011

Football Season Is Officially Here!

Hell Yes, this is where we are today, season opener for THE IRISH!

Sep 2, 2011

Space X

Dragon Capsule Preparations In a SpaceX clean room in Hawthorne, Calif., technicians prepare the Dragon spacecraft for thermal vacuum chamber testing. The open bays will hold the parachutes. NASA just gave SpaceX a Nov. 30 launch date for Falcon 9 Flight 3, which will send a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.SpaceX
A little less than six months after the final space shuttle launch, a private space company will launch a rocket carrying a cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX said this week that it plans a Nov. 30 launch date for its first rendezvous with the ISS — an encounter that will mark a major milestone in private space exploration.
Very Cool!

Sep 1, 2011

Home Brew: Someday, I want to do it!

Most beer drinkers don’t have the time (or inclination) to muddle through the painstaking home-brewing process, but the WilliamsWarn Personal Brewery simplifies just about everything. The brewing system produces pro-grade beers in seven days, instead of four weeks. For now, WilliamsWarn brewers are limited to light ales, but eventually, says inventor and master brewer Ian Williams, they’ll be able to make, store, and pour 50-pint batches of beers, from lagers to stouts.

Click here to launch a step-by-step how it works gallery
The machine saves time by combining home brewing’s longest steps—fermentation, which usually takes a week, and carbonation, which can take at least two. The fermentation tank is also a pressure vessel, which traps carbon dioxide released by yeast, force-carbonating the beer. The system also does away with two common foes of freshness: the sealed vessel keeps out oxygen, a culprit behind flat-tasting pints; and a valve at the bottom of the tank isolates the yeast from the beer as soon as fermenting is done, which prevents meaty, off flavors.