- Google Maps Mashup Tracks Swine Flu – When the pandemic comes, we can rest assured that we'll be able to watch its spread in real time via Google maps. I guess that's comforting. Right? (tagged: map flu health pandemic )
- Power Hungry: Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid – Very cool interactive map showing the sources of (electrical) power in the US, and our current transmission system. (tagged: energy electricity power nuclear solar wind coal sustainability design green )
- End the University as We Know It – I can only imagine that the end of the University as we know it is well underway. We should start building its replacement now. I don't know if I could honestly encourage anybody to go to grad school. (tagged: education academia gradschool research )
- Dune: Arenaceous Anti-Desertification Architecture – Take a dune, and inject into it Bacillus pasteurii, with water, nutrients, a calcium source in solution, and oxygen, and it turns sand into sandstone. Figure out a way to do this precisely, and you can "print" buildings in 3D inside the dune, and then let the wind excavate it for you… if you've got your fluid dynamics right. Pretty incredible idea. Still very challenging at scale though. (tagged: architecture sustainability buildings science green bacteria desert dune sand )
- Three Degrees – The Law of Climate Change and Human Rights Conference – Legal aspects of climate change, treaty negotiations, and the probable human rights outcomes of a warming world. (tagged: law climate green sustainability )
After being asked rhetorically a couple of times if I knew now much I paid for my electricity, and whether I knew how much power my fridge was using ($0.13/kWh, and I don’t know) I bought a “Kill-A-Watt” power meter to see where our $18/month in electricity usage was going… just out of curiosity. It turns out that watching a movie costs abot $0.08 in electricity. The Cold Box (beer) uses about $3/month worth of power. The fridge itself, usually the largest power hog in a household, is close to half our usage at $8/month. Making a batch of coffee in the french press, using the electric kettle is about a penny. The other big electricity users are the stove and oven, and the washer and dryer (though we hardly use the dryer). They can’t be measured with this thing because they use 220V outlets, which are generally hidden away and inaccessible anyway.
After those miniscule numbers, I was amazed to discover that a day’s worth of computation (24 hours, including some research related number crunching by my laptop, my desk light, my backup disk, and my 30″ cinema display) came in at $0.50! So, at least for me personally, at roughly $15/month my computer is by far my largest expenditure of electricity. Interesting!
I’d love to build (and live in) a condo that tracked the water and power usage of each unit, and within each unit each outlet/faucet/etc, in real time, posted to the web, and displayed in the communal entryway. Visibility goes a long way to influencing behavior.