Monday, September 3, 2012

Gargano? An Italian get away – nyt

So Long Summer!

Well, it had to come sooner or later. September rain. You can feel it getting cooler. Windows get closed and the cat starts sleeping by the heater. BTW, she is annoyed this morning that she got only a small piece of diced marinated pork. Ah well, so it goes. But there is time for a few more stories about the summer. Here is a nice one from Saveur about cooking on the beach.


All Hail to the Boring Stuff

Giga offers an interesting post on … drum roll please … industrial energy efficiency. More specifically, it is about the Obama push to adopt cogeneration technology more rapidly. What’s the big deal? Check out the numbers

A couple years ago a study came out from Oak Ridge National Labs that found that boosting the use of combined heat and power to 20 percent of the generating capacity of the U.S. by 2030 would save 5.3 quadrillion thermal units of fuel per year, which is equal to almost half the total energy consumed by U.S. households. That much CHP could also lead to a 60 percent reduction of carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 154 million cars off the road.

Pretty impressive.

We should think about this potential saving in light of potential shifts in demand for grid power. A growing percentage of power used is generated from off grid sources (like solar and cogeneration). So are we headed for more and smaller generating facilities that are closer to users? Some think so.

Good old Hedrick!

I used to see Hedrick Smith’s name a lot when I lived in the states. He was a high profile TV journalist and book writer. I guess he is retired by now (young pup, he is only pushing 80), but he just offered a nice editorial for NYT. It is nice for its content, which I find persuasive (more middle class means more economic growth). It is nicer still for how Hedrick anchors the story around the wisdom of Henry Ford. It is an elegant way to make a point that many have forgotten.

Book? What is a book?

The joke in the title is not that one hasn’t heard about books (though perhaps in the future humankind will find the idea of a “book” to be quaint). It is instead to pose the question what IS a book? What makes a thing into a book, as opposed to a manuscript?

The question is important for those interested in making learning more efficient. Books have served that purpose for a long time. But as the flow of information accelerates and the demands on learning grow, one looks to squeeze more out of the book experience. To do that, we need to think about how a book works.

So – what is a book? Well, check out mathigon and then ask the question once more. I came away from the site with the idea that at least part of the job that a book should do is to inspire us to learn. To get us engaged in the process of learning. This means that the information flow should be modulated in a particular way.


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