Wednesday, December 31, 2014

P. K. - A stranger in a strange land

This is a touching and funny movie. PK is an alien whose remote to recall his spaceship is stolen at the beginning of the movie, and sold to
an evil manipulative god-man, a guru, who claims the remote is a jewel from god acquired in the Himalayas.

2.5 hours of sheer enjoyment.

It is in Hindi with English subtitles.

Trailer

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Declaring ones affiliations at the dry cleaners

A Vietnamese couple run the dry cleaners, it was early, in fact I was the first customer.

"Did you have a good Christmas?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, "Although I am an atheist, it was good. Do you celebrate Christmas?"
"I do and I am a Buddhist."
"Are you a vegetarian?"
"No" He said somewhat reluctantly.

"My wife is Catholic, so we go to separate churches." He volunteered. "We married in a Catholic church but inside I am Buddhist, and here, unlike Vietnam, I have the freedom to go to whatever church I like." 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Market Tale

Martin Walker has had multiple lives, perhaps we all have multiple lives, some more than others.

He is now famous for the Bruno books. Bruno is a small town policeman set is southern France, who loves food, and protects his adopted village from the outside world.  To get a light-weight teaser that you can read in an hour for a $1 from Amazon, try "A Market Tale."

Like so many events in the small Périgord town of St. Denis, deep in the gastronomic heartland of France, this story begins in the market that takes place each week in the square between the seventeenth-century mairie and the old stone bridge that crosses the River Vézère. On a Tuesday morning in early summer, Kati, a young woman with short, fair hair and a little redness on her bare arms from her first exposure to the sun that year, was staring entranced at a stall displaying a wider selection of strawberries than she had ever known. Her eyes darted eagerly from the deep crimson of the Mara des Bois to the plump red of the Gariguettes, from the almost-orange Charlottes to the purple Rosa Linda that looked so moist she imagined the juice seeping

Walker, Martin (2014-12-02). A Market Tale: A Bruno, Chief of Police Story of the French Countryside (Kindle Single) (A Vintage Short) (Kindle Locations 54-59). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Rockettes

The latest TUTS show, for the Christmas season is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring 36 dancers, half of them Rockettes, so identical, so in sync, you think human cloning had been perfected.

The twelve performances covered the spectrum, from inspired to silly and corny. I especially liked the Partridge in a Pear Tree tap dance, and the funny Nutcracker danced by bears.

The back screen was perfectly matched with the stage turntable. The night tour through Manhattan with the double-decker bus seemed as if the bus really was travelling around the city in 3D.

Not perfect, but memorable and something for everyone.






Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The workers and the natives

Dubai is a strange place, somewhat like a cross between Houston and Las Vegas. It is one of the most open of the 7 emirates that form the UAE.

It is open in a relative sense, the laws are very different than those in the west and much less tolerant.

Its population is divided into two classes of people, 10% native Emirati and 90% foreign workers.

The native people are given a free house, a villa, by the government, and from what I saw they looked upscale, but the receiver does not get to choose the style or location. The house can be inherited by family members, and rented out. It does not revert to the government.

The non-natives, can live in the country as long as they have employment. They are from everywhere, but especially Indian. If they lose a job they have one month to find a new one, even if they have money to support themselves, one month or leave. If they are convicted of a crime they are extradited after serving time.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Selling Voodoo

It was a cold rainy day, and two conservatively dressed woman with large shoulder bags approached the gate.

I knew what they were about.

"What are you selling?"
"We are not selling anything," One answered. "Would you like to learn about your family history?"
"You are selling religion," I said.  You are wasting your time here.

They stood there.

They were Mormons, and they believe not only in baptism, but Baptism of the Dead.  From Wikipedia:

In the practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), a living person, acting as proxy, is baptized by immersion on behalf of a deceased person of the same sex. After giving a short prayer that includes the name of the deceased individual, the proxy is immersed briefly in the water, then brought up again. Baptism for the dead is an ordinance of the church and is based on the belief that baptism is required for entry into the Kingdom of God.

They moved on to the empty guest house next door and left a flyer in the door for FamilySearch.org and The Book of Morman in the mini library.  I censored the library!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday night in the desert

In Dubai the weekend is Friday, the holy day, and Saturday.  The work week restarts on Sunday.  

If you drive south from the city towards Oman you rapidly enter an area of sandy dunes, with minimal vegetation.  

On Friday night people head to the country with food and wood for the fire. One can see hundreds of little fires in the darkness through to 2:00 am.  





Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Rosie Project

A sweet book from Australia, about a high achieving, socially inept guy and his search for a wife.  An original story that is a page turner......

A woman at the rear of the room raised her hand. I was focused on the argument now and made a minor social error, which I quickly corrected. “The fat woman— overweight woman— at the back?” 

She paused and looked around the room, but then continued, “Rational detachment: is that a euphemism for lack of emotion?” 

“Synonym,” I replied. “Emotions can cause major problems.” 

I decided it would be helpful to provide an example, drawing on a story in which emotional behavior would have led to disastrous consequences. 

"Imagine,” I said, “you’re hiding in a basement. The enemy is searching for you and your friends. Everyone has to keep totally quiet, but your baby is crying.” I did an impression, as Gene would, to make the story more convincing: “Waaaaa.” I paused dramatically. “

"You have a gun.” Hands went up everywhere. Julie jumped to her feet as I continued. “With a silencer. They’re coming closer. They’re going to kill you all. What do you do? The baby’s screaming

—” The kids couldn’t wait to share their answer. One called out, “Shoot the baby,” and soon they were all shouting, “Shoot the baby, shoot the baby.” The boy who had asked the genetics question called out, “Shoot the enemy,” and then another said, “Ambush them.” The suggestions were coming rapidly. “Use the baby as bait.” “How many guns do we have?” “Cover its mouth.” “How long can it live without air?”

Simsion, Graeme (2013-10-01). The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1) (pp. 10-11). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lucy - A good plane movie

This movie is pure art and little science.  Great action, colors and locations.


Suspend disbelief.  It will distract and entertain you for 10% of a 16 hour plane ride.






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Great (trek to the) Wall

It was a cloudy day, with a light drizzle. From Beijing we drove north to the Great Wall at Badaling, taking the old road, as the freeway was solid traffic.

Near the wall we stopped and parked. The guide explained we had to take a short walk as we could not park any closer. Along a wide empty road we walked uphill, two kilometers, past two separate coach parks to the entrance. At the top were a dozen buses and a crowd of people.

Where are all the foreign tourists? A mystery for the whole trip.

We walked up and down along the wall, to where the guide said we could "slide" down. We should have been suspicious and questioned her, but it was our first day in town.

The slide looked to be something out a county fair 50 years ago, and was controlled by the driver with a manual friction brake. He drove really slow and rode the brake all the way down.

At the bottom was "Badaling Bear Paradise." Most did not see the irony, it was Badaling Bear hell.

This is a World Heritage Site; I had expected so much more.






Wednesday, September 24, 2014

National Museum of China

Completed in 1959, 10 years after the revolution, it is now a modern airy museum located on the east side of Tienanmen Square.

The entrance ticket is free, but to get a ticket, if you are a local turn left and show your identity card, if you are foreign turn right and show your passport or a copy of your passport. They know who you are.

The cafe in the main foyer could be anywhere in the world, except one thing stood out.  Two people were eating sandwiches with chopsticks, nibbling around the edges. They must think we are so uncouth, touching food with our hands.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sunshine Kitchen on a Rainy Day

The Sunshine Kitchen is a hip modern restaurant in Beijing.  Most of the people dining were local Chinese. It has a glossy bilingual menu book with pictures of each dish.  The young staff are dressed in black, and have headsets and call in your order to the kitchen. A short time later the printed order is place on the edge of the table.

Food takes time, and it comes a dish at a time. The waiters pass by often and quietly check the order on the table, and move on.

After the first dish, our other dishes did not come, and we attracted our waiter's attention and she spoke to the kitchen again over the headset. Nothing happened.  At least two other tables had the same issue, people were getting angry, standing and jabbing their watches.

More waiters passed by, checking the ticket.

Finally, a different waiter appeared, noticed what was going on, picked up our ticket and went to the kitchen counter, and shouted and banged on the counter.  Miraculously the food appeared.

They were having a bad night.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The New Forbidden City

We know where David Cameron and Barack Obama live, but where does Xi Jinping live and work?

Sources suspect when he is in Beijing, he is in Zhongnanhai, in central Beijing, an enclosed walled area immediately west of the Forbidden City.

It is a perfect site, 600 hectares, half of the area is cover by two lakes, secure and centrally located near the office.  It seems likely there is a tunnel from the Zhongnanhai compound to the Great Hall of the People just across the main east-west road Chang-An.







Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Suspend disbelief, this is a fairy tale set in the French village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.  It was an enjoyable two hour film. It starts with fire and death in India, and ends, as expected, with the love interest intact and flourishing.

The story is of two restaurants, across the road from each other. One is very French, a one Michelin star restaurant, aspiring for a second star. The other, is a new scrappy Indian restaurant, hustling to get customers.

The Indian restaurant has a secret weapon, the chef, or as he calls himself, the cook.  Go see it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Western Civilization Rocks


The brother-in-law shop syndrome

Most short tours, of a day, or few days, included a visit to a store, often poorly disguised as an item on the itinerary, but really a way to make more money from you.  Money is secretly handed to the tour guide for bringing the tourists to the store.  We even caught our private guide in Israel doing it; she went up to the counter after we had bought something and got some baksheesh.

Here is a gem from http://www.travelchinaguide.com/ :


Monday, August 4, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Healthy Eating

Eating is an essential part of living, and we enjoy food. The choices for most people are huge. The key question is not what is natural, evolutionary-wise, for your body, but what will get you to a healthy 100.

We have evolved to live long enough to pass on our genes, raise viable offspring, and not be a burden on the group. Living in the modern, artificial world, we are able to circumvent the age 30 ceiling.

It is a big personal experiment; the information from research keeps changing.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An incident in the Moscow metro

It was winter in Moscow.  We were travelling north on the subway on the green line towards Dinamo station.

We may have been the only non-natives on the train, there are few tourist at this time of year. The train pulled into station and stopped, the voice came over the intercom in Russian, and everyone got off, so we did to.

Everyone waited, in absolute silence. Here we were deep underground, and no one said a word.  The Russians sat there patiently, perhaps resigned, mute.  Anywhere else in the world there would have been chatter, in whatever language, complaining, curious, moving around, fidgeting, doing things.

After a while an empty train arrived and people got on and we continued, and got off at Dinamo.

US Embassies in Iraq and Jordan

Part of the Baghdad embassy 
Why does the USA have a giant Embassy, in the green zone, in Iraq? They already have an over sized one nearby in Amman, Jordan.  Seems like mission creep. Perhaps we could sell it to the Iraqis as a university campus. Most of the money is lost anyway, and it costs a fortune to own and keep running.

No photos are allowed of the Amman Embassy
In Amman, you can drive past the US Embassy. Our guide said, very emphatically, to not take, and even think about taking, a picture of the embassy. He had been delayed there before for an hour, as someone had thought they could take pictures undetected.  The bus was stopped, the US security personnel entered, and knew exactly who had taken the picture and where they were on the bus. The took the camera removed the card, and any other recording medium, returned the camera, and left.

However there are pictures on the web, and Google Earth. No Google Street View yet.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Magna Carta

How do you create an exhibit for a single piece of paper, strictly a priceless piece of velum?

Find out. Currently the Houston Science Museum are exhibiting the 3.0 version of the Magna Carta, created 1217, on loan from Hereford Cathedral.  It is written in a tight Medieval Latin script, and in excellent condition. Sometime in the last 800 years it has been folded, reflecting how less important it was perceived at one time.

Version 1.0 (61 clauses) was sealed, but not signed, by King John at Runnymede in 1215, under duress, to limit his powers. The document was valid for only three months, but fortunately but sadly, King John quickly died at the age of 49.

In 1216 King John's nine year old son Henry becomes king, and version 2.0 was issued (42 clauses).

Version 3.0 was issued in 1217 (47 clauses) distributed to many regions but only four copies still exist

Version 4.0 was issued in 1225 (37 causes) became the first version to enter English law

Version 5.0 was issued in 1297 (37 clauses) remains in 'force' in England Wales today, although most articles are not longer valid.

And best clause that survives today:

"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled . nor will we proceed with force against him . except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Azolla event

Global warming is resetting the climate back to the pre-iceage norm.

The current CO2 level is close to 400 ppm; it has been steadily increasing.  It stood at only 320 in 1965.

Before 50 million years ago the world was much warmer, and the CO2 level was at, maybe, 2000 ppm. In the early Eocene, over a short period of time, 800,000 years, the CO2 level dropped to only 650 ppm. A huge mass of carbon was removed from the atmosphere.

During the Eocene the Arctic was unfrozen.  The movement of plates almost closed off the Arctic waters, and there is evidence of Azolla blooms. Azolla is floating aquatic fern able to extract atmospheric nitrogen. During the long cool summers it bloomed, died, and the organic matter settled on the sea floor and was then sequestered by sediments from the rivers flowing into the Arctic. The carbon transfer continued until it got too cool for Azolla to grow.

  • The current rate of increase of CO2 is 1.5 ppm per year
  • During the Azolla event, the rate of decrease was 0.0012 ppm per year

In 90 years we will be back to the Eocene!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Revenge

Opossums are curious marsupials; to some people nasty scary creatures. A friend of ours had one living under their house, and after trapping it, this person intended to let it go, to give the Opossum its freedom in the countryside.

But somehow they found themselves outside the home of their previous employee, who had fired them unfairly, and somehow the Opossum was released and scurried away.

A fellow creature used in a good cause.

Early Morning Mist

Light refracted by the early morning mist droplets, a triple rainbow.  As always, the color looked more intense and distinct than the mindless camera.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Energy flow to Houston



Three times a day, every day, a coal train leaves Wyoming Powder River Basin and heads south towards Texas, to a coal and gas power station south of Houston. 32 million kg of coal a day, 6.3 million kwh per day.

An energy flow of 2500 Megawatts of chemical power, 3 giant pulses a day.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Human Emigration and Immigration 2005-2010 - The 50 largest flows


This graph was featured in the Scientific American for 2014 June. A clever way to display the migration data between nations.  Japan is not here; it has population that has started to shrink, with minimal immigration, unlike other modern wealthy democracies.


Fungi

Fungi are wonderful creatures, share a common ancestor with animals and not plants. They live off of dead organic matter, as in this humus-rich soil. They convert oxygen to CO2 just as animals do.

They live in the soil and may cover acres, and pop up for a short time when the conditions are right, and then disappear out of view.

It is believed fungi populate the land areas in the Cambrian (around 500 Ma) before green chlorophyll based land plants.

And they are all edible, and most do not kill you. This one looked too yellow and too unappetizing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hagia Sophia - a church, a mosque, a museum, and now reverting back to a mosque?

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, is an impressive old building and still in use. It was built in 537 CE as a Greek Orthodox basilica. In 1451 it was converted to a mosque and the mosaics of people were plastered over.

In 1922 the Ottoman Empire broke up and a year later Turkey was created with Ataturk the first president.  He was a radical reformer, ruthless, and still revered today. He made sweeping reforms to the country, he abolished Sharia courts, gave women full political rights to vote and hold office, and changed the alphabet.

And made Hagia Sophia a museum.

Today things are swinging back the other way, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister since 2003, other Greek churches have been converted to mosques. There is a battle to make Hagia Sophia a mosque and plaster over the original artwork, again. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two different worlds

I was in the alley, the disused grassy area between the houses. When the town was designed and platted by the railroad company in 1890, they set 25 foot alleys between the properties for access. Today few of these are used and the county, for a short time, allow adjacent homeowners to take in their side of the alley and incorporate it into their property. Many alleys have returned to nature, with trees and wild plants. The county clears them once a year.

The part of the alley between us and our neighbor is mowed, by both of us, and grassy, on our side is a 40 m flower bed extending the width of the property.

I was digging a trench, 2.5 m out from the fence, to install irrigation line for the flower bed.  I heard a voice behind me. It is my neighbor, a person with whom I have had minimal conversions in seven years.

"You know, that is county property," he said.
"I know, " said I, "I am installing an irrigation line to water the plants, it will be filled in when I am done."
"I have been mowing the grass for 35 years," he continued.

So here was I, an outsider, messing up my neighbor's grass, which he knows he does not own, but has mowed once a week during the growing season for 35 years. He feels ownership. The outsiders are the ones from the big cities, with ideas, making changes, making improvements, planting flowers.

Rocking the boat.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five 20-something males and a forklift - what could go wrong?

We needed 24 concrete tiles that weighed about 10 kg each. Lowes offers help loading anything heavy, so we paid for the tiles and asked for them to be loaded into the truck.

This normally works.

We waited, and nothing happened, so I walked to the back of the store where the tiles were stored. Nearby, a few aisles away, was a forklift and five guys, trying to get the forklift to the tiles. There were newly delivered racks of flowers in the way, so it was a challenge for the group entity.

Finally they got there, and rotated the forklift across the aisle, and after a time, managed to extract a palette of tiles out of the rack. The tiles arrived at the truck parked outside the store.  They counted them off as they were loaded and there were only 18 and pieces.

So they went to look for more, as the database said there were more, somewhere in the store.  But the tiles were not to be found. I had to go find them to know that, and took one of them to the return desk to get my refund of 6 tiles, about $6.

The total bill was about $18, and used 5 manhours.  Minimum wage in Texas is $7.25/hour.  You do the math.






Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Security in Jordan

The vehicle approached the upscale Amman Marriott hotel in Jordan, late at night.  It pulled up at the perimeter gate, and the guard met us.  He had security inspection mirror to look under the vehicle for bombs.  He waved us in.

The hotel staff greeted us at the entrance where we put our luggage on the x-ray conveyor, and walk through the body scanner, to enter the hotel.

Welcome to Jordan.

And on the tour bus the state of Jordan supplied an armed tourist policeman to travel with us for the week. They take it in turns.

Jordan is in a precarious position.  A small country of 6 million people, it borders Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.  Half their population are recent immigrants; Palestinians, Iraqis, and Syrians.

But we felt safe, and more to the point, nothing untoward happened.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Intouchables 2011

A wonderful French movie, about unlikely pair, Driss a Senegalese immigrant working the system, to get unemployment, not wanting a job, and Philippe, a wealthy quadriplegic who needs an able bodied assistant.

Philippe challenges Driss to try the job for a month.  The position pays well, but it is 24/7.  And of course Driss takes it, and it works, for a while.  Driss brings life back into Philippe's life, and the whole household.

This is a rare French movie, one that has a funny, happy ending.

Go see it! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014


The movie story is a literary device, loosely based on reality. The design, style, and color are such a major
part.

It set in the early 30s in Europe, at a time of elegant hotels, just before WW2. A time that is no more, in fact, never was.

Go see it, it is totally absorbing, a joy.

Trailer


Friday, March 14, 2014

Inukjuak

Inukjuak is a small isolated town on the Hudson Bay in northern Quebec.  The town has a population of 1600 people, and has a small all-year airport, hotel and stores. They have to be very self contained.


Their claim to fame is they may have the oldest known rocks on the planet.  The Earth is 4.54 Ga old, and these rocks may be 4.3-4.4 Ga.  The first 500 million years of the Earth were violent, a time of impacts, including the one that created the moon around 4.4 Ga.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X13004056

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jeanne D'Arc

Place des Pyramides, Paris
by Emmanuel Fremiet
The story of Joan of Arc is famous, globally known, and steeped in adulation.

Born 1412 in Rouen, at that time under English rule. It was the period when England controlled large areas of France; the period of the Hundred Years War. A brutal time.

There is considerable volume of documents from this period, especially from her trial.

In her early teens she heard voices and had visions, probably caused by a brain condition, caused perhaps by natural drugs or being bipolar.  She was a disturbed, but a very capable and active teenager.

She traveled with the troops and maybe co-led troops in support of the French uncrowned king Charles 7th against the English.

She was captured and sold to the English in 1430 and executed by burning at the tender age of 19, the following year.


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Crossroads Tavern



The Crossroads Tavern is in Cat Springs, Texas, miles from anywhere. On Friday night the place is busy, the dirt lot is filled with pickup trucks, and the bar it packed. They serve all you can eat fish, fries, hush puppies, white bread and relish, for $10.

You can eat outside, or inside sharing long tables with everyone else. A good place to spot locals in cowboy hats. Part of its charm is its lack of pretentiousness.  An ex-gas station with the fake "Cat Springs Country Club" over the door.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Drill Baby Drill

Global trade is good, but not with your enemies. We know who they are. We cannot do much about Putin in the short term, but in the medium term we can.

The US needs to increase its export of natural gas and oil.  It will improve the US economy, create jobs, allow us to say goodbye to our Middle East "friends," and help our European friends detach themselves from Russia.

American private enterprise is shackled by politics and bad laws. We can become a benign petrostate:

(1) Allow much more fracking on federal land
(2) Allow extraction from all coastal areas, not just three States
(3) Allow the export of oil, right now it is illegal
(4) Lift the bureaucracy on exporting natural gas
(5) Complete the Keystone pipeline


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crazy People

Mormonism, the church of the latter day saints, is a problematic religion.

Most Mormons live in Utah, and the state had a long run in with the United States about the church and polygamy.  Until the church renounced plural marriage, it was barred to joining the Union. So the church leader had a message from God, and the issue was resolved.

Mormonism has become mainstream, but there are still outposts especially in the desert country of Utah and Arizona which practice more extreme versions of the religion including plural marriage. There is a huge compound in Texas, the YFZ ranch in West Texas which was raided in 2008 by the State of Texas.  The raid was well intentioned, but did not go well, and caused much harm.

In these closed communities, everyone is brainwashed.  There is a surplus of guys, so they kick out many of the teenager boys who have no education, no job skills, and all of a sudden no family.  The girls are married off to the guys that run the show, at a young age.  They mistreat their children behind compound gates, away from society.

Plural marriage involves one guy and many women and never the reverse. Considering the more violent nature of guys, a many guy, one woman arrangement could get violent in a hurry. It would dissolve of its own accord.

Germany and other countries have mandatory state schooling, and home schooling is banned. This would go a long way to resolved this issue, and protect children from crazy people.




Monday, February 17, 2014

Who killed Mr Green?


(1) No one, it was an accident
(2) Mr Green committed suicide, he is bipolar and his better side removed him from society
(3) Bates - He did not go to York, he went to London and took revenge  (but too easy)
(4) Anna - Was in London and had MOTIVE, and wanted to protect Bates by getting to the kill first
(5) Mary - Was in London and felt responsible to do good, for the family business
(6) Earl of Grantham, came back from the USA via London a day early, and did his part to help his employees
(7) Thomas, came back from the USA via London a day early, and is evil anyway
(8) Lord Gillingham to please Mary.  He may be Sherlock in disguise and deduced what Mary would not tell him.



Quote of the day - from Thomas Friedman

..... What a contrast. Silicon Valley: where ideas come to launch. Washington, D.C., where ideas go to die. Silicon Valley: where there are no limits on your imagination and failure in the service of experimentation is a virtue. Washington: where the “imagination” to try something new is now a treatable mental illness covered by Obamacare and failure in the service of experimentation is a crime. Silicon Valley: smart as we can be. Washington: dumb as we wanna be.

Source

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clever but is it cost effective?

Makani Power, now owned by Google, have developed a novel way to make electricity from wind. They use turbines mounted in a flying wing, tethered to the ground.

The turbines act as propellers in reverse, so it can fly up to and back from an altitude of 400m where the wind is stronger and steadier. The turbines generate electricity which is transmitted down the tether cable.

The system is clever, automated, and complicated. They have not yet scaled up to a commercial size.