Business, Energy, Travel

Atlanta, Geothermal project financing, and travel tips

11.15.06 | Comment?

We interrupt Ohio State/Michigan week for this special travel bulletin…I write this entry from a relatively empty gate (with power!) at Atlanta Hartfield airport. After leaving Baltimore early this morning and spending an hour on the ramp waiting for weather to pass I arrived at ATL having missed my connecting flight back to SJC. Oh well, it happens. Next flight to SJC, 18:22 EDT – ugh.

Fortunately I have my handy dandy computer with a wifi connection and was able to reengage with the ticket agents armed with information about alternate flights and so I’ll be departing to SFO at 3pm EDT instead. Maybe I’ll make it home in time for my daughter’s bedtime, that’s certainly the hope.

I had a fantastic day yesterday soaking up knowledge at the Geothermal Energy Association workshop on financing geothermal projects. This was a business workshop with the morning focused on politics, regulation, and government agencies (note to politicos – less interference would be more here…) and the afternoon dedicated to the attributes required for fundable geothermal projects. The speakers were mostly engaging, the content was rich, and the room was awkwardly laid out, but had windows.

One thing I hadn’t realized (naively) was just how politicized the issue of renewable energy is. That became quite clear at the workshop and the elections last week will help as soon-to-be-Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a geothermal fan (Nevada is rich in geothermal resources.) Hopefully, Congress and the Administration will choose to collaborate on renewable issues extending the production tax credit and making leases of BLM land and NEPA environmental assessments more accessible and faster. I’ll believe that when I see it…

It’s been a long time since I’ve flown, I think my last trip was in July. So, the liquid/gel thing was slightly inconvenient. But the volume of travelers is definitely up – the planes (gates and associated services) are FULL! Guess that’s good news for airlines, but it’s bad news for travelers in some respects. Having taken a break from traveling by air for awhile, I’d erased the irritants from my brain. Well, they’re back with a vengenance now…..If you’d like to be a polite, courteous, and informed traveler, here are some easy tips for you:

  • Mobile phones are great. I have one, it’s indispensible. But, no one, and I mean no one, wants to hear your mobile conversation. Don’t shout into the phone and move yourself away from others when speaking. If you can’t do those two things, hang-up unless it’s an absolute emergency. Everyone has a phone now, it doesn’t make you important!
  • Your diet is your business. But, when you’re in close proximity to other humans, it’s a good idea to refrain from alcohol, onions, garlic, beans, and other foods that contribute to bad breath and/or gas. Breath mints can’t (and don’t) cover the odor….
  • If you are physically large, make appropriate accommodations for your seating. You will be more comfortable and your neighbors will be more pleasant if you’re not taking up 25% of their seats. As American’s get bigger, this problem is becoming more frequent and the airlines will have to do something to fix it if people can’t use their own judgment (which obviously, they won’t.)
  • When boarding an aircraft, be prepared with your carry-ons to stow them appropriately and quickly. Stepping out of the frickin’ aisle. If you have an enormous wheeled piece of luggage, it shouldn’t be in others way or take up others storage space in the overhead bin. Check it if you can’t carry it, stow it, or lift it.
  • When in the security line, have your documents and id ready. We’re all waiting in the line for hours, why not use 30 seconds to prepare and make it all go a little faster.
  • When the plane is boarding, don’t flock to the gate. Stay seated until your row/zone is called. If you don’t, people like me will become progressively more physical in fighting our way to the gate to board the plane and that is no fun for anyone.
  • If you’re a loud talker and consistent talker (you know if you are,) bring a book. Read it, you’ll make everyone around you alot happier. Otherwise, bring 20 sets of Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headsets for those around you.
  • When exiting the plane, grab your stuff and get off the plane. You can always rearrange your self and belongings when you’re off the plane in the terminal.
  • If you’ve stashed bags in the back of the plane and have a seat in the middle or front of the plane, don’t even think about trying to go back for the bag until the plane has emptied. That’s your penalty for not checking the luggage.
  • When you exit the jetway, move out of the way. There is no need to exit then stop in the middle of the passage to rearrange yourself. There’s a big terminal out there, use it!

I’m sure there are other things that could be listed here, but that’s the stream of consciousness for now. Best travel accessory I’ve ever gotten is Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones. Pricey, but worth it. When used with an MP3 player (my iPod Shuffle fits nicely in the case,) they eliminate much of the background noise (that guy with the megaphone voice 3 rows back who talked non-stop for the entire flight for instance – oh yeah, jet engines too.)

Well, that’s it from Atlanta. Home (hopefully) tonight.

3 days to OSU/Michigan
Ohio State’s 2006 record: 11-0 Next up: Michigan 11/18
Tune: Lunch Lady Land by Adam Sandler
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