Energy, Humor

New Renewable Power Source

03.28.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Renewable Power Source
Custom Low RPM Alternator
Low power generator for hamster power harvest
Photo Credit: The Other Power

I promised not to make the Renewable Energy Journal a humor site when we posted our first renewable-related humor on wind power. But, we came across this project and it was simply too good to pass up for commentary. So, without further ado, here’s the striking new, renewable energy source: hamsters!

Custom energy hackers, The Other Power, have been releasing serious DIY energy projects for some time. These include wind turbines, steam generators, low-speed diesel generators, and camper mounted solar arrays. But, the most interesting project involves creating a custom low RPM

Hamster Power Harvest System
Finish hamster power harvest system
Photo Credit: The Other Power

alternator designed to be driven by hamster power. They call the project, The Hamster-Powered Night Light.

It turns out to be not so simple to build a generator that relies on an animal driving a wheel 40-60 RPM with relatively low torque. But the folks at Other Power spend the time to walk you through the intimate details of the project including the new field of hamster psychology. Read the details of the project and enjoy!

Media, Politics

Media Powered Tipping Points

03.28.08 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Recently I had a discussion with a colleague about Barack Obama and the question arose: where did he come from? This colleague, a German national, indicated that Obama appeared out of nowhere from the international perspective. I replied that I believed he was launched as a result of the speech he delivered at the Democratic Convention where John Kerry was nominated and subsequently sunk in a swiftboat.

That got me thinking about the media’s role in the campaign and how a singular event often seems to lead to a tipping point, up or down, for any individual candidate. Thus, I decided to compile a list with videos of some memorable tipping points for politicians and celebrities.

  1. Barack Obama – This is the speech that launched his Presidential campaign.
  2. George H. W. Bush – While amassing high marks for his handling of the first Gulf War, he ignores the recession in the U.S. His inability to comprehend grocery store scanners demonstrated how distant he was from the common citizen and I believe ultimately led to his reelection loss.
  3. Mike Dukakis – Sure, it’s a Bush campaign ad. But ultimately, the image of Dukakis looking like a doofus in that tank tipped his campaign to the loss column in my opinion.
  4. Roger Clemens – Baseball legend has a very public fall while very obviously lying to Congress. Before this testimony, he may have had the benefit of the doubt after the testimony, the public thinks he’s as dirty as Barry Bonds.
  5. Hilary Clinton – Claimed to land in Bosnia in 1996 under sniper fire. Oops, tape of her being greeted by children shows she’s lying through her teeth, the excuse? She mispoke. Was this the tipping point for Clinton to move from a tight primary process to a runaway loss?
  6. Colin Powell – As Secretary of State, he presents the case for war in Iraq with completely false information. This speech was the tipping point for many citizens on opinion of the necessity to go to war, including me. Powell later claims, and somehow I do believe him, he was misled before the testimony.
  7. Howard Dean – During the primary the media has a field day with the “Dean Scream” which painted him as a madman and unelectable. This was clearly the tipping point for the worse in Dean’s campaign for President.

Well, I’m sure there are other appropriate moments, but these are all that occurred to me in my sleeplessness in Europe. It certainly is interesting and perhaps disturbing, the power of the images and sounds that can define the rise or fall of any particular person in the media eye. What do you think? Any other gems that ought to be added to this collection?

Business, Energy

Ormat Revenue Up, Net Down

03.27.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Ormat Revenue Up, Net Down

Geothermal and waste heat harvest equipment maker and electricity generator Ormat issued a short earnings preview this morning stating that revenue was up year over year from $72M to $73M. Net profit however dropped from $87M to $47M; however, the prior comparison period had a one-time capital gain of $47M reported. Excluding this gain, profit increased from $40M to $47M year over year.


6MW Waste Heat Project Announced

03.27.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on 6MW Waste Heat Project Announced

Recently Nevada Power Corporation, MidAmerica Holdings, and Ormat announced a project to recover waste heat at the Kern River Gas Transmission station at Goodsprings, about 35 miles south of Las Vegas. The project, scheduled to go into commercial operation subject to regulatory approval in 2010, will be sufficient to supply around 1,200 homes with electricity. This represents another important step in micro-generation and harvest and will be net positive for all parties involved.

Details of the announcement are available from Sierra Pacific Resources, the parent company of Nevada Power.


The White Swan

03.27.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on The White Swan

Exterior of the White Swan
Exterior view of White Swan restaurant in Heidelberg

Established in 1778, the Weisser Schwan (White Swan) restaurant has been a fixture in the Zentrum of Heidelberg for some time. During my visits to this charming city, I’ve had a chance to sample quite a few different restaurants and this one is a favorite. It’s nice and inviting, the food is very good, and you can’t beat a table by the window where there are clear views to all the activity on the Hauptstrasse. You can get a sense of the interior from the photo below.

Interior of the White Swan
White Swan restaurant interior, on Heidelberg Hauptstrasse

I had a side salad and the pepper steak with noodles with an Andechser Bock beer, it was excellent. The service was fast, friendly, and efficient (and I managed the whole transaction in German, which is a step forward for me given that I had a vocabulary of 12 words on my first trip.) If you happen to be in Heidelberg, you won’t go wrong with the White Swan.

« Previous Entries
» Next Entries