Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua...

"What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua...that's the only name I can think of for it...like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. "What's new?" is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question "What is best?," a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and "best" was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for."
                            ~Robert M. Pirsig
                                  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fighting the Good Fight

I recall my father undergoing a major change in attitude about climate change 10 years ago after he attended a screening of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth at the Chautauqua Institution. The data combined with Al Gore's persuasive argument led my Dad to give up his vision of signing natural gas leases on his 114-acre plot in Cattaraugus County and instead sign a lease with a wind-turbine development company. 4 years after my dad has passed and our family is sill benefiting from this legacy. And now, Al Gore has an update for us.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tesla taking orders for solar shingles April 2017

Since the moment Elon Musk announced TESLA would be offering solar-power generating roof shingles for houses last fall I have had a "solar shingles" Google-alert set up to notify me when news about this comes online. This morning I got an e-mail with a link to a Tech Times story claiming Elon Musk had announced on Twitter that TESLA would be taking solar roofing orders next month (April 2017). I have not been able to find these tweets.  If you have any information on this alleged announcement please let me know in the comments. Also, what are the implications of getting on the waiting list?  If the current administration is successful in gutting subsidies for home energy upgrades (including solar panel installation) will it be beneficial to get on the waiting list while Obama era subsidies are still in effect?

I spoke with a Solar City representative at Home Depot a few weeks ago and she was pretty dismissive of the solar shingle roll-out, telling me that they will only be available initially in some test markets in regions (Hawaii and southern California) with no annual snowfall because the current version of solar shingles are not designed to handle snow.  If this is the case I would rather sign up for traditional solar panels. I also thought the new TESLA plant in Buffalo, New York would be focussed on these solar shingles, but according to the Solar City rep, the main production at the Buffalo plant will actually be traditional solar panels made in collaboration between Panasonic and TESLA.

Any clarifying information would be helpful.  Please comment below.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Crater Lake Aurora Borealis

Where is my internet? It seems like the internet has been shrinking lately into corporate content feeds somehow generated by people but edited and curated by machine learning algorithms. Stephen Dubner and John Oliver have been tackling this issue lately. I'm going to continue writing this but updating the post as I think about it. Essentially the hayday of the internet for me was a place online to geek out. I want to find the corners of the internet that have become hidden to me. Where are my friends writing? Where's the good stuff? Help me find the internet again! I see, right over there on the revolving globe ----> The only entity reading this right now other than me is Google in Mountain View, California. I found this video of the aurora borealis captured over crater lake through a facebook friend. A lot of the most interesting content comes at me through Facebopok these days.