Slate discusses one of the most pernicious extant threats to our electrical grid, one that costs the US millions annually in power outages...Squirrels. (SLSlate)
The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
"This map lists all unclassified Cyber Squirrel Operations that have been released to the public that we have been able to confirm. There are many more executed ops than displayed on this map however, those ops remain classified."
Thirty two years ago this weekend, Bobbi Campbell and his partner, Bobby Hilliard appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine, most notable because the two men, embracing, were living with AIDS. [more inside]
I want to demonstrate how amazing combinatorial explosion is! Please don't stop me. An animation about numbers that get large. It has a happy ending and possibly even a moral. [more inside]
Catgrid. A grid of cats.
Alcazar is a neat little path-finding logic game. There are also printable puzzles, strategy tips and metapuzzles to be had. [more inside]
Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries and advanced compressed air are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
Hexels is a unique grid-based art tool for PC and OS X that has garnered some acclaim from game developers for its retro digital aesthetic. See what people are making in Hexels, or try it yourself for free. [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
FYI, we came close to losing the power grid back in 2012. What we? Oh, just the planet.
"While DC continues to race through San Francisco power lines at nearly the speed of light, it does so anonymously. You’ll find no reference to DC power distribution in PG&E’s annual reports or on its websites. Even some utility engineers are unaware of its existence, which raises a curious question: Why is the inheritor of this legacy, the mighty and sophisticated PG&E, still bothering with DC distribution 133 years later?" [more inside]
Let’s say you’re a writer, working a novel set in Minneapolis. Your protagonist arrives home after a long day of doing whatever it is your protagonist does all day. To this point, you’ve been very specific with local landmarks and a general feeling of the city — your protagonist rides the 21A, eats breakfast at the Grand Cafe, and meets his or her attorney in an office on the 12th floor of the Rand Tower. All good so far. You’ve set the scene very effectively. People are going to say, “This is a great Minneapolis novel" after they read it. However, the time has now come for you to insert a specific street address into the text. You like specifics, and you need a real-sounding mailing address for, say, a situation where the protagonist receives a mysterious letter. How will you accomplish this? Here you have a problem. You only have two options, neither one very good. [more inside]
'Lets Grid' is an online programming environment that is designed to get people into programming. I tried to strip away all of the complicated set-up that goes along with real-world programming and just give students the very basics they need to create cool things and share their creations with the world.
Hexagonal Grids. For when you have a game that needs grids that are made of hexagons.
An interactive demonstration of different algorithms for finding the shortest path from one point to another on a uniform grid. [more inside]
Audio recordings usually include a low-level background noise caused by electrical equipment. The hum contains small frequency fluctuations which are propagated consistently over entire power grids. By storing the pattern of grid-wide fluctuations in a database forensics experts are able to use the hum as a watermark. This can determine when the recording was made, where it was made and whether it was recorded in a single edit. [more inside]
A Post-Mortem on India's Blackout: IEEE Spectrum's energy, power, and green tech blog gives an excellent overview of what led to the devastating blackouts that occurred in India on July 30th and 31st leaving more than 600 million people (approx 10% of the world's population) without electricity. Bonus: BBC's Soutik Biswas gives us 10 interesting factoids on India's power situation to chew on.
Free online graph paper generators: variations of squares, triangle, rhombus, and hexagonal, circular and polar, for drawing, gaming, writing, note-taking and much more. Blank Sheet Music (Flash) for all arrangements (PDF). Create and edit your own grids, probability and logarithmic graphs, petri-dish inserts and storyboards. Also, multilingual monthly and yearly calendars. Plus, more than you ever wanted to know about ISO paper dimensions and printable paper models of polyhedra. Prev-ious-ly.
Harold Cooper’s Extend New York takes New York City to extremes, by extrapolating every street and avenue of the Manhattan grid to whole planet. What subway line stops at your front door, wherever you are? Why do all Avenues terminate in Shaytankuduk?
Beautiful Type is a patchwork of photos and illustrations having a relationship with typography. AisleOne is focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism. iABC is a collection of beautiful letters. Inspiration Bit has a nice archive of articles about web typography. Nicetype is about fonts, logos, posters and software. Twenty-Six Types celebrates the beautiful letters. Typenuts is type-themed iPhone and desktop wallpapers. Typoretum is about typography, letterpress and printing history. Enjoy.
How Manhattan’s Grid Grew. Interactive New York Times map comparing 1811 New York with present day, plus other cool historical stuff. Huzzah, as the kids say.
PuzzGrid is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
According to an article posted in today's Wall Street Journal, the electricity grid in the U.S. has been compromised by foreign spies, leaving it vulnerable to disruption. Last year, the CIA acknowledged that the system had been compromised and that the goal had been extortion. In response, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission issued new cybersecurity specs for the power grid, to which companies such as GE have begun responding. But could it be that the new security efforts are motivated by government officials who stand to gain by this attempt at drastically increasing government control over the Internet? [more inside]
It's a grid. You play with it. (flash)
It's a grid. You play with it. (flash)
The Dervaes Institute is an 'off the grid' homestead in Pasadena, CA and supports 4 adults full time. It also produces 3 tons of produce annually. It's all run from solar panels and biodiesel. Over 350 different plants and a handful of farm animals thrive on a 1/5 acre lot, not too far from the middle of Los Angeles. An 'urban homestead' indeed!
Anyone smell a conspiracy? London and the South East gets hit by a massive power cut in a similar way to New York and the surrounding areas. Complaints from authorities in both cities of "under-investment in the National Grid " and talk of "antiquated infrastructure" strangely mirror each other and it's odd that these two extremely rare events have happened so close together. Was this a deliberate test of our emergency infrastructures, terrorism or just plain coincidence?
Popular Power has released version 0.1.1 of its Worker software. It works kind of like SETI@home, except that the computing power can be organized to work on things like Influenza vaccine research, and they plan to compensate you for the cycles they use.