An Army of Thumb
"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."
CINCOZ celebrates her birthday today, so we honored the occasion with a "cocktail party / Sex & the City movie night". Mind you, CINCOZ is not one for imbibing whilst expecting -- so I ensured that her want of a Cosmopolitan was duly noted on her shirt:
Well, O.K., maybe not. But Andrew Exum (nom de guerre Abu Muqawama, literally "Father of Battle") is hanging up his keyboard.
Today TVA (the nation's largest public utility) provides energy throughout a seven-state region. And while hydrodynamic power was their initial charter, today hydro accounts for barely 6% - compared to 20% from their six nuclear plants, and more on the way.
In the photo, Cong. Zach Wamp [R-TN 3rd, on the left] listens as Jack Bailey (VP for Nuclear Generation & Development at TVA) tells about their efforts to (1) build new plants to meet growing demand in a carbon-neutral manner, (2) take advantage of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's new "Combined Construction & Operating License" procedures, and (3) close the nuclear fuel cycle so that solid waste is minimized why fuel use is maximized.
While I'm optimistic about the promise of microsolar and local (distributed) electricity generation, I believe that nuclear is an essential gap-filler while we await the commercial viability of mass-produced solar arrays.
I figure that our electricity use (even after launching EMC2 LLC as a home-based business) is about
5-6kW 2-3kW steadystate, or 30 15 m^2 of solar panels with current photovoltaic efficiency and battery capabilities [Correction note: we use about 24,000 kWh per year, or 70 kWh per day; I have corrected my mental math errors above.]. Ironically our carbon footprint has diminished greatly - largely due to the lack of a daily commute.
Technology, driven by consumer demand as the middle class in India and China grows in the coming years, will lead us to cheap, ubiquitous electricity in our lifetimes. It is gratifying to see the dual-pronged approach of local and capital generation alive and well in the Tennessee Valley (which includes the Oak Ridge National Lab, where Dr. Dana Christensen - seated below on the left - is ably leading the Energy & Engineering Sciences Directorate).
This place is *booming*: nearly 13% job growth since 2000, nearly all high tech jobs in aerospace and defense. FY09 budgets for tenant commands at the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal total nearly $30 Billion, with more than 36,000 government employees and another 30,000 industry.
Congressman Zach Wamp [R-TN 3rd] is already on the scene, as a tireless advocate for the "Innovation Valley" of East Tennessee, and Senators Alexander, Sessions and Corker are due later in the week.
Oh, and a keynote address tomorrow morning by Dr. T.P.M. Barnett.
One of the most significant naval battles of the modern era took place this day, May 27th, in 1905, in the Straits of Tsushima between Japan and the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.
Though it has culturally become the "beginning of summer", Memorial Day's roots are far more somber. President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (November 1863) is considered by some to be the first observance. Less than two years later, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close, two acts of charity many miles apart sowed the seeds for our present-day observance: In Waterloo, New York, a druggist named Henry Welles promoted the idea of decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers with wreaths; and in many communities across the nation Women's Auxiliaries of the North and South shifted their attention from care to families and soldiers to preserving and decorating the graves of the fallen -- regardless of their "side".
Packing was greatly simplified (grab all three TuffBins of camp gear, put in bed of truck). Sleeping is more comfortable with the raised queen-sized air mattress. And breakfast includes campsite espresso (see photo above)! Which is exactly what I needed to spool me up for a pickup game of flag football with nearby campers.
Today we'll hike and swim, then return home tomorrow for an afternoon Memorial Day cookout.
While John Robb pens his next book on Resilient Communities, and Mother Penguin & my fellow Eagles at the National Institute of Urban Search and Rescue plan for GOLDEN PHOENIX this summer in the Southwest, WIRED magazine offers a dozen pieces of survival gear "just crazy enough to work".
Back in September I wrote a post entitled "Climate Change: Yes, But Why?". My premise was that, while "climate change" is clearly occurring, the issue of causality needs more attention.
Author and blogfriend John Robb (of Global Guerillas) has done some fascinating "horizontal thinking" lately, tying the concept of "resilience" to thermodynamics. Yesterday's 'blogpost (entitled "Dissipative Structures") combines entropy and complexity -- with special attnention given to the concept of "scale" in complex systems.
On the topic of thermodynamics, remember that entropy can be controlled -- but it takes work to do so (otherwise it would be impossible to make ice, an organized lattice of hydrogen-bonded water molecules, from a disorganized liquid).
Organizations are formed in order to accomplish tasks more efficiently. While it is a staple of GG and your own JR blogs (and BNW) to note the declining role of the nation-state, it is worthwhile to remember WHY our nomadic species settled into agrarian communes: because it was more efficient. Therefore, urban centers arose because that was the BEST way to accomplish the tasks required in a civilization dependent on industrialization. Similarly, nation-states were the most efficient mechanism for providing for common defense while creating -- and regulating -- markets in the post-Renaissance era. The former political structures based on the church and the "Divine Right of Kings" were discarded, and we adapted to the new norms.
Have nation-states recently exceeded some threshold of efficiency? Or are there better examples for how we can organize to live, work and play without further disruptions to our environment?
RCs may just be one case -- and I hope you will more fully develop this theory in your forthcoming RC book. It probably deserves and entire section, rather than just a lone chapter.The premise should be how can we best abide by the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (Energy is always conserved) while also allowing the core social structures to thrive within our environment.
First place went to baseball teammate Ian (center, whose speed is obviously being wasted at shortstop), while best friend and other teammate Stephen was just a few seconds behind Man-Cub.
A great day to run, with partly cloudy skies and temps in the high 60°s - far more comfortable than this week's record-breaking heat wave in San Francisco (where it reached 97° F. yesterday!).
Earlier this week Stan Wasserman at Harvard's "Complexity and Social Networks Blog" posted a rant about how he's " ... beginning to despise the word 'social' in 'social networks', 'social networking', 'social software', and so forth ......"
Überblogger and 'blogfriend Dan Abbott (of tdaxp) has published his first book: Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) Against the Roman Empire, and the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Campaign to Save It. It's on sale now on Amazon.
Both Caiaphas and Diocletian sought to preserve the status quo. For Caiaphas, appeasing Rome was his primary objective: a rogue rabbi who preached of other-worldly gifts would have reflected poorly upon him and his hierarchy. Diocletian clearly understood the management complexities of so vast an empire, and seemed to adeptly address many of the most-pressing ills that plagued the Empire (poor civic participation, an army spread thin on the borders with little to no interior defenses) despite his rampant cronyism (particularly in the establishment of the Tetrarchy). But for the first 18 years of his reign Diocletian was unconcerned about the "Christian threat" – and if it not for Galerius would likely have never ordered the Great Persecution.
Dan also provides another benchmark in the evolving theory of the “generations of war”, to wit his development of a taxonomy to differentiate between the various generational constructs. Though I disagree with his assertions that the “0th” (zeroth) generation connotes a form of “total war” and that 3rd generation warfare connotes “better minds”, Dan brings value by identifying possible relationships across the xGW generations and inviting further dialogue.
This is perhaps the greatest utility of Revolutionary Strategies: proffering novel ideas in order to provoke debate. Just as the spiritual values of the Romans were initially at odds with the splinter Jewish sect we now call Christians, the different cognitive approaches of Islam and Christianity – one society favoring creativity and innovation, the other cherishing rote memorization – will have similar consequences for our own unfolding century.
The team at NECSI has formally launched "WorldHall" -- one part Wiki, one part 'Blog, one part Voting Booth, all bound together to spur ideas to actions.
Dear Colleagues,I want to tell you about a new web resource that can be of real service to the breastfeeding community and beyond. World Hall enables us to discuss policy issues, identify who can do something about them, propose actions and vote ---- to have our voices heard by those in positions to implement change.This is a unique opportunity: World Hall is being launched in the breastfeeding community. Actions regarding ban the bags, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding in the workplace, insurance coverage for lactation services and others are already posted on World Hall.World Hall is different than a breastfeeding listserv or blog. We will be joined in the conversation by activists in other areas allowing for cross conversation and voting, enriching all involved. Our active engagement in World Hall will raise the visibility of breastfeeding to all who are listening to and conversing on World Hall. World Hall is free and non-commercial. It was developed by students at the New England Complex Systems Institute (necsi.edu) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The is a great example of a major player that is watching the system and paying attention to the actions proposed and discussed.------------------------------------------Your active engagement in World Hall will help to raise the visibility of the issues we all work on every day. Please vote, add new actions, comments, and identify new issues and players. Share World Hall with others.The site is at:I look forward to meeting you there.
Naomi Bar-Yam Ph.D.
Mothers' Milk Bank of
The American Red Cross provides disaster relief, health and safety training, and emergency support for members of the armed forces. Since they receive no federal funding, these services are dependent upon donations from our communities. Visit http://www.redcross.org for more information, or to make a donation of money or your time.
Together, we can save a life!
The overall winner was a 14 year old boy who clocked a 5:34 mile, and an 8 year old boy next to us at the start had recently run a 5k in 26:19 (his mile time today: 7:19).
While the 8 year old competition was stiff (the photo above was Man-Cub pacing an 8 year old at the finish), our J-Man's 8:25 time - a Personal Record for the mile - was good enough for a gold medal, 1st place finish!
Hmmm... Immediate reaction (at 0230 after the midnight screening of Speed Racer) is that the Wachowski Brothers -- of Matrix fame -- have started to emulate Stanley Kubrick in their artistry.
F/X, as expected, were extraordinary. And the "campiness" factor was preserved (though the panning head-shot scene transitions got tiresome after the 57th time). At 138 minutes, there were some way-too-lengthy "character development" scenes that could have been pared down.
All in all, a fun movie that was true to the spirit of Tatsuo's original animated series. Some of my first memories are of watching Speed Racer at my Grandpa's house with my cousins. The Wachowskis did those memories proud.
Last year, Eldest of Oz was a fourth grader - so I talked "nuclear" for the more advanced students in that class. This year, Man-Cub is a 1st grader - so I brought the 5" Maksutov-Cassegrain and talked astronomy.
We have some smart kids in this school, who quickly grasped the concept of "Doppler Shift" (and easily refuted my test hypothesis that, based on simple observations, the sun goes around the earth).
More than half of all students (K-4) participated in this week's Science Fair, too. Since it was optional for K-2, I see this as a very promising indicator of the science savvy of our next generation!
Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of México's victory over Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Though it is virtually ignored in México (other than in the state of Puebla, just east of Ciudad de México), it has been celebrated for more than 140 years in the U.S. state of California.
According to ClustrMaps, Oz has logged its 25,000th visitor since we started counting back in August. Thanks for making us part of your RSS feeds!
Eldest of Oz concluded a week of performances with her middle school talent show this evening.