Rethinking efficiency – it’s not an engineering problem, sometimes it’s a mental blockage

Rethinking efficiency – it’s not an engineering problem, sometimes it’s a mental blockage

I once read about a very clever fellow who devised an extremely simple but effective home heating system. He laid some hoses on the ground, open at one end some distance from his house, and the other ends running into the windows. He piled manure on the hoses, which decomposed as manure does and threw […]

The original green vs. the new green – like most things, the purists’ vision gets lost

The original green vs. the new green – like most things, the purists’ vision gets lost

I had a scientific and highly intelligent uncle, a curious inventor type. To the average person, he was just another kook, because the mainstream likes the mainstream for a reason. Though he could afford much more, he drove the most efficient vehicle he could find that functionally fit his needs. He knew when to shift […]

Banning gasoline-power in inner cities is a win for air quality and a non-event for fossil fuel usage

Banning gasoline-power in inner cities is a win for air quality and a non-event for fossil fuel usage

I love cars, I love driving, and I love the freedom that the automobile has brought us. There is something universally appealing about that freedom, which is the reason there are 2 billion cars on the road and climbing.   But in the heart of big cities, I hate cars and I hate driving. Cycling […]

Some problems can never be solved – will clean energy be one of them?

Some problems can never be solved – will clean energy be one of them?

There are many things we do every day that are plain stupid. Things that are dangerous to our short term or long term well being, or our very life. And we are quite comfortable living that way if the odds of harm seem low enough.   There are countless examples around every day, if you […]

A butterfly’s wings might start a tornado, but that doesn’t mean the energy world works that way

A butterfly’s wings might start a tornado, but that doesn’t mean the energy world works that way

The butterfly effect, a function of chaos theory, speculates that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can eventually cause a tornado in Texas. Some theorists demonstrated how this would be, that the wind vortices generated were necessary to get the (much bigger) snowball rolling.   This isn’t a particularly useful theory because it’s not […]