Sunday, September 26, 2010

BYBS: Muse

Ancient Well by
This is the place within each one of us where creative ideas come from.  What does one call it?  Creative spirit?  Creative impulse?  Your muse?

Akira, an old Japanese anime, had an interesting way of putting it:

A human being, you know, achieves a whole lot of things in a lifetime, right?  Like discovering things and making things like houses and motorbikes and bridges and towns, rockets.  Where does that tremendous knowledge and energy come from?

The thing is that there seems to be a never-ending supply of this stuff too.  For some people like Mozart or a Turing or Einstein these are world shaking ideas or great works of art.

Of course, there's the other side of the spectrum, occupied by people like me.

(Muse): World peace.
(Me): Whirled peas!
(Muse): I said WORLD PEACE!
(Me): Eye see whirled peas!
(Muse): Never mind...idiot.

OK, so not all of the stuff that comes from a muse is good, especially when it has to go through a somewhat less than perfect lens, but what's important is that everyone has a limitless supply of ideas.  Like this one I have about whirled peas...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

BYBS: The Great Outdoors

As you might expect from a total nerd, I don't spend a whole lot of time outdoors.  Nevertheless, I do occasionally venture into the great outdoors.  The past couple of weeks have been especially good for this so I thought I'd share an image or two from what I have managed to get out and see.

Somewhere, up in the mountains, near a pond
Somewhere else, up in the mountains, with some trees
Another place, up in the mountains, near a mountain

 Yes, I wax poetic when commenting on pictures...I really do.  But the views really were rather nice.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Normally I don't promote sites but this week was different: I was desperate for a topic.

At any rate, is actually a pretty cool site, since it allows you to, well, meet up with other people who are interested in the same sort of stuff that you are.  That is, face to face, in the real world meetings instead of any of this virtual stuff.

Especially for people like me who are completely introverted and have the social skills of a hibernating grizzly, you can get together with other, introverted people who have no social skills at all.

Like to write?  There's a group.  Interested in investing?  There's another group.  Like to play Talisman with special house rules that govern eating pretzels and whether a person chooses craft or physical?  Well...I don't know for a fact that a group exists, but if there is, then they probably know about it.

I've tried a few groups and, as with anything else involving random groups of people, you get a mixed bag.  It is, however, nice to know that there are other folks out there who are also into the same stuff as you.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

BYBS: Geobacter

The Geobacter Project is about
  • Using electricity to create fuels via bacteria
  • Using fuels to create electricity via bacteria
This is a gross simplification of the details, but it is about how people used their cleverness for making the world a better place instead of blowing each other up or causing a financial collapse.

Geobacter is about using naturally existing bacteria (for example, one was taken from the mud in a river outside of Washington DC) that have the ability to convert certain chemicals directly into electrical energy.  What's more, they do this with very good (50%+) efficiency.  What is even more interesting is that you can also use bacteria to convert electrical power directly into fuel or other useful chemicals. 

A common problem with renewable energy is that if you have a surplus at one point in time (say during the day) you cannot easily and efficiently store it.  There are schemes for doing this, such as batteries or using the energy to pump water uphill for later power generation, these sorts of approaches tend to be inconvenient or wasteful.  Batteries require a lot of space, for example, and pumped storage really requires the power generation site to be located near the reservoir.

If, and this is a big if, something like the Geobacter Project turns out to be feasible on a large scale, then it countries like the USA could become more energy independent.  Furthermore, the process consumes as much carbon dioxide as it produces, so it is fairly environmentally friendly.

While the promise of something like this is good, the fact that people are capable of directing their ingenuity towards making the world a better place is the real blessing.