Google Glass – Tomorrow’s Technology Today

The Google Glass concept has been around for quite some time but lately the search engine giant has made tremendous progress into making it a reality. In case you’re not familiar with Glass, long story short, this particular gadget takes the form of a pair of glasses that features a camera and something that we’d call a heads-up display, allowing the wearer to take pictures, record videos, share them on a social network and more. It’s basically one of the nerdiest gadgets I’ve seen in a while and since I’m a bit of a nerd myself, I’m absolutely loving it.

But getting back to the matter at hand, Google has recently published a new video, showing enthusiasts what it would feel like to use the Glass.

Google Glass - Looks Like An Amazing Experience

Google Glass – Looks Like An Amazing Experience

Alright folks, as mentioned above, Google has recently shared a new video that gives us a general idea of how it would feel to use this particular gadget. The entire video has been shot in first-person POV and what we’ve learned is that the Glass features voice recognition software, and that in order to make it do stuff, all you need to do is start a command by saying “ok, Glass”, followed by other instructions such as “take a picture”.

But Google Glass is more than just a glorified camera and it’s also able to show navigation, messages, search results, it allows the user to start hangouts, it can show weather information and more.

In case you’re excited about this particular gadget then you’ll also be happy to find out that the company has started a competition that will end sometime soon, giving enthusiasts the chance to be able and get their hands on the Google Glass ahead of its release, for the price of $1,500. Before you ask, this will most likely not be the price of the gadget once it officially goes on sale, but if you wish to be ahead of everyone, as always, you have to pay a bit more.

Check out the official Glass page for more details, hit that “play” button below and feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Google Glass Video discovered via G4Games.

Interesting Video About Renewable Energy

Donald Sadoway talking about renewable energy. Pretty interesting.

Courtesy of TED Videos

Renewable Energy Resources – Windows, Wind Generators and More

While renewable energy resources include ocean thermal energy conversion, waves generators, solar collectors, and others, this article will concentrate on windows, photovoltaic devices, biological sources, and wind generators, since I believe them to show the most promise for supplementing nuclear and conventional power on a national scale. Astonishing windows

Surely there could be few things more commonplace than a window. With modest improvements window technology has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. But windows allow the most direct and elegant use of renewable solar resources imaginable, and they play an astonishingly large role in national energy balances. Improved window designs could make a major contribution to the use of sunlight an an energy resource for heating and lighting buildings. Heat escaping through windows represents about 2.5% of the total energy consumed for any purpose in the U.S. Artificial lighting of buildings takes about 14% of all electricity produced in this country, about the same as the output of all our operating nuclear reactors. Air-conditioning consumes another 14% of the nation’s electricity; about a fifth of this load results from sunlight streaming through windows.

renewable-energy-window

What would the ideal window accomplish? First, it would substitute for as much artificial lighting as possible. During the winter, the window would allow as much of the sun’s energy to enter a structure as possible–being completely transparent to the black-body spectrum of the sum–and would be opaque to as much of the block-body spectrum of a heated room as possible. Thus, during the winter the ideal window would be transparent to most visible light while opaque to infrared. During the summer, it would allow only that portion of the sun’s spectrum useful for vision (roughly half of the energy received from the sun), while being opaque to infrared. Also, if the total transmittance of the window were adjustable, heating and lighting levels could be continuously adjusted to match demand. Research during the past decade is rapidly advancing the state of the art and many promising ideas are currently under test.

One problem of lighting is that most of the energy entering a typical light fixture heats the room it illuminates. Not only does this heat need to be removed in summer by air-conditioning, but even during the winter inefficient light bulbs are seldom an economical way to provide space heat. Conventional incandescent lights, for example, generate about 17 lumens per watt (lm/W). Standard fluorescent lamps are much better at about 66 lm/W, and advanced designs can achieve more than 80 lm/W. But sunlight provides about 104 lm/W and the blue sky that lights a northern window about 140 lm/W. A “perfect” light source–one whose output is matched perfectly to the light receptors of the human eye–would deliver about 200 lm/W. Thus sunlight provides not only useful light energy in a well-designed structure, it does so efficiently because it minimizes heat.

fluorescent-lamp

Experience suggests that the net requirement for lighting in commercial buildings can be reduced significantly by paying attention to day-lighting in the architecture and by automatically dimming artificial lights whenever sunlight is available. Sensors for adjusting the intensity of artificial lights to maintain constant lighting levels on interior surfaces, as sunlight varies, now are available in the ballasts of advanced fluorescent fixtures. Channeling sunlight

Natural lighting also can be enhanced by channeling sunlight to interior spaces. Sheets of acrylic mixed with appropriate dyes operating as an awning over southern windows can “pipe” light to dark areas. Light from internal scattering centers produced by the dyes in the acrylic is channeled much as it would be in a large fiber-optic cable. More-sophisticated light-guides are under investigation.

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Check Out This Interesting Concept

Hi everybody, my name is John Alighery and i am happy to announce that from now on i will be helping Neal with the “Technology” side of Standedwind. I come from an IT background and i will mostly talk about smartphones and tablets (mybe with the occasional Linux thrown in the mix), while letting the environmental staff to Neal. Ok, so let’s get this show on the road – my first topic is the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4.

We’ve made our first steps into year 2013 and I have the feeling that it’s going to be an interesting one for the mobile market. Well, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that the technology is moving forward, and much like we did at the beginning of 2012, we’re now looking forward towards the release of new top-of-the-range devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well as new mobile operating systems such as Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.

Speaking of both these upcoming releases, during the last quarter of 2012 a lot of information surrounding the Galaxy S4 has surfaced on the blogosphere. Whether or not all these leaks and rumors will turn out to reflect the reality remains to be seen, but today we’re going to take a look at a pretty interesting SGS4 concept that has been rendered based on all that previously leaked information. More details below.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Concept

Samsung Galaxy S4 Concept

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Will This Be It?

Rozetked has recently published a video depicting a vision of what the Samsung Galaxy S4 might turn out to offer once it hits the market later this year. So yes, it’s “fake” as in it’s obviously not an official video, but it’s a very good looking render and it might not be too far off from the truth.

Spec-wise nothing new is being revealed. The SGS4 in the video bears the model number GT-i9500 and the envisioned handset sports a 13 MP camera on the back, an edge-to-edge “Grand” AMOLED 1080p display, a 2 GHz dual-core CPU and Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie out of the box.
It’s also supposed to be thinner than the ongoing S3 as well as the iPhone 5 and comes with a physical home key button and a hyperglazed back panel (as far as I can tell).

Last but not least the creators of the video have also mentioned that the SGS4 will arrive with a projection laser keyboard dock included. I have to say that, although the design and the rest of the hardware-related information is not really that far-fetched, the idea of an included laser keyboard dock is a bit far off. Chances are this is not going to happen and it’s pretty amusing to see how this entire concept of a laser or “hologram keyboard” (previously rumored on the iPhone 5) is still present in these “concept videos”.

That’s pretty much all there is to it folks so feel free to check out the video below and share your thoughts with us.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Release Date

While there is nothing set in stone, we have a pretty good idea when the S4 will get released (not the exact date, but more like a time-frame). According to a website i stumbled upon when doing my research (galaxy s4 wiki – might sound official but it’s probably not), the Samsung Galaxy S4 release date might be scheduled for sometime during Q1 2013 (or early Q4).

There are also some pretty far fetched rumors – like Samsung might delay the S4 launch because Gorilla Glass 3 will only be ready for mass production in mid-2013 – so head to the above-mentioned website and check them out.

NOTE: Until you will find some official info regarding the Galaxy S4 release, don’t get too hyped up.

Unfortunately Earth’s Resources Are Finite – Everybody Should Be Aware Of That

CAN WE SUPPORT a technically advanced civilization indefinitely on a planet with finite resources? Answering this question is central to any national R&D energy program. Unless geologists have made a colossal error, it is reasonable to expect that world oil production will decline by the end of this century, and if consumption rates don’t fall sharply, the entire world petroleum resources will vanish 20 or 30 years afterwards.

Coal resources are much greater, but restraints will have to be imposed for environmental reasons. Industrial societies that rely on external sources of energy will not grind to a halt, but there is no question that the relationship of energy to economic development will undergo radical change.

Fusion Reactor

Fusion Reactor

The technologies emerging now, to provide power after world hydrocarbon resources are exhausted, include breeder and fusion reactors, and energy from geothermal resources. These promising energy sources can operate indefinitely without diminishing a fragile resource.

It is interesting to notice, however, that they all substitute a new heat source for the chemical fires that now boil water to operate turbines. This article concentrates on another set of energy technologies that are “renewable” in the sense that they derive power directly or indirectly only from sunlight.

Sunlight can heat or provide light for buildings directly. It can be converted directly to fuels using photosynthesis, and the cellulose and other products of this conversion reduced to liquid or gaseous fuels. It can be converted directly to chemical energy using synthetic photochemical devices and advanced catalysts, or it can be converted directly to electricity using photovoltaic equipment.

The energy in wind–generated by differential solar heating of the earth and atmosphere–can be captured using wind turbines. And the sun can be used to heat gas or liquids to temperatures where they can operate standard steam turbines. Notice that while many of these approaches also substitute a new technology for heating standard steam boilers (even wind-machines are turbines operating from a heated fluid), several of them convert energy in unique ways.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Theodore Taylor of Princeton Univ. points out that when you deal with a system based on physical principles vastly different from rotating heat engines, the costs of production will be remarkably higher or remarkably lower–there is no case for arguing that the cost in any way should be comparable. Cost versus energy is at the root of all new energy development, but the United States is in a peculiar situation. We have over-invested in new electric generating facilities, and new electricity from any source is not a particularly valued commodity in most areas (California being an important exception). Moreover, the crisis in liquid fuels that almost certainly will create major dislocations and economic problems by the end of the century seems to have disappeared from national attention for the moment. This is because of the nearly 25% decline in world oil prices measured in constant dollars that has occurred during the past two years (the price has actually increased in French francs).

This decline has generated a sense of confidence in the perpetual availability of liquid fuels and led to the collapse of most major synthetic fuel research and development programs, even though the absolute level of oil prices is till nearly four times higher than it was 15 years earlier. These forces have combined to undercut funding available for research on innovative energy technologies.

Financing renewable energy after the crash of ’08

When discussing financing of pending renewable energy projects I often make reference to the crash of 2008 and people give me a funny look. NBBooks over at The European Tribune has summed it up nicely in this recent posting. I’ve changed the format a bit and taken some small liberties with the original text to make it more readable, then I’ll expand upon what it means for renewable energy projects.

This diary is my humble little attempt to let these people know that the crash has already happened. It began in August. I guess they didn’t notice, but a number of financial markets have already collapsed.

First(1), of course, there was the derivatives based on sub-prime mortgages. That seems to be about where the common consciousness stops. But before U.S. Secretary Treasury Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (a.k.a., Captain Carnage) even lifted a finger to try and sort out the sub-prime mortgage mess, they first had to deal with the collapse of the market for (2)Structured Investment Vehicles. Since these two crises began last summer many other financial markets have also collapsed: (3)corporate junk bonds, (4)asset-backed commercial paper, (5)municipal bonds.

This last was saved just last week by New York State Insurance Commissioner Dinallo basically forcing Moodys, S&P and Fitch to give AAA ratings to the monolines insurers. All these markets have pretty much ceased functioning, with not even the banks that created some of this stuff willing to buy their own product. Financial institutions have also been disappearing, especially a number of hedge funds, the most recent being this past week: Peloton, a London-based hedge fund specializing in asset-backed bonds.

So, what does this mean for Freedom Fertilizer’s planned fifty to one hundred million dollar plant construction in either Graettinger or Superior, Iowa?

Not all that much directly, and I hope Iowans have been wise enough to avoid most of the indirect affects as well.

Unlike the speculative bubble in the housing market and all of the nonsense that has been spawned with borrowed money backed by these so called “assets”, Freedom Fertilizer’s project is based on commodities, and these are happy times for those who either hold or produce commodities.

There is a bit of news in the March 5th Debt Rattle over at The Automatic Earth that, while being quite ugly on a global scale, is very good for those of here involved in agriculture and energy, as long as we make the right moves right now.

If you read this what it is saying as that the dollar is going to be worth less (and perhaps worthless) at the rate things are going, but what people require will continue to hold its value. Everyone still needs to eat and this is a good thing for us.

We have some significant exposure on the energy front. The ammonia and associated derivatives used to fertilize the corn crop depend on natural gas and the fuel for harvesting is entirely crude oil based at this point. We need to fix those two things.

Ammonia is $800/ton right now and people are amazed at the high price. That will only get worse, as this recent study by Jon Freise indicates; Canada will run out of recoverable natural gas within the next seven years.

Although not immediately obvious, this has grim implications for our diesel supply, too. Right now the only reason Canada can export three million barrels of oil a day is that they’ve got the natural gas required to heat a Florida sized chunk of the province of Alberta up to five hundred degrees to get the tar out of the sand. Couple this fact with the impending closure of the million and a half barrel a day Cantarell field in Mexico and one can see where this is headed. There will come a day just like we had during world war II, where fuel will be rationed with critical industries coming first … but what happens between now and then? We can’t wait for the federal government to fix this, no, not even until next January. The time to start is now.