Last night as usual, I let Katie out into the front yard to go to the bathroom before we go to bed. She doesn’t like to go in the backyard. Then she stands around for a while until I go get Austin. Austin goes right away and I let him back in. Then Katie will go and we will go back in. Except last night when Katie and I were going back in the door seemed to be locked. I wondered if maybe Austin had locked us out. Katie has done this before by jumping up on the door and hitting the deadbolt, but this was the door knob.
Yesterday I did a bunch of reading about wind power on Wikipedia. After initially finding out that the largest wind farm in the world was one in Texas that I’d never heard of, I found out that a new one in California that is still under construction is producing more power. So clearly the Wind Farms article I had read was out of date, while the article about California’s Alta Wind Energy Center had the latest number. Because I had been misled, I felt like the Wind Farms article should be updated, so I went in and edited it. But it’s Wikipedia so they like you to add sources to back up any facts you add, so I had to get the source from the other article and add it to this one. Then it turned out they mentioned that same factoid about the world’s largest where they talked about Wind Farms in the United States. Since I was using the same source, I learned about naming a source so it is easier to recall, which is fine because I like learning new things.
I’ve always thought windmills were pretty cool. I think I just like the idea of free power. When I drove out to Los Angeles, I wanted to try and drive through one of the biggest wind farms in the country that is near there, but didn’t make it. On a windjammer cruise there was a windmill up on top of a hill of one of the islands we visited (great idea for an island since otherwise they would have to import fuel and they already have plenty of wind). When I went to Ireland, there were windmills all over the place and I took pictures and video of them. As part of the European Union, Ireland has a goal of producing 22% of its power from renewable sources which would include wind, solar, and hyro, but the biggest renewable source would be wind. They never made 22%, but they had an intermediate goal of 13.2% and in 2010, got to 11%. But since power demand and wind are not consistent, wind has sometimes supplied as much of 50% of their demand at one particular moment (probably of low demand and a nice wind).
Some of the biggest wind farms in the world are in the US. California started some massive wind farms in the 70’s that are still operating. The one near LA is called San Gorgonio Pass, with 3,218 windmills producing 615 megawatts of power. The Tehacapi Pass Wind Farm produces 705 megawatts. But the biggest concentration of windmills is the Altamont Pass with 4,930 windmills producing 576 MW. The older windmills are much smaller and produce less power each. They were trying a lot of things early on including egg beater windmills that spin no matter which way the wind is blowing, one-armed giants, and variable pitch blades that adjust to the strength of the wind and can withstand potentially damaging winds by slicing through the wind instead of catching it. The fast-spinning older windmills also made a lot of noise and kill a lot of birds.
Recently I had been reading up about LED light bulbs, including the award-winning L Prize Bulb. For a few years they have been saying that LED bulbs would replace compact fluorescent bulbs as LED bulbs get more efficient and less expensive. However, I’m not sure that has happened yet. LED bulbs are still significantly more expensive than CFL bulbs, but LED bulbs aren’t all that much more efficient. They do have some other advantages over CFL bulbs in that LED bulbs don’t get dimmer over the years. And LED bulbs don’t contain mercury. Although I haven’t had any problems with my CFL bulbs, turning them off and on frequently can shorten their lives and some bulbs don’t come at full brightness. So LED’s don’t suffer from any of those things. Continue reading
Since most flashlights use LED’s now, I have learned a lot about LED’s over the last couple of years. And in my house I have gotten rid of almost all of my incandescent bulbs and replaced them with compact fluorescent bulbs. I was an early adopter of CFL bulbs, buying them one at a time when they were $15-20 each. Now you can get them way cheaper. Using about 25% of the energy of an incandescent bulb, they pay for themselves in power savings in a year or two. And they rarely burn out, so you don’t have to change them nearly as often. Continue reading
Maybe the first time I learned about getting draft beer to go was at Jeb’s birthday party last year when Nicole brought her dad a beer growler from a store in Athens that fills up jugs of beer to take with you. Later on at a brew pub in Wilmington, NC. A person brought in a jug to be filled from the tap. They had some kind of special bottle washing machine that looked pretty neat. They had a really cute bartender in shorts and a tank top who seemed to have a tattoo that started on her shoulder and went down to her thigh . . . well, I digress. They had a few different beers on tap that they made themselves. I wound up with a Belgian Tripel, which I picked because I like Belgian wheat beers. All the beers came in glasses specifically meant for that particular beer, but what I didn’t realize is the Tripel is a very potent beer (9.3% alcohol instead of the usual 5.5%) and they serve it in a tiny little glass. It was good though. My friends got manlier glasses of beer after getting their wives to let them come to the brewery with me instead of shopping.
Yesterday I posted a blog entry of a flashlight review I wrote at BudgetLightForum. BLF has an editing tool that is like a little word processor with toolbar buttons, but you can also view the HTML it is creating and edit that if you really need to. It uses some unnecessarily complicated HTML tags (SPAN tags, particularly), so when I bring everything over, I edit the HTML by doing a bunch of find and replace commands to get rid of the funky tags. When I am done, the HTML is pretty clean and then I can cut and paste the HTML into WordPress using its HTML editing instead of its Visual editing mode.
One thing I really don’t like about that whole WordPress Visual/HTML editing thing is if you have certain tags that you put into a blog entry, they will be eliminated if you go to Visual mode. Because WordPress remembers the last editing mode you were in, sometimes if you go to edit an entry, it will default to Visual mode and the tags will disappear.