In Large Type

brilliant ideas in a big font… often gay interest or political topics.

Archive for March, 2006

Fuel cells not a panacea

Posted by bert5 on 23 March 2006

I attended a Stanford talk on Fuel cell research. Hydrogen based fuel cells have been hyped as the next big thing. Operative word is hyped. What fuel cells do well is to very efficiently combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. Fuel cells have a theoretical efficiency of 80%. Fuel cells do this more efficiently than combusting hydrogen in an engine or turbine and driving a generator. A combustion engine is about 30% efficient. Still, some turbines can be 70-80% efficient. The main problem with fuel cells is how to obtain and store the hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen is the lightest gas and can easily escape the atmosphere into space. Because of this tendency to escape, molecular hydrogen (H2) doesn’t exist naturally on earth.

Some interesting data also presented is that the energy needs of the planet within the next century will grow to equal about 2% of the Sun incident energy on the planet. Doesn’t sound that big, but consider if we had 100% efficient solar cells (the best solar cells are currently ~20% efficient), we would need about 4 million square miles of solar collectors. I guess we are creating deserts pretty quickly with climate change from global warming, but still this is an enormous area to cover.

We definitely need more efficient consumption of energy…

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Another trip to Phoenix

Posted by bert5 on 9 March 2006

Sunday. I arrive in the afternoon, pick up my rental. This time my gold club works sort of. After looking at the list posted, I find my car and jump in. I drive off, but at the gate, the guy asks for my rental agreement. Wasn’t in the car. Figures. Hafta go back to the office. They give me a tank of gas for my trouble, so actually I’m happy! Head to the Phoenix Art Museum. Not a bad place. Their special impressionist exhibit is maybe 10 paintings. Still pretty nice. Someone from work calls and says I need to stay in town until Wednesday, instead of my planned Monday departure. Surprise to me. I’m going to be bored out here. My hotel room is actually nice — a suite overlooking the pool. A bunch of guys and a couple girls in the hot tub… Watch the oscars and get happy for Ang Lee winning Best Director. Surprised in the next moment when the racial drama in LA wins Best Picture, but not too sad.

Monday. I go to the office. Try to do some work. Do some shopping after work. Looking for swimming trunks, as I didn’t bring any and somehow have the urge to swim. Weather has been nice for it, 80s. Never been in a Nordstrom Rack. Not bad. I think maybe I bumped into 3 or 4 gay guys in there. They do have fashionable stuff, so makes sense. Bought some shirts. Make a mental note to see if there are any stores back home. Go swimming and soak in the hot tub. Nice. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in journal, travel | 2 Comments »

Interesting BusinessWeek Cover Podcast on Intel

Posted by bert5 on 2 March 2006

Subscribe to using iTunes. The Dec 29, 2005 Podcast covers the BW cover story on Intel.

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