Couchsurfing? Of Course!

Couchsurfing? Of Course!


I want to write about Couchsurfing.org today.

Shortlink… http://wp.me/pfF9G-1mZ

If you are unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, or CS for short, it is an¬†on-line¬†community for “travelers” whom find more enjoyment in meeting people and exchanging their culture with each other as they travel or while they are at home. ¬†There are two main aspects of CS; 1) a Surfer, and 2) a Host.

Basic needs of shelter met, freedom to have fun with fellow CSers was had.
Basic needs of shelter met, freedom to have fun with fellow CSers was had even though we use Foursquare to keep in touch daily. (That’s me!)

A Surfer, like me right now, is a person or several people traveling with each other, who in exchange for a safe place to sleep free of charge, offer their perspectives on their native culture; their experiences in traveling; the activities they enjoy, such as cooking or playing a musical instrument; funny stories of their lives; their knowledge of a different language, etcetera; or any combination of the above.  In other words, a Surfer offers of themselves something that cannot be measured in terms of money or a hard value, in exchange for a place to sleep, a bed, a floor, a safe and secure sleeping location, or as the name implies a couch.

CS Reunion in Turkiye
We met via CS, but we’re in contact across the miles through Foursquare. Our reunion – Cagdas, Nadide [RadFoursquareNinja] & myself in Turkiye, 1.5 years later. ūüôā
The other side of the CS Community equation is a Host. ¬†The Host or Hosts are people, often travelers themselves, who when they are at home, desire to offer an extra bedroom, a safe living/sleeping arrangement, or a couch, to a Surfer, in exchange for the opportunity to learn of another place, another person, one of a million different cultures that exist on the planet we share. ¬†A couch, like a Surfer’s experience, knowledge, language or cultural understanding is offered free of charge.

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Hitting the Travel Wall

Hitting the Travel Wall


Hey all, just a “little” update for those wanting to know about my three months of travel around Europe.

I just spent the better part of 6 days in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and now the past five days in Sophia at a family’s home… Mostly just enjoying conversation with interesting people I met at the The Crib Hostel or with the friends and family of a woman I met at the famous “beach beer garden” discovered in Bonn, Germany. I have increasingly shied away from meeting ‘travelers on missions to check off another city or country’, as the stories are mostly the same, just with different twists and turns along the way. ¬†Stories I have fortunately lived in abundance over all the years of being addicted to travel.

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Why we travel…

Why we travel…


It’s a strange bit this traveling, just to travel, thing.

There’s a moment in The Motorcycle Diaries in which the Bolivian couple, struggling to find work and driven from their homes because of their political beliefs, ask Ernesto why [they] are traveling. The response, “We travel just to travel.” To which the reaction was a bit of shock, a bit of reflection and mostly an inability to understand this desire, craving and frankly, the luxury of being able to travel for no other purpose than to travel.

KennedyBridgeIn many regards I encounter this reaction often. In others, it is a bit of longing to do the same. And to those, whom share this condition, it is a deep connection where words are not needed, it is inherently understood.

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Natural Gas Realities – Now

Natural Gas Realities – Now


Shortlink – http://wp.me/pfF9G-aO

There is currently much “buzz” about methane releases from Natural Gas Exploration & Production (NG E&P), especially with regards to the buzzword friendly “Fracking” dominating all discussions. The NG industry is clearly “green washing” the public through slick advertisements, as it knocks off its primary competitor Coal, and has already surpassed Nuclear for electrical output in the US.

Historical generation of electricity in the USA, 1949 to 2011.  Source U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) via Wikipedia
Historical generation of electricity in the USA, 1949 to 2011. Source U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) via Wikipedia

The fact of the matter is, there are currently NG “Peaker” plants associated with almost all existing Coal and Nuclear plants, often on the same properties, owned and operated by the same generation company. This is really no different than many of our most famous hydroelectric dams being built with coal plants just out of view of the sweeping and magnificent concrete arches. Glen Canyon Dam, on the mighty Colorado River, and the 2,225 MW Navajo Generation Plant were paired in construction under the CRSP (Colorado River Storage Project) to mitigate water storage requirement priority over hydroelectric generation.

My use of the word “competitor”, when we discuss Natural Gas in contrast to Nuclear or Coal, becomes very much a gray area once we dig into the numbers of overall electrical production. But back to the topic of methane releases.

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Symbiosis, Life & Work

Symbiosis, Life & Work


Shortlink – http://wp.me/pfF9G-aI

Author’s Note:¬† A recollection and a reminder to what substandard company management can destroy through apathy and repetition of poor choices expecting different results.¬† I’m certain my position has been replaced, but that which I offered to the company and our customers, will never be replicated.¬† Forty years of company history reveals too many accounts of similar failings.¬† It is no wonder, having experienced progressive policies implemented by global and Fortune 500 companies often demonized by ideological progressives, that I walked away inherently disappointed by not being allowed to prove there are different ways to ‘skin the same cat’, many of which are much more effective.¬† Such is life, the travel and hands on experience with major global players will be missed, but the incompetence and self-serving motivations will not.

Getting naturally "high" over Georgia, meeting customers' needs with technological innovation and experience, while feeding my travel and adventure bug.  Symbiosis, life & work.
Getting naturally “high” over Georgia, meeting customers’ needs with technological innovation and experience, while feeding my travel and adventure bug. Symbiosis, life & work.

How do I say this simply while not understating the true implications of what exactly we do at Lightning Eliminators & Consultants? We provide an engineered, scientific solution, using a naturally occurring phenomenon, to minimize the probability to nearly zero of taking a lightning termination inside a designated area.

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Wind pulling a fast one on us?

Wind pulling a fast one on us?


I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn in the “Energy Innovation by Statoil” group about wind turbines being “unappealing” visually within the discussion brought about by a completely wide-open question “How do you feel about wind farms?”

If you would like to share, shortlink here… http://wp.me/pfF9G-ak

Obviously, that is a subjective question, setting the stage for far ranging arguments lacking substantiated reasoning.¬† This being akin to the common misunderstanding of billowing exhaust plumes at power plants thought to be laden with green house gases, pollution and toxic chemicals.¬† The reality being, most of the visible “offenses” are waste heat removal through water evaporation cooling, not the invisible fossil fuel combustion effluent as commonly believed.

It was also stated, wind farms can be the cause of drought, which initially caught me off guard as I have lived and breathed water issues the past 20 years and it is a major determinant in my self assessed classification as “A Westerner”. Water is in our blood, both figuratively and literally. A transplant, to the western US, can be easily identified based on their lack of understanding and comprehension of where their water comes from and exactly how precious it is to maintaining our lifestyles. “Water Wars” are not just some future post apocalyptic scenario, they have been fought for over a century here in the United States.

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Participate in My European Energy Adventure, August 6 to November 4th


Shortlink: http://wp.me/pfF9G-ad

I will be traveling around Europe for 3 months starting August 6th. So it is not all “fun and games”, I plan to dedicate substantial time to a personal project focused on energy supply and need, Europe as a case study.

It centers around a theory linking the successes [and shortcomings] in the transition towards more balanced energy portfolios; including renewable sources, as fueled by a home grown cultural “energy awareness”.

This may seem a “no-brainer” to Europeans experiencing it, however it is a significant departure from the realities present in the US and struggling to be realized around the globe.

Feeding the demands of growing cities, this transmission line could be supplying electricity from a PV farm, wind turbines a 100 miles away, or the NG peaker 5 miles away.  One can never tell.
Feeding the demands of growing cities, this transmission line could be supplying electricity from a PV farm, wind turbines a 100 miles away, or the NG peaker 5 miles away. One can never tell.

I also see commonalities in regional scarcities experienced historically throughout the EU, as significant limitations & realities to developing/under developed nations worldwide.

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Validation of Thoughts on European vs US Models


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It is nice to see a little validation in what I feel I am battling.

Taking Climate Policy Inspiration from the Danish by Adam Tiffen

A nice highlight of some of the key differences between the US model and that of the Danes, although this could be said of the European models in general.

How long until we recognize a focus on communal efforts for collective gains as opposed to idolizing individual achievements results in better overall outcome?

What I have seen working with global leaders in their industries here in the US is more consistent with the European business and social cultures, a drive for efficiency and a greater prioritization on accountability.

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Ending Energy Ignorance – Part III


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Now that we are here, what do we know?

“Solar”, regardless the generally considered meaning of it, as PV, also includes Wind, Ocean Currents, Hydroelectric and Solar Thermal, to name the primary forms we can harness to supply our needs.

Solar Thermal also has two distinct forms; one for the heating of water for residential and commercial needs, relatively common throughout much of the world and an idea that died during the 80s here in the U.S.; and another, super heating a fluid medium to spin a turbine producing electricity, the giant often circular plants full of mirrors and a central tower, made notable in Spain, Australia & the Mojave Desert of California.

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Residential PV’s Inherent Limitations


Author’s note: This is a beta format, temporary post. 7/23/14 I find myself needlessly having to explain these limitations countless times, effectively wasting time explaining the reality of PV to those unfamiliar with these real world limitations. Under current implementation trends, and infinite variability, residential solar rarely breaks a threshold of 30% nameplate capacity (adjust for region and day of the year) that can be considered baseload, reliable input to the grid.

Current trends, especially in the U.S., of PV’s effective implementation, are proceeding down a pathway that are counterproductive to maximizing our investments with the overall goal being to significantly reduce our release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Typical Colorado Neighborhood
Is a focus on residential the wisest, when existing construction, layout and shading magnifies the reductions in the overall effectiveness of the systems?

If we do not do this second part with an altruistic twist, those less fortunate will attempt to come up to our standards through whatever means possible. As seen in China, those “whatever” means will be through “cheaper” means, most likely conventional fossils fuels or enormously expensive large scale hydro.

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