Friday, February 21, 2014

Found the damndest thing in Delta: ECG Utah Solar 1

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I've been a field producer on local independent journalist/CL contributor Rhiannon Fionn's investigative documentary project called Coal Ash Chronicles for the past two or so years. Back in November, the project took video journalist Kevin J. Beaty and I out to Delta, Utah, to do a profile piece on nearby Millard County's Intermountain Power Project's coal ash beneficial re-use practices. While we were out in the desert, we found the damndest thing: ECG Utah Solar 1. It's a 300MW solar power facility in the works that is tapping into a coal power plant's infrastructure to bring renewable energy to six municipalities in Southern California, L.A. being the largest.

Considering North Carolina's coal ash woes, thanks to the massive Duke Energy spill into the Dan River a couple of weeks ago, West Virginia's before and after that, ECG Utah Solar 1 offers a model for communities beginning to actively look past coal power. We decided to take a second trip back to Millard County just to cover the creation of what will one day be one of the nation's largest solar power plants. Here's what we found.:

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Massive solar energy spill grips California!: Ivanpah Solar Project opens

Sunshine was seen dripping everywhere as the world's largest solar power plant promises to power 140,000 homes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM

During the madness of the Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River, some good energy news emerges. Ivanpah Solar Project, the world's largest photovoltaic solar plant, opened yesterday, promising to power 140,000 homes with renewable energy.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Call for beta testers for Next Glass

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Who doesn't love a good call for beta testers? In my opinion, being a beta tester is one of the best parts of technology: the opportunity to shape the things that interest us. Next Glass, the up-and-coming Wilmington, N.C., startup/appdev company that offers suggestions on wine and beer selections based on science from data the user provides about what they like. They've got a call out for beta testers, and for those of us who like a good nightcap, this is a super fun, get-in-while-you-can, opportunity to shape what has potential to be a really helpful app.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Free coding classes, thanks to Treehouse and the Library

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Treehouse, the most excellent online platform that offers informative videos to learn iPhone and Android app development, website building, business building and coding skills (like Ruby on Rails), has partnered with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library to share its monthly service (usually $9-$25) to citizens with a library card, free.

A bold move in very much the right direction for the library and the tech startup, the service began yesterday.

You can click here to visit the Library's login page to get access.

For those looking for more details before signing up, here are some of the things you can learn using Treehouse.

This is an excellent opportunity to get out and learn something, even if you never leave your home. There is no age restriction, no cost, no fees. It's there when you're ready to learn.

For more commentary, follow me on Twitter @dbirdy, for more photos peep my Flickr, if you're into the travel philosophy thing read my website, and to see a bunch of random and fun travel videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Zero, zilch, none and no part of this post is sponsored by any of the above mentioned company or companies, nor would I ever present such a thing.

(Teaser image credit:

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Exfoliate it!: How to purge tech leftovers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Did you get new tech for the holidays and now your old tech is laying around? What other options are available besides reselling? There are plenty of ways to get rid of old tech besides shipping it somewhere.

1) Regift it - One thing Gazelle does have correct is that if the item is sitting in a drawer gathering dust, it's not doing any good. Younger people often don't have tech or the money to upgrade what they already have. Why not give it to a local kid (after you get parental permission, of course) or younger relative to use?

2) Craigslist it - Price compare with other people selling the same item(s) and list your own competitively. Sure, your email will blow up with people wanting to give you $5 for that old iPhone 4S but somewhere in the madness you might make a decent dollar once you filter the cheap-o emails out.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nomadism: On not being sorry about anything

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM

A lot of people ask me the same two questions over and over again: "How can I be a travel writer?" or "How can I become a nomad?"

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Water cooler swag: Bitcoin mining?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The crypto-currency Bitcoin, which has skyrocketed in value over the last two quarters, has developed a teratoma called mining and ooh, is it futuristically weird. From Bloomberg Businessweek:

As with an actual precious metal, Bitcoins are in limited supply - they must be "mined." Unlike with precious metals, this mining is done purely by computer. Miners set their machines to run a series of complex calculations that tally up and certify all the transactions of other Bitcoin holders around the world. If the miner's computers complete these calculations and solve a complex mathematical puzzle before anyone else, he earns about 25 Bitcoins as payment. It's a nice haul: With the price of each Bitcoin nosing up near $1,000, that's $25,000 for 10 minutes or so of work. For the moment at least, miners are the rare grunts who can also get rich.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

#nerdgasm: Charlotte Startup Weekend 5

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Charlotte Startup Weekend 5 kicks off Jan. 24 at Packard Place. The ever boisterous Charlotte startup community will come together again to make startup magic in the favorite community space. As per usual, the outcomes are certain to be excellent. Last year yielded HarvestGeek, Mike Alt's brainchild that could end world hunger, which was featured on Fast Company.

From the Charlotte Startup Weekend website:
...anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it's a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
Tickets run between $20 and $99, depending on participation level and type. If you have a dream of owning your own business and your resolution this year is to make it happen, this is the place you want to be on Jan. 24.

More info:

For more commentary, follow me on Twitter @dbirdy, for more photos peep my Flickr and to see all videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Buying legal weed in Colorado with a North Carolina ID

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Despite the naysayers warning of apocalypse, Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales yesterday sans pot pandemonium. I took a stroll over to Alternative Medical Supplies in Black Hawk, Colo., to see what exactly is going on here. And, let's be honest, to find out how much weed I can buy with my North Carolina ID.

  • Photo: Desiree Kane

Approaching the dispensary, I was shaking. It feels really counter-intuitive to walk into an establishment selling what you know and have always known to be illegal. Despite the jitters from the general anxiety as well as the snow, here's what I found out from Abigail at the counter and her co-workers:

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Long-term travel truth: One in, one out

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 8:24 PM

One in, one out. It's a concept not a lot of us here in the United States really flirt with much. It means when you bring one thing into your life, you exfoliate another right on out of it and oh my, is it liberating.

I started this one in, one out thing rather randomly this time last year. I was getting ready to travel for some weeks and started to realize that I had duplicates, triplicates and sometimes even, unfortunately, quadruplicates of things. Stuff that didn't even matter, really. Not enough to have multiples of. Example: Bobby pins. I had 5 containers of them. Why? Another example: iPhone 4G charging cables. Oh my word, I was swimming in charging cables.

The whole situation was downright ridiculous. I had all of this crap I was schlepping around that didn't mean anything to me sentimentally or otherwise so... why did I possess it? I resolved to purge all but the most sentimental or highest quality of the items.

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