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hello world. my name is Ryan Alexander Boyles. often, it's pronounced the RAB. i'm into declarative living. i am a connector. this is my life-stream / tumblr / blog. call it what you will. find my sxsw posts. any questions, ask me anything! btw, here is a standard disclaimer.

 

wired:

In 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft left Earth on a five-year mission to explore Jupiter and Saturn. Thirty-six years later, the car-size probe is still exploring, still sending its findings home. It has now put more than 19 billion kilometers between itself and the sun. Last week NASA announced that Voyager 1 had become the first man-made object to reach interstellar space.
The distance this craft has covered is almost incomprehensible. It’s so far away that it takes more than 17 hours for its signals to reach Earth. Along the way, Voyager 1 gave scientists their first close-up looks at Saturn, took the first images of Jupiter’s rings, discovered many of the moons circling those planets and revealed that Jupiter’s moon Io has active volcanoes. Now the spacecraft is discovering what the edge of the solar system is like, piercing the heliosheath where the last vestiges of the sun’s influence are felt and traversing the heliopause where cosmic currents overcome the solar wind. Voyager 1 is expected to keep working until 2025 when it will finally run out of power.
None of this would be possible without the spacecraft’s three batteries filled with plutonium-238. In fact, Most of what humanity knows about the outer planets came back to Earth on plutonium power. Cassini’s ongoing exploration of Saturn, Galileo’s trip to Jupiter, Curiosity’s exploration of the surface of Mars, and the 2015 flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft are all fueled by the stuff. The characteristics of this metal’s radioactive decay make it a super-fuel. More importantly, there is no other viable option. Solar power is too weak, chemical batteries don’t last, nuclear fission systems are too heavy. So, we depend on plutonium-238, a fuel largely acquired as by-product of making nuclear weapons.
But there’s a problem: We’ve almost run out.
[MORE: NASA’S Plutonium Problem Could End Deep-Space Exploration]

wired:

In 1977, the Voyager 1 spacecraft left Earth on a five-year mission to explore Jupiter and Saturn. Thirty-six years later, the car-size probe is still exploring, still sending its findings home. It has now put more than 19 billion kilometers between itself and the sun. Last week NASA announced that Voyager 1 had become the first man-made object to reach interstellar space.

The distance this craft has covered is almost incomprehensible. It’s so far away that it takes more than 17 hours for its signals to reach Earth. Along the way, Voyager 1 gave scientists their first close-up looks at Saturn, took the first images of Jupiter’s rings, discovered many of the moons circling those planets and revealed that Jupiter’s moon Io has active volcanoes. Now the spacecraft is discovering what the edge of the solar system is like, piercing the heliosheath where the last vestiges of the sun’s influence are felt and traversing the heliopause where cosmic currents overcome the solar wind. Voyager 1 is expected to keep working until 2025 when it will finally run out of power.

None of this would be possible without the spacecraft’s three batteries filled with plutonium-238. In fact, Most of what humanity knows about the outer planets came back to Earth on plutonium power. Cassini’s ongoing exploration of Saturn, Galileo’s trip to Jupiter, Curiosity’s exploration of the surface of Mars, and the 2015 flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft are all fueled by the stuff. The characteristics of this metal’s radioactive decay make it a super-fuel. More importantly, there is no other viable option. Solar power is too weak, chemical batteries don’t last, nuclear fission systems are too heavy. So, we depend on plutonium-238, a fuel largely acquired as by-product of making nuclear weapons.

But there’s a problem: We’ve almost run out.


[MORE: NASA’S Plutonium Problem Could End Deep-Space Exploration]

NCSU takes leading role in developing Smart Grid Technology

N.C. State University electrical engineering graduate students work on a first generation “smart transformer” which MIT calls one of the most important technology inventions of 2010. The digital transformer will form the electronic guts of the vaunted Smart Grid, the automated power network that is expected to replace nation’s aging mechanical power grid in the coming decade.

"Think of it as an Internet router for the electrical grid," said Stephen Cass, special projects editor at MIT’s Technology Review.

via newsobserver.com

Earth day is everyday

One day does not a habit make.
With these words from Ilina Ewen on Earthday 2010, I started writing my own “Everyday Earthday” Twenty-ten list. Here are a few ways you can practice the good habits of honoring Mother Earth in ways small, big, global and local. Make Earth day everyday in your house. It’s not a holiday, it’s your/our life.
  1. Inspire others. Give an idea or story to the Smarter City project. Better yet, champion a project from the Smarter City list in your neck of the woods.
  2. Support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Diet is important for our children. Have you visited your child’s cafeteria lunch room? What do you pack for lunch?
  3. Recycle daily. It’s not hard for small ‘recycling’ habits in your home and workplace to add up to a big ‘reuse’ impact in the community.
  4. Use CFL LED Lighting. Check out Cree’s LED Revolution for the fun & facts about efficient lighting for all walks of life, inside and out. Why is everyone is pushing low fuzzy compact florescent lights? LEDs are better for many reasons.
  5. Shop local. Local merchants are good for the economy and your local environment. The next time you think that big box store is more convenient, check out the little guy. You’ll be glad you did in the long run. There are lots of sites (and people) to help you connect with fantastic local store owners.
  6. Drink local beer, not bottled water, when possible. All that plastic is a bad idea yaw. At least recycle plastic when you are able. Local beer in recyclable glass bottles includes Lone Rider BeerBig Boss Brewing and others.
  7. Micro-conserve water. Trim 1 minute off your shower tomorrow, save 2-5 gallons of water. It adds up quick.
  8. Plan ahead. We are a nation of cars and truck drivers. They define our culture, economy and everyday life. Electric vehicles are coming and they can’t get here soon enough for this tech nerd. Check the new Chevy Volt. By popular demand, it looks like Detroit is leading the pack toward a green-er highway. I test drove the Volt concept at SXSW 2010 (photos | video) and let me tell you: it’s no Popular Mechanics fantasy. The future is here.
  9. Check yo’self before u wreck yo’self. Save serious $$ by getting an Energy Audit of your house. You can do it yourself with some ofthese tips from Jess Commins. Make it a fun family activity and impress your neighbors by making your domicile more energy efficient. Remember, energy efficiency is sexy, people!
  10. Stop wasting time on the internet and go outside and enjoy some good all natural serotonin and fresh air. Plant something that reproduces oxygen. You’ll be glad you did. “The family that plants together, stays together.” (My wife made me add this one. ha ) Okay now I’ll stop.

Earth day shout-outs to the people that inspired the ideas and projects in my list.
  1. Jack Mason at IBM.
  2. Jason Keath of Social Fresh.
  3. just my daily routine.
  4. Ginny Skalski at Cree.
  5. my common practice.
  6. Sumit Vohra at Lone Rider Beer.
  7. The good folks at Twestival and Charity: Water.
  8. Phil Colley and Chris Barger at GM. (BTW, Happy Birthday today Phil! )
  9. Jess Commins of Renewabelle.
  10. My lovely wife Kim, resident green thumb / sun goddess / lawn beautification engineer.
  11. Special shout to Ilina Ewen for her ‘Everyday is Earthday' meme.

SXSW 2010 Free Noms! the Sustainable Media Happy Hour

Another party in honor of our fellow do-gooders at South By Southwest. The Sustainable Media Happy Hour presented by Cree and Triplepundit. The party will be taking place Monday, March 15, 2010 starting at 6PM at The Ginger Man (301 Lavaca) where you’ll be able to have FREE beer and goodies.  From the looks of it, Brita and Josie Maran are listed as sponsors… could that mean maybe those “goodies” include filters and organic makeup? RSVP here to attend and find out!

You can follow @Cree@Triplepundit@AustinGingerMan, and @Josie_Maran on Twitter!

Also follow the most awesome @GinnySkal aka @Cree

Cree Celebrates 3rd Anniversary of City of Raleigh as World's First LED City®

“The city of Raleigh now favors LED lighting for all renovations and new projects,” explained Raleigh Assistant Manager Daniel Howe. “Working with Cree and becoming the world’s first LED City has given Raleigh the opportunity to jump ahead in deploying energy-efficient, solid-state lighting technology.” LED lighting can help cities save money from reduced energy consumption and reduced maintenance costs, as LED lights are designed to last longer and require less replacement than traditional lighting sources. Raleigh officials conservatively estimate the current use of LED lighting can save the city more than $200,000 annually.

“LED lighting is the best fiscal choice for our citizens in many cases,” said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. “As Raleigh enjoys some of the lowest energy rates in the country, if the business case works here, it most likely works anywhere. The fact that this cutting-edge LED technology is being driven by Cree, a local company, makes it even more exciting.”

Raleigh’s Shimmer Wall

About LED City

The LED City is an expanding community of government and industry parties working to evaluate deploy and promote LED lighting technology across the full range of municipal infrastructure to:

  • Save energy
  • Protect the environment
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Provide better light quality for improved visibility and safety