Engineering utility-scale PV installations that are “pollinator-friendly”

It hadn’t occurred to me that there might not be enough acreage to support utility-scale solar electricity.  It turns out that not everyone wants a PV farm in their backyard. And I hadn’t considered the trade-off between lots of available sunshine (Death Valley) and lots of electricity users (not Death Valley).  So….PV site developers have figured out some ways of making their installations more neighbor-friendly.

“Conventional solar installation techniques typically involve turf grass and gravel as ground cover, which removes vegetation and flattens landscapes, according …. These methods lead to high preparation and labor costs, expected to account for 20% of the price of photovoltaic installations by 2020.

“Conversely, seeding solar grounds with native plant species provides agricultural and ecological benefits that gravel and turf cannot, such as better stormwater control because of plants’ deeper roots. Seeding can also boost solar efficiency by creating a cooler microclimate around the panels, which boosts solar efficiency, said Gavin Meinschein, a lead civil engineer at ENGIE Distributed Solar.Although the upfront costs for seeding are higher than installation of turf grass, the maintenance over projects’ 25-30 year lifespan is cheaper because it’s less involved, Meinschein said.Native plant sites can double as pollinator-friendly sites, an “irresistible synergy,” said John Jacob, who founded Old Sol Apiairies in 1997 and now works with solar developers to integrate bee farms and solar developments.The pollinator benefit is a specific twist to the story that has gotten buzz in local and national media.” ….Story continues…..

Source: Pollinator habitats: The bees’ knees of rural solar development | Utility Dive

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See How Gotta Groove Presses Gorgeous Vinyl Records

There’s a video embedded in article – about a fast-growing company in Cleveland that makes vinyl records.  Lots and lots of vinyl records.

The video shows the techniques that go into producing limited-run vinyl records and it also shows the human contribution that goes into each record. There’s no room for robots in this plant.

Source: See How Gotta Groove Presses Gorgeous Vinyl Records

How Life Shatters Chemistry’s Mirror

Fascinating article from 2009. If life exists in other parts of our solar system it is probably “left handed” in the sense that the amino molecules of life on Earth are left-handed. But life in other parts of the universe might be right-handed.

How Life Shatters Chemistry’s Mirror

 

Human Factors – the Del Key

On my occasional-use laptop, the Ins, Del, Home and End are all nestled together – too close for my fingers to use reliably – and labeled with letters that are too small for my eyes to see reliably.  Of these four keys, I use the Del key the most.  (Not as much as the BackSpace key, of course, but it is both uniquely sized and positioned).
A couple of days ago…Eureka!  I cut out a little post-it note and put in on top of the Del key.  Problem solved?  No, it wasn’t solved.
I used a red Post-It note, thinking it would be easy to see and that the colour would be a clue to its function. I was half-right.
Now when I need to delete something, the Del key is easy to see but, unconsciously, I avoid touching that red key.  I find myself (days of occasional use later) seeking the Del key on either side of the red key.
Humans!

Will the real “Smart Water” please stand up?

Coca-Cola has introduced a new beverage: Glaceau Smart Water.  (I’m serious.)  They distill Connecticut spring water and then add minerals into the distillate.  What’s “smart” about that?

A better approach to “smart” water, I think, is that taken by a British firm, SmartWater Technology Ltd.  They make a liquid containing a code that can be read under ultraviolet light. I note that SmartWater Technology Ltd. is aware of the importance of branding:

“We do not take awareness or knowledge of the SmartWater brand for granted, which is why this work continues to be a fundamental component in our ongoing crime-fighting strategy. We are always searching for dynamic new ways to promote our brand to the criminal fraternity and wider communities. Only by doing so will we continue to ensure that SmartWater remains the UK’s most powerful crime deterrent.”

What I don’t know is what Coca-Cola knows about the extent of  the UK firm’s world-wide trademark rights. Bring in the lawyers.

 

“The Coca-Cola Company brings you glacéau smartwater, vapor distilled water with electrolytes. ”

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/glaceau-smartwater

“SmartWater consists of a liquid containing a code that can be read under ultraviolet light. It is intended to be applied to valuable items, so that if they are stolen and later seized by police, their original owner can be determined. Another application is a sprinkler system that sprays a burglar with the (invisible) fluid, which cannot be washed off and lasts for months, to generate evidence that connects a suspect to a specific location.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmartWater

“Made by a US bottler called Glaceau, Smart Water begins as an artesian spring in Northern Connecticut. After the water is distilled,a balance of Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium is introduced, adding electrolytes. The attractive bullet shaped plastic container with the traditional sport cap reinforces the product’s image. Smart Water is a product for anyone who wants to look and drink their best during tennis, golf,workouts at the gym,or in the school lunch room. Smart Water is just that: smart!”

http://www.aquamaestro.com/innerview.asp?catid=39