Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Make America Great Again

This is an open letter to President-Elect Trump:

Mr. Trump,

You speak of making America great again.  In your campaigning, you've captured the frustrations and concerns of many members of American society who have been left behind by globalization and technological advances.

It is difficult to make America great by simply turning back the clock, closing the borders and pretending that it's 1955 again.  In many ways I thought your slogan was hollow.  After the last eight years of job growth and rebuilding America's image in the world, who's to say we aren't great now?

However, there is one area that I feel that America excelled at, back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  There is something that has been lost.  If you truly want to make America great again, you can start with this one thing.

We used to celebrate intelligence and science.  Remember that?  Remember when we sent rockets to space and landed on the moon?  Remember when Disneyland unveiled the promise of Tomorrowland?  Remember when the American future would be built by American ingenuity?

Remember when people watched the news?  People like Cronkite were revered for telling it "the way it is" - I imagine that you would have liked him.  People watched the news to learn and be informed - not to bicker and be entertained.  Citizenship mattered.  Contributing to the national discourse mattered.  Being ill-informed was not celebrated.

When I see that you've appointed climate change deniers to the EPA and the DOE I can't help but contrast that decision against our previous head of the DOE who held a Nobel Prize.  Climate change due to greenhouse gases is real and it will permanently ruin life on this planet for your kids, their kids, and the rest of this world unless we reverse it.  This is the type of moonshot thinking that America excels at - and yet we're timid, cowardly, and unprepared to show leadership.  We should demand the world reduce carbon emissions - we should lead the way - and then we can reap the economic gains of being the market leader - just as we have done time and time again in industries such as automotive, aerospace, computers, telecommunications and medicine.

Now, it isn't just the right wing that has embraced ignorance with regards to climate change.  The left has it's own shame in the anti-vaxxer movement, or the concerns about GMOs.  These concerns are also not founded in science, and should likewise be addressed.

America is great.  America has been great.  But if you really want to make America great again.  If you really want to turn the clock by 60 years - then I implore you to make leadership in science, and leadership in forward thinking in addressing climate change central to your position as President.

Sincerely,


Aaron Fyke

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Paris Climate Summit

This quote is pretty apt at explaining our situation:

 Still, the rest of the world must be clear about the implications of the agreement shaping up in Paris. Calling 2.7 to 3.5 C of warming a success is akin to saying, when leaping a canyon 15 feet wide, that leaping only 10 feet is no cause for alarm. After all, 10 feet is farther than you’ve leaped in the past and represents undeniable progress towards the ultimate goal. 

 http://www.thenation.com/article/the-most-ambitious-emissions-pledges-on-the-table-in-paris-would-still-result-in-catastrophic-warming/

Sunday, November 22, 2015

CREE Connected Bulbs

So, I'm jumping into the latest thing and dabbling with home automation.  After some effort, I've managed to get my Wink system talking to all of my stuff.

Highest marks goes to Nest and Ring for being the most seamless.  Well done!

One particular challenge (and the point of this post) was my CREE bulbs.  The help manual says to cycle the power 2seconds on and 2 seconds off in order to reset the bulb for pairing.

However, it is actually ONE second on, 2 off.  Then it worked just fine.

Here's Aloysius from Cree:
Hello everyone,
This is Aloysius from Cree's Connected Bulb support team. I apologize for the troubles some of you may be having. Please go ahead and try resetting our bulbs with the following procedure which should resolve all the issues.
Here is how to manually reset the bulb,
Our Cree Connected bulbs need to be turned on for 1 second and then off for 2 seconds over and over until there is a noticeable flash letting the user know the bulb has been hardware reset.
-Note: The (1-sec-on : 2-sec-off) iterations can be done with a stopwatch but it isn't an exact science. Basically you need to turn it off long enough for the power to become completely exhausted in the capacitor and then add power back to the capacitor and do process again. Bulb is meant to hardware reset after 4 iterations.
This procedure is most easily done with a regular light switch rather than screwing the bulb in and out of the fixture by hand. Most bathrooms are a good candidate since they generally have easy access fixtures with a light switch. Also, please don't use a 3 way switch for resetting.
I hope this helps,
Sincerely,
Aloysius
From Cree Support

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Gas Volatility

Back when I was trying to make Energy Cache work, a big headwind that I ran into was the falling price of natural gas due to fracking.  The EIA reported that gas prices for electric power generation were hovering around $3.

I tried to make the argument that, long term, prices would go back up.  And by early 2014, they had - almost to $8/MMBtu.



However, I just checked recently and they are back to $3.  This is crazy.  Look at the Year on Year variability!



It's not that uncommon for the price of gas to be either 50% higher or 50% cheaper than the year prior.  Hedging this risk must be crazy expensive, and there has to be an opportunity in here somewhere.

Of course...we think there is - by moving your peaking and firming fuel from gas to the sun.  :-)

All data from:
http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lean Startup and the Importance of Doing the Right Thing

I just watched a great video from the Lean Startup conference, by Dan Milstein:

It's 20 minutes long and worth watching.  However, before you run off and do that, I'll let you know why I thought it was interesting. 

In it he discusses the detriment of working on the wrong thing.  It's fascinating (but true), when he says that you are better off working on NOTHING at all, than working on the wrong thing.  This is a complete contradiction to the workplace biases and pressures that are so common. 

Secondly, he talks about how to determine what is the right thing.  In it, he gives an example of a teleportation technology, and a simple healthcare app (which reminded me a lot of my post on Type I/Type II companies).  If the technology is uncertain, but the market is guaranteed, then spend time on the technology, not the market.  If the technology is certain, but the market is not, then spend time validating the market.  Because so many IT/app companies really have little technology risk, so much of the Lean Startup movement focuses on market validation.  However, in the energy space, where I live, I think that the markets are known and regulated, and it is the technology risk that is the bigger piece.

However, as interesting as that was, his real point was that the greatest uncertainty (and therefore the greatest value for the company to understand) can shift several times in the company development.  It is the ability of the company to recognize the shifting risks and adjust what they are working on (to avoid working on the wrong thing), that is the greatest value to the company.

It's a great video.  Have a watch.




Thursday, June 11, 2015

For all entrepreneurs

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


― Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A good day

Today was a good day.  My prior best at Disneyland's Astro Blasters was around 800,000.  Today:


Yes, that's right.  2.7 million!  My new strategy of only going after diamonds and triangles paid off.  After getting my picture I was told that I was one of the top 10 for the day.  When I had a look to see where I ended up, I saw this:

Numero uno!  By a pretty healthy margin!

Sorry BF...