Petrofuture Gallery. 04.12.2023
Beautiful and frightening. These are nicely done renditions of the old-style maps that were produced by oil companies and provided as a form of advertising at gas stations. Before GPS these were standard tools for vacation navigation. But the maps have all been modified to show where shorelines would be if ocean levels rose by 66 meters, which is the upper limit of projections about the effect of melting ice polar ice sheets. It is fascinating to see what the U.S. might look like if climate change turns out to be really bad. No Florida. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco — all underwater. The central valley of California becomes an inland sea. The southern end of the Mississippi River is a huge bay.
Bill McKibben's math. 04.08.2023
Writing in Rolling Stone, Bill McKibben lays out some simple math that helps explain the climate crises. A few numbers from the article:
- The atmosphere can only hold a few hundred more gigatons of CO2 before the earth becomes uninhabitable, but there is enough fossil fuel still available in the Earth's crust to produce several thousand more gigatons of CO2, if it were all burned — a 10:1 imbalance.
- If all that potential fossil fuel were extracted, it would be worth $100 trillion to the companies that do the extracting.
- The fossil-fuel industry makes about $2.8 billion of profit every day.
- It costs about $34 to make 1 megawatt-hour of electricity using solar. That's now less than the cost of other methods: wind ($39), natural gas ($59), coal ($108), or nuclear (cost to high to quote, apparently). Furthermore, solar and wind generation is getting continually cheaper, and fossil-fuel generation is not.
He has more numbers, too, but they all reinforce a message than has been quite clear for a while: There are tremendous "economic reasons" (i.e. greed) for oil companies to try to keep selling fossil fuels for as long as possible. But, eventually, they will be overwhelmed by the simple economics that there are cheaper methods for producing the needed energy. The question is whether that transition will come before or after the earth is on fire.
Gordon Moore. 03.24.2023
Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and semiconductor law-giver, has died at age 94. It is hard to overstate the importance of Moore's Law in the development of modern technology. His paper describing the observations that led to the "law" is something that every EE/CprE should read: Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits.
50 years of Pong. 03.18.2023
A great story at SFGate.com about the early days of Atari and their first hit video game.
SVB peril. 03.11.2023
The Silicon Valley Bank failure casts many small tech start-ups into perilous waters. Some might well fail as a consequence. Here's a Bloomberg article that has a good explanation of how a bank can be solvent one day and bust the next. It will be interesting to see how this mess is cleaned up.
More examples that setting up solar panels over farm land can lead to the non-intuitive result of increased food production.
"Solar power can be a land-hungry competitor to farming. But deployed in the right way, solar installations can boost crop yields, save water, and protect biodiversity."
Arduino Club. 03.06.2023
The first Arduino club meeting will be held on Mar 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Coover 3043. The meeting will last about an hour.
We will have a brief introduction to the club, go over some of the basic aspects of the Arduino platform, and look at a simple first project — a digital thermometer.
Anyone who is interested in using Arduinos and building embedded systems is welcome to attend.
Arduino Club is the companion to Audio Club
Ford is cooler than Tesla. 03.05.2023
Ezra Dyer (of Car and Drive magazine) argues that, as a company, Ford is more progressive, more worker friendly, and more honest with their customers than Tesla. Who'd a thunk it?
Certainly something for new engineering grads to consider when looking for a job.
ISU leaving 19th century. 03.03.2023
Finally, the ISU power plant has transitioned away from burning coal to generate electricity for campus. Using natural gas is marginally better, but it would nice to see some 21st century solutions. For instance, solar arrays over all parking lots? And maybe with electric car chargers attached?
Audio Club / Arduino Club 02.16.2023
Here's some news: We are going to start up the Audio and Arduino Clubs again. The first meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in 3043 Coover. We will start with an Audio Club meeting and alternate between the two topics in future weeks. For this first meeting, we will have a brief introduction to the club, a short description of the engineering aspects of audio systems, and then we will describe a simple headphone amp that can be built as a project.
Anyone interested in audio electronics is welcome to attend.
In what might seem to be budding game of "URL whack-a-mole", I have, for a variety of reasons, decided to switch to a different domain name for this little operation. The new domain is "gtuttle.net", which I plan to use for the long haul. (However long that haul may be.) This is a secure server, although security is not really a big concern for a web site that collects absolutely no user information. The other URLs that I had set up earlier (garytuttle.com and garytuttle.ee) will still work — they direct to the exact same location. The old server (tuttle.merc.iastate.edu) is still on line, but it doesn't really do anything other than re-direct to gtuttle.net. The old server will shut down eventually — probably after the next power outage knocks it offline.