Article archive

11/07/2008 06:54

Back to the Art

Work continues on the photofest project.  For the latest endeavor, I chose to build my camera.  The result was a large-format cardboard box pinhole camera.  The major problem I had with the camera was calibration.  Since it has no viewfinder, I had to essentially create one from...


11/02/2008 14:12

The long climb back to the top

Since I've redesigned my website and removed so much content, I have lost my first place standing in Google search returns.  Thus I must begin my long journey back to the top.  On the way, I have rekindled my acquaintances with the other Seth Jaffes of the world.  There is...


11/02/2008 12:07

Modular Nukes

In the late 80's and early 90's, I was an advocate of big nuclear power plants.  Back then, the major concern was over nuclear accidents, radiation, and meltdowns.  We learned enough in engineering school to understand the operations of those plants and the safety...


11/02/2008 07:29

Night Lights

One of the nicest aspects of having a central home computer is that I can tie in the lighting system to the alarm system. This gives me an inexpensive way to create a feedback control loop using $10 motion sensors.  When I built the house, I made the decision to run extra...


10/31/2008 16:45

JSC conservation initiative

I met Mr. Ron Williams today.  He is the energy manager for NASA Johnson Space Center.  They had a booth promoting conservation so I stopped by and asked why JSC leaves virtually all of their lights on 24 hours a day.  The problem, apparently, comes down to the lack of...


10/29/2008 15:21

Real-time power consumption information will help solve energy crisis

If we can provide an inexpensive method for the average consumer to monitor home power usage, I expect a reduction in consumption.  A simple photoelectric receiver monitoring a standard meter can easily provide this.  Tie it to a wireless transmitter and you have an inexpensive reporting...


10/20/2008 10:48

New Solar Cell Material Captures Broad Sunlight Spectrum

Ohio State researchers have synthesized a new solar cell material that is capable of capturing solar energy over the whole spectrum of visible light.  The material excites the electrons off the atoms in two states, dubbed singlet and triplet.  The great news here is that the electrons in...


10/16/2008 08:35

HIPLA Annual Conference

I attended this year's HIPLA conference over the weekend.  Anthony Matheny did an excellent job of rescheduling as a result of Hurricane Ike.  The event was held at the Omni in Houston.  The majority of the speakers were excellent.  Some of the speakers of note to me were Joe...


10/05/2008 15:22

Peoples Lawyer

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer for a Peoples Lawyer session at the University of Houston Law Center.  This is a free service offered by the University where anyone can attend free classes on the basics of rights under the law.  Dean Alderman ran a tight ship and had an army...


10/01/2008 23:07

Solar cell hits 40.8% efficiency

I'm going to start this log with what is perhaps the best news I've heard this year.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced they have achieved an efficiency of 40.8% conversion for their latest gallium arsenide solar panels.  While the exact design is not known to...