Power Plus: When There is No Grid

2 09 2012

Previously: I reintroduced this series, and presented my core thesis.

In this installment, I will spend a few moments talking about “the grid” and why we don’t necessarily have to think in “grid” terms when considering energy options for the future.

Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts About the Movie “Houston We Have a Problem”

27 08 2012

Well, I think this wraps up energy-themed documentary reviews on this site for a while, but if that’s the case I do declare the run is going out on a high note. It was refreshing to see a documentary on a – put mildly – touchy subject that cast everyone in a new light and explored the issues without overt axe-grinding.

Not that there wasn’t any axe-grinding, it was just more fun to watch.

Spoilers follow.

Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts About the Movie “Patagonia Rising”

22 08 2012

It wasn’t intentional on my part, but somehow I found the movie that Windfall was trying to be.

In short, what Patagonia Rising is supposed to be about is an overview of a controversial plan to build dams in the Patagonia region of Chile. That’s not quite what the finished product becomes, but I’ll hold my thoughts for after the jump.

Spoilers follow.

Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts About the Movie “Windfall”

20 08 2012

I saw this movie listed under “documentaries” on Netflix and had a creeping feeling that it was going to be a hatchet job on the relatively young wind power industry, but as I cannot claim any great degree of knowledge about the wind power industry or the turbines themselves I decided to give this movie a fair hearing.

Spoilers follow.

Read the rest of this entry »





Power Plus: The Central Argument

14 08 2012

It’s time to revive an old series of articles I wrote at the now defunct ethmar.com (assuming nobody picked up the domain name) called “Power Plus”. They were an exercise in thinking about how energy (electricity) is generated, and how it is consumed.

Rather than re-hash all of those arguments, let’s review my contribution to the Bumper Sticker discourse, and I am of course available to speak at TED, assuming it is a short drive from my home.

My operating thesis for the future of energy generation and consumption is simply this:

Energy will be generated where it is consumed.

TED people. Call me.

Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts About the Movie “The Elephant in the Living Room”

13 08 2012

When I’m not watching horror movies (or similar) on Netflix, I’m balancing things out karmically with documentaries. So in this case, to balance out the incredibly awful (as in, really lame) movie “Bane” (which has nothing to do with Batman), I watched “The Elephant in the Living Room”. In short, it’s about people (mostly in Ohio) that keep exotic animals as pets – lions, for instance – and at least one man tasked with promoting responsible pet ownership and in some cases, putting the animals down if they present a threat to the general public.

Spoilers follow in the form of a movie discussion, so if you want to view the film with virgin eyes, queue it up and come back here later to see how my thoughts on the subject compare to your own.

Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts About the Movie “GasLand”

31 07 2012

This evening I took a break from lowbrow movie entertainment (“Carver” and “Anatomy”) to check out some documentaries. I resisted the urge to watch one containing the behind the scenes footage of pro wrestling (I think The Wrestler covered that nicely) and instead watched two compelling docs: Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 (4 stars… a triumph!) and GasLand.

Well.

The Steinway one was fascinating, and I teared up a lot because I’m sappy like that. Especially the scene where the grandfather remarks about how his talent must have passed on to his grandson, whom he watches give an impromptu recital upon delivery of his very own Steinway piano. Very moving, and even if the thing is essentially an infomercial for Steinway & Sons, the attention is well deserved and you’ll wish all infomercials could be as tasteful. Truly, it is a documentary but Steinway does well to present their company, and their product in the best possible light.

As for GasLand, I read that it was about the sordid truth about natural gas extraction in the USA, and having relocated back to the Midwest after 11 years in Texas, I did recall some of the buzz about the deceptive advertising about the Barnett Shale. I knew people who lived on the edge of it, and the picture wasn’t so rosy once the actual work began. Looks like I got out just in time, according to the movie.

In fairness to all parties, I realize that films like this must be viewed with the understanding that any and all claims are “according to the movie”. However, people lighting tap water on fire is pretty compelling evidence, anecdotal or not.

Read the rest of this entry »