Archive for the Uncategorized Category

I’m back

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2013 by Trip Jennings

I want to start a blog again. Go back to 2006, when they were all the rage. Part of it is I want to find a place not so crowded as Facebook or Twitter. I love me some social media. But sometimes sitting in your own little ignored corner of the Internet is nice.

Different energy, different damages

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 20, 2011 by Trip Jennings

This is an interesting blog from Pro Publica

Amplify’d from

Charting the Human Cost of Different Types of Energy

Nicholas Kusnetz

and Marian Wang
ProPublica, March 18, 2011, 4:25 p.m.

Since this time last year, we’ve seen a deadly mine disaster [1], the worst oil spill in U.S. history [2], and now a nuclear crisis in Japan [3]. That got us wondering—how does one compare or quantify the human cost of different sources of energy?

As it turns out, a Swiss research organization, the Paul Sherrer Institute, has been doing just that. Using data from the institute, we pulled together a few visualizations.


The top part of the graph shows the actual number of deaths from severe accidents in developed countries [4] from 1970 through 2008. The bottom part of the graph shows the number of deaths that might result [5] from a catastrophic event at an average site in the developed world. This does not show the worst case scenario for any situation, but it gives a sense of the relative risks associated with different sources of energy.

These numbers represent deaths in the developed world from severe accidents only, where at least five people were killed. The accidents have occurred at many stages of the energy supply chain, from coal mining to shipping oil to accidents at actual power plants.

It’s important to note that every-day energy use from fossil fuels kills far more people than accidents. By one estimate from 2000, pollution from power plants results in at least 30,000 premature deaths every year [6] in the United States alone.

We have excluded renewable energy sources because there is a shorter history of their use, because they make up a small percentage of our energy, and because so far they have not shown as great a potential to cause catastrophic damage.

We looked exclusively at the developed world because the great disparity in safety standards between developed and developing countries make them hard to compare. Our chart shows no lethal major accidents at nuclear plants. That’s because the only one was the meltdown at Chernobyl [7] in the then-Soviet Union—not considered a developed country in this study. There have not been any catastrophic dam failures either.

To adjust for this, the Paul Sherrer Institute used projections to estimate what would happen if there were a catastrophic failure at an average site (the models are in Switzerland, but are generally applicable to the developed world). This stuff is complicated, and if you’re still curious about the assumptions behind the Institute’s projections, they’ve told us that they welcome any and all questions, so just ask [8].



I’m feeling like Saturday night!!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 20, 2011 by Trip Jennings

OK, I worked — hmmm what was it, oh yeah — 70 or so hours this week. And the week is over. So now I’m feeling like a party. Which at my age means listening to music on my laptop while I nod off quietly. So enjoy the video. But remember … quiet please. Middle-aged man partying here.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 by Trip Jennings

The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in northern Japan is worsening, according to the New York Times. And a full meltdown could likely happen. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen. That’s the last thing the people of Japan need right now.

Oscar’s Night ends with no surprises

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 28, 2011 by Trip Jennings
Amplify’d from
By Susan King and Rene Lynch | 8:41 p.m.
Nominated for 12 Oscars — the most of any film — it wins four, including honors for Colin Firth for lead actor, Tom Hooper for director, and David Seidler for original screenplay.



A terrific song for a languorous Sunday morning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 27, 2011 by Trip Jennings

John Darnielle, the driving force behind the NC-based group Mountain Goats, is a phenomenal songwriter whose lyrics double as how-to sessions in musical storytelling.

Amplify’d from

The Mountain Goats – Cotton

See more at


iPhone 4 vs. HTC Incredible

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2011 by Trip Jennings

I’m not super techy, but for the past week I’ve had the chance to compare the iPhone 4 against the HTC Incredible.

Apple vs. Android.

Cupertino vs. Mountain View.

The former upstart vs, well, another former upstart

It seems fortune has thrust me in an intriguing position in a world gaga about tech. OK, not really. All the pros did their comparisons a few months back, which means I probably won’t offer any startling revelation for the truly geeky. What I hope to offer here over the next few weeks, perhaps months, is a periodic critique of the two smartphones by someone who doesn’t write code and only occasionally goes to Slashdot for news.

This is my first post on the subject. So bear with me.

So far, I’ve been able to compare the two phones for six days, and there’s no clear winner in my mind. Both phones have their upsides and downsides.

Yes, the iPhone can multi-task. I can listen to music, check my e-mail and scroll through the constant TweetDeck feed. The Incredible doesn’t multi-task well (as far as I know). But Android’s TweetDeck app is better than the one made for the iPhone. mainly because the Android app gives one more options with which to share a post, including Tumblr, one of my favorites. The same goes for the Android app for Pulse for the same reason. (Perhaps I haven’t fully learned how to use the iPhone’s apps yet, which might explain my disappointment with the apps so far.)

I’ve also discovered that the function allowing one to enlarge print in news stories I’ve pulled up using TweetDeck is better on the Incredible than the iPhone. The print adjusts to the screen on the Incredible. In other words, when I expand the script, the new larger print adapts to the contours of the Incredible screen. Not so with the iPhone. It’s a bit frustrating.

On the minus side for Android, I regularly have to force close an app because it is taking far too long to load (even after I’ve cleared the cache using the Manage Applications function, which is frustrating). Over the seven months I’ve owned the Incredible several times I’ve found myself so frustrated by Android’s sluggishness that I’ve taken the battery out of the phone’s back to re-start the phone. As frustrated as I was, at least I could take the battery out of the Android phone. Not so with the iPhone. A negative mark for Apple for not making their batteries accessible.

The iPhone isn’t without its meltdowns on the app side. Like a Droid, the iPhone accesses several e-mail accounts and even — and this is very cool — allows one to merge e-mails from separate accounts into one inbox. It’s called a universal inbox. But several times over the course of one day this week the iPhone informed me that my Gmail username and password were incorrect, even though I’d accessed the account for two days prior with no problems. I couldn’t access e-mails in the my Gmail account for several hours. The issue eventually corrected itself, leaving me befuddled about what caused it.

As storage space goes, the iPhone is the clear winner. It has 16 GB vs the more than 8GB the Incredible offers.

As I write this, I find that I have an emotional attachment to my Droid phone, perhaps because I’ve had it longer. Clearly, I’m blown away by some of the iPhone’s abilities. But it’s infatuation right now. We’ll see if it turns into a long-term love affair in the coming months.

Stay tuned.