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Archive for the ‘My Personal Life’ Category

Some of you might already know about my work at Duke Energy on a solar photovoltaic distributed generation project. But even if you don’t, the program recently got covered by good ol’ Faux News. Actually, Fox finally put out a story I can’t bash. Proving that in the holiday season, miracles can happen.

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If you are potentially interested in becoming a host site for one of these systems (and you are interested in pulling down a yet un-negotiatied lease payment from Duke for hosting the install, likely in the $50-200/year range) then visit this site to sign up,

http://www.duke-energy.com/nc-solar-panel/nc-solar-distributed-generation-program.asp

Feel free to send the link to your friends and family in Duke’s service territory. We’ll start picking sites in spring 2009 and installations will begin soon after.

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If this photo wins, I’ll get $500 (which means dinner is on me) and UNC Charlotte gets $2,000 which I’ll recommend they use to start an efficiency fund.

What is an efficiency fund you ask? Facilities would implement $2,000 worth of upgrades that provide a quick rate of return. The money saved goes back into the pot to use in more efficiency upgrades. (Thus starting a snowball effect). An example: Lights in all the exit signs are replaced with CFLs or LEDs. If it saves $1,000 a year, that $1,000 goes to buy more efficient lighting, windows, low-flow water fixtures etc…

This is all stuff that facilities usually doesn’t get money for.

By voting you will be helping me, UNC Charlotte and the if facilities is able to implement an efficiency fund, the environment.

The survey doesn’t display the individual photos but here is the photo you are voting on,

I am competing in the “Which campus has the most characteristic architecture” category and the option to choose this photo is “UNC” (University of North Carolina- Charlotte)

Here is the link to the survey,

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Dd8QqNeqr_2bEzgf3OkSU29w_3d_3d

Here is the link to the other photos,

http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Alexandria-VA/APPA-Leadership-in-Educational-Facilities/24282568387

Thanks for your vote! It means a lot! 🙂

Winners will be announced December 15th. Win or lose, I’ll post or link to the results here.

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I’ve been meaning to write up a blog post on my trip to Austria but the technology transfer office between Austria and the US beat me to it.

North Carolina, famous for the first successfully powered and human-piloted airplane flight by the Wright Brothers, is starting to take off with a new claim to fame: bio-energy production. In September, the Austrian Consulate of the Carolinas under the leadership of Honorary Consul Robert Friedl proposed that the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and other representatives from the North Carolina, Charlotte Region, send a delegation to Austria to gather information on available bio-energy technologies as well as to establish the foundations for any potential collaboration.

The Charlotte Delegation to Austria included representatives from:
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte

  • Duke Energy

  • Charlotte City Council

  • Centralina Government

  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities

  • Gaston County Utilities

  • Craigland Farms

  • City of Mt. Holly & Gaston Chamber of Commerce

  • Catawba County Government

  • Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

  • Appalachian State University

The Austrian Honorary Consulate, Charlotte, initiated the concept of the delegation mission trip in 2007.  The Consulate had contacted UNCC for assistance in collecting information for remodeling an old cotton mill into development offices for Austrian companies that focused on renewable energy processes and were interested in expanding to the US.  At the time, UNCC was in the process of expanding their department of engineering to include a doctoral program for sustainable energy as well as developing a new Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) .  As it turned out, this provided a perfect opportunity for the Charlotte region to further promote its claim as a global leader in energy production by taking a lesson or two from another leader in energy production – Austria .

Main Street in Austria

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Change

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of An Historic Election

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of 'An Historic Election'

I think what finally sold me on Obama was not his platform or his persona but his recent rally at UNC Charlotte. I spoke to a mom who took a half day off work to bring her son to the rally. Obama was his hero. His mom said that he might have only had a negative role model like an athelete or rapper for a hero until Barack came a long. The little guy really was so excited to see his hero speak.

And then it hit me.

Regardless of what our new president does (other than acheiving a mutually agreed upon for of absolute failure), his presidency is already an amazing success. Taking a generation of young african american males and showing them that they can truly be spectacular individuals would do more for our country than any policy ever could. Multiply that effect around the world to less fortunate societies and this could actually be a world changing moment.

But is it?

I pondered this “change” as I drove to work under the gray cloudy sky this morning. I tuned in to the local conservative radio station, WBT 1110 for you Charlotteans, and heard Keith Larson refer to the Democratic party’s domination of Mecklenburg county as ‘proof that our residents will vote for people even if they are scumbags and dirtballs’. And GOP boosters wonder why they lost?

Can this actually be a moment of blissful optimisim for America and the world? I don’t know what that feels like. All I’ve known since I’ve been a moderately competent adult has been hatred from the world, disgrace in our national values and a political vocabulary dominated with meaningless social issues like “family values” in the Karl Rove sense. I’ve yet to believe in “America” or its ideals, especially since I’ve realized the continuous exportation of our negative externalities into rural America (like mountaintop removal coal mining) and into the world. (As much of 50% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions are from US economic factors)

I’ve always felt that a third party view was the most favorable to my values, that the two major parties were props for an overwhelming corporatocracy. Yet, some of the policies that the Democratic party hopes to enact are against the will of industry. Especially the most powerful industries, oil, coal and military. Are we seeing a break from industry masquerading as government? I highly doubt so, but I can be hopeful.

I’ve decided I do know this: the Democrats have political control of this nation and that they had better take advantage of it. If the Democrats fail over the next two years I will truly lose hope for the US. The Republicans had a shot and were found wanting. Policies of absolute fear and social conservatism has driven the GOP to near irrelevance. (Perhaps adopting a mainstream libertarian view would resurrect the elephant side of the political spectrum)

I hope that we take this opportunity to embrace reason over fear. Conversation instead of punditry. Acceptance instead of ‘small town values’. Let’s embrace all of America, instead of just the rural areas. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.

But are things beyond repair? We’ll find out over the next few months as our next president lays out a plan for rebuilding America from nearly 30 years of waiting for “success” to trickle down. I’m cautiously optimistic right now. But seeing the photos of people around the world crying for joy at this moment has me feeling at least slightly better about our chances for the future.

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I’m hoping to find some time for HDR photos of Charlotte and what better place to start than UNC Charlotte. While waiting for the Grigg Hall to open up one morning so I could turn in my Physics homework I took the opportunity to take these shots of the Charlotte Research Institute.

 

Duke Centennal Hall

Duke Centennal Hall


Grigg Hall with the moon and the physics statue

Grigg Hall with the moon and the physics statue

 

 

Grigg Hall

Grigg Hall

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Last night after work I headed to Asheville with John Avery for Atmosphere’s Paint the Nation Tour. It is likely the only hip hop show I’ll ever go to that is 98% white people (that’s Asheville for ya!).

The show was a lot of fun! Atmosphere tore down the house and he was so incredibly positive its amazing. I think that stylistically, hip hop and rap has become so derogratory and demeaning towards society, women, life, etc… and Atmosphere counters all that with socially conscious lyricism that exposes the hypocricies of modern america and encourages you to smile.

At one point during the show a random kid takes another guys hat and throws it on the stage provoking a fight. Atmosphere stops the show and tells the guy that he is an idiot and that he needs to go talk to girls or something else. He then hands the hat back to the guy in the crowd. Good stuff.

It was the first show I’ve been to since last spring… I didn’t get a chance to do anything when I lived in Western NC this summer and I’ve been so busy in Charlotte I’ve missed a lot of great tours through here. I’m hoping that this one has just kicked off my fall music season!

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A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to travel with a delegation from UNC Charlotte to Austria for an exploration of renewable energy technologies.

I’ve been swamped with life since I’ve returned but I wanted to at least throw up some quick photos from the trip. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to write up something more significant about what we saw and did once I get this week out of the way.

So here are some of my favorite photos from the trip,

An old stone wall in the small town of Pugstall where we stayed for a few nights

An old stone wall in the small town of Purgstall where we stayed for a few nights

The main church in Purgstall

The main church in Purgstall

There has been so much talk about Main Street America these days that I had to get a shot of the typical small town values Austria... mostly farmers live in this place and they go to bed around 9pm and wake up around 5 to get out in the fields! Obviously much more dense than main street America, with no fast food joints

There has been so much talk about "Main Street America" these days that I had to get a shot of the typical "small town values Austria"... mostly farmers live in this place and they go to bed around 9pm and wake up around 5 to get out in the fields! Obviously much more dense than main street America, with no fast food joints

100 heads looking the wrong direction. It is placed outside the Lower Austria government center. Wish our elected officials would have that kind of humor/recognition of public perception.

The greatest structure ever associated with an official government building. The official title of it is: 100 heads looking the wrong direction. It is placed outside the Lower Austria government center. Wish our elected officials would have that kind of humor/recognition of public perception.

Vin de siclele Vienna. Turn of the century Vienna is the citys legendary time period where the worlds greatest thinkers and musicians were calling the capitol of the Hapsburg Empire home. The sky was so grey that day I decided to shoot in sepia and happend upon this amazing capture of what the city looked like many years ago.

Vin de siclele Vienna. Turn of the century Vienna is the city's legendary time period where the world's greatest thinkers and musicians were calling the capitol of the Hapsburg Empire home. The sky was so grey that day I decided to shoot in sepia and happend upon this amazing capture of what the city looked like many years ago.

Hopefully I find time to share more soon!

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