Stuck

06/16/2011

This pretty much sums up where I’ve been for the past year. To the many who alight here daily, looking for new content, just know that sometimes a cat gets sidetracked, and the litter box is the last thing on their mind.

(YouTube Link)


Flying Through Turbines

02/15/2011

(Video Link)

Vimeo user aaron_gx is a naughty RC controller, but the footage he caught zooming around and through the blades of wind turbines is breathtaking. One pass was so close, he might have gotten his antenna clipped. This kind of stunt is typically frowned upon in the industry, to the point that the person(s) responsible for aiding him were probably fired, if they were caught. I would never allow such a thing to happen on my watch, but… it’s fun to watch.


The Installation

01/27/2011

One of the aspects of working in the wind industry that I am particularly looking forward to is the installation and commissioning of new turbines. It’s a process that involves precise planning, coordination and execution. Teams don’t have the luxury of putting up the 300′ tube sections, and then breaking off until the next day, because the hollowness of the tube will capture the wind (these are built in windy areas, remember), and a vortex will form, tearing the structure apart! Nope, the entire tower needs to go up in four or more phases: bottom tube, top tube, nacelle, and hub- all in the least amount of time possible.

The process is amazing, and many technicians talk about the pride that comes with completing construction, and wiring up the parts to get the turbine functional. This video shows, in time-lapse, how it’s done. Song: “Elevation” by U2.

 


Carbon Thieves Reflect Dean Koontz Plot Device

01/22/2011

I’m currently reading The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz, which is mostly about the author’s two favorite subjects: golden retrievers and Down’s Syndrome kids. It struck me as odd that while I read the part (albiet a small element) where a villain is involved in the lucrative market of stealing carbon emission permits, a phenomenon I had not heard of before, I had actually heard of it earlier today.

It’s by all means a new type of crime, and NPR has the story of thieves who made 40 million dollars worth of these permits. Some registry in Europe was broken into, and the pieces of paper that allow certain countries to have certain amounts of carbon emissions were stolen; these can now be altered to let countries who have spent their limits to go on emitting poisonous gases into the air. A very valuable commodity, indeed, if you have Lex Luthor as your governor.

“It is essentially an allowance,” says Henry Derwent, president of the International Emissions Trading Association. “This piece of paper allows my company to emit a ton of carbon dioxide through a combustion process.”

So that piece of paper has value. Companies that produce less carbon than they’re permitted can sell what’s left of their allowance to companies that produce more than they should. There’s actually a market where these allowances are traded electronically.

Over the past few months, but especially in the last week, criminals have been able to break into one of the registries where those carbon allowances were recorded and change who owns what.

Carbon allowances has now been suspended. Perhaps this will lead to more interest in wind energy?

Link (image by Griffin024)

 


Fired Up

01/22/2011

photo: Kelly Smith

I’m pre-cooked, I’m pre-stamped, pre-set and post-dated. I’m ready to go, and ready to get slated. I’m ready to burn, and ready to earn; and despite what I know, I ready to learn.


Tower Climb Imminent

11/13/2010

Well, it seems as though I won’t have to wait until February to climb the 75′ tower, after all. In fact, my class was told yesterday that we will be doing our climbs on Monday. In this segment from a local news team, the school’s coordinator/HMIC, Mike Merrick, explains everything that will be involved.

There’s not much to it. Two fall protection configurations, and up you go. The reporter has some really appropriate boots for the task.


Amped Up in Electrical Class

11/11/2010

My class (great group) is finishing electrical training tomorrow with our written and practical finals. It’s been a long four weeks trying to cram all this knowledge into 16 heads. But we’ve maintained our sense of humor, as illustrated below by Tim- the class clown. If you look closely, you’ll see the safety glasses actually have the packaging model’s eyes inserted. This configuration has been used by at least one of my classmates to catch 40 winks during a lecture.

Our classroom is surrounded by electrical trainers, designed to simulate components of series and parallel circuits, logic circuits, and small motors. Lately the best part about the class is the view, which happens to look out on the school’s newest addition: The Tower. Students started doing test climbs this week.

I’ll definitely be posting more about this 75 ft. tall toy when I get to climb, which won’t be until February… but here’s the valiant Vancouver Fire Department drilling for the contingency of someone failing to climb down, and being in need of rescue.

Finals tomorrow, then on to Programmable Logic Controls… should be a real hoe-down.


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