29 June, 2011

The Crowded Sky: 2 (semi) close shaves

This week marks the confluence of two types of events we typically devote very little attention to. On June 28 a suspected piece of man-made "space junk" was detected on a course taking it within 1000 feet of the International Space Station. And the day before, an asteroid, "2011 MD", passed within 7500 miles of earth -- that's closer than the orbits of geosynchronous communications satellites and even the constellation of GPS spacecraft.

27 June, 2011

Space Solar Power redux: now that's what I'm talking about

The Economist Magazine (both web and print versions) recently had an interesting article on the possibility of collecting solar power by a platform in orbit and then beaming it to collection areas or a point of use on earth.

26 June, 2011

From NYT: Set-top boxes - threat or menace?

New York Times of 25 June 2011 had an interesting article about the energy use of the very ubiquitous TV set-top signal converter boxes and DVRs. While I agree with the intent of the article, I think the hyperbole of the lead in paragraph warrants some critical assessment:

"Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems."