Aruba was the first island we have been too since the summer hurricanes so I was curious about challenges utilities face as I was thinking about why Puerto Rico is having such a tough time recovering. BTW few people seem to realize PR's grid was in terrible shape before Maria (see this article)
Aruba gets plenty of sun but I saw only one 4 MW commercial solar park and little in residential areas. It is blessed with constant NE breezes which show in its bent over foliage which acts like a natural compass (like the iconic Fofoti trees on Eagle Beach below), but the local wind farms only generate 30 MW when they could do much more day and night. There were couple of rigs in plain sight - it is neighbor to Venezuela with some of the largest oil reserves in the world, and it has a refinery currently going through refurbishment. Based on fundamentals, Aruba should be a big energy exporter and power should be abundant.
The reality - Margaret noticed holiday lights only in the touristy parts and very little in the residential areas, even though the island is Christian and fairly religious. So we asked a local - he said electricity was very expensive. - average of $ 400 a month for 1,000 sq ft place. Citizens used most of it for air conditioning. With the breeze they could keep windows open, but the mosquitoes would be an issue.
BTW this is a common issue across the Caribbean – power is much more expensive than in the US since most have to import fossil fuel – see this article)
It hit me - the Caribbean could use a power revolution especially with wind and solar. I know PR is getting all the attention and it needs it, but the whole of the Caribbean could use some forward thinking. It is a huge opportunity for the renewables industry and hope they step up there.
"Last year, we saw VR surge in prominence, but our picks this year are more conventional -- not to mention more diverse. The usual suspects include the iPhone X and Surface Laptop for getting helping us get things done, and the Nintendo Switch and the Sonos One for their ability to let us luxuriate at home and on the road. There's some more unexpected stuff on our list, too, like the easy-to-use DJI Spark drone as well as the Mighty, a tiny music player that won over much of the Engadget staff. Ultimately, we appreciated these picks for the ways they made our lives more pleasant, even if only a little."
Our kids have acquired our travel genes so when we get together I often ask them where they are planning to go next. Tommy told me a few days ago he would like to go to Japan. For all the technology, he said. How about the sushi master I told you about, knowing he loves sushi. From the Netflix documentary? Yes, I said. Then I proceeded to show him sections on Japan from Silicon Collar. He read them and said “Guess I will also have to go to Kanazawa to see all the artisans you wrote about”.
Yes, the Shokunin, which loosely translates to master craftsman.
The conversation reminded me I had not watched the Jiro Ono documentary in full. So I did. I am not a big raw fish fan, but the film is a religious experience.
When the film was made in 2011 (trailer below – full version available on Netflix or on DVD on Amazon) Jiro was 85, and had been perfecting his craft for 75 years. His small, non-descript place near a subway station which only seats 10 bar-style, Sukiyabashi Jiro has earned 3 Michelin stars. You have to make reservations for lunch or dinner weeks in advance, and expect to spend at least $ 300 each.
Forget all the previous sushi you have eaten. His is a fixed, omakase tasting menu of 20 pieces – in the film they show pieces with three types of tuna with varying degrees of fat. Each day, the other pieces vary depending on the best catch they get at the market (with his reputation he gets first dibs) – could be octopus massaged and tenderized for nearly an hour, could be salmon roe. His pieces are brushed with "nikiri" soy sauce and you don’t need to dip it in sauce or add wasabi. In fact that would ruin the taste. The pieces as served have the right blend of fish, fermented rice and sauce. Chopsticks are optional - his website shows the right way to use your fingers to pick the pieces. They serve one piece at a time, not as a plateful. They are best eaten as soon as served. Another reason not be late for your reservation or socialize too much. He discourages photography for the same reason. Eat it as soon as it served. Eat it as one bite. Sushi used to be street food in Japan. This invokes that Edo period tradition. Your meal could be done in 20 minutes. No tempura or soba served here. Only sushi. Similarly no sake. He recommends green tea or plain water. Use the Shoga (pickled ginger) to cleanse your palate between servings. Avoid heavy perfume – will ruin your experience and that of other patrons. There are other rules and rituals. Like I said it is a religious experience.
But even more fascinating are the life lessons from his journey and those of his sons and other apprentices. There is something satisfying to hear him talk about the joy he gets from his craft. From his humility that he can still improve after 75 years and even with the recognition that he is already elite. The Guinness Book of World Records lists him as the oldest Michelin 3 Star chef. Anthony Bourdain raves about him. President Obama dined with Prime Minister Abe at his restaurant. Cannot imagine what the security preparations were for this place located in a basement.
But watch the movie as you contemplate the future of jobs and training workers. They talk about years of experience before they are allowed to touch certain fish or cook eggs. It is about a relentless, long-term pursuit of excellence. It will reassure you humans with their ingenuity and dexterity will always be valued even as machines get smarter.
Show it to your young kids and to young workers (unless raw meat turns them off). We can all benefit from this role model of work ethic. And the spirit of this Shokunin.
Looking back at world events, 2017 seems like one of the most distressing, nail-biting years on record with political uncertainty, extreme weather, and the depravity of some of those in power seemingly running amok across the globe. And while Google’s annual zeitgeist video doesn’t shy away from this–it also shows how the worst, many times, brings out the best in humanity.
Yes, using gravitational waves—tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime—to detect black hole collisions was cool. But in 2017, the hunt for gravitational waves leveled up in a major way. In September, scientists announced the first-ever detection that combined the powers of LIGO with a new Italian observatory called Virgo. You can read more about why three detectors are so much better than two here.
And it just kept getting better. In October, researchers published evidence of colliding neutron stars, also detected using gravitational waves. The goings-on of these intensely dense celestial bodies could help us understand the origins of our own solar system. Scientists estimate that a single neutron star collision could produce 100 Earth masses worth of gold, a few hundred worth of platinum, and tens of uranium.
Today, roughly 82% of newlyweds take a mini-moon after their wedding, according to The Knot's 2016 Romance Travel Study. A typical mini-moon consists of a two- to five-day romantic getaway that’s within close proximity by drive or flight to a couple’s home or wedding venue, says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief at The Knot.
Most mini-moons are domestic jaunts, says Anne Chertoff, a contributing editor at WeddingWire.com. “You don’t want to spend an entire day in the car or on an airplane if you’re only going away for a few days,” Chertoff says.
For many couples, however, the mini-moon is a prelude to a longer, traditional honeymoon. “People frequently take a mini-moon in addition to a honeymoon, not instead of,” Chertof explains.
With no real money, and working in a dictatorship’s gray zone, the gamers have cobbled together a faster network with more services than anything this socialist worker’s paradise has managed to produce. I sit in mute admiration as Ian shows me clones of billion-dollar US internet entities. All of it existing in near-isolation from the outside world, just a hundred miles from the US. As often happens with outside observers of the Cuban reality, my two recurring thoughts are: By God, what could these people accomplish if they didn’t have the government gorilla sitting on their faces, asphyxiating everything? Or if they had easy access to all that Silicon Valley has to offer?
I thought, Wouldn’t it be cool f we could see inside a storage unit from anywhere? With MakeSpace, customers choose the unit size and storage term, and then get a price quote based on where they live. For a flat rate per man, we come to their house, pick up and wrap items, and then take them to our storage warehouse where we create a digital catalogue—pictures of their couch, their chair, their boxes. When they want something, they log into their account and can have one or all of their things delivered. With traditional storage companies, you schlep through the facility, there’s heavy lifting, and you forget what’s there.