Digital Circuit Breakers can Transform Sustainable Electricity

wind turbine

An often overlooked aspect of sustainable energy is the seemingly simple switching of electricity. Physical switches slow down the ability of repairs on power systems and can even hinder the installation of renewable energy sources. A lot of renewable energy systems (solar, wind, tidal, etc.) fluctuate greatly in the power output which strains switches; this is where digital circuits thrive. With digital switching it is easier to dynamically change power sources and remotely monitor them.

“Instead of using mechanics to switch the power, we apply digital inputs,” Kennedy told Popular Mechanics. “Now I have no moving parts. Now I have the ability to connect things like iPhones and iPads for remote power management, which increases safety and improves efficiency. I can set the distribution panel to a schedule so the flow of power is seamless, unlimited, and shifts between sources automatically. You literally wouldn’t notice. The lights wouldn’t even flicker.”

For a grid-connected solar home, for example, residents sometimes have to disconnect their solar input because traditional power systems (including the circuit breakers) aren’t advanced enough to properly manage multiple power sources that change.

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Vote on Canada’s Digital Future

Conservatives suck

On Monday the 19th Canadians will cast their ballots for who they think should run the nation. Open Media has released a report card on where the political parties stand on digital issues impacting Canadians. It’s with no surprise that the conservatives get a failing grade. The good news is that every other party support online freedoms.

Don’t want the Canadian government reading your email and watching what you do online? Vote them out this election.

We have assessed the main parties on the digital policy issues Canadians told us matter most. The grades below are a crowdsourced assessment by your OpenMedia team based on these criteria.

Although we don’t endorse any party, we work on these issues every day and want to make sure you can cast an informed vote based on what matters to you.

See the report card.

Will Iceland be the “Switzerland of Data”?

Iceland is the de facto home of Wikileaks and is also a country concerned with privacy issues. The country is now considering leveraging their experience and reputation of being digital-data friendly to the next level. Presently, the country is considering branding itself as the “Switzerland of Data.”

If Iceland does move ahead with this, it means that the country will become one of the most important players in the 21st century similar to how Switzerland was with banks in the 20th.

The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a non-profit organisation, has played an instrumental role in designing and promoting the legal framework for Iceland’s new data privacy laws.

Following the country’s 2010 financial crisis, mass protests broke out against the nepotism, corruption and lack of transparency exposed by the collapse. A group of Icelandic activists began working on an initiative to create the world’s strongest media and free speech protection laws, as well as a state-of-the-art privacy law.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is IMMI’s spokeswoman and now represents the Pirate Party in the Icelandic parliament. She met Al Jazeera at her office in Reykjavik and explained that one of IMMI’s goals is “to allow people working on human rights or investigative journalists, as well as people who want to host data on a massive scale, to be free from worrying about privacy issues”.

She added: “Iceland should become for information what Switzerland is for money.”

Read more.

Music Industry Broken, Musicians Not

from wiredMTV has declared the music industry broken and that is actually a good thing (unless you’re a recored executive). It is a hard time for musicians though as the industry catches up to this whole “interbookwebspacenetjournal.com” thing.

David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, has some advice for musicians so they can succeed in this new age:

I would personally advise artists to hold on to their publishing rights (well, as much of them as they can). Publishing royalties are how you get paid if someone covers, samples, or licenses your song for a movie or commercial. This, for a songwriter, is your pension plan.

Increasingly, it’s possible for artists to hold on to the copyrights for their recordings as well. This guarantees them another lucrative piece of the licensing pie and also gives them the right to exploit their work in mediums to be invented in the future — musical brain implants and the like.

No single model will work for everyone. There’s room for all of us. Some artists are the Coke and Pepsi of music, while others are the fine wine — or the funky home-brewed moonshine. And that’s fine. I like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man.” Sometimes a corporate soft drink is what you want — just not at the expense of the other thing. In the recent past, it often seemed like all or nothing, but maybe now we won’t be forced to choose.

Ultimately, all these scenarios have to satisfy the same human urges: What do we need music to do? How do we visit the land in our head and the place in our heart that music takes us to? Can I get a round-trip ticket?

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