Friday, December 5, 2008

Largest solar installation is in Nevada

Nellis AFB solar array

Here's half the photo taken from Wikipedia's story on the Nellis Air Force Base installation of 72,000 photovoltaic cells in a tracking array. The cost was high - $100 million, but financed in a manageable manner. It took at least six years to make it's way from legislative proposal to finished product, but the 15 megawatts of electricity at 2.2 cents/kWh will save the base $1 million each year in costs.

The design and construction company, SunPower, is a leader in the field. According to Wikipedia, they are to build a 1-megawatt parking lot canopy solar array for Agilent Technologies, Inc., that will be the largest solar installation in Sonoma County, California.

The photos that accompany the article are in the public domain as they have been taken by Air Force personnel: thus, U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert Valenca. It seems that you can see the entire photo by clicking on what is shown.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Statue dedicated in 2002 in Carterville, IL

John A Logan

Among the interesting images that Google provides is this recent sculpture that represents General Logan setting aside his sword, putting on civilian garb, and turning to the work of establishing a peaceful nation. The location on a college campus which puts an emphasis on local participation at levels from childhood through adult is particularly fitting, I think.

The communities where Logan was born, where he lived as a young father, and devoted husband, son and brother, have taken the opportunity to use his example of giving of himself for a higher purpose. I hope to be able to visit Carterville and Murphrysboro one of these days.

Gen Logan in later life

John A Logan

This visual of General Logan suits my feelings about him better that the intimidating wartime photos that are used when he is the subject of an article or a book. We know that the later part of his life is covered in a second volume by James Pickett Jones, John A. Logan, Stalwart Republican from Illinois (1982). At some point, I may try to read that companion to Jones' 1967 Black Jack.

So many of the Lincoln-centered histories describe Illinois' politics in the pre-Civil War era from the Northern viewpoint that I find it illuminating to have Jones writing with more emphasis on the Southern Illinois politician's arguments.

In Logan, we have a politician who switched parties, making for a story that is an especially interesting topic following a hectic presidential election.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unintended consequences

traffic troubles for wind turbine truckers

This shot is from NYT Green Inc on November 25, 2008. The story concerns the troubles that occur with the extra-long and extra-heavy wind turbines that are being transported to wind farms. One of the difficulties is that interstate highways have bridges that are too low to allow passage of these loads.

Another factor is the weight exceeding legal limits. In Lincoln, Illinois, the Lincoln Courier reports that a company was fined $20,000 by the state for being about double the limit. Comments to the story include the suggestion that the company employ a police escort for $100 to guide the delivery though the town. Truckers claimed the signage was misleading, and that's how they took a wrong turn. So, put up better signs or hire out a guide?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hillary and Barack at Yearly Kos 2007

Hillary Clinton,Barack Obama,Yearly Kos panel 2007

This is a test, in learning how to use Photobucket to post photograph on a blogsite. Perhaps this is how dw sends photos to his blog, obab.

I would like to center this, or make it smaller, still more to learn.

John Stauffer's "Giants" published Nov. 3, 2008

Thanks to B&N knowing that I purchase CW titles on my account, I received notice that a book signing would take place in the Skokie B&N store. Two of us from the CW book discussion group made it to the talk, where we learned lots about Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in a half hour or so.

Looking forward to reading the book, and learning more about their "parallel lives" which is the subtitle. Turns out that reading material was one thing they had in common, much before they ever chanced to meet. Stauffer challenged us to name six books: we came up with the Bible, Shakespeare, and the leading book on oratory [the Columbian Orator, full name], while he had to supply Aesop's Fables (a book by a slave about slaves), followed by the poetry of Robert Burns and Lord Byron. We were congratulated with being able to name so many!

In discussing his writing of this book, Stauffer brought in the similarity of Obama's use of oratory and performance skill. The obvious point to all, that Obama will acknowledge that he reads and is informed by Lincoln's writings, while not mentioning Douglass, whose influence Stauffer detects in Obama's words, was also discussed. Which thus becomes another hook to the potential readership for "Giants."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Big "D" Democracy in 1860

When reading the Brooks Simpson and Jean Berlin volume of Sherman's letters, Sherman's Civil War, when it was first published, I was not as cognizant of the feelings Americans held in respect to widespread voting. After dipping into the literature* of how political movements were bent on expanding and contracting the franchise laws in the various states, and after reading Sean Wilentz' 2005 book, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, I now understand the significance of the term as it was used by William T Sherman. *Reference: Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote (NY, 2000).

He certainly railed about the direction that Democracy was taking the country in his early letters as he bemoaned the government's lackadasical plans for arming the North. Having served in the South after leaving West Point, in Florida as well as Charleston and having made the trip that took him from Georgia to Alabama and back, Sherman returned to the South to establish the military academy in Louisiana whose students included sons of Bragg and Beauregard.

Unfortunately for Sherman's equanimity, he soon had cause to rail about the Press, rather than Democracy, and various reporters and editors became his target du jour.

But to return to the Wilentz book, for an engaging and thorough review of the parties as they formed, merged and morphed and for the role played by all the most important politicians as the changes occurred, an interested reader will do well with this volume to serve as an illumination for a complicated period in American political history.