Stuff I Really Meant to Tell You

Did you hear the one about the underwater Cabinet meeting?  The President of the Maldives made his Ministers meet underwater in scuba gear earlier this year, which will be good practice for when the rising seas flood their island (projected to be sometime this century).  Opinions on the efficacy of his gimmicky and populist approach are mixed, but you’ve got to give him credit for seeing a problem and diving right in.

BusinessWeek reviews some of the Obama administrations efforts to remake the nation’s electricity grid by installing sensors and smart meters.  Given that technology sure is moving fast, and the part where we have no good idea of the chnages to the grid’s supply and demand in the next few decades (being at the beginning of the renewable revolution and all, and I haven’t had a chance to buy my plug-in car yet), this is literally more difficult than we can imagine.  But the stimulus money provided a $3.4 billion dollar down payment on meters.

Which ties right into the article on Al Gore and his investments today in the New York Times.  We all know Al Gore is an advocate for clean technologies to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and that he has invested millions of dollars in start-ups that provide clean technologies.  One of his investments was in a company that sells smart meters for the grid, and has gotten plenty of money from those billions of stimulus funds.  The article points out a potential conflict of interest between his green technology advocacy and his investments, and gives the “profiteering” and “investing in his personal beliefs” angles.  And while Gore is not a lobbyist, he has testified in favor of clean technologies such as the ones he invests in before Congress.  Are you cool with that?  I am, as long as he’s upfront about having those investments during that testimony.   The article doesn’t mention if he did.  Also other people testify before Congress abotu things they have financial stakes in- the auto company presidents begging for their bailouts, for instance.  Fascinating article, if you like ethical puzzles.  Read it and figure out where you draw the line.

Best for last:  I hope you have heard about this already, but if not check it.  William Kamkwamba, back when he was 14, built a windmill.  By himself, in a village in Malawi, with stuff he found, with an old textbook and being amazing for his guide.  People noticed, and now’s he’s got a foundation started to benefit his village and build more windmills, and he’s given a TED talk, and just wow.  His blog is here, his book (of course he wrote a book about it) is here at BetterWorldBooks, an online bookseller that I like and has free shipping (and you can compare their prices to Amazon right there).  Wow!  This is so cool I want to post about it more.

3 Responses to “Stuff I Really Meant to Tell You”

  1. 1 Kenneth Moore November 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm


    I just finished editing a news analysis story about the climate-change legislation in the Senate right now, and the opening picture was of the Maldives’ president in SCUBA gear signing something on a desk underwater.

    If nothing else, there were wicked-awesome photos from that stunt. Let’s see if Obama does it? DC ain’t no way gonna survive the flood.

  2. 2 virescent November 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Where is this picture! I want to see!

  3. 3 Kenneth Moore November 9, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Lol the story is behind a firewall, but here’s a link to pretty much the image we used.

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