The second of the presentations I gave at this year’s Penguicon was titled ‘Alternative’ Alternative Energy Generation.

Alternative energy systems such as wind power and solar panels have become so familiar they really have become mainstream. But these aren’t the only alternative energy systems available. There are ‘alternative’ alternatives that offer other ways of harnessing energy from other sources and in other ways than the ‘mainstream’ alternative energy methods. Find out about river current power generation, wave power, kite wind power, etc.

The PDF of the presentation is here, and the links to articles about the various technologies discussed are after the cut.




Science Fiction Materials for Your Home” is a presentation I’ve given a couple of times now (it’s a little different each time I’ve done it). This past weekend, it was one of two presentations I gave at Penguicon 2012.

The premise for the presentation is that there are a number of construction materials that have very intriguing properties. Even if these aren’t necessarily widely available or affordable, they are products that seem to come from science fiction. And while these aren’t things you’re likely going to put into your home next year, it’s interesting to see what materials are being developed. And perhaps someone will eventually be interested in doing a project that incorporates some of these materials.

Attached below you can find a link to a PDF of my presentation (which is mostly just a set of images that I use to illustrate the discussion), as well as a set of links to original articles (many that are articles I wrote for EcoGeek and JetsonGreen) talking about these materials. The list is long enough to warrant being behind a cut.



Mostly off-topic for an architect, I know, but it’s this odd odd appendage that has developed as a part of my sideline as a writer about green technology (and living close to Detroit). Two things coming up:

I’ve been invited to come to Penguicon again this year, and to be on a panel with some other automotive and transportation folks to talk about the future of automotive technology. While I am still only accidentally a “car guy,” it has become an area of interest for me as part of my involvement with EcoGeek. I’m not in the industry the way the other panelists are, so hopefully I can provide some wider perspective. I also expect I will be acquainted with a number of blue-sky concepts that the others are less familiar with.

I’m not sure about other presentations or programming for Penguicon, yet. I’ve offered a possible presentation on ‘Alternative Alternative Power Generation,’ looking at the fringe ideas and explorations that make wind and solar look mainstream (which they certainly are becoming).

Secondly, I’ve been invited to visit a Volkswagen research facility in a couple weeks to learn more about what they are up to (as well as to have a chance to drive a bunch of their upcoming models). It’s one of the more incongruous parts of my life. Look for some stories coming out of that in a couple weeks.