A 13-year old uses math (hooray for the Golden Ratio) to figure out a new and more efficient arrangement for solar panels.  The trick:  mimic trees!  For extra credit, here’s more on why so many plants have spiral patterns related to the Golden Ratio.

An urbanist’s paean to on-street parking.  I’m not sure I agree with every piece of the argument, and I certainly don’t think that we should presume that drivers have an inherent right to use public right of way to store their vehicles.  But compared with many of the alternatives—especially surface parking lots or monolithic garages at street level—street parking seems like a pretty good option for pedestrian-friendly design.


Over at Center for American Progress, Donna Cooper and Seth Hanlon detail what millionaires will gain and what many other Americans will lose if our elected leaders in DC conclude the debt deal without addressing revenues.

Piles of dirty, black coal in your bathtub, your laundry basket, your kitchen, your living room? Yuck! But as Sierra Club reminds us, “Nearly half of the electricity in the United States is generated by burning rocks from the Caboniferous Period, yet most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the dirty details–the mountaintops dynamited, streams and valleys filled with rubble, mercury and soot filling our air, carbon dioxide warming our planet.”

They’ve brought our dirty little secret of coal consumption home—so to speak—by showing us in stark images just what it would look like if we could actually see how much coal it took to power our homes.

For example:

78 lbs: Amount of coal it takes to run a dryer for a month in an average US household that relies on electricity from a coal-fired power plant.

162 lbs: Amount of coal it takes to light a house with incandescent lightbulbs for a month.

Check out their slide show for more sobering coal facts.


The New York Times has a fascinating debate on farm worker wages, immigration policy enforcement, and US food prices.

Harper’s has this intriguing look at the global economics of pirated and copied products, a theme of great interest to Cascadia’s info-tech industry.