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So You Want to Stop People From Texting and Driving.

iphone4-1This morning while I was drinking my coffee and watching the news, there was a story on Good Morning America about New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cracking down on texting and driving. I say you go governor. The thing is, I think there is a much easier and cheaper solution to the problem. One that doesn’t involve law enforcement, and can be easily implemented by hand set manufacturers, and software developers.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming the standard in the United States. Every smartphone on the market has one universal feature. They know where they are and how fast they are moving thanks to motion detection, GPS, and any number of other hardware and software specific features of the handset. So, why don’t we simply require smartphone manufacturers to disable texting if the phone is traveling in any direction faster than 10 miles per hour? Now before you can say what about when I’m riding on a plane, or high-speed train? If the phone is traveling faster than, lets say 120 miles per hour, texting services work.

I think this is a fairly straightforward, easy to implement solution. It could be achieved with a simple software update to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile operating system, and it could be adjusted with updates in the future. It wouldn’t get every phone in use, but it would probably get about 80 percent or more.

So I’m thinking it could work like this:

  • If my phone is moving faster than 10 miles per hour in any direction I can’t text
  • When I get to a stop light texting remains inactive for 30 seconds (the typical length of a stoplight)
  • If I travel faster than X mph my phone lets me text again.

It might piss people off at first, but so did seat belts and other devices that have made driving a hell of a lot safer in the last 100 years.

Maybe the Mayan’s are Right.

I’m not a dooms day believer. I don’t think the Mayan’s have it right and the world is coming to an end in 2012, when the Mayan calendar comes to a close, but I have to say based on the environmental disasters of the last 12 months it really makes you wonder if as a species we are trying to kill ourselves.

First we have BP’s Gulf Oil disaster which was probably far worse than we have been led to believe. Now we have the nuclear meltdown in Japan which is going to a hell of a lot worse than any of us can imagine. As I write this, both Gizmodo and ABC News are reporting that radioactive plutonium has been found outside reactor number 3 in contaminated soil, and 3 large steam tunnels are on the verge of over flowing and spilling large amounts of highly toxic radioactive water into the ocean which is a mere 180 feet away.

You would think that by this point in time, we would have found a way to produce clean non toxic renewable energy sources. I mean think about it, in 1969 we landed a man on the moon with a computer that has about the same horsepower as a Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator does. What is happening is just stupid, and based on greed. It’s all about big energy making more money at the expense of the world and people around them. The only thing is, if they kill off the environment and the people, they kill off their profit source. You think they would wake up, smell the coffee and innovate. Imagine if all the oil companies invested billions in researching new clean energy sources, instead of places to drill for oil, or ways to get it out of the ground. If they had spent the last 30 or 40 years doing that, maybe we could have avoided the Exxon Valdez, The Gulf Spill, and the countless other oil related disasters that never made the evening news.

The same thing is applicable to the nuclear industry. There hasn’t been a whole lot of innovation when it comes to that industry over the last 30 years either. Actually, there might have been and I am just unaware of what has been taking place. The reactor in Japan is an older style reactor, built with last years technology, and obviously not designed to withstand an earthquake and a tsunami.

So what do we do, especially since renewable energy sources like wind and solar only work at full efficiency when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

Highview Power Storage might have a solution to help get us one step closer to a clean, renewable energy sources, thanks to their CryoEnergy System also known as CES.

CES takes excess energy that is generated by another source and uses it to run refrigeration units which super cool air to a temperature of -196C (-320.8F), at which point the air liquefies. The liquid air, which is known as cryogen, is then stored in insulated tanks, and at times of peak energy demand, when the output of existing energy sources can’t meet the demands of our power grid, the liquid air in a controlled release is used to generate energy.

Being able to solve the storage problem will be a huge leap forward for emission free power on a global scale.  The way Highveiw’s CryoEnergy Storage system works is by storing and releasing the liquid air, as air is released the liquid boils, regasifies and expands by up to 700% when heated above -196C, This means that even at  room temperature you can superheat it. At this point mega-high-pressured gas is then used to spin turbines which generate electric power.

So what is the by-product of the CES system? Cold Air. And what about the efficieny of the CES system? When the liquid air, the cryogen is exposed to ambient air temperatures, it returns about 50% of the energy used to create it. When the amount of stored liquid air is increased, the intensity of the regasification increases exponentially resulting in up to 70% efficiency. The CES process is perfect for facilities that generate large volumes of waste heat, which could boost the overall efficiency of CES. In additional, the by-product from CES could be used in practical applications like refrigeration, air conditioning, or even the production of more liquid air which increases the efficiency of the whole process.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it sure as hell beats what we have going on now.