The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

July 11, 2010 at 2:30 am | In johnson street bridge, links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • This article in Dwell relates nicely to the previous bookmark about Intel. The author’s husband’s company, Elan Home Systems, builds automated home monitoring and programming systems.

    QUOTE
    The real gains of a smart home, however, are in energy conservation. HVAC and irrigation specialists aside, most of us would rather not expend brainpower on the nuts and bolts of heating and plumbing. Yet, at the same time, to neglect these seemingly prosaic matters risks ruining the planet by wasting precious resources.

    A smart home’s technological bells and whistles, software, algorithms, and networked systems enable people to be mindful about resources without always having them on their minds. In our own home, we have reduced our energy consumption by 15 percent, primarily thanks to the ability to automate and easily control how much lighting, air-conditioning, and heating we use, in addition to enabling us to make behavioral changes based on the system’s feedback.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: dwell_magazine energy management widgets

  • Very promising new approach that incorporates insights from ethnography, mainly around how to keep users engaged with energy management:

    QUOTE
    The company has developed a home energy management console that comes with 1) a household clock and 2) an answering machine that stores and plays back video messages. The console also sports an iPhone-like interface with apps for checking daily power consumption, historical power consumption and other data. Nonetheless, the answering machine, and to some degree the clock (with the hours corresponding to peak power periods painted in red), represent the real breakthroughs.

    Why? Home energy management companies admit that it has been tough to get consumers to interact with their consoles after the initial thrill wears off. By integrating an answering machine, consumers will inadvertently have to come in contact with their energy consumption all the time.

    “We realize energy can get boring,” said Mary Murphy-Hoye at Intel Labs. “We’ve got to give people reasons to interact with it.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: energy management intel widgets

  • Washington State Department of Transportation page about the benefits of roundabouts. Thinking about this with regard to the so-called “octopus” of roads in downtown Victoria, just before traffic gets on to the Johnson Street Bridge. A roundabout might be the better solution…?
    QUOTE
    Contrary to many peoples’ perceptions, roundabouts actually move traffic through an intersection more quickly, and with less congestion on approaching roads. Roundabouts promote a continuous flow of traffic. Unlike intersections with traffic signals, drivers don’t have to wait for a green light at a roundabout to get through the intersection. Traffic is not required to stop – only yield – so the intersection can handle more traffic in the same amount of time.
    UNQUOTE

    Also consider space constraints: roundabouts need less space:
    QUOTE
    A roundabout may need more property within the actual intersection, but often take up less space on the streets approaching the roundabout. Because roundabouts can handle greater volumes of traffic more efficiently than signals, where drivers may need to line up to wait for a green light, roundabouts usually require fewer lanes approaching the intersection.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: johnson_street_bridge victoria roundabouts wsdot

  • Interesting observations. Heavy users are ~1% of online participants (90% lurk, 9% comment occasionally, 1% comment heavily and shape the community). Re. anonymity, see also the Shirky article in The Guardian, and consider this observation in Boston.com:
    QUOTE
    Almost all the heavy users I spoke with said they would continue to comment even if they had to provide their real name.
    UNQUOTE

    And how easy is it to uncover anonymity? Very.
    QUOTE
    While news organizations debate scrapping anonymity, the ground may be shifting beneath them. With all of our identifying information getting sliced, diced, and sold, by everyone from credit card companies to Facebook, is there really such a thing as the anonymous Web anymore? Consider this demonstration from the late ’90s by Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Latanya Sweeney. She took three commonly available data points: sex (male), ZIP code (02138), and date of birth (July 31, 1945). Those seemingly anonymous attributes could have described lots of people, right? Actually, no. She proved they could belong to just one person: former governor William Weld. She tells me that 87 percent of Americans can now be identified with just these three data points.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: boston_globe online_commenting anonymity internet socialtheory socialcritique

  • Clay Shirky defends the web, has a couple of insights into the nature of nasty anonymous commenting, too, which really make a lot of sense. I like his “islands of civility” notion. And here’s my favorite bit:
    QUOTE
    “The final thing I’d say about optimism is this. If we took the loopiest, most moonbeam-addled Californian utopian internet bullshit, and held it up against the most cynical, realpolitik-inflected scepticism, the Californian bullshit would still be a better predictor of the future. Which is to say that, if in 1994 you’d wanted to understand what our lives would be like right now, you’d still be better off reading a single copy of Wired magazine published in that year than all of the sceptical literature published ever since.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: clay_shirky internet socialcritique socialtheory

  • Great article in the New York Times Real Estate section on Victoria BC’s Dockside Green Development.
    QUOTE
    “So it’s all integrated: the economic, the environmental, the social,” he added.

    The holistic design is the hallmark of Dockside Green, which will eventually encompass 1.3 million square feet, including 26 buildings and 2,500 residents. The project’s first neighborhood, Dockside Wharf, was completed last year and has 266 market-rate apartments, 253 of which have sold; 26 “affordable” units; 32,600 square feet of office space; and 5,881 square feet of retail. Prices range from 411,900 Canadian dollars (about $390,000) for a one-bedroom to 529,900 for two bedrooms and up to 1,233,900 for penthouses.

    The development also includes an 8 million Canadian dollar heating plant that converts locally sourced wood waste into a clean-burning gas that produces all the community’s heat and hot water. The system, which eliminates the need to use fossil fuels as a heat source, illustrates Dockside’s neighborhood-based approach to environmentally friendly design, said Robert Drew, a project architect and an associate principal with Busby Perkins & Will.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: housing victoria dockside_green nyt

  • Nice presentation by Ellen Dunham-Jones on retrofitting suburbia. “We need to retrofit the corridors” – so true. Let new urbanism do a do-over of arterials. “Restore the local ecology” – restore the original wetlands: hmm, that’s what the City of Victoria should have done at the View St. and Vancouver St. intersection! Another idea: “eco-acre transfer.” Possible problems: astro-turf and urban streetscapes but suburban parking ratios.

    tags: suburbia video ellen_dunham_jones ted_conference sprawl retrofit

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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