Saturday, October 11, 2008

Honda's next-generation thin film solar cells

From a flash Honda "press piece" that shows off information and photos of their new thin film solar panel technology:
Honda's next-generation thin film solar cells achieve approximately a 50 percent reduction in the amount of energy consumed during the manufacturing process.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bucky Lays it Out. Get Busy!

Here it is. Bucky himself laying out the option. I'm writing this in 2008. That means we've had the power to achieve a working realistic "Utopia" for twenty-three years.

And since progress is exponential, we must be almost falling over ourselves with solutions by now. And we are. I'll post about them soon, but two of them are Permaculture and John and Nancy Todd's Living Machines.

Bucky was an engineer, when he made this proclamation it was on the basis of hard-headed scientific reasoning, informed by an unmatched apprehension of the world conditions and world resources at the time. Remember that he traveled the world, by invitation, some 80-odd times. Especially remarkable for a man who was born before the invention of the airplane, even before the Poles of the Earth had been reached by human explorers.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Xerblin Images

Currently a screenshot, the cool logo and a graph of the python module dependencies. This is a link to a Picasa Web Album.


Friday, June 13, 2008


And now, for no reason, Betelgeuse.

pronounced /ˈbiːtəldʒuːz/ or /ˈbɛtəldʒuːz/" - entry for Betelgeuse

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Code Review, Public Code too for that matter, for Xerblin

Plunge. I put the Xerblin code into public svn on Google Code. I have a new laptop and a stable internet connection now, so rather than work off my local repository (and try to keep the two machines, new and old, synced) I'm going to just bite the bullet and let the gcode repo be the repo.

I also set up an instance of GvR's Rietveld, a Google App for code review, for Xerblin. You can check it out at but it won't make much sense unless you read up on it first. I'm going to invite some friends to review the Xerblin code base in the run up to a 1.0 release. :]

Thursday, June 5, 2008

FoNC has a Wiki Now

Some Backstory on IDLE Python IDE

Re: [Idle-dev] Fix for long delays

On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 9:07 AM, Bruce Sherwood <Bruce_Sherwood@*.edu> wrote:
> Dave Scherer suggested that I join this discussion, as I represent a
> constituency of literally thousands of college students who use IDLE in


> There are very good reasons to want novice programmers who are
> writing computational physics programs to be writing and running full
> programs at all times, not to be working at the statement level in the
> interactive shell. Interacting in the shell can of course be very useful for
> expert programmers, but this kind of interaction with a programming language
> weakens for our students the concept that a program is a complete sequence
> of operations, performed sequentially. It may sound strange, but this is not
> a trivial concept to many newcomers.


Remember? Remember learning that concept? I vaguely do. Wow.

Google Alert - permaculture

Google News Alert for: permaculture

Veganism is a consumer activity
Infoshop News - USA
On a permaculture farm in many climates, for example, integrating chickens into the farm enhances rather than diminishes the food supply. ...
See all stories on this topic

"The Urban Homestead" author Eric Knutzen talks city gardening and ...
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Overall we're guided by permaculture, which can be a difficult thing to explain. Permaculture came out of Australia, from the work of Bill Mollison and ...
See all stories on this topic

Google Blogs Alert for: permaculture

General Homesteading : some permaculture questions
As far as permaculture gardening ... fruit trees are pretty permanent! Berries, and perennials like rhubarb and asparagus are also long lived. In my zone 6 garden I often over winter garlic, onions, and potatoes, leaving some to start ...
The Forum : General... -

General Homesteading : some permaculture questions
on permaculture: i am a certified permaculture instructor and can say that once established, permaculture gardens are very low maintenance. the initial preparation and establishment requires a fair bit of labor, but tilling is not a ...
The Forum : General... -

By edisme
Download this video! Full Screenvideo link. Details the rise and rise of the "Permaculture Concept" as espoused by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton.
OpposingDigits Vlog -

General Homesteading : some permaculture questions
Author: smwon Subject: some permaculture questions Posted: 04 June 2008 at 1:40pm. Originally posted by nomadx hey i'm new. interested in homesteading and a sustainable lifestyle, ie don't have to constantly buy things to survive. while ...
The Forum -

This once a day Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

Permaculture Google News Alert to ThisBlog, Neat

I managed to connect a Google news alert to this blog, At least I think I did. We'll know tomorrow when a daily digest of news involving permaculture shows up or otherwise here.

  • I made the google alert go to my gmail account.
  • I set up a post-by-email address for this blog.
  • I set up a forwarding fllter in my gmail account to send emails from the news alert service to the blogger post-by-email dummy address.
Ta-da! Maybe.

We'll see tomorrow. G'night.

Hello there World...


This is a test email to blag yay.

See my nifty sig? Who knew Mr. Wells had written history. It's
awesome too. (And, yes, I know about "

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Using Git as a versioned data store in Python

From this:

you find this, which is now 404:

but then there's this:


John Wiegley: Using Git as a versioned data store in Python ["... while most people do simply use Git as a version control system, it remains true that it can be used for other tasks as well. For example, if you ever need to store mutating data in a series of snapshots, Git may be just what you need. It's fast, efficient, and offers a large array of command-line tools for examining and mutating the resulting data store. To support this kind of usage – for the upcoming purpose of maintaining issue tracking data in a Git repository – I've created a Python class that wraps Git as a basic shelve object."]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Python 2.5 and Tcl/Tk 8.5 DSL Extension

I've been playing with Damn Small Linux (DSL) as a host OS for my Xerblin project and so far I'm impressed. It's a cute system: Knoppix base with a full-fledged but tiny desktop system and a fairly sophisticated facility for customization via "Extensions" (and other means.)

In order to run Xerblin (which depends on Tkinter), I'm creating an extension for DSL that includes Python 2.5 as well as Tcl/Tk 8.5 (there is already a Python 2.5 extension but it doesn't include Tkinter support.) It's proving to be very straightforward, in part because both the folks responsible for Tcl/Tk and the folks responsible for Python have done a great job on their respective build processes, and in part because the DSL extension creation process is undemanding.

Compiling and Installing Python and Tcl/Tk
Briefly, I created a couple of "destination" directories in the /opt directory, one for Python and one for Tcl/Tk:

mkdir /opt/tcltk-8.5
mkdir /opt/python2.5

Then, having downloaded the source code for each from their respective websites, I did the configure; make; make install dance and specified the proper "destination" directories

tar xzvf tcl8.5.1-src.tar.gz
cd tcl8.5.1/unix
./configure --prefix=/opt/tcltk-8.5 --exec-prefix=/opt/tcltk-8.5
make && make install

Tk (note the --with-tcl option, that was one thing that had to be there to tell Tk where to find the Tcl libs):
tar xzvf tk8.5.1-src.tar.gz
cd tk8.5.1/unix
./configure \
--with-tcl=/opt/tcltk-8.5/lib \
--prefix=/opt/tcltk-8.5 \
make && make install

tar xzvf Python-2.5.2.tgz
cd Python-2.5.2
./configure --prefix=/opt/python2.5 --exec-prefix=/opt/python2.5
make && make install

Note, before you can compile Python and have it find Tcl/Tk and build Tkinter you must tell it where Tcl/Tk are, and to do this you must edit Python's file. I'll flesh this out later...

  • Symlinks to /opt/bin
  • Stripping out unneeded cruft
  • Making the extensions proper
  • Running ldconfig