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Benjamin Oakes

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Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Liaison. Previously, I was a Developer at Continuity and Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize TechCorridor.io, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Blog

Iowa Utilities Board approves huge wind energy project

by Ben

The Iowa Utilities Board has approved a wind turbine operation it says will be the nation’s largest wind energy project. […] [T]he project will see 85 percent of the company’s Iowa customer needs met through wind energy by 2020.

Source: Iowa Utilities Board approves huge wind energy project

Transport is now biggest part of U.S. carbon emissions, first time in 40 years

by Ben

Earlier this year, transportation overtook all other sectors of the economy—including electric power, industrial, residential, and commercial—to earn that dubious distinction, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).

Source: Transport is now biggest part of U.S. carbon emissions, first time in 40 years

Climate Change Divide Bursts to Forefront in Presidential Campaign

by Ben

Hillary Clinton highlights her plans to combat global warming. Donald J. Trump dismisses the science as a hoax.

[…]

A Gallup poll in March found that 65 percent of Americans believed that climate change was caused by human activity, an increase of 10 points from a year earlier. The poll found that 38 percent of Republicans believed the same thing, an increase of four points from a year earlier. The poll also found that 76 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 accepted that human activity is behind climate change.

Source: Climate Change Divide Bursts to Forefront in Presidential Campaign – The New York Times

Useful tech terms: Yak Shaving, Technical Debt, Bikeshedding

by Ben

Yak Shaving: The process of performing a series of nested tasks to accomplish a goal, each of which seems necessary in context but becomes less and less linked to the original goal.

Technical Debt: The accumulated negative technical results of shortcuts and trade-offs taken in the past on a project, which place a drag on the cost of current and future development on the project.

Bikeshedding: Spending disproportionate time and energy spent over an insignificant or unimportant detail of a larger concern.

Source: Useful tech terms: Yak Shaving, Technical Debt, Bikeshedding

All empty boats

by Ben

If a man is crossing a river
and an empty boat
collides with his own boat,
he won’t get offended or angry,
however hot-tempered he may be.
But if the boat is manned,
he may flare up, shouting and cursing,
just because there’s a rower.

Realize that all boats are empty
as you cross the river of the world,
and nothing can possibly offend you.

From chapter 43 of Stephen Mitchell’s The Second Book of the Tao (via tinyapps.org)

Web Design in 4 minutes

by Ben

Learn the basics of web design in 4 minutes with this interactive tutorial.

Source: Web Design in 4 minutes

CenturyLink charges data overage fees, may disconnect “excessive” users

by Ben

Users over 300GB a month can be charged extra $50—or even lose their service.

Source: CenturyLink charges data overage fees, may disconnect “excessive” users

Registration open!  Iowa Code Camp is July 23rd

by Ben

You might be asking, what’s a code camp? Well, here are some of the basic ideas:

Community driven
Its for and by developers
No cost for attendees
Developer relevant content
Never during work hours – usually on a Saturday
We are looking for developers who want to tell other developers about cool things they are doing. Topics they really care about. If you are working with .Net, Ruby, PHP, Java, Rails, Python, SQL, <fill in the blank> and you want to tell other people about it, then consider submitting a speaking proposal.

Source: Iowa Code Camp

240 years of US energy use

by Ben

Biomass and renewables surge, coal use plunges.

Source: 240 years of US energy use

A new way of blogging about JavaScript, Clojure, and Ruby

by Ben

The klipse plugin is a small step toward Alan Kay’s vision: it is a javascript tag that transforms static javascript code snippets of an html page to live and interactive snippets.

Source: A new way of blogging about javascript

Available for Clojure, JavaScript, and Ruby.