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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

Belgium, USA dominate IC cyclocross World Cup

by Ben

Two American women and three Belgian men ended up on the victor’s podium for the Women’s and Men’s Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup races in Iowa City on Saturday.

Source: Belgium, USA dominate IC cyclocross World Cup

2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric car: 238-mile EPA range rating, 119 MPGe combined

by Ben

It will be the first mass-priced electric car with a range of 200 miles or more, and it will go on sale a year before the much-vaunted Tesla Model 3. […] Moreover, it’s the highest range of any electric car sold to date that doesn’t have a Tesla badge on it.

Source: 2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric car: 238-mile EPA range rating, 119 MPGe combined

For comparison, the 2017 Chevy Volt has a rated 53-mile EV range (about a 440-mile EV plus gas range) and 106 MPGe combined.  The Bolt doesn’t quite make sense for driving across Iowa, but given some time for the charging infrastructure to develop and the range to increase a little more… Well, it will be interesting to see what the situation is in a few years. Until then, plug-in hybrids like the Volt make a lot of sense.

Johnson County triples its solar power production

by Ben

Johnson County is installing two new solar arrays at its Iowa City campus in a move that officials say will save taxpayers money and triple the county government’s production of clean energy.

Source: Johnson County triples its solar power production

We used Eagle Point as well.  Get in touch if you’d like a referral credit.  :)

Slate: Iowa is ‘most impressive state for clean energy’

by Ben

The most impressive place for clean energy isn’t some coastal state, like California or New York.

[…]

Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy is planning a $3.6 billion wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity through 1,000 turbines. MidAmerican says that is enough energy to power 800,000 average households.

Source: Slate: Iowa is ‘most impressive state for clean energy’

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