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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, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Filtering for the month August, 2014. Clear

I want one

by Ben


From XKCD.

Transformers: Surprisingly mediocre

by Ben

From my 3-star review posted on Amazon:

I expected better, especially from the writers. It’s not bad, but I don’t have any desire to see it again.

It’s essentially The Avengers, but with robots, crude humor, and many fighting scenes that seemed to go on longer than they should. It’s a good movie if you just want to watch a somewhat-mindless action flick for 2.5 hours, or if you’re a bigger fan of the cartoon than I was as a kid.

Iowa City ranks among top users of public transit in the nation

by Ben

Iowa City ranks among top users of public transit in the nation – TheGazette.

Way to go, Iowa City! Almost in the top ten for the United States. Number 11 isn’t bad, but we’re so close to beating Philadelphia that we should make that a goal. :)

From my experiences riding the bus regularly, there’s definitely a wide variety of people that use public transit, from working professionals who could probably drive everyday if they wanted, to those who only have the bus as a means of transportation. I personally take the bus to prevent extra carbon emissions and save some money, but when I can, I bike to get a little extra exercise. I also just like supporting public transit so it remains available to everyone. From what I’ve observed, busing and biking are common in Iowa City, partially because of the pedestrian culture here. I’d be curious how the transit usage numbers would differ between college students and otherwise, but I would guess the difference is not as large as many people would think. That said, other university-centric cities are near the top of the list, so it definitely has an effect.

It’s especially interesting to contrast with the numbers for other places I’ve lived where public transit isn’t used by as many types of people. The numbers seem to match reality pretty well, especially for very car-dependent areas. Where does your city fall in the list?

Iowa’s largest solar farm unveiled in Johnson County

by Ben

Iowa’s largest solar farm unveiled in Johnson County.

Great to hear. Makes me wonder how much energy Iowa could produce compared to what we consume.

The array is capable of generating up to 1,800 watts of solar power per customer, giving the cooperative the highest per-capita solar generation rate of any utility in the nation, said Warren McKenna, general manager and CEO of Farmers Electric Cooperative.


Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Naig said the state already leads the nation when it comes to wind energy, with 27.4 percent of Iowa’s total energy production coming from that renewable source, along with ethanol and biodiesel, which contributed $5.5 billion to Iowa’s gross domestic product last year.


Keys said with the U.S. sending about $1 billion each day overseas to purchase energy, “homegrown” renewable sources such as solar power represent an important step in reducing that foreign dependency.