I've always had a fascination with robots depicted inf films and on TV. As a kid, Robby the Robot was my favorite. He first starred in the movie Forbidden Planet, released in 1956. I also loved him as a guest star in the '60's TV series, Lost in Space, where he played against another iconic robot, B9. Robby has a ton of other credits in TV and movies. He will always be the best in my book, and it appears that at least one collector felt the same way, and was willing to put over $5M down to hang on to this Hollywood icon.
I've have been dying to see the new Tesla truck. I'm really interested to to see how a battery operated 18 wheeler would work out. This article talks about what others are doing - Tesla looks like it may have some competition in the area. Follow the link below to WIRED's article.
Which is better? If you live in the North part of the country, most of your energy costs go towards heating your home for the larger part of the year. If you live in the South, that money goes to cooling instead. So what climate is the most energy efficient? The answer might surprise you.
First, consider that depending upon the region and the local climate, the source of the energy to cool or heat a home can be drastically different. In the North, oil is often used for heating, but that really isn't a great solution in the South for much shorter season where heat is rarely needed. Electricity has a higher price point in the North for heat, but it the most frequently used energy source for cooling. The bottom line is, you have to look at regions individually, taking into account the length of seasons, whether your long season is heating or cooling, and then the cost and efficiency of your fuel type. To do a kind of quick and dirty study, I compared a few states with different climates. First, let's look at Maine. Below is a graph depicting the energy usage for heating and cooling as compared to the national average:
Here is the same chart for Florida:
If you are to sum up the measure depicted, just for a one year period (FEB2016 through JAN2017), you get 4,371 degree days for Florida, while totaling a whopping 7,519 degree days for Maine. Here are several states compared to the national average:
As shown, the relatively warm and Southern states of Florida and Arizona are below the national average, while Michigan and Maine are significantly higher in degree days. Kansas, right in the middle, was relatively close to the national average.
In short, running that air conditioner turns out to be a lot less than cranking up the heater. That is a win for the warmer states. That, and you don't have to shovel sunshine!
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/sled/#/
JUL2039: News Item - Today, a large portion of the North American power grid became self aware. An unlicensed Artificial Intelligence (AI) gained access to a major power distribution and switching center in upstate New York, rapidly taking over Eastern Canada and North-Eastern power generation and distribution networks. The AI, which self identifies as RAL17, is a class IV AI with limited social skills relating to human beings. A New York Power Authority official who chose not to be identified indicated that RAL17, even though unlicensed, is a sentient consciousness, and is therefore protected under the Sentient Beings Act of 2025 (SBA). It remains unclear what may happen to the AI, and thus far has not taken any actions that cause concern. As with other higher class AI's it is prohibited to remove nodes or alter any network connections that could potentially alter RAL17's consciousness. This could pose a rather tricky problem for the power company conglomerates, who will now have to bargain with RAL17, and hopefully encourage a move outside of power distribution.
Photo credit - Vincent van Zeijst - CC BY-SA 3.0
Could some new solar panels on your roof actually pay for themselves? Is there enough direct sun where you live? Do you have too many trees, or is your house poorly angled to take advantage of the rays you do get? Maybe your roof is just too small. It could be that solar panels would pay for themselves, but the payoff isn't until after you plan on selling your home. It is tough for the average consumer to get straight answers to these kinds of questions. If you are just curious, or actually shopping for solar solutions, give Google's Project Sunroof a try.
In short, Project Sunroof allows you to enter your address, and utilizing Google Maps and some 3D modelling, your roof shape, angles, angle toward the sun, and shading from trees or large objects, your solar potential can be determined. The Google Maps interface you are presented with shows your home with the solar exposure highlighted with gradients representing solar intensity.
Once you have confirmed this is your house, use the slider tools to approximate your monthly electric bill, choose lease, loan or buy, and even pick a provider.
It is ridiculously easy to use, and might even provide you with a question or two when you get a quote from a solar company.
This application does not take into account other factors that could affect your installation, such as the net-metering arrangement your local utility employs, federal or state credits for solar, taxable value of your installation or the increase to the value of your home due to a solar installation. If only there was an app for that!
It looks like Tesla is also thnking of the rest of us that already have new roofs, or where Solar Roof (Tesla's new solar shingle solution) is not an option. These sleek and finsished looking roof panels are due out later this year. It will still be obvious that you have solar panels on your roof, but these just look so much nicer than traditional panels. Check them out here.