Below is a collection of topics, concepts, stories, and achievements that have caught my eye. Most are items that I follow and research heavily. This is not a comprehensive list. It is simply a glimpse into my interests.
While environmental benefits are a factor, my interest in electric vehicles is derived more from the technological achievements and pushing of boundaries than anything else. Making an electric vehicle that is both practical and able to stand equal with normal combustion vehicles is awesome.
Hydrogen Electric Vehicles
This is heavily related to my above interest in electric vehicles for many of the same reasons. However, hydrogen powered vehicles are particularly interesting because of hydrogen’s many advantages.
- Filling up of hydrogen tanks about as quickly as gas tanks in a car. No need for lengthy battery charges.
- Potential lack of pollution (batteries are very nasty devices) and hazards.
- Abundance of hydrogen.
- Flexibility. With proper equipment, hydrogen is available any time, anywhere. This offers many benefits in military, exploratory, or emergency situations.
I have long wanted to convert a normal gasoline vehicle to a hydrogen electric one as a hobby. Unfortunately, the resources for the task are currently out of reach.
In my opinion, nuclear power has an unjustifiably bad reputation. Simply uttering the word nuclear invokes a negative knee-jerk reaction in most social situations. This fear and hyperbole has stymied nuclear power in the United States for decades.
New, currently-viable reactor designs are inherently safe from the noteworthy incidents in nuclear power history, and are far more environmentally sound. And, there is ongoing research into even better designs.
In the United States, and many other countries, electric infrastructure and generation capacity is nearing the breaking point. Statistically, nuclear power is much safer than other popular generation techniques, and, in my opinion, is far more practical and economical for base load supply than the popularly touted renewable sources.
My interest in superconductivity blossomed during a recent engineering class at CSU Long Beach. Students were required to write a mid-size research paper on a topic relating to engineering material properties. I chose to research superconductivity, and was very happy with my choice. A copy of the paper I wrote is available on my “projects” page.
Essentially, superconductivity is a more than 100 year old mystery. Every time a scientific explanation for its behavior is theorized, a new discovery shatters it. The potential uses of resistance-free conduction at reasonable temperatures is alluring.
Submarines have fascinated me since I was about 7 years old. Traveling hundreds, and even thousands of feet beneath the surface of the world’s oceans in technological masterpieces crewed by some of the highest-trained humans on Earth is intriguing to say the least.
The precision, the teamwork, and the engineering that embodies a modern submarine is beyond impressive. I devour novels, movies, games, articles, and information related to submarines whenever I find them.
This isn’t surprising for someone of my generation. We’re all enamored with video games it seems. But my fascination runs deeper than most. I am familiar with what it takes to make computers work. And I am flabbergasted at how rich, complex experiences arise from simple switches in the hardware.
In a short period of time, computers advanced from bulky, impractical devices to small, sleek powerhouses on our desks and in our entertainment centers. In an even shorter period of time, blinking light interfaces gave way to majestic alien environments that immerse the user.
Again, not a surprise for someone of my generation. But again, I view the Internet differently than many of my brethren. Facebook is fine and all, but the Internet is so much more than pictures of people’s lunch. The entire planet is connected in real-time by a relatively free and unregulated (in the western world at least) network. The sum knowledge of the human race is available and searchable quickly and freely. Levels of cooperation and coordination previously unimaginable are commonplace.
The world is literally at our fingertips. Most of us carry around access in our pockets and take if for granted.
Oh, and video games. The Internet is very helpful for gaming. =P
Space Travel & Exploration
I think it’s a crime we haven’t been back to the moon. A travesty we aren’t exploring Mars and other planets more voraciously. And unacceptable that the United States ended it’s space shuttle program without a replacement.
The universe is unimaginably large, and we are sitting here on our little rock hurtling through space upset about minor opinion differences. Let’s explore the universe, not bicker about small things!
Thankfully, companies like Space X are picking up the torch and reinvigorating interest in space.
Space. The final frontier.