Power Generation and Decentralization

Renewable energy gets more interesting if we can push those solar, wind, and other renewable generation to the point of consumption. For instance, I could have a small windmill and solar panels at my house. This would decentralize production, decreasing risk overall. This is an important point. There are two huge risks associated with our current energy infrastructure that decentralization can mitigate. First, there’s a huge risk associated with centralized power generation in that those plants becomes single points of failure. Fukushima is an important example of this. Japan saw an almost immediate pickup in fossil fuel consumption following the

Testimony on the Long Reach Redevelopment

Last night, I testified in favor of CR98-2017 and CR99-2017. These resolutions are part of the final steps to kick off the Long Reach redevelopment plan. See my testimony below. Chairman Weinstein and members of the Council, good evening. I am Dr. James Howard and I am here to testify in favor of the Long Reach Redevelopment Plan. Thank you for the opportunity to speak, tonight. And, please excuse me Chairman Weinstein, I also want to thank the four members of the Council who passed CB 2009-29, Dr. Ball, Ms. Terrasa, Ms. Sigaty, and Mr. Fox, which allowed for a

Geothermal Power in the United States

Iceland is a really cool place that uses a lot of geothermal power. Geothermal power makes up more than a quarter of electric power in Iceland and the balance comes from hydropower. I especially love the fact the runoff from one of those geothermal plants is used as a spa. But geothermal works in Iceland because the entire thing is a volcanic wasteland about to blow. The United States is not so fortunate. Also, the United States requires vastly more energy than Iceland. Iceland’s 2015 power generation was a mere 18,798 GWh. In contrast, the United States generated 4,078,000 GWh

Model Thinking When All Models are Wrong

In the late 1970s, statistician George Box created the famous wisdom, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” The earliest version of the sentiment comes from Box’s 1976 article, “Science and Statistics“: Since all models are wrong the scientist cannot obtain a “correct” one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization is often the mark of mediocrity. While often used to explain that statistical, and especially

Computational Methods for Numerical Analysis is Out Now!

My new book Computational Methods for Numerical Analysis with R came out today from Chapman & Hall/CRC Press. This book is a long-standing project of mine–originally started in 2001, and then using Octave as the base language. As the world didn’t need yet another book on doing numerical analysis in Octave, and therefore MATLAB, I eventually moved it to R. Computational Methods for Numerical Analysis with R is an overview of traditional numerical analysis topics presented using R. This guide shows how common functions from linear algebra, interpolation, numerical integration, optimization, and differential equations can be implemented in pure R

The Long Reach Redevelopment and Master Plan

The legislation supporting the redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center has been submitted to the Howard County Council. It leads me to want to share some of the things we talked a lot about during the Master Plan process. This is based solely on my recollection and should not be considered official. The Boundary First, we had a very difficult time establishing the boundary of the Village Center. There’s an apartment complex, now known as the Timbers at Long Reach just behind the shopping center, down Cloudleap Court. Back in the mid-2000s, it was called Lazy Hollow and I