Thursday, June 5, 2014

Idaho, Technology Thursday edition

Tengrain and Bette Noir both posted different versions of what I was going to about the little town of Hailey, Idaho (I've actually been there), so I don't have to. Instead, I'll post another bit of sanity(!) from a state that is normally known more for its crazy:

A guy and his wife from Sandpoint, Idaho (I've been there too! Can't remember why...) have invented a solar smart road system and it's been getting great press and good funding from a crowdfunding drive. It looks like they're going to actually be able to go into production and do initial testing on sidewalks and parking lots.

Modular solar roadway "tiles" showing off snow melting ability.

Read the whole thing, etc., but in a nutshell it looks like they've actually thought of a lot of cool features, auto heating in winter to melt snow/ice, built in LEDs that can be configured in different ways (markers, arrows, warnings), channels underneath the road surface itself where fiber optics can run, and even a good way to provide charging stations for EVs.

Of course, since I'm a cynical bastard, this could all be a giant pie-in-the-sky boondoggle or scam, but I sure hope not.

Updated to add: I forgot one other bit of tech news I saw today, Pixar will release their next version of their Renderman software for free, noncommercial use. As part of my past life involved lots of 3D modeling and rendering and such, it's just super cool that people will be able to learn and play with one of the flagship tools in the industry without shelling out the dough. I'm sure it'll be good in the end for Pixar, but it'll also be good for everybody interested in this kind of thing. If the righteous Substance McGravitas were still around, I bet he'd figure out a way to make a disgustingly high-def animated 3D goatse or something. Y'know, important stuff we really need!


  1. It seems so implausible, doesn't it?

    Just imagine the powerful forces going to be arrayed against making this successful: the extraction industry, the car industry, the road-building constituency, the global warming deniers, the Kochsuckers, and just plain reactionary assholes.

    1. Yeah, and it looks like there's already a behind-the-scenes movement of "skeptics" saying "This is stupid, it can't be done, don't even try you losers." Mostly made up of really stupid people making terribly-thought-out-and-really-longwinded youtube videos. Surprise.

  2. "This is stupid, it can't be done, don't even try you losers."

    I believe Plato had these dudes nailed.


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