Spring plans

This spring I'm interning for Steve Ward, welding teacher at Watauga High School in Boone, NC. 
Besides high school classes, Steve also teaches a nighttime adult welding class through Caldwell Community College.  The shop has been Steve's baby for 15 years.  There's 35 welding machines ranging from shop-made engine-driven portables to state-of-the art Miller Dynasty TIG machines.  Also a dozen machine tools and plenty of support tooling.   Steve likes to buy American and loves high-end tools.  He's got a great collection.

This summer WHS will be transitioning to a new facility, and that means moving the welding shop across town.  Part of my internship is to begin laying out the shop and planning the move.

North Carolina has 20 high schools with welding programs.  WHS is likely the only one that incorporates machining into the welding curriculum.  Steve is one of only two NC high school welding teachers with an advanced degree.

Photos from the first of our several visits to local high school and college shops are here


In other news, I'll be flying out to San Francisco in late February to volunteer at Cleantech Forum.  I'm excited to see Elon Musk of Tesla Motors give the keynote.  Steward Brand (creator of The Whole Earth Catalog and overall badass) will also speak.

Recently read, currently reading, soon to read

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, by Daniel Pink, in which a career advice book a la "What Color is Your Parachute" is interpreted via manga as a 20-minute read.  How long until every other genre is converted into Japanese comics?  Seriously, let me know--this is awesome.

Eco Barons, which is at its best when it's about people who made it big, cashed out, and bought up land for conservation, almost obsessively.  The guy who helped start the super-80s clothing brand Esprit now owns a good chunk of Patagonia and plans to turn it into a Chilean national park.  A good read, if occasionally preachy or wordy.  I probably won't finish it for a while.  Seems like only half of the people profiled are/were businesspeople, the most interesting group.

Green to Gold, which is inspiring in showing how large corporations are seeing conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy as competitive benefits rather than liabilities.  I just hope the remainder focuses on smaller businesses than BP, Sony, Dupont, and Dow.
Fun fact from the book: The proportion of venture funding invested in cleantech (US and Canada) went from <1% in 1999 to 9% in 2005.
Twenty-five cents of every VC dollar invested in 2009 went to cleantech (though this includes other regions, notably Europe and Israel, where cleantech is an even bigger deal).
2009 cleantech venture funding increased $1.5 billion over 2007.  You remember '07.  It was that year before the financial collapse.

Free Agent Nation, by Daniel Pink (again) which will hopefully be as good as this.  This guy was Al Gore's speechwriter?  Only Al Gore could make this guy's writing sound dull.  Zing?

Getting Green Done is a 2009 book by a ski resort sustainability director who used to install home insulation for a living.
Hmm...American dream...hard work...saving the Earth.  It's kinda like Captain Planet wrote a book.  Plus there's skiing.


Just a little green hair dye and a bath in blueberry juice and we've got ourselves a live-action remake.
Plus there's blueberries.