Liquid Metal Batteries, could they work?

Friday Special
There is a TED talk from the recent Long Beach TED conference presented by Donald Sadoway, PhD of MIT. Dr, Sadoway looked at the issues around electrical storage. His goal was to us common materials, readily available, easy to fabricate and requiring little or no maintenance. Sadoway invents to the price point of the electric utility market. so the results are quickly and easily deployed responding to immediate needs delivering immediate economic benefits. All this meets his mantra "We'll invent our way out of this economic downturn."


It's not your old Legos anymore

LEGO creations at Brickworld Indy 2012 AMAZING!!  
If you want to see some real eye candy check out the gallery of Lego creations at the 2012 Brickworld show in Indy held this week. There are 50 shots in the gallery, so relax and take the time to enjoy all of them. LEGO creations at Brickworld Indy 2012 AMAZING!!


International green construction code launched

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is finally out. This new code is another example of a string connection between the green performance groups and government expectations of lowered infrastructure costs. If you live in one of a growing list of communities that already use one of the earlier model codes then you are ahead of the game. For the rest of us here is another code that I believe continues to erode the value of a USGBC certification or plaque for your building. But that's a debate for a later time. This code sets minimum green requirements for buildings and sites according to the International Code Council, the publisher of this model code. While their stated intent is to "compliment the LEED certification" as you look through the code the bottom line is increasing building performance by reducing waste which is the same goal of the USGBC. The ICC web site touts this new code as an "Adaptable, Enforceable and Consensus-based" code. 

As a practitioner of sustainable design for over 30 years I can lend my support as well to a code that raises the bar for new elements in our Built Environment. I still wonder about the long-term effects as owners often disregard the operations manuals that come with the equipment and controls installed to enhance good passive design. As design and construction professionals we need to keep up our educational efforts with our clients. It is incumbent on us to help them understand how to harvest the seeds of efficiency and sustainability we have planted in their buildings by being good stewards of their buildings. 


Ideate BIMLink for Revit

As an old data hack from ages ago one of the prime gripes I've had with Revit, even from the early pre-Autodesk days was data manipulation without having to use Revit to access the data. Ideate BIMLink for Revit helps to solve part of that problem. First, getting the data out so you can work on it. Second, getting data back into Revit easily and reliably.

While this process is manual, it is easy and with a little planning and coordination you should now be able to extract data from Revit, change it, spell check it, even add new associated values and then reinsert the data. Of course all the editing is taking place in an outside application, MS Excel. Now I want to make this perfectly clear, as I said before this is a manual process and those can be easily messed up because of our human tendency to err. I would much rather see these extractions to a simple data manager that allows automatic updates for data changes in the external data application, that way everything is always up to snuff, so to say.

In the second part of the solution getting the data back into Revit is as simple as selecting the BIMLink addon in the Revit menu bar, select the spreadsheet file you want to load and then presto! the data is added. At least that's what they want you to believe, but you have to know that the data format have to match up with the data elements defined already in the model, but that should go without saying.

So in the end, even our most novice users can learn how to use this software and get some really needed extended value out of B<I>M and make everyone's life easier.


Collaboration...The Glue of Wicked Success

Collaboration is one of the key interests I have. Over the years I've slowly found out that when more people are focused on a solution usually a better solution evolves than a single person working alone. My intuitive and introspective tendencies work against me in this area. When I work beyond those tendencies I find the results are far richer and interesting than anything I could have come up with by myself. This article is an example of a String of Connections between design, collaboration and the daily issues that surround us as designers in the Built Environment.

About 10 years ago I began to look at the more difficult problems I was working on and stumbled upon the work of Horst Rittle from the late 1970's and 80's. One of his early works "Dilemmas in a general theory of planning" outlined the initial premise of a complex problem and coined the term "Wicked Problem" and went on to help define the issues around traditional problem solving.

Horst's work began to take effect and today we have a whole series of work done to support his basic theories and suppositions. The terms Hybrid Thinking and Social Messes have been added to the cloud of terms associated with Wicked Problems. In today's world of an ever-increasing sets of stakeholders poised to voice their opinions and critiques, designers of every description and stripe are finding it more and more difficult to keep track of the increasing demands and design requirements.

Welcome to Strings, Links and Connections

I'm excited to be back in the blogosphere once again. I've been thinking a while about what I would like to write about and it turns out my eclectic mental wanderings seem to the only consistent thread right now. So, I've decided to call my blog simply "My Strings, Links and Connections." I hope you enjoy what I find to think, talk and write about. My interest list is one that continues to grow but a lot of what you will see here will have some kind of connection to technology, design and social impact.

My publishing schedule will be erratic for a while as I get back into the groove of contributing to a blog once again. If you have any ideas you would like to suggest for me send an email to andrew (at) aja3 (dot) com. So thanks for spending some time with me and enjoy!