Category: Technology


As I mentioned in a previous post, this blog, as well as christianpiatt.org, is going away. Not sure how I got so many things spread all over the place, but I’m finally getting it together all in one place. my podbean podcast is also going into retirement, so if you follow that and want to figure out where it’s going, as well as the blog, read on…

There are two ways to follow the blog. One is through an app on facebook called NetWorkedBlogs, which basically just picks up the RSS feed from my site. But everything I publish goes through there. If you’re on facebook and prefer to keep things together there, go here:

CLICK THIS LINK TO FOLLOW MY BLOG VIA FACEBOOK

If you want to follow either the blog, the podcast or both directly from my website, you can pick up the RSS feed in the top, right corner of any page at www.christianpiatt.com, or you can go directly to the feed here:

CLICK HERE FOR THE FEED FOR MY BLOG AND PODCAST

You can also do a search for my name in iTunes and follow the podcast there if that’s your preferred way of tracking podcasts. The podcast’s name is “CHRISTIAN PIATT OUTCASTS.”

Finally, I have an eZine I’ll be publishing from my site called WORD, which will come out roughly once a month. It’s free, and you can sign up from my site. If you already signed up for the FAITH PORTALS newsletter, it’s the same thing, just retooled a little, so no need to sign up again. I’m looking for fresh content to share through this other than just my own, so if you have an article, podcast, video, etc that you think my readers would dig, hit me up.

Peace,
Christian Piatt

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Hi all:

I have moved my blog to my new website at www.christianpiatt.com. You can link to the blog directly from the home page, and there is an RSS feed you can pick up if you would like to subscribe.

Thanks for following, and hope to greet you at the new site!

Peace,
Christian Piatt

Energy Independence: From Crop to Tank
NewSpin
By Christian Piatt
(Originally published in PULP)

Energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric have a long way to go before they can begin to replace our energy consumption derived from oil. So aside from locking up our cars in the garage, what options are we left with?

One local group believes that biofuels may be at least part of that answer. Hal Holder, Joel Lundquist, and Rick young are all Rocky Ford farmers and co-owners of Big Squeeze, LLC a biofuel production facility here in our own back yard. And although most such projects are either concept projects only or tied to some nameless government or corporate entity, Big Squeeze is actually accessible by anyone with a diesel engine.

The concept is pretty simple. The Big Squeeze facility has presses and centrifuges that yield oil from plant seeds than then can be combined in a four-to-one ratio with diesel and used in everything from cars to tractors and industrial generators. This reduces the use of fossil fuels by eighty percent and attacks some other issues along the way, such as global warming, water shortages and in-state economic development.

I talked with Dr. Perry Cabot, a Water Resources Specialist in the Colorado State University system, about why this seems like a good idea. Biofuels, he explained, include anything that is considered a renewable resource that can yield usable energy.

“Biofuels are considered ‘carbon neutral’ with respect to CO2 emissions (i.e., CO2 produced during combustion is offset by CO2 used during photosynthesis to grow biofuel crops),” says Dr. Cabot. So although CO2 is released in the process, the idea is that the same amount will be re-absorbed by the plants grown for your next use.

But what about water? In a state where we’re already fallowing land so water can be used in growing urban settings, how can we think about expanding our farming?

“In desert climates, we’re always shooting for ‘more crop per drop,’” says Cabot, “Ethanol from corn takes a fair amount of water (24 inches or more) and the energy balance is tough to pin down. Some reports have documented substantial net-positive direct energy balances, while others contend that ethanol production is an ‘energy negative’ situation (takes more energy to produce than is contained in the final product).”

It should also be noted that the byproduct left after the oil is squeezed out is perfect for livestock food at feedlots. Ever seen a cow munching on a petroleum byproduct? Didn’t think so.

But crops like winter canola, which is ideal for diesel-based biofuels, use much less water than corn or other common crops. In fact, using limited irrigation techniques, Cabot suggests that farmers can even use land temporarily fallowed due to the sale of water rights to grow winter canola. This is where water wonks like Dr. Cabot come in, working with the farmers on irrigation plans, and striving for the ideal seeds that yield more canola with less water.

Cabot believes that such ideas can allow farmers in other arid climates grow valuable crops on land they have not been able to farm before due to lack of water storage or transfer. This could include economically struggling economies such as those in sub-Saharan Africa or other arid parts of the United States.

One argument against biofuels is that they impinge on land already being used for edible food, and when the product they yield is more valuable as a fuel, those depending on the crops for sustenance are out of luck (i.e., the poor and those living in developing countries). This is where using a low-water crop is particularly value, says Cabot. Ideally, the process adds arable land available to farmers, increasing their overall production rather than trading one for another.

Dr. Cabot acknowledges that the system isn’t perfect, but that it’s a critical step toward our collective goal of energy independence. “I like quote General George Patton,” he says “who used to say that ‘a good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.’ So, until electric cars really come on line, or algae biodiesel bears out, we need something that will keep the trains moving, keep interstate commerce going, and keep tractors running so farmers can farm.

“I think oilseeds are the ‘good plan today’ that will bridge us to the newer generation of fuel that we’ll see in the next 20 or 30 years. So, my end goal is to increase the demand and production of oilseeds in Colorado, in tandem as an energy solution coupled with a water solution.”

So do we just drive up to the Big Squeeze facility with our diesel car and fill ‘er up? Not just yet, says Cabot. “Oilseed cropping, particularly canola and sunflower, is practiced in numerous regions of the Arkansas Valley,” he says. “There are ongoing variety trials in Rocky Ford (Otero County) and Walsh (down in Baca County). There is also a growing interest and some cropping of canola and sunflowers down in Lamar (Prowers County).”

The reason, Cabot says, that growth of such crops is increasing is specifically because farmers know they have a facility like Big Squeeze where they can have their oilseed processed. “Historically, the lack of crushing facilities in the area has stifled interest in using these crops for fuel, he says. “But now, with (Big Squeeze) in Rocky Ford and the expansion of the Colorado Mills facility in Lamar, the seed can be crushed locally.”

Basically, those interested in using such fuels contract with farmers to lease a certain acreage it is estimated will be needed to fulfill their energy needs for the coming year. This lease converts to credits at a biofuel co-op that can be cashed in at the time of fill-up. Currently, there are no local stations that the average Joe or Jane can access, but Cabot hopes this will change in the near future.

For more information, read a recent article on the Big Squeeze and CSU’s collaborative efforts: http://tinyurl.com/3dkn3mz.

This is a recording of an radio show I did on KCSJ 590 AM with Randy Thurston for his show, “Pueblo Now.” We discussed the need for alternative media for a community and how consumers figure out what agenda lies behind a media outlet.
Click on the link below to hear the show on my podcast.
Christian

I should precede my comments by pointing out I studied music in high school and college, and though I am far from a purist, I expect there’s some deep-seeded music snobbery in me.

I found this video of a band called Atomic Tom playing one of their songs on the New York subway both exhilarating and distressing. What’s so incredible about their performance is that they use now instruments, yet they’re still performing. They do the whole song using nothing but apps on their iPhones.

Click here to watch the video on Youtube. The owner prohibited me from embedding it.

There’s no question that what they pulled off is original, entertaining and creative. but that music snob I mentioned above asks: is it music? From a consumer’s perspective, the answers naturally seems to be “yes.” After all, if it sounds like music, it’s music, right?

But what makes something music? Of course you don’t have to use formal, proper instruments to make it, or else everything before the creation of our modern instruments would somehow be illegitimate. But is sampling music? Is spoken word? What about the improvised rhythmic instruments used by groups like Stomp?

My gut says that it’s all music. Any time we use our bodies or other objects in a way that combines rhythm and/or melody in some way that evokes anything in us is music. But I’ll admit is pushes my boundaries of what I’ve accepted as such in the past.

Enough from me; see for yourself and make your own decision.

Dig the video I created for Phillips Theological Seminary on the seminary experience condensed into less than 4 minutes. Groovy stop-motion and original score.

Here’s a new nonprofit I’m working that endeavors to place AEDs in every public school and other public building nationwide, and also to provide CPR training to help save lives.

http://www.refresheverything.com/theviafoundation

Please take a minute to register your vote and to pass this along to your list of friends. Also, please consider posting this to your facebook page, blog, etc to help spread the word.

Thanks!
Christian

First, if you haven’t checked out the final part of the three-part WTF (Where’s the Faith?) discussion with fellow series co-creator and co-editor, it’s all up in its three-part yumminess now. So suck it up!

Next, I developed a narrative postcard of one of our church giveaways, since so many folks have asked about them.

Third, I posted another track from my “S’aint Trio” free jazz and spoken word album I did last summer. The piece is called “Collapse,” and has some serious energy going on.

Last but hopefully not least, I knocked out a solo (S’aint solo, no trio, yo) spoken word track today at home called “Revolution,” and I thought it came together pretty well. Thought I’d share.

Here’s to happier ear-holes. Enjoy.

Peace,
Christian Piatt/S’aint

I traveled recently to Lee’s Summit, MO for an event where I was leading some workshops, speaking and such. On Sunday night, I got to close out the evening with a concert for a couple hundred very welcoming folks. It was probably the highlight of the weekend for me.

I love getting to share music and spoken word with people, and though some of the stuff I introduced may have been a new experience for many in attendance, they all seemed to have a good time.

Check out the podcast by searching my name on iTunes, playing it on the streaming audio player on my website (www.chrstianpiatt.com), or hit the link below to go directly to the podcast site.

http://www.christianpiatt.podbean.com

All episodes of the podcast, including the concert, are free. Let me know what you think.

Peace,
Christian

My first webinar (online workshop) on “how to use Facebook as a ministry tool) was great fun and well-received. since then I’ve gotten several requests to host this workshop again, so it’s back along with an exciting webinar on how to select a literary agent an, ultimately, how to get published!

If you want to learn more about the events, go to christianpiatt.com, or email me directly at cpiatt@christianpiatt.com.

CLICK ON THE EVENT TITLES BELOW TO REGISTER:

Using Facebook as a Ministry Tool
Wednesday, September 30th, 1pm (MST)

Learn the basics of “2.0″ social networking, how to set up a Facebook account, take a tour of Facebook and learn strategies for using it as a tool to connect with people throughout the week, beyond the walls.


From “Writer” to Agented and Published “Author”
(w/ Lit. Agent Anita Kushen)

Tuesday, October 6th, 11am (MST)

Join the conversation with Author Christian Piatt and Literary Agent Anita Kushen about what it takes to move your passion for writing to the next level. Learn valuable information like how to find and select a literary agent, and how to become a published author.

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