This blog is the informal place for me to stash some thoughts, and work through a few ideas. I've started and cleared this URL several times in the past, uncertain about how I want to approach it, but I've decided to put my spare time into writing and developing some small independent research and analysis ideas that I've been writing down for a while.
I love answering questions that no one else has asked, or putting some basic analysis to data that people have overlooked or accepted in a pre-manipulated state. For example, rather than looking at electricity generation data by country or state, I prefer to snag data directly from the utility reporting and see how it measures up to the aggregate values reported elsewhere. For the most part, I use Excel to clean data up, then Matlab to do any real analysis and generate all the figures. When it comes to making maps I generally prefer ArcMap, and if I'm combining maps into a gif I use Photoshop.
I think the URL btus.us is pretty great, and I'm really happy to be lucky enough to own it. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, roughly the energy from burning one match, or the energy required to raise a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. It's an old, ugly, and British unit, which makes it perfect for discussing American energy production and consumption.
Our lives in America are defined by ready access to cheap energy. It's important to remember those two components, it's always there, and it's relatively cheap. We could have huge shortages, with large subsidies to make it cheap, or a glut of expensive-to-process materials that raise the cost substantially. Thankfully, we still reside in a favorable portion of the cost-availability matrix, but it's important to both examine past trends, and look to the future and the perils it might hold.