Home What's Brewing? Snow Bored! Plus Google Blinks with “SPYW,” Seattle’s AltaRock Harnesses a Volcano!

Snow Bored! Plus Google Blinks with “SPYW,” Seattle’s AltaRock Harnesses a Volcano!

Heck, no, we don’t  love snow!  Seattle is “Rain City,” remember! We have more than a dozen words for rain including rainfall, cloudburst, sprinkle, drizzle, showers, downpour, precip, drencher, and cats n’ dogs, but, unlike the Eskimo’s, only one word for snow — dismal!

Catch our drift of emergency online resources in the story below or visit this blizzard of Seattle snow-related links.   [24×7]

Google Blinks and Scores a Minus Not a Plus in Search

Hard to believe a company so organically engineered for “fair and balanced” search engine results of “algorithmic authority and relevance” would succumb to naked market ambition. Yet, with its release last week of a hybrid  search and social media product entitled  “Search Plus Your World,” Google has gamed its own search engine in an attempt to backstop the sputtering Google+.

We began to wonder about Google’s intentions for its rather techy, less-than-intuitive social service when it retired the universal “+” symbol from its “vocabulary” of  Unicode searchbox characters.  What that means is that Google disabled the mathematical  “+” sign from having any functionality in the Google search engine query box in order to reassign the symbol for its own Social Search initiative.  Instead of meaning “add this” as it does in basic Boolean terms, the universal plus symbol was transmuted to became shorthand code for express navigation to a company’s Google+  branded Web page.

Think about it. Taking a character from a universal keyboard  for one’s own product aggrandizement is akin to the inventor of the alphabet, supposing he or she were a Puget Sounder in this example, reserving the letter “A” for Amazon or the letter “Z” for Zillow, whereupon entering the letter “A” or “Z” in the search engine query box would invoke a global key command  linking the user to a proprietary branded destination.

Danny Sullivan, the omnipresent search engine industry analyst, furnished the analysis and performed the heavy lifting last week, demonstrating, click-by-click, the inherent bias of  Google + that is embedded inside Google’s new Search Plus Your World (“SPYW”).  By excluding other social media properties from the “Your World” results, such as competitors Facebook and Twitter,  one has to wonder whose world Google is referring to.

The Googlers have been criticized for sins of omission and commission. Yes, Chairman Eric Schmidt made a sweeping gesture for other social networks besides Google+ to join in the search results. However, Twitter had already exited  the stage from its role as Google subordinate and Google turned down Facebook on the premise of not being able to support the Facebook privacy policy in real-time.

What is equally astonishing to ponder is how Google imagines no one will notice the discrepancy, or figure no one will care. Or how Google  intends to restore its credibility with so many following another blunderful market entry of this magnitude.  [24×7]

“Gee!” No, “Geo!” Could Seattle Technology Harness an Active Volcano to Solve the Nation’s Energy Crisis?

Imagine a geothermal system with the power to provide as much as 10 percent of the nation’s energy needs within the course of a generation—and to do so using not only domestic renewable resources, but domestic technology as well.

The Seattle firm known as AltaRock Energy is aggressively pursuing such an outcome — the  Newberry EGS Demonstration in Bend, Oregon.  AltaRock’s demonstration has set out to create an EGS reservoir in the high-temperature, low-permeability resource present on the northwest flank of the Newberry Volcano. The demonstration will use hydraulic shearing and other stimulation techniques to induce and sustain fluid flow and geothermal heat extraction, culminating in the conceptual design of a commercial-scale well field and power plant.

In 2008, AltaRock started a demonstration project at The Geysers geothermal field. The Geysers field has hundreds of megawatts of unused electric power generating capacity due to the lack of steam caused by several decades of reservoir depletion. At The Geysers demonstration, AltaRock intended to re-drill a well originally drilled in 1988 and used for years to inject water to produce steam for the existing geothermal power plants. Three attempts were made to re-drill the well from various depths but the drilling assembly became stuck each time in unstable serpentinite formation. Drilling at The Geysers demonstration site has been suspended while the company evaluates a number of alternative well locations at the Geysers and elsewhere for demonstrating this technology.  [24×7]