Solar Freakin’ Roadways

Scott and Julie Brusaw came up with a really novel idea. They designed hexagonal tiles that can be installed in parking lots, driveways, roadways and highways.  They call these Solar Roadways. 

These glass tiles contain solar cells, LED lights, and other circuitry.  If you haven’t seen the video, watch it now!  It’s actually kinda funny in addition to being interesting.  In part because of the fun aspect, this video has gone viral.  Another reason could be because of it’s eco-centric message.  Anything eco-centric is wildly popular these days.

I do think that the representations of road signage they have in their “artist concept” pictures (such as the one to the left) are a bit much. 


They have LEDs built into the panels but there are only a handful, scattered across the panel (see below, right).  In order to do high-res images such as depicted above, you’d need a LOT more lights (pixels).LEDs

But, I totally get it – artist concepts aren’t reality, they are just concepts.  I think fundamentally this is a very interesting idea.  One of the “features” of these hexagonal glass tiles is that you can replace an individual tile seamlessly.  This would be really great as repairing asphalt is a lot less than seamless, and is a temporary fix at best.  Potholes in asphalt are common and annoying.  It seems that this technology would solve that problem too.

Even if they never made it to freeways, deploying them to driveways, parking lots and residential roads would really give some great benefits.  They claim that in the winter, the roadway is heated.  This is not to make it warm but to keep the surface temperature just high enough that falling snow would melt as it hits.  It certainly would be nice not to have to shovel snow, or plow roads!

Check out this TED talk – it shows the history of the idea and where they are going with it.

Parking lot   Snow melt


New Canadian Anti-Spam Law

I’m guessing you have received some emails out of the blue like I have saying that due to Canada’s new anti-spam law, you need to click on a link or whatever and verify that it’s OK for the company who emailed you to continue to do so.  This is probably valid, for now, but I can see virus/malware criminals taking advantage of this to give you a nice link to click on to infect your system.  So beware!

What is the new anti-spam law?  According to the Toronto Star, the new law requires businesses emailing Canadians to have “express consent” to do so, rather than “implied consent” (such as having done business with the person at some point in the distant past).  Express consent means that the recipient must be told what will be sent to them and why and must specifically “opt in” to allow it to happen.  This law goes into effect July 1 2014.

This is causing a lot of worry with Canadian businesses because the penalties are not trivial; $1 million per violation for an individual and $10 million per violation for a business.  There are concerns that one slipup is going to cost a lot of money.  In reality, it’s more likely that warnings will be issued, at least initially.  There is also a three year transition period so if a business already has “implied consent”, they should make efforts to get “express consent”, but don’t have to worry for 3 years.

This seems like a really good idea to me. If other countries had similar laws, it might put quite a dent in spam.