Greensburg story still compelling


They will be the first community in the United States to build green. One of the smartest moves by the town’s leadership was to involve the youth and get them excited about the concept, as they don’t have any preconceived ideas that it can’t be done.

The show also points out the difficulties the town must overcome to get back on its feet. I believe when they get finished, they will have set a good example for the rest of the world.

I have mentioned in past columns some information I have gleaned from articles from Wired magazine. The latest issue includes a series on what we can learn from the vast amounts of data that can be collected and analyzed with the terabyte and petabyte memory available on today’s computers.

For example, using algorithms applied to mass amounts of data, Oren Etzioni determined the best time to buy airplane tickets based on nearness to departure and how long to wait to buy after a price hike. On the latter, the price will come down after an increase.

He also determined that after the price goes down, tickets go fast and that the price drops occur early in the week.

I tried his site, farecast.com, and found that in one instance the fares were $10 cheaper going directly through Airtran from Wichita to Atlanta than through farecast.com. Nothing is black and white these days.

To read the article, go to wired.com, then click on “read magazine” and click on The End of Science.

Wired also ran an interesting article about climate change. The premise is that to stop global warming, start with a fleet of supersonic military jets loaded with about a million tons of sulfur dioxide. Spew the gas around the stratosphere and wait for the chemical reactions to begin. You’ll end up with molecules of sulfuric acid bound to water, which will reflect the sun’s rays back into space. And just like that, Earth’s temperature will start to drop.

It’s called geoengineering.

We’ve been watching and reading about the proposed new county jail that our commissioners have been working on for the past couple of years.

They still haven’t convinced us they are headed in the right direction. New questions arise now that there’s a possibility that we could have new commissioners and even a new sheriff who may or may not favor the jail-for-hire concept.

Many questions remain unanswered, such as how much tax money has already been spent to employ the bond people, architects and consultants. How much would it cost to operate the facility once it was operating? What will the demand be for bed space in the future? Sedgwick County is looking to reduce its prison population, according to a recent Wichita Eagle. Why aren’t new jails going up all over the country in counties with declining populations?

The November elections are coming and we haven’t had a public meeting with an explanation of any final plan, or who will get taxed and how much.


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