Unfiltered, A New Series

  by  |  October 22nd, 2008  |  Published in All, Blog

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This is a little bit of an experiment.

Journalists write stories because they think the topic is important (and they’ve convinced others in their organization of the same thing). And you, the reader or viewer, are supposed to “get” that something is important simply by the virtue that it’s been published.

Internet writers discovered years ago they didn’t have the luxury of the instant credibility offered by traditional media. They had to convince you that what they’re writing was worth reading.

I thought, maybe we should do something similar in addition to the usual stuff. So, here is the first in a series of "Unfiltereds" from ScienCentral reporters on how or why we choose stories, and what makes them special to us.

Unfiltered: Smart Appliances

Original Story

Smart Appliances – Smart appliances are coming to a house or apartment near you. As you’ll see in ScienCentral video, researchers are getting appliances to work together to reduce electrical demand and avoid blackouts.

This story struck me as a bit different because the people at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory aren’t simply looking at conservation as “doing without.” Instead, they’re trying to figure out what is it about an electrical device that needlessly uses electricity, or at least uses it in a way that could be delayed for a while.

So, instead of having to somehow reduce our dependence on the electrical devices we’ve come to rely on and base our economy upon, we’ll just be a little less dependent upon the electricity needed to run those devices. Essentially it’s a way to have our cake and eat it too.

The world is going to need a lot more electricity in the coming decades, but nobody is going to sacrifice his, or his country’s, economic well being just so the other guy can power up his hot tub and soak in surround-sound while watching a plasma screen.

This story is also bit different from many of our others in that the science appears to be ready to go. PNNL’s Rob Pratt says customers of a handful of energy companies could today convert their appliances, and that half the United States could see smart appliances in around five years.

So, this seems like a plausible way to actually do something about the problem. It won’t solve everything, of course, and there’s serious challenges still ahead, but this looked like an interesting start that will have a real impact on all of us in the very near future.

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  1. Smart Appliances | ScienCentral | Science Videos | Science News says:

    October 22nd, 2008 at 10:32 am (#)

    [...] Jack Penland’s personal thoughts on reporting and producing this story, in Unfiltered: Smart [...]

  2. rypitch says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 9:34 am (#)

    Great idea. I wondered where these topics come from. Excellent insight.

  3. Mediamama says:

    October 28th, 2008 at 2:21 pm (#)

    What about doing something even smarter? My dishwasher and oven generate a lot of heat. Could that heat get hooked up to anything to power it?

  4. Luxury Blog says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 4:07 pm (#)

    Ya may be, but you are right This story is also bit different from many of our others. Great idea.

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