Thursday, December 31, 2009


Wood pellets, as discussed in the NY Times here, were one of the sectors my studio class looked at for SustainFloyd this term. I was a bit surprised by the distinct business models among firms working for export (see the examples in the NY Times link above) and firms working on production for local markets like this. The installation of specialized stoves by consumers and the need to build retail networks is a challenge for the domestic market. A federal tax credit (through 2010) promote some movement in this area.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Animated map of US unemployment

Eye popping graphic from Purdue's center for rural development here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We are now open for "business"

Just so you know we are now moving into out "soft-rollout" phase. I have opened access to the blog and would invite you to share the our address with others. Plans are underway to migrate to a university platform, but I'd really enjoy getting some additional feedback going before we make that move.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Arguements against wind losing steam?

The impact on property values has long been a concern with respect to wind projects. This hefty US DOE financed study looking at 7,500 properties around the nation makes a pretty definitive case it is a non-issue.

I have heard less about the question of health impacts. A recent industry-funded review finds no medical basis for concern. That's probably not the last word of the subject.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A collective failure of imagination

Slate's Daniel Gross always gets my attention. He argues here that the left and right are wrong about the stimulus and are locked into "a collective failure of imagination" about the direction of the economy. The ability of banks to raise cash in the market to pay back the TARP funds, rising exports, job slowing job losses (and maybe even slight job growth by the time revised November figures are in) are all among the evidence he highlights.

Gross also notes the changing character of stimulus projects coming on line in the new year, for example construction a new tunnel between NYC and NJ employing 1,000 people. The impact of those jobs may be different than the loss prevention in education and government that predominated last year.

However, down here in the trenches things still look pretty grim. There are real consequences for real people as we're reminded in the NY Times today.

I have some concern that the type of rural distressed communities where we spend most of our time might be the last place to feel whatever change is working its way through the system. What do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009


Over the holidays, my aunt and a friend both recommended that I take a glance at this book:
"Keeping the Millennials: Why Companies Are Losing Billions in Turnover to this Generation and What to do About It"

Just curious if anyone has read this yet... I must admit that I have not, but I am considering adding it to my reading list for break...