Solar Impulse Becomes First Sun Powered Aircraft to Fly Through the Night

On Friday, the Solar Impulse became the first aircraft of it's kind to complete a flight of more than 24 hours powered by renewably generated energy alone.  In addition to being the first solar powered aircraft flown after dusk, it was also the longest and highest flight in the history of solar aviation.  The flight lasted for a total for 26 hours and 9 minutes, reaching a maximum height of nearly 28,000 ft.

Pilot André Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the Solar Impulse project remarked, “I have just flown more than 26 hours without using a drop of fuel and without causing any pollution!"  The single seater plane, with a wingspan of an Airbus A340 (approx 207. ft), weighing just over 3500 lbs (about the size of a small car), is powered by four electric motors and propellers.  Borschberg's success proved (at least theoretically) that a solar powered aircraft could stay aloft for more than 24 hours on batteries that charged during the day.  While flying at night, the airplane used only the energy stored by the nearly 12,000 solar cells built into it's lightweight carbon-fiber wings.

The achievement has no doubt propelled renewable energy aviation projects globally.  For Borschberg and his Swiss partner Betrand Piccard, best known for circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon in 1999, it is another step forward for the Solar Impulse project team.

At this stage and after seven years of testing and research, they have taken one step closer to developing an aircraft that can achieve perpetual flight.  This plane, the Solar Impulse HB - SIA, is a prototype for what Borschberg and partner Betrand Piccard hope will be the first solar powered aircraft to successfully circle the globe, the Solar Impulse HB - SIB.  They will begin construction on the next airplane in 2011 with plans to make their first solar powered trip around the globe in 2012.

Learn more about the Solar Impulse project.
[Originally posted to SustainableLifeMedia.com July 14, 2010]


On HAITI: Dear Journalists, Looting Doesn't Exist in a DISASTER Area

Every other day, when I peek in at Haiti, my heart starts beating fast… I click through pictures, and I read “nearly 200,000 dead.” And I try to imagine: What would Oakland (where I live now), or Flushing, NY (where I grew up), look like if there were upwards of 200,000 dead people lying in the streets? 

I close the screen.

I am once again overwhelmed by that bewildering feeling that I had a little more than four years ago, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. My heart broke then, while I, along with the rest of the world, watched as thousands lost their lives in the aftermath. Ironically, I was on the Island of Hispaniola at the time, though not in Haiti, but rather in the east, on a family vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

I am not naïve. So I do not expect for any pre-existing bias held previously toward the nation of Haiti to have magically disappeared because disaster struck. Thanks to the same journalists who report the news, while simultaneously making claims of objectivity, we are reminded, time and again that there are still so many of them (and if we are honest, there are still so many of us), who are blinded by variable levels of xenophobia and racism.


Green or Yellow mucus?

…is what my modern ‘medicine woman’ asked me over Facebook.

I'd just returned from a trip to NY where I fell ill. My mom, concerned about my lingering cold, wanted to send me to a doctor straight away. There’s just one complication…
I've been ineligible to receive benefits from my mom’s employer provided health insurance coverage since February 18, 2008 – the day I turned 23.
I explained that it was “mostly yellow and clear.” And she replied “Green means infection virus contagious, yellow is a cold, and clear is either allergies or jus and imbalance of some sort - mostly your system doing what it needs to cleanse. Get lots of sleep and clear hot fluids. Stay away from dairy it increases mucus!”

She sent over B-complex, and D vitamins, along with some Triphala - to help clean the colon. She says when you get sick, the bug gets stuck in your colon - and subsequently in your blood which contributes to what helps keeps us sick for longer.I spent the weekend close to home drinking tea, having soup, taking my vitamins and lots of water. By Monday I was still a little bit congested, but I've been feeling a whole lot better and eating more thoughtfully since -- doing a little bit more physical activity (basketball on Tuesday nights after my internship), and trying to consume LOTS of water.

As for not having health insurance because I'm 24 -- it’s an inconvenience for sure, especially for someone who, until recently, didn’t know what it meant to live without coverage. Still, I count my blessings. In this economy, I'm lucky to even have a job, much less one that could also offer me some kind of health insurance. But to be honest, for better or for worse, the loss of the safety net has forced me to think about my "health care" differently. I have had to learn to stop acting as I am in some way defenseless against my own body. And I am beginning to realize that my well being is predicated on more than having a defense alone.

"Health Care" Reform vs. "Health Insurance" Reform

"70% of Health Costs Generated By Preventable Chronic Diseases"
(H/T James Hodges)
While largely billed as a Health Care Reform program, what our President and our nation's pundits have been clamoring about is really health insurance reform. It is important that we recognize the difference. This isn't a bill that is going to magically revamp all health care services, but it will begin to put the reins on the people who play middle[wo]men between health care providers and us, the would-be patients.
This bill has been attached to big ticket issues like our economy and job stimulation because at the root of it all our health care system is a business - with real profits and real losses. And under the existing system, insurance companies have a great deal of control on how that business operates (or doesn't) to serve the needs of patients. For example, while this video explains the benefits of health insurance - pay-in and the pool levels costs, I have to agree with Nick Lee:
"When you have companies that are making $37.8 billion dollars in “total revenue” and there are still millions of people going without health insurance because they can’t afford it then there’s seriously something wrong."

In short, this is about money, not people, and would explain why much of what we hear in policy disputes seem externalized - focused on who gives care, how health care is financed, and how to enable more people to access financing. There's no doubt, the system is broken, but it has been so for a little while now.

Who Knew?!

Until recently, people who've never been without access have been none the wiser. Growing up I had the luxury of being able to get up and go see a doctor whenever my mother felt it was necessary. The inability to do so now was certainly an odd change of pace, but being sick, while at home, forced me to actually consider my lack of access, and what that means.


On NPR: "Tell Me More [About BUTCH Voices]"

I'm so long overdue for a blog... But I've got a good excuse ;)

So many things have been going on at the same time this summer. I've been ramping up efforts to promote my social networking site for masculine identified women and transmen, The Definition, while juggling work responsibilities, promoting amazing movies like Pariah and a bunch of other things as they come. In the midst of it all, I've been trying to make sure to juggle all of that in addition to my responsibilities as the Logistics Chair for the first ever BUTCH Voices Conference.

Someone at NPR got wind of our conference and reached out Tuesday to schedule an interview. And as has been the case throughout this journey, Conference Chair Joe LeBlanc and I connected with them remotely, (as Joe is now back in his hometown of Tacoma, I'm here in the Bay, and our host was presumably calling out of Washington, DC) to talk about the experience and to give a little more insight on why we committed ourselves to this work.

"Tell Me More":A Conference for Butches

Thursday August 27, 2009

Ft. Joe LeBlanc & Krys "bLaKtivist" Freeman

I'm still processing it all, searching for the right words to express what this process has meant to me. I can say that working on this conference has been quite the lesson, but all of the work we did seems to have been well worth it, given the overwhelming response we've gotten from the attendees. Coming away from the experience, I can say that I have worked on this with of some of the most amazing people I've encountered to date (some of them are pictured above - from left to right Mary Stockton, Wolf Painter, Q. Ragsdale & Joe LeBlanc). For first timers, I think we did well!

Would love to hear your comments, questions or thoughts about the interview!
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