With the Christmas holiday this coming weekend, our past week has been quite hectic, yet somehow also full of noticeable “decelerations”. But even in the face of the rapidly approaching holiday, there’s still no shortage of stimulating content on the Interwebs. And so, with no further ado, here’s our usual curated line-up of interesting and relevant items of the past week:
This week saw the annual Winter Solstice, when the sun appears to halt its progression across the horizon at sunrise and subsequently reverses its direction back toward the east. This year, the Winter Solstice occurred at about 12:30AM on Thursday, December 22nd.
But have you ever wondered where the Yin-Yang symbol of ancient eastern culture comes from? Well, it’s essentially an expression of this very same yearly progression of the sun and how it drives the division of day and night. Click on the above symbol for a more detailed explanation. Much thanks to my new Google Plus colleague Kooi Hwei Lee for posting this, and to my very good friend Randall Beggs for passing the word on.
On Birmingham Point
We published our first ever parody of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. Called “A(n Energy Efficient) Night Before Christmas“, our tall tale illustrates what a band of dedicated home performance elves, working under the direction of Santa Bailes, are capable of accomplishing in just one night!
Internet-Enabled Sensor Devices
There were a number of interesting announcements regarding Internet-enabled sensing devices for the home. As a result of incredible demand, new orders for the Nest Learning Thermostat will not be accepted any longer until some time in early 2012. Meanwhile, there was mention on Energy Circle this past week about Twine, a tiny device that can sense certain conditions in your home and alert you via the Internet (email, text, tweet, etc.).
Due out sometime in 2012, the exact number of conditional sensors built into Twine will depend more or less on how much Kickstart funding its inventors ultimately secure. But up to thirteen conditions are currently projected. Devices like this intrigue yours truly to no end, because, as some one who relishes in dabbling with such devices and coming up with integrated solutions based on them, …well, you know.
Austin Home Restorations published the second and third installments of The Craftsman blog series “5 Worst Mistakes of Historic Homeowners”: Part 2 Floors and Part 3 Siding. Give them a read if you want some insight into the types of things that make preservationist types cringe(!), and how to properly avoid them.
Finally, many folks like to post year-end and holiday related wrap-up or wind-up posts, but check out this one written by my good friend Sean Lintow Sr., of SLS Construction, which I think expresses some wonderful sentiments. I’m particularly looking forward to following Sean’s progress with a local Habitat for Humanity effort that he’ll be participating in, beginning the early part of next year.
And To All Of You…
We wish all of our friends and readers out there a Happy Holiday Season, and our Best Wishes for the upcoming New Year! Enjoy your well-deserved time off with friends and family, and let’s all face the New Year with confidence that our economy and world situation will be far better in 2012!