Sam Ley


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  • "I'm calling some BS on the "less than $1/mo". Currently the most efficient energy star rated compact chest freezer uses 137 kWhs/yr in testing, which would be somewhere between $1.50 and $3/mo depending on your local energy prices, and that is assuming two important things - that the frozen objects stay frozen for long periods of time (you aren't emptying everything out of the freezer every few days) and that you aren't opening the lid very often. Neither of these would be true for a trash can, so the consumption will need to go up.On refrigerant, there are a lot of compromises right now in refrigerants - they are either bad for the ozone layer, bad for climate change, or highly flammable. Take your pick...I see this as a very niche product that could make sense in a few specific situations, rather than a game changer for daily life. "
    on: Yea or Nay? A Garbage Can That Freezes Your Trash
  • "There is some interesting new research coming out of CU Boulder, particularly Dr. Shelly Miller who was an early proponent of the aerosol transmission theory. Their most recent work, which came out just a few weeks ago, has been on the impact of aerosol transmission during performing arts education activities, and their work goes into a lot of detail, including what types of masks work best - for trombones.https://www.nfhs.org/articles/unprecedented-international-coalition-led-by-performing-arts-organizations-to-commission-covid-19-study/The youtube video is about an hour, but you can speed up the audio and get a very good summary of their ongoing work.This calculator is also very powerful - it distills the research down into a (complex and somewhat arcane) Google Sheet, but that allows you to make relative risk assessments of various types of indoor activities, including details like mask efficiency, type of activity, respiration rate, air changes from the HVAC system, air changes from air purifiers, etc. As with all models it is ongoing and not perfect, but it makes it easy to look at the sensitivity of certain decisions, for instance, "should I cut my group size in half or invest in an air filter?"https://tinyurl.com/covid-estimatorI run an indoor makerspace, and have been the unintentional coordinator of different visits within my family, and we've made good use of the calculator when it comes to setting group sizes, picking locations, and making rules for our workshop."
    on: Of Three Potential Ways to Catch COVID, We've Been Ignoring the All-Important Third
  • "I had the same complaint about the Forester, though you've understood it more deeply, and described it more eloquently. I have owned a number of Subarus over the years, and they are extremely practical. The current line just seems weird and soul-less though - they've always been a bit homely, but with a practical elegance - the new ones seem distracted and jarring. It is a frustrating place to be in, because from a practical perspective they check all the boxes - they just don't make me "want" them.Depending on how hung up you are on the manual transmission, if you were willing to relax that, the few models I'd suggest looking into for your comparison would be the Kia Stinger AWD (fast-back design, not quite a wagon, but similar storage capacity) and the Hybrid Rav4 AWD (same problem as the Forester, checks all the boxes, fails to excite)."
    on: A Designer Buying a Car, Part 4: Subaru Forester, Aesthetics and Practical Considerations
  • "I'll add a shout-out to J&L Distilling in Boulder, Colorado (http://www.jldistilling.com/). I don't believe they are supplying to the public at the moment, but they are making sanitizer for the local fire department at no cost.Glad to see everyone turning their stills to a quick helpful product like this, hopefully they get the small business support needed to stay afloat after the crisis period has passed."
    on: Here's a List of the Booze Manufacturers Now Making Hand Sanitizer and Giving It Away for Free
  • "Yeah, designs like this are ridiculous. Fun to render, but agreed, pointless in execution. Who would build an office with floor to ceiling windows looking out on lush vegetation, just to climb into a portapotty to get their work done? It has all the worst elements of an open-plan office and a closed-plan office, with the added surveillance nuisance of facial recognition (added just to make it seem high tech, and not like a portapotty office). It seems like a lot of design right now is running backwards - a pretty rendering in search of a problem, rather than a problem receiving a creative solution."
    on: What is the Point of These Architect-Designed, Anti-COVID Sealed Cubicles?
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