Two years ago, Discovery News offered me a platform to rant and rave about sustainable technology. I still can't believe they let me do it! Starting in 2011, though, I'm hanging up my blogging hat to put on a news reporter's cap. I'll be covering not just sustainable tech, but writing about all forms of technology for the site. As I move forward, here's a look back at some of the memorable and wacky things that happened along the way.
This transportation-obsessed blogger jumped at the opportunity to drive an electric vehicle for the first time. It wasn't a Tesla or even a Volt, but Ford's workhorse commercial van, the Transit Connect. And I wouldn't be on an enclosed course, but Manhattan streets. AHHHHH! Look out!!! At one heart-stopping point, I think Ford engineer Scott Staley seriously regretted handing me the keys.
Like quite a few of you, I've got an inner five-year-old. Tech-related stories about poo and pee were irresistible, especially when they power a VW Beetle and fuel cells, respectively. I loved the comments on a post about a fancy Japanese machine that makes toilet paper from office reports. This one made me giggle, and groan: "Don't forget to remove the staples before you shred."
There were plenty of WTF moments, too, like watching a video of the guy who invented a human-hybrid vehicle that can go 30 mph uphill. One of the best was a response to an apocalyptic April Fools Day post written as if it were the year 2310. A faithful reader must have missed the year and asked about successful asteroid mining. "I've been out of the loop for a bit, but when did that happen? Can someone post a link?" It's OK dude. I've had plenty of "oh duh" moments myself.
Discovery News colleagues occasionally convinced me to get in front of the camera. There was the summer I decided to go without air conditioning in hot and sweaty New York -- listen to my audio slideshow. In October 2009, the day Balloon Boy captivated the world, video producer Jorge Ribas filmed me in freezing rain learning about tech at the Solar Decathlon in DC. And yes, I really am that dorky in real life.
Blogging introduced me to more memorable people than you'd ever have patience to read about in a single blog post. But sitting down to write now, several shot to mind. Microbiologist and urban farm pioneer Dickson Despommier telling me his superhero name would be "Captain Food For All." Artist Mary Mattingly inviting me to dinner aboard the Waterpod in Queens. Terrafugia cofounder Carl Dietrich explaining how flying cars could actually be green. NREL's Joe Verrengia giving me a mind-bending lab tour. And a group of high schoolers from New Jersey with big hearts and plenty of smarts showing me just how far low tech can go.
From posts lost in the ether to ones that took off, I've had the good fortune of ridiculously smart readers. You've shown it with comments that filled the gaping holes in my physics knowledge, offered helpful information about obscure scientific points, alerted me to typos, and expressed both skepticism and excitement about sustainable technology. From one green tech nerd to another, thank you.
Photo: The author, looking to the future. Or perhaps at the birds.