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Lights for the Enlightened: An Engineering Trek in the Himalayas
Home to 31,000, Leh is nestled in a high-altitude desert surrounded by jagged peaks. Most of the engineers had journeyed from abroad—England, Portugal, the United States—and a few brought their spouses or partners. photo of landscape Photo: Paula
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Thoroughly revised to incorporate the latest information on wireless technology and home electronics, a comprehensive handbook furnishes a full range of repair and upgrade wiring projects, along with detailed circuit diagrams, instructions on how to connect and network home electronics, and the latest requirements of the National Electrical Code. Original.
With simple, complete instructions for a multitude of exterior construction projects, this publication is a valuable learning and resource tool for landscape contractors, designers, and homeowners. Photos and illustrations support the instructions for such activities as site preparation, grading and drainage, utilities and irrigation, retaining wall construction, paving, exterior carpentry, fencing, and such amenities as pools, ponds, and edging. Readers will welcome the easy-to-follow process of construction and a review of various materials, tools, and methods. A discussion of estimating and bidding for jobs will be of value to professionals in their work and of interest to homeowners as they consider their own exterior projects. This may be the sole resource needed to accomplish a...
At the Lingshed Gompa, a Buddhist monastery high in the Indian Himalayas, the prayer hall is dark. Of course it’s dark: The sun set 2 hours ago. On any other night, an apprentice monk would have hurried to light kerosene lamps and candles, virtually the only source of artificial illumination in this remote spot. Tonight, though, the lamps and candles remain unlit, and in the hushed murk of the prayer hall, monks and engineers sit in close quarters on the floor and wait, not making a sound, not moving a muscle. “Lingshed Gompa. Great switch on. ” Dazzling white light floods the room, as the gathered crowd bursts into applause and a drummer beats out a celebratory tattoo. The lights reveal a knot of monks standing in the center gazing up, their eyes and broad smiles a tableau of wondrous joy. The engineers had been discouraged from cheering boisterously, so they exchange quiet handshakes and a few thumbs-ups instead. For the last three days, they’ve labored and sweated to install 14 solar-powered microgrids throughout the monastery and at a nearby elementary school. But their real reward is knowing that the gentle people in this far-off and forbidding place now have a sustainable and reliable source of electricity. The crowd files out of the prayer hall, down some well-worn stairs, and into a well-lit stone courtyard. Here, the congratulations break out into the open: bear hugs, high fives, and, yes, boisterous cheering. The dancing begins, and everyone lets loose for a while beneath the lights, in the thin cool air of this mountain monastery, in happy defiance of the darkness and the night. Just a week earlier, the engineers had arrived in Leh, the largest city in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas, at the very northern tip of India. Home to 31,000, Leh is nestled in a high-altitude desert surrounded by jagged peaks. Even with the indignities and discomforts of long-haul air travel, getting to Leh turned out to be the easy part. A stroll down the block feels like high-impact aerobics. Factor in intense sun, bone-dry air, and ever-present dust, and people are soon complaining of headaches, sinus pain, and profound fatigue. The rest of the team is healthy enough to press on, and so the morning after their arrival, they assemble in the hotel’s dining room and review the plan. Their destination is the remote village of Lingshed, about 225 kilometers from Leh and nearly a day’s trek from the nearest drivable road. Lingshed is not connected to the power grid, and although the Indian government has said it plans to set up a decentralized power station in the area, it hasn’t yet set a date. In that respect, the village is far from unique: About half of the population of the Himalayas does without electricity. Fortunately, though, the region receives incredible solar irradiance—1,250 watts per square meter on a clear day in summer, as compared with a sea-level global average of 1,000 watts per square meter. Solar components are now cheap enough, reliable enough, and efficient enough that an off-grid, 24-volt, direct-current microgrid can be had for about US $2,200, including labor and transport. With proper maintenance the finished microgrid can be expected to last up to 10 years. Lingshed village has been the site of the Tibetan Buddhist monastery for about 900 years, and about 700 people live in the village itself or in the surrounding area. The plan is to install a total of 14 microgrids here, divided among the monastery, the local elementary school’s dormitories, and a small computer lab that will double as an Internet café for trekkers. Each microgrid will include a 250-W PV panel, a pair of 12-V lead-acid deep-discharge tubular batteries specially designed for solar systems, and about thirty 3-W LED lightbulbs. Such a modest system strains the definition of the term “microgrid. Using direct current rather than alternating current makes sense for an off-grid setting like Lingshed, says Paras Loomba , head of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) , the group that has organized this project. “The main power grid runs on AC, but solar panels run on DC. So if you can run the LEDs on DC, then you don’t lose efficiency in converting to AC,” he explains. Since Loomba founded the company three years ago, GHE has set up solar microgrids in 15 Ladakh villages, which collectively benefit about 8,500 people.
Awesome High Heat Holiday Turkey (chicken broth, black pepper, olive oil, turkey)
Gluten Free High Protein Power Bars Recipe (agave nectar, almond, chocolate, vanilla extract)
Ultimate High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies (baking soda, brown sugar, butter, eggs, flour, salt, semisweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract, sugar)
Venice High School Cherry Butter Cookies (flour, butter, powdered sugar, maraschino cherries, salt, vanilla extract, walnut)
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