Linklist: October 28, 2011

Strib: Gasoline theft:

“Coon Rapids, where one of every six serious crimes reported is a gasoline theft, could become the first municipality in Minnesota to require prepayment at the pump. Meanwhile, members of the Minnesota Service Station Association will vote Thursday on whether to ask the Legislature next year to make prepay state law in 2012.”

Calculated Risk: DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decreased 1.7% in August compared to August 2010: “The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported today:

•Travel on all roads and streets changed by -1.7% (-4.6 billion vehicle miles) for August 2011 as compared with August 2010.
•Travel for the month is estimated to be 263.0 billion vehicle miles.
•Cumulative Travel for 2011 changed by -1.3% (-26.0 billion vehicle miles).”

Knowledge Problem: Nest’s elegant learning thermostat — but is it transactive? :

“Nest also offers a website with more granular data, remote adjustment capabilities (and I expect that those adjustments can be automated, although the article doesn’t specify), and money-saving energy-saving suggestions.
But even more importantly, Nest comes equipped with a Zigbee chip and wi-fi, so it will be a discoverable device on your home network, and able to communicate with a digital meter and other digital devices in the home. It sounds like it has enough intelligence in it to be extensible over time to be a portal for automating the behavior of smart digital devices in the home … and it can be transactive, and consequently make the home transactive and the homeowner capable of automating the responses of a wide range of smart devices in the home to respond autonomously to price signals. If a grid is not transactive it’s not a smart grid, and Nest looks like it will be a step in that direction. The other necessary condition for a smart grid is retail choice and the customer being able to choose dynamic pricing that Nest can automate. Without retail choice and dynamic pricing, the smart grid is not smart.
A final interesting note about Nest is its path to market: rather than going the mass utility deployment route, Nest is going direct to consumer, hurrah!”

[This technology is important (1) for the potential for use of road pricing in vehicles, with taxi-meters (2) feedbacks to drivers (e.g. intelligent speed adaptation), especially if related to insurance, (3) vehicle-to-grid technologies: electric vehicle home charging and peak balancing]

The Washington Post: Full Intercounty Connector to open Nov. 22 : “The full Intercounty Connector is scheduled to open Nov. 22, Maryland transportation officials said late Thursday.”