Innovation in Iceland

109038-geothermal-energy-in-iceland

Geothermal Energy ~ Relaxing Spa

Iceland is powered by an endless supply of heat supplied by geothermal energy by volcanic activity.    It also has a geothermal energy plant with an adjoining resort and spa.

Hidden away across a landscape of lava rock and a sea of smoke billowing up from the ground,  is a geothermal energy facility.   According to Wikipedia “The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. Bláa lónið is situated approximately 20 km (12 mi) from the Keflavík International Airport and 39 km (24 mi) from the capital city of Reykjavík, roughly a 21-minute drive from the airport and a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík.”

The water is renewed almost every two days and stays between 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit or 37-40 C all year round.

The plant produced “waste water” that appears blue due to the silica and minerals in the water.   At some point between 1976 and 1981, someone decided to go into the waste water and bathe in it.   Most people overlook this fact.   Someone at some point in time traveled to this area literally miles from everything and decided to take a dip in electric blue hot waste water.  

bluelagoonhotsprings-2013-03

 

Perspective

The blue lagoon is so popular today, if you don’t reserve a spot there is a good chance you will not get in.   The prices range from $61.00 to over $500.00 just to get in and have a dip.    The place is jam packed and open until midnight in the summer time.  Since Iceland has perpetual light in the summer time,  it is bright out and inviting through the whole day.

The place is growing as well.  They are building private areas and expanding the hotel and luxury environment.    This has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.

The blue lagoon even has science to back their case the-history-of-blue-lagoon-in-svartsengi

iceland-blue-lagoon-geothermal-spa

  • The electric energy created from the plant is produced through the costs of maintaining systems that capture the heat energy from the ground water.
  • The waste water is discharged into pools that create new revenue by tourism and those seeking the “healing waters” of the silica and minerals produced by the plant.
  • The ecosystem of revenue and commerce this energy plant / spa is producing is limitless.
    • Food and beverage
    • Hotel
    • Car rental
    • Expanded travel

This growth and expansion is based on waste water.   As tourism is increasing in Iceland in ways that their current infrastructure has to grow exponentially to support, there are more demands for energy as well.   This system is feeding itself and growing.   Iceland is becoming a very popular travel destination.

Something to note, at any given time over between 20 and 40% of the people in Iceland are tourists.    Iceland is also getting heavily involved in cloud computing.   Think about it,  low power costs,  low costs for cooling data centers makes for low cost data centers.

Bitcoin farming / mining is cheap and since the infrastructure already exists,  this place is primed for the future.

Icelandic people are also innovating in other ways.   People are starting to use electric cars and they also charging for micro-services including in some places charging for the use of a bathroom.

I think Iceland is country to watch.   I don’t have any predictions but as one European tourist said to me in casual passing “Howie,  we came here because we think this is a great place to go with very little chance of terrorism.”      Seems like Iceland has many appealing qualities including safety, openness for sexuality,  growing infrastructure and they are innovating to make the country perpetually attractive.

Now the only thing left for them to do is keep the ISK in check ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrum for everyone, except it’s not.

I recently took the 2 day Scrum Alliance ScrumMaster course and I am openly more confused today than I was before I took the course.

ScrumDev PDF

My position is simple, if we don’t have these discussions and this dialogue Agile will be akin to SOA.  What happened to SOA?  Ask Ann Thomas Manes SOA is dead long live….   Of course SOA is not dead, but I sure don’t hear much about it anymore like I used to.

Back to my class.  I liked the trainer, he was cool.  I think he was close to my age or somewhere near there (let us say born in 1970 something).   He had cool hair, it was like this.

He had some cool skinny jeans on that my 16 year old son would wear if he was a sk@t0r or something.   He had mad cool tat’s that if he waved his arms fast enough around while raving would spell out some far out words with meaning or produce a crazy angel.  (If you don’t get what I am saying think of this)

He had years of experience as being a regular project manager, developer and all around IT guy.   He went from the boardroom to the playroom, where the dumbassery of waterfall is stabbed in the heart by the agile sword of success.   You may wonder why I am going through this whole description and so I will tell you.  I liked the guy, he was smart but he presented a culture aligned with this practice known as Scrum.    I wrote down a lot of what he said (this was training) and he did tell us to “empty your cup”  Here is the story you can click past this if you are not interested.

Empty Your Cup


A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

People’s reactions to this story:

“You cannot learn anything if you already feel that you know.”

“Preconceived ideas and prejudices always prevent us from seeing the truth.”

“You should open your mind before you open your mouth.”

“The master is trying to tell him to ease back and relax. The professor is too anxious about the whole thing.”

“Some people want to be taught everything in one sitting. It’s not possible.”

“This story proves to me that you have to unlearn before you can learn.”

“We shouldn’t get too wrapped up in one aspect of life. If we do, we close ourselves off to new experiences.”

“Even though you may be full of knowledge, you should always be open to the fact that there is still more to learn.”

“I bet the master did that just to shut the professor up!”

“If you want to learn, you have to shut up and LISTEN for a change.”

“We should be open to the views of others, and accept them as their own. Treat each opinion individually, and don’t just add it to your own.”

“Sometimes another person has to catch you with your guard down in order to teach you something.”

“The professor’s understanding of Zen is too intellectualized. The master is trying to point him towards a more intuitive understanding . If you’re too intellectualized about ANY subject, often you miss the boat.”

“I would tell this story to anyone who believed something about me that was untrue.”

“I think the master was trying to show him that when you can no longer take it is time to give – and you must sometimes give in order to receive.”

“This professor probably doesn’t really believe in Zen. His prejudices are preventing him from seeing clearly. This is what the master is trying to show him.”

“Too much of anything is just too much!”

“I don’t think the professor’s reaction indicated that he had a closed mind. It was perfectly normal. Wouldn’t you do the same if someone was spilling tea all over the place?”

http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/emptycup.html

SO.. I did (if my friend Wednesday tells you otherwise she is mistaking me for someone else).   I then held out my empty cup for some knowledge and here is what I heard.

  1. Scrum is cool – if you practice scrum you are a cool rugby like player, you will be revered for being a hottie and all those around you will say things like “Oh ScrumMaster you are so awesome, I want to be like you.” In other words  (there is a culture involved)
  2. Scrum is only (REALLY) effective if people are in the same room . “If you can’t hear someone grunting when you are talking to them, you probably aren’t practicing scrum right.”
  3. Some stats as  I wrote them down and recorded them 1 in 10 agile teams are successful. About 40 percent of teams practicing scrum are effective or are doing it right. (http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2012/01/4-metrics-to-help-spot-trouble.html)
  4. If scrum isn’t working for you it is because you aren’t doing it right.  You need to hire an Agile Coach to come in and get your organization right.
  5. Waterfall is good for people that never want to make changes ever. Agile is good for people that always want to make changes always,  except when you are in the middle of doing something and you can’t change.
  6. The ScrumMaster has a lot of work to do but they really shouldn’t be involved in the work itself.
  7. “As a ScrumMaster if people are talking to me and I want them to talk to each other I turn my back on them.”
  8. Once you get certified as a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) you can go for a CSP (Professional) and then on to take a bunch of other scrum tests from other organizations and you can be a Scrum trainer which is equivalent to a Phd.
I have written enough for this entry but there is more to come.  If you disagree with what I wrote it is only because you are reading my words and which according to (http://www.minoritycareernet.com/newsltrs/95q3nonver.html) is only 7 percent of communication.
More to come.. but for now take a look at this link on Agile software development methodologies.