Monday, April 30, 2012

Natural Gas Boom: "Split Estate" Summary

This is the final part of the Natural Gas Boom series.  The first post described fracking and the actions taken in NC regarding it.  The second post discussed my own personal opinions on the matter.  This post summarizes the Aperture cinema movie "Split Estate" and the presentation that followed.  When a friend asked, "Will the film be biased," I didn't want to give a resounding yes.  So instead I said, 'I don't know, but I can tell you it is sponsored by Clean Water for North Carolina.'  This pretty much gave the answer since organizations typically have to be extremely biased and use strong wording to get through to a society that is largely apathetic.  I felt that my opinions on fracking expressed in the last post took both sides in to reasonably consideration.  Despite the tendency for organizations to come off sounding extremist we both, Clean Water for NC and myself, essentially came to similar centrist conclusions; that there is no need to rush to action when so much risk is involved. 

"Split Estate" Summary

A split estate situation occurs because land is treated differently than the subsurface resources.  When you purchase your property, your mortgage may or may not include the resources below the land.  D.R. Horton made national news when they sold property to individuals that excluded the mineral rights.  They then sold those to interested companies.  They returned the rights to the property owners as pressure built against them.  People that own both may set up a contract with companies to sell or lease the mineral rights.  

Trailer for "Split Estate"

Throughout the film are several instances of oil execs denying that their practices caused any harm and then you see all the harm that it actually did cause.  Rivers look carbonated with all the gas coming from under the ground.  In areas where the bubbles come up, holding a match close by resulted in a localized, small explosion.  Contaminated water supplies led to several diseases.  Some families simply resolved to not drink the water.  However, breathing VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) while taking showers is actually just as bad, if not worse, as drinking it.  It would be difficult to get treatment for the different symptoms because each company's fracking fluid is considered proprietary information, and thus people cannot know what chemical is actually poisoning them. 

Another frequent theme is that the companies would not offer to help without significant legal threat and would provide contracts heavily worded in their own favor.  A family that lived down wind of several of the drilling platforms had to move from their home.  Several people ended up having the platforms placed only a little more that 100 feet from their homes.

There were also several good gotcha moments when high level corporate execs were caught lying, denying, or (to avoid libel) were just ignorant of their products.  For instance, one would say all that is in our product is water, sand, and wood pulp.  That certainly sounds proprietary.  Then there is a long list that shows over 200 ingredients that constitute the fluid, many of which are known to have serious negative health impacts.

Post Movie Presentation Summary

The movie below comes straight from Clean Water for NC's website.  It does a great job of quickly summarizing their stance on the issue. 

Website Presentation by Clean Water for NC that Explains Their View of Fracking

The images below depict where fracking could take place.  Comparing the two images goes back to my last post about prioritizing when and where fracking should take place.  It does not seem like there should be a need to immediately start fracking in NC when there are large swaths of land that could be utilized first that would pose much less risk.
Locations in North Carolina where Drilling would Take Place.
Locations in the US Where Drilling is Taking Place or is Being Considered

Interviewing Katie Hicks of Clean Water for North Carolina

I attended the movie/presentation and was actually able to get some of my friends to attend.  I was shocked cause it seems few people ever want to get involved in anything.  I have some questions and I would like to include the answers in my next blog post.  My blog is The Techno Post.  If you have any comments you would like to include regarding my last posts feel free to include.  I'm interested to hear.  Really, feel free to add any comments, post related or not.  Thank you for taking time to answer my questions.

Hi, Justin! It was great to meet you.Thanks for your thorough list of questions and for sending us the link to your blog.  I'll look forward to following it!

I've included some brief responses in blue below. I hope it will be helpful. The attached power point presentation has a lot of good information, though I didn't have the time to present it on Thursday. You can find a lot of links on the subject on our Fracking Resources Page for further information, too! 

The Attached Power Point Presentation

Me: 1.  The response of my friends after the movie was that it was a little extreme.  Numbers are frequently used that either scare people or do not mean anything too them.  I find percentages help convey meaning better.  Do you have any percentages that could be used to indicate the scale of the problem?  For instance, % of wells that have caused environmental issues.  % of land area utilized by fracking companies that has been negatively impacted. % of water supplies contaminated.  A website with heat maps would also be a good way to show this sort of info if you know any good links.

Katie: The film, released in 2009, relies on personal resident stories, many of which are worst-case scenarios, for two reasons - documentarians favor this kind of storytelling, but also, as of 2009 there were no comprehensive studies of environmental and health impacts. In fact, there STILL isn't this kind of information...since the gas industry is exempt from many environmental laws data just hasn't been collected on these impacts through time. State reporting requirements vary widely. I would check out this article from ProPublica for more information, and there is definitely more peer-reviewed research out there now than there was in 2009 (check our website) but in summary I think you're hitting on one of the biggest problems with this industry - we just DON'T have enough information or data on how widespread the threat is yet.

Me: 2.  One of the conclusions in the movie was that companies can incorporate new clean technologies to minimize their impact and harm.  Do you have any comment on that?  Would you be more inclined to be for fracking in NC if you knew those measures were put in place?
Katie: Short answer: potentially, but CWFNC and our community partners have little to no expectation that those kinds of technologies will be perfected, tested, and proven without a doubt to be safe for communities on a short-term time scale. However, NC is considering legalizing fracking in the very short term, which is why we have been encouraging a very slow, cautious approach to removing our state's protections from fracking. See CWFNC's Board's statement on hydraulic fracturing. 
Me: 3.  A frequent comment is that it is worth the risk to answer our energy issues.  I know you touched on this topic in your presentation.  Please go over this and include any links for people interested in making their homes more efficient.  Are there any NC initiatives or incentives for this?
Katie: Yes! Please check out NC SAVE$ ENERGY, a campaign to create a statewide, independently administered energy efficiency program that would weatherize homes and other buildings. Specifically, take a look at the report at the top of this page which shows how other states have used similar programs successfully. 
Me: 4.  It was mentioned that energy costs would not necessarily be reduced because oil and natural gas resources frequently get exported to maximize profits.  I thought there was more of an issue exporting natural gas.  I don't want to say this made fracking for natural gas more appealing, but rather that it would better address the cost of energy in the US.  This topic is unclear to me.  Could you explain and/or offer links to help?
Katie: I'd start by reading this article from February. Of course, transporting natural gas in itself is a risky process! My understanding is that we're producing so much of it right now that this has led the administration to want to export a lot of it. 
Me: 5.  I have heard a variety of claims that try to say fracking is not the problem, it is the other processes involved that cause the harm.  One version of this is that it is not the cracks that form that contaminate water sources but rather equipment at the surface failing that cause the contamination.  Another version of this says that it is a problem with storing the fracking fluid that is at issue.  Too me, saying a part of the process of fracking is a problem is the same as saying fracking itself is a problem.  Do you have any information on where the issues actually are?  How frequent the different processes actually do fail?
Katie: I think when a lot of people use the term "fracking," they often are really speaking about the whole process: fracturing, horizontal drilling, injection, the equipment's definitely confusing, but I think you're right that various components of the overall process are more problematic than others. We've heard a lot about poor well installations and failed casings. There are a few slides on the specific failures in the attached powerpoint.
Me: 6.  The defense of the earthquakes that result is that they are so micro scale that no one even feels them.  Is there any evidence of this?  Have people reported feeling earthquakes that were likely caused by fracking?  Do you think, or do you know other professional organizations that think, there is potential for larger ones.
Katie: Here's an article about the 4.0-scale quake in Ohio, which was stronger than previous ones in Ohio (these were caused not by fracking but by injection of fracking waste for disposal).  There is currently some seismic testing going on in various states. As to whether quakes could be bigger, I can't speak to that, but you may be able to find some resources from geology experts. I personally don't think about earthquakes as one of the more serious threats currently, but it also depends what is nearby the fracking operations - for example, nuclear facilities or other facilities that could have huge impacts if a quake hit them. 
Me: 7.  In terms of producing energy efficiently and cleanly, natural gas wins out over coal.  Are there any estimations about how many coal plants would be displaced by introducing locally acquired natural gas? 

Katie: Here's an article on why natural gas won't really address climate change any better than other fossil fuel products. I am not aware of any such projections but the information may be out there, however, as it's currently done natural gas is not being used locally where it's drilled, but being transferred to other regions via pipelines. That's my own understanding, anyway. 
Me: 8.  I recently read that in India there is a project underway to mount solar panels over lakes and reservoirs to prevent evaporation.  Here is a link discussing what I described.  Would NC ever do anything like this to help with water shortages and energy supplies?
Katie: Wow, how interesting, I hadn't heard of that! I can't speak to what NC might do in the future, but new and creative ideas to address our water and energy problems are definitely going to be important.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Natural Gas Boom: My Take

North Carolina is in the middle of a battle to determine whether or not hydraulic fracturing should be allowed.  I have mixed feelings about having the industry here.  I have seen Gasland and for a long while after, I was entirely against it.  I watched the news coverage of the BP oil fiaso, and am aware of numerous other oil disasters.  Here is a list that takes you to just before the BP incident.  People have said that because there is so much redundancy in a nuclear power plant and because every deail is picked over so intently that nothing can go wrong.  Here is a list of nuclear incidents you likely would not have heard about in mainstream media.  A study is taking place to see how feasible hydraulic fracturing would be for North Carolina.  The study, which can be found here, preliminarily reports that with proper regulation fracking can be prosperous.  Even without the lists of examples of how bad and/or even good regulation fails to prevent incidents, many people readily admit how ill equipped government is to ensure the best interests of its populous.

I took this picture at AMNH during a trip to New York because it was loaded with irony.  I feel it highlights the contradictions people set up around themselves as they try to resolve energy conflicts.

On the other hand, I am aware of the current state of the renewable industries, the free-for-all as everyone tries to come up with the next most efficient product, the lack of standardization that makes committing to 1 company unnecessarily risky, and the small percentage of renewables currently in use.  In this TED talk, T Boone Pickens, makes a good argument of using natural gas as a bridge to the future.  

T. Boone Pickens' Lecture at a TED talk

However, even Pickens admits that he does not know where the bridge goes.  He admits repeatedly, jokingly, that the future is not his problem.  He is right, it is not his problem.  It is everyone elses’.  If he has children then it is their problem.  I believe solar energy along with the necessary advances in battery technology will be developed and competitive enough that as fossil fuel demand increases the total energy supply will not be an issue.  Also, since the supply will be diversified the industry will be more elastic.  Energy supply will not be the problem.
Lack of funding is the problem.  Because the need for an alternate fuel source will not be great enough once fracking has been deemed our energy savior, investments in renewable energy sources will pull back.  Other countries, tired of suckling to a single fuel line from a single country and hurting from payment of exorbitant fees will take the lead.  America, the great innovator, is in some ways already lagging behind the likes of China, Germany, and Brazil.  Those countries will only be the beginning.  Fuel crises continually arise as a single fuel pipeline cuts through several European/Eurasian countries.  The benefit of being self reliant is too great for many of these countries to ignore.  If America does not take the lead in innovation in addition to being indebted to OPEC nations we will have a whole other host of nations to rely on.

As hurtful as it is to say, America needs hard times.  Those hard times are what drives invention.  People cry to go back to the fuel bottle, but they must be weaned off it to grow past our present predicaments.  T Boone Pickens portrayed himself to be a neglectful parent, both to his children and to his country by acknowledging there is a problem and refusing to address the issue.  
There are people that say you would be eliminating thousands of jobs by introducing a dramatic change in industry.  Not so much eliminating, as displacing.  The jobs that would be lost producing fossil fuels and destroying ecosystems would be gained in the renewable industry and in developing new infrastructure to support it.  If this is a dramatic and sudden change, yes, the change would be devastating.  To prevent any sudden changes, it is perfectly fine to proceed with some natural gas extraction, but ensure funds are raised and location is considered to mitigate the environmental risks.

Contracts can have terms set that would either force an up front cost and/or to resolve any issues.  There have been legal obligations in the past, although were they enough?  A decade after the Exxon Valdez spill digging 6” into sand at the beaches and you pull up an oily brine.  How are the tourist industry jobs recovered?  BP utilized surfactants to disperse and dissolve the oils as they floated up in the Gulf of Mexico.  The greatest benefit, whether BP intended it or not, was that aerial photos showed no signs of oil.  However, chemicals that settled at the bottom decimated colonies of shrimp and other sea life which harmed another popular area industry.  How are those jobs recovered?  

Representatives of a company are legally obligated to act in the greatest interest of the shareholders and thus the company; not to protect the environment, not to protect citizens’ jobs.  If you are thinking, ‘but their reputation would be hurt by not protecting the other aspect’, then I have to ask, what was your first thought when I mentioned Exxon Valdez and BP oil spill?  Was it a sort of groan? Or ‘he’s one of those guys?’ Or ‘not that old topic again’?  Corporations have enough options open to them to protect themselves for the amount of time that the typical citizen can stand to hear about a topic.  

Besides, it is primarily an inelastic market.  Forcing the oil corps to clean up their own mess will only result in raising the cost of oil to the consumer in a reactive rather than proactive manner.  What other option do you have?  The government can raise the price of a gallon of fuel.  That candidate would quickly be run out of office next term.  It reminds me of a party a friend threw recently.  The friend did not want to invite certain people for different reasons, but at the same time he did not want to seem rude to those same people.  He had another friend invite people for him.  This way when someone asked either party host, ‘Why didn’t you invite me?’ He could respond that the other person, which ever person it was, must have forgot.  In our oil instance it would simply be passing the blame to another area of government.  Obama was an event organizer.  He should be able to get that deal together easily.  Alright, any conservative reading this should have been able to appreciate that remark at least. 

So, in summary, the contractual agreement between government and oil company needs to strongly encourage the company to diversify its portfolio into renewable investments which help to make the market more elastic.  Eventually, rather than fighting the use of renewables, it will be a perfectly justifiable option to discuss with shareholders.  Some of this cost would still come back to the consumer, but it would be a better value for the dollar.  The endeavor is always going to pose environmental risks, but there is no reason the locations should not be prioritized into only operating in the areas of least impact first.  For North Carolina, that risk seems too great. Oil companies love to advertise to states about the pockets of resources they have found, but they do not advertise the impacts.  And state sponsored studies only look at their own feasibility.  The federal government should conduct this study and map out when each state would be allowed to proceed.  They are not preventing drilling, only prioritizing it.  The study, along with regulating the fossil fuel supply can be used as a tool to manipulate the fuel prices to the consumer to build necessary funds for risk mitigation, to promote federal level infrastructure changes to make other resources a viable option for the future, and to help direct public perception towards the cleaner side of energy production.  Because, as Pickens inferred, it is up to us whether we like what we see at the other side of the bridge.  

UP NEXT: Natural Gas Boom: "Split Estate" Movie Summary

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Natural Gas Boom: Now a North Carolina Issue

I am interrupting the current blog series because of a current local issue and event.  Aperture will be showing a movie that discusses fracking for natural resources.  More details of the event are at the bottom of the post.  This post briefly covers my beliefs on the topic, the brief summary of the issue as it relates to NC, and event details.

Recently, my home state, North Carolina, got news that it may have significant pockets of natural gas that would make fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a possibility in the near future.  I have mixed feelings.  And as part of my mixed feelings, I have turned to the blogiverse to sort out my thoughts.  I am for solar and wind energy like many people would say.  On the other hand, I am also realistic that renewable resources are more expensive and have their own limitations, also like most others would say.  Unlike most people I am less ready to allow the limitations to drive me into acceptance of fossil fuels.  No, I do not have solar panels on my roof.  No, I don’t even typically recycle.  I hold that responsibility up to companies and the government.  If a utility company came to me and said, ‘We would like to install these panels on your roof.  There will be no up front cost.  The cost to us will be made up by charging the same rate as if you did not have the panels.’  I would agree.  Maybe there was some small monthly payment that would be required at first to make the financials work out.  That would still be acceptable.  And I can tell you also that there already are companies that offer this service.  As far as recycling, the majority of the county I live in get service for this as part of their waste management.  Because I live outside the city limits recycling is not provide.  

The gas pockets in North Carolina have been considered for development after the BP oil spill, after other states have had successes and failures with fracking, and after the documentary Gasland raised concerns about the potential harmful effects.  With that in mind a study was commissioned to investigate the impacts that introducing this industry into North Carolina would have.  There have been 2 meetings to discuss the findings of the study and to listen to public opinion.  

This Thursday (4/26), a local independent movie theater, Aperture Cinema, will be showing “Split Estate” at 7:30pm.  The film examines the practice of fracking.  After the movie there will be a presentation on how North Carolina will specifically be impacted, the current and proposed regulations, and how residents can get involved.  Admission is free.

311 west fourth st.winston salem nc

Tomorrow I will expand on how I believe the issue should be approached and later in the week I will give a summary of the Aperture event.  After that, back to the lighter side of blogging for a couple weeks.

UP NEXT: Natural Gas Boom- My Take

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Justin Newsome (@NerdistNewsome) has shared a tweet with you

In Features: Spreading "ideas worth spreading" -- Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish)
My first 2 posts, and likely many more feature videos from TED talks; a great source of "ideas worth spreading". This article gives a brief background of TED and shows how it has recently started to spread into Eastern/Middle-Eastern countries.  Technology and communication are responsible for informing people across the globe who otherwise would be reacting to limited and filtered sources.  When countries decide to cut their citizens off from the internet they tweeted their situation to the rest of the globe.  Guess what else made this possible, the mass dispersion of cell phones from China.  Many of these would be the illegitimate copies that tend to proliferate.  The lesson is that just like grass finds its way through concrete, information will find a way to spread.  I am not justifying undercutting markets with cheap knock-offs or downloading media without authorization.  However, enacting laws that try to stop this spread is nearly pointless and counter-productive as someone will figure out how to add new threads to the web that circumvent the laws in place.  For several years there have been articles with headlines along the lines of 'The Great Firewall of China'.  Now, the US is trying to enact legislation that could result in similar information blockades.  Citizens and tech companies stopped SOPA and PIPA, but now CISPA is making it's way through congress.  As I have implied before, don't be against CISPA because I am, be against it because you decide it is wrong.  Likely the most concise and unbiased information can be found  Just search CISPA.  If you decide you are against it, sign a petition against it.  I went with one on  To take further action contact your congressman.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 1- The End of TV

Around 2010, television manufacturers at a trade show were wondering where the designs would go next.  The answers were smart-internet connected televisions and 3D.  Both ideas have been floundering about as neither has yet taken hold.  But everyone knows who is best at solving that problem: Apple.  They take care of every aspect internally.  Their approach to design is perfect for resolving the issues of a smart TV and their iTunes services is the perfect medium for providing the content.  They already have experience with their TV/cable box.  And they have scaled up the iPhone to make an iPad, so where’s the challenge in one more scaling.  How about in the naming; iProducer maybe?  When their product hits shelves it will likely be as much of a success as their other recent products, at least, in the short run.

2011 saw people begin to rise against the laws designed to maintain an industry that is destined to be diversified.  More and more people adopt devices to allow them to skip past the ads that pay the bills of Hollywood.  More and more people are turning to the cheaper smart TV options that have the internet built in.  The quality of the content may not be as great yet, but there will always be a demand for cute kittens and angry hamsters.  In response, the Hollywood lobbyists began fighting harder to bring issues to the front of politics.  A slew of bills were introduced (SOPA, PIPA) with great American acronyms generally meant to convey the idea to stop digital piracy and to make sure you have no reason to put children and pornography into the same sentence ever.  When this resulted in a backlash with the tech giants an epic corporate showdown commenced.  Most major websites, from Google to Wikipedia, planned a day of action.  Many people still have ‘CENSORED’ labels as part of their favorite social networking website icon.  All of this political theater discussion is simply to make the point that the ways of doing business since Edison will have to change in the era of names like Ballmer, Jobs, and Page.  Internet content providers are rapidly gaining content and viewers and the advertisers will not take long to notice.  The entertainment industry is crumbling as they try to protect their margins in a much more competitive market.  A recent TED Talk covers the absurdity of several of their claims. 

Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

Rob gives a good broad brush stroke of the insanity.  To get an idea of the individual accounts of how these lawsuits impact everyday people I recommend visiting this EFF (Electric Frontier Foundation) webpage.  

The latest bill to take to the trenches in its attempt to become a law is CISPA.  Unbiased information for it can be found on Wikipedia here.  It gives a good description, lists pros and cons, tells groups that both support and oppose it, and as it happens tells that this week, the week of April 16th has been declared 'Stop Cyber Spying Week'.  If you review the information about CISPA and want to take some action against it, I recommend signing this petition at  For the more advanced activist, contact the politicians that represent your interest.  As technology increases exponentially, society will change at an ever increasing pace.  Unless innovation and the proliferation of information are going to be stopped, the established systems must adapt or ultimately they will be out-dated and lose their audience.

It is expected that in 2012, Apple’s TV will take another bite out of the industry.  Google, will try with their own TV, but back to the original point.  With vendors making content for Google glasses, why bother with the TV at all.  At first it will start with the location apps and useful tools to help remind people of names, dates.  It reminds me of a summer job I had back in college.  I was a Sprint representative hired to work out of a Radio Shack to advertise their latest innovation.  Their innovation was to have color screens and cameras actually built into the phone.  Frequently people were curious and would stop to talk, but the usual reaction was, 'Why would I want a camera in my phone?'  Here is a headline from when they announced this marvel.

Press Release



Stylish Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG Features an Integrated VGA Camera in a Lightweight, Compact Design and Comes in Two Fashionable New Colors
Stylish Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG Features an Integrated VGA Camera in a Lightweight, Compact Design and Comes in Two Fashionable New Colors 

PM-225 and Specs from the same link
- Memory: 16 MB Flash/8 MB SRAM (download up to 1,024 KB)
- Internal Color Display: 65K Color STN LCD, 128 x 160 Pixels, 9 Lines
- External Color Display: 65K Color STN LCD, 64 x 96 Pixels, 3 Lines
- Standard Battery 1,000 mAh Li-Ion
- Talk Time: Up to 3.2 hours*
- Unobtrusive Internal Antenna
- VGA CMOS Digital Camera
- Self-Portrait Capability with Flip Closed
- Save up to 100 Photos
- Resolutions: 640x480 (VGA), 320x240 (QVGA), 160x120 (QQVGA) Pixels
- Customizable Color Effects, White Balance and Brightness
- Send Pictures to E-mail, Phone or Store Online
- Assign Pictures to a Caller ID or Screen Saver
Sprint PCS Vision service required.
The Sprint PCS Vision Picture Phone PM-225 by LG is available for $219.99, or $69.99 after rebate with two-year advantage agreement.

The point of rehashing that bit of nostalgia is that now the camera is commonplace in phones.  It is as common as clock in coffee makers.  Any new tech can catch on in unexpected ways.  

Since they will be powered by Android, the glasses will have access to the Android Play Market.  Many content providers already have apps in the market; Netflix, VUDU, Google’s own movie service.  In the battle to be smartphone king, Apple butted heads repeatedly with Google and Google’s partners.  Lawsuits were abound and while there was innovation, the lawyers had to be fought every step of the way.  If Google makes a TV it will be the same fight.  If Google makes a TV, they have to compete with Apple in cost.  If Google makes glasses there is less legal cost and less manufacturing expense.  The innovation would abound as once again the way people live day to day would be forever altered.  It is the continual technological disruption.  Let me guess, you don’t see yourself watching TV on your glasses.  But do you see yourself wearing them for travel?  Can you see yourself looking at Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or Twitter?  If you are already doing that, why wouldn’t you have your favorite shows or stories running at the same time.  Currently, there is no good way to read a magazine on a treadmill.  The smart TV’s, especially the Apple TV, win in the upcoming years, but glasses would win the war.  The TV industry is obsolete.  Shall we discuss movie theaters?

UP NEXT: Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 2: The Welcomed End of Privacy


Monday, April 9, 2012

Google Glasses: Part 1-The Announcement

-There is an app called Google Goggles which to me has become worse the longer it’s been out.  There is a company that makes goggles with an Android interface that gives general ski conditions.  But with the latest batch of Google related rumors we may be on track to achieve something resembling the 2015 deadline for Back to the Future; augmented reality glasses.  The set Doc wore looked like a bent aluminum sheetmetal cutout (which by the way gives me more of an appreciation of that mans acting ability since he was pretty much acting blind)  

The Google glasses are supposed to resemble Oakley sunglasses according to some.  From the rumors one eye would have a display that would be to the side of your vision.  This design is ideal for prototyping, but limits the uses.  Several informative tools can be available.  Using face recognition you can be reminded of who different people are.  Find out reviews of local businesses or directions to a specific place while walking there.  Sounds like usual Google speak right.

Just like with the launch of the CR-48; the barebones Chrome book, they are going minimalist with this first attempt to gauge interest. 
The CR-48 came out in early 2011 in a time when sexy laptops were small, curvy, and colorful.
In the last couple of weeks the official announcement came out that Google has been working on this.  For the last couple of years they have been working on a project called Google Glass.  It came out shortly after April 1st so people were unsure whether it was just another prank from the search mogul.  They released a video touting their potential.  In the next couple days several parody videos popped up.  Google will certainly have to fight the stigma, but the key point is that people are talking about the project and the company.

The technology is to a point that products can begin to be tested in the wild.  It had to be announced so they could put their prototypes in public.  
Google Glass Prototype

My fear is that the temptation to put this into the market will be too great and a faulty product will only further damage the image of augmented reality.  

To get the full impact, manufacturers will need to take the idea the full way through.  In other words, full immersion.  The design will have to be reasonably light and fashionable (at least starting out), it will have an independent camera and screen at each eye.  It may give the look of regular sunglasses, but there will be no normal lens, only the latest LED screen that shows the world as the cameras see it.  To reduce eye strain, the the refresh rate of screens used on color e-reader devices must catch up to play live video.  Then users gain full control of their visual world.  Earbuds readily can be positioned into your ears from the legs of the glasses.  In each arm is a Bluetooth 3.0 to give the communication necessary to transmit and receive enough information to the users smartphone; if it is still even associated as a smartphone in this near time.  2 options will be available for people to power the device.  A battery can plug into both arms and hang behind the neck.  This also prevents the glasses from falling off.  Alternatively, it can plug into your brick smartphone.  That’s the basic design requirements now I can get to predictions of what it means.  This is where other articles seemed to lack imagination.  They seemed set on assuming everyone switches to seeing naked people with the glasses Google is currently proposing.  In the next posts I'll explore the possibilities as I see them.

UP NEXT: Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 1- The End of TV