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About Aaron Fown

Aaron Fown I am a plant biologist and documentarian who loves to write, photograph, explore, and discover.



Author Archives: Aaron Fown

Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Solyndra Bankruptcy

September 1st, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

Solyndra’s recent failure to thrive, despite half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees and strong growth this year, could be taken as a lesson in the failure of government investment in clean energy technology. But it was, in fact, an example of a stunning success of this strategy. Unfortunately, it wasn't our success. It was China's


Is Organic Agriculture a Myth, or a Viable Reality?

July 21st, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

Please forgive me for the long piece. But as someone with a lot of knowledge of pesticides and their use, and organic, new and novel farming techniques, I found this article by Scientific American to be an appalling hit piece against non-conventional agriculture. It's so laden with misdirection, half truths and outright lies that I feel the need to address it directly. The 'myths' that the author presents are already very much on the minds of people concerned about the future of our food system, but the way they are used here is highly deceptive, and twists what could be a thoughtful criticism of the industrialization of organic agriculture into a broad and baseless attack upon non-conventional agriculture as a whole. Allow me a moment, and let me demonstrate how these myths, though grounded in truth, are distorted into slanderous lies by the author. But, before I even get to the myths, a few statements in the opening paragraph deserve some scrutiny


Solar Highways Turn Public Liabilities into Assets

July 18th, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

One of the great things about photovoltaics is that all they need is an unobstructed piece of ground, and some basic maintenance, and they pump out electricity all day long. But finding a piece of ground that can be devoted solely to solar collectors can be a challenge, especially in the populated areas that need the power the most, so you will often find solar panels perched atop some structure, where they are exposed to higher winds, and are more difficult to maintain. But the solution to this problem might be on your way to work every day; in the unused spaces that surround our national grid of highways


Quantum Tunneling Composites Lead to a More Efficient Flashlight, And More!

July 8th, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

Most of us have grown up in an environment where power comes from a plug in the wall, and lights are fixtures or lamps that take advantage of that system. But in many parts of the world, this infrastructure doesn't exist, and so people spend a lot of money on dirty, smelly Kerosene to light their houses at night. Something so simple as a bright, dependable LED flashlight can be an excellent leapfrogging technology for people in such places, as it can provide clean, safe light that can be 'filled up' with a tiny solar battery charger


Why Big Solar is a Colossally Bad Idea (10 Reasons Decentralized Solar is Much Better)

April 27th, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

Of late there has been much talk about moving towards a solar energy future. This is a positive development (albeit one that is almost too late) and has been driven, no doubt, by recent studies that have shown that solar and wind power are now amongst the cheapest forms of power generation, several critical breakthroughs in related fields, and big moves by some major players. However, it seems that a lot of money is being thrown at a particular type of solar power plant; massive centralized solar plants. It is my opinion that this is a massive mistake


Dr. Nocera’s Invention May be the Future of Alternative Energy. But it’s Not a Leaf!

April 7th, 2011 | by Aaron Fown

A lab at MIT, led by Dr. Daniel Nocera, have invented a new and novel form of storing energy that may prove to be an important milestone in the development of alternative energy. In fact, the obvious utility of the process has engendered a bit of excitement, but this excitement has also generated some misconceptions about the process that I would like to clear up, now that I have a more complete understanding of how it works



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