High Bridge Power Plant’s Future

St. Paul’s High Bridge Power Plant, owned by Xcel Energy, is going to be converted from coal to natural gas burning. If the plant doesn’t immediately ring a bell, this photo should do the trick:

St Paul Power Plant

The photo comes from a great new local photo blog, ViewFromTheTundra.com.

Switching to gas from coal is a good thing because coal’s not exactly clean burning, which is one of the reasons for that tall smoke stack. That’s probably tall enough to turn St Paul’s pollution into Wisconsin’s problem.

The gas burning plant doesn’t require that smoke stack, so it’s on the demolition list. However, not everyone thinks that’s a good idea, including the Twin Cities’ top real estate blogger, Teresa Boardman, who’s campaigning to have the smokestack preserved:

I understand why people don’t get all excited about saving a smokestack but I think we should consider it. Once the plant is removed the land will be green space. No one would dream of demolishing the vacant Island station plant just up river.

I think Teresa has a good point. We should maintain examples of structures that help tell the story of our cities. What better example of how St. Paul has powered it’s businesses and resident’s homes than this landmark smoke stack?

How to Create a Personal Legacy Online

Now that summer is over*, let’s talk about death.

Sound grim? Not from this perspective. I’m interested in how the web can help
create legacies.

Evolution of Life’s Questions

As I understand it, people tend to work through the following questions
throughout their life:

1. Just about every child gets around to asking their parents,
Did I Come From?

2. By the time people become adults, they’ve usually found an answer to the
first question and move onto,
am I the person that I am?
” One of the ways they try to answer this question
is by looking to their parents for genetic traits that have been passed down to

3. As people near death, the question changes to,
I Be Remembered?

I’m interested in how the web can help enable #3. How can technology be used to
help people build a legacy.

A few ideas come to mind:

1. Personal histories: create a blog that can live forever so future generations
can learn about you through your writing.

2. Video: share your life’s stories on video and publish them to the web.

3. Contribute knowledge: Share knowledge you’ve gained over your life with
collaborative history projects like Wikipedia. Don’t take your knowledge with

What would you add to this list?

*In Minnesota, summer ends when the state fair is over and kids go back to
school on the day after Labor Day.

History of Religion in 90 Seconds

How much does your religious belief system depend on where you happen to have been born? Would you hold the same religious beliefs you hold today had you been born in a different part of the world? What if you had different parents, or had been raised in a different household?

This 90-second long animated map provides an interesting perspective on how religious vary by geography and how they change and spread over time. For me, it raises questions about the eternity and exclusivity of any religion; and the balance of nature, nurture, and geography on religious views:

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf” width=”500″ height=”250″/]
A slightly larger version of this animation is available here and a full screen version here (may not work in all browsers).