Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shukri Islow-Somali Story No 2 (No 1 at September 25)

Time for you to meet Shukri Islow who has just graduated from a university in Uganda with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. Here she is getting her diploma, the most recent step in her extraordinary story, which only she can tell you.


I only show you this picture because at least here in Linköping my Somali friends whom I refer to as the Hijab Sisters do not want to be photographed. But that really is Shukri there.

Shukri was born in Mahaday 120 km north of Mogadishu. Somehow or other her parents found their way to Sweden which is where I am writing this. So part of Shukri's story is a story of going to school in a very cold country way up north.


She found me after I had written a comment in the Vermont Public Radio web pages describing a young Somali living in Burlington, Vermont, where I spend a month each year. This young Somali - last name Ahmed- had decided to show the world or at least Vermonters that a Somali could be a body builder. Somehow or other another Somali read that story and pretty soon I had three Somalis as Facebook Friends, two of them from Kismayo and living in America and the third, Shukri Islow going to University in Uganda.


Her Facebook is the place where she takes up the fight for women and girls in general and for Somali girls and young women in particular. After looking at her many entries today I have told her it is time for her to have her own blog.


Now a note about three Somali women who are well known to the world as maybe Shukri will someday be known. Edna Adan is a nurse who established a hospital in Hargeisa and Hawa Abdi is a doctor who did the same in Mogadishu. And now there is also Nadifa Mohamed, born in Hargeisa, educated at Oxfor, and author of a prize-winning novel The Orchard of Lost Souls.



I make contributions regularly to the two hospitals and have just sent a contribution to Edna Adan Hospital, which you can learn about at  http://www.ednahospital.org/

Here is Edna Adan Ismail who has improved the lives of countless young Somali women as Shukri herself wants to do. I only wish it had been possible to show that my contribution tonight was in the name of Shukri Islow but there is no place for that at Edna's web page.

So Shukri, congratulations from all of the Hijab Sisters at the Red Cross here in Linköping, one of whom, Muhiim, wrote to you via my Facebook yesterday. They all think you are amazing.

Lycka till
Larry




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vilka språk kan du-What languages?

What is the best question you can ask when you meet some new person/people who look interesting?

I may explain at the end what American sociologists say is the only question. I do not believe them for a minute, so here is my question, one I posed to an interesting gang I met at Saltholmen. Actually, one of the women beat me to posing the first question, so let's let her speak first.

Tror du på Jesus? Så sade Emelie. Bra fråga. Jag svarade att det är en stor fråga så jag skulle ställa en enklare fråga.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ. That is what Emelie said. Good question. I answered.

Now to that best question. First a little background. One of the neat things about living in Sweden is that there are about 8,000,000 people who sometimes believe that they are all the same. Some refer to them as Ethnic Swedes. What is neat about that is anybody who turns up using another body language is a good candidate for being somebody who is not an Ethnic Swede.

In my years at the Red Cross in Linköping, I heard all the usual questions people ask a new arrival. I finally decided I needed a better question. Here it is:

Vilka språk kan du/Ni? What languages do you speak (or know)?

So after Emilie asked me about Jesus I decided to pose a question to three girls who were sitting on a bench at the edge of the water. I asked them in Swedish and here is what I got back.

Svenska, engelska, portugisiska.

I am going to stop here, this is just a first draft. If somebody answers with those three, how do you react?

Let me know. I will be back.

I just got out to Styrsö and I have to get to work. A Ph.D. Thesis awaits for review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This One's For Martha


The United States has just shown how easy it is to stand on the brink of becoming a failed nation and many of us living abroad have followed this sorrowful sequence of events, written comments in the New York Times, and have wondered is there any hope.

Yesterday afternoon, October 16th, I sought solace in the same way I always do, by running to my trees and then stopping to let them talk to me through reflection and by encouraging reflection. By the strangest of coincidences, I came home from Götakanalen and there in my Gmail was mail from Martha in California, a reader of NYT comments who then escaped from them by turning to my blog and to a post A Walk in the Park (based on a NYT article). She, like I, cannot live without "our trees" and, for me, even better, the reflections of trees. (Lisa, master of the reflected image, this is for you also).

Want to feel better? Find yourself some trees like these and talk with them.



l will later add the blog link to an earlier visit to Götakanalen. Someday my blog will have such improvements. Right now back to work - translating a medical questionnaire from Swedish to English. This was my fika paus. PS you have to double click on at least the 2d image to see all 3 trees. PS 2 trying different image sizes for the blog but in the end double click to see best.

Blog post that introduces Götakanalen was way back in September (25) 2011. Sorry but I do not have a system that can take you directly there. You have to go through older posts. Someday? Maybe.
Added 2013-10-18




Monday, September 30, 2013

Triangulation-Iran, USA, Israel

If you were to read the New York Times (both Times Wire and the published OnLine edition) 24 h a day as I do you would learn the USA stands on the brink of financial catastrophe thanks to the Tea Party brinkmanship. You would also see that every day there are blogs, OpEd articles, Editorials and more expressing very asymmetrical views on the three nation triangle, Iran, USA, Israel.

The two subjects really overlap since in Iran, many of us see the Ayatollah holding his subjects hostage, and in the USA we see the Tea Party holding the President hostage.

Keeping up with these two subjects takes considerable time and composing comments on both takes even more time, especially since this has to be done while remembering that the NYT reviewers work on US Eastern Time, not Central European Time.

I am assembling all of my comments so I do not have time to add more Somali Stories just now. Tomorrow I will be at the Red Cross and once again I will try to persuade one of the gang there to tell me a story. Here's hoping. Stay tuned.

Larry

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Somali Stories

On September 24, 2013 the New York Times published an article by James Ferguson, author of an important book about Somalia. The first sentence told us the sorrowful tale about a young Somali-American who grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This young man had gone to Somalia to join al Shabab and there he blew himself up. The Times article is: The West Need Not Fear  Its Young Muslims @ http://nyti.ms/1fei0ke

The article led New York Times readers including me to submit 100s of comments, most of them about Somalis and/or muslims. In my comment I name some of my Somali friends. I think the world should know about some of these friends and I cannot wait any longer to begin trying to tell their stories. (They are either not ready to tell them or they do not have time.) I do not have so much time either since I always have manuscripts to review and translations to begin (for Swedish medical researchers) but I can begin by introducing you to one Somali friend in America. There will be more.


I begin very simply. We are in Winooski, Vermont in June 2013. If you happen to be there some time stop in at Banadir Market-Halal Meat and tell Abdi that Larry sent you.

I only see Abdi once a year when I am in Burlington, Vermont and we do not have much time to talk but little by little I am learning his story. The only part I am telling you here and now - 7:54 AM in Linköping, Sweden - is that he shows what an individual who is determined to "make it" and is willing and able to work extremely hard can accomplish.

He created his own store Banadir Market where the people who live here can buy various kinds of food that are, let's say, a part of their identity. If one part of that identity is that they are muslim, then they can visit Abdi to purchase meat that is "halal", the equivalent of Jewish "kosher". I mention this comparison because I lived for forty years in Brighton, New York where kosher foods were readily available.

Now I have to start working. A little later I will add the URL to the New York Times story and to my comment.

I hope you will comment here or send me an Email.

Larry


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Barack Obama On The Brink

Barack Obama is on the brink of implementing the most fateful decision of his presidency. He has decided to rain rockets down on Syria but awaits a vote in the US Congress.

I have been raining comments down on the NYT Comment Reviewers for the past several days and today 3 September have submitted three such, all on this article

Debating the Case for Force 
by the New York Times Editorial Board.

The short URLs are obtained by requesting the Times to Email the article to yourself.

Although the first was submitted last night (US Eastern time), September 2 none have been accepted as yet.
Other important Times articles published in the print edition today, September 3, are not set up to take comments so I have referred to them in the comments submitted.
If one or more comments are accepted I will write more.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New York Times and The American Riddle

03 Septemberd 2013 13:40 Central European Time

The Times accepted two comments on OpEd article by Charles Blow: The Most Dangerous Negro.

Here are the two books that I presently cite in comments on this and related articles

Prewitt, Kenneth, 2013, What is Your Race-The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans: Princeton University Press, Princeton

Roberts, Dorothy, 2011, Fatal Invention-How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century: The New Press, London

These are the two most important books on this subject that I have read. They should be read by every American professor who daily employs the nomenclature of the US Census Bureau classification of Americans.

The text below has not been revised:

I have earlier today (28th) posted a comment in one of the New York Times OpEd articles published in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Freedom March.

Similar comments in the last few days have been rejected but just in case this comment is accepted I post this preliminary note.

In that comment I promise readers that I will provide the URLs to some of the Times articles that I have tried to comment on in the past 3 days and that I will give the name of the books published by each of the professors to whom I refer.

The Times 1500 symbol with spaces limit makes it difficult to cite any source unless one is only citing one source for which there is a usable URL.

It is only 7 AM in New York so it may be many hours before the comment is reviewed. If it is accepted, then I will add information here.

Larry
13:00 Central European Time 28 August

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Concerning NYT Article by Mark Bittman

To any NYT OnLine reader who reads my comment (just filed, awaiting review) on Mark Bittman's column in  the NYT 2 July 2013.

In my comment I refer to a post in this blog in which I show installation of a low-temperature (ground-source) geothermal system for a single family home on an island in Sweden. To see that post you will have to page down (see more) until you come to March 13, 2013. I have been in the USA for more than a month and living in a tent in a climate-changed Vermont is not conducive to updating the blog.

If you read this and have a reply please consider sending to my Gmail (under my picture).

Thanks
Larry
Brattleboro, Vermont

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Äntligen-Finally Newroz bevis-proof

This connects with the post just before the Walk in the Park post, my Newroz 2013 report in which I noted that I hoped to find a picture or two showing how much I love dancing non-stop to Kurdish music and listening to it. So thanks to my good friend Serdar Tovi, here they are, also soon at my FB.
Vi befinner oss på Cupolen - We are at Cupolen
Det är Newroz - It is Newroz

KLICKA/CLICK för att se bilderna bättre/To see the pics b etter

Kurderna dansar non-stop i koncentriska cirklar - The Kurds dance non-stop
in concentric circles (if many circles, the most advanced dancing in the center)

Kolla killarna som tittar på fötterna - Check the guys looking at their feet
NOT ME!


15 sekunder av "Fame" - 15 seconds of fame


Kolla killarna, hoppas hitta dem - Check out the two guys, hope to find them
Hade inte publicerat om mina fötter var felplacerade-Would not have published if my feet were in the the wrong place
Lägg märke till, näst år måste jag träna händarna - Notice, next year I have to practice getting the right hand in sync

The pictures speak for themselves, correct. What they do not show is on this round and another one we are dancing non stop 30 minutes or longer and here approaching the loudspeaker which is deafening

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Walk in the Park-New York Times in Sweden

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/easing-brain-fatigue-with-a-walk-in-the-park/


Visit the URL above and you will learn that brain science has confirmed what we who visit our trees every day know very well. The New York Times reports that A Walk in the Park is good for your brain or better said, your well being.

In my first NYT comment (tråkig kommentar, glöm den) I promised to offer pics of my walk in my park, Ullstämma Naturreservat, where I walk, run, or ski as often as possible. So join me and as you do, imagine how my state of mind was improved minute by minute (I had been editing and translating for Swedish cancer researchers during the day). All but the first photograph were taken today as the sun was getting down in its March 27 position. Click on a pic to see it in full size. If you have a blog with your "walk in the park" shown, write a comment or send me Email.
Meet the Tree in the Pond,
one of my closest friends

Fox tracks a few days old

That was earlier in the day, a couple of days ago. On the way out to the Tree in the Pond TIP, I passed these fox tracks that are now several days old and therefore reshaped by wind and sun. And here is TIP as I could enjoy it while I drank my coffee at the bench at kilometer three on Linköping Orientering Club Milen (10 km trail).
This is what the Tree in the Pond had to offer as I had
my "fika" (Coffee Time) as the sun was setting

 On the way back, I took a look at the tracks that you can see in the main picture of the tree above (the line to the left), tracks made a few days ago. What you discover is that The Fox in the Pond (FIP) used them yesterday as the path of least resistance in its almost daily walk here. The FIP very often passes close to the TIP in its travels. Why? Ask the Fox. The FIP probably takes these walks in the park early in the morning, so I do not get to meet the fox although I have during the fall.
The Fox in the Pond
uses my ski tracks
almost every day


I do not get to meet the fox but today just as I was leaving
my friends from last year came in over my head and landed
at the little Knob in the Pond (another Pond) that they regard
as their very own home.

There were about 10 of them, so here are three who welcomed me.
They too leave tracks, so we will see how those tracks evolve until the snow
and ice give way and I have to revert to walking or running rather than skiing.
We Three-We just came back, today, March 27, 2013
The middle goose's
footprints!

My walk in the park ended when I left my Canada Geese
and watched the sun go down between The Oaks
in the Pond.

Adopt a Tree, watch it all year long!



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Newroz Dance Until You Drop

To some of my newest Kurdish friends, especially Alwan, Zirak, and Ziwar I show you only two pics here. If any of you at your table next to ours (Larry, Barzan, Rahman) has pictures of the dancers I hope you will contact me via my Gmail - left - and we can go from there. My flash only worked once, since that camera is dying.

Now I which one is Zivar (dancer with vest, left in pic of the brothers) and Zirak has the blue sweater and shirt. Thanks Zivar. I am asking around to see if someone has a picture taken when I was dancing next to Zivar.

That's all for tonight - long day after a late night at Newroz!


Jag antar att jag inte behöver skriva på svenska!

A report from the BBC heard at 3:30 AM tells me we should all be visiting the part of Kurdistan where these guys come from. The BBC correspondent was in Erbil and was taking the very first trip in a new cable car that has been built on a mountain near Erbil. More when I track the story down. Don't miss it!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Birthday cake to my followers!

I did not think anybody visited my blog but yesterday when I was looking for a post showing my Kurdish friends dancing I discovered that some very nice people must have visited various posts long after the posts were first entered by me.

You have always seen at the left that each comment writer would receive a virtual apple from Apelgatan. Sorry, I never kept that promise because none (almost none) reveals his or her Email or a blog to which one can reply.

However, since I have done a lot of baking in preparation for my birthday (the birthday person provides the cake(s) and Kurdish Newroz celebration, I can offer each of you a virtual piece of cake.

These and more were for celebrating at the Red Cross two days after my St. Patrick's Day birthday. My co-workers and our students sang "Ja må han leva" (song tells the birthday person that the singers hope he or she lives 100 years, so I have 19 to to go)

So have a piece of cake and thanks for writing. I hope some of you could create a separate Email address to which I could reply, separate since you apparently do not want to tell the world who you are. My Gmail address is over at the left, so no problem contacting me.

If the Kurdish dancing goes well tonight, maybe you will get an added pic here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The New York Times has reported that a new secretary has been chosen for the Energy Department.

I have had several comments accepted in connection with various columns and blogs discussing this appointment. At Dot Earth (NY Times) I promised to provide URLs to NY Times articles in which Ground Source Geothermal is mentioned.

Here are three with brief comments by me.



I offer this story because it illustrates standard NY Times and apparently widespread American practice. The article is largely about solar power installations on chain stores. The story includes the following single sentence about Ground Source Geothermal:

"Ikea has included a geothermal power system at a new store in Centennial, Colo."

The link provided leads you to a website about a kind of geothermal energy that has nothing to do with the Ikea installation. This is standard Times practice, which I have repeatedly asked the Times to correct. Times editors fail to do so.

The system at Ikea consists of an array of drill holes under the parking garage. They are the basic element of a Ground Source Geothermal system. Note that unless Ikea advertises in the store that it has such a system, no one will ever know since the drill holes are covered by the parking garage.

Here is a URL that takes you to one of the early reports on plans now finalized. This story, like all NYT stories onm the project, provides limited information that is not accurate.

If the Ground Source Geothermal System becomes a reality, then I believe it may be the largest yet installed in the United States. I have asked the Times repeatedly to correct the errors and provide an article on GSG. No response.



These are quotes from the articles at the URLs above and below:

"plans are being considered to have wells harvesting geothermal energy" 

"If Cornell University were to win the city’s competition to build a new science graduate school, it would install on Roosevelt Island almost four acres of solar panels, 500 geothermal wells, and buildings with the rare distinction of generating as much power as they use."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/education/24science.html?ref=nyregion&_r=0

You can see an example of a functioning GSG system at my blog posts on Champlain College (23 November 2010), quite a ways back, sorry.

What is the point? Very simple. Ikea and the Cornell Center could have been heated by natural gas, a system favored by the new Secretary of Energy. The Ground Source Geothermal systems are renewable energy systems that do require electrical input but in the end contribute far less atmospheric contaminants than natural gas systems

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fjärrvärme-Distance heating Phase III

Phase I - Heating my home with distance heating - source Gärstad

Phase II - Examples of the distribution network (piping) that makes it possible for hot water (100 C) from Gärstad to reach my home and most homes and buildings in Linköping

Phase III - Introduction to Gärstad
     The green arrow shows the location of the photographs I took at noon today, 16 February 2013 at Gärstad. 58.43341, 15.65811 GPS coordinates
 To the north is farmland and a large lake Roxen. E4 (European Highway 4 crosses from west to east).
South of E4 you see the northeastern part of the city of Linköping (Lower left corner) and suburbs northeast of the city (Lower right corner).



When my distance heating was installed about 10 years ago only the red-brown building in the background was present. That is the original Gärstad municipal waste incinerator, described in my now out-of print text book Environmental Geology 2d edition. I hope to add material here from that book but not today.

Since Linköping has been growing fast, the original incinerator could not meet the needs of the system, so a new facility was built - the gray building at the right above and shown here from a different vantage point.

As you can see, the entire exterior is glass so if you visit you can see the entire interior of one of the most technologically advanced incinerators anywhere.

I close today by making a comment on thinking in my part of the USA, New England. There, in New England is an ngo, Clean Water, of which I am a member. Clean Water illustrates the American dilemma, if we may call it that. Clean Water is unalterably opposed to incineration, presumably because some time in the past it saw incinerators that were perhaps like the Baltimore incinerator I used to see when I was at Johns Hopkins.

Eventually I will try to get Clean Water to review my blog and, when I am in Westport, MA in June I will make a point of talking with a Clean Water representative to try to learn why the organization cannot move into the 21st century.

That's all for today but maybe some pictures at my Facebook (maybe even here) of the landscape I then went to in order to ski ,talk with my beloved oak trees, and study animal tracks on the frozen Götakanal.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fjärrvärme-Distance Heating Phase II

In Phase I (14 February 2013) I showed you the ultimate destination of the hot water produced at one of the incinerators run by Tekniskaverken here in Linköping, Sweden. The destination was the heat exchanger that is keeping my radiators warm

So here in Phase II I show you the installation of a new set of distribution pipes where the diameter of each pipe gets smaller and smaller the closer that pipe is to an end user.

 Here you see a welder working on a
new set of pipes that are now buried beneath the Long Distance Bus site in Linköping. Hot water moves out from the incinerator and not so warm water returns to the incinerator in the return line to be heated once again.

Here you see the same pipes waiting to be connected to the next smaller pipes that were to be placed where the two vans are located.





































Finally, the parking lot was excavated so that these smaller diameter pipes could be put in place.

New apartment complexes have been going up at what to me is with amazing speed. Since every such complex is heated by this system the underground pipe system stops growing.

In a few days - perhaps - I will be able to show you the above ground indications that there is a feeder pipe buried under my front yard. We have had so much snow on the ground since December 4th, that the heat rising from my feeder line has never been enough to melt the snow to create a line on the ground.

Now we are having a few days of high temperature (0 to + 2 C) so maybe that line will appear.







Phase III will be to show you where the waste trucks discharge the waste, which is then fed
into the incinerators to heat the water that will flow through these pipes.

Now it is TGIF time on a Friday night in Sweden.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today the NYT had a short and simple story telling us that Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban styrofoam cups (turns out they are not really styrofoam, but you get the picture). The very first commenter wrote that you have to ban them because you cannot burn them - toxic and all that.

Since the room in which I am writing this is heated by burning municipal waste, maybe even styrofoam, I posted a comment. I got Emails shortly after so here is Phase 1 of Imagine if You Gave Up Your Oil Burner.

I will begin at the final destination of the hot water that was heated to 100 C at a municipal waste incinerator here in Linköping. In the next day or two I will take you back to the incinerator itself. Ett steg i sänder, one step at a time.

Here in a clean room in my basement is a small white box about 35 inches high (writing this for Americans where cm do not yet rule). The room used to be filled with an oil burner and an oil tank big enough to get us through the Swedish winter (70 days of snow on the ground so far).

The oil burner was like most I had in America, a pain. Same with the tank. So one fine day I booked installation of fjärrvärme (distance heating) and soon there was this box in a room that could now be used.

So we take off the cover and see that there is a pipe that feeds the hot water into the box and a pipe through which the somewhat cooler water can return to the incinerator. Down in the right corner is a small pump - perfectly quiet - and there are two heat exchangers.

We can take a look at one of them. You can see the copper object in the background. That is one of two devices where the incoming hot water can heat water in a closed system in the house. This one heats the water that flows to all the radiators on three levels. I confess I think it is amazing that this 12 inch long device can accomplish this much heat transfer, but it does.

There is an even smaller exchanger that heats the water that goes to the bathrooms and kitchens (3 and 2 respectively). Even more amazing is that this heating takes place on demand, none of the hot water tanks that often had to be replaced when I lived in Rochester, New York.

So this is phase I showing what I, the 100% satisfied person (with renters above), have instead of that oil burner.

As I noted in my Times comment, I would never return to the USA if I had to move into a house or apartment heated by an oil or natural gas burner. Not for me.

Silent, fume free, and fire-hazard free wins every time, especially when you get an entire basement room as part of the bargain.

Will be back tomorrow to show you part of the distribution system. Stay tuned.

2013-02-14 kl 14:12 Eastern Standard Time USA

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Never in New England-Only in Sweden

It is snowing here in Sweden and it snowing a lot harder in the states where I grew up and lived in the USA - RI, MA, CT, VT, NY. (Added note: Blogspot formatting is a problem today but the story gets told anyway. My Gmail address is next to the post in case you want to communicate)

NOTE ADDED 11 FEBRUARY 2013 15:30 Central European Time As a result of reading even more NYT comments and replies, I realize that one of the most helpful contributions to discussion of this subject would be to be able to find out, for a given region, where the weakest links are. For example, here in Linköping, I do not recall ever seeing any exposed wires even fairly far out into the suburbs. What I do not know is where the main distribution lines are. Then it would be of interest to have the historical record showing what the weakest links were when there were significant failures. Since my two cities, Linköping, Sweden and Burlington, Vermont are the same size and both experience months of winter weather one could learn something if one had the data. I have often thought that perhaps the very large scale dairy farms northwest of Linköping may storms best, assuming that the gigantic wind turbines that dot that landscape function throughout. A farm that had ground-source geothermal and its own large-scale wind turbine (never seen any that large in Vermont) might do quite well. END OF NOTE. REST FILED 10 FEB.



Therefore since 5 AM Swedish time (23.00 yesterday in those states above) I have been following the Great Snowstorm in the Northeast.

This led me to file a familiar comment on the sad practice in America of hanging residential power lines from wooden or other poles creating a gigantic tangle if you could see it from above.

The good news is that, for the first time, many other NYT readers are delivering the same message I have delivered many times. Just go to the Times (2013-02-09), find the main story about the big storm and go the comments and then Reader Recommendations. There you will find American Mom in first place with her right-on-target comment. Read it and recommend her.

In the Times comments I noted that it is hard to illustrate the situation here in Sweden since if everything is underground, what's to see. Then I looked out and saw that the streetlights were turning on and Eureka, that is what to see.
Apelgatan kl. 16.00 9/2 2013
So here we are looking down Apple Street (Apelgatan in Swedish).
 Nice streetlights, no wires. Where are the wires? Underneath my feet of course.

No wires to the red house but there is even more to (not) be seen.

The picture below is the front yard of my neighbor at Apelgatan 9. There is something else buried beneath the snow next to his flagpole. The something else is a 120 meter borehole, the key element of Ground Source Geothermal that heats his house and provides hot water as well. 
Ground source geothermal
Apple Street
Look no wires
No oil tank, no oil truck, no fumes, no nothing.
 Just 24/7 renewable energy. My front yard looks
 just like his, and there is something buried
under  my front yard also. That something
 is a pipe through which hot water flows 
24/7 to a heat exchanger where the water
to my radiators is heated and to 
another heat exchanger that 
heats the water 
for bathrooms and kitchen. 
No oil tank, no hazardous 
natural gas pipeline  . 

.