The author’s method of finding and switching a majority of his investments to socially responsible funds to aid in the fight against climate change

panoramic view from a mountain in southern New Zealand
panoramic view from a mountain in southern New Zealand
What we’re trying to protect

I’ve been working to take actions to be more environmentally sustainable across parts of my life in the last few years especially like reducing my meat consumption and use of plastic in the kitchen. Investing was one area that I hadn’t approached yet and believe it can make a big difference in the fight against climate change.

Towards the end of 2020 I decided it was time to make the switch to Socially Responsible Investments (SRI)…


Implementing a secure “forgot password” and “reset password” backend (for a Vue.js front end) in NodeJS with AWS Lambda, SES, and DynamoDB.

Background

I volunteer with DigitalHumani’s Reforestation as a Service API project which connects websites and mobile apps to trusted reforestation organizations to have trees planted for $1 when a user action is taken. The MVP was built by volunteers and continues to be maintained and improved by a small (but growing) team.

The team is working on a new secure dashboard website that will be used by clients organisations to view information about the number of trees their users…


I set a goal for 2020 to read 10 books and managed to read 21! A few factors helped a lot. Leaving my job at Epic in February and being locked down for several months. This is definitely the most reading I’ve done since my college days (and studying Engineering meant I didn’t do that much 😂). I’ve really enjoyed this as a new hobby and feel fortunate to have had so much time to devote to it!

Favorite reading location: fireside

1. The girl with the dragon tattoo — Jan

2. The girl who played with fire — Feb

3. The girl who…


A review of accessibility and JavaScript DOM manipulation

The Problem(s)

Like many folks, as I started out writing articles on Medium I wanted a way to embed a “feed” on my personal portfolio website without having to manually add articles each time I posted them. There are a lot of resources out there covering this topic so I won’t repeat detailed instructions here.

I eventually settled on using Pixel Point’s free unofficial medium-widget which after you to enter your Medium profile URL and configure a few options and gives you a block of HTML you can add to your site which does…


Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

The final rigid wing sail on the testing rig
The final rigid wing sail on the testing rig
Final wing sail design on the testing rig

Meeting Requirements

Performance

  • For apparent wind angles of 0–90deg (0 deg is in the direction of motion of the cart), the wing sail should create at least 50% more forward pulling force on the cart than the soft sail.
  • The wing sail should be able to create forward pulling force on the cart at closer apparent wind angles than the soft sail.

These performance requirements were definitely met as shown by the final testing data on the previous page. The wing sail produced at least 50% more…


Final testing of the third prototype of the wing sail

Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

The first goal of the final testing was to see if the shrink wrapped balsa wing would meet the performance requirements that I set. I also wanted to get data on what angle of attack and flap angle produced the best results at each apparent wind angle. This data could then be used by the person sailing the boat as a basic trimming guide.

Final Performance Requirements

  • For apparent wind angles of 0–90deg (0 deg is in the direction of motion of the cart), the wing sail should…

Designing and building the shrink wrap covered balsa ribbed wing

Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

Now it was time to build the wing in a more accessible way, since CNC hot wire foam cutters cost in the $1000’s. The method that first came to mind and that is used on many other rigid wing sail boats uses many vertically spaced airfoil shaped “ribs” which are then covered by a film to produce the shape in 3D. Examples of this style of construction can be seen in many of the pictures in the background section. Model Airplanes builders employ the same…


Testing the second prototype

Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

Now that the problems with the foam wings were fixed and a soft sail rig was completed, their performance against each other could be tested. This was done using the rolling cart that I built for this purpose.

Setup


Designing and building the second prototype of the wing sail

Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

For the second stage of my project I sought to fix the problems of the first prototype foam wing I built, then construct a 4:1 aspect ratio wing and a soft sail rig. Once these tasks were completed, I could test the two different aspect ratio wing sails and the soft sail on the rolling cart to qualitatively measure their performance against each other. …


Designing, Building and testing the first prototype of the wing sail

Originally Published Spring 2011 as part of my capstone engineering design project at Brown University

Process

I went through several steps and processes to decide on my first prototype. I knew that it made sense to build a working wing first because I had a preexisting hull.

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/geom.html

Initially I thought about designing and optimizing wing sections in software, then testing them in a wind tunnel of some sort. However, I realized that the goal of my project was not to build the best or fastest wing ever, but rather to build an accessible and easy to use, wing sailed boat. Thousands…

Nikolas Osvalds

I’m passionate about doing good, giving back, and helping to tackle the climate crisis with my working life, ideally with code.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store