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"If you are under 25, and not a Liberal, you have no heart. If you are over 25, and not a Conservative, you have no brain." -Winston S. Churchill.


Worse for the environment then you'd think.

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August 22 2010: Messing around with getting this blog online.

August 21 2010 Greenpeace looses it's charity status in Canada, New Zealand and soon... Germany?

Archive for the Global Warming category

A liter of Light and a Really Cool Idea

Posted on Friday, September 23, 2011 at 8:30 AM by Richard Schitts

Some students at MIT came up with a cool idea for lighting Philippine slums. I love their idea - it's so simple it's genius; it uses no energy and recycles old pop bottles. There is one downside - it only works in the day. But if you live in a hut with no windows near the equator this might not be too much of a downside.

MIT's Slum Lighting Solution: Cut a hole in your roof, seal a pop bottle with water and a little bleach (to kill algae) into the hole. Voila! You have a light. The cool thing is that because of the way a pop bottle refracts light it captures more light than just a hole in the roof - the equivalent of a 50-55 watt light bulb.

Simple, elegant, beautiful, genius. A picture is worth a thousand words. It made me think - why did it take MIT engineers to come up with this solution? Maybe they are trained to think out of the box - maybe they see past a problem and towards a solution. Environmentalists take note.

Now if only we could genetically engineer algae to be bioluminescent for a couple of hours after dark "slum landlords" would be all set!

Further reading:

Edited on: Friday, September 23, 2011 8:54 AM

Posted in Global Warming (RSS), Other Environmental Discussion (RSS)

Scientific Study: When People are Hungry and Hot they get Mad

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM by Richard Schitts

That's right! A study published by Nature says that when it's hot and people are hungry they get mad. They conducted their study during El Nino years, which is a cyclic tropical weather event that makes things hotter.

The Data: Most countries have a 2% chance of armed conflict a year (wow!). BUT Tropical countries have a 3% chance of conflict during (relatively) colder weather (La Nina). Tropical countries in El Nino (hotter weather) have a 6% chance of conflict. Yikes! Also, somewhat randomly - if a pitcher in baseball has had a person on his team beaned with a baseball he is more likely to bean somebody from the other team the hotter it is.

Quick, turn on the AC!

Their reasoning: hotter weather in Africa makes it harder to grow food. Farms make less money farming and more money as a mercenary. At the same time there is less food - which apparently makes everyone mad.

Basically when people who live in shitty places are hot and hungry they make things even shittier. The cyclic nature of the events must discourage planning - which leads to tougher times when things get bad. The people who did the study were quick to point out that their data is for cyclic large temperature increases. Not small constant increases. For example Saudi is consistently hotter than South Africa but people in both places survive well.

The solution is pretty obvious- make sure people have food. GM crops could help with this....

Link to article:

Edited on: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:34 PM

Posted in Global Warming (RSS)