March 2008

The Game Plan : A solution framework for climate change and energy is a slick, Creative Commons licensed slide presentation covering issues of energy and climate change. It’s like a more numerically focused, more technical, open-source version of An Inconvenient Truth. Clearly, it is aimed at a very different audience. Still, it is interesting and […]


This background note on carbon trading from the Sightline Institute does a good job of explaining the relevance of different modes of permit allocation to consumers. That sounds terribly dull, I’m sure, but it’s simple and important. The basic idea of carbon trading is that you set some level of allowable emissions for a facility, […]


WordPress 2.5 doesn’t look much different from the perspective of the reader, but the administrative controls are much slicker. Upgrading seems to be relatively painless, and my plugins seem to work. One really nice thing is that you can now change the default thumbnail size from within the interface (under Settings > Miscellaneous). My thumbnail […]


Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is devastating communities of amphibians worldwide. Strangely enough, this may partially be because of pregnancy testing. Between the 1930s and 1950s, a curious property of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) was exploited: human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is present in the urine of pregnant women, stimulates egg production in these animals. As […]


A $1.4 billion carbon capture (CCS) equipped coal plant is on the drawing board in Saskatchewan. The projected output is 100 megawatts (MW). That works out to a price of $14,000 a kilowatt, compared with about $2000 and $4600 per kilowatt for wind turbines (according to Agriculture and Rural Development Alberta). Of course, unlike the […]


The news today is full of talk about Earth Hour. Frankly, I think the idea is stupid. Telling people to turn out the lights for one hour one day has a trivial impact. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with approaches that actually would. Shutting down the lights in a brief symbolic gesture does nothing […]


Adobe has released a free web-based version of their most popular image editing program, called Photoshop Express. The software allows for a number of fairly basic modifications, including cropping, exposure correction, saturation and white balance changes, and sharpening. One nice touch is that it does allow the conversion of images to black and white using […]

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You versus the lot: What proportion of your income would you be willing to give up to stop yourself from dying instantly in 1 year’s time? If you were certain to die in one year’s time, what proportion of your income would you be willing to give up to prevent all of humanity from becoming […]


A new blog written by a former California energy commissioner chooses to discuss the fight against climate change as a ‘war.’ At one level, this reflects the silly American tendency to discuss non-military problems using military language: the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, etc. At another, the choice reflects the serious disjoint between […]


The Economics Focus in this week’s Economist makes some excellent points. Most importantly, it demonstrates the degree to which looking at national rates of GDP growth independently from national rates of population growth produces a misleading impression of what is really happening. America and Australia usually have the kind of economies that people understand to […]