March 2009

Democrats in the American House of Represenatives released a 648-page climate change and energy bill today. The bill is centred around a cap-and-trade system that is intended to reduce American greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 2005 levels by 2020, and to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. Other provisions include “a nationwide renewable electricity […]


Given the character of the modern world, it seems sensible to re-evaluate some of our assumptions. For instance, the importance of sexual abstinence. Arguably, it derives from three considerations: the danger of pregnancy, the risk of disease, and the social concept of sin. In modern society, good tools are available for dealing with all of […]


Apparently, President Obama has announced a summit of world leaders to discuss climate change, to occur in April as partial preparation for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in December. The summit will include Canada, the US, China, India, and twelve others. Quite possibly, it will offer a useful glimpse into […]


If we are going to prevent catastrophic climate change, every major country in the world will need to have policies that put a price on carbon and encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy. If the range of estimates for safe concentrations is approximately right (350 – 550ppm, very broadly), such policies will need to […]


In preparation for some ongoing photo projects, I have been experimenting with different kinds of two-strobe arrangements. Andrea very kindly volunteered herself as a subject. We tried different umbrella arrangements (both shoot-through and reflective), background lights, rim lights, and some ceiling bouncing. I was firing my 430EX II using my radio triggers and using the […]


Today was an example of the best cycling weather Ottawa provides: bright and a bit cool. With a light jacket, slow periods in the shade were comfortable. With more ventilation, hard runs out in the sunshine were. Crisscrossing the city, I managed to pick up one of my favourite mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii) for dinner. They […]


Now that I have two strobes, the accessories required to use them, and the relevant theoretical knowledge from Light: Science and Magic, I need to start getting some more practice in flash lighting of various subjects, in different lighting circumstances. I am curious about situations in which my strobes are basically the only source of […]


Whether it is solar power, wind farms, dams, or biofuel crops, renewable energy tends to be land-intensive. Indeed, that is one of the major reasons for which improving efficiency in sectors like buildings and vehicles is some important. Improving their efficiency can allow us to reduce our fossil fuel use, both out of concern for […]


In the past, environmental groups have often opposed hydroelectric projects, both in the form of large dams and smaller run-of-river projects. Now, I think the seriousness of climate change overrides past objections about destroying habitat and disrupting ecosystems in rivers. While we should definitely take cost-effective measures to reduce the harmful impacts of dams (for […]


In the past, this blog has featured some discussion of trans- and inter-continental travel by means other than aircraft. This summer, I am thinking about actually giving it a try, going from Ottawa to Vancouver by train. If I could take two consecutive weeks off work, the three-day journey in each direction wouldn’t be excessively […]