October 2009

Perhaps the only thing that will ever silence the various overblown objections to compact fluorescent lights is when they are replaced by solid state lighting systems, based on light emitting diodes (LEDs). Unfortunately, as a post on BoingBoing points out, there is still a way to go before such lighting systems will be viable options […]

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In an awfully pathetic development, a recent poll conducted of 1,500 American adults by the Pew Research Center found that the proportion agreeing that “there is strong scientific evidence that the earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades” has fallen from 71% to 57%. Now, only 36% of people agree that human activities […]

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Previously, I described how Andrew Weaver used different estimates of how sensitive the Earth’s climate is to greenhouse gasses to determine how many total emissions humanity can have without causing more than 2°C of warming. The 2°C figure is commonly cited as the level of warming that is unambiguously ‘dangerous’ – either because of the […]

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The Age of Stupid is a poignant and timely film, based around the conceit of sending a warning to people today through fictional retrospective, based on real climatic science and the consequences of continued inaction. It forcefully conveys the point that climate change is the overwhelming moral and political issue of this era. If we […]

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The Economist argues that the popularity of so-called ‘smart’ electrical grids is cause for suspicion. The fact that builders of renewable energy plants and operators of dirty coal plants are both on side suggests that the grids will not, in and of themselves, produce a push towards reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, if they reduce […]

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Philip Greenspun – founder of Photo.net – has written an interesting post on one way in which big American banks are bilking the taxpayer: specifically, by borrowing money at 0% interest and then plowing it into short-term bonds yielding 2-3%. By using leverage, they can effectively earn even more. Since the bonds being purchased are […]

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Of all the ways in which information can be presented, videos and voicemail messages are among the most inflexible. While they can be quite good when you are fully interested in the subject matter and have the time to engage with them, they lack vital characteristics of written text. Notably, they cannot be easily skimmed […]

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Given that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are not yet particularly autonomous, for the most part, they are generally operated remotely by people. Apparently, the transmission system and encryption used between UAV operators in Nevada and the drones they are piloting in Afghanistan and Pakistan introduces a 1.7 second delay between commands being given and responses […]

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Various environmental groups are supporting a major event on Parliament Hill next Saturday, October 24th. The event begins at noon, with a big photo stunt happening at 2:00pm. 3,559 such events are scheduled around the world, in 161 different countries. Groups involved in this non-partisan event include Oxfam Canada, the Canadian Federation of Students, 350.org, […]

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The British ISP TalkTalk has been working to show why banning people from the internet, based on unproven allegations of piracy, is a bad idea. Specifically, they have highlighted how many people still use WEP to protect their wireless networks from use by strangers, despite the fact that WEP encryption is easily compromised. That means […]

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