January 2010

Depressing fact: apparently, one third of global banks still offer multi-year guaranteed bonuses to new hires. It is fantastically absurd that they are still able to convince shareholders that such payments are justified by the need to acquire ‘top talent.’ One cannot escape the feeling that banks and bankers have come out of the credit […]


Ottawa Centre Member of Parliament Paul Dewar is collecting art, which will be sold to raise money for victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Local artists who want to donate something should get in touch with his office (Dewarp1@parl.gc.ca). All donations must be confirmed by February 5th. Only one work per person will be accepted. […]


This is a neat idea: wind turbines that use LIDAR (akin to RADAR, using light) to anticipate the strength of wind, and prepare for it in advance: Dr Mikkelsen and his colleagues worked out that they could use lidar to scan incoming wind and determine how it was behaving before it struck the turbine. To […]


One of the enduring uncertainties about climate change is the importance of aerosols. Their chemistry and effect on the climate is complex. Some of them reflect sunlight immediately back into space, having a net cooling effect on the planet; others (like black carbon have a warming effect. Some aerosols interact with one another, and with […]


Writing for Salon.com, pilot Patrick Smith makes some excellent points about the breathless paranoia we now display about terrorism: What has become of us? Are we really in such a confused and panicked state that a person haplessly walking through the wrong door can disrupt air travel nationwide, resulting in mass evacuations and long delays? […]


Google’s decision to challenge the Chinese government on their censorship policy is a bold one. It remains to be seen whether it will end up doing more harm or good. In the mean time, there is at least one thing that ordinary computer users can do in order to fight censorship around the world: set […]


The ground-based LORAN network has been aiding navigation since WWII. Now, it is being shut down to save money, based on the thinking that the GPS system has made it obsolete. I had direct experience with the Pacific LORAN array and its coordinate system during the LIFEboat Flotillas. Most of the LORAN stations will go […]


Even once you have reached agreement that there must be a cost associated with dumping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, there are countless ways in which you can choose to do so. Many different instruments could be combined in many different ways. Some argue that the simplest policy that corrects for the market failure is […]


There are few elements of global climate change policy trickier than the relationship between climate change and development. Developing states insist that they have a right to get rich as fast as they can, with no particular heed paid to their greenhouse gas emissions. The figures for air travel in India show one small part […]


Yesterday’s pro-photography protest in London was rather encouraging. Amateur and professional photographers came together to protest the restrictions and harassment of photographers that has developed in response to concerns about terrorism. The protest follows a European Court of Human Rights ruling that police don’t have the right to indiscriminately search people, just because they are […]