So…don’t you hate the functionality of Googles offline maps?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the IDEA of offline maps in Google! There are loads of times that you will want to use maps functionality when you aren’t connected to the internet. What bothers me is that Google gives you the ability to create offline maps, and then makes it impossible to use them […]

Ever tried to get support from Intuit (maker of Quicken and Turbotax)?

I have used Quicken (by Intuit) since the mid ’90s.  I have purchased a new version each year as a new one became available (usually when I bought my tax software from them) so that I would always be up-to-date. Generally, I have been pleased with the software but over the years the service has varied from OK to […]

Public Service Sick Leave

Unfortunately, this government and many previous governments have spent years successfully vilifying the public service so I am afraid that a large minority of public opinion will side with Clement on this.  He has successfully driven a wedge between public servants that I know to be motivated by public interest and some members of the […]

The same old energy mix — The Japan Times editorial

The same old energy mix — The Japan Times editorial. I follow the folks that write Japan Safety: Nuclear Energy Updates and they just posted an article from the Japan Times where they look at the current government’s plans for energy sustainability over the next few decades. The picture is disturbing in light of the […]

Sweden have successfully used taxes to reduce environmental damage.

Sweden has shown a longstanding commitment to the environment, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and nitrogen leaching. Renewables supply more than a third of its energy needs. Sweden has set itself tough targets for the future, however, and must continue to innovate if it is to meet them, according to a new OECD…

Construction is set to begin on a $150 million-plus solar powered greenhouse in South Australia’s Port Augusta

John [jpratt27] has published an excellent summary of a new plan to develop a new solar-powered greenhouse in South Australia.  This plant will not only produce fresh vegetables but will also be used to desalinate water in a very arid region.  A few more details are needed about how the resulting salts will be dealt […]

February 17 Energy [Science and Tech] News via GeoHarvy

Originally posted on geoharvey:
Science and Technology: ¶ A number of studies investigating the effect of wind turbines on birds have found that the actual impact wind turbines have on avians is relatively low. However, according to this new research, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, wind turbines’ effects on bats cannot be…

A ‘bionic leaf’ turns solar energy into chemicals and fuels

The site at the link below (“A ‘bionic leaf’ …”) presents a really interesting idea on how to store energy from the sun and at the same time act as a temporary carbon sink by absorbing CO2 for creation of the chemicals.  I will be looking forward to seeing how this plays out when they […]

The Australian Academy of Science says man-made climate change is real.

Originally posted on jpratt27:
The Australian Academy of Science says man-made climate change is real and the consequences will be dire if no action is taken to address it. The academy, in an update to its science of climate change booklet produced in 2010, says its authoritative account of the science behind global warming will…

News Release: Annual Report: Privacy Commissioner emphasizes importance of online transparency – August 21, 2014

https://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2014/nr-c_140821_e.asp In an update to a previous post, as of last summer, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was still working on the 168 complaints received about Bell Canada for its data collection and use policy. Stay tuned, it will be interesting to see what they finally come up with.

JD Power – Builder Satisfaction Survey – Methodology concerns

Here is an e-mail I sent to the “ask-us” link from the JD Power web site about their survey methodology for “New-Home Builder’s Customer Satisfaction Survey”. I haven’t heard anything back from JDPA, but I will update this post if I do. Be careful how you interpret the results of this survey as it is […]

Bell is at it again…

If there is one thing Bell is good at, it is creating an unfair playing field, always tilted in its own corporate favour.  Whether it is about unilaterally changing user agreements after you sign up for them or collecting your usage information without your consent, Bell behaves as if it was immune from the social […]

Making investment practices more sustainable – Another great TED talk

I have thought a lot about the vocabulary we use when we speak about issues.  Much of the language we use comes to us courtesy of Economists.  We speak of consumers or clients rather than citizens.  We speak of economic debt and deficit to the exclusion of the discussion of social, cultural, environmental or infrastructure […]

What the heck is an Earthship? … maybe an idea whose time has come!

earthship brighton
figure 1: Earthship Brighton (Photo credit: ivanpope)

Have you ever heard of the concept of an “Earthship“?  I was introduced to the concept by my brother-in-law about 14 years ago and was blown away.  What is an Earthship then?  In a nutshell, an Earthship is an Eco-friendly home, made predominantly from recycled materials, designed to be as close to “off-grid” as possible.

The concept of Earthships arose in the halcyon flower-power days of the 1970s in various states in the southern USA.  The concept seems to have developed by Michael Reynolds, an architect from New Mexico.  As you can see in the linked Wikipedia article, his idea was not without problems, but it was, none-the-less revolutionary.  Michael has a website where he educates about, demonstrates and promotes the Earthship technology.  The site has designs for a number of systems that an Earthship needs if it is to meet code (see figure 2, below). Continue reading “What the heck is an Earthship? … maybe an idea whose time has come!”

Some links to interesting environmental sites

One of my colleagues at work sent me this list of ten interesting environmentally-related web-pages. He recommended them to me and suggested I take a look at them. You may wish to take a look at them too. Thanks Phil!

http://www.marine-conservation.org/

 

Marine Conservation Institute is a leader in the global movement to protect and recover the integrity of vast ocean areas.

We use the latest science to identify important marine ecosystems around the world, and then advocate for their protection, for us and future generations.

http://worldwildlife.org/

centre
centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature.

The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature Continue reading “Some links to interesting environmental sites”

Aggressive Driving – Some observations from the peanut gallery

Close Call... Don't Drive Angry / Baynard County
Close Call… Don’t Drive Angry / Baynard County (Photo credit: Phil’s 1stPix)

I often hear pundits decrying the aggressiveness of drivers.  It is hard to disagree with the premise that aggressive driving is bad, but the picture isn’t as simple as the pundits would have you believe.

For one thing, not all aggressive driving is “actively aggressive”.  The pundits rarely discuss the passively aggressive drivers, like the folks that drive in passing lanes.  They also often fail to look for root causes for the driving aggression.

I have been thinking about this issue for a long time and think I have a few suggestions on how to reduce aggressive driving.  My suggestions are in the form of tips and I have organized these suggestions around four possibly overlapping groups of people … 1) the aggressive drivers themselves, 2) traffic planners, 3) other drivers and 4) law makers.  There probably isn’t much new here, and I hope it doesn’t appear to be condescending, but aggressive driving is an issue that has been bugging me for years so I wanted to add my two cents to the conversation. Continue reading “Aggressive Driving – Some observations from the peanut gallery”

A better way to recycle plastics? Mike Biddle replies to questions and comments about his 2011 TEDTalk

Originally posted on TED Blog:
Last October, we posted this TEDTalk given at TEDGlobal 2011 by plastic engineer Mike Biddle, Founder and President of MBA Polymers, which has developed an incredibly energy and economically efficient method to recycle plastics — by turning it into the raw material  again. The TEDtalk elicited over 1000 comments and questions…

The Story of Change : a new video from the makers of the “Story of Stuff”

This video is all about empowerment. It is all about acting on our commitments…to the environment, to social justice, to each other. It is about supporting our government’s initiatives for becoming a “World Class Regulator“. As with other “stuff” video, this one makes its point in the same clear logical fashion, taking us from being […]

Scientific American Article about the Dangers Associated With CF Light Bulbs

Scientific American Article about the Dangers Associated With CF Light Bulbs As a follow-on to my earlier article about various technologies for lighting your home, I wanted to post this link.  As the date for conversion of all light bulbs from incandescent looms near there is a lot more is being said about the safety […]

What’s with the wind every recycling day!

Have you every noticed, that it is almost always windy on the nights when you have to put out your paper or your plastic for recycling? My house is at the end of a long street that parallels the direction of the prevailing winds and you should see my front yard on recycling mornings. What a mess.  […]

Metroland.com – Trash Troubles

The other day at work, one of my colleagues passed a link on to me because she knew that I am interested in waste management.  I really have to thank her because the link she provided was to an excellent 3 part article entitled “Trash Troubles – grappling with our garbage” (Metroland.com – Trash Troubles) […]

Solar Lights Recycling | Your Solar Link

I am constantly looking for good environmental blogs and have been following a really good one lately named “Environmental world for all”.  The site is authored by a university student in peace studies with minor in environmental studies. One of the author’s recent posts discusses the benefits of solar LEDs for use as Christmas lights.  It is a […]

Not everything environmental is about new technology…sometimes it is doing what we do in a smarter way.

Sometimes being environmentally friendly means using new technologies like solar and wind power, but sometimes it is simply about doing what we have always done, but doing it in a smarter way.  URISA, an association of GIS professionals, has an annual competition for students in the GIS field to produce papers and posters on using GIS to […]

An open letter to the plastics industry

First, I am not rabidly anti-plastic. I think that plastic has made many parts of our life better, but I am against plastic waste (plastic for which there is no after market recycling program) and I am against over packaging, and your industry is implicated in both. From an energy perspective, I am aware that […]

City of Ottawa – Help for Folks Installing Solar Thermal

The City of Ottawa has a nice new web page that acknowledges the existence of solar energy, and in particular solar domestic hot water (SDHW).  The site, which can be found on ottawa.ca gives information about two different types of SDHW systems: a CSA approved factory packaged system and not factory packaged system.  Both types of installation […]

Ottawa is back to recycling all hard plastics

The newspaper reports that the City of Ottawa is, once again, recycling all hard plastics. You may remember that some time in the Chiarelli administration Ottawa decided to save some money by taking a money losing, but successful, program of plastic recycling and scrap (literally) everything except recycling of number 1 and 2 plastics. There’s […]

Forever Plastic: Basic Tip for Recycling Plastic – Doc Zone | CBC-TV

Given the interest in solid waste policy in the City of Ottawa at the moment, now might be a great time for you to brush up on some recycling facts.  CBC has a page and a video with some interesting information that might inform and entertain you. Forever Plastic: Basic Tip for Recycling Plastic – […]

City of Ottawa – Residential Solid Waste Service Level Review

The City of Ottawa is currently conducting a review of residental solid waste service levels and this is your chance to have a say before the service levels change (or your tax bill does).  The solid waste review has its own web page on the city’s site.  City of Ottawa – Residential Solid Waste Service Level Review. […]